Lookout Games have announced their new two player game. Glasgow, by new designer Mandela Fernandez-Grandon, is an action rondell game. The player currently behind on the rondell makes the next move and takes the action on their new tile, repeating until they’re no longer in the back. With their actions they acquire resources and build the city of Glasgow with all its factories that will produce more resources when activated with an action. With around thirty minutes play time Glasgow is a shorter game, but the mix of action selection on a variable rondell with a Patchwork-like turn order mechanism and constructing your resource supply as you play sounds promising.
Talon Strike Studios
Talon Strike Studios are making a big comeback with Vinyl: Big Band Edition. Technically, with all of Vinyl, all over again, because the same Kickstarter that has the Big Band Edition has a lot more Vinyl. It has the original base edition of the set collection, record collection game. It has all the previous expansion, recreated as standalone games that all still have their own twists, and that also still integrate with the base game. On top of that, you have Big Band Edition, another Vinyl game. In this one, the records have different speeds to keep in mind. And you can still get Jukebox, a two player game that is not so much like Vinyl but is also a musical set collection game. I never had this much trouble picking a Kickstarter reward. There are too many options!
Renegade Game Studios
Don’t you love it when you read about a new game, and in the process you learn about some obscure tidbit of history that has no impact on your life whatsoever, but it’s just cool to know? I just had that with Embarcadero, coming soon from Renegade Game Studios. Apparently, when 1800s California was in the middle of the gold rush, ships full of hopeful gold diggers used to arrive in San Francisco and were then abandoned there. Some clever businessmen claimed those ships, moored them, and used them as real estate for offices, hotels and tenements. Some of those ships are still there, buried under today’s Embarcadero district. In the game Embarcadero you’ll play the role of those clever businessmen as they build their floating business empires. Embarcadero will launch on Kickstarter this fall, at which point we’ll know more about how to play it. But the history and the photos with the floating buildings are pretty exciting already.
25th Century Games
One of Reiner Knizia’s earliest success stories is on Kickstarter in a new edition from 25th Century Games. Tutankhamun is one of those very simple games that still require interesting decisions. All you do is travel down the Nile in your barge and collect sets of different tiles. You don’t even have a speed limit, if you want to move all the way to the end, you can. The only thing making it difficult is that you can never go backward, so you constantly have to decide if you rush ahead and get the best tiles before anyone else can or go slowly and collect more tiles. Some special tiles to spice things up and you have a game that is quick to learn, quick to play, and where you rely only on your clever decisions to win.
The Gates of Mara are portals to the elemental planes. Whoever holds the gates has access to a whole lot of power. You guessed it, that better be you. Gates of Mara is an area control game that’s not super complicated, but it has some layers of complexity. Your three kinds of troops can go to different places and add their control to one, two, or all five of the gates. They also have different special abilities that you trigger when you place them, the are you place them in has a special ability, the elemental lords that move around the board have special abilities, and you can add extra abilities to your guys by attaching banners to them. That’s a lot of different things that might be happening from placing one guy. Add some enchantments that, you guessed it, have special abilities, and you’re starting to look at a lovely case of what the hell do I do next. Since we’re talking about a game, I consider that a good thing.
Fantasy Flight Games
Twilight Imperium is a ridiculously large game already. The rumors have been around for a couple of weeks, now Fantasy Flight Games made it official: it will be bigger. Prophecy of Kings can safely be called a big box expansion. It will have seven all new factions, bringing the total up to twenty-four, components for two extra players, new map tiles, new exploration cards, new ground forces for all factions, and so much more. As an all new game concept each faction now has three leaders, and you don’t have to pick between them. You get them all, and their abilities, too. One from the start, two more you unlock during the game. So many new options! We’re definitely going to need a bigger table for this one.
I’m generally a Marvel fan, but the X-Men were never my favorite series. Still, when I see a cooperative X-Men game, I take notice. X-Men: Mutant Insurrection is a scenario-based dice game. Each scenario has one of the X-Men’s best know villains at its end, but before you get there you’ll have to fight your way through a series of missions. For each mission you pick the heroes you think most likely to succeed. Each of their players has a turn to roll their dice pool and complete one or more of the mission objectives, with support from another hero’s assist ability. Hero’s with different dice pools are best suited for different kinds of missions, so picking the team for each mission has a tactical element. It’s something else that makes X-Men: Mutant Insurrection interesting, though. Going through trials and tribulations together, your heroes form bonds. Heroes that share a bond have an advantage when they go on a mission together, so strategically speaking you want those bonds for your characters. There’s a risk, though. Some mission effects can break your bonds, and when that happens the bond doesn’t just go away, it turns into its opposite and now hinders your mission. After all, when a person you don’t care about fails you it’s just that, but when a person you love does the same, it’s the end of the world. I like how bonds add some strategy to a game that looks like a lighter coop game, but I love how Mutant Insurrection incorporates the heroes’ relationships, which are at least as important an element in the comic books as beating up bad guys.
Preorders are open for the second Sagrada expansion. The rightly popular dice pattern building game already has a lot of variety in how you create the Sagrada Familia’s famous stained glass windows. With Sagrada: Life you’ll have even more options, and even more things to consider. The big one are apprentices, a new kind of cards with powerful effects but the new objective cards and masterwork dice will have a big impact, too. If you like Sagrada then you won’t want to miss this one.
This week’s featured photo shows the rathas – temples in the shape of chariots – at Mahabalipuram, India. The photo was taken and kindly shared by Girish Gopi. Thanks a lot for sharing, Girish! (Untitled, Girish Gopi, CC-BY-SA, cropped and resized)