Games News! 23/11/15

ancient chinese dice, yellow submarines, wooden pizzas, fascist snakes
Quinns: How was your weekend, everybody? I’m happy to say that more than four years since Paul and I started SU&SD, I was found myself thinking “Board games are awesome. I’m not playing enough board games. I’m going to play lots more.”

Good thing, then, that talented designers are making lots more. We kick off the news with Secret Hitler, which is bound to be one of the year’s biggest Kickstarters. This is an absolutely beautiful, heavily-playtested interpretation of Werewolf / The Resistance from a trio of designers that includes Max Temkin, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity.

As you probably know, we’re not the biggest fans of Cards Against Humanity. But Secret Hitler looks just great.

It looks like it shares about 70% of its DNA with The Resistance. A large table of players has to collectively vote two people into power, trying to deny a secret team of Fascists the opportunity to pass a Fascist (and not Liberal) law that round. Then it’s 10% Werewolf, with the option for player elimination opening up in later rounds, and 20% its own beast, with alternate victory conditions for both sides if Hitler’s either assassinated or elected.


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What I like about it: If the round’s president imposes a fascist law then they earn themselves a powerful one-shot ability (basically a “Plot Thickens” card from the original Resistance), because, obviously, they’re a president giving themselves more power. What this means, then, is just like in 1930s era Germany, liberals might end up pushing the occasional fascist law through to give their team more power… except, of course, a secret fascist might claim that they’re only passing a fascist law to help sniff the fascists out.

What I don’t like about it: By late 2014 I was happy to be leaving The Resistance and Werwolf behind for quicker, less emotionally exhausting games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Spyfall, and now One Night Resistance and Mafia de Cuba. And I’ve yet to play Good Cop Bad Cop, which I’ve heard is great!

I’m sure Secret Hitler’s a strong game, and it’s the best-looking hidden roles game the world’s ever seen. That’s a hell of a selling point. The question is, is it good enough to make me want to sit opposite a shouting liar for 30 minutes?

Excellently, the designers are sending us a prototype right now, so we’ll soon be able to find out! With a bit of luck we should have some thoughts on the site before the Kickstarter’s over.


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Board game blog Dog and Thimble has news of the next Legacy game we can forward to!

Chronicles 1: Origins is a collaboration between Rob Daviau (Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy) and Dirk Knemeyer (The New Science, Tesla Vs. Edison), it’ll be arriving on Kickstarter early next year and it’s a co-operative worker placement game (like Caverna, if you’ve not heard the term before). But that’s not all! Between all the heavy strategy, you’ll send your people off to explore, producing small choose-your-own-adventure passages like in Tales of the Arabian Nights. Crazy!

This first instalment of the Chronicles series will follow the development of your Stone Age tribe right up to the end of the Iron Age, with theoretical future releases letting you continue your tribe’s story. The game itself is supposedly inspired by Robinson Crusoe, but with the promise that the most central rules of the game will change as your tribe evolves.

Dirk Knemeyer’s past designs haven’t worked for team SU&SD, but every single Legacy game has. What happens when an unstoppable idea meets a unproven designer? We find out next year!


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Here’s a new release that’s secured a comfortable spot in Board Game Geek’s Hotness sidebar that we haven’t yet talked about. Food Chain Magnate is a “heavy” board game about running the fast food restaurants in a small town, and can be played by “2-5 serious gamers in 2-4 hours”.

“Heavy” isn’t quite the whole picture. Think more “Heavy and preposterous unwieldy”, like a garbage bag full of water and pool toys. Food Chain Magnate is from Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga, the same delightfully mad Dutch designers that brought us Roads & Boats, a game with more than 1,000 components that sees players both inventing mines and breeding geese, and Duck Dealer, a space trading game where your interstellar duck player character commands the trade of blue paint and plastic beads.

Oh god. I’ve not played a game by these guys.

I probably need to buy, learn and play Food Chain Magnate.

Oh no.


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(Photo by Laszlo Molnar of BoardGameGeek. Thanks Laszlo!)

Why can’t I ever just play something nice? You know what’s still nice? Escape: The Curse of the Temple is still nice, and it’s about to get nicer. Queen Games are publishing a second expansion titled Escape: Traps, as well as the first expansion for Escape: Zombie City.

Admittedly the first expansion for Escape: The Curse of the Temple was a heinous ripoff, and it doesn’t look like these expansions are any more generous. But still! Options. It’s nice to have options.

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Eric Martin of the commanding Board Game news blog has posted about his trip to Japanese board game chain Yellow Submarine. Love that display case! Be great to see some board game retailers elsewhere take note. It could really help bridge the gap between walking into a shop full of weird boxes and understanding there are fabulous riches inside.

fourteen-sided die


AND FINALLY! In unprecedented dice news a board game featuring a fourteen-sided die has been found in a 2,300 year old tomb near Qingzhou City in China. The only clues we have as to the game’s properties are to be found in this similarly-ancient poem:

“Then, with bamboo dice and ivory pieces, the game of Liu Bo is begun; sides are taken; they advance together; keenly they threaten each other. Pieces are kinged, and the scoring doubled. Shouts of ‘five white!’ arise”

If you’re still reeling from the idea of a fourteen-sided die (they said it couldn’t be done!), check this out: twelve faces of the die simply have the numbers 1 through 6 twice over, and the remaining two faces are left blank. That’s just showing off.