GAMES NEWS! 18/02/19

cowforge, ex-lovers, won't you take me to, funko town
Matt: Morning Quinns! How was your weeken–

Quinns: Matt I watched SO MUCH of The Expanse. I was thinking we could write the whole Games News in Belter Creole.

Matt: OK. I hear you, but I worry that might make it a bit hard to read. How about you write it while crossplaying as Chrisjen Avasarala?

Quinns: You’ve got yourself a deal, beltalowda. You cover the first story, I’ll see what earrings my wife has.

Matt: Love it or hate it, Keyforge seems like it’s here to stay – and whilst the second wave of decks announced by Fantasy Flight – “Age of Ascension” – aren’t terribly likely to blow many minds, it’s a solid bit of support for the game you can expect to see throughout 2019. Mixing 166 cards from the original pool with 204 brand-new ones, these decks add some neat new ideas and keywords whilst still being totally compatible for play against the first wave of decks that were released. I’d guess that’s one of many advantages of having a game that simply isn’t balanced.

Quinns: I wonder if there’ll be power creep? It won’t be long before stats reveal whether each block of new cards is more or less likely to beat decks from another block. I feel like FFG would *have* to make Keyforge cards incrementally better, if only to avoid the community deciding that the decks from a certainly block perform statistically poorly, and shouldn’t be purchased.

Matt: It’s a sticky potato and that’s no joke. Still, I think for the casual crowd like myself who’ve lightly embraced the game, this second wave represents a nice opportunity to buy a couple more decks whilst being *assured* that you’ll see stuff that’s new. Oh and Quinns, I’ve got some bad news: still no sign of them providing physical manuals for Keyforge. BUT: it seems the economy of scale they’ve now found for the game means that the effective new “Starter Kit” is a far neater deal than it was before – you get two sealed decks and enough tokens for two players, ideal for going in on with a mate if you fancy giving it a go.

Quinns: In further expansion news–

Matt: Is this going to be a joke about The Expanse.

Quinns: …Not anymore, no.

A standalone expansion for Disney’s Villainous has been announced. Villainous: Wicked to the Core will add Hades, the Evil Queen from Snow White, and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog as playable antiheroes, each with their own superbly-abstracted miniature.

We weren’t particularly hot on Villainous – you can hear our impression on podcast #83 – though it’s a perfectly serviceable boondoggle, and if you’re a Disney fan then I can imagine you having a load of fun with it.

In related news, over the weekend I saw that Forrest-Pruzan Creative, the makers of Villainous, were recently bought by pop toymaker Funko. It’s good news for Forrest-Pruzan Creative, who can now use Funko’s connections to make all sorts of licensed board games, but less good for their employees, who I saw on Twitter now must choose some Funko Pops to go on their business cards.

Matt: With the entire SU&SD editorial team finding funkos repellent, our hearts are with the staff of Forrest-Pruzan in this difficult time.

Quinns: The designer and publisher of phenomenal card drafting game Sushi Go, as well as the all-you-can-eat sequel, Sushi Go Party, have announced a new dice drafting game: Sushi Roll. A name *so good* it makes me want to do a little dance.

There’s not much information around right now, but we can deduce a lot from the above picture. Players will roll dice, claim sets of dice, and then re-roll or swap dice to try and work towards winning combinations. The only reservation I have is why this game uses tokens to denote score when we’re in the middle of a grand rediscovery of the roll-n-write genre. Scribbling with dry-erase pen is a heck of a lot nicer than rummaging through a pile of flat, numbered tokens.

Matt: Z-Man haven’t particularly caught our attention since last year’s wonderful Lowlands, but Hadara looks wonderfully jolly and bright – pitching players against each other in a race to build a cosmopolitan society, players build up a civilisation of cards that are purchased from a revolving shop of different… cultures? Eras?

Honestly I’m not sure what the vibe is here, it appears to be a strange historical collage of sorts – ancient Egyptians, vikings, China… Cowboys? Is this Keyforge as envisioned as the discovery channel? Is this… COWFORGE?

Something here I can’t quite put my finger on leaves me feeling provisionally uneasy – fingers crossed I’ve just had too much coffee: this looks like colourful economy-building fun.

Matt: Vastly more exciting however in the world of “games wot rotate a bit” is Mechanica by Mary Flanagan – a game in which you build and run competing factories which produce robotic hoovers.

A deliciously-implemented gimmick is always a delight, and this game appears to have SEVERAL NICE ONES. Firstly, the pieces that slot into your factory board are jigsaw pizzles – let those amongst us who do not love a jigsaw be the ones to throw the first stones. Secondly, this baby plays straight out of the box – featuring a revolving shop that auto-discards unbought tiles by dropping them down a hole into the bottom of the box.

As ever we’ll point out that it’s always best to wait for reviews before purchasing games that look exciting, particularly when dealing with stuff on Kickstarter, but I’ve gotta say the physical execution here is just such an enormous amount of fun – I do hope it’s also a top-tier game.

Quinns: We also have yet another Kickstarter for co-op deckbuilder Aeon’s End! Click on the above image for a better view of what’s inside the box. This is a game I really quite liked when we covered it back in 2016, but I said was a little ugly and rickety. Since then Aeon’s End has only become prettier and more stable with each new release, like an ex-lover with something to prove.

Aeon’s End also seems to have come down with a rare case of expansion madness, to the point that I can barely parse the Kickstarter page. As far as I can tell, Aeon’s End: The New Age is the third standalone expansion in the series, not counting Aeon’s End: Legacy, and then there are five (five!) smaller expansions and “an amount” (a technical term) of Kickstarter promos.

I guess I’m putting it in the Games News out of guilt. This is a game we’re probably not going to cover again because there are just so many great new games coming out, but it’s worth mentioning here just for the community it’s developed and the extensive publisher support that it’s enjoying. If you like your co-op games, check it out! Apparently the Legacy game is a pretty good starting point for the series.

Matt: We should also remind people one more time that this Saturday we’ll be streaming Twilight Imperium, with all sorts of prepared overlays and other tech wizardry. If you haven’t already, click “Follow” on our Twitch page to get an email when we start streaming, and join in the fun.

Right, see you later Quinns – I’m gonna get back to prepping for the big day!

Quinns: Ooh, finally, we have a new convention announcement!

This April, Matt and Quinns will be the guests of honour at Fastaval, Denmark’s biggest tabletop con. If you live nearby, why not come along?

(We have exactly one scheduled appointment so far, which is to play Flamme Rouge‘s secret next big expansion. I almost literally can’t wait.)