Fantasy Flight Games
Honor counts for a lot in the world of Legend of the Five Rings, but not everyone sees it as something to strive for. The Scorpion Clan don’t care much for it, but they know a useful tool when they see one. They don’t worry much about their own honor, but they know how to take it away from others. Dishonoring enemies is their favorite trick, but they have some others, too. Few of them involve honest, open conflict.
Another new epic strategy game by Fantasy Flight Games. I haven’t played the previous boardgame incarnations of Sid Meier’s Civilization, but it seems to me that Civilization: A New Dawn is not so much a new edition but a new game based on the same video games. The announcement looks like this new Civilization game will make sure you need a new strategy every game with random cards giving the victory conditions. However, you’ll still have a lot of space for strategy, when you choose which of the victory conditions to strive for, prioritize projects for your empire, develop your culture and science and explore the world. Oh, and eliminate your opponents if you have to. Expansion by force was always an option throughout history, it’s not going away in this civilization game.
Z-Man Games / Hans im Glück
We’re almost done walking through the city in Z-Man Games’s Majesty: For The Realm previews. Only one more stop remains after we visit the Castle this week. Here we make a peculiar discovery: the icons on the Castle card show that you gain meeples here. We approve of that in the strongest words, of course. Nevertheless, it would be lovely to know what you do with those meeples.
Renegade Game Studios
Clank! is a very fun take on deck-building games, mixing it up with a good shot of pressing your luck. You sneak into a dragon’s lair and take as much of his treasure as you can. But any noise you make could wake the giant toaster-lizard, and you can’t win if you’ve been turned into a pile of ash. How do you top that in the sequel? You’re burgling a dragon! As it turns out, there are too keys to topping that. First, you replace the dragon with Lord Eradikus, the evil ruler of the whole galaxy. His starship has even more treasure than a dragon’s lair, but he reacts even more badly to noisy visitors, too. The second key is to add more exclamation marks, because you’ll rob Eradikus’s ship in a game called Clank! In! Space! … !
It was a pretty big surprise last year when Lookout Games expanded Oh My Goods! with a full expansion dedicated to story. Oh My Goods! is a mostly abstract card game about production chains to create refined goods from basic resources, so the story expansion Longsdale in Aufruhr was welcome but unexpected. I’m almost as surprised that the story will continue with Flucht nach Canyon Brooks (translated: Escape to Canyon Brooks). Surprised, and curious how the story will continue.
Plaid Hat Games
We adore games with a good narrative, and we’re always interested in new vehicles for that narrative. Plaid Hat Games will give us an intriguing new way to play through stories with Stuffed Fables. There won’t be a classic game board in this game. Instead you’ll get a story book that will present you with a board to place your adorable miniatures on the one side and the plot and special rules that go with it on the other. Your miniatures are extra adorable in Stuffed Fables because you’ll be playing a group of heroic stuffed toys protecting their little girl from the master of nightmares. That’s the sort of story that can be adorable, exciting and dark at the same time, and we’re sure that Mice and Mystics designer Jerry Hawthorne can deliver that.
2F-Spiele / Stronghold Games
“If something works make more of it” was always good advice to go by. Friedemann Friese’s Fabled Fruit was a really fun and successful take on the concept of games with a memory; Games that change every time you play them at least in parts based on player decisions. Fabled Fruit‘s system is lighter than the various Legacy games. You have a stack of card that you play through over 10-15 games, and the selection of cards in a games changes your options. Like I said, Fabled Fruit is fun and successful, so the The Lime Expansion (German: Die Limetten-Erweiterung) doesn’t come as a surprise. It will – obviously – add the lime as a new fabled fruit and – less obviously – add twenty new locations to discover, with all new abilities to acquire the coveted crops.
What did come as a surprise are the three more games using the engine from Fabled Fruit to create new experiences. Those games, collectively dubbed the Fast Forward Series, all apply the engine to different games. Fear (German: Furcht) is going to be a hand management game where you chase ghosts. In Fortress (German: Festung) the players all want to capture the same fortress through a mix of bluffing and risk-taking. Finally, Flee (German: Flucht) is going to be a cooperative game where players must escape a mysterious monster menacing them. It’ll be fun to find out how different those three games will be.
Friedemann Friese fantasy was fearsomely fertile this year. Following those four feats he finished another one. Literally, the fifth game is called Finished! – and I just got a whole new respect for his capacity to find words beginning with F. Finished! is a solo game that you start with a shuffled pile of 48 cards. You win if you can completely sort this stack in eight rounds. I wonder if the ability to dance the QuickSort algorithm will help here.
All of the above will be released in their German edition by Friese’s own 2F-Spiele and in English by Stronghold Games.
I usually keep politics out of my writing here, because they have nothing to do with this hobby. But this week seems a good time to remind all of us of something a great man once said. It’s a quote that contributed to the US becoming a great nation, but the words and the idea behind them had a big impact on the world. And if we yell them out sometimes, maybe they’ll continue to do so. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” Emphasis mine, because the first part is easy to remember but we need a reminder of the second part sometimes. Our liberties are limited by others’ rights, among them the right to live without threat to their life and health, and with the same opportunities as everyone else. All that regardless of their gender, orientation, or the color of their skin. If we just remember that we can do a lot of good already. Those words were written by the same man who designed the building in this week’s featured photo: Thomas Jefferson. The building is Monticello, a central part of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. (Monticello, Roberto Robles, CC-BY-SA, resized and cropped from original) Thank you for sharing, Roberto!