Games News! 11/11/13

inky cul-de-sacs, angle dogs, tragedy looper, Ensign Warr
Quinns: How is everybody? Are we all well? I’m at least partially recovered from a weekend spent doing laughably badly at Cutthroat Caverns. I’ve yet to live through a game. It’s almost as if everyone knows I’m a walking bag of lies with a will to win. Astounding game, though- expect plenty of coverage in the future.

The news this week that sent air whistling through the teeth of seasoned board gamers the world over was the announcement of Dead of Winter, the debut title in a new series of games from Plaid Hat entitled “Crossroads”.

You’ve got two reasons to be excited about this one, so take your pick: Either you can get all giddy because Crossroads games will all be meta-cooperative experiences with players operating in a fragile alliance, or because Plaid Hat have been going from strength to strength recently, and this is an idea they have enough confidence in to create an entire series.

A reason not be excited about Dead of Winter is that it’s yet another game themed around zombies. I don’t know how many titles it takes to drain a theme of all its wonder, but at least we’re finding out for future generations. Worse, as a negotiation / pseudo-cooperative game about zombies, Dead of Winter is in direct competition with SU&SD favourite City of Horror. That’ll be a hard fight to win.

On the other hand, with Archipelago still probably in the lead for our game of the year, it’s great to see other games exploring all the inky psychological cul-de-sacs that co-op games can occupy.

Archipelago

Speaking of dark psychological cul-de-sacs, Fantasy Flight have gone and did a preview of the unbearable, unbelievable, unpronounceable evils in the upcoming Eldritch Horror, their not-a-sequel to Arkham Horror.

There’s Azathoth: The Daemon Sultan, who wants to devour the world! His cultists fight in a slightly different way. And Yog-Sothoth: The Lurker at the Threshold! You’ll need to discard spells to beat him.

If I’m honest, the table gaming world’s treatment of Lovecraft’s intellectual property is starting to drive me mad, and probably not in the way the publishers intended. Those original stories are about the unknowable, about the strange stains on the edge of human consciousness, about dogs that can appear in angles of less than 90 degrees. The fact that Azathoth is even depicted on his card feels wrong to me, let alone that Fantasy Flight are previewing bad guys familiar to anyone who’s played Arkham Horror in Eldritch Horror to foster a bit of nostalgia and joy.

I mean, if you really DO love these concepts, you’ve got to realise that you’re killing them by putting them under such bright stage lights. Yes? No? Anybody? Maybe I’ll just shut up.

Space Station Argo

Space! It’s where the aliens live. It’s also where Serge Laget & the masterful Bruno Faidutti’s new game is set. The story of Space Station Argo is outlined in French and English on Bruno’s blog, but can be summarised as such: Fantasy Flight sat on it for a while, gave it back, and it’ll probably appear on crowdfunding sites very soon.

The game currently sounds… relatively mundane? I mean, players are all astronauts waking up out of cryo-sleep with their ship warning of both aliens and an imminent self-destruct sequence, which is obviously amazing. However, with no current mention of the mechanics, there’s only so much excitement uoi can squirt from Shut Up & Sit Down’s ever-hardening heart.

Bruno is, of course, the same man who brought us Mascarade, so with any luck we’ll see a very interesting reveal of how it plays accompanying the Kickstarter.

Tokyo Game Market 2013

The BGG News blog has posted a fascinating report (with lots of lovely photos) from the Tokyo Game Market 2013, Japan’s biggest board gaming event and a one-day market for independant designers to sell their wares.

Mostly, this confirmed for me that Japan is leaving the rest of the world light-years behind with their game names. Tragedy Looper? D.D. Dogma? Battle of Berserk!? Sold, sold, sold. Or, if you’re a very serious person and want a very serious reason to check that post out, do it for the pictures of Hau La, a game involving building upwards on rubber sticks. It’s like an uplifting Jenga.

Dreaming Spires

A few weeks back we covered the announcement of Dreaming Spires, a game of building England’s prestigious Oxford college. It’s not only now on Kickstarter, but already tumbling softly through its stretch goals.

It’s also the first game we’ve covered in forever to actually be designed here in the UK. Did you guys know board game sales are skyrocketing everywhere, but the UK’s lagging way, way behind? Sort it out, English readers! Spread the gospel!

Space Cadets

AND FINALLY! Team SU&SD assembled to film a Let’s Play of the mighty Space Cadets this weekend, which will be going live this Friday. Photo posted here (a) as a teaser, and (b) because it’s the best photograph of Brendan ever.

So, if I told you our roles were…

Matt Lees: Captain & Engineering

Quinns: Helmsman & Jump Drive

Paul: Shields & Damage Control

Pip: Sensors & Tractor Beam

Brendan: Weapons

I think you should all definitely start placing bets on how we did.