Cranio Creations will bring Microworld to Essen, a quick strategy game for two players. One player controls invading germs, the other the defending immune system. Both take turns placing tiles on the board and score points for their own neighboring tiles. They also score points for area majorities at the end of the game, and to spice things up they can collect tokens with special abilities. It’s not a complex game, but it only takes twenty minutes and sounds reasonably tactical. Just right to kill a little time.
Also coming from Cranio Creations is Lorenzo the Magnificent, a much larger and heavier game than Microworld. The game is named after Lorenzo de’ Medici, of the famous Medici family, and as befits a game with that name two to four players each control an influential family in am Italian renaissance city. Their goal is the obvious: be more influential than the other families when the game ends after six rounds. They can accomplish that by sending their family members to the different neighborhoods of the city to take the action available there. It’s basically worker placement, but your workers’ effectiveness changes each round with dice rolled for them. Besides earning victory points, keeping good relations with the church is important as well. Every two rounds, the least pious player is punished harshly.
We already talked about Windrider Games’ upcoming release of a new edition of Citadels. Specifically, we already mentioned that it will include all the character cards from the classic edition of Bruno Faidutti’s bluffing game, the characters from the Dark City expansion and some entirely new characters. What we didn’t have so far was any information what those all new characters might look like. That is now fixed with a new preview post presenting some of them. I have a feeling the Blackmailer will be even less popular than the Thief ever was, and more profitable to play when done right.
Fantasy Flight Games
Has Arkham Horror: The Card Game even been released yet? I think not. But that doesn’t stop Fantasy Flight Games from announcing the first expansion already. The Dunwich Legacy will contain 161 new cars, used in two new scenarios set around Miskatonic University and the mysterious Clover Club. The announcement also mentions six Mythos Packs that will go with the expansion, so Arkham Horror: The Card Game will follow the recipe of Fantasy Flight’s other Living Card Games to mix bigger deluxe expansions with small expansions to the expansions. Only now it sounds the small expansions will add new chapters to the deluxe expansion’s story, so you really won’t want to miss those.
Grey Fox Games
The first Essen 2016 release by Grey Fox Games goes by the name Order of the Gilded Compass by Jeffrey Allers and Bernd Eisenstein. Mechanically speaking, it’s a reimplementation of Alea Iacta Est by the same authors: players assign their dice to a number of locations to take the action it offers. Thematically, Order has nothing to do with the Roman Empire setting of its ancestor, instead it casts the players as explorers, archaeologists, treasure hunters. Actions let them buy treasure maps, hire specialists, dive for treasures or buy them at an auction and sometimes players may even secure the aid of the Illuminati. Also different from Alea Iacta Est, Order of the Gilded Compass brings more locations than needed for a game, so each time you play you’ll have different combinations, adding a lot of variety over the old design.
Also coming to Essen from Grey Fox Games is London Dread, a cooperative real-time game with horror and murders. Players in London Dread are investigators in Victorian London, unraveling sinister plots that may have the occasional touch of the supernatural. Those plots are in the game as a series of stories, each with more than one chapter to play through in order. Each chapter comes with a sound file that, presumably, adds new information and unlucky turns to the game. The file also dictates how long the investigators have to solve a chapter, depending of your chosen difficulty they run between eight and twelve minutes. With the gritty mystery theme, this is a real-time game that might capture me for the genre again.
There’s never much to say about Dixit expansions, the images just speak for themselves. Revelations is the first expansion illustrated by Marina Coudray, so the style is different, but the pictures are as powerful as ever. See some more in this fresh preview.
Spyfall is, hands down, my favorite social deduction game at the moment. It goes like this: all players receive a card with a location, like a train, a space station or a mall. One player receives a card telling him he is the Spy instead. Then players ask each other questions about the location, most players with the intent to discover the Spy without giving away the location, the Spy trying to stay undiscovered until he can guess the location. The result is way more hilarious than this short description sounds. Why am I telling you that? So that you can appreciate my joy about Spyfall 2, a new game that will not only have all new locations but will also raise the number of players to twelve and make the game more interesting by potentially adding a second spy.
Giochi Uniti / Stratelibri
Dungeon-delving heroes are many things: brave, strong, well-prepared… one thing they are not, for the most part, is financially responsible. All that loot they take? It goes to ale, one-night stands and fast horses. What they need is a Dungeon Heroes Manager, and in the game by that name the job falls to you. You’re way to smart to risk your on neck in a damp hole in the ground, you hire people to do that. You train them. You equip them. And then you send them into that hole to bring back treasures for you.
If two metric tons of dice in a game make you run away screaming about too much luck then you might as well stop reading about Floodgate Games’s Kickstarter project Sagrada. There are many dice in there. But many dice don’t automatically make it a game of luck, it’s much more of a puzzle game, and a clever one at that. Your job is to create a stained glass window for the Sagrada Familia, and that you do with dice you draft. You create the square pattern of the window by placing dice of different colors on a grid. To make it look good, dice of the same color or the same value may never lie next to each other, and the window you’re building may impose additional restrictions which dice can go where. Making your job easier are tools you can use to manipulate the dice, but they cost you valuable favor tokens. And in the end it’s not just about completing the window, a combination of public and private objective cards tell you how to score points on a given round. Despite its many dice, Sagrada will be quite the brain-teaser.
The main problem any thief faces in Galakta’s Age of Thieves are the guards. They are not all vigilant, they are not all quick runners, but there are many of them that you have to sneak around if you want to avoid the dungeons. The latest preview post reveals more about the guards and, incidentally, shows just how pretty this game is going to be.
The Game Master
Rhodes, a new release from The Game Master, is a game of farming and economy, set in ancient Greece. Players produce goods and load them on ships from where other players may purchase them to complete assignments. Note that the goods have to go through the harbor to use them in assignment, using goods directly from your estate is only possible against an extra fee. The changing prices of goods make this interesting. You may also improve your enterprise with a few development tiles. The publisher calls Rhodes a light expert game, there are very few rules to keep in mind but that doesn’t get in the way of difficult strategic decisions.
We were never afraid that Pandemic Iberia would be a simply re-skin of Pandemic, both Matt Leacock and Z-Man Games are better than that. But we were very curious how exactly treating diseases in 19th century Spain and Portugal would be different, and thanks to a new preview post we know now. One big difference had to be movement. Flight wasn’t invented at the time, so flying to any city with the right card wouldn’t work. So instead you get to build your own railroad – how cool is that? Pandemic Iberia also recognizes that one of the biggest health problems at the time was polluted drinking water: as a new action you can purify water and protect adjacent cities from diseases this way. Believe it or not, I don’t think I will ever get bored of Pandemic games, they always add something new that keeps me playing.
Fantasy Flight Games
Imperial Assault: Jabba’s Realm is coming, and of all the new things it will bring the first preview post presents the new heroes. They are not exactly heroes of the Rebellion, but they are heroes against the Empire, and that’s what really counts.
Aye, Dark Overlord is one of the most hilarious party games ever with the right group of people. As minions of the Dark Overlord, players must spin excuses why their latest plot failed based on cards in their hands. At convenient times they may play action cards to redirect the blame to other players who must continue the excuse. The loser is the minions who’s story displeases the Overlord the most. Asmodee are bringing back the classic Aye, Dark Overlord as the Red Box of the new edition. But there’s also the Green Box with new types of action cards and all new plot devices to twist your story. Either box works on its own, or you can mix them for more hilarity.
Fun to 11
With Epic PvP: Fantasy Fun to 11 created a very entertaining example of a deck shuffling game. You pick a class deck and a race deck and shuffle them together to create a deck for classic fantasy stereotypes like a Dwarf Paladin, all the other players do the same and then you fight each other.With Epic PvP: Magic they continue the game with less common combinations like, say, a Pixie Necromancer. The Magic box works on its own, but the most fun will be in putting both boxes together and exploring all the odd combinations coming from that. Pixie Paladin, anyone?
This week’s featured photo was taken by Frode Ramone who kindly shared it with a CC-BY license. It shows one of the temples at Baalbek, a temple complex in Lebanon. Thanks for sharing this photo, Frode!