Tom: Games CHOOSE… your own adventure!
Ava: Ooh I love these. I head North.
Tom: Turn to page 1333. There is no news to the North, you have been eaten.
Ava: Oh wait, yes. I hate these. Let’s just news some news.
Ava: Okay. There’s a a surfeit of nostalgic RPGs and boardgames latching onto the 80s teen-horror stylings of Stranger Things and that ilk. I could just and move on from this one, but for one thing! My most particular weakness is a ridiculous name and a bisexual colour scheme.
The Snallygaster Situation is coming soon, and promises a co-operative mystery-machine in the world of Renegade’s ‘Kids on Bikes’ RPG system. Kids on Bikes wins a point for the most communicative three syllables in the role-playing scene. In the Snallygasting spinoff, one player will play ‘the lost kid’ (sound familiar), offering a series of clues to the rest of the team, but facing tough trade-offs between giving the best clue and the other side of the card, which controls and the monsters and cops move around the board. Once the team is reunited, they join forces to face down the titular snallygaster, or some other monster with a less delightful name.
Tom: ‘The Suffocating Nature of One’s Hometown’ or ‘Being a Teenager’?
Ava: Too real, too early.
Look, I know I’m not supposed to cover games which only have a box shot, but LOOK AT THAT BOX. The marketing, titling and theming game here is all strong enough to win a slot in the news. Well done those people.
Tom: All this has made me realise I do fancy a game where you get to play as exasperated law enforcement trying your best to hoik oiks out of storm drains.
Ava: Wait! Tom, The Snallygaster is a real thing? Well. A real folkloric thing. I just thought my spellcheck was malfunctioning. What a world!
Tom: It is what ate you on page 1333, after all.
Ava: Factions Battlegrounds has one of the most generic names I’ve ever come across, but its card based combat and bright, chunky art do make it stand out. That leaves us with a fancy little tactical battler built with, as it assures us, no dice, no decks, just PURE DECISIONS. It looks a little like Summoner Wars, with cards placed onto a grid to move and attack each other, but it adds a terrain based set up which should add a few more tactical and strategic offerings. The game is made by people of colour, with a specific mission to improve representation, which is exactly what we like to hear. There’s a nice little interview over on Blerd, if you’re interested in that side of things.. If you’re into it, jump on it quick, as it closes in three days.
Tom: I’m still hanging onto the ‘no dice or decks; only decisions’ situation here. I like to think that eventually board gamers will reach the peak of their powers when they exist purely in the imaginative space; like the people that were playing entire games of chess in the Twitch chat during AwSHUX. Be free of component restraints and project the game of your dreams into the hypnospace.
Ava: Free your mind and the board will follow.
I’m always thanking W Eric Martin for his round-ups of the Tokyo Game Market and similar Japanese events. Unfortunately, a lot of the games are either never going to get a worldwide release, or take a year or two to land. It’s a bit unsatisfying. Well maybe sometimes it isn’t?
Aqua Garden is inspired by Heaven and Ale, but swaps monks for fish, with no mention of monkfish. Its kickstarter bait consists of a lovely selection of printed wooden fish tokens that are just absolutely gorgeous. The game itself is what I think of as a ‘mopping-up rondel’ mechanic, where whoever is last on the round thing gets to go next, so you can jump ahead to make sure you get exactly what you need, but whoever is last gets to hoover up everyone else’s leavings. Players will be acquiring fish to display in their own little aquariums, and the copywriting in the ‘story’ is both lovely and ridiculous.
Ooh, I’m always a little reticent to link to a kickstarter for background material for RPGs, as it seems a little bit adrift from the Shut Up and Sit Down wheelhouse, but my word, do I love a mountain.
A packet of Particular peaks promises three different fantastical mountains to explore in the role playing system of your choice. That’s pretty damn charming if you ask me..
Tom: ‘TIS charming! I really appreciate things like this existing, if just for the thought of someone running a roleplaying campaign with deliriously detailed dream sequences and bog-standard ‘everything else’ sequences. Who could blame them, though? The art in this is bloody stunning and has set my imagination wild immediately, as intended.
Ava: Urgh! I’ve never seen a bit of news make me wince so hard.
Asmadi Games have potentially lost an entire container full of Goodest Puppers, their latest kickstarter. You can see Chris Cieslik, Asmadi’s big boss, laughing through gritted teeth in his first update, and there is a second update assuring that a new print run has already started just in case, but my word is that a tough bit of news. I got to check maritime news for the first time in my games news career, and thankfully, nobody was injured in the enormous storm, but 1800 containers are now at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Hopefully Asmadi can pull through this, it sounds like they’ve got a plan, but I’m sure it’s unsettled everyone. Good luck them games, puppers and businesses.
I’ve been sitting on this Tom Russell interview for a few weeks, and I think now’s the time. She’s a really interesting designer and half of the team running Hollandspiele, a company I absolutely want to learn more about.
Tom: Me too . I feel sort of guilty that the only games of hers I’ve played are Irish Gauge and Northern Pacific – both on the lightest end of the complexity scale offered – and there’s so much more to dig into, in the designing and publishing department. Erin Escabedo’s Meltwater: A Game Of Tactical Starvation? Sounds too grim to be true, but I do certainly want to sit down to it one day.
Ava: Tom Russel’s thoughts on wars and trains are fascinating. Though I’m also just tickled at how those are the two main themes of her work. We covered her Field of Cloth and Gold in these news pages though, and that was all about hosting a (very specific) party. Remind me to see if we can snag a copy of that at some point.
Tom: To the snagmobile!
Ava: There is no snag to the North. You have been eaten.