Salamander Games have relaunched their Kickstarter project All Hands on Deck!, a pirate-y auction game where the things you bid for are also the currency you use for bidding. It sounds weird when I put it like that, let me give you the long form. Your goal, as a pirate captain who just got into port, is to hire new crew to replace the people you recently lost in battle. Available for hire are the crews of three ships recently down on their luck (card colors), each with pirates in ten ranks. To win a hand, you must be the first to hire either a run of seven ranks from one crew or a run of three cards from each of the crew. You start with five cards and receive another free card every round. Then one more card is revealed and players bid on it with cards from their hand. So for every card on offer you have to decide which cards you might be willing to spend to get it. Some action cards add extra spice to the process. Of course you could win by dumb luck, but mostly the game goes to the captain most skilled at putting his crew together.
Simurgh by NSKN Games was one of the winners in Essen this year. The demo table was always full and many people said good things about it afterwards – it’s one of the games I regret not being able to try. If you haven’t been able to try it either, it’s a game of tile and worker placement in a world where dragons are not only real but noble warriors ride them into battle. As head of one of the noble houses, you send your dragon riders and regular workers to action tiles where they help you breed new types of dragons and bring power to your house. Simurgh was so popular that its first expansion, Call of the Dragonlord, is already in the making. Like most expansions now, it will have multiple modules, including new types of action tiles and a new type of worker, the Wizard, to join the others. The main attraction will be the Forgotten Metropolis, an expansion module with a new game board where your wizards advance on three power tracks and may finally enter the tomb of the first dragonlord. I don’t think anyone will be tired of Simurgh soon, but you can already pledge for the expansion on Kickstarter and receive it when it’s done.
Cool Mini Or Not
A sequel to Cool Mini Or Not’s Arcadia Quest has appeared on Kickstarter. Arcadia Quest: Inferno is a stand-alone sequel to the original game, but can be combined with it. Just like the first game, each player controls a guild of three heroes which he takes through the circles of hell in a heroic campaign. Each scenario on the way has the heroes fight different monsters and complete quests to proceed. Players will not be able to complete all the quests, and unfinished quests will introduce complications later in the campaign. For instance, you will be able to save some angels and make them join your guild, but the ones you don’t save will come back as monsters you have to fight. It’s probably unnecessary to mention it, but like all games from Cool Mini Or Not Arcadia Quest: Inferno comes with a bunch of really, really cool minis.
Tasty Minstrel Games
Tastry Minstrel Games’s website is under construction, so there are no links for these announcements. But in their latest newsletter, TMG have announced to new releases you might be interested in. The first is Bottlecap Vikings by Andy van Zandt, a rondel style game where you maneuver your vikings around the rondel to loot victory points, wood and gold. The latter two you invest in your home town where you advance on a tech tree and gain special abilities. The rondel in Bottlecap Vikings is variable: you shuffle it before each game and the action spaces have different actions front and back. Similarly, the town boards are double-sided as well. The possibilities are endless. Another detail is that some spaces on the rondel are more or less powerful depending on how damaged your ship is, so you have an incentive to stay on sea when you should really be sailing home.
The second new release it’s not entirely new: Bomb Squad by Dan Keltner and David Short has been around as a print’n’play game, but TMG created a boxed release through Kickstarter. Bomb Squad is a cooperative game with similarities to Hanabi. Players see everyone’s cards but their own and have limited ways to communicate what they see. The plot is more tense, though, in Bomb Squad the players control a bomb disposal robot and must work together before the bomb goes up when the real time countdown expires.
The interesting part about the latest Terraforming Mars preview is not so much the card. Fish are nice and all, but the card doesn’t seem all that special. What is really cool are the strategic details we learn in the explanation. Those fish may be worth a lot of points when the game ends, but only if you can heat up the planet quickly enough.
Mankind always thought they were alone among the stars. In millennia of space colonization, they hadn’t come across other intelligent life. Until the players of Rogue Squad, members of a squad of space mercenaries, respond to a distress signal from a remote mining outpost. That’s how the first campaign in the cooperative skirmish game begins. As the game’s German creators explain on the Kickstarter page, the plot is very important to them, and every mission in the campaign will tell the story and have special rules to match it as necessary. The choices the players make will influence how the game progresses, too, so you can expect a very immersive experience.
I’d have enough trouble already to convince any mental asylum staff to let me go, and I’m not a protagonist in a Lovecraft story. That’s the challenge in Cubicle 7’s Cthulhu Tales: terrible things have happened to you, you encountered Cthulhu or one of his Great Old Pals and you end up in the institution. You now have to tell your tale and convince the staff that you’re less insane than everyone else here so they may let you go. Cthulhu Tales is a story-telling game, but with rules to give it structure. Your tale has to go with the cards you play, those have to match the hideous crime you stand accused of, and they also determine how much therapy you will get in the end. The player with the least need for therapy goes free. You’re also not restricted to your own story, you can meddle in other players’ stories as well to make them look crazier than you. The cards on the Kickstarter page look like making up a sane sounding story may be a challenge.
Fantasy Flight Games
Speaking of Cthulhu, there is a new preview for Fantasy Flight’s Eldritch Horror: Under the Pyramids as well. Some of the new investigators introduced in this expansion seem a lot more powerful than the base game ones to be honest. Hank Samson sure seems handy when it comes to killing monsters, and Minh Thi Phan with her ability to help everyone do everything. Compared to them, the permanently Cursed (capital C) Rex Murphy will be a lot harder to play.
This week’s featured photo was taken by Flickr user karaian and shows the Stave Church of Urnes, so called because of it’s wooden architecture and because you find it in Urnes, Norway. The photo was shared with a CC-BY license.