Fantasy Flight Games
In the Lovecraftian dice game Elder Sign, you always had a safe space to retreat to and recover when the monsters became to much for you. With Omens of the Deep, the next expansion, that is no longer true. Your safe retreat in this expansion is the Ultima Thule, your expedition ship, and while she’s a good ship you’ll have to fight back attacks from the Deep Ones to keep her afloat. Too many Deep Ones will capsize your boat and severely reduce the options you have to recover and resupply.
Inside the Box Board Games
A new survival horror game that has popped up on Kickstarter presents me with one of the worst horror scenarios I can imagine: being trapped underground. Up to six explorers are trapped in a cave and cooperate to explore it and find the exit as quick as they can, before their light runs out and they’ll stay in the dark forever. Sub Terra is a cooperative press-your-luck game where all your decisions boil down to a simple dilemma: be careful and risk running out of time, or take risks and potentially need your friends to come to your rescue. You explore the caves flipping tiles from a stack and the game strikes back with a number of random events, including gas pockets, rising water and more – including something hunting, something you never quite see before it strikes. Sub Terra sounds light to medium on the complexity scale, but if the balancing is right it should deliver a real horror experience.
It’s one of the oldest stories known to mankind: you’re alone in the woods at night, your only bit safety is your campfire. Then you realize something is moving in the dark. Stalking you. Only the light of your fire holds it back. That’s Dark is the Night by APE Games, an asymmetric two player game with very simple rules. One player is the human hunter moving around the fire, the other player is the monster stalking in the dark. The hunter is always visible in the fire light while the monster remains hidden, but the hunter has some tools to balance the scales. Whoever manages the first successful attack wins the game, quite literally sudden death.
In the next Dungeons&Dragons boardgame by WizKids there will be no heroes. In Andrew Parks’s Assault of the Giants each of the three to six players will command a tribe of giants in a fight against the other tribes and against the small folk. All tribes can score points by plundering human settlements, but they also have individual goals. If you’re wondering about the two different editions, the difference is that the deluxe editions comes with fully painted miniature giants – a nice oxymoron, by the way – while the standard edition has them single color.
Plan B Games
Century – Spice Road is the debug game by Plan B Games. Created by Emerson Matsuuchi, Century – Spice Road is a game about trade along the Spice Road – I know, surprising with the title – where you buy victory point cards with the right combination of spice cubes. You use your hand cards to harvest spices or trade them for other kinds of spices. The description at the Plan B Games website mentions deck building elements to that. Looking at the cards, the basic concept of trading spice cubes and buying victory point cards reminds me of Bazaar, only with the trading driven by your hand cards instead of a central tableau. Bazaar plus deck building sounds very promising to me.
Terraforming Mars by FryxGames was one of the great successes of Essen last year, with the game sold our in every available language. So I’m not all that surprised by the announcement of a coming first expansion. Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium will give you a new, double-sided game boards that lets you play in new regions of the red planet. The Elysium side includes Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in the solar system, that will award a nice card bonus to the player putting a tile on top. On the other side, Hellas includes Mars’s south pole and the titular Hellas crater. Both sides have new milestones and awards that go with the new maps distinctive features. And here I am, still without a copy of the base game. That will teach me to pre-order next time.
This week’s featured photo (Stevns Klint, Denmark by Catherine Wilson, CC-BY) shows Stevns Klint, Denmark. Stevns Klint is not only a breathtaking cliff view, it is also treasure trove of fossils showing the recovery of life after the Cretaceous mass extinction. Thank you for sharing this photo, Catherine!