Games News! 16/12/13

bakers, commands and candies, candy spells, candyland, obnoxious boxes, beards
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Quinns: Welcome to a Very Special edition of the Games News, in which Quinns finds out that Ryuutama exists.

The Kickstarter for an English release just ended, and it sounds like the roleplaying game I was born to play. Players journey across a fantasy land in a party, but you’re not adventurers. You’re merchants, healers, bakers, or other tradesfolk, travelling because you’re struck by an incredible wanderlust. It’s a game of wonder, relationships, and seeing what lies over the next hill in a very real sense. I cannot think of a game I’d rather have on my table.

The list of “What makes Ryuutama different” on the official site makes for fascinating reading. Everything from characters being able to afford their starting equipment by appending it with “uncool”, or “broken”. Your character might know some magic spells, but these might run along the lines of “summon candy ice cubes”. Different characters in the party might be in good or bad moods, and these affect your dice rolls. Your character might be the group’s mapper, or quarter-master, or you might simply keep a diary of your innermost thoughts, which you can show to the Games Master for extra XP.

…and so, so much more. Literally every single thing on that list makes me excited. Possibly because right now I’m running a characteristically bleak Monster Hearts game. Last session one my characters ate a guy, and I had to walk her through her ill-prepared efforts to hide the body in a teacher’s car.

BattleLore 2nd Edition

In less exciting news, BattleLore 2nd Edition has arrived in shops! Here’s a new, big Fantasy Flight release where you control some people attacking some other people, because of reasons.

I’ll be honest, team SU&SD has thrown their lot in with Memoir ’44, which (along with BattleLore and some other games) makes use of the “Commands and Colours system”. This is where you have some people and they’re attacking some other people, and the people are divided into different fronts and you play cards from your hand to move them.

All of these games are different, and BattleLore 2nd Edition sounds like it has some really cool tweaks, but they’re not quite different enough for us to justify you owning more than one. And not only is Memoir great, owning a copy opens up the possibility that you will one day play an Overlord game of it. And those are a hell of a thing.

Kind of a slow news week, so let’s move onto some games from 2013 that we never covered, but have now arrived. Starting with a Brown Box with a Beared White Men On It Special!

Francis Drake

Hi, Bearded White Men!

(“Hullo Quinns!”)

I’ve gotta say, I spent the entire year with you three occupying the exact same space in my mind.

(“That’s ok.”)

Cool. But you’re all meant to be pretty great! So, Francis Drake first- I feel worst about mentally pigeonholing you, because you look like something I’d actually like to play.

Merchants & Marauders

Is it me, or are you the spitting image of Merchants & Marauders? Except with a focus on the more… economic elements of European board games, as opposed to that game’s American swashbuckling & surprise?

(“The publishers actually put the word ‘Swashbuckling’ in my description!”)

Yes but look at you. They’re embarrassing themselves. So, see you next year?

(“Ok, Quinns! I’ll be waiting. I get lonely, is the thing-“)

ANYWAY who’s next. Nations?


OK, it says here that you’re a civilization-building game? Did your designers consider making you a bit more beige?

(“What was that?”)

I was just thinking that if there was a little beige in your design it might really pop, y’know?


Can you hear me?


You know what, forget it. Who’s last? Amerigo?


Ah, you’re from Stefan Feld, of the lovely Castles of Burgundy. I have a problem with Feld games, though. The man’s brilliant, if you like these mathsy games, but he releases multiple games each year and they all FEEL like they’re just part of his yearly workload.

So many of the games we adore are labours of love, designed and refined and rethemed across years. A Feld game? It’s great! But it doesn’t feel like something he loves. It feels like what he bashed out that month.


Oh, my god! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to upset you!


Look, I–


Jesus! Hang on, how did a game just slam a door.

The Cultural Evolution of Candy Land

And finally! This is pretty funny. The Cultural Evolution of Candy Land, comparing a 2010 edition of the kiddy roll-and-move board game with a version from 1984.

Of course, all the most popular board games – Battleship, Monopoly, Cluedo – are pretty distorted from their original releases, often becoming less complicated over the decades as they were marketed at families. Actually, today I learned that an early design of Monopoly was sold under the name “The Fascinating Game of Finance”, which is fantastic.

What’s your favourite fascinating financial game, readers?