Tom: G! A! M E S! This games news – is the best! Tom and Ava write some words! Something else that rhymes with words! GOOooOOOoo GAMES NEWS!
Ava: If you read that in any other way than exactly how it sounds in your head then it all just falls apart.
Tom: K-I-L-L-J-O-Y! Ava you’re so nasty, why? I just want to make a rhyme! Something else that rhymes with rhyme! GoOOoOoo A WAY!
Ava, frowning and ignoring Tom: Oh my word look at the donkeys!
Coffee Traders is coming next year from Capstone Games, and it keeps on boasting about having over 650 components. This looks like a sprawling beast of a game, in the vein of Capstone’s own Arkwright. What I mean is it looks like someone spilled a hessian sackful of spreadsheets all over your table. The game promises economics, fair trade, and piggy-backing on the actions of your competitors, and I’m excited for the lovely donkeys and the lovely wooden coffee beans.
Tom: I must say that this has a contestant for ‘oddly specific board game reward track of the year’ in the ‘Arabica Track’? Looking at the photos for this one is reminding me more of Cooper Island than anything else – in that it’s all very pretty and all very buried in iconography. To be honest, I’ll spend time in literally any board game right now, spreadsheet or not, just to have my precious physical components back. Aaah. This year.. It’s still happening…
Ava: Got a little one-two punch here of a game that’s not quite ready for kickstarter yet, followed by a game where we just missed the kickstarter.
Darwin’s Journey is hitting the crowdfunds in the new year, but already has a pretty full hype-wagon website, and it looks kinda cute. Players will be placing workers in Darwin’s diary to send them to museums and islands to learn more about the natural world and the theory of evolution. The quirk in the formula is that your workers will be learning as they go, allowing them to take increasingly elaborate actions, provided they’ve had the right sort of practice. The end result is collecting specimens for museums and multiplying that by your Theory of Evolution track, all while balancing money and evolution points, because board games.
Tom: I definitely read the ‘learning as they go’ part as ‘achieving sentience’ and have been busy chasing that spiral down as far as it’ll go.
Ava: …Where does it go?
Tom: I hear ‘Concordia Silk Piece’ has a major role in Toy Story 5.
Ava: Don’t. I’m genuinely horrified at the thought of the hundred tiny donkeys trapped in the darkness of my Caverna box, screaming for someone to let them out the second I leave the room.
Tom: Meanwhile, in late news…
Ava: Crescent City Cargo is Spielworxx’s follow up to Captains of the Gulf. Both of them were on kickstarter for a while, but are still open for late pledge business. They’re getting a mention because Captains of the Gulf was something Matt and Quinns had a big bundle of opinions on, and Crescent City Cargo looks like a lovely, intricate boat-pusher. Players will be running the docks in New Orleans: loading goods, upgrading buildings and doing all those traditional dockside economic shenanigans, like ‘building an office’ and ‘taking a break’. You need those tasty little naps because you’re managing the morale of your workforce, which is spent every time they have to do actual work.
I’m considering pursuing a rogue strategy of spending the entire game napping, in the hopes of making my workforce so content that we destroy the engine of capitalism, and the social norms which require ‘coins’ to succeed.
Tom: That doesn’t sound very boardgames. My strategy will be to adequately balance office space and workforce to enable maximum productivity per square foot so that I can profit and also be a big winner.
Ava: Ah, yes. Board games.
Ava: Welcome to P-ZONE! The Poppinguppingest Zone for your miniature Ps.
Tom: Ava, Ava. That’s just an interesting logotype, it’s called Upzone.
Ava: What? Why are we even covering this?
Tom: Upzone is a new system of pop-up scenery for quickly setting up terrain for your miniature wargames and role playing games. Like most miniatures terrain kickstarters, it looks fancy, costs a lot of money, and I don’t think we’re the target market for it. We’re quite clearly only covering it because Ava misread the logo and started giggling. We’re very sorry. We’ll get back to work as soon as Ava’s sides can be reattached.
I’m tempted to say more here, but the more I say the more I’ll start being mean; so maybe we just relish P-Zone while it’s here, and then move swiftly on. Like a noughties boy-band. They’ve got the name down pat, at least.
Ava: Let’s move out of the P-Zone before our socks get wet.
I’ve had a run recently of seeing games hit release that I wish I’d covered in the news because they look shiny and interesting. Unfortunately, it’s a bit late to do so when they’ve already hit the shelves. Maybe I’m bad at the news! There is however a sneaky way to give me a chance to save some face, and that’s when I can link to a design diary.
Merv: Heart of the Silk Road is a game of trading and collecting and a gorgeous cover from the lovely Osprey Games. It’s got the look of Vital Lacerda’s sprawling mass of options and board sections. Designer Fabio Lopiano actually started out researching cities for a regular city building game. He then stumbled upon Merv, a desert city with a perfectly square footprint, that later got besieged and wiped off the map. It sounded like fertile ground for gaming, and he got the project underway. You can read more about this gorgeous looking box from Osprey Games on boardgamegeek.
Ava: Just dropping this here because I know Tom streamed this recently with Matt and might have some reckons about Whistle Mountain, and be curious about this design diary.
Tom: A RECKON FOR YOU: I think Whistle Mountain is quietly pretty great, but I’m at the stage now with digital board games where the thought of playing them in person is making me more melancholy than the joy of the actual playing. Whistle Mountain did some good work in jogging my brain out of that rut, though, as I’m keen to drop more unfortunate workers into whirlpools in person asap. I’m going to read this one on my lunch break.
Ava: Brilliant. NAP TIME!