Paul: Quinns, what’s going on? Why is there a spotlight? Why’s there a leather chair? What happened to our usual set?
Quinns: Paul, ask me some questions entirely at random!
Paul: Oh God what now.
Quinns: Also I’ve set up a countdown clock and buzzer!
Paul: Am I supposed to wear this tie? What the hell are all of these cue cards? “Why aren’t there more team board games?” “What if Space Cadets Dice Duel was a serious game?” “When will we get a game that’s like Battleship but good?” “When will another game let us argue about who can be captain?”
Quinns: Well, Paul, Here’s your answer: Captain Sonar. This new Asmodee game is arriving in the third quarter of 2016 and has surfaced at the very front of my most-wanted list.
Our header image up there says it all. Two teams of players (separated by an enormous screen) each share command of a submarine, and must hunt down the enemy sub using mines, drones, sonar and ultimately torpedoes. The game actually plays with just 2 players, but with a full complement of 8 you’ll be able to divide up the following roles…
Captain – Tell your friends what to do. Mark where you are on the map. Drink.
First Mate – Decide which of your six systems to charge each time the submarine moves, and report their status to the captain. Also, flirt with the captain.
Engineer – Decide where and how the submarine breaks each time it moves, playing an unending minigame of damage control and self-repair. Eventually, when things get too bad, you must temporarily surface.
Radio Operator – Just like a real sonar expert, your job is to listen to the other team and guess where they are and doodle on your copy of the map as if you were solving a nightmare sudoku puzzle.
I would pay upwards of £100 to get this game right now.
Paul: Quinns, you don’t even know if it’s good or not yet.
Quinns: YOU WANNA KEEP GOING
Paul: No, you giant squid! I only turned up today to try to tell you that a new, quite gorgeous edition of Diamant has been revealed. Diamant being the other name for Incan Gold, the small but wonderfully-formed push-your-luck game that you told everyone to buy a few weeks ago. So maybe you should tell everybody to wait until this new edition, hm?
Quinns: Oh, this is heartbreaking. Not only is this edition beautiful, it actually fixes my one complaint about Incan Gold, which is that the cards look too similar. But Gryphon Games still hold the full rights to publish the English language version of the game, which means we’ll continue to get that old box of Incan Gold while Europeans get this new edition of Diamant. Those damn continental Europeans! Isn’t it enough that they’re already hogging all the pastries and erotic films?!
Vote with your wallet, people. If you haven’t bought Incan Gold yet, I’d pre-order this new edition of Diamant and then find the rules online. This is actually one of those rare, simple games where once you’ve played it once, you’ll never forget the rules again.
Paul: That’s a wonderful idea, actually. Remember how so many English-language speakers were playing Mysterium before English rules even appeared? It’s just like that. The ideas almost transcend the rules…
In further Iello news (and further submarine-related news), Antoine Bauza is about to hatch two more games to add to his ever-growing brood. Publisher Iello will hear the first chirps of both Oceanos and Welcome Back to the Dungeon. The first will be a card game of set collection beneath the waves, with players using submarines to gather lost treasures and rare creatures, upgrading their submarines as they fill their holds all sorts of goodies.
The second, as you probably guessed, is an expansion for the cheeky Welcome to the Dungeon. Like all good and wholesome expansions, it adds more of everything, from characters to monsters to dungeon tiles. Mr. Bauza lent his flair to the original Japanese design for the English release we liked so much, so this should be right up his alley. Or in his nest. Or, you know. Whatever. I’ve got a cue card here that prompts me “What publisher sounds most like me, Paul?”
Paul: The Games News is just SURGING out of the storm drains today. Fantasy Flight has announced the fifth expansion for 2013 release Arkham Horror sequel Eldritch Horror, surprising anyone who thought we might be finished. iT’S NOT oveR! Signs of Carcosa will add Hastur, a.k.a. The King In Yellow to your game as a big baddie, as well as “monsters that incubate within your body” and “the soul-chilling shriek of a byakhee”.
Quinns: Sounds a lot like when I used to go out clubbing in Edinburgh.
Quinns: I’ve been thinking about Eldritch Horror a lot recently, and this morning I went back and watched my review. I called the game “Sprawling yet thin, gorgeous yet awkward,” which makes it sound like a supermodel who’s passed out from benzodiazepine. I actually still agree with all of it, but that doesn’t change me wanting to grab a couple of expansions and revisit it. A Let’s Play, maybe?
Paul: Well, I still have some fond memories of Arkham Horror games from six, seven years back now… Because that’s almost as long as they took to play. I liked the expansions for that. I liked the extra stuff they wedged in, even if they made an obtuse and very random game even more bloated and even more random. Arkham Horror was never great, but there was a certain pleasure in occasionally indulging in that excess. Like… going on a cheap chocolate binge.
Quinns: Finally, holy shit! Give this article a read.
In short, Magdalene asylums are religious institutions founded in the 18th century (though some still operate today) where women who are perceived to have fallen into sexual promiscuity could be housed and kept on the straight and narrow. In other words, they’re prisons for women who’ve committed “crimes” as pathetic as having sex out of wedlock, with conditions bad enough that women have died attempting to escape them.
Here in the UK there’s been a resurgence of interest into conditions in Ireland’s old Magdalene asylums after the discovery of a mass grave on their grounds in 1993.
The above article article discusses one company that signed up for the unusually low labor costs of Ireland’s Magdalene facilities in the 1980s. Now, I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s a time and a place for swearing. That place is usually Ireland, and that time is definitely now, because the company is fucking Hasbro.
“Mouse Trap,” recalls one woman who spent more than 50 years in the facility in question, “was the worst of the lot of ‘em.”
Paul: This sounds like a story from a hellish Victorian past, so probably most alarming to me is the line “The work was still being carried out as recently as four years ago.” It’s an impressive piece of journalism, too, tracing the history and the money.
Quinns: Hasbro claims it never worked directly with the Good Shepherd Sisters organisation in Waterford, but rather that it did so via a company called Rehab, a charity that aims to help those with a disability re-enter the workforce.
On the subject, many board game publishers still offer little to no information about the working conditions in Chinese factories.
Paul: It’s very much the way of the world now, that so many things are made in one place, shipped to another, and that companies large and small have all sorts of chains of responsibility. The world works in ways that are both more complex and more remote than ever before. But we can’t lose sight of these activities and these processes, no matter how distant or removed they become.