Games News! 16/09/13

Rboadts, pooping Schwarzeneggers, poster children, geese breeding, Kaboom faces
Quinns: Morning, all! It’s a high tech start to this week. The Kickstarter for Golem Arcana has launched, reaching deep into gamers’ pockets the world over. But not in a sexy way.

Well, it is a little sexy, I guess. This is a miniatures game of unparalleled luxury. You’re getting gorgeous, pre-painted golem things, and also a pen thing that reads the microdots on the miniatures’ bases, so a companion app can act as “a referee, rule book, and tracking device all-in-one”. Which is… good? And it might be… the future?

I’ve got to admit, I was sold on this right up until I sat down and watched the Kickstarter video. Seeing people cross reference what they were tapping with an iPad filled me with a sudden, terrible loathing. I work on a screen. I communicate via screens. More than I’d like, I play via screens. The idea of incorporating screens into my table gaming as a “luxury” seems terribly counterproductive all of a sudden.

But I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me not liking the look of the game proper. What do you guys think?

TERRIBLE THINGS: The Party Game Where Everyone Loses

Another Kickstarter, TERRIBLE THINGS: The Party Game Where Everyone Loses, is pushing the envelope in its own way. Finally, here’s a game that lets you draw crap tattoos on my friends, or watch them pretend to be Arnold Schwarzenegger on the toilet.

So, obviously there are about four thousand of these sorts of highly accessible “hilarious family challenge!” games, from Scattergories and Cranium to Cards Against Humanity. Veeery slowly, they seem to be getting weirder, funnier and more niche, and TERRIBLE THINGS catches my interest because it seems to be trying to jump to be lunging to the furthest end of the spectrum imaginable, wearing the tiniest possible shorts.

This a game where the charades category includes “Eating glass”. A game where you have to describe having a pebble in your shoe to your friends, without having them say the word “boot,” “rock”, or “foot”. A game where you don’t just draw something, you have to draw it with your eyes closed, or on somebody.

I’m basically all for this. Having to – say – do an impression of Jim Carey in Cranium always just felt kind of embarrassing. But if all the players are doing stuff that makes no sense, all the time? I could get into that! Plus they’re offering just $5 for a print’n’play version. That’s got to be worth buying just to laugh at the cards.

Origin

Meanwhile, in the warm-up to Essen we’re getting a ton of announcements through, though the above is the only one that made me squeak with glee. Matagot, one of my favourite publishers, has announced Origin (rules in English here). A beautifully-illustrated family game where players lead their ancient tribes outwards from Africa, the cradle of civilisation.

Origin

Always makes me happy to see a good-looking game that doesn’t prominently feature an orc, and a glance at the rules shows some interesting stuff.

Every player has pawns of different heights, widths and colours, and placing new pawns on the board means placing them next to believable parents. So, if you want to put down a pawn that’s even stronger (wider) than anything your tribe has seen, you’ll have to place it next to a pawn of identical height and colour. Your tribe will also amass innovations, secret objectives… it all just looks like a bit of a poster child for board games.

Speaking of glittering poster children!

Ticket to Ride: Netherlands

We’ve seen the leaked announcement of Ticket to Ride: Netherlands! The fourth such “Map Collection” expansion, after the team-based Ticket to Ride: Asia, the grand Ticket to Ride: India, and the tricksy Ticket to Ride: Africa. So many plastic trains! I must possess them all.

I remember reading the other day that the advantange of expansions isn’t just the money they make themselves, but that gamers seeing them around drives up sales of the base game. With the news that Ticket to Ride is now the fastest selling designer board game in existence, that might well be true.

Ka-Boom

Another week, another family game announced for Quinns to lust after despite not having a family. This week, though, my longing is probably more understandable than ever: Ka-Boom is one of those designs that makes me smile just on reading about it.

Each turn, one player is the Master Builder and has to try and build as many towers as possible, on the random tiles laid out. Meanwhile, everybody else is using (inevitably crap) catapults to launch dice at them, hopefully knocking them down. If a dice lands on a tile, that tile can’t be built on, and if two of a player’s dice show a “KA-BOOM” face, that player gets to slam their fist on the table. At the end of 30 seconds, any finished structures get the builder the points.

If anyone would like to loan me their child for an evening of Ka-Boom, I’d be very grateful.

Are those sirens? I’d better hurry up.

Roads & Boats

OK. I’ve been meaning to write about the announcement of a new version of Roads & Boats for a couple of weeks now, but I don’t know where to begin. Apparently this is good news? But reading about the game is like someone telling you their half-remembered dream.

So, Roads & Boats is a game with one thousand two-hundred and thirty eight playing pieces, weighing in at almost three kilograms, where players build up a “civilisation”. Taking the description from the official (German) site, “The emphasis is on transportation, with each player trying to outcompete others in building roads, constructing factories, breeding geese and donkeys, inventing gold mines etcetera.”

Yes. Breeding geese, inventing gold mines, etcetera. And we’re just getting started! The box looks like something Paul and I would draw for a skit:

Rboadts

I know. Best logo ever! Ah, the classic game of Rboadts.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this. Paul and myself could probably be convinced to review it? I really don’t know. I’ll see how he feels about geese.

AND FINALLY!

The Dice Tower

This is fantastic. At GenCon this year friends of SU&SD The Dice Tower recorded a fantastic podcast with a host of veteran game designers, including the fellas that made Space Cadets, Arkham Horror and Neuroshima Hex.

The result (direct .mp3 link here, podcast page here) is one of the best things to come in my ears in a long time. They cover pitching your first game, to playtesting, to their biggest mistakes, and it’s all joyous.

Enjoy, everybody!