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Dragon’s Peak: January 2015

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Dragon's Peak - Logo

 

Villager 4
It’s been a long journey but we’ve finally made it back to the Dragon’s Peak in search of treasure!
Didn’t you used to come out here every week?
Dragon Avatar
Villager 1
Yeah but that got pretty tiring.
I guess I’ll just have to come visit you in The Village Square.
Dragon Avatar
Villager 2
Great… Got any new treasures to share?

 

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

The HighlightFar Space Foundry

 

The Highlight

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

Far Space Foundry

Far Space Foundry - CoverFar Space Foundry - Preview

Terra Nova Games
Dan Manfredini
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

I’m excited for Far Space Foundry in part because I really want to see this game in person. The incredible artwork and unique board layout make this a front runner for games that will catch the attention of jealous onlookers. The colors are vibrant and the portraits convey a wonderful sense of nostalgia.

This is a game of mining, transporting, and distilling. Through clever card play and the help of colorful characters you’ll race to establish the most successful and efficient mining operation this side of Alpha Centauri.

 

Game Discoveries

Among the Stars: Revival

Among the Stars Revival - CoverAmong the Stars Revival - Preview

Artipia Games
Vangelis Bagiartakis, Panagiotis Zinoviadis
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter

I finally got a chance to play Among the Stars this year and it might be the best 2-player drafting game that I’ve experienced to date. Revival is a standalone 2-player expansion for Among the Stars and could be the perfect entry point for any couple that hasn’t taken the plunge.

Ascension: Dawn of Champions

Ascension Dawn of Champions - CoverAscension Dawn of Champions - Preview

StoneBlade Entertainment
Justin Gary
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

I’ve previously described Ascension as a game system so news of an expansion promises to add variety rather than bloat. Last year the fourth block was introduced with the excellent Realms Unraveled and we waited patiently for the small expansion to accompany it. In its place we are now receiving another stand alone large set, Dawn of Champions. For the time being the traditional block format (base game + expansion) is being set aside in favor of releasing two large sets. Fortunately it sounds like the block structure isn’t being abandoned entirely. Dawn of Champions will share many mechanics introduced in Realms Unraveled such as multi-faction cards, now including constructs and monsters as well. This means that Dawn of Champions will be an ideal companion to Realms Unraveled.

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Dawn of Champions will introduce several new mechanics which look to shake up the game. There aren’t a lot of details yet but the most prominently displayed inclusion are the new oversized Champion cards which represent faction leaders. They sound a bit like Planeswalkers from Magic though it’s unclear whether players will simply start with them or acquire them at some point during the game. I’m looking forward to hearing more and seeing how it will mix with Realms Unraveled.

Between Two Cities

Between Two Cities - CoverBetween Two Cities - Preview

Stonemaier Games
Matthew O’Malley, Ben Rosset
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

I’m not sure if there’s anything quite like Between Two Cities out there. Sure the mechanics are somewhat standard, drafting and tile placement have been around for quite some time. What makes this game stand out is the simultaneous building that you are doing with both of your neighbors. Instead of drafting a single tile each turn and building your own city you will be drafting two and then deciding which one to place in the cities that you are constructing with both of your neighbors. You’ll want to work equally with both of your neighbors because your score at the end will be based on the weaker of those cities. It has elements of co-operative play but only in so much as you want to maintain balance between your neighboring cities. This strikes as a simple and brilliant take on drafting.

Dominion: Adventures

Dominion Adventures - CoverDominion Adventures - Preview

Rio Grande Games
Donald X. Vaccarino
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

It’s only been a year and a half since Guilds was released but it feels like so much longer. Perhaps because we all thought Dominion was done. Don’t get me wrong, I plan to play plenty of Dominion regardless of whether expansions come out or not but it’s been a while since I was excited about something new (unless you count the Prince promo, the only piece of Dominion which I have yet to get). Some people probably felt like it was only a matter of time but I was truly surprised.

Get ready for the ninth (!!!) expansion for Dominion. We’re not talking about simply churning out all the leftovers. This is honest-to-goodness Donald X certified stuff and a large set at that (30 Kingdom cards), second in size only to Dark Ages.

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At this point I’m curious who they’re releasing this set for. I’m a diehard Dominion fan (it’s my #1 most played game from the last 4 years) so obviously I’ll buy it without thinking twice. But how many of us are still around? Is this an attempt to reviatalize the game in direct opposition to all these new fangled deck builders? This hasn’t been advertised as a dramatic overhaul like Thunderstone Advance. It isn’t even a new base set. It’s just more cards, game changing as they may be. And it does sound like it could be as dramatic as Properity. I’m glad to see the return of duration cards but it’s the Reserve and Event cards that I’m really curious about. Oh, and then there’s those “tokens that modify cards.” I can’t wait for the previews to start.

Exodus: Edge of Extinction

Exodus Edge of Extinction - CoverExodus Edge of Extinction - Preview

NSKN Games
Andrei Novac
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter
Rules - Icon Rules

Get ready to explore the universe with some new toys and tricks in the first expansion to the sprawling Exodus: Proxima Centauri. There’s much of what you’d expect from an expansion: you’ll be able to increase the size of your fleet along with having more options for developing your civilization and maneuvering your ships. What really stands out though is the introduction of factions which give each player their own unique back story and powers. This lets you immerse like never before and sees players pursuing different strategies right from the start of their galactic conquests.

Forged in Steel

Forged In Steel - CoverForged In Steel - Preview

Knight Works
Wade Broadhead
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter
Rules - Icon Rules

Watch a steel city develop in the midst of the industrial revolution! Better yet influence the development of that city in the newest offering from Knight Works. This card driven game puts the fate of a flourishing city in your hands over the span of twenty years starting in 1890. Players take on the role of prominent families each with a stake in the city’s prosperity in the midst of many opportunities and challenges. I’m particularly interested in seeing how the development of the city is reflected on the game board. It reminds me ever so slightly of Sim City’s grid based rags to riches formula which is high praise.

Suburbia 5-Star

Suburbia 5 Star - CoverSuburbia 5 Star - Preview

Bezier Games
Ted Alspach
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

At this point you may be thinking, “Enough with all these expansions already!” To which I’m going to reply, “No way, I love expansions!” We’ve already debated the worth of expansions so I’m going to carry on with the fifth and final expansion in this issue. I’ve only played the previous expansion (Suburbia Inc) once but the borders and challenges didn’t really grab me in a way that made me think it was essential. However, from what little I’ve heard about the newest expansion my interest is already sufficiently piqued. The addition of a fifth player doesn’t really do much for me. Instead it’s the new star system that gives the expansion its namesake which has my attention. I love the idea of giving players one more thing to consider when drafting their buildings since the presence of stars in your city will determine turn order, break ties, and factor into other bonuses and penalties. Hopefully this expansions will both add variety to Suburbia and feel like it’s bringing something fresh and significant to the game.

Traders of Osaka

Traders of Osaka - CoverTraders of Osaka - Preview

Z-Man Games
Susumu Kawasaki
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

One of the best out-of-print hidden gems that I’ve played is Traders of Carthage. It’s a clever little tactical card game that absolutely shines with two players. Those who didn’t manage to get a copy back when it was re-released by Z-Man in 2008 have been requesting a long overdue reprint. It seemed as though that boat had sailed but seemingly out of nowhere a retheme was announced. Is shipping in Japan going to become the new shipping in the Mediterranean? Only time will tell. There haven’t been any confirmed rule changes but the graphical upgrade alone may be enough to tempt me into picking up a copy.

 

First Looks and Rulebooks

Copper Country

Copper Country - CoverCopper Country - Preview

CMX Games
Scott Diehl, David Lankton
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

I don’t know what it is about the theme of mining that I find so intriguing. Regardless of the reason I’m always on the lookout for a solid game about mining. In particular I’ve been looking forward to hearing more about CMX Games’ debut and they have finally provided the rulebook for us to dig into.

Elysium

Elysium - CoverElysium - Preview 2

Space Cowboys
Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Space Cowboys is following up their excellent Splendor with a more thematic offering, or at least a slightly more complicated combo driven one. Brett Gilbert has been sharing sneak peaks of the various gods introduces us to the world and its beautiful artwork. So far they’ve shared: AthenaHades, Hephaestus, PoseidonZeus.

Rise of the Northmen

Rise of the Northmen - CoverRise of the Northmen - Preview

Cole Munro-Chitty
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

Rise of the Northmen promises to meld deep strategy and innovative mechanics with a flair for exploration and excitement. Cole has been sharing a developer diary about his journey towards creating this unique euro offering. I’ve really enjoy reading about the game from original conception to creation of the game world and mechanics. There’s even a Print and Play for anyone willing to brave the seas.

 

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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