Quinns: It was GenCon this weekend! The most sleep-deprived four days in gaming. Here’s hoping somebody spotted Mike, our tech guru, because the last message I got from him said he was going to try and carry this stack of review copies back to his hotel, followed by radio silence.
So, yeah, he might be dead, but on the bright side gloss-house Fantasy Flight had a ton of stuff to announce, causing the biggest stir with BattleLore 2nd edition, seen above. If you’re a regular reader you’ll probably have seen us review or play Memoir ’44, a phenomenal, approachable World War 2 strategy game. BattleLore is based on the same systems, but takes place in a colourful fantasy world. So, less horrors of war, more bipedal horrors who want to eat your face.
Aside from those gorgeous components, the most exciting thing about the 2nd edition BattleLore is that it promises a campaign right out of the box, as with Descent 2nd edition. You and your friends will immediately be able to string your battles into a larger, grudge-powered story. Which is very wise! As board games grow in popularity and people make more time for them (and with roleplaying game sales at an all-time low), it’s nice to see board game publishers offering those larger experiences.
Other changes in BattleLore 2e include the opportunity to build your own armies, choose how to deploy them, and even decide on your own objectives to create wholly unique battles. But who are we kidding? Anyone buying this game will be doing it for the enormous plastic demons.
Speaking of enormous plastic things!
LOOK AT THOSE SODDING THINGS. These are the epic scale ships for the X-Wing Miniatures Game that are arriving in early 2014. Scottish comedian Rab Florence said it best:
Much better than how I would have put it, which would have been a crap “HOLY SHIP” pun or something.
This definitely represents the tipping point for my own involvement in X-Wing. When we posted our impressions when it first arrived I said it was a great game, but would be worryingly expensive to get the most out of it. That’s still true, but Fantasy Flight are just doing such a good job of supporting it that, like Netrunner (also selling out as fast as they can make it), I’m just going to have to get involved. Expect more coverage on SU&SD very soon.
All of which is making it a bit hard to get excited about Fantasy Flight’s last big announcement, Warhammer: Diskwars. They’re reviving the old Diskwars franchise! But honestly, I think this company has done gone and one-upped themselves.
The original Diskwars was an interesting idea. A hybrid of collectible card games and miniatures games, this was a 2 player tactical skirmish that saw players building armies from cardstock discs. Disks? Disqs? DISQWARS. That’s what they should have called it.
The rules were smart, too. You didn’t need to measure movement distance, because discs moved by flipping end over end. Ranged damage was worked out by dropping special “missile” discs from exactly a foot above the table. Et voila: A tactical miniatures game that required nothing more than the discs in your pocket.
Fantasy Flight have shown a knack for breathing life into old business models with their Living Card Games, for which they sell not randomised boosters, but fixed expansions. Warhammer: Diskwars will follow the same pattern. But still… put into context of everything else they make, Warhammer: Diskwars is yet another expandable game, presumably aimed at people who haven’t yet bought into FF’s Warhammer living card game, the actual Warhammer miniatures game or the pre-painted ships of X-Wing. This is an absurdly aggressive cornering of the collectible game market!
That said, Fantasy Flight have had an incredible year. I guess re-investing their profits into this kind of ruthless experimentation and becoming trendsetters is the best way to make sure they stay on top.
In further weird news, the mighty BoardGameGeek News blog reports that the upcoming deck building game based on the Aliens franchise, Legendary: Encounters, will be partially compatible with Upper Deck’s superhero deckbuilding game, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. In other words, you’ll be able to get Ripley and Bishop teaming up with The Incredible Hulk. Just like you’ve… always wanted?
In case you’ve been trapped in a cabinet since 2008, deck building is the new genre of card games started by Dominion that sees players starting the game with a frail, reedy little deck, and then drawing hands from it, and using those cards to buy further cards from the centre of the table, gradually strengthening your deck into an intimidating, game-winning engine. Or, if you’re us, just making a mess.
We’ve not yet covered the Marvel deck builder because we’re a touch burned out on the genre, but like the mole on Paul’s back, this one’s getting a little too big for us to ignore. Expect a review around the time the 2014 Spider-Man expansion comes out. Mm. Spiders.
AND FINALLY, this is just amazing: A set of board game components have been unearthed in Turkey that are almost 5000 years old. Until now, all we’ve had are Egyptian heiroglyphs showing two-dimensional dudes playing Senet. The discovery of actual game pieces from 3000 B.C. is a world first.
“We are still puzzling over its strategy,” said Haluk Sağlamtimur of Ege University. “According to distribution, shape and numbers of the stone pieces, it appears that the game is based on the number 4.”
Sounds rubbish. Shut Up & Sit Down does not recommend.
Have you all been enjoying our indie RPG reviews, like MonsterHearts and The Quiet Year? Well, the creator of both of those, Joe Mcdaldno, is currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to visit all of his internet friends here in the UK, and we’d very much like it if you took a look.
Every so often Shut Up & Sit Down comes across a designer who’s an absolute inspiration to us. Never mind the games we’ve found the time to review- Joe’s also made Ribbon Drive, an RPG powered by real-life mix tapes, Perfect, Unrevised, a game about the cost of rebellion, and Brave Sparrow, which is a roleplaying game cum life philosophy that somehow almost brought me to tears when I read it at 3am.
We’d love the opportunity to meet Joe. If you like the idea of him sending you a hand-finished, signed zine commemorating the trip of a lifetime that you helped fund, please consider dropping him a few dollars.
Until next week!