Talon Strikes Studios
Of all the problems you imagine a fisherman to have, how to fit the fish into their icebox doesn’t make the top of the list. Unless you’re playing Talon Strikes Studios’ Public Market, then fitting the fish in your icebox is one of three problems. Problem one, how much to bid for picking a fish tile before the other players. Problem two, fitting said fish tile in your ice box without covering any ice cubes and, ideally, covering the shrimps and surrounding the crabs for bonuses. Problem three, when to return to the shore to sell your fish and complete contracts before the other players can do it. Bonus problem, when you complete contracts or cover all the shrimps in your icebox you gain bonuses, but which ones will help you the most? Those are all the big problems you have to deal with, but for a quick game like Public Market those are plenty of problems already.
Hues and Cues by The Op may well be the lightest guessing game ever. Light, but also different. There’s not even a word to guess! With one or two word hints the clue giver tries to describe one of 408 hues of color. “Light red” is not going to cut it out of that selection. “Medium rare” might, though. Pinpointing the right color with so small bits of information is a unique challenge. You need some imagination and you need to know the other players. Hues and Cues is going to be simple, but it’s not going to easy at all.
Renegade Game Studios
War rages eternal in your fantasy world. You don’t care all that much, as a gravedigger you only have to deal with a the cleanup. Your whole job in Gloomy Graves is to keep the graveyards tidy, meaning you follow the placement rules for corpse tiles in the communal graveyard as well as your own. Gloomy Graves looks like an interesting tile placement game, but on the light side. The 14+ age recommendation is certainly on account of all those corpses, not the game’s complexity.
Spanish publisher 2Tomatoes are currently running a Kickstarter for two small strategy games for two players. In the first, titled The Ming Voyages, one player controls the Chinese treasure fleet and must complete its seven voyages while also keeping the borders safe from barbarians. The other player controls three barbarian clans and tries to make the border not safe. Mechanically, The Ming Voyages employs multi-purpose cards and a strong element of timing, because some of those cards give your opponent an action out of turn.
The other game, The March of Progress, is about military strategy through different ages. It starts out in the Thirty Years War, where the players’ action cards are mostly to move their troops and attack. With each later scenario, setup and rules change and make the game more complex but still keep it short and sweet.
Both games qualify for the word micro, come in a small box, play in about half an hour, and make sure that you’ll have a good time.
Weird Giraffe Games
When you get bored during a game because another player takes too long for their turn, do you also construct buildings from your dice? I do that a lot, and now that will finally become a mildly useful skill. Tumble Town is not a dexterity game, so being able to stack up dice is not really all that useful, but you do construct buildings for your Wild West city from dice of various colors. To put up a building, you need the right color dice as building materials, and you need to roll them to the right value. Buildings you already have let you manipulate your rolled dice, so you have a nice bit of engine building going there. To score high when the game ends you not only want the best buildings, you also want them in the right place, because Tumble Town‘s inhabitants are particular about their tiny, little skyline.
You wake up without memories in an unknown environment. You quickly discover that you have awoken in a biodome that emulates your home planet, one of many on a planet size alien ark. Now that you’re awake you’re not all that happy with being kidnapped, and neither are your neighbors. Ark: Awakening is a worker placement/area control game with an amazing level of variability. You have different alien species with different abilities, you have different missions to complete every time you play, and most importantly the ark has different rooms every time you play. The rooms make a big change because in a room you control you can use that room’s special ability, and those are pretty powerful. And while every game is different exploring the ark should never take too long because playing Ark: Awakening should only take about twenty minutes per player, giving you enough time to explore another ark.
Are you one of those people who think games are a gateway to demon worship? I guess you aren’t, or you wouldn’t be reading gaming new, but if you are then you definitely want to skip Goetia: Nine Kings of Solomon. In this game, demonic attention is a currency and making pacts with demons is how you win. The way there, however, has many dark and sinister steps. Steps like PLACING WORKERS to GATHER RESOURCES. Sounds harmless, right? That’s how they get you! With those resources you recruit more workers, and some of those workers – did I mention your workers are the most adorable cultist meeples? – you send to worship demons. Sooner or later the demons will start paying attention to you, and with their attention come things like demonic relics and, ultimately demonic pacts. It’s all a bit more complex than that, and things you do also end up changing the game board, revealing more steps on that slippery slope to full on demon worship. However, the slope looks really well designed, and I dare say Goetia: Nine Kings of Solomon might be one of the more enjoyable ways to end up on the dark side.
This week’s featured photo shows one of the famous cave paintings from Lascaux in the Vézère valley, France. Actually, I believe it shows a reproduction from an exhibition in the area, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. The photo was taken and kindly shared by Simone Ramella. Thanks a lot, Simone! (Lascaux IV, Simone Ramella, CC-BY, cropped and resized)