Games News! 16/07/18

quintin is three velociraptors, paul craves norwegians, space jail
Paul: Once again, deep behind enemy lines, we light the fires and wave our torches into the cloudy night sky in the hope that our signals will be seen by our brave allies and that they will parachute in the latest drop of vital Games New supplies. The distant drone of an engine, a dark shape in the air. Suddenly, it’s here! Quinns, open the crate! What’s inside?

Quinns: IT’S ONLY THE SEQUEL TO AZUL.

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra riffs on the tile-collecting and pattern-building of the original Azul, one of our favourite games of 2017 (see Paul’s review here), but instead of laying out tiles, players are now creating stained glass window arrangements. It looks like it has the same mechanic of taking the elements you need from several central pools, as well as trying to avoid waste or “dropping” anything you can’t use.

Paul: This is like some sort of cross-fertilization between Azul and Sagrada, but hopefully it’s diverged enough from its porcelain parent. There’s two-sided player boards, for more variety, as well as that mysterious tall tower to put discarded glass panes in. Why? What happens in there? I’m going in to find out…

Quinns: I actually have a theory!

Paul: !!

Quinns: Azul designer Michael Kiesling has been known to work closely with El Grande designer Wolfgang Kramer. Could this tower for forgotten bits be a repurposing of the chipboard castille found in El Grande? Players in Stained Glass of Sintra might toss tiles into the tower and reveal them all later, probably causing someone terrible pain.

Paul: El Grande! Spanish for THE HUGE. Meanwhile, in space (the opposite of Spain), the new version of the science fiction epic Eclipse is gliding effortlessly through the heavens. The Kickstarter for this second edition has more than doubled its $300,000 goal and the result is, in theory, a shiny sequel that we should all be excited about, except…

Quintin, you said that sensors picked up some unexpected readings earlier…

Quinns: That’s right, Paul. This second edition is not the warp forward you might expect. The rules changes between these editions are are nowhere near as sweeping as those made for the fourth edition of Twilight Imperium (Eclipse’s sillier, more spectacular competitor), the art changes look relatively minor and most of what’s new is chrome: unique plastic miniatures and a buttload of trays. Lots of those stretch goals are only relevant if you back at the deluxe pledge level, too, meaning you have to lay down £128 to really benefit from the changes. Meanwhile, you can get Twilight Imperium for £90, or just buy the original Eclipse for £60?

I mean, I love Eclipse (see my old review here), but unless I had money coming out of my armpits I’d probably just stick with my first edition, or possibly just wait for a retail released of the second.

Paul: Crikey. That’s a pretty thorough breakdown and suddenly I’m… not quite as excited as I was. Perhaps it’s time to move on to…

Quinns: Ah yes, the Cthulhu: Death May Die Kickstarter. Talented designers Rob Daviau and Eric Lang team up for a Lovecraft game about kicking ass and taking names and possibly being eaten by a god.

Essentially, while Fantasy Flight try and balance the madcap combat of their Lovecraft games (like Mansions of Madness, Eldritch Horror and the superb Arkham Horror card game) with plenty of puzzles and atmospheric wandering, here CMON seem to be doubling down on combat. A game of Death May Die starts at the finale of a Cthulhu story, with the investigators barging through the door of the cultist’s final ritual, shotguns in hand, ready to disrupt it.

Paul: Ah yes, just like in all those Lovecraft stories where there are massive gunfights and it turns out that shooting extradimensional bad guys solves everything (?)! Will this be good? Who knows. But at $100 plus shipping, we would, as ever, encourage our readers to wait for the official SU&SD review before throwing down their hard-earned cash.

Quinns: Gosh, these days I feel like we complain about board game prices every single week.

Paul: As well we should! For some people, cost is a big consideration and board games are getting more flashy and more expensive in an effort to stand out from one another, and that’s only going to make this hobby harder to get into for most people.

Quinns: You’re right. We should stand our ground.

No word on what Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene will be priced at, but it’s arriving in shops this autumn and it’s an asymmetrical 2-4 player game where you can either be park security, customers, raptors or a tyrannosaurus rex.

It seems to be from a first-time board game designer and it’s debuting at comic-con… So, my head is telling me that this will absolutely be the traditional sloppy licensed game with nice miniatures and miserable mechanics.

Paul: But Quinns, that never happens! And what’s your heart telling you?

Quinns: That this will be the greatest game of ALL TIME. I am going to be three raptors

Paul: This week Fantasy Flight announced an expansion to Fallout: The Board Game, Fallout: New California. The box will add all new bits and stuff and things, including five new playable characters, two new scenarios, and will also fill out the scenarios of the original game a little more.

Topically, we have a video review of Fallout going live this Friday, so maybe wait for that before picking up this irradiated box.

Quinns: In more exciting expansion news, Paul! They’ve announced the first big box expansion for A Feast for Odin, one of our very favourite games of 2016!

Paul: Aaaaah!

Quinns: Aaaaaaah! It’s called The Norwegians and it will add beef and more islands and meat and PIGS. We don’t have a picture yet so I’ve just found some viking re-enactment types on google image search

Anyway, this announcement makes me feel very happy and oh-so-silly. There’s a good argument to be made that A Feast for Odin was already too big, too broad, with just too much stuff. I’m thrilled that with this expansion, they’re doubling down on this… well, ha, it’s a feast, isn’t it? A feast of things to try and to do.

Paul: BEEF. I will very much looking forward to the chance to try even more Odining.

And you know what? We’ve saved the best to last. By which we mean the worst. Last week I had to go and lie down in a dark room after I discovered the existence of WARHAMMER 40,000 MONOPOLY. I have absolutely no idea what is going on here but I can nevertheless say, right now, with all confidence, that none of us need another Monopoly game.

After tweeting out my bemusement, one of the replies I received was “In the grim darkness of the far future there is still free parking” and oh my goodness, there really still is. What the hell is going on with a game where you wander about the grimdark future of Games Workshop’s wartorn universe, sometimes buying planets and sometimes going to… space jail? I mean, what?

And yet, as I thought about this even more, I realised it’s probably no dumber than Star Wars Monopoly or (hnggg) Queen Monopoly or anything else that’s out there. These are all yet more hamfisted attempts to wrap another idea around an old game. It’s painful to see The Landlord’s Game buried deeper and deeper under this growing pile of nonsense and just writing this makes me want to go back into another dark room and lie down for a week or so.