Moaideas Game Design
Mini Express, just as the name suggests, is a small train game. It has undeniable parallels with the long line of 18xx games – building routes on a hex map, buying stock in rail companies – but it’s not just a stripped down version of those games. The few actions you pick from on your turn – build tracks or buy stock – are closely intertwined and give you plenty to consider. To build tracks, the company needs available track markers, they only get more track markers when someone takes their stock, taking their stock when they still have train markers reduces your reputation, but you’ll gain reputation again for holding stock of a company at the end of the game that you also built the right routes for. With so many cogs turning together, and everyone else wanting the same things, Mini Express is also a very interactive game. Pretty impressive for a game called Mini that you can play start to finish in sixty minutes.
Black Box Adventures
Black Box Adventures will give players the chance to fly to Neverland and experience all new stories in the roles of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and other iconic characters. Adventures in Neverland is a story game where each character has their own story deck to experience. The deck isn’t just one story, though. There are branches and decisions in each deck that give you a different outcome every time you play. Those branches also give your opponents the chance to interfere with your story, because not all decisions for your story are yours to make. The side quest deck gives you another variable to keep Adventures in Neverland fresh. And if you don’t want conflict with other players in your story, there is a cooperative mode as well.
In a not so distant future, dry land is a luxury you no longer find on Earth. Survivors live on the four Flotillas, floating cities that can support life for now. Your goal in Seastead is to control the Flotillas before your single opponent can do the same. To this end you need resources that your divers bring up. Even when competing for control, though, humanity’s future is at stake, and you’ll have to share your results with your opponent. The resources you don’t pick, they get. With those resources you build up the Flotillas, but again you can’t freeze your opponent out. The Flotillas don’t belong to either of you, and your opponent can use everything you build. Those mechanisms will make interaction in Seastead quite intense.
The 20th century, some of you may remember it, was a pretty wild ride. We started with a bit of early industry, went to the moon near the middle, and ended with the Internet. We also didn’t go back to the moon, but how stupid that was is for the cockroach historians a thousand years from now to decide. Anyway, if someone in the future – human or cockroach – where to collect 20th century artifacts, they’d get quite a wild collection. You can try it out for yourself in Exhibition: 20th Century, the latest Kickstarter by Cwali. The big question with such a collection is, of course, how to present such a collection, and that’s your job in the set collection game. With a pretty simple mechanism you pickup one artifact per round and exhibit it. You have one case dedicated to a specific decade, one for a continent, one to show just how far we’ve come in a hundred years, and you score points for having items from all continents, for not collecting things you won’t put on display,… . It’s all simple enough, but arranging things for the best score will be trickier than you think – that’s always a nice combination for my collection.
Not much detail on this one yet, but Skellig Games will release a new Uwe Rosenberg game this fall – I’d call it a likely Essen release if I had any idea if Essen will happen. Anyway, Sagani will be a tile placement game where you must keep the balance between elemental spirits of fire, water, air, and earth. Only when there is balance will the spirits emerge from their vessels. That’s all we know for now, but there’s sure to be more soon.
AV Studio Games
I don’t know about you, but for me, some days, pulp fiction is the best fiction. Todd Sanders already let us play through classic pulp detective stories in Pulp Detective, this time we get the other great pulp genre: science fiction. In Pulp Invasion you are the captain of your own spaceship, an agent of the Intergalactic Council, tasked to investigate strange planets and eliminate stranger threats. Pulp Invasion is a bag building game. Overcoming encounters lets you add or remove cubes from your bag, and drawing the right cubes from the bag might score you a super weapon that you need to win the game. And since the captain is always alone, even when surrounded by his loyal crew, Pulp Invasion is a solo game. There is a two player variant, but the main mode is solo. Really awesome, like Pulp Detective before it, Pulp Invasion uses original artwork from 1940s to 60s pulp magazines. If that doesn’t get you in the mood, I don’t know what will.
Renegade Game Studios
Be very, very quiet. Do you hear that? It sounds like… a Clank! expansion! Clank! Adventuring Party will finally let you play Clank! with up to six players. Not only that, you’ll also get a starting character, all fully paid members of the thieves guild, all with their own special ability and their own starting deck. Yes, even Whiskers the cat. Don’t underestimate the cat. You’ll also get a new, cranky monster who’s hoard you want to empty. Be careful, Hexavultus the Hydra doesn’t sound like someone you want to wake up with excessive noise unless you bring coffee and croissants.
Days of Wonder
The next Ticket to Ride game will be another one in the mini series, following Ticket to Ride: New York and London. Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam is not strictly speaking a train game. In 17th century Amsterdam, you want the most lucrative routes for your cargo carts. For your route building it doesn’t make a big difference if you have carts full of merchandise or wagons. What does make a difference is that you collect merchandise cards from some routes, and holding the majority of those at the end of the game is worth extra points. It’s a small twist on the basic Ticket to Ride idea, but it’s a small Ticket to Ride game, too. It’ll make sure that your fifteen minutes of game time don’t feel the same they did in the other mini TtRs. That’s all we want, really.
This week’s featured photo was taken and shared by Filat Astakhov in the Curonian Spit, a sand dune peninsula shared between Lithuania and Russia and an all-round beautiful place. Thanks for sharing this photo, Filat! (Curonian Spit, Filat Astakhov, CC-BY-SA, cropped and resized)