Kingdoms don’t shut down for winter. Surprising, I know. They keep going all year round, and some even get started in winter. Those you build in Winter Kingdom, for example, Donald X Vaccarino’s sequel to his KIngdom Builder. Just like you did in the first game, you’ll place houses on different landscapes and try to meet the victory conditions as much as you can – whichever they may be, because victory conditions are part of the highly variable setup. Winter Kingdom will be more complex and more strategic than its predecessor. That’s mainly noticeable in the new abilities that now have to be bought for coins which, in turn, you earn by doing things that change each game but will usually run against your goal of earning victory points. How many points is a special ability worth? Another new strategic option is that you can build forts instead of houses. They count double for victory points and special abilities can’t move them. There’s a lot more that is new, including Twist cards that switch up the rules a little when you use them. Winter Kingdom looks like a great game in its own right, with special appeal to Kingdom Builder fans.
Alley Cat Games
Later this year, Alley Cat Games will release a kind of worker placement game with some interesting new ideas. That your workers are dice in Eternal Palace is not new, but that you pick your worker/dice in what sounds like a hidden you split I pick mechanism could lead to some interesting situations already. I’m also looking forward to assembling a painting on an easel from overlapping segments, with well-made components that will be a very cool effect. As for what you actually do in Eternal Palace, we don’t know for sure. It has something to do with building monuments. I’m very much looking forward to learning more.
Pinball is not an easy fit to adapt into a boardgame, but Geoff Engelstein makes an intriguing effort with Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade. It’s a kind of roll-and-write game, but more dynamic than most of its kind. The dice simulate how the ball rolls down the pinball table. Each time you pick a die result it determines where your ball ends up on the level one below its current one until it hits one of your flippers and you catapult it pack up. I’m going to assume that missing the flippers is an option. The game comes with four “tables”, each with different mechanisms.
Aliens trying to conquer Earth generally come in to categories: The simple ones who go for a full on invasion, and the sneaky ones who mind-control the population. The former ones are either defeated by the army or a small team of spec ops warriors. The later are more difficult. They require a band of misfits and outsiders to see through their plot and kick their asses – and no one is more misfit than John Nada of John Carpenter’s They Live. Honestly, if you haven’t seen the movie, find it now. It’s cult for a reason. That’s why it’s extra great we can now have a boardgame based on that movie. They Live: Assault on Cable 54 is a team versus team game, with one team being the Humans and the other the Invaders. Both teams move around Los Angeles and prepare for the Human’s assault on TV station Cable 54. One side collects useful gear, the other smuggles sabotaged gear into their stash. Oh, and this would all be way to easy if you knew who anyone is. Thanks to the Invaders’ disguises you’ll have to figure out who’s on your team, too. This is the best part – and I say this as someone usually not impressed by gimmicks – you find out who someone is by looking at their character card through the iconic sun glasses from the movie. Damn nostalgia. Gets me every time.
Gloomhaven has been one of the biggest boardgame successes of the last ten years. Also one of the biggest boxes, but that’s not the point. The persistent world dungeon crawler with its many different characters and scenarios and its branching storyline is full of surprises that will keep you busy for literal weeks. And if you already played through all that, if you want even more variety, or if, like me, you didn’t pledge on the Gloomhaven Kickstarter, you now have the chance for all new adventures. Frosthaven has all new adventures, with new heroes, in the cold north of the world. The core mechanisms of Gloomhaven were already perfect, so those won’t change much, but on top of those Frosthaven will have you gathering resources and building your own town. Probably that will mean an even bigger box. I need some shelf space.
This week’s featured photo shows Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali. The photo was taken and kindly shared by Flickr user upyernoz. Thanks for sharing! (Sankore Mosque, Timbuktu, upyernoz, CC-BY, cropped and resized)