GAMES NEWS! 29/09/20

Cynicism Overdrive, One Amiga No amigos, Is that not enough continents already?, Octopodes rhymes with antipodes
Matt Lees 52 comment(s)

Ava: Tom, Tom, What’s a good two-syllable word to come after ‘wet news…’ in a song pun for today’s intro?


Ava: Oh dear. I’ve been left on my own and we may never find out what happened to my “wet news quizzy”, which is what I call questions now. I guess it’s time to leap atop of the tremendous pile of crowdfunders that are clogging up the news-pipes. Give me a sec, I’ll need a run up.

Kicking off outside of Kickstarter, we’ve got literally the biggest name in board games purporting to need a crowdfunding pre-order system in order to be able to publish one of the biggest nostalgia kicks in the world. Yes. It’s Heroquest.

Ava: Heroquest is the ur dungeon-crawler: asking you to grab a barbarian, dwarf, elf and wizard to run through a loosely-linked campaign against a dungeon master – whose job it is to throw increasingly ugly people at you, and lay out quite a lot of nice furniture. They are getting some people to design new quest books as stretch goals, which might expand the scope a bit beyond the original, but otherwise this looks like the game you remember from those adverts, with a pre-order bonus of some gender balance.

Honestly, I think this box is expensive, especially when you’ve just seen an advert for the 1991 price of £21.99 (which to be fair, is nearly fifty quids in today’s inflated money). That box has got a lot of nostalgic things in it, and I think for half the price it would be a fantastic set of bits to launch you into the world of role-playing miniatures. I wish they’d included more role playing stuff in the new edition, rather than just polishing up the old rules and shaving off the Games Workshop. The latter results in Chaos replaced with Dread, and getting rid of Fimirs because nobody ever really knew what they were anyway. If money is no object, and you want a great box of fantasy furniture and nostalgic minis, this could be a treat. Though I suspect the game itself isn’t going to hold a candle to your memories.

Matt: I’m aware this is one of those games where the nostalgic love is deeply incendiary, so I’ll tread carefully, but yes – I really don’t recall much about this game other than adoring the tiny furniture that sometimes adorned the rooms. It was deeply atmospheric, I think? But largely I feel like HeroQuest’s shine came from the fact that other games were just dreadful. The best alternative was Talisman, maybe? Otherwise my options back then were Monopoly or Mousetrap. Grim times.

But buying this in 2020 instead of something like Gloomhaven, or Jaws of the Lion, or even Descent, maybe? Well, I know that those games are all substantially fiddlier, but honestly that still just feels like an overall bad decision? I think that’s a hill I’m willing to die on? Another hill I’ll cheerily die on is that the art for this remake is absolutely rubbish – stripping away all of the soul of the original stylings in favour of the Post-World-of-Warcraft chunky sheen that seems to have glazed over literally everything. BOO.

Ava: My memories of HeroQuest are mostly of reading my big brother’s custom quest map that included a tunnel coming out of the side with a dragon in it, and so desperately wanting to play that game, and not the one in the box. I ended up settling for the Amiga adaptation, which did at least have some amazing ominous midi.

Matt: I think “wanting to play the game depicted on the box” was very much par for the course with a lot of these Games Workshop board games. I must have been about seven years old when I saved up my pocket money to buy Dungeon Quest, a game that had possibly the most RADICAL box art I’ve ever seen in my life, and was disappointed to discover a game where you mostly just repeatedly died in a tunnel looking for trinkets. Mind you, I’ve since become a tremendous fan of Dark Souls, so maybe it was an experience I just wasn’t ready for?

Ava:Ooh, look, it’s another expensive box of stuff!

Planet Apocalypse is coming back to kickstarter for a reprint, some new expansions and a D&D role-playing book. It’s a co-operative dice chucker from Sandy Peterson, designer of the Call of Cthulhu RPG and Cthulhu Wars – so someone you can actually rely on for both role-playing and board game chops, which is nice. Quinns actually talked about this in a podcast, and you can get your recommended daily intake of reckons there. Let me just copy and paste a bit of Quinns from the company slack so you’ve got a sample.

A bit of Quinns: I had a lovely time playing this but it’s too expensive considering it’s only a good and not phenomenal co-op game. But it is good.

Ava: Well said. As I was just saying to Hasbro, I think there’s something smart in including a role-playing game with your board game bits, as it really lets people get the most out of their very expensive toys. If you love the (end-of-the) world, love the bits, and want to do some demonic apocalypse role-playing with some fancy minis, maybe this is a good, if pricey, way to scratch a lot of itches at once?

Demonic itches don’t sound great. Maybe get some demonic cream? Hopefully that’s a stretch goal.

Ava: Argh, no. Why is everything so big!

The 7th Citadel is pretty huge, and a follow up to an entire continent (or the 6th citadel? I guess, I’m not quite certain). The 7th Continent was a story-heavy tile-based exploration game that gave you a sprawling continent and a big binder full of cards with numbers that let you go on a story-puzzle-dice-filled adventure. The 7th Citadel is….basically the same thing, in a white box?

Matt: Thankfully though they’ve moved the setting to ‘the collapsing lands’ – the perfect holiday for a man currently trapped in The United Kingdom.

Ava: This game promises an absolutely obscene amount of cardboard bits, which I guess is a breath of fresh air compared to all the minis elsewhere. I feel like this is one of those things that took a lot of the hobby by storm but just never grabbed me? Or possibly anyone on the team? I’ll be honest, when the video said ‘to achieve your goals you’ll have to resolve hundreds of different events’ I did a massive sigh and thought about my to-do list.

Matt: AVA TOO REAL, PLEASE, NO. As a broad reminder, AwSHUX is our online convention – taking place on the 16th to the 18th of October! *slowly inserts knuckle into mouth*

Ava:Right. Listen: this has all been far too cynical. Let’s chuck an octopus in, see if that cheers me up.

Crash Octopus looks like it could be a bit pants, but I don’t care because (a) it’s called Crash Octopus, (b) it’s got a ruddy octopus in it and (c) it’s a dexterity game that asks you to flick stuff around your table with a tiny flag on a cocktail stick.

Matt: I’m just so relieved this game isn’t being designed by David Cronenberg.

Ava:Everything about this looks ridiculous, and probably not quite deft enough to be a truly superb dexterity game. You literally set the game up by dropping all of the other bits on the octopus’s head. The octopus also moves around the table randomly, according to a dice – which is dropped on its head. If you successfully collect treasure by flicking it at your boat, you have to keep it physically on your boat, which means it could all fall back in the water at a moment’s notice. This kind of silliness is just adorable.

Matt: I think I might be a HUGE fan of this? The box pops, the pieces look incredible, even the use of blue string with beady-bits on it as a perimeter for the game is delightfully nautical AND an elegant bit of design – the fact that rolling the dice is also an opportunity to try and bounce it off the octopus’s bonce and into another player’s ship? This very, very silly and I absolutely want to play it.