Games News! 07/10/13

mice, Batman: South Seas, horrible owls, sausage rolls, mystics, business models
Quinns: Happy Monday, everybody! How was your weekend? Team SU&SD spent ours road-testing Ultimate Werewolf, and after six hours of heavy drinking and heavier lynching, I’m proud to say all our friendships survived intact. A minor miracle, really. Expect a video of our exploits this Friday.

Lots of news this week, so let’s get cracking! And let’s kick off with the Kickstarter for Marrying Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Card Game. Which is… well, it’s a Pride & Prejudice card game.

Not sure what to add to this. I haven’t read Pride & Prejudice. I have read Austen’s Northanger Abbey though, which is her romance novel which is also a parody of Gothic romance novels at the time. Which was pretty interesting! I don’t know if I’d recommend it, but reading a novelist from a past age satirise another genre of novels from the same age was… kind of a trip?

Dreaming Spires

In other thematically highbrow news, Game Salute has announced Dreaming Spires, a game of managing a college of England’s own Oxford University.

In Dreaming Spires players lead an Oxford college from the medieval era through to the modern day. Choose which buildings to build, which scholars to admit and how to act in exciting events which pit the colleges against one another.

The eccentric characters and tumultuous events of Oxford’s history are brought to life in cards, featuring original illustrations, famous quotes and amusing written accounts. Beautiful artwork, rich theme and top quality components combine to transport you to “that sweet city with her dreaming spires!”

I went to Oxford, you know. I was working at a festival in the next village over and myself and I’d always go there to buy vodka and sausage rolls. Happiest days of my life.

Sukimono

Enough fannying around! Let’s look at the games this week that got me excited.

This is Sukimono, a Japanese game where everybody plays feudal merchants. It’s now on my radar because (a) look at it! It’s gorgeous, (b) I’m pretty seduced by the theme, and (c) you play it in real time.

The game starts with a number of “wanted objects” being placed on a central board. Each player will then pick up a deck of goods corresponding to the region of Japan their merchant is visiting, and in real time, everyone will go pawing through their decks selecting what they want to buy. Finally, players can sell these goods in the order they finish shopping. Oh, you managed to grab all that pottery! Great! Except Millicent got home first, plugged the demand and now they’re worthless. Oooh, you’ll get her next time.

Sounds absolutely wonderful to me. I’ll be grabbing this one the second the English version arrives.

Geistesblitz

The new edition of German game Geistesblitz sounds like it’ll be similarly cruel. I had a lovely gentleman come up to me at the Eurogamer expo and show me his import of an earlier edition, and I was so tired that I almost burst into tears at the concept.

The game’s wooden objects are first laid out on the table, between all the players. Then each round a card is drawn showing a few of those objects, and players race to grab the object on the table with none of the shapes or colours on the card.

Yes! It’s a counter-intuitive race. The horror. Worse, the new edition will bring with it some… additional problems.

  • “An object on the card is in its original color, in which case you must grab this object.”
  • “And if an owl appears in the picture, you must name the object instead of grabbing it.”
  • “And if the ghost appears with a clock, you must give the time on the clock instead of doing anything else.”
  • “And if the magic mirror shows up, none of the other rules apply and you just need to grab whichever object is reflected by the mirror!”

Is this a game? Really? I feel like it’s just water torture for hungover people.

Continuing our world tour, CV is an upcoming Polish game about desperately trying to retain control of your life in the face of luck, other people and haphazard prioritisation. The above 90 second video explains it much better than I could.

Quietly interested in this one. Heck, I’m interested in any game that looks like it could be vaguely existential. That said, 87 cards sounds a little thin for a game that that’s relying so heavily on its theme.

Carcassonne South Seas

Next up, Z-Man Games has released some images of Carcassonne South Seas! Everybody’s favourite family tile-laying game, but with a new setting and a new scoring mechaism involving first collecting goods, then shipping them home.

I can see a couple of problems with this one. For starters, I don’t really get who it’s for. If you like Carcassonne then you can always buy more expansions for it, and as a standalone game this doesn’t sound quite as cool as Carcassonne: The City.

But way worse is that the game of Carcassonne is named after the French town of Carcassonne, with its famous winding walls. “Carcassonne South Seas”? You might as well call your game Tales of the Arabian Nights: American Nights.

Jesus. Come to think of it, that would be amazing. Tales of the Arabian Nights, but you all play drifters getting into trouble across the USA.

Paul? Are you reading this? We need to get to work.

Mice & Mystics

AND FINALLY! Nobody from team SU&SD has actually played the (allegedly excellent) co-op miniatures game Mice & Mystics, but I’ve just noticed that Plaid Hat is selling additional print’n’play “chapters” for the game on its website at $0.99/each.

On the one hand, this seems like an entirely obvious thing for a board game designer to do. On the other, I’ve never seen an expansion for sale that’s quite this affordable. Good on you, Plaid Hat!

Yunnan

AND DOUBLE-FINALLY, the designer of Yunnan, that tea-trading game I was ogling last week, has posted a design diary on the unparallelled BoardGameGeek news. Go have a look! Listen to the clever man walk you through three years of work.

Every so often, someone at SU&SD is asked whether we’d design a board game. My answer’s always the same. I know how much work goes into these things, and I absolutely wouldn’t dare.