Games News! 19/02/18

Maggie Smith, Rory's Gory Story, a drowned sheep, a wobbly human
Paul: Welcome to another tub-thumping edition of Games News, the only board games news anywhere that features FIREWORKS and PYROTECHNICS and a ten meter CATHERINE WHEEL-

Quinns: paul you’re on fire

Paul: ON FIRE WITH EXCITEMENT about CASTELL and LOWLANDS and even HARRY POTTER.

Quinns: Paul you’ve never been excited about Harry Potter. What you should care about is human towers!

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Did you know that there’s a Catalan tradition of building human towers, no kidding, that are multiple people high? Now you can recreate those in Castell, travelling from festival to festival and growing a team of expert tower-humans, your mission to create the ultimate people pile.

That’s pretty terrific, right, both as a concept for a game but also as something that actually happens?!

Paul: I’ve actually been in the middle bit of a three-layer human pyramid and that was more than enough for me. Everything wobbled the whole time so, as far as I’m concerned, these people are GODS.

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Quinns: You know what I’m nosy about? Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr, which is such an unusual concept for a game.

In a combination of worker-placement and detective work, one to four players together try to recover the missing memories of a man who seems to be terminally ill, gradually revealing his mysterious past and the story of how he got to where he is now. It’s like board game designers never, ever run out of amazing new concepts.

Interestingly, Holding On is also the next project from Rory O’Connor, of the ubiquitous Rory’s Story Cubes.

He’s gone a lot darker for his second project, eh? Rory’s Gory Story.

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Or do your tastes run a bit more traditional? This week I was ogling Lowlands, a pretty-looking game of sheep, floods and fencing announced this week by Z-Man.

I always liked the fenced farm animals you get in Agricola, but breeding animals in that game was like a single breezy spot in a gruelling two hour hike. I’m thrilled to see the same idea getting some TLC in Lowlands, with players deciding how best to shape their paddocks before adding tiles like Feeding Troughs, Orchards and Breeding Farms.

There’s also this line in the description: “Adding expansions to your farm will unlock new options and score you victory points, but helping to build the dike that collectively protects all players is also rewarded. No matter what, the tide will rise and, if the dike isn’t high enough, it could rush in and sweep away your hard-earned profits.”

Does that mean your sheep will get swept out to sea like little cotton balls? The horror!

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Paul: You want something even more familiar? Let’s talk about the new HARRY POTTER MINIATURES GAME! Announced a month before a Kickstarter campaign next month, this elaborate wand-wiggler has players running around famous Potter locations as they cast spells and complete quests.

Naturally, it features all your favourite characters, like Luna Lovegood, Sirius Black and Dwight Eisenhower, and it looks nothing if not fancy and filigree. It’s also from Knight Models, publishers of the excellent Batman Miniatures Game, so it stands a chance of being a strong one.

Quinns: Paul, I’m picking up that you don’t really care about Harry Potter.

Paul: I don’t all that much, but I like Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith. Is Maggie Smith in this? Can she be in more board games?

Quinns: I’ll tell you what games she’s not in–

Paul: BOOOO.

Quinns: And that’s Coimbria and Reef. These are two games from Plan B that I’ve been ogling in the Games News this year, and The Dice Tower only went and posted first impressions of them both this week.

Quinns: I don’t know about anyone else but now I know more about these games I feel both Releefed and Coimforted.

Paul: Ow.

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MOVING ON to some Kickstarters this week, Aeon’s End: Legacy is the third in the deckbuilding series and, as you’d guess from the name, indulges in the now familiar legacy format. You can build a character over a campaign, make enemies, grab gear and do your best to defend Gravehold from THE NAMELESS.

But if they’re called THE NAMELESS, they still have a na- You know what? I think a deckbuilder could be a strong format for a legacy game and a great way to watch both a campaign and a character grow, gradually revealing more plot, enemies and items, while also giving you the opportunity to buff yourself until you’re blue in the face. I don’t know much about the world of Aeon’s End but I can absolutely see all the potential in a game like this and wait am I getting excited?

Quinns: Last time you asked me that it was a rumble from a passing lorry. This time? Perhaps not so much.

I talked a bit about Aeon’s End in my 2016 Corner Awards, describing it as a “Greatest Hits” album of deckbuilding. I’ll give it this- Clank! gets all the attention as a fantasy deckbuilder, but I preferred Aeon’s End and I think you might too.

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Paul, you put Blinks into the Games News document this week, but… what exactly is it? Is it an actual game, or a framework for a bunch of games? It looks like tiny digital hexes which you have to buy more of if you want a bigger and better experience.

Paul: I… am not entirely sure the answer to either of your questions now! I thought this was unusual because all these little gadgets clearly click together to make a game, but, like playing cards, can also be used to play a bunch of different games. The more you have, the more you can play except WHOA this gets expensive quickly.

Still, I think I wanted to mention it because it reminded me of something called the ePawn Arena, a failed Kickstarter we covered three years ago. Like that one, Blinks look like it might not do hugely well, and I think while I think it’s terrific when people have ideas for these inventions that can serve as the foundation of something, if you forget to show people something they can actually do with it, they don’t really know what they’re buying. Does that make sense?

Quinns: It does, Paul. It does. The number of Blinks pictured in the above photo would cost me more than $200. At that price I’d like to know a little more about what I’m getting.