GAMES NEWS! 17/06/19

plants vs zombies, poop vs hyperinflation, warhammer vs art, and some nice shoes
Edmund 98 comment(s)

Ava: Boy! Boy! You there!

Quinns: Boy? I’m 33 years old.

Ava: Tell me boy, is it still Chronicles Month?

Quinns: Oh, absolutely it is.

Ava: Wonderful! Then there’s still time. Head over to Shut Up & Sit Down and fetch me the plumpest, ripest news in the window.

Quinns: It’s odd to think that we’ve skipped an entire generation of one of the biggest names in the business, but so far Shut Up and Sit Down hasn’t really delved into the new third edition of Arkham Horror. Following our madcap review of the first edition of Arkham Horror back on Halloween of 2011, my grudging return to the series with a review of Eldritch Horror in 2014, and the release of the (in our opinion) far-superior Arkham Horror card game, this site is Arkham’d out.

So it’s not entirely surprising that the announcement of the first expansion, Arkham Horror: Dead of Night, has beaten us to the punch, as Fantasy Flight expanding a new Arkham Horror game is as inevitable as tentacles and trilbys.

The box will add two new scenarios, a slathering of new cards and, most excitingly for me, a “new monster card holder”. I hadn’t seen them before, but the card holders in Arkham Horror 3rd edition are now my favourite thing about it. Using them, sometimes players will draw new horrors from the back of the deck, which will always be a surprise, but sometimes you draw from the front, with the card holder offering players a teasing glimpse of the art and name of the card, just not the text. You know the name of the unknowable horror that’s coming, but you don’t know quite what it… is? Or will do to you? What a perfect pairing of mechanics and theme!

Ava: Oooh. That is pleasingly ominous. I’ve wondered a couple of times whether the new modular board was an exciting enough promise to make me finally dive into Arkham Horror, but then I remembered how many moving parts the game has, and I feel like making set up even more complicated may not have been the most alluring prospect?

Quinns: All I know is that Paul had a quick play of the 3rd edition at Gen Con last year and said that it probably still isn’t a game for us.

Ava: This report from the Tokyo Game Market is a sight to behold. Things start off straightforwardly, with a game about building rail infrastructure across the USA, but before the end you’ll be exploring Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, queuing up in front of elevators and trying to feed people exactly the right amount of food to make them defecate correctly.

There’s also a game which looks utterly delightful about building a moon base by laying rings on top of each other. I’ve no idea which of these games would actually be fun, but it’s such a delightful smorgasbord.

Quinns: Oh, I have a review copy of that moon base game! It’s called (wait for it) Moon Base. You’ll have to play it with me next time you’re in Brighton.

Ava: I assume that you’re also immediately going to start hunting for a review copy of the poop game too.

Quinns: Actually, out of this list the one that caught my eye is Zimbabwee Trick, that hyperinflation trick-taking game. Players combining the digits of cards in their hand to create higher and higher numbers is such a simple, great idea. I love it. Plus, it’s got that minimalist look that I really appreciate in a card game, which Oink Games is so dang good at. I suspect that if Oink Games’ box size was just a shade bigger so that the boxes could hold standard-sized cards, I’d become obsessed with them.

Ava: I can’t believe you’re eschewing poop for clever ideas and smart minimalism.

Ava: Dale of Merchants was an adorable little deckbuilder that swelled in size over a series of kickstarters, and Dawn of the Peacemakers was a fascinating-sounding reverse wargame. Finnish designer Sami Laakso has announced a new adventure game set in the same world, with the faintly bewildering title Lands of Galzyr.

All that’s on show at the moment is some adorable little wooden animal folk and a couple of cosy cards. I’ll be honest though, I made a note about this when I was very tired, and all I’ve written is ‘I really want these soft sole shoes’. It’s unclear if I’m keen on this game, or just need to get some new slippers. I’ll keep you posted though.

Quinns: Goodness, I’m not brave enough to buy slippers. That’s like putting one foot in the grave.

Ava: You take that back.

Quinns: Just try and catch me in those slippers!

Ava: Over on kickstarter we have Papillon, a game of caterpillar auctions, floral tile-laying and butterfly-based area majority. It looks like a slightly overgrown garden full of ideas, but there’s definitely something charming about actual three-dimensional bushes. My ability to perceive fun went blurry at the phrase ‘the current round’s gnome will be placed to reveal its value in caterpillars’, so I’m not quite sure what to make of this one.

Quinns: Ahaha. I just can’t believe how lucky we are with this new bucolic direction that the hobby is taking! Games like this, Root, Wingspan, all of them with their accessible themes and tranquil box art. It’s a world apart from the state of board game themes when SU&SD was founded.

Ava: Gardens are the new zombies, eh?

Quinns: We always knew who the winner would be when it came to plants vs. zombies.

Ava: This may be the first time we’ve ever looked at an actual art journal? Roman Road Journal offers a survey of how artists have used the imagery, iconography and ideas of Warhammer 40,000, the grim dark sci fi mega franchise owned by Games Workshop. This means we end up with Slaanesh being pointed at post-structuralist psychoanalytic theory, the Ultramarines becoming idols of the alt-right, and orks as an avenue of racism.

It’s quite the thing. I suspect half the people going in will be put off by Warhammer references, and the other half by the queer theory and political philosophy, but if you live (with me) on the sweet spot of that venn diagram, it’s well worth a look.

Ava: And finally, we get round to some slightly old news. I have a weird habit of forgetting that world-conquering collectible card game Magic: The Gathering is actually part of the tabletop scene, so while I saw this announcement, it didn’t occur to me to bring it up!

Netflix is throwing some money at the Russo Brothers (of Arrested Development and Avengers fame) to make an animated series based on the wizarding game of planeswalkers. Very few details are out at this point, but there’s certainly an amount of hype floating around.

I don’t know enough of the backstory to Magic, but I’m sure there’s a lot of it. Whether it’s fertile land for a TV show, and if it’s unique enough to make that show anything but fantastical dross, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll hold out hope that they’ll go for something closer to Arrested Development than Avengers. A tightly wound comedy of errors about a family of loathsome spellcasters who all manipulate each other could certainly be good for about three seasons and absolutely no more.

Quinns: Ava, I’ve got one word for you.

Ava: What’s that?

Quinns: WIZARD!

Ava: …

Quinns: …

Ava: I don’t think Netflix are going to hire you on the basis of that one.