Indirect control is a rarely used mechanism in strategy games. Usually, players have direct control over one faction in a game and a direct interest in their victory. A War of Whispers by Game Salute imprint Starling Games does things differently. There are five empires at war, but players don’t control them directly. They control a secret society. That society sends agents to the five empires, and only through those agents do they influence the empire. Depending on the agent’s role they have different options to act. Actions use a card system where a card has different options what to do again, with options having different costs in other cards to discard. To win a game of A War of Whispers it’s not enough to lead one empire to victory. You want to have the most control off the world when the dust settles. The commanders and generals have enough games to play. This one is for the Varyses and Littlefingers.
Plaid Hat Games
The faction packs coming to Crystal Clans sound intriguing. The first one with a detailed preview is the Fang Clan. They are ferocious fighters, but their ferocity comes with downsides. Their squads have to be led by an alpha unit, and every alpha has its own downsides to deal with. The Fangs will be a hard clan to control, but in the hands of a competent player they’ll be devastating.
Side Room Games
Solo games have become more popular on Kickstarter lately. I approve of this trend. There’s not always someone around to play. The latest game from this trend is Black Sonata, a game about good, old Bill Shakespeare and the mysterious dark lady of his sonnets. To finally find out who this lady is you’ll have to track her through London in a hidden movement style of game. When you think you’ve found her you can search her suspected location using a card with a spy hole. But if you’re right you won’t immediately find her, you’ll only find a clue who she might be. Once you have enough clues you may try to deduce her identity. Each game takes about half an hour only, but Black Sonata has hundreds of combinations of movement and identity, so games won’t repeat for a while.
La Boîte de Jeu
Worker placement is one of my favorite genres of boardgames, but even I have to admit that many of them feel sort of similar. It’s not so often that you see something fresh. Neta-Tanka is a pleasant exception from that. In the competition who becomes the new venerable Eldest of the Frostriver tribes no one can win without the generosity of the others. The game is all about managing resources and refining them into things that award points, like tents or totem poles. But new resources can only enter the game when a player takes a generosity action. With a generosity action he adds resources to the board, but he himself will not get the first opportunity to use them. Player order gets a new importance through this mechanism as well, because you can only use those resources if you go after the generous player. Neta-Tanka is at the same time peaceful and competitive. It will present a different kind of challenge.
Fantasy Flight Games
It’s time for another trip to Fantasy Flight’s fantasy realm of Terrinoth. This time not to fight one another but to defend the realm together as Heroes of Terrinoth. Picking the role of four different character archetypes, each with different classes to develop into, the players face eight different quests. Mechanically, Heroes of Terrinoth is similar to Warhammer Quest – not a bad thing – but with Fantasy Flight’s own setting.
“Too few things to do” is not a complaint I ever heard about worker placement game Trickerion. Nevertheless, getting many more things to do with the expansion Dahlgaard’s Academy makes me happy. They’ll make the life of a stage magician even more interesting. Dahlgaard’s Academy adds the mansion of legendary stage magician Dahlgaard as a new location to the game. Per his last will, the mansion is to be converted into a magicians’ academy. A job for the players. Renovating the old mansion is only the start, you’ll also improve your tricks in its practice rooms and teach lessons in its classrooms. Beyond the academy there are new magicians with their own player powers, the Protégé as a new assistant who learns special abilities at the academy and a solo mode where you play against Dahlgaard’s Heir. That’s a very full box Trickerion fans get from this Kickstarter. And if you don’t have Trickerion, there’s an option to get the Collector’s Edition, too.
Why is it that Australia is always where post-apocalyptic settings happen? Okay, most of the continent is a desert, every single animal and plant there wants to kill you… maybe those are enough reasons? What sets Waste Knights apart from all the other post-apocalypse games in Australia? If you look at the latest preview, it’s the narrative. You have different scenarios to pick from, that’s not so special, but within each scenario you make a plethora of decisions that affect the outcome and your objectives and will reveal more and more details about the game’s world.
Thunderstone Quest expansion Back to the Dungeon will add a lot to the new incarnation of the fantasy deck-building game. New cards, new quests, new everything. The most exciting addition for many is the cooperative mode. In the so-called Barricades Mode the players have to defend the village against invading monster hordes, leading up to a boss monster that can only be defeated with a party of heroes from all the players. Between the exciting new mechanics the addition of Prestige Classes stands out. D&D players will be familiar with those advanced classes that only higher level players can attain if they meet special requirements. In Thunderstone Quest‘s Barricades Mode every player will have a Prestige Class, but they need special feats to level up and make use of its advantages. Without a doubt my favorite new feature so far.
This week’s featured photo was taken in the Historic Quarter of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. It was taken and kindly shared by Matt Kieffer. Thank you, Matt! (Tree lined street in the Barrio Histórico, Colonia, Uruguay, Matt Kieffer, CC-BY-SA, resized and cropped)