Ava: Welcome… to the Newsdome! And welcome our latest challenger, Tom Brewster, despoiler of news.
Tom: I WILL RIDE THE CARDBOARD CHARIOT OF NEWS INTO THE SUN.
Ava: Okay Tom, calm down a second, this is just what we call a riff.
Tom: TWO NEWS ENTER! ONE NEWS LEAVE!
Ava: *pinches nose* That’s not how this works! Not to mention I’m definitely Tina Turner in this situation. Let’s just write about some games.
Ava: Pick a film that you’d least expect to ever be made into a board game. No, not that one, a different one. Yup. That one.
The Shining is coming out soon from Prospero Hall, and honestly, I’m still reeling from that announcement. It promises a three to five player semi co-operative game of rushing about a haunted hotel and trying to build up the willpower to resist the gushing blood, weird twins, creepy bartenders and god I really love the carpet actually. As if that’s not enough, one of you might secretly be Jack Nicholson with an axe and a limp.
I’m speechless. And it only took me twelve goes to figure out how to spell Jack Nicholson’s name.
Matt: Jack Nichololson, more like.
Tom: I suspect this might have a feel akin to other licensed games that promise to ‘rewrite the show/film’ etc in your own terms; but will actually feel like misremembering the events of said film after a few pints. Having said that I have been playing an awful lot of Awaken Realms’ ‘Nemesis’ recently, which is basically one phallic symbol away from a lawsuit with Ridley Scott, and it is a blast. I’m not sure if the semi-cooperative aspect will gel as well with the theme in this game, but I suppose we’ll wait and see.
Ava: Odds on there’s a ‘Here’s Johnny’ card.
Tom: I’d say about 237/1.
Ava: If anyone wants to start a pool about the least likely films to be made into games, I wouldn’t stop you.
You know who (I’m pretty sure) won’t chase you with an axe and then freeze to death in a hedge maze? Why, it’s Elizabeth Hargrave, still flying high on the wind beneath her Wingspan, the game that won last year’s kennerspiel des jahres and wowed the world with a deckful of beautiful birdies. If you were wondering how you follow up a game about bird habitats, now you know. Different flappers, and this time they’re migrating.
Ava: Mariposas is Elizabeth Hargrave’s new game, about butterfly migration up and down the east of North America. The game will imitate the movements of the titular flutterbys and take place over three seasons. In Spring you’ll head north, in the Summer you’ll breed like the brightly coloured bugs you are, and in the Autumn, you’ll head back down South. Just like real life, at the end of each season you count up points based on what exactly your butterflies have been doing.
Tom: Dang, all my butterflies have taken up arson, hard drugs and littering, meaning I get… 100 points?
Matt: Mine are just into hard littering, what does that mean
Ava: Details of the scoring system and just how delinquent you can get the pretty little insects have yet to emerge. We’ll keep you updated, and we’ll keep Tom well away from any lepidopteraria, just in case.
Ava: So. Two games I don’t know much about are getting a big box new edition, and I’m moved to write about it. Why is that? Well, in ‘new lows for shallow reasons Ava selects a bit of news’, it’s because I can’t say the word Rococo without singing it five times to the tune of that Arcade Fire song. Maybe we can do a newscorcism?
Economic heavyweights, Rococo and Kanban are both getting new overhauled editions, with fancier arts, bigger boxes, and a few expansions thrown in.
Rococo, a game of making fancy frocks for palace dwelling French wig-wearers has the honour of being a game I’ve been told I’ll like but always irrationally turn my nose up at. The first time I saw Rococo was when I got to a boardgame night late, and had to watch people play their final turn and do all the scoring. Oh my word, there’s nothing more off-putting about a fairly convoluted system of bonuses, efficiencies and other crunchy decisions points, than watching people agonise over it completely devoid of any context. I love that stuff when I’m in it, but watching the economic sausage get calculated is…not the best.
I know even less about Kanban. I was going to say ‘but I bet there’s not been any over-emotional indie song about it.’ But I googled it, and I was wrong. Thanks for ruining my joke, earnest songster Gudmundur Runar.
The latest edition of Vital Lacerda’s game will be called Kanban EV. Producing electric cars this time, you’ll be building machinery on enormous production lines and pushing for efficiencies and the prestige of being the best employer.
Tom: It’s a game where the theme is the engine behind it, akin to my recent favourite euro-em-up Pipeline. This also has artwork from Ian O’Toole, so perhaps we’re seeing the pieces of another winner slowly come together?
Ava: I believe this is the game with the mechanic where you only get points for things if you do them while the boss is looking? That’s all a little bit too realistic for my tastes, but it must be doing something right to exist in three different versions.
Tom: Ava. Ava.
Tom: There’s no bosses here today. It’s just us!
Ava: WHAT!! WHY ARE WE EVEN WRITING!?
Tom: We’re doing it for the news, Ava. Think of the news.
Matt: You do both realise that I edit the news and upload it after you’ve written it, right? And that I’m then able to throw in comments before it goes online, and appear to be joining in with conversations that – in actuality – took place more than six hours ago? Hello? HELLO? ANSWER ME
Ava: Kemet’s an absolute fave around these parts, with the punchiest punching, the pointiest pyramids and the most extensive wine list. Matt recently delved into both expansions, and reviewed them both just to give more coverage to the game. Will Kemet end up being the game we review three times? We’ll find out soon, apparently.
Matt: It’s the Stargate / Groundhog Day crossover that the world’s been patiently waiting for.
Kemet: Blood and Sand isn’t a Playstation game about 50 Cent, but an updated version of pyramid bopping Egyptians-on-a-map game of the slightly shorter title. New artier art, nebulously improved gameplay and a rulebook overhaul are promised. I am very unclear on how much difference these will make, except perhaps giving conniptions to people with an old copy wondering if it’s worth upgrading.
Tom: ‘The game also features a redesigned map with a twist, bigger and more detailed figurines, and other surprises’. So mysterious, Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage! I’m excited about the last part of that sentence. Perhaps this edition will come with real sand and real blood?
Ava: It is always disappointing when you have to provide your own components.
Ava: It’s been so long since I last shouted about how much I love W Eric Martin’s Japanese game round-ups (last week), that he’s only gone and done two more!
Check them out for such delights as Hyper Super Yoga, a game of hyperextensible limbs, or Rolling Shibahama, which requires you to be successful fish merchant without succumbing to alcoholism. It’s all just a bit too real. Or too unreal. I don’t really mind which, I just hope more of these games make it across the oceans and onto my table.
In pretty bleak news, just a little late for last week’s news, it was announced that Fantasy Flight have closed their interactive and RPG departments. Loads of people have lost jobs, so it’s pretty hard to make jokes here. Two presumably slightly less profitable departments have been sloughed off, possibly to make the parent company more attractive for sale. It’s a real shame, and that’s all I can say, really.
Good luck to everyone who has lost work at the hands of this.
Tom: I’ve waited long enough, can we please talk about COSMIC FROG? A game of STRATEGIC GLUTTONY?
Ava: Take it away, Brewster.
Tom: Several things leap out at me when stare deeply into the eyes of ‘Cosmic Frog, a game of collection, combat and theft on a planetary scale’ from Devious Weasel. First, it’s called Cosmic Frog. Second, the publisher’s description features the line:
‘Once on the Shard, you harvest land and store it in your massive gullet. When your gullet is sufficiently full, you leap into the Aether and disgorge your gullet contents into your inter-dimensional vault for permanent storage’
Lastly, the box art. I need it. It looks like… well it looks like a cosmic frog, if I’m being honest.
Ava: It’s hard to parse the fluff to work out what you actually do in the game, but there’s some set collection, some psych-rock box art, and the subtitle is ‘World Eaters from Dimension Zero’, which sounds like the villains from a Saturday morning cartoon.
Tom: The game could be terrible – you’re right about the fluff making it almost impossible to understand the actual mechanics of the game. But if it is terrible, at least it’s a weird crazy theme that’s coming to a shelf near you, taking up space that instead might have gone to ‘Planet Combat 3: Dudes doing Space’.
Ava: Apparently, you have to worry about how you’re going to deal with Aether Flux AND Splinters of Aeth? It’s going to be a bumpy frog-rodeo, if you ask me.
Tom: DID I WIN THE NEWS? AM I THE CHAMPION OF THE NEWSDOME?
Ava: There is no winner, only news.
Tom: WRONG FRANCHISE, AVA. WRONG FRANCHISE.
Ava: Damn. I think you won the news, Tom.
Tom: MAD MAX JOKE