Games News! 13/03/2017

hidden royalty, leverage your swans, sonar talents, jamiroquai, verdun
Quinns: OH MY GOD YOU’RE BACK.

Paul: OH MY GOD I’M BACK.

Quinns: OH MY GOD.

Paul: Did I miss anything while I was aw-

Quinns: ONLY THE GIGANTIC RISING SUN KICKSTARTER, THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE GRIZZLED, THE BIG NEWS ABOUT RUNE WARS AND THIS CRAZY NEW MUSIC MIXING GAME.

Paul: …Were you eating properly while I was gone?

Quinns: Oops. I’m going to go and inhale a grapefruit.

Paul: Our top story is the millions of dollars being hurled at the Kickstarter for Rising Sun, Eric Lang’s spiritual successor to Blood Rage (which we reviewed here). It’s currently just shy of two million dollars, which is a lot of dollars. It may even be most of the dollars that there are in the world. Is there any money left any more? Has it all gone to publishers CMON? Probably.

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Sure, I thought Rising Sun was interesting when I got a first look at it at BGGCon at the end of last year, but I never expected this waterfall of money. That said, we do have another example here of a project that perfectly pitches to the Kickstarter audience: lots of miniatures, plus hundreds of extra tokens, coins and playing pieces. This is an exciting prospect.

Quinns: It sure is. I love that it’s pitched a more ‘diplomatic’ game than Blood Rage, with players forging and breaking alliances, and I love that as part of the Kickstarter stretch goals they’re just turning everything into plastic. Including lots of cards! What a treat.

But to any SU&SD fans with a limited budget, I’ve got to point out that $100 plus shipping is the cost of two amazing games that have been out for a few years. The classic game of war, diplomacy and betrayal is REX (previously known as the Dune board game) and that’s literally half the price, so you could buy it and have enough left over for the Game of Thrones board game. Let the rich kids subscribe to the cult of the new, eh? With a little patience you could have twice as many board games for the same money.

Paul: Terrific advice! Although you sound a bit like their Dad.

Quinns: If only they knew…

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THE MONSTERS ARE COMING. Fantasy Flight announced the Runewars miniatures game last summer and we were immediately interested, our ears pricked and our tails wagging. This look like a fighting-fit competitor in the tabletop scene, and Fantasy Flight knows it. They’ve just announced six expansions, including special heroes, carrion laners and rune golems, all of which look like very finely-crafted folk.

Paul: Yep, my whiskers are definitely bristling and I hope that Runewars finds the level of success that Fantasy Flight hope for, meaning we’ll get more support for it, more expansions and more variety in the miniatures gaming scene.

The thing is, I have absolutely no investment in their fantasy world of Terrinoth. Do I need to, to enjoy this? Maybe not, but I grew up with a lot of generic fantasy and I really crave something that stands out. Runewars isn’t doing that for me yet, especially compared to the incredible settings of the miniatures games that Eric’s been reviewing for us.

I tell you what does stand out for me right now, though, and that’s the headline “Princess Jing is a bluffing game 18 years in the making inspired by a Michael Jackson music video.” That, right there, is the type of headline most editors never even get to imagine, let alone write. What’s even more extraordinary is it’s not even clear which Michael Jackson video inspired this game. What the hell. Still, we at least know what it’s all about now.

Quinns: After wondering what exactly Princess Jing was a few months back, we now know it happens to be the EXACT OPPOSITE of Runewars’ grand fantasy combat, instead involving both players trying to smuggle princesses across to the other side of the board, bluffing and hiding them behind different columns, even trying to avoid characters equipped with real mirrors that might give a glimpse of a hidden royalty. There are just not enough mirrors in board games. Maybe there’s not enough Michael Jackson inspiration either?

DROPMIX+Board

Paul: I don’t know. I just re-watched the bit from Moonwalker where he turns into a robot and it’s SO BAD. But! While we’re on the subject of music, I was knocked sideways this week by the news of Dropmix, a collaboration between Harmonix (designers of Rock Band) and Hasbro. Players will mix and mash-up different songs by slotting special chip-infused cards into a magical deck device that connects to a phone or tablet.

Each card features part of a famous song by a famous modern artist (like, I don’t know, Jamiroquai), but that part may only be the bass line, or vocals, or melody. You link these parts of different songs together to score points and, hopefully, also create pumpin’ new mixes. It looks like Dropmix won’t just be a self-contained game, but will constantly see new cards added as expansions, making it a kind of collectible card game. I don’t know if Dropmix is the sort of thing I’d want to play a lot of, but I’m really glad it exists and I think a lot of people are going to have fun with it.

Quinns: This is so cool. It’s outrageously cool. I want to get rich and buy this for all the kids in the world. “Ol’ daddy Dropmix,” they’ll call me.

Paul: Did you eat that grapefruit or-

Quinns: It got stuck up my nose

You know what the EXACT OPPOSITE of musical party games is? War. Specifically, war in trenches.

If you’re not likely to try much Dropmix, perhaps you’d be interested in trying a new, standalone campaign for the grim French card game The Grizzled? After the popularity of last year’s expansion At Your Orders! it looks like Sweet Games are going over the top once again, with this new title divided into themed chapters. They haven’t actually announced its title or release date yet, but since when did details like those matter?

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Paul: Speaking of being detailed, we’ve just today heard about The Palace of Mad King Ludwig, Ted Alspach’s latest tile-laying game and the sequel to Castles of Mad King Ludwig (itself a kind of a sequel to the lovely Suburbia). Sharp-eyed architects will have noticed the singular “Palace” in the title as, instead of separately building your own rather chaotic structures, this game has everyone working together on the same palace, adding rooms one at a time as an ornamental moat slowly forms around the outside. The winner is the player who makes the most influential contributions to the overembellished palace before the moat surrounds it all.

Since I’m a sucker for embellished, Romantic art, I absolutely must give this a try, but can it top either Castles or Suburbia? The concept doesn’t grab me as much, but if Alspach can win my heart three times in a row I might as well just go ahead and propose.

Quinns: I just read the back of the box. “Arrange and complete different room types, while leveraging clever placement of swans.” Leveraging swans? Insta-buy.

Quinns: How appropriate that we all know the EXACT OPPOSITE of palaces is submarines. Before we get off the expansion train, there’s also Captain Sonar: Upgrade 1, a title that immediately suggests there’s even more to come for this game of submarine sneakery. This first upgrade introduces new maps for you to chase each other around, including some currents that shift the position of your sub, plus new special weapons that you can swap out each time you surface. So just surface as much as your heart desires. What could possibly go wrong?

Paul: Nothing! Nothing ever goes wrong in Captain Sonar. In fact, I won every game we played at GDC. Which surely speaks to my Sonar talents.

Quinns: That’s good.

Paul: It’s good.

Quinns: Did you really win every game?

Paul: Yes.

Quinns: …Seriously?

Paul: WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO BELIEVE

Quinns: No reason!

Well, you know what the EXACT OPPOSITE of elaborate, miniatures-heavy wargames is? It’s good old Codenames.

It seems not a week passes without Czech Games Edition teasing some new variant – and box colour! – of Codenames, and this week we noticed the above tweet about Codenames Duet. We can guess that this will be a 2 player version of the Vlaada Chvátil’s original 4-8 player game, but will it be competitive or co-operative? And why is it lime-coloured? I guess that makes a nice, citrusy counterpoint to the orange shades of the original game.

Paul: Finally, once in a while we like to use the Games News to point you at creators who we think are doing awesome work. We’ve linked you guys to Actualol before (if you haven’t heard his Pandemic Legacy song then drop what you’re doing right now), but there’s another YouTube channel that we’d like to tell you about. They’re called Inside the Box, and the above Game of Thrones video is a great place to start.

Quinns: The intro to the above video says it all, really. Great jokes? Check. Production values? Off the chain. Heart, self-awareness, wit? Check, check, check.

So what did you get up to this weekend, everybody?