Games News! 09/07/18

war all the way down, weighty buffoonery, hang on a sec an entire box of cornflakes
Paul: It’s HOT today and it’s only going to get hotter as the week goes on, meaning the Shut Up & Sit Down News Room (at the very top of Pear Towers, 1 Pear Street, London, W1 1AA) is absolutely sweltering. Quinns and I can’t get too close in case we stick together like a pair of softening gummy bears.

Quinns: Do you know what the opposite of a softening gummy bear is?

Games Workshop’s new announcement, KILL TEAM.

Set in their immensely profitable Warhammer 40,000 universe, Kill Team will be a new small-scale wargame involving competing teams of best friends who love killing. “But who is the best at killing?” they wonder. “Let’s find out!” The game itself has just a handful of miniatures on each side, with a focus on terrain, missions and rich squad customisation.

In other words, if you want to get involved in 40k, you’ll soon be able to dip your toe in those gory waters by buying just a few miniatures and playing a special game on a much smaller table. And just as with Shadespire, Games Workshop’s new game in their Fantasy universe, the models you buy are totally compatible if you decide to step up to the bigger game.

Honestly, I can only applaud Games Workshop for every step they take on the road to “Being a modern gaming company”. The only disappointing thing about Kill Team is that GW have said it’s from “the team behind Shadespire”. Shadespire was a fine concept, but here at SU&SD we’re not enamoured of how the design actually plays. In fact, I even heard the same thing from people at the UK Games Expo who were playing in the Shadespire tournament. That they loved it more in theory than in practice.

Paul: I know what the world needs. The world needs a game inside a wallet and that is exactly what Cryptozoic are doing with an English language edition of… Wallet. With zippers, pockets and “identification from around the world”, Wallet is a very odd-sounding game where “players compete to find money and an ID that will convince the cops of their innocence.” Wait, what?

Yep. In what Cryptozoic are saying will be fast-paced rounds of “just ten minutes”, players will rifle in this prop wallet in the hope of escaping punishment, putting cards in it that presumably slow their opponents down, while also snatching whatever they think makes them look more credible. Credibility, it turns out, comes from having only one form of ID and no more than two types of currency to show the authorities. That sounds like bizarre criteria out of something like The Master and Margarita if you ask me, but Cryptozoic did give us the tremendous Spyfall and so their next party game is surely worth keeping one, two, or all three of your eyes on.

Quinns: Paul have you seen this.

Paul: oh no

Quinns: In their upcoming miniatures game Cthulhu: Death May Die, CMON are making a giant cthulhu miniature the size of an action figure. I’m not even sure this is technically a miniature anymore.

Paul: It is very big and of course confirms that big things are always better. Also where would you put it and what is it for and do you need it and i guess you can spend your money how you want to after all people buy all sorts of big models and figures and enjoy painting them and displaying them so it is okay and sometimes we should all be silly like i often eat an entire box of sainsbury’s chocolate corn flakes in one sitting and this is basically that

phew at least there isn’t any more lovecraft stuff out there oh no Mansions of Madness: Horrific Journeys

Quinns: Yes! Cthulhu: Death May Day is visually very similar to Mansions of Madness, so I thought it was worth mentioning that Fantasy Flight Games are continuing to expand the second edition. We weren’t huge fans of Mansions 2nd edition but it is undeniably glossy and grand in every incarnation.

Paul: Look at those lovely sculpts! The artists working on so many of Fantasy Flight’s properties continue to produce terrific work, too. I think there’s a hundred games out there I’d recommend before Mansions of Madness, but I guess people like to buy Nice Things and, if they’ve already bought into this rather random and rambunctious thing, they very likely want More of the Same.

Quinns: Speaking of Nice Things, fabulous artist Kwanchai Moriya (who was kind enough to design last year’s SHUX poster) has revealed that he’s designed an all-new edition of lovely card game The Game. That’s very welcome, because in addition to having a terrible name, The Game had one of the most boring aesthetics I’ve ever seen. It was like a fake card game you’d find on a shelf in an IKEA showroom.

By the way, The Game is not to be confused with The Mind! We think The Game is a nice bit of fun, but it was The Mind that won our coveted SU&SD Recommends badge.

Paul: aaaah what in butter’s name is happening

Quinns: LOOK AT THE TINY BARREL. Matt and I really enjoyed Celestial in our review, and while the first expansion (a slim deck of cards) didn’t excite us enormously, the upcoming second expansion, A Little Initiative, looks just awesome. With this expansion, in addition to players having to decide when to disembark from the rickety boat that you all share, players can optionally flee in a private rowboat with its own rules, at which point “The game continues until both boats crash.”

Paul: That looks like something you get into before you ride over Niagara Falls. Is it meant to be that comical? Surely it is? We both immediately chuckled as we looked at this and the idea of anyone reflexively, spasmodically abandoning ship, even the captain, to flee in this deathtrap, is pretty good. I think base Celestia doesn’t quite have enough room for deviousness and double-crossing, but with this and the previous expansion A Little Help, I think it might starting to really throw its weight around with our other favourite games of bluffing and buffoonery.

Quinns: Exactly! It wouldn’t be the first time that a game has been elevated by an expansion. We liked but didn’t love Colt Express until the Horses & Stagecoach expansion quite literally gave it depth by adding a third dimension.

Paul: Quinns, I’ve just realised where I can put that giant CMON Cthulhu miniature. I can put it in my new ULTIMATE BOARDGAME BACKPACK before I cycle over to your house (and don’t laugh, but I did use to cycle over to people’s houses with all my roleplaying stuff in my backback, Star Wars and Warhammer books bouncing against my back as I huffed up another Hampshire hill).

Quinns: There are just three days left on this Kickstarter, and I’m relieved we caught it in time. Our editorial staff are often guilty of rolling our eyes at board game hobby accessories like recessed tables or even the industry’s beloved Quiver carrying case (which is a lovely solution for CCG/LCG addicts). Why not just put the money towards a good, multipurpose table or a nice bag?

With this backpack, that wasn’t the case. We were sold immediately. Our team routinely has to carry enormous games to each other’s houses, and a pack like this would be immensely useful.

Paul: Part of me wonders how much this is a “strong board games backpack” versus “just a strong backpack generally” that all sorts of people might find useful for carry large, bulk items. Sure, if you buy it for board games, that’s great, but I don’t think it’s a one-trick pony either. It’s waterproof and padded and reinforced and may be tougher than me and SOMETIMES I DO BOXING QUINNS. Would this bag beat me in a fight?

Quinns: Yes.

Finally, here’s a nice thing I found on Reddit’s board game discussion board. A list collecting the 5 most popular games of each year since 1968, according to Board Game Geek’s dedicated but unrepresentative user base.

Paul: I love that, in 1972, with Watergate raging and political unrest all over the world, one of the best games seems to have been BOGGLE. I suppose you need something agreeable and inoffensive like that to carry you away from harsh political realities. Also, this is a reminder of how wargames have been so popular for so long and, even if they’re increasingly a niche in this ever-broadening hobby, we can’t deny that their influence echoes down over the years. I don’t think I’m going to ever play Panzergruppe Guderian, but I’m sure it’s left footprints firm enough that other designers have stepped in them since.

Though THAT SAID, I’m rummaging through all these titles and seeing all sorts of things that might be ripe for reinvention. B-17: Queen of the Skies! I would absolutely play a game about managing a fleet of bombers and their crews, especially if it was polished a bit for our new millennium. Hasbro own Avalon Hill now, so perhaps this is something they might consider revisiting?

Quinns: Mm. Reading Playing at the World taught me that basically all games trace some of their DNA back to Dungeons & Dragons, but Dungeons & Dragons was born out of wargaming. This hobby is war all the way down.

Paul: All the way back to the inventor of war, Kenneth War, who first had the idea of fighting someone in 1922, while sat on his couch in Woolwich and listening to the wireless.