They say that great minds think alike. You better hope that you and your partner both have great minds when playing Goths save the Queen, a light team game by Sit Down!. The Ostrogoths and Visigoths are both looking for the same woman, queen of the one tribe, daughter of the other, and both sides are convinced the other has her. And so they fight. But communication was unreliable back then and that’s mirrored in the team mechanics: one player on each team shows a card with two possible orders for this round. Then both he and his partner select one order of those two in secret. If they both picked the same, it is carried out, if not their side does nothing for this turn. There are special rules to play with two or three players, but Goths save the Queen is clearly intended for four or, with two copies, six or eight players.
You don’t have to be a genius to play Artana’s new Kickstarter game Einstein, but it might help. Einstein has one difference to almost every other tile placement game out there that is immediately obvious: the tiles have different shapes. Players arrange those tiles into a shared pattern, Einstein’s Big Idea, but they all have their own objectives to create specific patterns inside the Big Idea. Other objectives are available to everyone and points may be shared for collaborating. Einstein is very straightforward as a tile placement game, but the tiles and objectives make it interesting. The end result of a game of Einstein is also very nice to look at.
Fantasy Flight Games
Do you ever watch horror movies and roll your eyes when groups decide to split up and inevitable someone ends up dead? Well, it turns out you can do that in Arkham Horror: The Card Game, and it’s not good for your chances of survival either. The latest preview explains the concept of locations and how you travel between them. The system that connects locations is simple but effective, and having connections means that you can’t just instantly move to any location, you have to follow the path. Bad news when you hear your partner screaming in the distance.
In a new preview of New Angeles Fantasy Flight sweep aside the idea that this game might be a regular semi-cooperative game. They say there is more to New Angeles than keeping the city clean while making a profit, and they support that with an in-depth description how the game works. First, there is an unusual victory condition: each player draws a card for her rival corporation, and she’ll win if she can out-earn that one competitor. Implied is that there may be more than one winner. Next to making a lot of money yourself, you want to put down that one opponent to win. That sows a healthy dose of distrust to start with, because everyone might be out to get you. And that’s before you add the possibility that one corporation might be working for the government to prevent everyone else from meeting the common goal of keeping the city safe. In that atmosphere of distrust you play a game that is heavy on negotiation, that’s a level of negative interaction that will create an intense game.
What a time to be an armchair general. Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Armada already put you in control of a fleet of capital spaceships and their support fighters, but soon you can go even bigger than that. The expansion Armada: The Corellian Conflict ties those space battles together into a campaign that spans a whole space sector. Two teams of space admirals fight over the planets in this sector, with each team selecting one player to attack an enemy planet and one player to defend against the enemy’s assault. The planets you control produce resources, and you’ll need those urgently to keep your fleet in fighting shape: you don’t enter each battle with a new fleet, losses you take in one battle will carry over into further encounters, and if you get your faction’s heroes killed, they’ll stay dead. That’s some epic scale campaign play.
White Goblin Games
You probably know Revolver 2, a asymmetric two player western game with the players fighting over the village of Malpaso. One player, as General Mapache, tries to raid the village while the other, as Padre Esteban, organizes the defense. Both sides get help in Revolver 2: The Savage Guns. Nine new Guardians of Malpaso are opposed by four extra-vicious new Lieutenants of General Mapache, and both sides gain some other new tricks as well. If you’ve been playing Revolver for a while already, this should be just the thing to shake it up.
Speaking of asymmetric two player games, Invaders will have an expansion, too. The name Armageddon sounds like the fight for Planet Earth will be fiercer than ever before. And it’s not lying, the three expansion modules each bring new complications to the struggle. Both sides have new stratagems available, but unlike the old ones these remain hidden from the other player until they are activated, so you never know what your opponent has up their sleeve. The aliens have brought in their humongous mothership with extra capabilities, but it is also a prime target for the Human defenders to strike at and will need defending. Finally, there are now three coastal cities for the two sides to fight over, for the alien player with his new alien squids and for the human player to defend with jet fighters.
White Goblin Games also have a new expert game by Stefan Dorra in their 2016 releases. Hellas is a very interactive network building game. Players expand their influence across a Greek island. They want to connect quarries to mine marble from with temples where they use the marble to help complete the building. But all actions they choose, except for building pillars, let their opponents perform the same actions. You’ll spend a lot of time guessing what the other players might do, so you can profit from their actions but not give them much benefit from yours.
What’s Your Game?
What’s Your Game?’s latest release is a railroad game. But Railroad Revolution is not the kind of game where you buy stock in different railway companies and influence their network building to make a lot of money, it’s a railway-themed worker placement game. You use these workers for a bunch of things, not least of all you are still building tracks, but in this game not all workers are created alike. Four different kinds of workers give you different extra benefits when picking an action. These workers have a career plan, too. Sooner or later you’ll want to promote some of them to management, but that makes them unavailable for useful work. Not the kind of problem you face in most worker placement games.
Greater than Games
The new Kickstarter project by Greater than Games is a racing game that would ooze still from its pores, if a game as slick as Lazer Ryderz had something as crass as pores. It takes its inspiration from the famous racing scene from Tron: the racing players leave a trail of solid lasery stuff that spells out a sudden, fiery end to anyone crashing into it. Unlike the Tron race that is all right angles, Lazer Ryderz is about curves. While racing you can only take gradual turns, and the faster you’re going the less you can change direction. I should mention that, between its outrageous cover design and the fact that it comes packed in VHS boxes, Lazer Ryderz packs so much 80s that playing it may cause you to grow a spontaneous mullet or feather your hair.
Portal Games have big plan for next year. Not only will Robinson Crusoe sequel First Martians be released next year – we’re hoping for early next year – but they have already announced for other projects to see the light of day in 2017, one all new game and three expansions. Stronghold: Undead will bring the Undead expansion from first edition Stronghold to the second edition, with necromantic magic for the attacker, new types of buildings for the defender and a new board for everyone.
In the same vein, 51st State: Scavengers is based on the old 51st State: Ruins and will bring back some of the most popular cards from Ruins for 51st State: Master Set, but it will also contain some entirely new cards.
And this year’s big success Cry Havoc will also have its first expansion. I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to like Cry Havoc. Everyone seems to love it, but the wargame label is scaring me off. Either way, the expansion will be titled Aftermath and add new skills and structures to each of the four factions. There will also be a new game mode that makes sure the game always runs its full length of five rounds.
And finally, there’s an all new game. Alien Artifacts is a 4X space game where the players’ corporations send out research vessels, research technology, build ships and explore the galaxy. The full 4X experience will be delivered with more than 200 cards and take less than an hour to play. We’ll post more news on all new releases as soon as we get them.
It’s been a while since Knizia fans got a new game to look forward to, but now Grail Games have it on Kickstarter. Medici: The Card Game follows the movement to turn popular games into lighter card games. This one is especially courageous, however, the card game removes one of Medici‘s core mechanics and does away with the auctions. Now, when it’s your turn, you just pick up to three cards from the stack and have to load at least the last of them on your ship. Cards he doesn’t load on his ship stay on the table and other players may pick them up on their turn, so sometimes you might want to load something rather than leave for others to profit from. You score points for the value of your cargo and more points for goods in your warehouse. Even without the auctions, Medici: The Card Game sounds like it will work very well.
You may have wondered what exactly Pearl Games’s Deus: Egypt will add to your Deus game. There’s a bit of an answer in this preview post, presenting some of the new cards. Those cards have some complex abilities, building all new strategies around them will be fun. And as I understand this expansion you don’t simply shuffle the new cards in with the old, you replace one or more decks of cards with the Egyptian ones, so every time you play you can have a different combination of cards. That will keep things interesting for a good, long while.
This week’s featured photo shows Yuriev Monastery in Novgorod, Russia. Way back in the 9th century, Novogord was the first capital of Russia, so this Monastery is just one of many beautiful, historic sites there. Well worth a photo search, if you can’t afford a vacation right after Essen. The photo was taken by Flickr user cat_collector and shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you for sharing!