Hans im Glück
Another classic is about to make a return. Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers was one of the most beloved Carcassonne variants to date. The stone age game follows Carcassonne‘s success formula, but adds some minor complexities like bonus tiles and fishing huts. In time for this year’s online Essen fair, there’ll be a new edition of Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers with new art, some new tiles, and some minor rules tweaks.
Weird Giraffe Games
You probably think that wizards have it easy, don’t you? All your problems gone with the wave of a hand. You never even consider that they might have their own problems. Have you ever thought how hard life must be for a magic university student? If not, Studies in Sorcery gives you the chance. The card game by Weird Giraffe Games gives you four months to finish your magic thesis, and for reasons known to many a regular university student you neither have the materials nor the credits you need to graduate. So off you go to dig up – literally – the ingredients for your magic, drafting card stacks that hopefully have what you need. Successful projects at least give you some benefits beyond course credits. A reanimated skeleton is proof of your grasp of necromantic principles, but it’s also a pair of helping hands. Studies in Sorcery is a quick engine-building game where you always weigh the credits for a projects against the potential benefit for completing more projects. It’s not complicated, but very thematic and full of meaningful choices.
Green Feet Games
History time! I’d obviously known that US president Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated, and I’d been vaguely aware the killer was one John Wilkes Booth. One detail I had never encountered before was that a woman named Mary Surratt was convicted of conspiracy to assassinate the president and was sentenced to death in a trial that is controversial to this day. That’s the trial you can relive in Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial, an intricate drafting game for two players. You draft cards from a pattern of overlapping cards where more become available as earlier ones are removed and some of the later cards are visible while others are face down. Mostly, you’ll draft those cards into your legal argument where they provide resources to buy more expensive cards as well as trial points that decide the winner when the game comes to its regular end. There are some ways to win early, however. By discarding a card instead of drafting it, you may sway a juror to your side of the argument. If you convince four jurors to your cause, the trial is immediately won. Similarly, moving the Reasonable Doubt marker all the way to your end of its track will decide the case in your favor. Adding another level to the proceedings are the trial dice, which you also draft by their own rules and that supply all the same things trial cards do, but only once. Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial leaves no doubt, reasonable or otherwise, about its 7 Wonders: Duel heritage, but it applies the formula well and adds its own new twists, creating an equally enjoyable and slightly more complex game.
First of all, this is the place for an apology. We wanted to have a review of Cartographers out two months ago, but it’s just sitting here, unfinished, a casualty of Covid-induced depression. Just assume, for the sake of this news item, that the review existed and we’d said Cartographers is an amazing game that we love, because that’s exactly what it will eventually say in more words. I’m very confident we’ll say the same about Cartographers Heroes, the stand-alone sequel on Kickstarter now. The basics are unchanged, you’ll still draw cards showing shapes of landscapes, all players will still draw those shapes on their personal map sheet, and they’ll still try to get the best result out of the highly variable scoring rules. Cartographers Heroes will have new map sheets and new scoring rules. That alone will give you an all new experience, different sets of scoring cards are enough to completely change the original game. That’s not all, though. Cartographers: Heroes also has new monsters, and where the original monsters just took up space and ate your points, these new guys are more active. Like the zombies that keep spreading if you don’t contain them. To counter these more active monsters, you now get heroes to destroy them. If you’re still hungry for more Cartographers – I completely understand if you are – the same Kickstarter offers three map packs, new map sheet pads with special maps that let you explore the underworld and magical islands. In total, that’s a lot more Cartographers. Just what we needed.
Formal Ferret Games
If you didn’t get Formal Ferret Games’s High Rise off Kickstarter, chances are you didn’t get it. It was available in shops after, but sold out quickly. Not to worry, here’s your chance to get in on the new edition, with all new plastic pieces to further upgrade the game. High Rise, if you don’t know the game, is related to Tokaido: the player furthest in the back takes the next turn, they may move as far as the want to reach an action space, but they then have to wait until all other players passed them once more. High Rise is more complex, though. To build the high rise buildings you first need to collect floor, take care that you don’t exceed your storage, and then construct buildings according to blueprints in the different districts of the city. Making things more tricky is corruption. It lets you power up your actions, but the player with the most corruption gets punished. That’s the rough outline. I hope it’s enough to give you an idea about High Rise, and an idea why I’m excited for my second chance to get it.
Glass Cannon Unplugged
Just two weeks ago we talked about cooperative game Frostpunk. Now the Kickstarter is live, so let me treat you to a quick re-run:
Some of you may know computer game Frostpunk, a steampunky city management survival game in which the world was devastated by ice storms and you’re the administrator of the last vestiges of civilization, huddled around a geothermal heating tower that is the only thing keeping everyone from freezing solid. That cheery scenario will soon come to your tabletop in an adaptation by Adam Kwapinski (Nemesis, Sigismundus Augustus, …) as the first Kickstarter by new publisher Glass Cannon Unplugged. A German version will be available from Frosted Games. The game is cooperative for up to four players, and it includes all the important aspects of the computer game. That means building your town in the ice is only the start of your problems. You’ll also have to keep your citizens as happy as the situation allows, and your decisions will have far-reaching consequences in that regard. Even without much detail information, I think it’s safe to say this will be a heavy game that you probably won’t win the first time you play. It will also have an impressive table presence, especially if that heating tower is a standard component. Even without it, though, Frostpunk will be a game that people stop to look at.
One update since then: the generator tower is not only a standard component, as a cube tower it has a purpose beyond looking impressive.
This week’s featured photo was taken by Mohamed Amine Abassi in the ruins of Dougga, Tunisia. Dougga was the capital of Numidia, later flourished under the Romans, but declined after the end of the Roman empire. Thanks for sharing this beautiful photo, Mohamed! (Dougga, Mohamed Amine Abassi, CC-BY, resized and cropped)