Tom: Once on a November dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, On a quaint and curious piece of tasty board game lore..
Ava: Tom, it’s well past morning, please just get up and do the games news, will you?
Tom: “’Tis the games news,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door… Only this and nothing more.”
Ava: Yes, so let’s bloody get on with it.
Tom: … nevermore!
Ava: Ooh, ooh. We’re going to bump a kickstarter to the top of the news purely because we really like Omari Akil and the work he’s doing to improve representation in the industry. So there.
Hoop Godz is Board Game Brothas’ follow up to Rap Godz, and is about basketball hoops, rather than hula hoops, surprising nobody.
A Distant Tom: What?!
Ava: The head-to-head two-player game will have you managing your team’s juice to take actions on the board to bounce a ball around and get it in the hoop. Yes, I definitely understand sports. The game has you spending and preserving resources to play action and reaction cards to control the ball and the field. When a player reacts to their opponent’s action, both players start rolling dice to try and match the symbols on your played cards to see who is successful. You’ll also be fielding different ballers into each game, for additional variety. The whole game is lavishly covered in illustrations by Hamu Dennis, who also worked with Akil on Rap Godz, the company’s previous game. That one is also available through this kickstarter so there’s a fair amount of godz-bang for your godz-buck on offer.
I’d also like to flag up the inclusion of a wheelchair-using player in the game, and this beautiful twitter thread about what that representation means. I don’t have more to say about this except that I want to see so much more of it.
Tom: Stress Botics puts you in the relatable role of easily-stressed robots doing tasks they don’t entirely understand. Gathering resources on an alien planet for a faceless corporation, players will be programming the bots in secret at the start of each turn, and attempting to optimise their gathering and grabbing.
Oh to be a faceless entity only concerned with gathering and grabbing. Return me to my monkey roots. Let me eat berry and hit rock. What’s a board game? I don’t know. I’m going to bloody invent talking.
Ava: How did you get onto being a monkey? We’re talking about robots.
Tom: Argh, sorry. It’s an overbearing fantasy this year – like being temporarily suspended in a void of infinite nothing, or making good bread. But back to Stress Botics – I really dig the nice little blueprint-y artstyle and the thoroughly chuckle-worthy concept that they programmed real human stress into blissfully innocent robots. Alongside those words and paint, though, I think that I can sense a nifty thematic throughline with stressed-out robots and stressed-out masters bumbling through an unsolvable, chaotic efficiency puzzle – like a Eurogame Robo-Rally? I’m intrigued.
Ava: Definitely. It sounds like a tough balancing act, juggling resources, programming, events, and enemy robots. It’s ambitious, but if they pull it off, it could be an appropriately stressful delight.
Okay, I’ve been sitting on this news item for approximately 10,020 years, since February. It’s stayed in the document because I’ve never seen a more perfect example of prehistoric pathos than this piece of copy-writing: “What might keep you from painting that mammoth? Death, in all its many forms.”
Paleo now has enough pictures and information for us to actually do some newsing. It’s a co-operative cavefolk game of surviving in a harsh landscape, with limited tools, all with the intent of doing a spot of painting to brighten up the cavern a bit. Players will send their own little team of humans off to explore locations and gather food and tools to help you survive, and complete quests. Stack enough of these together and you’ll be living your best art-cave life, and presumably winning the game. It comes with various modules to mix up and move the needle on exactly what sort of game you’re looking for, which is a nice little treat.
Tom: Eugh, to be a caveman only concerned with painting caves and being alive. There’s more to life! Ascend me into the stratospheric heights of cyber-being. What’s a rock? What’s a tree? I don’t know, and I don’t care; Arcadia Quest just came out in Virtual Reality 2, and all dice now have ᵠ sides.
Ava: I’m getting mixed messages here.
Dune Imperium offers a mix of deck building and worker placement, with a tiny soupçon of something similar to that conflict mechanic from Arctic Scavengers. Players take turns to play cards from their hand, going around one action at a time, but pulling out and revealing their remaining cards when they’ve decided all they have left is going into buying new cards or the inevitable and ever shifting sandy battles. Those reveals allow them to draw back up and restart the cycle.
I can’t quite twig why someone would pre-order the enormously fancy $100 edition. I do remain curious though, as theoretically there’s room in my heart for a conflict filled economic deck-builder.
Tom: There’s a real treasure-trove of design diaries on this one, if you want to get your hype on for Dune 2: Shai-Huludaloo.
Ava: I am pleased to see there’s more detail available on what should actually be exciting about this game, as that implies that the hype-bowl could be full for reasons other than ‘sandworm enthusiasm’ and ‘enjoying saying Denis Villeneuve’s name’. Put that in your soup and smoke it.
Ava: I’m increasingly intrigued by the various kickstarters that crop up offering escape room style puzzles: They seem to have such wonderfully convoluted approaches to the sense of place that’s likely to be missing at home. Spectre and Vox was an utterly baffling kickstarter page to me initially, until I got about halfway down and realised that you were supposed to build a literal dollhouse and solve puzzles both inside it and in the interactive audio assistant alongside it. I also could have watched an entire three seconds into the video to figure out the same, but that would be breaking the habit of a lifetime.
Ava: When this dropped into the company slack, Quinns commended it for attempting to pitch the assembly of 296 pieces as the first bit of the puzzle, rather than simply the fact that it’s an enormously elaborate piece of kit that’s a craft project in and of itself. There’s a lot of ambition here, and a bundle of people who appear to have the history to pull it off. It’s still likely to be a very niche product, but I hope they manage to find the people who will absolutely want to dive into this audio augmented dollhouse mystery.
Tom: I just took a huge dive into the nostalgia of this spooky castle pop-up book that I had when I was but a boy – and I remember it as being much less delightfully crap than it looks in the cold light of age. An awful lot of that Kickstarter pitch excited the same part of my brain that loved that thing so much I eventually broke it – and as much as little Tom tried his best with pritt-stick and sellotape, the damage was done.
Hopefully the wooden construction of this haunted house will be a little more sturdy, when it arrives at my house tomorrow to ensure a glowing review *waggles eyebrows*
Ava: You absolutely cannot use the games news to bag yourself a £150 Haunted House
Tom: *waggling intensifies*
Ava: Alright, I’m shutting this down. Have a great week, everybody!