Paul: Matt! Welcome to the Games News Office! I can’t believe it’s your first time here!
Matt: Paul, this is just a bin with a laptop and-
Paul: Uh, what’s that? You’re also excited about the Pandemic Legacy Season 2 trailer? And it’s official release date being so near?
Matt: Paul, I’m vibrating. That trailer might be the most Fallout-y thing I’ve seen since Fallout 2 – arguably that’s half because the CGI is a bit “1998”, but shut up Matthew don’t be mean it’s lovely. Season 2 is out later this week – October 26th! I was playing it pretty cool until Quinns played the first mission and excitedly came to tell me about “this one thing that isn’t really a spoiler but is absolutely genius” and SHUT UP QUINNS NO, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT YOU WILL NOT SOIL MY MIND WITH YOUR THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCE.
So yes, I’m excited. My main stress at this point though, is finding a solid group that won’t flake or bail – with the Arkham LCG and Gloomhaven currently on the go, my rock-solid tablepeeps are already stretched. Paul, why has the Games News Office got a cupboard full of exotic birds? This cupboard seems very small? This doesn’t seem legal?
Paul: So here’s a thing that had me flicking my feathers in curiosity this week. BoardGameGeek have been posting lots of in-depth designer diaries and preview features in the lead up to the enormous industry event that is Spiel ‘17. Cuckoo! in particular really stood out for me, not least because I imagine Quinns would enjoy its feathery theme.
It’s deceptively devious. All you need to do is score a value as close to, but not higher than, 21. You do this by collecting, drafting and discarding cards of different suits and values, hopefully sabotaging everyone else’s attempts as you further your own. At first, it seems simple, and then suddenly my brain recognises this sort of thing “Arboretum!” at me. A cutesy theme, but cruel, cruel execution. I really want to try this.
Matt: Hey, who remembers Spaceteam? It was a frantic, silly cooperative videogame that wished upon a Kick-star-ter and transformed into a card game. The team behind Spaceteam are back with Ravine – a team game about surviving a plane crash and foraging for bits that might keep you all alive. Angling more towards Lord of the Flubber than Lord of the Flies, it features perils such as A GIANT SQUIRREL.
Depending on taste, the crowning feature will either see you either grin or grimace: when your character’s health dwindles you’ll draw from a deck of madness cards, injecting a dose of party game stupidity. Your name is now Captain Cranberries, you will announce – and must then refuse to respond in the future unless addressed properly. Within the context of fraught survival discussions, this sounds like it could be frustratingly surreal? Classy art design, too – for me this is definitely one to watch.
Paul: Before biting down on even more exciting news biscuits, I want to take us on a sober segue into some brief industry news. Games Workshop have announced a new partnership with WizKids, after their similar relationship with Fantasy Flight Games ended just over a year ago now.
This means WizKids will take up publishing duties on the GW classic Fury of Dracula and will also be publishing several new titles set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, including a series of dice-building games. I feel like I’ve had my fill of dice-building but, as I’ve said before, GW have my interest whenever they consider new forays into the cardboard dimension.
Matt: Did someone mention dice? I’m drowning in dice. Look at all of these dice in my mouth.
Paul: Matt those dice are huge, please don’t do that you’ll spoil your dinner.
Matt: Paul you’re right, these Star Wars Destiny dice are huge – almost as huge as the game’s potential to shift away from being solely reliant on a business model I find very uncomfortable! Woof-bang-pow, what a segue!
Paul: Matt I’m not even writing these bits, you are. You’re literally having a conversation with yourself.
Matt: As I alluded to in our podcast, Destiny was a point of real conflict for me: evidently a very cool game, but propped up too heavily for my tastes with blind boosters. My realisation that the starter pack didn’t actually include a full deck of cards had me instantly raising all available eyebrows, and putting a potential review on the back-burner. The heart of the beast hasn’t changed dramatically, but news that we’ll soon be seeing two new starter sets has definitely reignited my interest: with more options available for lightweight deck-building without the need to go anywhere near boosters, it’s shifted closer towards being something we might consider recommending.
Although honestly, I’m not sure how much I trust my ability to resist the fact that one of the new starter sets has BOBBY FETT on the front of the box. Oh Mr Bobby, how I love you and you metal green hat xoxox
For those who aren’t fussed about their neural network being hi-jacked for money, there will also be a fresh wave of booster cards too, as well as a special set specifically designed for enabling draft play. Consistency and less wastage seems good? If you’re into competitive play this is pretty good, isn’t it? Oh gosh I’m out of my depth Paul, help
Paul: Okay, I can’t hold off mentioning it any more. The latest Massive Kickstarter Full of Miniatures and Gargantuan Stretch Goals is Time of Legends: Joan of Arc, by Mythic Games. After the huge success of their previous Kickstarter, Mythic Battles: Pantheon, where they teamed up with Monolith, Mythic have decided to launch themselves once more unto the breach with this rather unusual take on the Hundred Years War.
Details on just how you command your card-driven band of brothers and/or sisters are hidden far down the page, under metric tonnes of photos of miniatures and buildings, but they do suggest an interesting system of resource management, where cubes are spent to issue orders to groups of units. Those units, however, aren’t just French or English soldiers, but also all those other historical participants you probably forgot about, like werewolves. And angels. And dragons. And demons. So many horrid ghosts.
So it could be good. If nothing else, it’s guilty of neither dullness or restraint. With funding passing $800,000 already, Time of Legends seems unstoppable. Here it comes, in thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove.
Matt: Also in The Land Cardboard Money-Dreams, we’ve got a “Deluxified” version of Downfall on Kickstarter, which is already coming to retail via Tasty Minstrel Games. Despite appearing on the page a whopping 27 times, “Deluxified™” has rapidly shot to the top of Matt’s internal list of Nonsense That Should Possibly Be Destroyed. Basically it’s a Kickstarter exclusive edition with nicer components that won’t be in retail. Not a new phenomenon, but not one we’re especially fond of either.
Downfall itself is a 4X game with a post-apocalyptic theme. For my ruthless tastes I must say it does look a little vanilla and muddy – like a plain pastry that briefly fell into a puddle. I’m not hugely excited by the proposition so far, but designer John D Clair has been prolific with neat ideas as of late, so it’ll definitely be one that we keep an eye on. The art design doesn’t pop from afar, but up-close there’s an element of dynamism and looseness that I have to say I quite dig – although having spent a huge chunk of this year watching footage of the latest Twilight Imperium, anything in the 4X arena has a ruddy tough act to follow.
Paul: This week we’re closing with something rather humbling sent in by reader Timbo Johnson, who got in touch with a story that is both touching and also a reminder of the redemptive power of games. After suffering a stroke in her early 20s, Timbo’s sister has found wargaming a huge aid to her recovery, helping her with things like her dexterity and her mathematics. As Timbo explains:
“[She’s] uploaded a video where she discusses the benefits of wargaming for her recovering from a stroke and how it may help others too. It’s a heartfelt video, and actually reminded me of the video Quinns did that got myself into board games years ago. It’s a reminder that the hobby we all love is more than just dice rolls and plastic bits, and sometimes it’s more than good company and fun times.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.