Paul: Drop the sandbags, the Games News dirigible is aloft! Carried on cool currents and buoyed by the balmiest of gasses (their exact composition a closely-guarded secret), it carries up above the clouds to where the spriteliest gaming news flies, soaring across a sapphire sky. Are you ready for a spectacular trip, a voyage like no other, where we glimpse… oh! Look, it’s Dice Hospital! How wondrous!
Wait what? The dice are sick, you say?! THIS IS A DISASTER.
It’s rare indeed that we lead Games News with a Kickstarter, but this week I was so flat out amused by Dice Hospital that nothing else quite took the cake. There’s something both gloriously simple and yet also terrifically entertaining about the idea of a hospital where your patients are dice and whose value gradually increases as you make them better. By, y’know, sending them to a urologist. You can send your dice to a urologist.
This looks vibrant, a little silly and full of ideas I can connect with. Ambulances deliver sick dice to your hospital and you do your best to triage them depending upon how ill they are, also expanding your worker placement hospital to add new facilities that grow your treatment options (like treating multiple dice at once), or bring in new staff that give you more workers to place. Like that urologist. Gotta get those dice urologists in.
Of course, this is a Kickstarter, a pitch for something I haven’t yet tried (and that may change depending upon stretch goals), so I’m nevertheless still going to be a little reticent, but this still one of the most appealing crowdfunding projects I’ve seen in ages and I’m glad to see it’s already reached its goal. You now what I have tried, though? I do recognise the glare shining off the bright and beautiful back of the new Legend of the Five Rings RPG. Is it soaring too close to the sun?
Fear not if it is, for you can arrest its ambitious ascent, should you feel it flies too far. Fantasy Flight Games are about to release beta rules for this new edition and are inviting players to sign up and try it out, to put the game through its paces and to give them feedback. I am extremely interested in where this new edition goes, as I had a terrific time playing the previous version with Quinns, back in, oh, 2010 or so. It almost makes me wish they were just publishing the same books all over again.
Also glinting with midday majesty as it bursts out of a cloudbank is Bronze, which Cynthia spotted on BoardGameGeek this week. A colourful game of early human history, it looks like Bronze will mix elements of area control with deck-building, as your new civilisation rushes for both territory and technology. After catching us by surprise, this is one I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on.
If history is far too serious for you, then let’s catch that contrail streaking across the horizon, for it belongs to Kung Fu Zoo, WizKids’ forthcoming dice game of animal combat. Because we all needed a dice game of animal combat, didn’t we? I believe this was at GenCon last year, but we missed it in our hurried misfortune.
Think of it like Catacombs with cheetahs. Players flick dice representing, oh I don’t know, a zebra or a gorilla, hoping to knock rival dice “over”, or back into holes that represent their cages. Yes, we all know this is very silly, but everyone at Shut Up & Sit Down also knows that, if we saw this on a table at a convention, we’d be on this like barnacles on a boat. Convincing us to try new any dexterity game is like trying to convince wasps to pester a picnic. I hope this has bears. (NB: The image below is from a prototype, but it already looks classier than many finished games.)
The winds are favourable, so let’s bank back to Kickstarter and have a quick look at the co-operative card game RWBY: Combat Ready. An anime-based fighting game is never likely to be the first thing to pique my interest (nor the second, third or tenth), nor does building a deck as I improve your anime-fighting-person and kick my way through a campaign, but I really appreciate the polish Rooster Teeth have put into this pitch and I do tend to be curious about anything that’s co-op.
As you can see, this has already made a ton of money in its first few days, so even if I don’t fancy bashing a Beowolf or a Boarbatusk (are those Pokémon?), thousands of others will.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the view up here is beautiful in its blueness, so much so that one might wonder if there’s anything in the world that could be too blue, but is that really what some people think Lisboa is? “Ian O’Toole is my favourite board game illustrator working today and the postscript on this design diary is really good,” says Quinns, and this is a rare insight into how much work and energy is invested in a board game’s visual elements.
O’Toole talks about the inspiration of azulejo tiles, the ergonomics of the busy board and the challenge of trying to make a complex game easier to understand by using shapes, layouts and arrangements. Lisboa is a heck of a thing and and using visual cues and tricks to help communicate everything it contains is essential.
I want to set us down in Alexandra Palace, as that’s going to be the location of 2018’s Tabletop Gaming Live, a new tabletop gaming show coming to Britain next year. I’m always glad to see more boardgame cons springing up in new locations and, much as I love Birmingham’s UK Games Expo, I absolutely think London should take every chance to host a few of its own events. It’s very, very early days yet and we’ve no idea what to expect, but are you considering attending? Let us know in the comments below.
We’re going to end on some more sober notes this week. First of all, here’s Refuge, a storytelling game that just won one of the categories at the Civic Games Contest in Boston. Refuge puts players in the shoes of refugees trying to adapt to a new life in a new place, where things both small and large can be extremely different. There’s a lot to digest here and I absolutely recommend you have a look at the rules PDF to think about not just this game, but what you may or may not take for granted in your everyday life.
Finally, Puerto Rican businessman Sito Sanchez, of Peachstate Hobby Distribution, has started a GoFundMe project to raise money for relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Many industry peers have contributed, including Steve Jackson Games, Paizo Inc and members of companies like CMON and Iello. It’s been an extremely destructive hurricane season this year and Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in ninety years, causing astonishing damage. Three and a half million Puerto Ricans, young and old, need urgent assistance and you may want to consider making a donation to help.