GAMES NEWS! 02/06/2020

eyebrow wagglers, Ur my sunshine, crocodile vores, sheep smugglers
Matt Lees 88 comment(s)

Ava: Come on, come on! That games news needs to be piping hot when it goes to the serving hatch or table four is going to send it right back! Have you chopped those opinions yet? Peeled the puns? How’s the reckon roux reducing? Have you even basted the takes?

Tom: Oh darn, I’ve made a ramble roux instead; and these takes are absolutely underdone, let alone properly basted! I’m going as fast as I can, chef, but we really need a news potwash – I’m still doing the dishes from last week!

Ava: Gah! Do I have to do everything myself? Please tell me that you’ve at least properly prepped the stream schedule?

Tom: Yes Chef! Tuesday we’re serving a seafood course – a pan-fried Oceans with guest chef Dominic Crapuchettes, and on Thursday we’ve got some survival space food courtesy of Galaxy Trucker with Matt and Tom! Then next week? Tuesday sees us crunching some cuboid croutons floating in joke soup – hastily whipped up by Matt and Tom over some delicious Dice Throne. And then Thursday has us sitting down to the main course! MOTHERSHIP! A LIVE RPG WITH TEAM SU&SD!

Ava: You let the goof slip a little at the end there.

Tom: It’s just too exciting, chef!

Ava: The thing I love about Kickstarter is that people have to put in their location, which means I can make a joke about this being not just a board game, but a Bordeaux game. *waggles eyebrows*

Tom: That’s so, so bad, Ava.

Ava: Kemet is back on kickstarter in a new swish edition, with an even swisher subtitle. Kemet: Blood and Sand promises a revised version of the classic classical combat cartography, or put plainer, a mythical Egyptian ‘fights on a map’ game. There’s a soupcon of additions previously available in expansions, and a plethora of usability and balance changes. That’s before we even go on to mention the gorgeous art, and a campaign that has already responded pretty well to criticism in making changes to such problems as ‘too many boobs’ and ‘not enough colours’. They’ve even got around the awkwardness of having to say ‘white power tiles’ and sounding like a racist mosaic maker by referring to all the pyramids and associated powers as Onyx, Ruby, Diamond and actually I don’t know what they’re calling the blue ones.

Tom: The fact that we’re getting bags of both blood and sand to make Kemet even more immersive is an incredibly welcome change – as much as I adore Kemet it did never really truly feel like I was being ripped in two by a giant scorpion. In all seriousness, though, just looking at those nice twinkly changes is really really making me want to play Kemet again after a recent, gruesomely clunky experience playing it on TTS, and it feels like this new edition might make good on that promise of being the ‘Ur-version’ of a game that always plays better in my head than it does on the (digital) table.

Ava: I think we already did the blood and sand joke last time

Tom: It’s been a long week.

Ava: Also Ur was in Sumeria, not Egypt.


Ava: It’s Monday?


Ava: At the risk of the news becoming a bit of a ‘hey a game we like is getting reissued or expanded on kickstarter’ fest, it seems pretty important for us to note that Nemesis is coming back to kickstarter. The definitely not Aliens board game we reviewed quite recently is getting a new standalone expansion, and a whole host of options for getting new and old add ons. Nemesis Lockdown moves the xenomorph battling action from an old space ship to a haunted martian base, and includes a new species of alien that is capable of swinging from conveniently located lamp-posts. Terrifying.

Tom, tell me what you think, and whether I should spend seventy million pounds on getting every single available Nemesis box.

Tom: No.

Ava: Great! It’s always nice when my bank balance survives to the end of payday.

Tom: Here’s the thing – My gut reaction to ‘should you buy Nemesis’ is basically always a fairly resounding ‘No’. It’s an absolutely brilliant game, but weighing its cost against something like Twilight Imperium always ends in the same resolution – you’re going to have higher highs with Nemesis, but fewer of them before retiring the game. Having said that, I did just scroll through the Kickstarter for lockdown and said ‘aw cool’ under my breath for basically every single thing on that list, and now I really, really want to play Nemesis again – and I’m remembering the absolute glee on the faces of my friends when each new mechanic of this game sprung out the box like a firework made of crikey. And Lockdown (unfortunately timed title aside) is looking to have those shock reveals in absolute spades – especially if you’ve already played the base game. Ugh, this is turning out to be an expensive games news.

Matt: Yeah, I think I actually want this quite badly.

Ava: Wait so… I should spend seventy million pounds on getting every single available Nemesis box?

Matt: Sure why not

Tom: Yes

Ava: Great! It’s always nice when my bank balance doesn’t survive to the end of payday.

Ava: I’m getting increasingly fond of Button Shy Games despite not having actually got around to playing any of the games I’ve bought.. Hopefully their most recent kickstarter will change all that. Wait, not all that: the not playing it, not the fondness. I want to keep the fondness.

Tom: That’s a pretty knotty paragraph you’ve got there Ava, do you want to start again?

Ava: Yes please.

Food Chain Island is new from Button Shy and Scott Almes, designer of the tiny epic series, and it looks like a lovely little puzzle of a solo game. You shuffle the deck, and lay out an island of animals with different numbers and special powers listed on each. Each turn you can move a card to make it ‘eat’ a lower numbered animal, but doing so triggers the power on the card that’s sated its hunger. The puzzle is trying to work out a chain of digestion that will eventually clean up the whole table. I have to say, I love a kickstarter where I can read a two sentence explanation of the rules and instantly work out why it would be interesting. It’s a pretty rare treat!


Ava: Oh god those eyes. Thanks for ruining this for me Tom.

BoardGameGeek has a news post dedicated to three otherwise unrelated games from the Big Kniz, so I thought I’d similarly bundle them together, because I remain incapable of making a judgement about a Reiner Knizia game from a distance. Some of them are the best, lots of them aren’t! It’s always really hard to tell from a high level summary.

Ava: Whale Riders has players riding whales. Phantom Seas includes some ghosts and some water. And Tutankhamun is a remake of a game that was spelt differently before. They will all contain maths and weirdly specific rules. I reckon on average they’ll all be passable, and one of them will be good. There’s about a one in ten chance that one of these three games will be brilliant. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

Has it been long enough since I last yelled about a difficult wargame? I can’t remember how often I’m allowed to do this.

Border Reivers is new from Ed Beach and GMT Games. This is the same Ed Beach that made my favourite reformation simulator, a sequel that literally broke Quinns and the latest iteration of the enormously popular and increasingly inaccurately named Sid Meier’s Civilisation (VI, in this case). Border Reivers excites me because it is nothing like any of them, but Ed’s claiming that it’s effectively in a series with Here I Stand and Virgin Queen, because it’s in the same era. This reminds me of the claim that all the movies about NASA are in the same ‘cinematic universe’, because real life history is basically the same thing as a cinematic universe.

Border Reivers will cast the players as the ‘riding families’ of the Anglo-Scottish borders, constantly arguing with each other, and winning the game through a combination of successful battles, gaining notoriety and amassing large herds of sheep. A combination of card drafting and a seasonal cycle of turns make for some unusual decisions for a wargame like this. I’m mostly here for the map, which as well as having gaols and counties labelled, also has little patches of countryside called ‘debatable land’. Honestly, I’ve taken a lot of trains through those bits of the borders, and I’ve spent a lot of time debating where I actually was.

Tom: GMT games tend to have settings where the stakes are high and the morals are dubious – so seeing one of their games being primary concern being the rate at which you can pilfer sheep honestly fills me with joy, and seems wonderfully at-odds with the dense, interlocking systems that the publisher is famous for. I really, really want to play this, even though I already know that I’ll find it just as frustrating as any other GMT game.

Ava: Have you managed to try Time of Crisis? I think it’s really a fair notch more straightforward than a lot of their stuff, and ‘Decaying Roman Empire King of Tokyo Deckbuilder’ is a pretty great elevator pitch.

Tom: This is the thing: I get suckered in by the elevator pitches of GMT games and the fact that they claim to be ‘low complexity’ on the product description – and then I remember that ‘low complexity’ for GMT is one step below ‘incomprehensible gibberish gamewords’. I’ve been burned too many times before. Not today, sheep. Not today.

Ava: I’m not entirely clear on whether this is new news or not, but I thought it worth mentioning, as I particularly liked the way it was framed by publisher Evil Hat Games.

The entire Fate role-playing system, and all of Evil Hat’s setting publications for it, are currently available on a pay what you want basis. So if you’re wanting to dive into some digital pen and paper action, and are put off by pricey PDFs, you’ve now got an exciting place to start, and a whole whaleful of worlds to explore. I think that’s quite nice, though I don’t know anything about the Fate system itself. Is it bonzer or bobbins? Let me know in the comments.

Tom: I used to run little RPG sessions in Fate when I was a YOUTH and dipping my toes into the bottomless waters of role-playing games. It’s a lovely little flexible system if you just want to get started, and find the prospect of reading one Encyclopedia Britannica’s worth of rulebooks a little daunting.That being said, I now exclusively play solo RPGs. Make of that what you will.

Ava: Another lovely freebie I spotted while cruising for a(n emotional) bruising on the twitters, was this from Tim Fowers, a lovely free online implementation of tidy briefcase of deduction and puzzling, Fugitive.

Tom: Matt played this against Tim on stream last tuesday! The VoD should still be hanging around, and it will be on YouTube eventually – I didn’t stick around in chat for the whole thing but Tim was certainly on the receiving end of some potent LeesLuck™ at the start of the game.

Matt: Oi!