GAMES NEWS! 16/04/18

cardboard crimes, curiosity compass, A lady in a dress that nobody else can see
Paul: Welcome, friends, welcome, to a Games News packed with surprise, sensationalism and scandal. It’s a cardboard cornucopia, with everything from Battle Royale to Battlestar Galactica. Are you ready? Let’s start with scandal. No kidding, this may well be board gaming’s first big crime story and it involves some serious money.

Southeast Asian company Boarders Tabletop Game Studio has been a Kickstarter distributor for some time now, taking group pledges for projects such as Gloomhaven and helping customers in this not-always-so-well-served region save money. However, as Calvin Wong reports over at BoardGamePrices, things have taken a very shady turn recently, with both customers and publishers saying that the once popular Boarders seem to have evaporated into thin air, taking tens of thousands of dollars worth of games and money with them.

Wong quotes a Kickstarter update from Mighty Boards, who say that Boarders stopped responding to all communication after they received their shipment of Petrichor, and now consider “this cargo (along with our downpayment for fulfillment) as stolen.” It’s since turned out Boarders have failed to pay a host of publishers, many of them very established not what anyone could call naive or new to the industry, including Petersen Games, Roxley Games and Victory Point Games.

Sure, this isn’t the first time a Kickstarter hasn’t been properly fulfilled, but this is so much bigger. An intermediary repeatedly cheating both customers and clients? And on such an extensive scale? Wong reports that disgruntled parties have reached out to both the police and legal experts, and promises he’ll post more updates as the situation develops. This is definitely a story worth following and Wong is doing some strong journalism, so I recommend you read his full feature.

Onto much less alarming topics now, with the news that a space combat game based on Battlestar Galactica is on its way from publisher Ares Games. Designed by Andrea Angiolino and Andrea Mainini, known for their work on the classic Wings of Glory and Sails of Glory series, Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles will let players “take control of one or more Colonial and Cylon ships, and face each other in furious dogfights and many other different kinds of missions.”

Expect fully-painted miniatures again (not the cardboard prototypes here) and “innovative mechanics” that suggest a new take on the space shoots. The “other different kinds” statement there has me hoping there will be more than just dogfights to try. The Wings of Glory-inspired X-Wing (as well as Armada) has more than sated my appetite for vanilla ship-to-ship combat, so I’m interested to see what this might add to the mix. Special objectives? Bombing runs? Rescue attempts? A lady in a dress that nobody else can see?

Also tickling my ears this week are whispers of a Battle Royale-inspired game called Last One Standing. The explosive popularity of Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds has brought forth all sorts of clones of these popular video games, but we didn’t expect to see one of those arrive in cardboard form, parachuting straight toward our tabletops.

Last One Standing will follow that same formula: Players fight to the death in an ever-shrinking combat zone, dashing about to try and find weapons, picking each other off until one victor remains. While player elimination is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea and many of us don’t enjoy sitting out the rest of the game if bad decisions or bad luck kill us off, designer Brendan McCaskell says that the game plays fast and that the bodies only start to fall toward the end of play. There’s a Kickstarter coming next month, so keep your eyes on the horizon.

Speaking of Kickstarters, this week I found my curiosity compass pointing toward the co-operative horror The Faceless. No wonder, as the game features a host of magnets that manipulate and direct its own compass, a curious prop that sits at the center of everything. Players move that compass around a board to collect clues, changing its direction of travel indirectly by moving nearby miniatures that have magnets in their bases.

While I’m not sure if this is a compelling mechanic in itself, I’m sure I was saying years ago (God, I’m old) that there must surely be a clever way to use magnets as props or components in a board game. Am I finally vindicated? Or will I die a visionary who was never appreciated in their own time? Vote now with your phones.

Quinns, Matt and I are about to fly off to enjoy our first ever trip to The Gathering of Friends in Niagra, New York, so I’m going to leave you with just one more bit of very special news this week: WE’VE SOLD 60% OF THE TICKETS FOR SHUX ALREADY and so if you’re interested in coming to our next convention, we suggest you do not delay.

True, this year we’re doing a much larger convention in a much larger venue, but at this rate we could be sold out pretty quickly. Like last year, there is the possibility that we can release a few more tickets as we work out floor plans and make efficient use of space, but our intention is not to cram people in and, oh my goodness, we had so many disappointed people last year who held off. Book early! Sort out your travel arrangements presently! Then you can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that you’re on your way to Canada’s very best board game convention.