Meople News: Oath to the Cosmos

Ares Games

Vampires are not especially social in most stories. If there is more than one vampire, they are more likely to stab the other in the back than they are to cooperate. That’s lucky for the human species, because Masters of the Night shows what can happen when vampires decide to cooperate. In Ares Games and Igrology’s solo/coop game players control a clan of vampires recently awoken from a long dirt nap. Now it’s time to take back control of their city. They recruit minions and start taking over, but they are not as powerful as they would like to be. Not yet. Their old enemy, the inquisition, has strength in numbers, and a vampire they catch during the day is in a lot of trouble. You’ll have to find the right balance between using your powerful vampire abilities and keeping the Veil of Secrecy intact for as long as you can.

Arcane Wonders

Once more we’ll build Rome, this time in a game by Emerson Matsuuchi. Foundations of Rome is a mechanically simple game: You buy lots on the grid of Rome, and then you place buildings on them. Small buildings take a single lot, larger buildings take up adjacent lots in different shapes. Residential buildings score points, commercial buildings make money, and municipal buildings earn points for their neighbors. What makes Foundations of Rome interesting is the interaction. It’s easy enough for an opponent to disrupt your building plans and buy that one critical lot before you can. But lots get cheaper the longer they are on offer, so the question becomes: How much it’s worth to them to sabotage your plans? And how much is it worth to you to get that lot before they can. Mechanically simple, but certainly not boring. Why did it have to be Rome yet again, though? Aren’t there any other ancient civilizations that built big cities?

Fantasy Flight Games

A two player version of Cosmic Encounter, does that even make sense? Apparently it does, because Cosmic Encounter Duel is coming. The idea of shifting alliances obviously doesn’t make much sense with two players, but other than that you’ll recognize many elements from the parent game. You still fight over planets, you still use ships and tactics to gain control, and there’s still a host of alien species to pick from. Twenty-seven species, each with a unique special ability, is way more than I expected from a two player game.

Leder Games

Games with a memory that lasts beyond just one game are still awesome. I love Legacy games, but I’m thrilled when I see new games with their own non-Legacy mechanism to change every time you play. Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile is one such game, and its promise is that there is no preset story, the players decide what happens next. Each game is one generation in the fantasy world of Oath, and depending on who won the game and how they won it the cards in the game deck will change for the next time you play, and other game elements are subject to change as well, including the victory condition. Your own version of Oath will develop in response to your choices. That’s an ambitious design goal, but if it works this level of game customization is downright magical.

The beautiful panorama shot that is this week’s banner image was taken by Simon Matzinger and shows the Attersee in in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. Makes me want to go there. Thanks a lot for sharing this great photo, Simon! (Mighty Lake., Simon Matzinger, CC-BY, resized)

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