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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth Board Game

Well I must have been living under a rock, because my friend sent me a link last night to Jim Henson’s: The Labyrinth Board Game.

I’m a bit wary to have too many ‘movie’ board games on my wish list but I mean this is ridiculous, who doesn’t love Labyrinth? (apart from my boyfriend- typical!) I still remember when my Dad rented it from ‘the video shop’ for me and my siblings and I thought it was the best thing ever. Me and my sister who are both in our 30’s still quote the movie on a regular basis. I just love it.

This was announced last Summer, I can only put it down to my post pregnancy games hiatus that I missed so much games news in those few months.

It’s due to be released this year, again i’m not too sure if that will pan out, I hope so! It looks gorgeous; dice, miniatures, cards, beautiful board. There’s not too much information on the actual game play yet as far as I know, i’m assuming part dungeon crawler which admittedly isn’t my favourite genre, but hell, for Labyrinth I’ll get involved.

View all available info here.

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Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, Bruno Cathala Ludovic Maublanc

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I coveted Fantome d’le Opera for aaaaaaages. I saw it reviewed and thought it looked cool. That was about 18 months ago, and admittedly my tastes were a bit shallow. Recently I looked at the review again, and even though it wasn’t particularly glowing I thought ‘I still want this dammit!’. It looked to be out of print or at least hard to come by in the UK so my ‘covet-o-meter’ was going mad! After coming into some spare money (tax rebate!) I found it on eBay and decided to go for it. It’s in the same family as Mr Jack, which I’ve never played, and it’s a simple, but kind of tricky hidden movement game.
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You can choose to play as The Phantom or the other characters who are trying to escape his clutches. You move around the board using the movement ability and conditions on the character cards, to deduce who the Phantom is.  At the bottom of the board we have Carlotta and she moves up the track each round and can be ‘scared’ by The Phantom, and if she reaches the end before you’ve figured it out, you’ve lost! Personally I found playing as the characters and guessing too easy, it’s running away and disguising as The Phantom that is tricky!
 Now, in hindsight, maybe I should of taken heed with the video review I saw. It’s a bit thin. I don’t regret buying it, it’s a great game to have in the collection, and sometimes when the mood takes I could really fancy it. Also it’s worth remembering that since this was released in 2013 gaming has moved on somewhat, with small box games and print and play especially becoming more popular. It comes in a fairly large box (though not huge by any means) and has a nice board, big cardboard cards and chunky tokens. It definitely has an old school feel, which I really like. But because it’s quite ‘big’, you feel that there should be something more substantial to it, especially for a two player only game. But there really isn’t too much going on apart from what it says on the tin. It just seems quite unnecessary to have the board, the heavy cardboard etc, because it’s a filler game basically. It’s over really quickly, even when we house ruled to put the start marker two steps back so it takes a bit longer. I’m sure we never had a 30 minute game as estimated in the game overview. This could be a little card game or a print and play, it could probably be re-released as such, because it’s definitely a fun party or filler game.
Next time I play i’m lighting the candles and putting the soundtrack on! Not the one with Gerard Butler. That was weird. More Info
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The Producer (1940-1944), Manlio Zaninotti

I’m crediting Jon with this one as well, because these thoughts were borne out of our many animated conversations after playing The Producer….
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I spotted this game whilst online browsing and thought ‘wow, could this be any more up my street?’ I love movies, I love that golden era and Hollywood glamour and I couldn’t of been more excited to play it last week. So, in hindsight maybe perhaps should of researched a bit further before making my mind up. Because most people who have played this have pretty much said the same thing. It’s not bloody finished. I don’t know what happened here, if it was rushed out or just not tested enough or whether they just thought fuck it lets not bother. And it’s such a shame. Because here we have a gorgeous looking game with lovely shiny components and thick luxe cardboard and the skeleton of a really great idea. It looked super heavy with loads going on. And as you will see from the pictures it’s a sprawling game that you need crazy table top space for. It’s a game you don’t have to be a ‘gamer’ to play, and if, like me, you love the theme then it’s perfect to have in your collection.
But I can’t ignore the fact that many of the rules are unexplained or non existent, the event cards (which could make the game more difficult and exciting) don’t actually make a blind bit of difference for the most part and some of the effects they have just don’t do anything period. For example, ‘if your actor is married but having an affair they lose a star’. But how do we know if they were married, like Jon said are you meant to Google for further information? Because this is not stated anywhere on the cards. Just weird stuff like that is a big no no. Per turn you can do a number of things, but at the core of it there’s not much going on. Joining the mafia seems pretty pointless, ruining your opponents reputation makes little difference, and getting themed sets doesn’t really add anything of value to the end game. Argh, it just doesn’t add up and it’s so frustrating because there are lots of things this game could of done differently.
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Much of the game centres around making money from your movies, and you do this by getting scripts and actors. You use certain cards to increase your audience values and then take your movies to the Oscars. And that is the fun part in my opinion but is actually pretty simplistic. I think that the audience values could be a bit more varied because no matter what you always seem to make around the same revenue per movie. And you make all this money but no receive no bonus points for having it. You have a better chance of winning against your opponent at the Oscars if your movie scripts match up with the correct actor and director cards, which is tricky because there are so many of them. But to spend every turn just getting cards out to try match up them doesn’t seem worth it. There’s a chance that it could be better with more players, but I can’t imagine how long your game play would be, we played the ‘short’ three round version with two players and it took 2.5 hours. I think i’ll have to play again, just to see if there’s anything else that can be done to add something more, or maybe there’s something glaringly obvious we missed. I have a bad feeling it will just present more unnecessary flaws. So in a word, i’m gutted, because as I said there are some enjoyable parts but the all over game is just a bit of a mess. I think they’ve had trouble with copywriting in the US because of the use of the images and people, but if by some chance this gets a re-release or second edition in the future, and the issues are ironed out, well it could be a fantastic game. But until then, as much as it pains me, it’s a really crushing disappointment. More Info
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Concordia, Mac Gerdts

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I love the fast pace of Concordia! I must say that this is the first game for a while that has made me genuinely excited to be playing, and really engaged. Concordia actually works great with only two players, and i’m so anxious to beat my highest score each time it’s ludicrous. I definitely find the challenge of playing games, and bettering myself each time the best part of playing. I like winning when i’ve continuously lost a certain game, but in general the ‘winning’ aspect i’m not too fussed with. So I really love Concordia and I look forward to buying the expansion Salsa, hopefully very soon! More Info

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Dungeon Pets, Vlaada Chvátil

Summer 2014….

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This is the cutest game ever! But don’t be fooled, it’s hard! Don’t underestimate the importance of arranging your Imp shopping groups and getting the action you need or when it comes to dealing with your pets needs you could find yourself with a dreaded sorrow cube for your adorable little monster pet. Doing well in the shows and selling your pet to the customer is where the points are at but balancing this with everything else is a real brain twister. It’s so thematic, from the rule book to the board and game pieces and runs smoothly all the way through. So well executed and the design is fantastic. It’s definitely a different and hugely fun type of worker placement and I can’t recommend this enough! I really think they need to make soft toys of the characters, I’d seriously get them all. More Info

Village, Inka & Markus Brand

Post from 2014….

Check out the beautiful art work on Village!

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I really enjoyed this game, I like the fact that there’s no time limit on the game and it can last for half hour on 90 minutes depending on what you choose to do. I thought it was a bit morbid at first that your family have to die every time that you use up too much time (hour glasses) on your score board but it makes sense within the game….the only bad thing is how you invest in your little family members…I was gutted when one of mine went to the paupers grave yard rather than ‘the book’. But to me that’s a mark of a good game because I actually care. It’s really clever, play it. More Info