Nevermore Games / Button Shy
We all know roll-and-write games, right? The ones where you roll dice and write your result on a disposable score sheet? I mean, Yahtzee was one of the first games many of us played. Button Shy and Nevermore Games have come up with something new for this time-honored genre. Under the label The Spiel Press they plan to release roll-and-write books, roll-and-write games in book form. That’s not what makes them special, though. What makes them special is that every score sheet is different, and so every game will be. Two games have been announced so far. One is Blood Royals, a game of conquest where the political climate and the borders shift every time you play. In Star Maps the players discover and map new solar systems, a different one on every sheet. That’s a pretty neat idea to spice up a genre of games that is not generally known for its high replayability.
A cooperative fantasy adventure game where players explore the land, level up their characters. The City of Kings does that well, with seven stories that chain together for a longer plot, heroes that develop their own role through the choice of their skills and randomly generated monsters. What really sets The City of Kings apart in my eyes, however, is that it’s also a worker management game. Each hero has a number of workers they can send out to gather resources, explore the land, and build structures. And how well they can manage those workers is also something they decide while leveling up, with their choices of skills and stats. The big thing about The City of Kings is variability: heroes have 90 stat points to customize and twelve abilities each, the random creature system has ten million possible monsters that want to murder you, the board is randomized from tiles. It’s safe to say you won’t see much repetition here. The Kickstarter is scheduled to go live next week, and of course we’ll make sure to link it here then.
A pickup-and-deliver train game is Bézier Games’s GenCon release for this year. But of course Whistle Stop is not going to be a simple game of making as many deliveries as you can, that would be too easy. You’ll have to decide where to deliver goods, because going further west with them will take longer, but also yield a higher reward. Delivering goods rewards you with shares in railroad companies, which will probably contribute to winning the game. Beyond that, you’ll collect whistles that power your special abilities, lay your own tracks and manage your coal reserves. By the description, designer Scott Caputo (Voluspa) is aiming for a game that works for both casual and hardcore gamers, a plan I always appreciate.
Farming used to be such a nice, peaceful occupation. But that was before the crops started biting back. In Mutant Crops by Atheris Games, we’ve finally gone to far with poisoning the environment and our crops have gone carnivorous. That’s why the three main occupations for your workers in this worker placement game will be sowing, watering, and feeding the fruit of your labor steaks. At 15-30 minutes, Mutant Crops is rather short for a worker placement game, but it looks like it will make that short time a very good time.
No matter how many social deduction games I play (and inevitably lose) they are still a lot of fun. Project Airlock is the latest one I found on Kickstarter, and unlike many games where both sides have a team in Project Airlock there is only one traitor among the crew of a starship on its way back home. But he has an advantage his colleagues from other games usually don’t have: The bad things he starts don’t have to happen on his turn. Thanks to the way cards are played, the saboteur’s actions might only come up on a later turn, and then the crew will be confused and possibly throw the wrong person from the airlock.
Alderac’s monster slaying dice game Fantahzee is from last year, so we know what time it is now: Expansion time! Fantahzee: Rogue’s Gallery will add a new class of heroes to the game. No, it’s not Bards. Rogues are useful to keep around, but they don’t work for free. Their special abilities will cost gems, a new resource you’ll have to collect to get the most out of your new hires. Fortunately, friendly monsters like this Cave Troll got you covered, they bring the precious stones right to your doorstep.
Also coming from Alderac is Oath of the Brotherhood, a pirate placement game previously available from Desyllas Games. The players are new pirates and want be admitted into the Pirate Brotherhood. They’ll have to complete missions to impress the Brothers, and for that they need resources they have to gather from locations on the Island. Every player only has two pieces to move around, the Pirate and the Mate. Moving them to a location where another player’s piece is waiting already means they have to fight for the spot. Exploring the island will reveal new locations to add to the board and place workers, Followers and Equipment will grant various benefits.
I do like push-your-luck games, but too many of them don’t give you decisions beyond “keep going or not”. With DIG that’s not the case. Choosing how far you dig into the hill to find precious stones is one decision you’ll have to make time and again, but it’s far from the only one. While you dig down you have to decide how many galleries to open. Spreading your efforts across up to four galleries makes you safer, because from skeleton attacks to collapses a lot of bad things can happen to one of your galleries. Why would you want to just dig one, then? Because it potentially gets you gems faster, and that’s how you win. And then there are still tools to use and assistants to hire. Luck is obviously still important in DIG, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to lose because of bad decisions.
This week’s somewhat unusual photo of the week shows one of thousands of rock paintings at Alta, Norway. The paintings there show that a settlement existed close to the Arctic Circle as early as 4200BCE, and they show a lot about life in that settlement. The photo was taken by Flickr user smerikal. Thank you for sharing! (Beautiful Alta, smerikal, CC-BY-SA)