Games News! 14/04/14
The design debut of none other than W. Eric Martin of the BoardGameGeek News blog (to which our own Games News owes quite the debt), Body Party challenges teams of players to hold more and more cards between various body parts.
Imagine it. It’s match point. The air is pungent with adrenaline and hormones. A card is revealed. To win, you’ll need to press it to your friend’s back using your… thigh? But your hand is already pressing another card to your friend’s chest! So you all shuffle into position, and you win the game for your team, kneeling above your friends like a sweaty colossus.
It’s tricky to judge the inherent sexiness of such a thing at a distance, but I think it has potential.
On the one hand, it skips the early stages of Twister and skips straight to the body contact. On the other, it won’t conclude with players all crashing down into a pathetic, laughing dogpile. Body Party also lacks the opportunity for the dial-spinning player to just ignore the actual result and force players into more and more contact. That said, it’s a competitive team game, so you’ll have players cheering you on to break social norms.
I got some interesting responses when I threw the question open on Twitter, too. Devin Martin, Alex Clements and Erik Stadnik all pointed out that Twister’s coy, sexy innocence is lost when players are brazenly told what to put where. Meanwhile, Alfredo Barraza point out that in Body Party, “pressure needs to be applied”.
We live in interesting times, people. Interesting times.
Sweet rubbin’ aside, Black Fleet is the biggest announcement this week. Published by Space Cowboys, the new company behind Splendor (and therefore a publisher with a 100% hit rate), Black Fleet will see players commanding tiny plastic fleets in a race to earn the ransom money for the Governor’s daughter.
Not unlike the SU&SD-approved Merchants & Marauders, players can make money from transporting cargo in merchant vessels, robbing said merchant vessels, or sinking the pirates. Except Black Fleet will see everyone doing all of this at once, piloting your ships around a very cramped board in a literal and moral maze.
It sounds a touch thin so far, but then so do did Splendor, and that was marvellous. Tell you what, though- click on the picture and take a closer look at those plastic ships.
See? They’re carrying little cargo cubes! And if it wasn’t clear from my rambling about Body Party, being able to put a thing in another thing makes me very happy.
In the words of the above video, 1-3 players are lurching back & forth through time to save the day, while “The mastermind player is the one who’s trying to make tragedies happen.” Which is frighteningly close to the ad we put out when we were looking for a lawyer.
You can skip to 0:36 in the above video for a walkthrough, but basically the good guys are trying to influence different characters on the board, filling them with paranoid points, for example, or goodwill, or simply shuttling them to different locations, all while trying to figure out what end state the Mastermind actually needs the board to be in. So you watch what they do, make your best guess, then work as a team to prevent it.
For example, maybe the businessman’s suicide on day 3 is vital, or maybe it’s irrelevant. So it’s kind of… Battleship meets Guess Who? Interesting, though.
Next up, Pints of Blood is an upcoming Shaun of the Dead-style game where players work together to protect a pub from hordes of politely queuing zombies, with a tidy finale where a rescue vehicle arrives might not have room for all of you. Do you see? Pints of Blood! Because pints are what you drink in a pub.
I was going to be cynical about this, but then I read that the zombies are arriving, allegedly, because even after the apocalypse the London public transport is still running. That made me laugh out loud.
Among the Stars is a game you can expect to see a little more of in future. Here’s a critically lauded game where players draft cards, then use those cards to develop a little space station in front of them, trying to place them such that they earn as many Abstracted Space Points as possible.
This game’s also a case study in why I don’t talk to my friends in video games about how the board game industry works. Originally published in 2012 at Germany’s Essen festival, Among the Stars’ original Greek publisher then put an expansion on Kickstarter in 2013. Then last week the full game and expansion appeared back on Kickstarter, and NOW Stronghold Games has announced they’ll be co-publishing it to keep it in stock on a more permanent basis.
Ack! I’m torn. That art looks absolutely stunning, but the game sounds thematically and mechanically like a sci-fi Suburbia. You’d need a hammer and chisel to dislodge that game from my heart, and I’m not sure I need another.
AND FINALLY! Fantasy Flight has announced a forthcoming Revised Edition of DungeonQuest, which is a bit like announcing a revised chassis for the Hindenburg. This is a game where you can be eliminated from play by a swinging axe trap on your first turn.
On our last podcast we were asked what our guilty pleasures were, and somehow forgot that this is unquestionably Paul’s. If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s because he plays most games in a pretty relaxed fashion, then delights when things go wrong for people. And DungeonQuest is nothing if not flinging yourself into the darkness, hoping you don’t get lost in a crypt, find an incredibly deadly spider in your hair, or both at once.
The Revised Edition will feature a streamlined combat system, a new “Torchlight” variant for creating a more complex dungeon, and – joy of joys – “a deadlier Dragonfire Dungeon than ever before”.
I highly doubt they’re making this game even harder. But if they are? I’ll crook my mouth in a smile, and tell them well done. Because they understand what makes this game great.