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Dragon’s Peak: April 2015

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There was a Gathering of Friends last week with a couple of important game designers. We had our own Gathering of Adventurers here at the Dragon’s Peak. What treasures did they find?

 

The Highlight: Haithabu

The Highlight

Haithabu

Publisher: Spielworxx     Designer: Wolfgang Heidenheim, Andreas Molter

Spielworxx has a reputation for making excellent medium to heavy weight euros and Haithabu looks like a great addition to their catalog. This economic pick-up and deliver game is set around the Jutland Peninsula and has a unique art style that reflects this setting.

The Dragon’s Hoard

504

Publisher: 2-F-Spiele     Designer: Friedemann Friese

Friedemann Friese is no stranger to experimentation and innovation. If anyone is willing to undertake the absolutely brilliance/absurdity of 504 it’s him. He introduced the project with a  1 x 504 challenge Geeklist which outlined the game’s premise: build your own game experience by selecting 3 of 9 modules. Essentially you are random picking mechanics that will be used in your game, at least that’s the way that I understand it. It sounds to be high on variation but whether it will be fun versus just an experiment in game design is yet to be seen.

The Castaway Club

Publisher: Czech Games Edition    Designer: Vladamir Suchy

Whenever the grossly underatd Last Will gets mentioned my ears perk up. I first saw The Castaway Club mentioned on Twitter during various reports from the Gathering of Friends and was very excited to hear about the tie in to Last Will. It’s apparently going to be both an expansion and standalone game though how it will integrate hasn’t been entirely explained just yet. I’m very excited to hear more!

Pictures credit to Ben’s GoF writeup on Opinionated Gamers

City Mania

Publisher: Days of Wonder     Designer: François Gandon

With the success of Five Tribes it appears that Days of Wonder is starting to broaden their catalog. City Mania certainly sounds like it will have a simple rule set but piecing your city together has a very puzzly feeling to it. In addition, players will take turns drafting tiles from a 4×4 grid by claiming a row or column that restricts access to tiles as the round goes on.

Five Tribes: The Artisans of Naqala

Publisher: Days of Wonder     Designer: Bruno Cathala

Ever since Five Tribes made it’s big debut at Gen Con last year everyone has been asking, “are there really just five tribes?” We can put that question to rest with the first expansion that adds in an all new tribe, the Artisans, along with new tiles and Djinns to support their penchant for crafting. There are also chasms and mountains that make it more difficult to move around the board.

Icarus

Publisher: Victory Point Games     Designer: Reiner Knizia

Victory Point Games has been churning out excellent games at an alarming pace but I didn’t quite expect to see the name Reiner Knizia show up in their catalog. Icarus is a game that utilizes a Liar’s Poker style bidding system that accommodates up to seven players. I’m interested to see how this new partnership plays out for VPG.

Loop Inc.

Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games     Designer: Scott Almes

It seems time travel is all the rage recently which is a development that I’m very happy about. If there’s a theme that ripe for exploration it’s this one. Loop Inc sees players reliving the same day several times by each iteration will build on the actions from the previous loop. In other words, the actions from your first loop will occur again in each subsequent loop along side your new actions. It sounds like a unique take on programming as you weave an intricate execution of actions that build on each other one loop at a time. A very intriguing concept indeed!

Millennium Blades

Publisher: Level 99 Games     Designer: D. Brad Talton, Jr.

Millennium Blades is a game about collecting cards, making a deck, and competing in tournament for an imaginary CCG called “Millennium Blades”. The whole thing is a bit meta as you actually emulate this experience in a much shorter time. The collecting process happens in real time leading up to annual tournaments where players actually compete against each other using decks that they made in the limited time available.

I haven’t played a CCG/LCG/AnyCG competitively but I do have good memories of playing Magic The Gathering and some other more obscure card games many, many years ago. The premise of this game makes me nostalgic for that time. In fact, I want to get a copy of this game specifically to play with those friends.

Norsaga

Publisher: Meromorph Games     Designer: Kevin Bishop

There’s something about heritage building games that really appeals to me. Norsaga is a lighthearted take on the genre that sees players embellishing on their family history while discrediting their competitors. The visual style reinforces the entertaining story telling aspect that makes lineage games so appealing.

Roll For The Galaxy: Ambition

Publisher: Rio Grande Games     Designer: Wei-Hwa Huang, Thomas Lehmann

I have a general rule of thumb here on Dragon’s Peak not to include any game that doesn’t have any released artwork. But I’m going to make an exception because this is freaking ROLL FOR THE GALAXY.

Ambition is the expansion that we didn’t expect to get when it seemed like Roll would be a stand alone game. It seems the popularity has spoken for itself and now the floodgates have been opened. There aren’t a lot of details aside from a spoiler about a new leader starting die but I’ll patiently wait by playing more ROLL FOR THE GALAXY.

Small City

Designer: Alban Viard

I’ve been very impressed with Alban Viard recent approach to designing games and releasing them independently with great success (Town Center, Card City). Small City is the third game in his city building trilogy and sounds to be the most involved of the series.

Tides of Time

Publisher: Portal Games     Designer: Kristian Čurla

If someone can sell a micro game in the possibly (well, definitely) over saturated market it’s Portal Games. This 2-player drafting game makes great use of the small card set and introduces an interesting mechanic that wipes your tableau between rounds except for one card. While I think there are too many micro games I also think there aren’t enough interesting ones with plenty of interesting decisions. I’ve got high hopes for Tides of Time to stand out in the crowd.

Time Stories

Publisher: Space Cowboys     Designer: Manuel Rozoy

I don’t tend to care all that much about story telling games but introducing time travel into the mix (as with the incredibly clever Tragedy Looper) might be enough for me to take note. I’ve heard it’s hard to describe the Time Stories experience without spoiling the game so details are still sparse but extremely positive.

Wharfside

Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games     Designer: Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle

The next game in the Fleet series continues the story where the original games left off. Having already launched a successful fleet of ships you are now in charge of managing what to do when they return with their catch. Contracts provide an interesting dynamic by providing a bonus until they are fulfilled challenging players to manage their timing and resources well.

Xenon Profiteer

Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games     Designer: T. C. Petty, III

Sick and tired of all this deck building? It’s time for some deck-deconstruction in Xenon Porfiteer! Players are challenged to thin down their deck to precious Xenon but doing so might require some building up along with all the tearing down. I, for one, am not sick of deck building yet and am really intrigued by this concept.

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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