Indie Boards & Cards / Aporta Games
For their new Kickstarter Indie Boards & Cards have teamed up with Aporta Games and created a new, expanded edition of Aporta’s Avenue. This new edition is set in the same universe as Kodama and goes by the name Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama. The basics are the same in both games, all players draw a path from the same pieces and try to connect many features to the sanctuary that will be scored this round. Greed will be severely punished because a sanctuary can only score if it’s connected to more features than the previous one. Unlike Avenue, that had paper scoring sheets, Kokoro will have reusable dry erase boards, with a different map printed on the back. The first stretch goals – already unlocked – will add a new game mechanic with Decrees, cards that add a random new rule every time you play.
North Star Games / Nick Bentley Games
I really appreciate designer diaries and game previews that explain the challenges and pitfalls of game design. Over at Nick Bentley Games, Nick and Brian recently explained how Evolution: The Oceans is not going to have the phases you know from Evolution any more. The downside of that is that the nasty surprise you could give your opponents when revealing new traits disappeared. Without phases, when would you do the reveal? The solution makes the surprise even nastier: any time you feel like it. You’ll play traits face down and reveal them at any time, even outside your own turn. Imagine everyone’s surprise when your fish suddenly turn carnivorous.
Plaid Hat Games
At lot has been said about the team versus team mode coming with Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies, but that isn’t everything you get with the expansion. There will also be a large group of new survivors that may join your colony, and there is the most important item ever added to this game: Coffee.
The art previews for Plaid Hat’s Crystal Clans were great, but they didn’t tell us anything about the gameplay. Now we finally learn more. Crystal Clans is going to be a two player battle game where the goal is to be first to earn four crystals. It will have an initiative system where you can do a lot on your turn, but give your opponent the chance to do a lot on theirs, and it will let you assemble your units into squads, where the order of units in the squad is important in some yet unexplained way. Oh, and those crystals, once you have them, have special powers as well. Enough strategic options there, for sure.
It’s a while yet until Halloween, but if you want to scare people this year then a good look at Quined Games’ Halloween on Kickstarter counts as preparation.The goal here is exactly that: to scare people. It’s your duty as a demon lord. You send out ghosts to spook humans and haunt places, but they start out as puny ghosts that hardly scare anyone. Too score the big points you want to upgrade the ghosts into huge, scary monsters, but then you need to upgrade your own abilities to still be able to command them. Everything in Halloween revolves around the upgrades: haunting with a bigger ghost is worth more haunt points. On the other hand, the game ends as soon as one player used all their haunt tokens. If they forego upgrades to do that quickly, a slower strategy with bigger ghosts might not have done anything yet. Which strategy has the better chances of winning isn’t an easy question to answer already, and it’s even harder because each game will use eight random special action cards drawn from 42 possible ones.
Rule & Make
Deck building and monster hunting, two things that always go well together. Rule & Make are currently kickstarting Hand of Fate: Ordeals, a new deck building monster killing game based on the video game Hand of Fate by Deviant Development. In this game, which is based on a game, the players play as heroes who have been chosen to play The Game, an ancient artifact that tests its players to the limits of their abilities. It’s a little meta maybe. The heroes set out to have encounters, defeat monsters and find the three bosses standing in their way, the Jack, the Queen and the King. On the way they expand their options with better weapons and tactical abilities they add to their deck. Two game modes will let you do all that as a team or every hero for him- or herself.
A rogue AI that sends killer robots to exterminate us all is slowly becoming a possibility that we can’t ignore. Everything Epic’s Metal Dawn is a training game for exactly that. In the cooperative game an AI installed on a satellite has gone crazy and is sending killer robots to Washington DC. Your first job is to fight back the robots using the special powers of locations you visit and your agents as well as your division’s extra powerful once-per-game ability. To win the game you must also gather intel and use it to hack the AI satellite, that’s the only way to force it to land, and only when it’s on the ground can you fight it directly and eliminate the threat. Metal Dawn is a classic cooperative game with an extra sprinkle of variable player powers that get remixed every game. Also, like I said: important training for the future!
Fantasy Flight Games
Legend of the Five Rings gets its flavor from the clans and their different approaches to get to power. The Crane Clan, who we meet in the latest preview, are above all perfectionists. What they do, they do flawlessly and with style. Their strength lies in the political game, but the ease with which they bestow honor on their characters. Remember, honor is a big deal in Legend of the Five Rings.
If there’s one thing we should all have learned from slasher horror movies it’s this: the evil never stays dead. And if it’s true for movies, why should Ares Games’ slasher game Last Friday be any different? In Return to Camp Apache, the first expansion for the one-versus-the-rest game, it’s 25 years later and the evil has returned. Not only that, it brought a friend. To fight the new Evil, a demon that enters people’s nightmares and kills them there, the players have to return to Camp Apache where they find out that the Maniac from 25 years ago has returned as well. Last Friday: Return to Camp Apache works for up to seven players, two of which play the Demon and the Maniac, and has new characters, special characters, and all sorts of new material, including board overlays to burn the whole cursed place down.
Cryptozoic / Hobby World
While you’re waiting for Cryptozoic’s English edition of Ekaterina Gorin and Igor Sklyuev’s Master of Orion: The Board Game you might be wondering what sets this game apart from other 4X space games. This post sums up the interesting bits very nicely. A 4X game to play in an hour is nice, of course, but what I really like is the approach to player elimination. You have to have it, of course, or the eXterminate part of the game falls short, but no one likes the part where the eliminated player has to sit around and wait for the game to finish. The solution here: you can eliminate a player, but doing so triggers the game’s immediate end. The eliminated player can even still win, if he has enough points to overcome the disadvantage of being killed off.
We really enjoyed Galakta’s Age of Thieves, a game about thieves sneaking around the city, all trying to be the one to steal the Emperor’s Jewel. But truly great thieves are always on the lookout for new challenges and new strategies to gain an edge over their competitors. They’ll find both things in Masters of Disguise. Two new characters bring the new strategies, both working in disguise in different ways. Also new are the burglary rules that won’t just let you pick up gems in the streets any more, and an all new, unique scenario. That covers the part about new challenges nicely, I’d say.
Time management games are popular “casual” video games. Typically, you have to complete a list of orders, each of which has a time limit and often requires multiple steps to complete, and you have to allocate your time just right to get everything done. It’s not a genre that naturally lends itself to boardgame adaptations, but Artipia Games’ new Kickstarter does it nevertheless. Kitchen Rush is a worker placement game – in real time. The workers you place are hourglasses, and whatever work you send them to do is only done when the sand has run through. You still want to get all your food orders out of the kitchen before the end of the four minute round, and some stations in the kitchen only have very limited space for workers. Hope you can plan quickly enough.