I am proud to say that I have done battle with this alien (is this analogy working?) and my review has JUST THIS MOMENT gone live on Eurogamer. It starts like this:
"This game was 2012's biggest release, and it couldn't be more deserved. Eclipse's masterstroke was in taking a genre with a portentous appeal - claiming star systems, climbing hand over hand up a grandiose tech tree, engaging in HOT LASER DEATH - and compressing it down into just two hours using the same dark Scandinavian genius that brought us flatpacked Ikea furniture."
...and it continues, using words.
In all seriousness, a lot of people called Eclipse 2012's single biggest release. If you're curious, you should absolutely go and have a little read. And then maybe have a little buy. Alright, a big buy.
But let me tell you- this one is absolutely worth it. Any of you guys tried the expansion?
Friends, newcomers, children of all ages, please enjoy this review of the ethically dubious Archipelago. It's early days, this might end up being our game of 2013. Who knows? If Archipelago teaches us anything, it's to plan for the future. The future, and also for what you're going to do with all those sodding pineapples.
"I'll never forget the time my friend played team psycho Michael McGlen. He idly wandered into a shed, alone, where the Keeper deployed about six cards in a comedic level of bullying. Two turns later Michael ran out of the same shed with a back injury, no shotgun and a crippling fear of the rest of us, whereupon the shed promptly exploded."
Paul: YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN'T TALK ABOUT THE HORRORSHED.
Quinns is right, though. This is a very strange, but hugely impressive game that everyone should know about, even if it's just to steer clear. Go read!
"This will be a great time," you announce to your cactus or spouse. “I have been convinced by this game’s art and premise that I will enjoy myself."
Your coat’s still on. You pick up the phone. “Barry?" You say. “It’s me. Would you like to come over and have a great time?"
I was convinced Robinson Crusoe was the game for me. Guess what!
Hold on. The Castles of Burgundy, which casts 2-4 players as the holders of estates in medieval France, has the whole board game community bleating with quiet joy. We absolutely had to get hold of a copy and try it out. You know what? I actually think it’s quite special, too, although I appreciate it’s such a placid, thoughtful, deeply European game that it won’t be Quinns’s kind of thing. Still-
Quinns: No, no, I really like it.
Paul: You do?
Quinns: Yeah, it’s excellent.
Quinns: And here’s why!
Ain’t no backdrop like the 18th century Caribbean. If only there was a board game set amongst all this.
In our last episode we said we thought Fortune & Glory was a poor example of Ameritrash, Ameritrash being board games that, generally, focus on conflict, cheap thrills and on smothering your table with components rather than being a fair and nuanced game. We’re covering Merchants & Marauders, then, to show you a beautiful example of Ameritrash. This game is a parade of unexpected happenings, satisfying rewards and crushing defeats that all mix together in a foul voodoo potion which brings the Caribbean, shuddering, to life.
Paul: I’m not bitter! There’s a lot about A Game of Thrones I want people to know, but they can start by knowing I was graceful in defeat.
Under my rule House Tyrell were a staunch and honest ally for the entire game, which definitely wins me the moral victory.
Paul: You know what? This is the sort of game I wish Monopoly was. A capitalist, pugilist slugging-it-out where the only thing that matters is money and how much of it you can wrench out of the hands of others. And it doesn’t have disgusting paper notes in, either, so that’s another pro. I’m not really sure there will be blood, but there will be a lot of oil and an awful lot of very cruel business practices…
Paul: I didn’t have anywhere exciting to hide as a child or very many people to play with anyway. But we did play a game called Nine Nine In on our school field, which involved-
Quinns: FURY OF DRACULA sees four players each controlling a vampire hunter chasing Dracula across Europe. It’s a glossy update of a classic called Scotland Yard, which was a board game about catching a runaway criminal in London, but here a fifth player gets to control the immortal Count Dracula rather than some greasy burglar, so it’s already the better game.