Games News! 27/05/13
The BIG news this week is that the 2013 nominees for the German Spiel des Jahres prize have been announced. This is hot business, as the winner will go on to sell some 300,000 to 500,000 copies. Absorb that figure. Now, here’s another one- many of the board games we look at will never break five figures.
These nominees are… well, I mean, you’ve probably noticed they’re sat at the top of the post. Spoiler!
We haven’t played Augustus, which is a game about Romans and legions and tokens and it’s not available ANYWHERE in English at the moment. More underwhelming still for us is Qwixx, a dice game where the hook is that there is NO WAITING as you roll dice in some kind of… game. We tried to read about it, but it sounded really quite dry.
So for now our prayers are with the cheerily mad Hanabi, which we have played. It’s by Antoine Bauza, whose new game Tokaido we reviewed just last week, and once again Hanabi is entirely different from anything he’s ever made before. He’s a witch, we’re sure of it.
Players in Hanabi each hold a hand of different coloured, differently numbered fireworks, and work co-operatively to play these in order. The twist is that you all hold your hand backwards, and other players have to guide you out of inky ignorance by hinting at cards you’re holding and answering questions. It’s very strange, very interesting and quite lovely.
Let’s move from success in venerable Spiel to the hip young Kickstarter.
Industry news hive ICv2 has published a list of the top 10 most successful table game Kickstarters, the ones that have hoovered up millions.
Readers who have been lucky enough to miss my sour mumbling on the subject might be surprised to learn that they’re all miniatures games, where each backer dropped an average of some $230. In other words these games – which people backed with no concept of whether they were good or not – have all already earned more money than most of SU&SD’s favourite games. THE HUMANITY.
ICv2 went on to re-publish this response to the article, in which designer Matt Forbeck talks about why these Kickstarters did so well.
Turns out it comes down to the outlay required to make steel molds for the miniatures. As more money rolled in, the deal got better and better for the backers. In the case of the highest grossing game, Forbeck explains, the $100 pledge got you 67 miniatures at the beginning, but by then end of the Kickstarter this had become 240 figures. An exceptional deal in the hirsute realm of miniatures gaming.
Speaking of Kickstarter, Xia: Legends of a Drift System is this week’s best bet. Brought to our attention by SU&SD hyperfan Andrew Loch, it’s a game of making money in a sexy little galaxy, and it looks rock-solid.
Gorgeous components? Check. Inventive? Check. Well thought-out? Check. All systems nominal. Prepare for fame in 3… 2… 1…
Nevermind their Kickstarter page. You’ll learn the most about it from checking out the Dice Tower’s coverage, featuring Tom Vasel’s infectious excitement. Go! Let him sneeze joy all over you. Look at the little grids that you use to install stuff in your ships! Eee!
Though my favourite preview this week goes to Critical Gamers. Seeing the hype around Japanese game Love Letter (which we squeaked about in this podcast), which builds hours of fun from just 16 cards, they’ve taken a look at a variety of other Japanese games that also feature in what they call “the minimalist movement”.
I’m currently trying to reconcile the subtlety of these games and their tiny boxes with the fact that I want to buy all of them, and pour them out in my bed in a big, disorganised pile to roll around in.
Czech Games Edition has announced a forthcoming (unnamed) expansion for Last Will!
It’s weird that SU&SD has never covered Last Will, since it’s very “us”. Players are all nephews of the same nauseatingly wealthy uncle, who’s declared in his will that his fortune will go to whoever enjoys money the most. Cue an absurd race towards bankruptcy in which players will attempt to fumble together such money-detonating combos as bringing your horse aboard your new yacht.
The new expansion’s been announced as adding new buildings and companions to the game, as well as horrifying JOBS for everyone to begin the game with. Jobs will, naturally, provide you with a regular income, until you can fulfill a unique means of getting fired.
We wants it. Paul? What say we review the game and the expansion together? I should probably just write you an email.