Paul: My goodness! We start the news this week with the continuing success story of Vlaada Chvátil and Czech Games. Two new, licensed versions of Codenames have been announced, themed around Marvel and Disney. Surprised?
I can’t say I’m ever likely to buy or play either of them, nor that I’m at all invested in the worlds of either of these entertainment giants, but I do see this as a wonderful way to bring different kinds of licensed games to more players, particularly families, beyond another bloody Monopoly, as well as for Czech Games to earn more well-deserved cash. If someone tells me, in twenty years, that they got into board games through trying to interpret obscure clues about Frozen characters, I’m going to be okay with that.
Okay, hold on, there is also comic potential here. I’m sure there’s all sorts of hilarious clues you can give if you want people to guess both a talking candlestick and a singing elephant, or something slightly sassy you can say about Spider-Man, Victoria Hand and Captain America. Maybe? I don’t actually know anything about comics. Is Garfield DC or Marvel?
Quinns: OH MY GOD. Speaking of Codenames, This week we also heard from Bezier Games, who announced their latest Werewolf-inspired hidden role game, Werewords. Werewords is about both trying to deduce a particular word and also trying to avoid the nefarious influence of a traitor in your midst.
The Mayor player knows the word, answering guesses with responses like “Yes,” “No,” or “So close,” while a werewolf hidden within the group also tries to misdirect everyone and lead them away from the right answer. In a Resistance: Avalon-style fashion, there’s someone who knows who the werewolf is, and… hang on. This sounds almost identical to Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, but less dramatic and more accessible.
Paul: Surely the biggest question here is, why don’t werewolves want you guessing words? What’s going on there?
Quinns: No, the biggest question is whether a wereword is a person who turns into a word when there’s a full moon. Which sounds like something out of The Invisibles.
Paul: I’ve also been looking at the forthcoming Bunny Kingdom, from Magic and Netrunner creator Richard Garfield, and there’s a sentence I never in my life thought I would write. If you’ve ever wanted to use coloured bunnies to control a large area, this is exactly the game for you.
Through a combination of card drafting and careful bunny placement (oh Lord what am I saying), you stretch out your warrens, put your furry friends in cities and try to gain access to as many resources (such as carrots UGH) as you can. I’m increasingly enjoying both area control and card drafting as I slowly drift my way into old age and the twilight of my life, so this might well whet my appetite. It’s nothing if not wonderfully colourful and kind of cute.
Quinns: I’ve been increasingly enjoying bunnies in my advanced years.
Paul: You have?
Quinns: Yes. Although I’m not picky. I’ll take anything that’s small and soft.
Paul: Hmm. Like an expensive tissue?
Quinns: Yeah. Or just a plastic bag full of water.
Hey, you know how schools sometimes have a guinea pig that exists under the dubious parentage of “the school”? Do you think we could get a site bunny?
Paul: This is the same conversation that led to us hiring Matt and I’m NOT HAVING IT AGAIN
Quinns: Well then let’s have a conversation about Terra Mystica: Gaia Project, the newly-announced sequel to brain-busting, terraforming, mermaid-featuring Terra Mystica, which was one of our favourite games of 2013.
Gaia Project will re-imagine Terra Mystica as a battle between star-faring species (as opposed to the earthy neighbours of the original game), the board will be a load of modular hexes to allow for variable setups and you’ll now be able to develop your particular race along six different tracks.
Looking at the board, though, I can only image that this will be a very different game. The original Terra Mystica had acres and acres of land for people to dig up, moisten, burn and build upon, whereas here planets look few and far between.
Paul: Oh my goodness, what if they remove THE BOWLS? We’ll need to come up with a new joke. I’ll put our writers room on it immediately.
Are you excited? I must say, I’d love an excuse to return to Terra Mystica, it’s been ages since I played it.
Quinns: I’m torn! On the one hand, I’m always thrilled when designers refine a beloved game after its been subjected to public playtesting. On the other hand, a generic “space” setting sucks all the enthusiasm out of me like a hard vacuum. Doesn’t it seem like a less fitting home for all of Terra Mystica’s beautiful wooden components, too? Just because Saga has a cool wooden spaceship doesn’t mean you can get away with it, Jens Drögemüller!
Hmm. Dunno why I’m all about the comics references today..
I’ll tell you what’s getting a straight-up expansion though, Paul. Splendor!
Paul: Oh, the chip-snatching, tableau-building game that produces equal feelings of weight, tension and relaxation?
Quinns: A bit like being psychologically constipated, yes. Cities of Splendor will add four new additional ways to play, including power cards, player powers, things you put on other things and things you want but that you don’t want other people to get because they’re powerful.
BUT WAIT! Don’t forget that Splendor is going to have some competition this year in the form of Century: Spice Road, which is supposedly a slightly similar game. Which game will we end up recommending?! What an exciting job this is.
Finally, we move on to our reader gallery! If you’ve got a photo or piece of art you think would be a light-hearted addition to our news, please do send it in to [email protected]
The above family photo came from SU&SD fan Tomer Perry, who writes…
I was going over pictures from winter break and found this picture. I’m sending these to you because I realized that I was wearing a SU&SD t-shirt as I was playing with my nieces and nephews: this was at the tail-end of a Hanukkah candle-lighting dinner (more like a feast), and my niece asked me to bring out that game we played the other day, One Deck Dungeon.
My other niece and nephews are too young for this game, but they were so excited, they all joined and each of them got a role. One rolled dice for one character, one for the other, and another chose which room we were going to each turn. The kids all got really into it, and were very excited to roll dice and beat monsters with a beautiful all-female cast of heroes. It was a grand experience, completely unplanned – I brought a host of kid- friendly games to the trip, but this was by far the best experience.
What a lovely day that looks like!
We also had this amazing (and FULL OF SPOILERS) piece of Pandemic Legacy wall art sent in by Georg Wolgast and Erika Miegel. Leigh and I were talking about framing our board but this puts us to shame.