Van Ryder Games
Gumshoes get more work in Detective: Smoke and Mirrors, the new expansion to Van Ryder Games’ Detective: City of Angels. In three new cases with a total of 100 new case cards you’ll investigate robberies, murders and an evil cult. And by you’ll investigate I mean most of you will investigate, because this detective game has an opposing player that controls witnesses and suspects – and he’s allowed to lie. So get out your trench coats and start describing everything that happens to you with cliched similes, it’s detective time.
“The Moon landing was a fake” is one of my least favorite conspiracy theories. It’s not only dumb, it’s boring. Pandasaurus Games’ version of it is way more fun: The Moon landing was real, it just wasn’t a big deal. It was done to cover up that we had gone to a habitable planet in Ursae Majoris the year before. The US are there, the USSR, Japan, India, and the Europeans. That’s the setting of Godspeed. Everyone didn’t only go the long way for the abundant resources, either. The Relics, remnants of a civilization that build technological marvels when our ancestors started banging rocks together, were a big draw, too. And that’s how you find yourself placing workers on a far-away planet. Workers in Godspeed are not just generic, interchangeable minions. Every single one of them is a specialist in their field. And besides their actual job they’ll have to deal with council meetings to decide how you’ll deal with random events, and they’ll have to handle shipments to Earth. For you, that means you’ll have to decide how many workers you take into the actual action phase and how many you’ll have dealing with the other stuff. I was sold on Godspeed when I read about the setting, but the game mechanisms make me want it even more.
Let us return to possibly the prettiest worker placement game out there. In a new Kickstarter Starling Games offers two expansions to Everdell, the worker placement game of most adorable critters. They are still building their town, but one of these new expansions will let them go far beyond. In Spirecrest your brave explorer rabbit goes into the mountains to find hidden cities, meet new allies, and even encounter large animals that will kindly let your workers ride them. Finding map pieces your explorer may even go on a grand expedition at game’s end. On the downside of all this, weather effects might well destroy your plans now. Bellfaire stays closer to home. Besides new event cards and award tiles this expansion has components to play with up to six players and special player powers for all types of critters, including the new ones and the ones added in the previous expansion Pearlbrook.
We had the 1893 World Fair in Chicago in a game just three years ago. Carsten Lauber and Feuerland Spiele will take us to an even earlier one. The first one, in fact. Crystal Palace takes place during the 1851 London World Fair, and the players are there to make an impression through clever inventions, famous acquaintances and some good PR. A dice placement game sounds like luck might play a role, but that is not the case here. Those dice are never rolled, you just set them to the value you want. Unfortunately, you have to pay for it. Much more appropriate for a two hour strategy game than rolling dice, don’t you think?
Penguin & Panda Productions
When a game mechanism has been popular for a few years it gets difficult to find a truly new twist on it. But twist worker placement is what Manchukuo does, and it has some remarkable ideas. The setting is Northern China in 1932. The new government has forbidden any sort of assembly. That’s a bit of a problem in a worker placement game where you generally want more workers to get more things done. How many workers you have is very variable in Manchukuo because the player with the most workers in a location takes the workers from the associated residence and leaves their own workers there instead. Having too many workers, however, will force you to take a restriction card that dictates a new rule you and only you must obey when placing workers. To keep you on your toes even more, placing two workers of the same color in a location lets you take your disciple bonus for that color. That bonus, in turn, can level up when you have enough workers in that color available. And all that is before you even consider what your workers will actually be doing where you send them.
Man O’Kent Games
Deck building games, while still great fun, are an old hat by now. Deck unbuilding games, where you start with a deck of cards and aim to empty your deck before the other players, are more rare but nevertheless familiar. Putting the two things together, however, that’s a new one. That’s exactly what you do in Moonflight. In the first half of the game you build your deck, all traditionally. But when the market empties phase two starts. All players rotate their card by 180° and now play with their unbuilding side. This second half lasts until one player has no cards left in their draw and discard piles. All players then score only the cards in their hands. Splitting the game into two parts like this creates a host of interesting, strategic options. Do you make a deck that is easy to disassemble, or one with a lot of points that is harder to play in the second half? And how big do you build your deck, anyway?
Fantasy Flight Games
It’s a common theme in horror stories that evil comes in the dark of night. But what if the evil is so big it doesn’t fit into a regular night? Then you get the Silence of Tsathoggua, one of the new scenarios in Arkham Horror: Dead of Night. The nights are getting longer in Arkham, even during the day the sun is barely visible, and the people of Arkham have sunk into lethargy. And now guess who has to clean up that mess.
As the queen lies dying the Throne of Allegoria is about to be vacant. The succession is not clear. Your family has a chance if you can make the strongest claim against the three other families. And that puts us right in the middle of Throne of Allegoria, an action auction game by Robin Lees and Steve Mackenzie. You’ll bid against the other families for the privilege to act in seven categories. The highest bidder may take the most actions in that category. How you translate more actions into a stronger claim to the throne is going to be a whole different kettle of fish. Throne of Allegoria gives you enough options to succeed and enough rope to hang yourself.
This week’s featured photo shows a table coral in the Tabbatuha Reefs Natural Park in the Philipines. It was taken by Flickr user q phia. Thanks a lot for sharing, q! (tubbataha- lighthouse- table coral in red, q phia, CC-BY)