It’s been a long time coming: First Martians was first announced in 2015, now the pre-orders are finally open. We had been hoping for the Mars-colonizing sequel to Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island in Essen last year already, but Ignacy Trzewiczek and Portal Games wouldn’t release a game before they are happy with it. That moment is now approaching. One big thing from Robinson Crusoe that First Martians will bring back is the two stage event system. When something (usually bad) happened to the players the event card is shuffled into another deck and will come back later with another (usually worse) effect. This creates a beautiful continuity in the game. But in First Martians this will no longer be handled by cards. Instead, this is going to be another game that relies on a companion app – better get used to the idea, it’s here to stay. For longer term continuity, First Martians will include two campaigns, one of which you only get to play once, Legacy style. And there is still more to come, there are stretch goals to unlock with the pre-orders.
Fantasy Flight Games
Omens of the Deep brings a bunch of new things to Elder Sign. We learned in the last preview that your safe place to retreat to, the Ultima Thule, is not as safe as you might be used to. But there is more going on, new things that make your Pacific adventure more dangerous than any before. There will be cards that you only reveal when an investigator moves there, making him or her woefully unprepared for the dangers waiting there. You will also have to control the progress of the Ultima Thule along her exploration route and try to reach the mysterious city of R’lyeh at the best possible moment if you want to survive there. The multi-stage adventure of Omens of the Deep is going to be as deadly as Elder Sign can be.
Sometimes, when I look through new games on Kickstarter, a game looks so gorgeous it stands out even between the high quality games that are common on Kickstarter these days. Kiwetin is such a game. I noticed the pictures and had to find out more. A roll-and-move race between forest spirits, Kiwetin is lighter than most games we look at, and aimed at a younger audience as well. But it has some things to set it apart from most light racing games. Players choose one of three characters with different weights. Lighter characters move faster, but they are also more easily pushed back by the wind. After moving with the dice roll, there are random events tossing you around spread across the board. Rune cards to play from your hand give you some more tactical options. Even with the Rune cards, Kiwetin is a lighter game than you’ll typically want to play with your gamer friends. But your kids will probably love it, and everyone can appreciate how pretty it is.
Days of Wonder
The new Days of Wonder game Yamataï is going to be a game in the best Days of Wonder tradition: good looking, with relatively straightforward rules but many different strategies to explore. Players in Yamataï are builders tasked by the Queen of the Yamataï archipelago to build her the most beautiful capital for her realm. The different, prestigious buildings are constructed with resources carried by boats passing through the archipelago. Getting the right resources to the place where you need them is going to be the big trick of the game. Yamataï is a game by newcomer Marc Paquien and old pro Bruno Cathala (Five Tribes, Abyss, Cyclades, …) with art by Jérémie Fleury.
If you had asked me for predictions of things that were not going to happen in 2017, then “Bruno Faidutti co-creates a Kamasutra game” would have made the top of that list. Mind you, last year the list would have contained “Donald Trump is elected president of the US.” So, it turns out that I was wrong two years in a row, because Bruno Faidutti and David Cochard created the game Kamasutra, available from Bruno’s website. And it’s not just a funny name, either. Kamasutra is a party game for couples where they get into positions from the good book. But they do stay fully dressed, the goal is to burst a balloon between their bodies. It’s not a kid’s game, but it is much more tame than the title suggests, with adorable illustrations. And it does sound like a lot of fun, if you have the people to play it.
Cool Mini Or Not
I’m starting to wonder about the name Cool Mini Or Not because in all their games the answer is “cool mini”, never “or not”. That holds true with their new Kickstarter project, the minis are definitely cool in The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch. The game itself sounds pretty awesome as well: in a Victorian age where steam technology is more advanced and magic does still exist a cult creatively called The Cult are raising the dead and want to create their own, undead government. We can’t have that, of course. Rise of Moloch is a one-against-all type of game where the one player controls The Cult and the others try to stop him. Rise of Moloch is a campaign game, both the Heroes and their Nemesis grow stronger between the chapters and the full story slowly unfolds throughout London.
Renegade Game Studio
Sometimes this spring Renegade Game Studio will release Flatline, a cooperative dice game in the world of FUSE. The players in FUSE had to disarm bombs all over their cool spaceship. The players in Flatline are the medics that have to deal with the aftermath. In rounds of only one minute they have to use their dice – lots of dice – to take care of patients coming into their station. Between short rounds and many dice, the focus of the game is going to be communication and resource allocation under pressure. In other words: the fun kind of stress.
We’re big fans of Alderac’s dungeon exploring, monster killing deck-building game Thunderstone. But we’d have to admit that the early game could be infuriatingly slow sometimes and even later in the game you sometimes didn’t have the options you wanted in the dungeon. Well, people at Alderac have seen it the same way, that’s why the next chapter of the Thunderstone story will be Thunderstone Quest, an all new game that is similar to Thunderstone but addresses exactly those points. You will spend less time in the early game just preparing a hand to enter the dungeon, and more will be going on inside the dungeon as well. I’m curious to learn more details, because with those changes Thunderstone could really shine.
The featured photo this week was taken by Juan García at Sangay National Park, a national park in Ecuador with ecosystems going from glaciers to tropical rain forests, and two active volcanoes to top it off. The photo shows Laguna Amarilla at the extinct El Altar volcano. Juan kindly put this photo in the public domain. Thanks for sharing, Juan!