Stealing the crown jewels is only half the plan, getting out of the city with them afterwards is just as important. Especially when playing Galakta’s Age of Thieves, a renaissance fantasy game where the players become master thieves in the city of Hadria. As they move through the city to find the most valuable loot they are hunted by guards and their jealous competitors – there is nothing cooperative going on. Even time is working against them, when the last event card is drawn and the game ends all thieves still in the city are thrown in the dungeons, never to be seen again. To gain the upper hand, the thieves have many tricks up their sleeves, action cards representing maneuvers, alchemical potions and experimental devices made by mad inventors. And each thief has his or her own special ability to help, as shown in the preview posts here and here. You might seduce guards, or sniff out their traps and sneak past, you’ll see which is better when the game ends.
Geek Attitude Games
Planet Artemia had been struck from the official star maps, but you found it and launched an expedition – but when you arrive and your ship crashes on the planet, you realize that you’re not alone. Not Alone is the name of an asymmetric card game by Geek Attitude Games where most players are survivors of the crashed expedition ship, stranded on the planets surface and exploring your surroundings. One player is the Creature, not a mindless xenomorph as in the Alien movies but a creature in control of the planets flora and fauna, hunting the survivors to make sure they never leave. Up to six explorers can join the struggle against the creature, it doesn’t sound like that’s enough.
Fantasy Flight Game
Campaign play is still the big, new thing in boardgames: Pandemic Legacy, SeaFall, T.I.M.E. Stories, they all offer some flavor of campaign play. You keep playing the same game instead of doing a full reset each time. And role playing games really shine with campaigns, too. So to sit between boardgames and role playing games as advertised, campaign play is a must have for Arkham Horror: The Card Game. And it delivers, your horror adventure doesn’t end after one game but goes on and continues the story. One part of that is classic leveling up, between games you get to upgrade cards in your deck. But your decisions also affect how the plot continues. For example, if you choose to burn down your house or not after the events of the first game will change what happens later in the game. This just keeps sounding more intriguing.
Pearl Games’s civilization building game Deus was already highly variable with its modular game board and its large array of buildings you could construct for your people. With the coming Deus Egypt you’ll get even more variety: everything the Nile delta has to offer. There will be new card decks for all six buildings types of the base game, each of which can replace the original deck. So you can swap out decks one by one or take the full Egypt right away. We don’t know yet if shuffling decks together is also an option, but I don’t see why not. The Egyptian buildings are not copies of existing buildings, they will add new options to the game. With every selection of decks you’ll have to rethink your strategy, and think well, because the new cards seem to be more complex than the Deus originals.
Colt Express fans all over are excitedly waiting to find out how they’ll be able to play as Marshal Ford in Colt Express: Marshall & Prisoners. A new preview finally tells us. To win, Marshal Ford has to complete four of the five missions he draws during the game. A mission can be, for instance, to arrest one specific outlaw, or to protect the mail on the train. The Marshal’s missions are more difficult than the bandits’ “take everything”, but he gets some boons to compensate. The biggest one are the Move+ cards that allow him to play another card when they are revealed. Not only do they give him more actions, they allow him to react to the situation changing during the movement phase. The Marshal also gets special bullets that inflict additional penalties to their victim, on top of being hit. His specials make the Marshal much stronger than the bandits, we’ll have to wait and see if that’s enough to complete his missions.
Spaceballoon Games’s first Kickstarter project Brides & Bribes is an ambitious, complex worker placement game. In 16th century Genoa up to five players each head an influential family competing to be the new Doge. They send their people into the boroughs of Genoa to collect money, hire more people, gain influence and marry into local noble families to gain their support, expressed in victory points. You’ll have many options to develop your position on the board, be it by hiring employees with special abilities, by building workshops to earn money and produce useful items or by picking the right bride with the best dowry. If all those pieces fit together well, and a number of reviewers I trust say they do, then Brides & Bribes will be an intriguing game of strategy.
Tramways by AVStudioGames is a tile placement game set in the city of their own Small City. Players run public transport companies transporting customers through Small City in an interesting mix of mechanics. In the first phase of each round, new development cards are sold to players to upgrade their decks, in the second phase they use those cards to grow their networks. Then they transport people, and the player with the happiest customers scores the most points. Mixing the tile placement with deck building and auctioning makes for lots of decisions, and for some fun player interaction as well. Just take care that you don’t get stressed out by playing too many cards, stress creates negative victory points and should be avoided.
Publisher Phalanx call their new Kickstarter project Germania Magna a wargame, but that is really only true in the sense that its theme is the conflict between Germanic tribes and the Roman Empire. It’s a card game, and it’s not even really about war, all you get to do is raid Roman provinces. You do that by playing cards on the province card, representing troops, gear and strategies. Players with cards in the same province may loot it together and share the spoils, although the player with the strongest army still gains the most points, or one player may betray the others and take the whole cake for himself. Gaining loot from provinces is important because you need it to pay for your raid on the next province. Think of Germania Magna as related to Smash Up, only without the goofy theme and with more strategic depth and I think you’re not too far off, and you’ll also understand why I want one.
Tiny Epic Galaxies by Scott Almes and Gamelyn Games is tiny – no surprise there – space 4X game. You know, explore, exploit and so on. And despite being tiny and built around rolling dice, it’s very popular with gamers everywhere, even the ones that usually complain about dice being too random. Now the expansion Beyond the Black is on Kickstarter, and it adds a couple of new things. You will now be able to hire pilots for your ships that add special abilities. You can send your ship exploring unknown sectors and draw cards in push-your-luck sort of way, but you may end up with a red card that doesn’t exactly have the most beneficial effect for you. And you now score points by collecting sets of Exploration Badges, opening entirely new strategies. So I guess Beyond the Black makes Tiny Epic Galaxies approximately twice as tiny and even more fun to play.
The photo of the week this time shows the ruins of Um er-Rasas, the site of a Roman camp in today’s Jordan that grew into a town around the 5th century. Much of the site has not yet been excavated, but it contains the remains of the Roman military camp and sixteen churches with impressive mosaic floors. The photo was taken by Stefan Krasowski and kindly shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you, Stefan!