Renegade Game Studios
Renegade Game Studios will make the quick, quirky dice game Bubble Tea, originally by Taiwanese (?) publisher Li-He Studio, easier to get internationally. Bubble Tea is a game of quick thinking. To complete the bubble tea order the dice show each player has to stack their transparent ingredient cards so exactly the right mix is visible in the cup. The first player to do so scores a customer card. Bubble Tea is a fun, quick game to play with kids, or to fill a twenty minute gap in your game night.
Lucky Duck Games
Tower defense games are games where you build towers to shoot and kill approaching hordes of monsters, traveling along a winding path towards your home castle. They are pretty fun as digital games. As tabletop games they often lack something to spice up that simple mechanism, and keeping track of every monsters health is annoying as well. Enter Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time by Lucky Duck Games. It solves both problems with a really clever twist. The monsters attacking come as entire hordes printed on square cards, and instead of dealing numeric damage to them your towers fire different shapes of tiles. When you cover all monsters on a card, you may remove it. This adds an interesting puzzle component to the game since you obviously want to cover the monsters with as few shots as possible. As a second twist, in order to upgrade a tower you have to pass it to one of the other players – Kingdom Rush is a coop game – instead of using it this round. This one I like.
In the second preview for bronze age worker placement game Terramara Quined Games introduces the game’s new twist on worker placement. Two workers can go on the same action space, but the second workers’s owner must be higher on the military track than the first one’s. At the same time, placing your worker on the same space as another reduces your military strength. Military strength also decides how much loot you take from other players in a raid, so it’s a resource you want to use wisely. Making the worker placement even more interesting is that each player has one Chief worker that doesn’t allow any other workers on the same space, regardless of position on the military track. Those things together will make for some fun decisions to be sure.
Czech Games Edition
With a teaser that is as bombastic as it is mysterious Czech Games Edition have announced their next game this week: Sanctum by Filip Neduk. Sanctum is “inspired by classic hack-and-slash, monster slaying and loot grabbing video game RPG goodness”. Kill monsters, get loot, kill bigger monsters, keep going. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a Diablo-style boardgame with a clever dice mechanism where your gear can manipulate your dice. I, for one, strongly approve.
FryxGames / Stronghold Games
Terraforming Mars keeps being awesome, and with each expansion it becomes awesome in new, exciting ways. With Turmoil, the newest expansion, Mars turns political. The Terraforming Committee has six parties with different policies, and through the new lobbying action players control who rules Mars. Each party has a bonus that rewards players for having tags aligned with the party’s goals, and they have a policy that makes modifies the rules of the game in some small way. Manipulating the committee in your favor creates a whole new level of strategy in an already strategic game. You’ll also have to deal with impactful global events. Fortunately, you’ll know about those three rounds in advance and have time to prepare. With everything new going on, Turmoil is an expansion for experienced players.
Red Raven Games
Ryan Laukat returns to the world of his Above and Below and Near and Far once more. A mysterious sickness has gripped that world in Roam. It puts its victims to sleep and makes them sleepwalk out in the wilderness. Your job will be to find and wake them. You start the search mission with a few adventurers. Each of them has a search pattern. When you activate an adventurer you may place search markers on landscape cards in exactly that pattern. When all spaces on a card are marked, the player who put the most markers there finds the adventurer that has been wandering there. Adventurers are worth points, but they also join your search team and add a new search pattern to your repertoire. Roam seems lighter than Ryan’s other games, but it has all the same whimsical charm.
I bet most of us remember Choose Your Own Adventure books from our childhood. If you don’t, go to the next sentence, if you do go to the one after that. Choose Your Own Adventure books are books where you read a paragraph or two, then you make a decision, and depending on your decision you turn to a different page to see how the story continues. Z-Man Games have already adapted one of those books in Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger. There’s a big supply of those books to mine, and the next one to turn into a modern board game is War With The Evil Power Master, a space adventure for nothing less than the fate of the galaxy. Thinking about those books makes me nostalgic. I might be exactly the target audience for these games.
If I had to sum up Vital Lacerda’s games in just a few words, those words might be “circular dependencies”. It’s typical for his games that you want to do A before B, B before C, C before A, and you have to decide where to break into the cycle. That’s why I think this passage from the Kickstarter page of On Mars, his newest game, sums it up best:
Building shelters for Colonists to live in requires oxygen; generating oxygen requires plants; growing plants requires water; extracting water from ice requires power; generating power requires mining minerals; and mining minerals requires Colonists.
That’s exactly what I expected when Vital makes a game about colonizing Mars, and you have no idea how much I want to have it.
Anachrony is easily one of the most uncommon worker placement games ever. Involving time travel in your game design does that. Sending resources back in time to boost your options on earlier turns, that’s a strategic option you haven’t tried before. And with Fractures of Time, the expansion currently on Kickstarter, your options become even stranger. Instead of placing a new worker you’ll be able to Blink a worker already on the board to a new location. That technology is not perfect, however. The more often you use it, the more temporal glitches will disrupt your plans. Fractures of Time also has a new faction, the Path of Unity, a union of outcasts from the other paths come from the future to unite the other paths. Time travel, man. Always making things confusing. The additional faction does not mean you can play with five players, but that’s the only complaint I can think of.
This week’s featured photo was taken by Guy Fawkes – at least, that’s his Flick username – in the Škocjan Caves in Slovenia. Those caves encompass around six kilometers of underground passages and one of the world’s largest underground chambers. Thanks for sharing this photo, Guy! (IMG_8058, Guy Fawkes, CC-BY-SA, resized and cropped)