With Landed Argyle Games are creating a terraforming tile laying game through Kickstarter. Players create a landscape from scratch with hex tiles showing one to three different types of terrain. Their objectives vary with contract cards they have in hand that ask for a region of the same terrain to complete them, the bigger that region the more points it’s worth. There is a good chance another player will have a contract for the same terrain and the first to claim it receives more points, so there is a strong push your luck element to the operation. And there are satellite cards with special powers that you gain by placing two tiles with satellite icons next to each other – which will probably not match your terraforming objectives. Landed seems like a rules-light game, but with a lot of tactical potential.
Fantasy Flight Games
We already knew that the forces of nature would be at least as dangerous as the monsters in the next Elder Sign expansion Omens of Ice. The latest preview shows some examples of that. And everything gets worse when the storms hit. Some events make you place storm markers on your adventures that do additional bad things – and you don’t know what they’ll be until you actually go there. Because we all love surprises…
The Android universe is Fantasy Flight’s cyberpunk setting, a dystopian future where heroic hackers steal money from megacorporations by breaking into their computers. The CCG Android: Netrunner is the big series in that universe, but it will soon be joined by the strategy game Android: Mainframe. When the security systems of Titan Transnational Bank go down, all the best hackers in the world want a piece of that action. Suddenly their goal is not only to steal from the Bank but also to get more than their fellow hackers. Mainframe is an abstract game, appropriately for the subject of hacking, where your goal is to create and manipulate partitions on the game board to create closed areas that will score points. You do that using a number of standard programs, patterns in which to place the partitions, but each of the game’s six characters has their own tricks up their sleeve as well.
Daily Magic Games
Daily Magic Games’s Villages of Valeria, also on Kickstarter now, is a card game where all players build a village that they hope will become the new capital. Most of the cards you will play are Building cards, either to be used as the building they show or as a resource to build other buildings. The other type of cards are Adventurers which are a bit harder to get but also worth more points, on average. Both types of cards often come with special abilities that help you develop your game the way you want. Villages of Valeria is very interactive for an engine building type of game. Whatever action you pick on your turn, the other players may follow with a weaker version of the same action on your turn still, and possibly gain bonuses from their buildings. They can also pick up cards that you discard, so watching what opportunities you might give them is important, too.
Ninja Division / Mage Company
Mage Company and Ninja Division have launched a Kickstarter project for Todd Sanders’s Aether Captains, an asymmetric steampunk game that was previously available as a print-and-play edition. In Aether Captains, one player commands the Empire’s mighty flagship zeppelins to fight of vicious sky pirates under the control of up to four other players. They do not strictly speaking work together, but where their objectives coincide they may team up to reach their goals. All ships are represented by detailed miniatures on the board and by dice showing their current status. If a ship is hit, you turn the dice to show the hits taken. Aether Captains sounds like a tense strategy game and will make a beautiful boxed edition with the production standards we saw from these publishers in their other projects.
And another asymmetric game that is freshly arrived on Kickstarter: IDW Games’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past. It’s a scenario driven game where one villain player and his mooks oppose the Turtle players. Battle is dice driven and requires the heroes to work as a real team for the best chance at victory: all players roll their own dice, but share one of them to each side, making the result available to the hero player sitting in that direction. The system rewards cooperation and makes useless rolls more rare, because you can at least use the dice to help out another player. As you’d expect from a game with a lot of miniatures, TMNT is not a cheap game, and you can pay a bit more to receive extra miniatures based on Kevin Eastman’s original style and a thematically appropriate pizza box.
Fun games don’t always have to be big and heavy. Kickstarter project Clash of the Cards is pretty light, a rummy style set collection game, but some additions over regular rummy really make a difference. The sets you must collect to win are armies, made up of at least four cards of the same rank. How you get them is fun, though: you battle the other players for them. If you need some more cards to make an army, you set one of them on the table. All other players have to put down their cards of the same rank. Then each player plays one more card, their champion, and the player with the highest champion takes all the cards being fought for. First player with two armies wins the round, the most points after a few rounds win the game. Like I said, it’s light, but I did always enjoy rummy games and this one sounds like an interesting twist.
Suit Up, a Kickstarter project by Val Teixeira, is quite a cynical game. Its goal is to make friends, but not because having friends is nice, you only make them to prove to some other yuppies, probably people you know from work, that you do, in fact, have friends. The whole thing deteriorates into a bet and the next day you’re running around the city taking photos with people you never met before. Cynical premise aside, Suit Up is a light resource management and worker placement game – although you only have one worker, you still place it. Where you place if, you collect different types of Influence that you then use to convince people that you could indeed be friends. For example, you could collect intellectual influence to convince a bookworm to join you. And once you made a friend, he or she makes it easier to collect more influence of his or her type. So Suit Up is a resource optimization game with all unneeded ballast thrown overboard, but being that concentrated makes it quick to play. It sounds like a neat little game if you only have an hour. I just hope those poor player characters make some real friends on the way.
After Shipwrights of the North Sea and Raiders of the North Sea have both been very successful on Kickstarter, Garphill Games are now going to complete their North Sea trilogy with Explorers of the North Sea. When players explore the North Sea with their longships, players construct the island seascape with tiles from their hands. They transport crew to take control of the islands, build settlements and capture livestock to score the most points. In the same Kickstarter campaign you can acquire Runesaga, an expansion that ties the three North Sea games together: you’ll play all three games, one after the other, with a chance to win runestones. They give a small advantage for the next game, but more importantly the overall winner is the player with the most runestones at the end.
Schotten-Totten is one of the most popular games Reiner Knizia has designed: the two players play card combination on the nine border stones between their territory, and the player with the better combination wins that stone. First player to win five stones, or three if they are all in a row, wins the game. If you can prove conclusively that your opponent has no way to win a stone, you may even claim it before he has played all cards his there. Why am I mentioning Schotten-Totten? Because Iello will publish a new edition this year under the name Scottish Skirmish.
King of New York: Power Up! is not the most creative title for a King of New York expansion, the King of Tokyo expansion went by exactly the same name back in 2012. But power up your monsters is exactly what the expansion does, so we’ll let that slide. This time. Or maybe Iello are still going to change the name before releasing the expansion later this year. It’s not on the box yet, after all.
Many traditional games have been drafted as a mechanic for modern games. Poker Assault is not the first game to use Poker to that purpose, but it’s the latest. Cryptozoic’s battle card game comes with four factions – Vampires, Werewolves, Invaders and the Rocket Patrol – each represented by their own full deck of Poker cards. Players make Poker hands to assault their opponents and use the special abilities some of their cards have. High hands award Power Cards that hurt your opponent even more.
You can’t run a project of the magnitude of Terraforming Mars without good business connections. The latest preview card gives you exactly those, and having a Business Network lets you take some opportunities before your opponents even see them.
Plaid Hat Games
Gaming website Polygon had a long and intriguing talk with Rob Daviau, inventor of the Legacy system used in games like Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy. His SeaFall: A Legacy Game will be released by Plaid Hat Game later this year, probably at GenCon, and calling the project merely ambitious might be an understatement. In SeaFall, players will be great explorers setting out in their ships to discover the world. And since this is a Legacy game, discovering it will mean creating it. Whenever they come across an island, they place an island sticker on that position on the board. Islands will have special events to look up in a big book of more than 400 events which will let you take further decisions how you approach them. You’ll be literally making history. SeaFall should give you around 15 games until you have completed your Legacy and will contain about twice the “stuff” Pandemic Legacy has. That would make it a really, really big box.
In the above-mentioned talk with Polygon, Rob Daviau also revealed that he and Matt Leacock are working on Season Two of Pandemic Legacy. Of course, he doesn’t tell anything about what will happen in the second season, meaning we’ll have to wait. Dammit.
The photo of the week shows the historic center of Camagüey, one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish on Cuba, under a beautiful sunset. The photo was taken by Flickr user vcheregati and shared with a CC-BY-SA license. Thanks for sharing!