Games News! 05/11/18
Matt: I’d really rather stay under here, Quinns – it’s cold up there and I’m ever so toasty in my nest of chewed-up Netrunner cards.
Quinns: If you won’t come to the news, then the news will COME TO YOU
Matt: Please stop inserting stories into my mouth and face, I’ll do the news I’ll do it I will
The first of today’s news items that have been rudely placed into my mouth – it’s an expansion for Detective: L.A. Crimes! I personally poked a bit of fun about the extensively *detailed* descriptions in Detective back on podcast #83, but aside from the frankly bizarre fixation on how many corridors are being walked down and what the police are having for lunch, there’s something undeniably cool about the formula. L.A. promises profanity, palm trees, and morally-questionable activities to take part in. And so does the expansion!
The appeal of being a naughty 1980s cop is strong enough to re-pique my interest in Detective – in this setting it feels far less ridiculous to suggest that the police force runs on salad and coke.
Quinns: An expansion for Geoff Engelstein’s The Expanse board game is on the way! Doors and Corners will add five new modules to the game of area control and intellectual property-embiggenment, including Leaders, New Tech, and the haunting Protomolecule.
Will this finally convince us to play The Expanse Board Game, which is supposedly quite good but also a dismal example of Wizkids’ half-assed art direction and product design? Only time will tell.
Matt: Gosh I wish this one wasn’t a Wizkids production – I’m a gigantic fan of the TV show, and while the early episodes of the show were notably wonky, it’s really grown into something remarkably slick.
Quinns: Isn’t the show ace? I think I love every character except for Jim Holden, who is like Jon Snow on methadone. Maybe he’s better in the books?
Matt: THE BEARS ARE LOOSE, I REPEAT: THE BEARS ARE LOOSE. Everybody tried to warn Doctor HuffenBärer that the idea of a park full of bears was mad folly – there’s no way to physically contain a bear, bears are one hundred times stronger than humans, and bears do not adhere to the laws of physics. HuffenBärer’s ‘Prime Hypothesis’ implied that keeping different types of bears in separate enclosures might dampen the overall reach of their powers, but this was proven false in 1998 when his “Bärenpark” collapsed, leaving the Southern Hemisphere of the world under the vicious reign of bear we know today.
Continuing the cardboard re-enactment of this woeful saga within human history, ‘Die Grizzlies sind los!’ is the expansion to the utterly fabulous Bärenpark – a simple and deeply satisfying tile-placement game that wholly fails to depict the gross hubris and horror of Dr. HuffenBärer’s folly.
The expansion adds new objective cards, as well as a brand new type of bear called a “Grizzly Bear” that takes up a lot of room and isn’t super-friendly. Cramming in additional hairy things means that parks can also now be a whole tile bigger, and, terrifyingly for people like me who love the idea of additional complexity but tend to unravel when faced with it, you can build monorails around your park, providing you’ve placed concrete pillars appropriately. As a man who’s yet to play a game of NMBR 9 that hasn’t involved a moment where I physically scream, I’m both delighted by this and absolutely petrified.
Quinns: Being a boring man with a framed certificate in Boring, I’m more excited by this expansion’s fifth bare tile than I am for the actual bears. I personally felt that Barenpark ended just a tiny bit early. Making players fill up five park tiles instead of four should be perfect.
Quinns: The announcement of Patchwork Doodle caught my eye this week. It seems like a monument to the year 2018- a Tetris-powered roll’n’write based on Uwe Rosenberg’s smash hit Patchwork, it’s riding the zeitgeist as hard as that little metaphorical pony can go.
Players in Patchwork Doodle will take turns picking an awkward polyomino, and then everyone will have to draw that shape onto their sheet. But wait, there’s (a tiny bit) more! Players also have three skills that they can use in the game, such as slicing polyominos in half or REBELLING and drawing a completely different shape than the one they were assigned.
I tease, but I’d play the heck out of this. Oh, and speaking of roll-n-writes, if you fancy some free entertainment then definitely check out the winners of this year’s global roll-n-write game jam, all of which are available as print-n-plays. Instead of buying a board game this week, why not download a variety of free, autumn-themed games?
…And speaking of that game jam, and also tetris-powered roll-and-writes, I’ve just seen that the winner of the jam got sent a copy of Tag City, a graffiti-themed roll’n’write that got released at Essen. Look at it! I’d playtest the heck out of this. (Are you reading this, Runes Editions? Can we have a copy?)
Up next is YET MORE GOOD-LOOKIN’ KICKSTARTERS. Oh my goodness. Is the perceived wisdom that it’s best to launch your project in November? Or have the stars merely aligned into a stellar simulacra of the Kickstarter logo?
Matt: With a pitch video so cheesy that my eyes are now brie, CMON are Kickstarting Project: ELITE – their new edition of the 2016 cult hit (seen here). Players work together to “kill aliens” by rolling dice and taking actions in real-time for a hot two minutes, after which point the aliens retaliate and hopefully everyone important survives.
The aesthetic improvement in this edition is wild, transforming basic art design and gloopy-lookin’ miniatures into a box that gleams with gunmetal and pulp sci-fi nostalgia. The one rule here that pops off the page here is that every time you roll a dice there’s a one in six chance it will activate an alien that you’ll then have to move a bit closer to its objective, and then presumably briefly argue later about WHO MOVED THIS BIG GUY RIGHT NEXT TO ME, HELP
The first game was a straightforward mix of worker placement and dice combat, but with this second game in the series, I have no idea what I’m looking at. It’s certainly a much more ambitious box. Players battle monsters, as before, but also lay waste to farms, towers and walls, collect a variety of upgrades for their personal longboat, and finally there are Reavers, special hero cards which can be deployed in a variety of ways.
Quinns: We liked Champions of Midgard as a breezy game of chucking dice. Reavers is set to make it less breezy and less dice-chucky. I don’t know what to think!
Matt: Kids love to reave Quinns, it’s all about Reavin’ in 2018. Speaking of which, “travel the world and do awful deeds” is the first line of text I read from today’s final hyperlink, whispering straight into the cracks in my soul. Thousand Year Old Vampire: A Roleplaying Game is designed to be played alone, be can be played with other humans.
Fascinatingly, the core of the game is all about memories – you answer prompts that the game gives you, and the answers to these questions then fill up your diary. But, as with real life, you can only ever have FIVE memories. As new things happen, you forget who you were, what you did, what toast tasted like, and the literal meaning of the word “rollercoaster”.
It’s a brilliant premise, and very cool to see horror as the foundation for a focus on loneliness, senility, and literally being an ancient vampire – three topics to which I can personally relate.
Will you hold dear your grasp on what it means to be human, or will you eat the face of a stranger whilst haunted by the extended works of Boney M? “Things will go terribly wrong in ways you could never predict”, calmly explains the Kickstarter page – bringing us neatly to our final point of order:
Quinns: I am going to order so many bandannas for us to wear. We’re going to push the envelope when it comes to wearing bandannas. You’ll see.
Matt: I honestly can’t wait.