Games, Games, Games Pt 3.

Every now and then I write a post about games that I’m hyped about. There are many exciting things happening in board game-land right now, and in this post I’m sharing my excitement with you. There’s a good chance that you may be familiar with some of it, or all of it already, especially if you attended Gen Con or keep an eagle eye on games news. I try to keep my finger on the pulse, but often it’s other people sharing information that keeps me updated, and thank goodness that they do or my world would be a far emptier place.

Below are a few up and coming games that are buzzing me right now. I have provided links, in the past I’ve tended to kind of rehash what the game is about somewhat, which seems kind of silly really. So i’ve kept it pretty light…

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To start with there’s some new titles coming by those whom I would consider to be table top heavy weights. It’s possibly a little dangerous to assume that everything these guys release is automatically going to be five star stuff but I can’t help but to feel it might be very good. Therefore I’m really looking forward to seeing more of A Feast For Odin (Uwe Rosenburg) and The Oracle of Delphi (Stefan Feld) because I really love Eurogames. It’s definitely one of my favourite genres and previous games by these two designers are some of the best i’ve played. I don’t think a new Euro game has been released of late that’s made me say ‘Yes! I am going to need this in my life’ But these two games look like they will blow my Euro socks off just a bit. I love a bit of dice rolling when implemented right, I go mad for hexagonal tiles (the sexiest of all the shapes surely), I’m fond of Greek Mythology themes (Delphi) and anything that involves industry, building, producing (Feast). You can read more about them on the links above.

delphi

Colony by Ted Alspach. Yes! Why am I into it? Because Suburbia is a wonderful game and I also enjoyed Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but Colony is a sci-fi game involving cards/deck building and dice. It seems very different from his usual style and I can’t imagine this guy coming up with anything that’s not fun, smart and playable. I find Ted Alspach games friendly and inviting. There’s something warm about them even if the subject matter isn’t so cute & fuzzy. Take a look!

colony

I also discovered (and i’m probably the last to know) that one of my favourite games Twilight Struggle is getting a sister (brother? whatever….) Imperial Struggle! Instead of the The Cold War we have the ‘Second’ 100 Years War, the 18th century rivalry between France & Britain. Like TS it’s a two player game, easy to pick up but a mission to master. It looks pretty epic, I will not do is justice by waffling about it here,  so please do go and read all about it on the official page!

Onto my next coveted game. Great Western Trail. This was also brought to my attention on Twitter. Since Doomtown: Reloaded I’ve been longing for a new Western themed game that ticks all the boxes, and this might be The One. It’s by Alexander Pfister who also designed Broom Service (a firm favourite) amongst others. Cattle herding in 19th century West using tile placement, hand management and deck building. On a big beautiful board, with tons of card, tiles and cow meeples. Awesome. I saw on Twitter this week that Alexander Pfister describes it as ‘heavier than Mombasa’ so it’s heavier than a heavy Euro. I’m so ready for this.

GWT

I’ve seen Lotus by Renegade Game Studios getting a lot of positive reviews, and not only does it look gorgeous but also intriguing. Creating flower forms with your cards, growing a garden and using mystical guardians to assist you. I’ve never seen a game like this before, it seems like a really unique spin on area control. I’m really looking forward to it.

lotus

Inis. Another game that I only found out about through a Twitter/Instagram buddy, a super cool lady @maggibot. Inis looked pretty striking with large land tiles, minis and old-school box art. Inis (or Island as I discovered) is a fighting game immersed in Ancient Celtic times. Funnily enough it was just reviewed by my favourites Shut Up And Sit Down and it’s an extra special episode because Paul and Quinn’s are back together (as a one off I am assuming.) So I just travelled back in time to a few years ago when I first saw the series and thought it was brilliant. Anyway, they compare Inis to Kemet and Cyclades (two epic games I missed out on when they were released) and actually have rated it above Cyclades. Gasp! I’m really excited, and you can visit the link to their page to see the game in full.

inis

Unfortunately all of the games mentioned in the post are not looking likely to hit retailers for some time, at least in the UK anyway, so it’s going to be a bit of a wait. But is also lots to look forward to.

To briefly mention I really fancy Prospectus, Tyrants of the Underdark, Twelve Heroes and Fields of Green, and it’s almost time for Terraforming Mars and Last Friday. Woop!

I’m going to go rob a bank now!

Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space

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I was looking forward to this for some time and having heard mixed opinions (along the lines of ‘brilliant, love this game’ to ‘doesn’t work very well in practice’) I was curious to try it myself and wanted the re print with the matte finish book-like box, the map/log manuals and wipe clean markers. It has a great design, the minimal art work is very fitting and the creatures are pretty horrible, it really does have that ‘Alien’/space horror feel. But is it any good? I won’t beat around the bush, yes, yes it is. In my opinion.

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Let’s start with the setting. You’re on a research mission in deep space. The bad news is that your craft has been badly damaged. You’ve been plunged into darkness. The worse news is that an alien plague has got on board and it’s going to creep about and pick you off one by one and transform you into a flesh eating monster too. Run.

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So how do you play? Well despite the slightly intimidating rule book (symbols everywhere…brain melting) it’s actually pretty straightforward. It’s bluffing/hidden movement basically. You randomly determine in secret who is playing the alien and who is the human. Each come with a special ability (optional) and you choose which map to play on (there’s a recommended beginners map and they all state the number of players they’re best used with). From here on you decide where to move on your map to escape the alien or hunt the human. The white sectors are silent sectors, so you can announce you’re located in a silent sector but don’t have to draw a card. Then there’s the grey ‘dangerous sectors’ where you randomly draw a card from the main deck. Green cards mean you have to declare a sector but not necessarily the one where you’re in, red cards means you have to be truthful about where you are. So there’s a fair amount of bluffing here. Which for some reason took me a while to get the hang of but when I did, I realised I’m actually pretty good at it! So you move around your map trying to get to an escape pod. If the alien player or players find you then they can attack and kill you! Then it’s ‘game over man, game over!’ So a pretty abrupt ending. You can also randomly draw ‘action’ cards from the deck instead of a noise card, you can keep these to yourself and play them on any turn once. This is also optional!
A few points:
  • The maps matter. I was playing a two player game with the starter map which is actually recommended for 4-8 players. The first two times I played I died within about three minutes (but was also not bluffing very well) and as soon as we started playing with the 2-8 player maps the game went on (for about 10 minutes) and was a lot tougher.
  • It works as a two player. This was a concern I had but it still works really nicely. Only with two players you both know who you are so there’s really no secret there and also a couple of cards that would be cool you aren’t able to use, like ‘mutate’ so you can change into an alien secretly and trick your opponents. It would also last longer with more players, so I really want to try it with 2+ to see how it differs.
  • I’d recommend playing with the character ability and events. It means there’s more going on, more options and you can (try) to get smart. For example one action card means that the human player can attack an alien. So I deliberately tried to trick my alien opponent by bluffing as to my whereabouts and was secretly following where I thought he was to kill him. Then I played the card at the wrong time and promptly died. Not so smart. But it was a fun way to play. Maybe next time!
  • It can be over pretty quickly. If you play with 2-3 players it’s more of a filler game.
  • I’ve never played a game that involves mapping and writing and I really enjoyed this aspect. But as much as I liked the laminated maps I found the pens to be fiddly. Also hiding your manual from the other player whilst writing and trying not to smudge your ink is tricky. Give me a mini pencil any day!
  • You have to announce ‘silent sector’ ‘dangerous sector’ ‘noise detected in sector X’ every single turn. After saying the phrases in various theatrical tones, like the whisper, the Dalek, the generic ship computer voice, it got a little annoying. It’s a small criticism, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment!
Overall I’d give it a 8/10. It’s a good game, fun with two, probably a ‘bigger’ game if played in a group, and with the lights down and some atmospheric music it’s even better. Maybe not worth paying over the odds for but definitely worth the RRP (£25-£30 depending on where you shop.) More Info