Fantasy Flight Games
One of the best things about science fiction have always been the diverse alien races. That’s part of the charm of Twilight Imperium as well. This latest preview shows them in the coming fourth edition.
The new Civilization: A New Dawn preview finally clears something up that I’ve been wondering. A New Dawn is not going to replace Civilization: The Board Game. It’s designed to appeal to a different kind of player and Fantasy Flight wants to support both games side by side. What kind of player is A New Dawn designed for, then? Players that like things like the Focus Bar. The bar is where you select your actions each turn. You have fice action cards, and the further in the back on the bar they are, the more powerful they will be. But when you use an action, it goes back to the front. You get rewarded for waiting between two uses of the same action. On a more strategic scale, you have to choose which action cards to upgrade. This is the scientific progress in A New Dawn, upgraded cards represent scientific developments. But you can’t upgrade everything, so you’ll have to pick a focus for your empire. On the whole, A New Dawn sounds more like a eurogame than Civilization: The Board Game does. If that’s more your style of game, then you can finally play Civilization as well.
A Game of Thrones Catan will not just be a re-theme of the popular Settlers of Catan, it will have some unique features to set it apart. One of those features are the heroes that will join your side for a time. They lend you a special ability that you may use once or twice before loyalties shift and you must choose a new champion.
What’s going on in Legacy of Dragonholt? In the last preview, we followed the creation of dwarven brawler heroine Brigid. This time we follow her around the village of Dragonholt and get her started towards her first quest. Like I said before, Legacy of Dragonholt has a lot in common with a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but that doesn’t give the right impression of how expansive it is. Just consider that this preview goes to Entry 9888 in the village book.
Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu, designers of Sagrada, have a new game that is now on Kickstarter by Artana. It’s called Speakeasy Blues, and each player is managing a speakeasy during the alchohol prohibition in the 1920’s US. The game is dice driven, you pick your actions by placing dice on action spaces on the board. With those dice you add cards to your speakeasy. Society and Crime cards represent characters that can do you favors when you need them. Gangsters can attack opponents’ establishments for you. Cops can prevent such attacks and give you other bonuses. However, you only have four slots for cards, and if you cover one up you lose its ability. And you need those slots for Collection cards as well, because collections score points when the game ends. Speakeasy Blues is a self-proclaimed “light to medium” game and will let you build your alcohol empire in about an hour, with no risk of being arrested for it.
Renegade Game Studios
There are always fascinating, new things to learn from boardgames. For example, I had no idea that Catalonia has a tradition of human tower building competitions. I learned that from reading about Castell by Aaron Vanderbeek. You’ll get to manage a team of castellers, hire athletes, train them and compete at festivals all over Catalonia. Obviously, only one team can build the most impressive castell. You should hope that the guys at them bottom have a strong back so your team makes it to the end of the season. As innovative themes in boardgames go, I’m fairly sure this has never been done before.
Topiary is a beautiful, peaceful family game by Danny Devine. It’s only available in Italian from Fever Games right now, but Renegade Game Studios will publish an international release early next year. All you want to do in Topiary is to give your meeples the best view at the topiary garden you are building. Topiary cards go on a grid, your meeples go around the grid. They’ll be able to see the bush right in front of them and all higher bushes behind that. You score points for all bushes that you see plus bonus points if you see bushes cut in the same style. A quick, light game, but with a beautiful theme, and it won Italian Game of the Year.
After two peaceful new games announced this week, the third new game coming from Renegade Game Studios is a literal nightmare. Lucidity is a push your luck dice game of dreams and nightmares. Players start out as Dreamers collecting dice to gather power in their dreams. Rolling too many bad dice won’t eliminate them from the game but turn them into a Nightmare. Their new goal then is to devour the Dreamers and take their power. At the end of the night only one Dreamer or Nightmare will wake up.
Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space has a rather dubious claim to fame as the worst movie ever made. That’s not exactly flattering, but on the other hand: how many movies are still talked about at all almost 60 years after their release? And how many movies get their own deck-building game? That’s exactly what Plan 9 is getting from Grim Games. Build a deck of characters from the movie and stop the aliens and their undead creations from destroying humanity. The movie monsters move through three randomly selected locations, and if you don’t defeat them before they leave the third they’ll leave behind a negative effect for you. So use your STUPID, STUPID MINDS to foil the alien plans. Be part of a movie that is still being talked about almost 60 years after its release.
Room 17 Games
For most people, museums are a place to go look at things. Art. Dinosaurs. Anything. For some people they are more like a self-service supermarket. Walk in, take what you like, walk out without paying. Rhys ap Gwyn’s Museum Rush is a game about those people. Two to four thieves walk into the museum at night, evade guards and cameras, and walk out again with priceless artifacts. That’s the idea, anyway. It won’t go that smoothly. And so you’re going to sneak around different museums every night, randomly assembled from cards and in different layouts, and have to come up with new plans to fool security. And it’s not a cooperative game, by the way, so don’t expect the other thieves to be helpful. All that comes along in a beautiful comic look. If you back it on Kickstarter you can even get the Egyptian Exhibit expansion that replaces the museum guards with mummies. They’ll sacrifice you on the altar if they catch you.
IDW Games are starting a series of classic Atari video games adapted to the tabletop. After Atari: Centipede the second entry is Atari: Missile Command. Three to six players stockpile missiles to be the most powerful global player and not get blown to bits themselves. IDW calls it a social game of diplomacy and destruction. You can form alliances, but you don’t have to stick to them. In short: a game to lose friends over.
If I had to come up with a sillier idea than rhino jousting the list would be short, but it would include betting on rhino jousting. So obviously that’s what you’ll be doing in Jungle Joust by Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu. While the two rhino riders charge each other two to six players bet on them, and they control the rhino movement and special abilities through cards they play. There’s been a number of movie projects based on boardgames recently – this is one I wouldn’t mind seeing.
The Spiel ’17 was just a few days ago, we’re still unpacking all those new games, and Portal Games already tease us with everything we can expect next year.
To start with, the only just released Alien Artifacts will get an expansion. Alien Artifacts: Discovery adds 50 cards to the base game, some of them of a new type. We have no idea what alien resources will do for you in the game, but they do sound useful.
There will be no expansion for First Martians yet, but there will be new missions. Community created missions might also be on the way in. That would be a very cool feature for an app-driven game. There will be an expansion for First Martians daddy Robinson Crusoe. The Lost City of Z will be similar to Voyages of the Beagle, you’ll follow a famous explorer through a campaign of five scenarios. The explorer in question is Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett and his search for a secret civilization in the Amazon rainforest. The expansion will introduce a Horror/Sanity mechanic to Robinson Crusoe, so you know this is not going to be a pleasant trip. Also, Robinson Crusoe will get a companion app similar to First Martians. We don’t know if it will be required to play the expansion.
Imperial Settlers will have another expansion as well. We Didn’t Start The Fire will be the third empire pack, so there will be no new factions but fresh cards for the existing ones.
The fnal expansion is the Iron Gang Hexpuzzle Pack for Neuroshima Hex!, a collection of puzzles to enjoy the hex game solo.
Then there’s the two new games. Monolith Arena will be a fantasy arena battle game by Michal Oracz, designer of Neuroshima Hex!. No details about gameplay yet except that there will be five factions with different special abilities.
To round the program of, there’s Detective: A Modern Boardgame. We talked about this one before, it’s a scenario-based detective game with five cases included. You solve them by examining evidence, fact-checking, … – a bit like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, only you get to use the Internet to solve your cases.
Seriously, guys, when are we supposed to play all that?
Hans im Glück / Z-Man Games
Marco Polo is famous for traveling to China, but The Voyages of Marco Polo are not the only things he did in his life. He was a successful Venetian merchant, too. That’s the part of his life we experience with the expansion Agents of Venice (dt. Die Gefährten des Marco Polo). Of the two expansion modules, one has travel companions that join Marco Polo on his travels and bring him special benefits for one round of the game. The other module lets Marco Polo return to Venice where he has to re-build his reputation to gain access to the lucrative markets of the nobility.
There’s never been a shortage of games where two armies commit organized mass murder on each other. Nor of games where adventurers go around killing things. A game where a group of adventurers sets out to negotiate a peace between two armies? That’s new to me. That’s the players job in Dawn of Peacemakers, the new game by the designer of Dale of Merchants Sami Laakso. In Daimyria, the world of animalfolks, the armies of the Red Macaws and the Ocelots are going to war, and the goal of the game is not to make one side win but to negotiate a lasting peace. However, peace can’t be made in a single game, that’s why you get a whole Legacy style campaign to play through, with new challenges in every scenario.
This week’s featured photo was taken by Flickr user joepyrek at the Lake Malawi National Park in Malawi. Lake Malawi is less famous than the Galapagos Islands, but it’s many fish species are just as important for the study of evolution as Galapagos’s finches. Thank you for sharing this photo, joepyrek! (Breakdown on Lake Malawi (2), joepyrek, CC-BY-SA, resized and cropped)