Games News! 19/10/15

deadly briefcases, doomtroopers, fluffy hats, rapacious awe
Quinns: We proceed directly to the big news of the week, do not pass “Go”, definitely do not collect £200. Put it back!

Stonemaier Games has launched their Scythe Kickstarter upon the waiting world. At the time of writing it’s received a million dollars in just six days, and I’ve never found it so easy to see why.

You have Jakub Rozalski’s art and worldbuilding, pairing mechs with a rich tapestry of 19th century Eastern Europe. You have a timely design, offering the economic engine-building of Eurogames with the conflict and theme and tiny mechs that are going to get players excited. You’ve got a selection of editions to choose from, each of them generous, there’s friendly shipping to Europe, Canada and Australia, and you have Stonemaier Games’ money back guarantee. Don’t like the game after you’ve played it once? They’ll pay for return shipping and refund you completely.

Personally, I’m the most blown away by the tiny bags of grain, iron ingots, oil barrels and lumber you get in the Collector’s Edition. In four years of doing SU&SD, I’ve never seen the likes of this.

Game: Scythe

Which brings me to a sticky question. SHOULD YOU BACK IT?

Our party line on Kickstarters (even ones with fluffy hats, big, stompy robots and pet eagles) is to wait until after manufacturing, when the game’s available from shops. If the design and production really do turn out great, the game will stick around for a year or two.

Here, though? I’m looking at Stonemaier Games’ unparallelled professionalism, the money-back guarantee, and all those incredible stretch goals, and I’m thinking… “Oh, f*** it. Treat yourself!”

But you guys should also know that I won’t be backing it. I have to wait to hear opinions from people I trust before I can get truly excited about something, so all I have to go by are Stonemaier’s previous games, and I didn’t love any of them. And after I thought about it, I realised I didn’t want a game with this many textures. We’ve got plastic miniatures, wooden buildings (which is a terrible combination already), metal coins, painted resin resources, and the jackboot of the game’s utilitarian iconography and fonts have stamped all over Rozalski’s brushwork:

Rozalski’s brushwork

There’s so much going on! Which is great for a Kickstarter, where you can pop these buzzwords into it like coal into a furnace, but (for me) it doesn’t cohere into a desirable object.

Don’t worry, though! I bring good news, too! Look at this:

The ever-excellent Slashfilm brings news of a forthcoming Russian film based around the game “Mafia” (as in, Werewolf), with a budget of $15 million. Oh, yes!

Here’s the official publisher description:

“Mafia” is an action thriller, based on the famous interactive survival game – Mafia. The action takes place in the distant future in Moscow, Russia. Mafia game is a world-wide phenomenon, now the most popular television show ever. Every year, eleven fearless volunteers, from all walks of life, gather together to find out – who are the innocent civilians, and who are the ruthless Mafia. A game, that the outcome of which determines who will live, and who will die. Those who die are hunted by their worst fears, in elaborate and horrifying ways, while the whole world watches in rapacious awe. There are only two ways out, to win and become wildly rich and famous, or to lose and vanish forever into the abyss of your nightmares.

Yes, it’ll probably be bad. But think of the joy you could have in watching it, and then quoting dialogue from the inevitably overblown game scenes when you’re actually playing Werewolf.

Or just when commenting on Shut Up & Sit Down. “I have never seen a show like this before!”

Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel

Huge news, everyone! 1990s classic Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel is being rebooted, and managing the design is a superteam including Richard Borg (Memoir ‘44), Kevin Wilson (Arkham Horror) and Eric Lang (Chaos in the Old World).

I know what you’re thinking. “What is Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel?” To which I say, “I don’t know just let me look at that link for a second ok.”

Aha! Board Game Geek calls this gridular gunfest a “second cousin to Heroquest”, which should make Paul very happy. Players each control two DOOMTROOPERS belonging to their CORPORATION, while one player controls the DARK LEGION and their vile leader ALAKHAI the NEPHARITE, seeking to conquer the GALAXY!

This is so silly that, like Fortress America, it wraps right the way around and makes me excited again. I want to control an evolving fireteam of doomtroopers!

Battle for Zendikar

On the subject of heroic second cousins, Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers, which borrows most of its DNA from Heroscape, has had its first expansion announced. Battle for Zendikar will include a handful of new miniatures, two new playable wizards, some new spells and a giant new enemy titled the Eldrazi Ruiner!

I never had the chance to play (the now discontinued) Heroscape, but I’ve certainly enjoyed watching Tom Vasel talk about it. The impression that I’m getting is that Arena of the Planeswalkers doesn’t quite have the same appeal. Can any of you lot confirm that? Is this something we should be looking at?

Mostly I’d just like to know why the board is that sandy beige. Arena of the Plainswalkers, more like.

Arena of the Planeswalkers

Now here’s an expansion I can get behind! Back in episode 2 we described classic German game Powergrid as excellent, but sometimes “Like being beaten to death by a briefcase full of cash”. That electric excitement still hums inside me though. I’d love a reason to revisit that game, and maybe pick myself up the new Deluxe edition.

Today, I got one!

Powergrid: The Stock Companies is a forthcoming expansion that will add company stocks (which is to say, investing in OTHER PLAYERS) to the cutthroat game of powering a continent, as well as three new ways to implement them. But basically, losing at Power Grid might no longer be an issue if you manage to get enough shares in the winning player.

Interestingly, the rules for this expansion are based on the “Shares” module of Friedemann Friese’s new release, 504. Madness.

Pandemic Legacy

And finally, a little teaser. We’ve got a massively exciting review for you this Friday.

You might want to put a little money aside.