Games News! 20/01/14

limes, coconuts, Grenzstreitigkeiten, breathing machines, unenviable insomnia
Quinns: I’ll just pre-empt this one before you all start shouting. Wretchedly-named German publisher ABACUSSPIELE has announced Limes! And it’s limes, but not as we know it.

A limes is actually the singular form of the Latin “limites”- a line deliniating the boundary of the Roman empire. The actual game of Limes will be a reimplementation of Cities, and that’s probably all you need to know about a game that looks monumentally mediocre!

Look at me, coaxed into an oxymoron not six hours into the week. Awful!

Let’s wash the earthy taste of Limes out of our collective mouth with another game based on an exotic foodstuff. Let’s look at the Kickstarter for a US release of Coconuts: Crazy Monky has just slipped past its goal.

This one’s a Korean dexterity game along the lines of Toc Toc Woodman, and unlike the chalky deceit of Limes, Coconuts really is a game of coconuts. Also, crazy monkeys.

You go, Korean man!

Han‘s another new announcement, due out in Summer of this year. Again, it’s a game that looks as dismal and sleepy as a Soviet sedative, yet the game and discussion around it has hints of the same kind of timeless majesty we found in El Grande. Take a look at the image below, maybe you’ll see what I mean.


The illustrious BoardGameGeek news blog tells me it’s an re-implementation of a system invented by Michael Schacht found in the games China and Web of Power, neither of which we’ve played, but which hold noteworthy BGG rankings of #332 and #242, respectively.

Basically, it’s a game of hand management and area control, where you also gain points for uninterrupted trails of your pieces. The official description sounds like Cones of Dunshire, mind you.

‘One side of the game board — titled “Grenzstreitigkeiten”, or “Border Disputes”, and made for 3-5 players — includes house sites that straddle two regions; to claim one of these locations, a player must discard two appropriately-colored cards. The number of emissaries in a region is limited to the number of houses of the same color in that same region.

Oh… ok! Hang on, I think I left something in my car. I’ll be back in five minutes.

At game end, players also score for having majorities of emissaries in two adjacent regions, scoring as many points as the number of emissaries in both regions. Players also score for having four or more houses in an uninterrupted sequence along one of the roads on the board. On the “Grenzstreitigkeiten” game board, players also score majority points for the houses in the port cities located in multiple regions, these port cities effectively forming their own region. Whoever scores the most points wins.

Why is the front door locked! Let me go!

In other lethargic new, Fantasy Flight CEO Christian Peterson has done a rare, if softball interview with Team Covenant, tabletop gaming community site and online store.

Whether you’re aware of Christian or not, the odds are he’s played a pivotal role in some of the games under your roof. In addition to designing the Game of Thrones board game, Twilight Imperium and Middle-earth Quest, it’s under his leadership that Fantasy Flight have both not only grown, but pioneered forward-thinking initiatives like Living Card Games and unparallelled support of community events.

Speaking of which …!!

Descent Game Night Kits

Seems a week can’t go by without some sliver of Descent news, but this is pretty wacky. In 2014, Fantasy Flight will be distributing Descent Game Night Kits to paying retailers, allowing punters to experience not just a structured evening of Descent, but entirely co-operative Descent, where the monsters all run on clunky, clockwork AI.

I’m all for this. Getting to play the antagonist might lie at the heart of Descent, but only after bringing down an ogre with a throwing knife and a clatter of dice. This is Fantasy Flight lowering the bar for entry for one of my favourite games, and I love it.

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game

A little hobby shop-shaped bird told me that in the face of tumbling RPG sales, Fantasy Flight’s new Star Wars RPGs are doing exceedingly well. This also makes me happy. And it makes me double-happy to see Fantasy Flight are continuing to release their Beginner Games for it, with Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game getting announced this week. A pint-sized release that’ll let you and your friends work out if you definitely, definitely enjoy being nipples-deep in thermal detonators and wookies before investing in the game proper.

…And speaking of books that are nice!

Breathing Machine

In something that sounds like the plot of a SU&SD episode, SU&SD contributors Leigh Alexander and Brendan Caldwell have both published books this week! Anyone interested in supporting our friends, and by extension SU&SD, now has a quaint and erudite way to do so.

Leigh’s book, Breathing Machine, is an account of growing up in the earliest days of the internet. Featuring Sailor Moon forums, botnets, video games, a heartbreaking online romance, and still-more heartbreaking descriptions of running home from school because you might have an e-mail, it captures the darkness and magic of the internet as a new frontier. I enjoyed it an awful lot.

Meanwhile, Brendan’s written an epic poem. I’m not even kidding.

Brendan: Hello everybody. My new book, The Unenviable Insomnia of Halloran Kin, is a powerful journey. It is hard to describe it to you in a plain tongue. It can be likened to a physical peregrination, or perhaps, a pilgrimage. A trip through a perilous canyon. An expedition by raft on a slow, ancient river. A careful horse ride through a dark forest. You look around you. Are those willow branches? Or are they insect legs? There is a man behind you, watch out! A flash! A terrible blow! Now you are the horse, and the man is riding YOU.

The Unenviable Insomnia of Halloran Kin does not contain many horses. But the theme of equine servitude is indeed an interesting one, don’t you think? And what about the insects? Always, we should watch the insects. Buy my book, The Unenviable Insomnia of Halloran Kin.

Brendan Magill Caldwell MA

Quinns: You heard the guy. Buy it!