Wow. One week of vacation and the whole boardgame world goes crazy posting news. So I hope you have a comfy chair and caffeinated beverage of your choice, because this is a big pile of news, and they are exciting ones, too.
Another robbery, another pile of loot to split, but the stakes in Cash’n’Guns have never been higher than they are with Team Spirit, the next expansion for the foam gun bluffing game. The stakes are so high, in fact, that for the first time ever players will team up and collect loot together. The other big new thing are mercenaries you cam hire at the end of the game for a big surprise move. In every loot phase, you may squirrel away some cash into your mercenary fund, and whoever is willing to pay the most gets first pick of a mercenary, a nice thing to have because the mercs have powerful special abilities. They might steal some loot from the opposition, give a last second head shot, bring back your team mate with all the cash in his pockets from the dead or a wide selection of other effects. Rounding of the expansion, you get a selection of new guns and player powers.
After our review of 7 Wonders Duel it should be pretty obvious that we think it’s the best invention since way before sliced bread. So you can imagine our joy at seeing the first expansion announced. 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon marks the first time that the gods themselves enter a game of 7 Wonders. And not just a few of them, either, gods from five Mediterranean cultures will be in the game. During the first age, players decide which gods participate in this game and what offerings they ask for. During later ages they can then make offerings to the gods to ask for their powerful favor. Zeus, for example, lets you discard any one card from the central card structure. Tanit, a goddess of trade, simply gives you a bucket of gold. And Minerva’s favor prevents the conflict marker from moving to your side of the conflict track. In addition to the gods’ favors there is also a new, major source of income with the Grand Temples, special cards that replace the Guilds in the third age and are worth a pile of points if you can build them all in your city.
Fantasy Flight Games
When you have a license to produce Game of Thrones boardgames, you really should make the most of it. Fantasy Flight Games certainly do that and just announced a new game on the license. In The Iron Throne up to five players compete for the big, titular chair. The game is played as a series of encounters between two players, one as the attacker the other as the defender, but the remaining players may support either side – or at least pretend to, they still have the option to silently disappear before the battle starts. If you look at the preview post you will probably feel reminded of Cosmic Encounter, but The Iron Throne seems to be more than just a re-skin of that game. At least I don’t remember the option to take a player’s family members hostage there.
New Angeles is a new game in Fantasy Flight’s corporate dystopia Android setting, and it has little to do with hackers but everything to do with megacorporations. Four to six players – yes, you need four players minimum – each take charge of one corporation doing business in New Angeles, all with the somewhat obvious goal to make the most money before the game is over. To that ends companies compete over assets every round, with one company making an offer of an event card that will take effect if they take that asset. Another corporation may make a counter offer of their own action card. The remaining players may then vote who takes the asset and executes their offered action. That opens a lot of space for dealings and backstabbing already, but it’s not all. The players also have the shared goal of keeping order in New Angeles, because if they don’t the government may move in and take away that nice free trade zone everyone is profiting from so well. This is going to be the new game to lose friends over, I can feel it.
This may be the first time I’m really tempted by one of Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Games, the prospect of frequent card packs and expansions to keep the game fresh usually drives me off. But Arkham Horror: The Card Game has me intrigued. First of all, it’s a cooperative game, the first cooperative LCG to my knowledge, but what really interests me is how the deck-building rules almost cross over into role-playing. You chose an investigator to play and build a deck to go with him, but each investigator has their own deck-building rules. The preview example, Federal Agent Roland Banks, starts the game with his service revolver that doesn’t count against the deck card limit, but he also has to take a weakness like Paranoia or Amnesia into his deck. Every investigator will have different pros and cons and need different strategies to succeed with. With one Core Set of Arkham Horror: The Card Game you can play solo or with a friend, but you can combine two Core Sets to play with up to four people.
Mansions of Madness is one of Fantasy Flight’s classics, a Cthulhu adventures for people that like to stay indoors where a team of investigators explores the interior of a spooky mansion. It is now five years after the first release and an update is coming. Not only will Mansions of Madness Second Edition make everything new and shiny, there is also a big change waiting. The Keeper, the game master of Mansion of Madness, no longer exists, a smartphone app takes over this role. The new Mansions of Madness is a fully cooperative game that lets up to five players fight against the app, controlling the house and its denizens. Not everyone will be happy about this change, however, because the word “required” on the box suggests that the app is not optional. It seems that with the second edition you can’t play as the Keeper even if you want to.
Van Ryder Games
Van Ryder Games’s Hostage Negotiator is a wildly popular and very tense solo game where the player, as a hostage negotiator, tries to convince an abductor to give himself up, or at least release his hostages, before the abductor’s card deck and patience run out and there is a massacre. Now on Kickstarter is Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave, a sequel/expansion with new abductors for you to reason with and new conversational gambits to keep them talking. If you really want to test your skills, the campaign also offers three new Abductor Packs with more challenging criminals. The one where you negotiate against an old rival from hostage negotiator training sounds extra tough.
Mysterium, one of the big games everyone’s talking about this year, is a bit like a ghost story based on Dixit. The game play is different, in Mysterium a ghost trapped in a spooky, old manor tries to solve his own murder with the help of a group of clairvoyants, but the Vision Cards the ghost uses to communicate could be straight from a Dixit game. And just like Dixit, Mysterium is easily expandable by adding new cards. That’s exactly what Hidden Signs does, it adds 42 new Vision Cards, plus new locations to visit inside the manor and new suspects to consider in your murder investigation.
12 Realms, a cooperative game where players set out to save the kingdoms of fairy land, is one of Mage Company’s successful Kickstarter projects and was followed by a line of expansions. Enough expansions to finish that series and start something new. Come October, there will be a Kickstarter for 12 Realms: Dungeonland, a stand-alone game set in the same world, but different from 12 Realms in all other respects. Dungeonland is going to be a dungeon-crawler, and it seems to bring what everyone wants from the genre: dangerous dungeons, connected by an epic campaign through which you fight your way with fistfuls of dice.
One important role on Captain Sonar‘s submarine is left to explore: the radio operator. His job is to listen to the enemy submarine’s radio communication, where they broadcast all their movement while they make them, and plot their path on his map. There is a catch, of course. The enemy’s starting location is unknown. From the enemy’s movement and the obstacles on the board, the radio operator must figure out where the enemy started from and, with the movement record, where they are now. To make that job easier, the radio operator has access to some special tools like drones that can go and verify his suspicions about the enemy’s location. But even then, when the Captain asks “Where are they?” having the right answer ready won’t be easy.
Ireland in the age of mythology. Four peoples have arrived on the shores of the Emerald Isle, and it wouldn’t be much of a game if they just peacefully divided the new land between them. Inis is an area control game where players want to spread across Ireland, because that’s how one of them will become High King and win the game. The mechanic for this is card-drafting, each round players draft action cards that are only good for this round, so the cards you take determine your options, with the usual dilemma of drafting games: do you take the cards that are best for you, or the cards that would be best for another player before he can. Controlling territories awards you extra cards, but moving into another player’s territory obviously leads to conflict. Good strategy will be required for you to become High King. And don’t get distracted by Inis‘s beautiful art on the way.
Bombyx’s Legendary Inventors is going to be an interesting but not too heavy majority game. Each player controls a team of four legendary inventors. They can contribute their knowledge to different inventions in progress and, when the invention is completed, earn rewards. Of the three top contributors – presumably fewer with fewer players – one may patent the inventions and score the victory points for it while the others may take reward tokens that can increase their inventors’ knowledge for future projects. The game progresses through three ages, with inventions becoming more complex and needing more cooperation to complete, which means more difficult decisions for the players where their contribution is worth the most.
Windrider Games will release an updated edition of Citadels later this year. The 2000 character drafting game Citadels, small as it may be, is still one of Bruno Faidutti’s most popular designs. And it’s so simple, each round players draft one character and then, in order of the character card’s priority, use its ability to build their city. You only have limited information what characters other players might have through the drafting process, and since some of them can have a very negative effect on another player there’s a lot of guessing and bluffing involved. The new edition will have all new art and include the characters from the original game, from the Dark City expansion and nine all new characters, so every game you play can use a different set of cards.
We’ve picked photos from the Wadden Sea for our photo of the week before, but a great photo always justifies a repeat. Besides, this one, taken by Mike Bohle, is from the Danish part of the Wadden Sea. So technically it’s not a repeat. Mike kindly shared his photo with a CC-BY license. Thank you, Mike!