Paul: So I’ve been looking at the Games News Style Guide don’t like the idea of Games News “coming at you” because that gives me the impression of some sort of oncoming, impending, unstoppable, inevitable, colossus of a thing that rolls through your front door. You know, sort of like…
Quinns: A monster? A disaster?
Paul: Right. And I don’t want people to associate us with disasters.
Quinns: No, I want Games News to be the opposite of a disaster. What’s the opposite of a disaster? A… a balm. I want Games News to be a sort of gentle, soothing, relaxing experience. I want Games News to be something you can rub all over your body to make your day infinitely better. Yeah, that’s right. So, with that in mind, let’s give our readers things they would just love to smear all over themselves. Like these Mage Wars tiles.
Paul: Oh God they’re so moist.
Quinns: Feel them slide all over your body, Paul. In any order you choose! Mage Wars Arena: Battlegrounds: Domination isn’t just a huge title, it’s a forthcoming expansion for the mad game of Mage Wars (see our review). Obviously there’s new spells but, in addition, there’s all these new tiles that completely change how the board works and even add optional terrain rules.
Paul: I love terrain. It’s my favourite thing. I love walking over it and feeling its little terrainy bits sliding gently between my toes. This looks like a really cool addition to a game that already had so many elements. It’s a bit like getting Lego for Christmas which you can then mix with all your other Lego so that you just have more Lego.
And speaking of Lego, did you notice that Chaosium have re-assembled their classic lineup, clicking two of their most important members back into place? In a recent Kickstarter announcement, they confirmed that founder Greg Stafford is now President and legendary designer Sandy Petersen is also back on the team. Apparently their plan is to smooth over some company problems they have right now and then “Return to regularly making awesome new games.” So this could be an ongoing thing.
Quinns: I did. I did actually notice this, because designer James Wallis was very excited about it. What these designers did might have been a little before our time, but their influence trickles down like warm water from a broken shower head and I, for one, want to be standing under that thing when it starts dripping again.
And speaking things that gush, Stronghold are just gushing out games right n-
Quinns: But they are. They’ve just announced both Porta Nigra (above) and Golden Ages (both). Have you seen these?
Paul: Yes, I have, Quinns. I pointed my head and eyes directly at them and you know what I saw? The description for Porta Nigra. It got me all excited about “the largest Roman city north of the Alps” but then less excited when I saw it would put me in charge of builders working on… a gate? But then more excited again as it seems that I don’t just work on the gate, but build all sorts of things and watch them grow as tangible 3D structures that rise out of the board like muffins in a tray.
It was an emotional rollercoaster of excitement, disappointment, expectation and muffinery. But the sort of balmy and smooshy muffins I could rub all over myself, in accordance with our new policy.
Golden Ages, however, just intrigued me right away. A civilisation-building game that spans four eras of history?
Quinns: You can discover new continents, build cities, invent new technology, do An Art or erect buildings. There are different ways to score points for your achievements, so during different eras, different strategies are more useful.
Paul: So my erections might be more or less valuable at different times?
Quinns: Just like in real life.
Paul: Well, something else that also exists in real life is France, home of calming, soothing things like coffee and enemas. And guess what! Kickstarter has now opened its door to France, and already we’re seeing interesting ideas cropping up.
There’s 10 Minutes to Kill, a very fast and very ruthless game of bluffing and deduction where everybody plays hitmen trying to take down three other targets without revealing who they themselves are. You just sneak quietly around the board, try to mingle with the crowd and, oh my! Suddenly, somebody’s dead. Then the police being to arrive and you try to get them to arrest your opponents rather than yourself.
Quinns: It’s so simple and it’s no wonder it’s already sailed past its funding goal.
Another French Kickstarter is Deal, a grand, bilingual game of drug-dealing packed into a delightfully small box. The game itself isn’t bilingual, mind, I just mean that it comes in both French and English, wh-
Paul: Like Canada! So is it set in Canada?
Quinns: I think Canada is far too pleasant a setting for this all this ruthless trafficking. No, it’s mainly set in the United States and South America, with players striking deals or, sometimes, spilling blood whenever the drugs trade demands it. It looks pretty dark, both in terms of theme and in that grim, oily-black board. Just as you’d expect in the drugs trade, there’s a fair amount of deception and deceit here, with secret objectives, the chance to go back on your word and even the possibility that your drug lord might get whacked. Player elimination!
Who knows if it’ll be any good, but I’ll tell you what- I actually really like the theme. I like the little white dope cubes, I like the stark, black map of the Americas and I like how the vibrant wooden pieces look on it (if you look at the very top of this article). I also like the idea of an economy management game where your friends can interrupt your convoy at any step of the way.
Paul: I guess we should close with something lighter, right? The last item on our liquid, skin-treatment buffet of happiness is “German Tag.” You’ve put down here that it was the winner of “Fumplestuff’s Game of the Year award.”
Quinns: Paul, this isn’t a real thing. It’s a parody of tag and German-style board games, or eurogames.
Paul: Oh. For a second there I was a little bit excited.
Quinns: Less excitement, remember? More soothing. More balms. Games News isn’t coming at you, it’s gently sliding over you. Gentle. Cool. Calming.
Paul: Mm. Tag. Soothing tag. German tag. Guten Tag!