Meople News: Fall of the Crystal Thing

Project Raygun / Mondo

Some things are just meant to be together, and I’m surprised it took this long for someone to put John Carpenter’s The Thing together with a hidden identity game. I mean, it was always meant to be. The characters trapped in a research station in Antarctica, one of them infected by an alien life form and out to to infect everyone else, it’s a natural fit. And finally we’ll get it. The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is going to be the first boardgame by Mondo, manufacturer and vendor of high quality movie related artwork and collectibles, in cooperation with Project Raygun, USAopoly’s designer game division. There’ll be the movie nerds and the game nerds working on this project, if that doesn’t sound promising I don’t know what does.

APE Games

Moa (APE Games)
Moa (APE Games)

Martin Wallace’s new majority game Moa is set in New Zealand, around the time of European colonization. Well, almost, it’s set in a fantasy version of New Zealand where the original inhabitants are tribes of birds and the European newcomers are different species of mammals. The player’s control native tribes, and by placing their birds try to control territories. The mammalian invaders get in everyone’s way, and fighting them is only one option to score points from them. Sometimes, the way to win is selling of your land to the settlers. And there are still things like magic and volcanoes to consider.

Rule & Make / Passport Game Studios

Thanks to a new partnership with Passport Game Studios it will now be easier to get Rule & Make games outside of their Australian homeland. The first game to profit from that partnership is going to be Skyward. In Skyward, a long era of struggle between four factions has come to an end and they have finally agreed to cooperate for a better future. The first symbol of this cooperation is the floating city Skyward. But old rivalry is hard to overcome, and soon the four compete who builds the best part of the city. Skyward is a card I-split-you-choose game; One player splits cards with resources and buildings into piles, the other players get to pick which pile they want. Resources are needed to play building cards, buildings score points and make you win the game. The Passport edition will launch at GenCon, but if you don’t want to wait that long you can already try Skyward on Tabletopia.

Fantasy Flight Games

When the game is about fighting the Great Old Ones, like Eldritch Horror, and the expansion is called Cities in Ruin, then there really isn’t any doubt what to expect. A new and relatively unknown Old One threatens to awake in this new expansion. Shudde M’ell is a monstrosity sleeping deep underneath Africa, and when it stirs in its sleep disaster strikes on the surface. The new Disaster Cards have all sorts of unpleasant effects, but the worst is that they can eradicate whole cities from the game board, making it impossible to travel there and taking all the city’s encounters away.

Conflict, be it military or in court, is inevitable in Legend of the Five Rings. The latest preview post for the new LCG goes into a lot of detail, showing a military conflict between Phoenix Clan and Dragon Clan step by step.

Good & Evil Games

Harvesting and producing goods could be so easy. All you’d need are resources, stalls and markets with matching colors, streets to connect them, and you’d be good to go. Getting the right tiles and building streets that benefit you more than everyone else would still take some doing. But the Kickstarter game by Good & Evil Games is not called Trade, it’s called Trade & Troll, and that troll really makes things hard for you. He’s not strictly speaking evil, but the highest bidder in each round can send the troll to block a street, and suddenly all those connections between your buildings are gone. Trade & Troll is not a too heavy game, but creating your production lines is fun and the troll adds a cool way to mess with your opponents.

Plaid Hat Games

Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies (Plaid Hat Games)
Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies (Plaid Hat Games)

More Crystal Clans art preview! The Hero of the Water Clan looks like an adorable ice cream sundae, right up to the point where you notice the seashell daggers she’s wielding.

It was big news last week that Plaid Hat Games would release a Dead of Winter expansion that lets two colonies go to war. Which changes are necessary to make Warring Colonies work is the subject of a new preview post. The intentionally random combat means that you can go and fight the opposing colony, but it’s never free of risk for you. To keep the game time under control with up to eleven players, two players, one from each colony, take their turns at the same time, with the first to finish starting a timer for the other. So don’t put all the deep thinkers on the same team, decisiveness is key.

Axis Mundi

On Kickstarter right now is Daimyo’s Fall, a game by Axis Mundi that brings some interesting new ideas to the deck-building genre. The goal is to have the most victory points by collecting treasures. You get those treasures by meeting the conditions on your Hero card(s). All that isn’t the new part yet, but here are some of the new things. Daimyo’s Fall has a new approach to deck management where you can sell back the cards you no longer want and use the money to buy stronger cards. For even more control, some cards let you manipulate the cards available in the market. Cards will also be double-sided, with different effects on their Samurai and Ninja sides, and you’ll have some control over the length of the game. There is much more depth here than you might think looking at the cute anime art, and deck-building games can do with some fresh impulses.

Rather Dashing Games

One game mechanic that I think is terribly underused in games is free trading between players. There are so many games where you work with different types of resources, and so few where you can haggle for them with your opponents. Rather Dashing Games are going to something about that this September: Hafid’s Grand Bazaar is all about the haggling. Everything the players need comes from auctions, especially caravans coming in with goods and customers to sell those goods to. Between the auctions, players trade their different goods between them to create more valuable sets. And it seems that anything is a fair offer in those trades, players are specifically encouraged to get creative. It’s been a while since we had a game that’s all about free negotiation, but it sounds like Hafid’s Grand Bazaar will bring the original bazaar atmosphere to your table.

The Spiel Press

Landmarks (The Spiel Press)
Landmarks (The Spiel Press)

The Spiel Press have announced their third Roll & Write Book game, a series of games that use scoring pads where the pages are different, giving you a different game every time you play. This new game is called Landmarks and lets you do urban development. By rolling dice and plotting your position on the map you put up buildings, or develop them if someone has already started building. You’ll have some sort of budget to manage that you can use to adjust your rolls, but from which you also have to spend to put Landmarks in the skyline. Each chapter – I assume that corresponds to a page – will take you to a different place, with different buildings.

The photo of the week shows the Cueva de los Manos, the Cave of Hands, a famous Argentinian site of cave paintings. There are many other paintings there of animals and hunting scenes, but why they gave it that name seems pretty clear from the photo. Thanks to Flickr user David for taking and sharing this photo! (Cueva de Los Manos, David, CC-BY)

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