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Dragon’s Peak #9 – Are You Excited For Spiel 2015 Yet?

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Dragon's Peak - Logo

We’re starting to hear more about 2015 releases but it sounds like there might be a couple surprises left this year.  I know there are several games that will be coming out in the next month or so that I’ve been anticipating for quite some time *cough* Roll For the Galaxy *cough*.  Until then I’ve got another batch of upcoming games for you to check out.

Here’s what I’ll be covering this week:

The HighlightTerraforming Mars

[half]Discoveries
Black Hat
Imperial Settlers: Expansion 1
New Bedford
X-Men: Mutant Revolution

[/half][half]First Looks
Tesla vs. Edison

[/half]

 

The Highlight

My standout from this week’s batch of upcoming games was:

Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars - CoverTerraforming Mars - Preview

FryxGames
Jacob Fryxelius
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

In case you weren’t very impressed by this year’s Essen catalog you can already start looking forward to what’s coming next year.  That’s right, let the Spiel 2015 hype begin with Terraforming Mars.  You may have guessed that this is a game all about preparing Mars for colonization.  You’ll be manipulating the temperature, oxygen level, and ocean coverage to allow for habitation.  Gameplay is largely card driven with players buying cards and then using them to undertake projects to improve the environment of the martian planet.  It sounds like an engine game at its core and had players actually laying tiles to develop the planet’s surface.  It really is a shame that we’ll have to wait so long for this one.

 

Game Discoveries

Black Hat

Black Hat - CoverBlack Hat - Preview

Dragon Dawn Productions
Thomas Klausner, Timo Multamäki
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter
Rules - Icon Rules

I grew up playing traditional card games with my family. As a result I often feel nostalgic when hearing about new trick taking games.  It seems that there has been a recent innovation to change the dynamic of trick taking games to breath new life into the genre. Games like S-Evolution and Diamonds present the players with interesting choices based on how they play their cards and the tricks that they take.

Black Hat follows this concept by including a board that players will be moving along based on the tricks that are taken.  Spots on the board have unique affects that make positioning and timing of when you win a trick critical.  To increase variability there are cards that can be laid down on the board to change to layout so each game will have a different path through the nodes.  I’m quite intrigued by Black Hat because it’s a game that feels familiar enough to teach to players that have only played traditional card games and yet it adds some interesting twists in to spice things up.

Imperial Settlers: Why Can’t We All Be Friends?

Imperial Settlers Exp1 - CoverImperial Settlers Exp1 - Preview

Portal Games
Ignacy Trzewiczek
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

This one is quite a pleasant surprise. Anyone that follows Ignacy and the excellent Portal Games vlog knew that he has been working on an expansion for his Gen Con hit, Imperial Settlers.  But I’m not sure anyone was actually expecting that he would come out with something so soon. If you’d like to hear the announcement from the man himself you can check out episode 14 starting at the 7:05 mark.  It’s a small expansion that includes 55 cards for the current factions which emphasizes cooperation and interaction.  There’s also a solo variant that I’m looking forward to hearing more about.

If you were hoping for new factions you’ll have to keep waiting but seeing this expansion get produced so quickly means you may not have to wait that much longer. Apparently they’ve been keeping this news under wraps a bit because this small expansion has already started shipping and will show up at BGGCon for those lucky enough to pick up a copy there. Everyone else will have to wait a bit longer but the estimate of January for the US is not bad for a game that was just announced.

New Bedford

New Bedford - CoverNew Bedford - Preview

Dice Hate Me Games
Nathaniel Levan
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter

Watch the city of New Bedford grow as the players captain a crew of workers and undertake a historical reenactment of whaling off the coast of Massachusetts.  From the docks you’ll be sending out your boats to catch whales from the dwindling population. In town you can gather resources needed to build and launch boats or construct new buildings which provide additional actions.  New Bedford promises to challenge the players with time management as they seek to catch the best whales from a limited supply.  Limited actions, resource management, and crew that needs to be paid based on the quality of their catch add even more tension to the game.

X-Men: Mutant Revolution

X-Men Mutant Revolution - CoverX-Men Mutant Revolution - Preview

WizKids Games
Andrew Parks
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

I’m never quite sure what to expect from WizKids. They made a name for themselves in the modern board gaming world when they introduced Quarriors and the spectacular Mage Knight Board Game back in 2011.  They have gone on to utilize their licenses quite well including the recent smash success of Marvel Dice Masters.  I wasn’t surprised to hear about another Marvel game centered around the X-Men. What I wasn’t expected was that it would be based on Spartacus, a game that the new theme seems to have nothing in common with.  I’m very interested to see how they pull this one off and truly hope it’s a rehaul not just a pasted on theme.  Either way I love the setting and that amazing artwork so I’m routing for a winner.

 

First Looks

Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents

Tesla vs Edison - CoverTesla vs Edison - Preview 2

Conquistador Games
Dirk Knemeyer
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

I was elated to hear the slimmest of details about this game last week. Since then we have been treated to a preview with a more in depth description and a first look at the components.  Tesla vs Edison sounds to be a highly interactive economic game with a couple things that make it unique.  First off is the setting, players represent famous inventors and their companies that reinforces both historical accuracy and asymmetrical play.  Second, the actions that you take each turn will be executed by your “luminaries” that have different stats which allow that to perform better (or worse) at given tasks. They describe it as “variable power workers” which is a really interesting twist on worker placement.  Here’s a good overview of what to expect:

Tesla vs. Edison is a 90 minute game that is ‘medium weight strategy’ with lots of player interaction. You will feel like you are building technology and expanding a company, while struggling against the easily manipulated perceptions of the public and the periodic devious move by your competitors. Ultimately, the stock market will determine the fate of your nascent industry so roll up your sleeves, get in there, and start buying!”

I love optimization and engine games with tableau builders and card driven ones being my favorite. This usually means medium-heavy euros and medium-light card games.

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