Ava: Look at that, this week’s games news is mostly about travels! I’m on pseudo-holiday in sunny Glasgow. All the sequels are moving to Las Vegas, and other games are jumping onto tin boats and seaplanes. Not to mention what Quinns wants to get up to in San Francisco.
Quinns: Let’s hop on board the news travelator and send back some postcards.
Ava: Oh my word this looks so pretty! Wayfinders is new from Pandasaurus and Thomas Dagenais-Lespérance, who designed brain-storming deduction game and Pearple’s Choice 2018 winner, Decrypto.
Wayfinders has you flying from island to island in adorable seaplanes whilst managing fuel and hangars and the appropriate parts for the appropriate islands. The core of the game will be choosing between placing more workers, reserving a spot to nab something later, or returning them to your hand and activating all the workers at once. Do you want to hold out for a bigger haul? Or do you absolutely, desperately need that thing before someone else has a chance to get it?
It’s a tasty decision folks, let’s hope the rest of the game supports it. Once you nab the workers, you get to move your adorable airplane, limited in route by the parts you’ve collected. Islands have different effects and bonuses, so there’s some interesting balancing acts at play. Colour me curious!
Quinns: It’s so small! If any player sneezes, that entire game is taking flight. Which is thematically appropriate, at least.
Quinns: Creeping it’s creepy way into the news this week is Horrified, a collaboration between Universal Studios and Forrest-Pruzan Creative that will see players co-operatively battling a selection of seven classic monsters.
All of that tender loving care that Forrest-Pruzan gave Disney’s villains in Disney Villainous? This looks like them trying to afford the same licensing love to Universal’s biggest bads, including the Bride of Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, all of which “Will require different strategies to be defeated.” In other words, just like Villainous, each monster will have some unique mechanics that at once offer the game flavour while hammering home their unique selling points. It’s a branding extravaganza! It’s a brandstravaganza.
Ava: Do you have what it takes to show a Frankenstein what it means to be human? To prove to the police that the Invisible Man exists? To cure the wolfman? Does the Mummy fancy you?
Quinns: If you’d like to learn more, the Dice Tower received a spoOOOoooOOoky advance copy of Horrified and has already posted a BLOOD-CURDLING review.
Quinns: Blue Orange Games has announced Kingdomino Duel, which will be yet another tie-in game that tries to cram a popular board game into the format of a cute lil’ roll’n’write game. Kingdomino Duel will see exactly 2 players rolling dice, then claiming pairs of dice to create double-ended dominos that exist only in their mind, and then scribbling them onto their maps.
Facetiousness aside, not only does this look like a sufficiently different game from Kingdomino, it actually looks like a strong roll’n’write game.
Ava: Mind Dominoes! Domindoes! Kingdomindoes! Domiknows?!? This is all too much!
Quinns: You’ve got no idea. Over the last few months I’ve been prodding the Kingdomino series with one eyebrow cocked to the heavens. What coverage should this site offer Kingdomino, Queendomino, and the Age of Giants expansion? I’m still not sure, so I keep playing it. Prod prod prod.
Would you like to prod a domino around with me sometime, Ava?
Ava: I’ve never played any of these monarchist domino games, but I hear good things. You know I’m always up for a prod. That said, taking the dominoes off the table and putting them into your mind does remove the lovely textural clack that I’m after. Dominoes are gorgeous objects! I’m not entirely happy with them being made out of cardboard, let alone imagination.
Ava: Everyone is moving to Vegas! The city that doesn’t like naps. The Big Light. The city so shiny, they named it Las Vegas.
I’m going to struggle with this sentence, and I almost want to ignore Blue Cocker Games for doing this to me, but here goes. Welcome to…: New Las Vegas, is a the sequel to Welcome to…, the roll’n’write card-flipping housing market game that everyone welcomed but nobody could google. The new New Vegas variant replaces the suburban enclave of the original with the infamously well-lit strip, and replaces one pad of paper with two: one for buildings, and one for the elaborate scoring systems. There’s limos, there’s golf courses, there’s hotels. I suspect there isn’t a drug-addled journalist and his lawyer, but maybe there’s room for that in an expansion.
Ava: Oh dear, not again. Are you ok?
Quinns: First off, I’m glad we covered this story after Kingdomino Duel, because it would have blown that poor little game out of the water with the force of a salmon cannon. But more importantly, I want this game SO BAD. This sequel looks like Welcome To… but a little longer, a little trickier, a little heavier, and that’s just great by me.
Ava: I hear you Quinns. But I had to type dot dot dot colon earlier, and I’m never going to forgive it for that.
Quinns: For which game?
Ava: You’re just trying to make me type it again, aren’t you
Quinns: Yes. Anyway, could you not just describe this as Welcome To…: 2?
Ava: Can I get Ben’s phone number? I’m thinking about unionising.
Ava: Also heading to Vegas, or at least, to the kickstarter casinos, is Burgle Bros, the really quite solid co-operative caper caboodle.
Burgle Bros 2: The Casino Capers will see your gang invading the roulette tables and being stalked by bouncers as they pull off yet another daring heist. I can’t work out if that makes you a thicket of thieves or a bunch of troublesome tourists. Either way, the star here is the luxuriant neoprene hotel carpet sample, and the box that unfolds into a little table to give the two floors of the casino a bit of depth.
Tim Fowers consistently makes solid, gorgeous games, and this looks like no exception. I don’t remember being entirely won over by Burgle Bros when I played it, but it’s full of smart ideas and worked cleanly. I suspect a new slightly brighter theme and even more polish, could make The Casino Capers a really strong proposition. Ryan Goldsberry has made this look utterly delicious, even before you add in the novel accoutrements.
Quinns: Ain’t no Kickstarter like a Fowers Kickstarter / Because a Fowers Kickstarter-
Ava: Don’t stop?
Quinns: I was going to say “Won’t be crap”, which doesn’t scan, but it is doubly true in this case, with The Casino Capers being a sequel and Tim Fowers being a safe pair of hands.
Ava: I’m just faintly embarrassed I’ve got S Club 7 in my head, and not a more credible version of the classic couplet.
Ava: Another designer with incredibly consistent art direction is Ryan Laukat, and he’s taken to the tabletop again with Sleeping Gods.
With Laukat’s lovely illustrations at the centre, Sleeping Gods has you hopping from island to island in a storybook campaign mode. A novel length story awaits, alongside an atlas of 26 interconnected maps. You’ll take the role of Captain Sofi Odessa, and dance through a carefully stacked deck, getting into scrapes with terrible monsters, and presumably the titular napping deities.
Honestly, I’m just in it for that tiny little steamship about to be eaten by a kaiju. I’ve yet to click with a Laukat design, but he’s got a hell of a lot I haven’t tried yet. Maybe one with an appropriately huggable little tugboat will be the one to take my heart.
Quinns: Finally, I was delighted this week by an article in SFGate on the dice games that are emerging in San Francisco bars. That probably makes me sound like some kind of craps fiend, so I should explain.
A couple of years ago I read Reiner Knizia’s book Dice Games Properly Explained, and it made me worry that unlike card games or roleplaying games, dice games might be a corner of gaming culture that all but vanishes in English-speaking countries. Obviously the dice themselves survived, escaping like a cuboid diaspora into the greater nation of tabletop, but that a whole area of tabletop design could be so quickly forgotten made me a little sad.
And now, lo and behold, here are some of those games again! It put a smile on my face, is all.
Ava: I’m a bit nervous of all the gambling to be honest. Everyone knows that a craps fiend makes a crap friend.
Quinns: Is that the joke we’re going to close the news on? It’s OK, it is. It’s a good joke. One of your best. I’m just making sure.
Ava: Dot dot dot colon.