Games News! 18/08/14

wild cats, innovative wind, tourism boards of madness, chemise of shimmying
Quinns: My goodness! 18 hours of travelling to Indianapolis, 4 jam-packed days of Gen Con, I’ve just this second arrived home after another 18 hours of travelling and now it’s time to do the Games News again. Don’t feel sorry for me, friends! If I wasn’t working I’d probably be asleep on all fours, with my face (and only my face) on the bed. This way I’ll get to sleep at a more sensible hour.

Gen Con was astonishing, by the way. We’re going to try and salvage the audio of our live podcast first, then post a huge preview article, and finally release our Gen Con special episode. It’s going to be a superb couple of weeks.

SO! Hot on the heels of Fantasy Flight announcing Star Wars: Armada, they’ve come out with the biggest X-Wing news of the year. We’re getting a third faction, to go with the Rebels and Imperials! Scum and Villainy will arrive in a big box full of cards to convert some existing ships to Team Scum, and a suite of old ships with new paint-jobs and brand-new ships will be arriving too.

Of note is the new IG-2000, pictured in the centre up there. The assault fighter of infamous droid bounty hunter IG-88, it “had no need for life support systems and no reason to fear the gravitational effects of maneuvers that would kill organic pilots, the majority of the space within the IG-2000 was devoted to engines and weapon systems”.

As such, it’ll be able to perform a new “Segnor’s Loop” maneuver, which made me feel like I was going to black out just reading about it.

Imperial Assault

Fantasy Flight’s other enormo-announcement this weekend was Imperial Assault! Which is Star Wars Descent. Except it isn’t! Except it is.

It still has a team of players representing a party of heroes while a final player controls the bad guys. It still links a series of battles which into a dramatic campaign. It still has a focus on exhaustion, speed and character development. It still has those dice! But there are plenty of little tweaks, too. Now heroes and their antagonists take quicker, alternating turns. Heroes can be knocked out of a fight permanently if they max out their wounds, though the bad guys have a win condition that’s to moderately wound everybody, so we should see an end to Descent’s comedy bullying of whoever got the last pick of the armour and so wears the chemise of shimmying +1. That kind of thing.

My favourite new feature, though, is that each hero will get one mission in the campaign that’s all about them, where success sees them receiving their ultimate upgrade. I love it! Descent’s at its best when it’s using the campaign format to compound the drama of any given mission.

Mountains of Madness

We might not have been mad (ha!) about Eldritch Horror, but fans of the 2013 Arkham Horror reformat should know that the first big-box expansion is on the way.

Mountains of Madness will add the continent of Antarctica, and we’re told that players can “perform autopsies on frozen bodies”, experience “unpredictable transdimensional shifts” and “restrain frightened dogs”. I think the tourism board need to work on their language, to be honest.

Throw in eight (eight!) new investigators to play and the traditional bevy of cards to bulk up the game’s decks, and you’ve got yourself a box that is literally full of things!


Oh no. I can feel my jetlagged brain shutting down. Let’s speed through the rest of this before I’m reduced to words of one syllable or less.

First released at Spiel 2013, Wildcatters will reach the rest of the world this year. This is an oil-drilling game where players will invest in rigs, tankers, trains and refineries, with one beautiful twist- you can work together with players for cheap.

Want to prospect in Africa? Do it with someone else, you’ll both save money. Need to get oil to your refinery in Europe? Maybe your friend does too, and you can strike a deal where they transport your oil. Hopefully, that’ll mean lots of lovely negotiation between players.

Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga

Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga is another older game getting a reprint this year, and it sounds similarly neat. Players each control viking clans, settling, raiding, and trying to navigate a tricksy wind mechanic.

You see, a wind dial determines which direction it’ll be easiest to travel each turn, and minimise wastage of the contents of your longboats. One challenge is to balance this with fluctuating market conditions and “Saga” cards that offer outrageous bonuses for completing certain tasks.

AND FINALLY, app-using board games have reached a whole new level with the announcement of Iello’s World of Yo-Ho. Never mind the anthropomorphised animal pirates. Each player’s ship is represented on the map by a phone, sliding two phones into the same sector has them fight, and players can program their actions in secret before putting their phone back down.

Ladies and gents, you live in interesting times.