Of all German traditions the Journeyman Years are one of my favorite. Until the early 1900s when a craftsperson finished their apprenticeship they would travel for three years and a day to learn more about their craft from different masters in different regions before they could themselves become a master. In the last twenty to thirty you see more people following the tradition of being “auf der Walz” again, in traditional black dress. Spielworxx have opened preorders for a game about this tradition. In Auf der Walz the players go on their own journey, with no fixed plan where to go and unforeseen events leading them elsewhere, anyway. Rationing their sparse resources is an important part of the journey, more important than your destination. If you want a copy of Auf der Walz you might want to hurry, it’s limited to 500 worldwide.
There are many network building games, but only very few of them think about the passengers. Sebastian Bleasdale’s On The Underground is such a passenger oriented network building game. You score not (just) by the routes you build, you score when a passenger uses your routes to get to their destination. The new edition of this game, called On The Underground London/Berlin is now on Kickstarter by LudiCreations. The new edition has two maps to play on, an updated London underground and an all new Berlin. It also has a very pretty, modern design and, in the deluxe edition, some awesome game tokens, including the Meep Ben, a Big Ben meeple.
I don’t know why the expansion to Phil Walker-Harding’s tile placement puzzle game Bärenpark is called The Bad News Bears in English. The German title Die Grizzlies sind los would translate perfectly. But I like The Bad News Bears better, and grizzlies are definitely bad news. So, about this expansion. It will have three modules, and the grizzlies are only the beginning. They need more space than other bears. Fortunately, we get a bit more space with this expansion. Even bigger than the grizzlies is the elevated railway. With it your park visitors can get a much better view at the bears’ daily life, but the pillars to support it need to go somewhere, too. The final module introduces new, more complex missions.
Evolution is one of my favorite themes for heavy games. It really allows game designers to show their creativity. The latest designer to do just that is Aleksander Jagodzi?ski with Pangea. Four groups of animals try to survive the Permian extinction with their asymmetric abilities to reproduce, occupy, feed, sense danger and evolve. Pangea is a game with many moving parts and many different strategies to explore. It also has a lot of player interaction, and some of it involves eating other animals, or driving them out through starvation. That’s a level of direct conflict you have to expect in games about an extinction event. If that doesn’t put you off then Pangea is a must to at least have a look at. Be quick if you want to back it, the Kickstarter only runs until July 15th.
Plaid Hat Games
What sort of person would want to be an heir to Doctor Frankenstein? What kind of man or woman wants to be known for bringing assembled pieces of dead bodies to some semblance of life? Plaid Hat’s new preview for Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein answers just that question: all sorts of people.
Household robots are the most fun when they are working right. Trust me, it’s no fun when your automatic vacuum runs into all the furniture and chases the cats. But usually those things are at least a little quirky. That’s exactly the point of Quirky Circuits, a cooperative game where you control various robots to complete their tasks. The first one you can get to know better is Gizmo the vacuum cleaner. His scenarios in Quirky Circuits are your introduction to the game. Collect all dust bunnies, don’t toss any vases. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Days of Wonder
Ready to dive with Days of Wonder. Deep Blue will let you scour the ocean for treasure. The competition is stiff for every wreck you discover, you won’t only have to hire the right people for the job, you also have to scout the right places and then get your crew out there quickly enough. But not all is lost when you come in late, you can still profit from other players’ success. Above all you’ll have to take risks because Deep Blue is a press your luck game. The sure thing won’t make you win.
HobbyWorld / Cryptozoic
A new Spyfall game will soon be available internationally. Spyfall: Time Travel – original by HobbyWorld, now coming from Cryptozoic – works the same as the other Spyfall games. All players but one – the spy – know in which secret location they are. No one else knows who the spy is. Now all players may ask questions about their location to one another. The spy wins if he can figure out where everyone is or can stay hidden for the whole round. The other players win if they discover the spy. Spyfall: Time Travel is the same, but the secret locations are now spread across space and time. You could be in a Neanderthal Cave, or in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition. Spyfall: Time Travel works on its own, but you can also shuffle it up with other Spyfall games.
Eight years ago we first reviewed Prêt-a-Porter, based on a handmade prototype, no less. Ignacy Trzewiczek’s economic worker placement game about the fashion world was great then, and the new edition that is now on Kickstarter will only improve it. A new, colorful design with illustrations by Kwanchai Moriya and streamlined rules that make the game easier in some ways and allow for even more diverse strategies in others, all with a theme that is still unique – what’s not to love?
Enchanters already has a ton of replayability with its different kingdom decks and villages that bring different abilities into play every time. Your goal in Enchanters is to fight of the monsters attacking your village, and you do that with your two card artifact. It can take the form of a “Backpack” “of Fire”, a “Sword” “of Swording” and hundreds of other combinations, more with every new deck added to the game. With the second expansion Enchanters: Odyssey the variety gets downright insane. There are six more kingdoms attacking, including Mummies and Medusae, new villages, new artifact pieces, variable start artifacts for players with races and classes and a cooperative mode for when you don’t feel like fighting your friends. And the best part is, I might get to make another video review with a flaming flail – if Sizi ever wants to edit one of those again.
This week’s featured photo in all its dramatic lighting shows a stele, one of thirty-two at the Tiya archaeological site in Ethiopia. Thanks to Richard Mortel for taking and sharing this photo! (Tiya Stelae Field, ca. 1300 (6), Richard Mortel, CC-BY, cropped and resized)