Meople News: The Gloomy Court of Cthulhu

Fantasy Flight Games

Fantasy Flight Games have started with detailed preview posts for Star Wars Rebellion expansion Rise of the Empire. This preview shows the missions cards of the expansion, 20 for the Rebels and 19 plus 5 projects for the Empire. Many of those missions feature events from the Rogue One movie, and the Empire player will be able to use the Death Star’s Single Reactor Ignition, which is very bad news for a Rebel base in the system.

The Legend of the Five Rings clans we saw so far all specialize in some form of attack: political, military, or with strength of personality. But you can win a war on the defensive, and that’s what the Crab Clan are best at. They have strong tools to defend their own provinces, and good reasons to do so. They also understand the importance of sacrifice like no other clan, some of their strongest abilities are powered by their people offering themselves up for the good of the clan.

Plaid Hat Games

Crystal Clans (Plaid Hat Games)
Crystal Clans (Plaid Hat Games)

There’s strength in numbers, and that’s especially true when your numbers are higher than everyone else’s. The Blood Clan, latest Crystal Clans clan to be previewed, does not obey the strict limit of three units per squad. If the top unit in a squad has the clan’s signature Horde ability, then they can have as many other units with them as they like. And with many of their units having a very low initiative cost, they can put those numbers on the board, too. And then… then you add heroes like Den Mother Gra and things really take off.


Cthulhu is still the most popular guy to ever hit Kickstarter. This week he’s in the title of the new REDIMP GAMES game Cthulhu: Rise of the Cults,  although it doesn’t look like he’ll make a personal appearance there. The game is about various cults trying to summon their tentacular master before anyone else can by way of various sinister rituals. In game terms, there is an element of deck-building that lets your cult learn new things to do, and an element of area control over the four districts of Arkham where you have to hold your rituals. Add investigators on your cult’s trail and you’ll have plenty to do before you get to the great honor of being eaten first.

Tasty Minstrel Games

On Kickstarter, Tasty Minstrel Games have started the campaign for the game by Seth Jaffee (Eminent Domain,…). He’s going medieval with Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done. Each player will command one of the Crusading Orders, orders of knights tasked to protect pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. So you’ll recruit knights to send them east, erect buildings along the way, battle the Saracens, all to keep the pilgrims safe. And to be the order with the best reputation when the game ends, because that’s how you win. New in Crusaders is the Mancala-like rondel mechanism: You select your action on your personal rondel, then you pick up all the action pawns from that action and distribute them clockwise to the next ones. The more pawns you have on an action when you pick it the more powerful that action becomes, so you’ll want to arrange for an action to be powerful when it’s also useful to you. A cool concept for action selection.

Queen Games

The Tweet below shows a Queen Game fall release – presumably at the Essen fair – that will have many of you drooling: a new Stefan Feld Game. (BoardGameGeek lists Michael Rieneck as designer together with Stefan, but I can’t find confirmation of that anywhere else.) The game is called Merlin, and you can see how many components you get at King Arthur’s court. Knowing this is a Feld game, you can be pretty sure that all those dice you see have some new, clever use, and that you will be in agony over your decisions every turn. Being the Feld fanboy that I am, I can’t wait.

Z-Man Games

In last week’s preview for Majesty: For The Realm (English: Z-Man Games / German: Hans im Glück) we saw the Mill that produces grain for food and commerce. But there’s another important use for grain, isn’t there? That’s right. Beer! I don’t see yet how exactly the output from one building becomes the input of the other, but somehow the Brewery makes your grain into beer. I’d say we’re off to a great start here.

Blue Orange Games

We’ve been many things in games. Generals, astronauts, merchants, adventurers. As far as I know Blue Orange Games are the first to give us a chance to be a tree. Actually, a bunch of trees, if I understand the French description of Photosynthesis correctly. What everyone is after is simple: light. But the sun turns around the game board, and depending where it is your trees either get light, or they are in the shadow of another players vegetation. Photosynthesis doesn’t look like a very complex game, but interesting, and the sun moving around is a fun new mechanic that fits very well with the theme.

Dragon Dawn Production

The sinister dungeon crawler Perdition’s Mouth is pretty good about replayability already, but at some point you’ll want more to keep playing. More is coming with the Traitor Guard expansion on Kickstarter. It has a new hero… okay, maybe not a hero. Brother Örn is a former cultist who was bullied out of his job there and is out for revenge. Not very heroic, but he has common goals with the other playable characters, at least. The expansion will also have four new scenarios to include in your campaign. That will keep us busy for a while again.

Garphill Games

Where there are ships there are shipwrecks, and a wrecked ship is still a resource for an enterprising viking to use. Ships that were already wrecked before you got there play a central role in Explorers of the North Sea expansion Rocks of Ruin. Those wrecks can contain provisions to give you more actions, or gold to give you points, but things get really interesting when you find timber because timber builds the new structures. Building a Mill, Outpost or Barracks gives different advantages, and which one you want is an important decision. Beyond all the good things coming from wrecked ships, Rocks of Ruin also introduces Fortresses that you can raid just like villages, but with a reward that is only revealed after the fact.


Last year Galakta made us sneak around the city in Age of Thieves. This year they’ve had enough of being subtle. In their freshly announced game Wanted: Rich or Dead three to five gunslingers enter a peaceful town out in the West, only to decide that they can increase their share of the money they’ll steal by simply not sharing. Each round, players choose which building in town to visit and use its ability. Get equipment from the Gunsmith, steal money from the Bank, and so on. Trouble starts when to players want to use the same building, that’s when the guns come out and they play cards to duel. Only the winner will get to use the building. Wanted: Rich or Dead is a quick game with a lot of action and interaction.

Wanted: Rich or Dead (Galakta)
Wanted: Rich or Dead (Galakta)

Cephalofair Games

Gloomhaven is one of the big Kickstarter game successes this year. Calling it a dungeon crawler doesn’t really do it justice. It’s a tactical combat fantasy game with a Legacy-style persistent world that everyone I heard talk about it loved. Designer Isaac Childres returns to this world with his new Kickstarter, and I admit to some surprise that Founders of Gloomhaven is not an expansion. It’s not even the same genre of game. Founders is a much more euro-style city building game where you’re out for victory points. To do that, you want to put buildings on the board that produce resources, and then you want to sell those resources for points at the prestige buildings. Which prestige buildings go on the board, however, is a democratic process, and you can’t always control the vote. You also hire advisers in what sounds like a deck-building element. I know some of you are disappointed that it’s not a Gloomhaven expansion, but Founders of Gloomhaven sounds like a great game in its own right.

The photo of the week shows the streets of Røros, a mining town in Norway. The photo was taken by Randi Hausken and kindly shared with a Creative Commons license. Thanks, Randi! (Røros – Sleggvegen, Randi Hausken, CC-BY-SA)


  1. Thanks for mentioning Wanted: Rich or Dead! :-) We will keep you updated with all the news about the game and that will sure be a lot! :)

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