Very few people can ever agree what good fantasy is – least of all fantasy authors trying to work together. In Luca Ricci’s card game The Vampire, The Elf and The Cthulhu (on Kickstarter and giochistarter by giochix.it), two to four players are authors collaborating on a fantasy novel, but each of them have different ideas regarding plot, setting and characters. Imagine the fun of squeezing Lovecraftian cosmic horror into one book with Rice style vampire romance while another author keeps inserting dwarfs and elves. To push their own ideas in, players bid on novel cards they can use for their special powers or try to insert into the story. But if an opponent’s idea is stronger than yours he may force his ideas in instead. It’s a unique and wacky theme with straightforward mechanics and tactical gameplay. And it has Cthulhu. What’s not to like?
Fantasy Flight Games
The world of Talisman has been apocalyptically transformed in Talisman: The Cataclysm, but not all traces of the old world are gone. At the start of the game Remnant Cards are spread around the board and give you the chance to find forgotten wealth and wisdom. The latest preview also reveals two more of the alternative endings – and I’m going to hate the one with only one Talisman that you keep stealing from each other. It’s never going to end! The other one where you win by collecting adventures sounds fun, though.
A new preview post for Fantasy Flight’s Android: Mainframe details how points are scored in the abstract hacking game. Claiming large areas of the board is of course central to that, it’s the whole point of the game, but just putting a fence around the area is not enough to score high. You score the size of an enclosed area once per access point you have in that area. And since the earlier preview revealed that you can’t place access points in an area once it is secured, there will be some tricks to scoring high.
MAGE Company have two new games to preorder. The first one, Carrotia, is a cooperative bunny adventure. Playing against a timer, the players must work together to construct a maze for the master bunny – the MASTER BUNNY! – to run through once they are finished. The master bunny has a limited number of moves to do that, so players have to plan the path well, especially since there are also carrots to collect and birds of prey to avoid. On the helpful side, different bunny characters are around to help the master bunny on its wild race. Carrotia is a light and family-friendly game, but the timer should make it hectic enough to be fun. And lets not forget, the bunnies are just adorable!
The second new MAGE Company game is also on the light side, but not so much cooperative. In The Cohort, each player has to assemble a legion to present to the mighty Caesar. A legion is made up of three cohorts, a cohort is made up of a number of troop cards of the same type. Each round, you draw two cards, keep one in your hand and pass one to an opponent of your choice. With a hand limit of only 4 cards, you’ll have to place cards on the table soon. And that’s when your real problems start, because an incomplete cohort on the table has a negative effect on its owner, like reducing his hand size or forcing him to pass cards without looking at them first. Again there is less substance than in other MAGE Company games, but it sure sounds like the fun is there.
Asmodee have published a new preview for the coming Bombyx game Histrio, where you put together a theater troupe and try to please the king with your performance – that means hiring the right actors and predicting the king’s mood. He doesn’t take well to comedy when his mood id tragic. This new preview explores another way to make money, besides from the King himself. A long list of influential people in the kingdom have special requests for your performance, and fulfilling those is worth extra payment from them. They have their own preferences for tragedy or comedy, for the experience level of your troupe – in the case of the Queen, her request is that you disappoint the king. In the end, you won’t be able to please everyone, so you’ll have to please the people who pay you the most.
When I read about a “game of dueling submarines” my first thoughts were “two player” and “wargame”. Turns out I was wrong on both counts, up to eight players can play Matagot’s Captain Sonar, and while your goal is to destroy the enemy submarine it’s clearly a team-vs-team euro game. With up to four people on each submarine, each of them has an important role to play. The Captain navigates on the game board and tries to get into a position to fire at the enemy. The First Mate distributes energy to the ship’s systems, including different weapons, and readies them for use. The Engineer tracks breakdowns in various systems – and presumably tries to fix them. Finally, the Radio Operator tracks the direction the enemy submarine moves and tries to deduce its position. Each role is simple enough that one player can fulfill all four if he’s alone on the team, but important to the team’s success. It sounds like four vs. four would be the most fun, though.
Gale Force 9
This summer Gale Force 9 will release Star Trek: Ascendancy, a new strategic boardgame in the Star Trek universe. Players lead one of the universe’s big empires – Humans, Klingons and Romulans to start with, Cardassians and Ferengi with an expansion later this year – and build up their control across the galaxy. There will be many different ways how to do that which will depend on the challenges you find in the game, ranging from harvesting resources in nebulas to developing your presence on a newly discovered planet. The star map will look different every time – I quite like the look of the solar systems networked with warp lanes – and new combinations of events should show up in every game.
The next expansion to Portal Games’s Imperial Settlers will make the decision which card is right for you even more difficult. In Imperial Settlers: 3 Is A Magic Number each faction – including the Atlanteans – will receive new cards that score or trigger effects based on building sets of three cards of the right color. With this additional element to consider, picking a card in the drafting phase will rarely present you with an obvious choice.
Another Portal Games announcement sounds like the kind of wacky, crazy fun people here in the Meeple Cave will love, no matter what the age recommendation says. Crazy Karts is a racing game, but teams of two players share a cart in the race. One of them turns and speeds up, the other controls brakes and weapons. And now the fun part: they can’t communicate. What your teammate does will be just as much of a surprise to you as it will be to your opponents. Glorious chaos!
Ave Roma, a Kickstarter project by A-games, is doing something new and exciting with worker placement games. The days where all workers were equal and remained loyal to their player are over, new rules apply in the fight for wealth in the Roman Empire. You still send your workers to different locations to take actions there, but where an individual worker can go is limited by their number. Some spots need a specific number, others require a number higher or lower than the printed value. You will have to do some planning to get all the actions you want with the right workers. But that’s not all, taking the workers back makes things more difficult. After all players placed workers, each player picks a location to pick up workers from. He takes all the workers from there, no matter who put them there in the first place. That way, they choose their workers for the same round, but they can only pick the whole set. Making the sets more or less appealing for the other players will be part of the strategy. This new direction makes a worker placement game more interactive.
Evil Hat Productions
Evil Hat Productions have released the rules to their Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game, so we know now how the game we’re waiting for will be played. It’s lighter on the rules than you might expect, but like all good cooperative games with require good communication to win. Each player receives a character deck with assets and abilities that character can bring to the table, the opposition is set by another deck of cards based on one of the first six Dresden Files novels. Players have to deal with the different types of story cards by investigating them, fighting them or getting them out of the way in some other manner. But to play their own cards to do that, they need Fate Points, and those are only added to the shared pool by discarding cards. You don’t automatically draw cards in this game, and effects that let you draw are rare, so your cards are the limiting factor for your team. Play your cards right and manage your Fate well and you may survive the six cases. Barely, of course. It wouldn’t be Dresden Files if you didn’t get beaten up on the way.
With a picture of the game board River Horse made the first announcement of their Labyrinth boardgame, based on the Jim Henson movie Labyrinth. Taking the role of the movie’s heroes, the players have to first navigate the labyrinth and then fight the Goblin King to get Sarah’s brother back. Like the labyrinth in the movie, the game’s labyrinth will be completely unpredictable. The path to go is printed on the game board, but the traps and monsters you encounter will be different every time. More details should be coming soon.
This week’s featured photo, taken by Kimon Berlin and kindly shared with a CC-BY-SA license, shows a Buddhist temple that is part of the Horyu-ji World Heritage site in Nara Prefecture, Japan. Thank you for the photo, Kimon!