Games News! 21/03/16
Our biggest story is that Ra, one of Reiner Knizia’s old and therefore good games, is coming back in a pretty new print run! In a rare example of SU&SD being ahead of the curve (rather than about two months behind it) our entire team has actually played the original 1999 auction game and is in agreement that it’s well worth your money.
In a nutshell, Ra is a game of making terrible decisions, swearing, and failing to get what you want. On your turn you either draw a tile at random and add it to a central display, or start the auction which sees one player picking up the whole thing, not unlike filling a bin bag with the entire contents of a window display.
Across three epochs you’ll slowly amass segments of the nile, fields, literacy, gold, pharaohs and natural disasters, each of which score (or destroy) points differently. Basically the whole game is a tasty hash of maths, risk-taking and denying your friends what they desire most in life.
Now for the confusing bit. Ra will be the third release in Fantasy Flight’s Euro Classics line, the first two being Tigris & Euphrates and Samurai, but you won’t find Fantasy Flight’s name on the Ra box. It’s coming to us from a “new” studio titled WindRider Games, which is currently some employees plucked from Fantasy Flight’s design team now working with a focus on European-style games.
How do we feel about the name WindRider, everybody? I like it except for the lack of a space between the words, which makes me parse it like it was Tinder for paladins.
Fantasy Flight’s other big news (unless you count the new mini-wave for Star Wars Armada) is of the forthcoming Road to Legend application for Descent. Arriving in just a few weeks, the app will offer a series of campaigns that replace the Overlord player with an AI, allowing for a fully co-operative monster-bashing adventure.
It’s a great idea and a fantastic way to extend the lifespan of a game. Fantasy Flight’s digital work may still have a long way to go, but next to the other board game studios they’re by far the fastest geriatric in the marathon. Look at ‘em go, shuffling down the street!
You can do it, guys. I for one look forward to you releasing Netrunner for mobile devices in the year 2029.
In further news of robotic replacements Hasbro has announced a new edition of Robo Rally, one of my all-time favourite games, and once again it looks to be a slightly sad and tepid thing compared to the stunning 1995 Wizards of the Coast 2nd edition, with its colourful boards and fantastic expansions.
I’m not holding the original Robo Rally up as a pinnacle of design, either. If someone like Fantasy Flight got their hands on the license they could easily improve the darn thing. But seeing it get WORSE under the care of Hasbro is like watching a crush who you loved as a teenager slowly waste away on a diet of eating nothing but dollar bills.
Pearl Games has announced that 2010 classic Troyes and beloved expansion Ladies of Troyes are getting reprinted this year, which is good, as I’ve not played them. About the only things I know are that Troyes is ranked 54 out of BoardGameGeek’s 82,000 plus games.
For more insightful analysis (which is to say, analysis that exists in some form) this episode of Heavy Cardboard should suffice. Jump in at the one hour mark and let those nice American folks get American all over you.
Eric Lang is making a The Godfather board game with Cool Mini or Not! No images of it just yet, but this line from the description made me laugh like a drain.
”The game also features drive-by shootings in which enemy tokens are removed from the board and placed face-down in the river. The don of that family member must play cards to fish their guys out of the river and return them to duty on the New York battlefield.”
Of course. What are you doing sleeping with the fishes, Tony? Wake up! There’s a war on. Here, take these dry clothes. No, we don’t have time to get you a coffee.
Actually Eric Lang’s The Godfather is just one of three newly announced Godfather games. The Godfather: An Offer You Can’t Refuse will be in the style of the Mafia party game and my spider sense says that it won’t replace any of the existing classics in that genre, but IDW’s The Godfather: A New Don is a dice game and I actually think it looks pretty cool.
Eric Lang is also making the official Bloodborne board game! If you don’t know what Bloodborne is, allow me to point you to our own Matt Lees’ excellently produced series where he plays the entire thing.
This will be a competitive card game, not the miniatures game you might expect, with players competing to push their way through a randomised dungeon without dying. But will this game be frenzied coldblood, or a forgotten blood dreg? And will anyone understand that reference?
Who’s ready for a hot time in the old town! Oh god I’m so jetlagged that I don’t know where that came from or what it means.
Listen. Listen. Monikers is really good. It was good when we reviewed it last year and it only got better afterwards when I found out about the secret final round where you play it under a bedsheet.
Well I’ve got news for you, bucko / ladybucko. They’re running another Kickstarter RIGHT NOW for the game’s second expansion, Monikers: Something Something, which also represents a chance to buy the base game (or the first expansion) if it’s not available in your part of the world.
Honestly, it’s called Monikers: Something Something. I’m not even lying. Go see for yourself.
And finally, here’s something shared with us by fan Brian Gallentine over on the Twitters. Thanks, Brian! Thian.
You’re looking at an unofficial board game of Hunter Thompson’s gonzo journalist masterwork Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Like every other reference to Fear and Loathing in the world ever the board game chooses to focus on the depictions of drug use rather than what the book is, y’know, actually about, but whatever. A board game about Thompson’s sadness that his country was losing its way probably would have made for a really depressing night.
For anyone interested, yeah, Thompson is probably my favourite writer. Paul loves Kurt Vonnegut and Matt likes Margaret Atwood.