Paul: They come unseen.
Paul: They come unseen!
Quinns: I’m a bit concerned.
Paul: They Come Unseen! It’s a new hidden movement game designed by an actual Royal Navy submariner! Andrew Benford was a real Commander, just like Commander Riker.
You can’t knock Royal Navy submarines, Quinns.
Quinns: I wasn–
Paul: While everyone else was posturing with their toys in the cold war, the RN was the only service that ever actually used a nuclear submarine to sink an enemy warship. This man comes from one heck of a pedigree, AND his game’s asymmetric! You like those.
Quinns: Wait a second. I’ve checked his profile on BoardGameGeek and he’s definitely not a Will Riker.
Although it looks like he has been working on this game of submarine cat-and-mouse since the 1970s, so if it’s not a good game by now, it probably never will be.
Okay, let’s see… They Come Unseen is all about attacking Soviet bases in the cold war, with the submarine player trying to avoid the attention of Russian ships while carefully measuring out the fuel reserves of their 50s-era tin cans. It’s mostly hidden movement and resource management, with the Soviets pulsing out their sonar over deep and shallow sections of sea, as they try to guard the naval bases that hold their vital fuel and weapon reserves. Sounds nice!
Paul: It could be a good one, wargamey but not too heavy. We have to wait for it to surface from Osprey Games in October, so until then…
Quinns: You know what the complete opposite of a submarine is?
Paul: A dragon.
Quinns: How did. Wh. Well, yes. Which is exactly why I’ve been looking at RYŪ, a colourful game of dragon tributes, resource management and exploration. It has a dash of bidding and bluffing as you journey from colourful island to colourful island, collecting the things you need to pay tribute to your scaly idol.
We had a chance to take a copy of this one home at Gen Con. We skipped it to fit a copy of Shogun in our luggage instead (expect a review of that soon!), but I’m still very curious.
Anyway, the OTHER opposite to submarines, one you totally didn’t get, is castles. While you’ve been poking around in slate-grey depths, I’ve also cast my eyes over Queen’s Architect. There was an awful lot at this year’s GenCon, too much to fit in twenty specials, but Queen’s Architect was one of the cutest and most traditional in its focus, appealing to our long-held, deep seated gamer desires to collect things, to build things and to live slightly diseased, beer-lubricated lives somewhere in the late middle ages.
Queens Architect is all about assembling a team of elite hexagonal workers to complete contracts to earn favour and prestige. These six-sided serfs rotate in their expertise or exhaustion, exposing different sides with different stats, and you can bundle them onto your cart and drive around town, visiting taverns and replenishing their fading spirits the old-fashioned way.
It’s basically like being in a slightly shit band. In Sheffield.
Paul: Awesome. Though I’m not sure that beats WizKid’s recent announcement that Vlaada Chvatil’s masterpiece Mage Knight is being repurposed as Star Trek: Frontiers.
I love the idea of commanding a starship, seeing my crew gain experience points and navigating a randomly-generated star map. Fantastic! But, uh, WizKids, can we just see anything at all? There’s Star Wars everywhere right now and I think we forgot that Star Trek can be an exciting setting for a board game. If you have one coming, show it off! What do those eighty dollars get me beyond this logo?!
Quinns: I know what’ll perk you up. A GIGANTIC COPY OF BRUGES. Have you ever played Bruges?
Quinns: Me neither. But now there’s an enormous copy of it! Dave from GameKnight in New York decided that regular Bruges just wasn’t big enough and dedicated his time to upscaling it so that it’s now the size of a dinner table, with fist-sized meeples, huge rats and a collection painted figures. He did much of it by himself, by hand, with a few creative solutions along the way.
Paul: That’s a conversation starter in any circle, plus it’s probably great to watch as it’s going to be so much easier for any passer-by to see what’s happening. And anyone on the International Space Station, too.
As for gigantic meeples, I’m going to have to comfort myself with a Meepillow for now.
Quinns: Oh, those! Has the Kickstarter launched now?
Paul: Yes! It’s even got a good pitch video (and boy, have I seen some dry ones this week!) and it’s already hurtling towards its goal.
It gets cold and lonely up in the Shut Up & Sit Down North American Office, so I’m certainly buying one. Of course, every right-minded person will select the blue Meepillow, while wrongheaders can settle for the other, worse colours.
Quinns: You’re a funny man, Paul! Of course they’ll have to settle for a yellow Meepillow, for as long as orange remains unavailable.