Games News! 30/03/15

Quinns: This Games News is dedicated to Shadow of Nerekhall, the Descent campaign that I finished this weekend. Above you can see my table after the Finale, where the heroes resolutely failed to stop the Overlord’s ynfaernal demons from overrunning the burning city.

Tim? Ian? You fought nobly. May your heroes rest in peace in the plastic bag in my copy of Descent for heroes who have died and can never be chosen again.

Shadow of Nerekhall was a fantastic campaign, in case any of you were thinking about buying it. Plenty of new map tiles (city on one side, underworld on the other) give the campaign a very unique tone, and it’s so sweet and full of ideas! It’s like a big, beautiful chocolate box. Except the chocolates are plastic rat swarms and instead of cooing excitedly the heroes all groan when you put them on the table.

Cardline dinosaurs

Anyway, new games!

Anyone who spends any amount of time on this site will, at some point, catch me squealing excitedly about Timeline and Cardline, the games that see players trying to put things in an increasingly convoluted order. I used to know why I shouted about this series so much, but now I don’t. The love is just a part of me, like my lungs or the creeping sense that I eat too much cheese.

Well now DINOSAUR cardline is coming. Which at once strikes me as awesome and totally dumb. The entire reason that these games work is that almost everybody can take a stab at when something was invented, or the population of a country. Nobody knows ANYTHING about dinosaurs. Nobody. Not even archaeologists. They’re faking it, you know.

All that said, I’d totally play an incredibly esoteric general knowledge game where everybody has to try and fluke their way to victory. Kind of You Don’t Know Jack (a trivia video game invented by people who hate trivia games), but a board game.

Posthuman

Posthuman is a new Kickstarter that’s rocketed past its funding goal and is now tumbling past all sorts of stretch goals.

I know usually I display all the surliness of a boiled toad when it comes to Kickstarters, but not this time. It has the creator of And Then We Held Hands behind it, and while the Kickstarter page itself is a firework display of production values they haven’t felt the need to make the game itself any bigger than it should be. The idea at its centre is still… you know, at the centre.

That idea sees each player controlling one human who’s fleeing a race of powerful mutants that are in the process of replacing us. The first human to reach the fort at the end of the journey wins, though along the way humans can trade items or share “beneficial skills”. The twist is that any player can at any point give in, mutate and work to prevent everybody else from reaching the fort.

Oddly, while games where one player controls adversarial forces are a dime a dozen, I’ve never encountered this structure before. Players choosing to swap sides and doing it slowly, throughout the course of the game.

Tumblin' Dice

Another Kickstarter you might want to get behind is Tumblin’ Dice. A game that’s achieved near-mythical status at board game conventions, along with Crokinole and Loopin’ Louie. It’s basically shuffleboard but way more unfair and aggressive, and the Kickstarter looks fantastic.

Five Tribes

Following some upset surrounding the appearance of “Slaves” as something you can buy and sell in colourful Arabian strategy game Five Tribes, publisher Days of Wonder has announced that “Fakirs” will replace the slaves in future editions, and a standalone pack of Fakir cards will soon be available via BoardGameGeek. Kudos to Days of Wonder for working to please their upset fans.

Days of Wonder Vice President Mark Kaufmann had previously attempted to justify slaves’ inclusion in the game, saying “In modern times, even the mention of slavery causes very strong reactions, but glossing over the historical fact that there were slaves in Persia in the 10th century felt like we were ignoring the realities of the world that Five Tribes takes place in.”

I’m late to the party here, but oh boy! If historical accuracy was foremost in your mind producing Five Tribes: Djinns of Nagala, in other words, Five Tribes: [Mythical creatures] of [Not a real place], perhaps you shouldn’t have included a deck of magical genies or implied that every fifth resident of Persia was an assassin.

What you mean is that Five Tribes uses the rich texture of 1001 Nights, which features slaves prominently, and not featuring those slaves would feel like a cop-out. To which I’d say, well, you dug yourself into that hole when you chose a text that includes, but is by no means limited to, orgies and massive cocks.

On the subject, if you’re interested in a board game that really does feature a historically accurate depiction of slaves, here’s Paul’s review of Freedom: The Underground Railroad.

Gen Con

AND FINALLY, big news from Gen Con’s home state of Indiana this week. The state passed bill SB101 or “the Religious Freedom Restoration Act”, which entitles a person (which could be an enormous for-profit business) to deny service if it clashes with that person’s religion (which might involve censuring homosexuality). In other words, Indiana businesses are now in the unprecedented situation of having the law on their side if they want to deny service to gays, or any other group they have bigoted feelings towards.

In the run-up to the passing of the bill Gen Con published this letter, threatening to take its conference (and the 56,000 attendees and $50 million it brings to Indianapolis each year) elsewhere. Us lot in the Shut Up & Sit Down slack channel were thoroughly impressed.

Following the signing of the bill, however, Gen Con published this somewhat less dramatic letter to its attendees, explaining that the conference will in fact be seeing through its contract with the city of Indianapolis, which runs all the way through until 2020. They state confidence that the city’s reception will be as warm as ever, but they’re printing out feedback forms in case it’s not.

Board game designer Eric Lang said it as well as I could. “Nobody expected Gencon to break their contract this year. But when you rattle the saber and draw no blood, expect disappointment.”