Fox in the Box
Train games are a large and well-defined genre of boardgames. Players control railway companies through stocks they trade, build the companies’ network and try to get the most money out of all those companies. Most games add their own unique mechanisms, but those core elements are constants. Another thing train games have in common is the long play time that makes it hard for newbies to get into them. If only there were a small train game. A Lilliput version. Now there is. It’s by Lonny Orgler, a train game specialist, and it’s even called 18Lilliput. All the standard elements are there, but a game should only take an hour or two. The unique bit of 18Lilliput is the action selection: When it’s your turn you pick any action card still available, and that’s your action for this round. The entry bar is probably not going to get any lower if you want to start with train games.
Edition Spielwiese / Pegasus Spiele
Uwe Rosenberg’s tile-laying trilogy by Edition Spielwiese started with Cottage Garden and continued with Indian Summer. This year it will conclude with Spring Meadow. The tiles you lay in this game form a mountain meadow where the snow is just melting. Make sure you packed enough snacks, watch out for groundhogs and go get the two hiking pins that will make you win. We can expect Spring Meadow to be the most interactive game in the trilogy and clock in somewhere between the other two in terms of complexity.
It’s not immediately obvious what the next expansion for 4X game Heroes of Land, Air & Sea has to do with disease. Maybe if we’re talking about bird flu or salmonella, because the two new factions in Pestilence are Birdfolk and Merfolk. Or maybe the pestilence comes from the new spell cards. That actually makes more sense. Pestilence will go where very few boardgame expansions have gone before: the THIRD DIMENSION! The Merfolk’s Sunken Continent simply covers up one of the regular islands, that’s not so special. The Floating Continent really sits above the ground on four plastic stands. Let’s hope it’s compatible with big, clumsy hands like mine.
Time travel and different timelines are difficult to represent in boardgames. The few games that tried are actually really fun, but I can see why it’s not more common. With their coming game A Thief’s Fortune Artipia Games will use a new approach to timelines in games. All players play the same character, a thief who just discovered a magic hourglass in the treasure room he broke into. Each player represents a different timeline of that thief as he tries to escape from the palace. They not only want to get out, they also want to get our rich. Mechanically, A Thief’s Fortune is going to be a card drafting and engine building game. Awesome concept, can’t wait to try it.
Dungeon crawlers with detailed miniatures are common on Kickstarter. A project has to offer something special to stand out, and by special I don’t mean more minis. In Tombed, a dungeon crawler by 4Dados, one of the special somethings is the economy that starts before anyone crawls the dungeon. The dungeon master, called the Pharaoh, can buy special rooms for his pyramid to make the adventurer’s life harder, but he must pay them by discarding hand cards. The adventurers can buy equipment and hire helpers, but they’ll have to pay for those things at the end of the game. And then they need enough money left over to complete their contract. Good equipment will force them to take greater risk in the pyramid. When the real dungeon crawl starts it follows a quick and intuitive set of rules. As dungeon crawls go this will be a fun one.
The new Kickstarter by Academy Games takes players to the court of the Tudor where they compete for power and influence for their lord. Part of that is a clever worker placement mechanism where players send their workers into audience chambers, but they actions there are only activated if at least one player sends a lord to that chamber. The other part is maneuvering your courtiers in the Throne Room where they collect prestige tokens and gain victory points for their position. How tokens and position award points will be different every game thanks to different score cards. The most important thing to come from the Throne Room are the rings of office that, depending on their position on the player’s hand, award more bonuses. Finally, different scenarios will also pose different challenges. A finely tuned euro game with very variable game play.
This week’s featured photo was taken in the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia. It was taken by Andrew Watson. Thanks a lot for sharing, Andrew! (The Great Mosque, Kairouan, Andrew Watson, CC-BY-SA, resized and cropped)