Corey Thompson

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A retired veterinarian and ex-cell biologist, Corey spends his time with board games, computer history, banjo music and general useless frivolity. Corey can be found as doccabet on BGG.

Cool Mini or Not posted a nice retrospective of the early Zombicide franchise to their Feature Friday newsletter this week. The original “modern series” started with a Kickstarter in April 2012 for Zombicide: Season One, which introduced players to the frantic world of walkers, runners, fatties and abominations. Arguably the first introduction to CMoN Kickstarter campaigns, with their unbelievable amount of stretch goals, add-ons and exclusive items, 2-6 players could run through the streets as more and more zombies chased them down. The next year brought Zombicide: Prison Outbreak, which introduced Berserkers to the claustrophobic halls and rooms of the prison.  The final installment to the modern trilogy came in 2015 with Zombicide: Rue Morgue, bringing Skinner zombies, A-Bomb Abominations and more of the mayhem that made Zombicide great to a fallen hospital. If there just wasn’t enough, the games were supplemented by two official released expansions, The Toxic City Mall and Angry Neighbors. All of Guillotine Games’ Zombicide games are known for the overflowing bins of beautiful miniatures, tons of insane playable characters, and boards full of walking, creeping, oozing dead. Read all about the history of the first Zombicide trilogy on the CMoN website here.

CMoN has also announced some new components for their popular d20 28mm sci-fi skirmish game, Dark Age. Two new big boxes are coming soon, one for the Outcast and one for the Skarrd. The Outcast Starter Set includes a 500 point force, playable with any Outcast group. Other Outcast releases coming are the Outcast Faction Deck with 54 new cards, and the Outcast Brute Court of Freeton, containing infamous leaders for your squad. The new Skarrd Cult of Metamorphosis is a cult of grafted, mutated biological nightmares lead by the infamous Father Johann and his servants. Smaller releases, such as the Harpy Unit Box and the return of the Brood Spawn Howler round off units for the Skarrd. Read all about the upcming Dark Age sets on the CMoN website here.

Arcane Wonders has announced its new 2 player mech on mech combat game, Critical Mass from designer Kevin Chang. Previously known as Starborne, Critical mass is a simultaneous action selection game, where players each secretly pick a combat card from their mech-specific deck, then reveal simultaneously. The combat cards can be offensive or defensive, and each show a speed rating, determining in what order they take effect. Played cards remain in a discard pile until they are reloaded. Each mech has 4 critical systems, protected by Armor plates, represented on the mech board with wooden cubes. The first player to lose all 4 of their critical systems is destroyed. The first release of Critical Mass will feature the mechs Patriot and Iron Curtain, hinting that more mechs will be coming in the future.

Look for Critical Mass in Stores in July 2018. You can check out the press release from Arcane Wonders on their webpage here.

Isles of Terror is a new story driven strategy game currently being funded on Kickstarter by Voodoo Games. In Isles of Terror, 1-4 players either competitively or cooperatively each take control of a faction, with unique strategy cards, comprised of a ship, captains, camps, and soldiers, working to explore and take over spaces on the isle towards a specific goal. The game is driven by a unique player board which limits the actions available to the player. Players get three action tokens, which are placed on a connected grid. Action token spaces connect to three different actions the player can choose from, but if the connecting line shows a resource, the player must pay to complete that action. By this mechanism, some actions can be done only once, some multiple times, or some may become locked out. Game play takes place season by season in an overarching story line, several of which can be connected into a campaign. Each season starts with an event, and continues through the players’ three actions. Check out the Kickstarter page for pictures, rules and tutorial videos.

The Kickstarter Campaign includes options for the Core Game, expanded Conqueror’s Edition with 92 miniatures, optional expansions and extra factions. The Campaign continues through February 20, and is expected to deliver in November 2018.

ODAM Publishing and designer John Borgese have started a fund raiser for the fantasy 4X game Laruna: Age of Kingdoms on Kickstarter. Set in the fantasy world of the RPG Dreamscape: Laruna, 2-6 players each pick one of six asymmetric rulers, starting in one of six unique kingdoms. Each Kingdom has its own economy, and each territory controlled by a player contributes its own type of unit, including knights, giants, wisps, warlocks, furies and many more. Kingdom and resource management takes place on the Kingdom mat, where players need to balance population, which allows more workers on the mat, with stability, which dictates where the workers can and cannot go. Additional resources include gold, food, magic, garrison, command and of course the favor of the gods. Laruna is a true 4X game, allowing territory expansion and control, exploration of ports and gates, complex diplomacy and trade, as well as complete war. The Kickstarter includes over 70 miniatures varying from 35mm to 100mm, tiles, meeples, dice, tokens, and  over 200 cards.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Laruna: Age of Kingdoms continues through March 2, and the game is expected to deliver in March 2019. For more details, including a preliminary rulebook, check out the Kickstarter here.

Sandy Petersen, one of the great horror game designers (Cthulhu Wars, Theomachy), has a new game currently on Kickstarter, Planet Apocalypse. Planet Apocalypse is a 1-5 player cooperative game which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world invaded by hellish demons. Players can select one of 5 distinctive heroes, each with unique special abilities. The heroes need to defeat invading demons on their way to the final Demon Lord, who can only be beaten with multiple small attacks, followed by calculated retreats to heal and regain courage.

The miniatures are everything one would expect from a Sandy Petersen game, which is to say amazingly detailed demonic creatures straight from another plane. All miniatures were designed by renowned artist Keith Thompson, and were made to a larger 28mm scale, with some minis stretching more than 100mm tall. Multiple maps, Demon Lords, and missions make the game highly replayable. The core game comes with more than 100 cards, 42 dice, hundreds of counters and tokens, and 29 miniatures. The add-on Void Pack adds more miniatures, components, and boards, and with the inevitable stretch goals makes this campaign a gold mine of detailed miniature gameplay. Finally, for those who simply cannot wait, there is a high pledge level where 1 lucky backer will be able to play the game with Sandy nearly 5 months before it delivers.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Planet Apocalypse continues through February 26, and the game is expected to deliver in February 2019.

Looney Labs, Andrew and Kristin Looney‘s home of Fluxx and Pyramid Arcade,  has announced two new games coming this April.

Anatomy Fluxx is the newest edition to the “make your own rules” Fluxx line of card games. In Anatomy Fluxx, 2-6 players dive deep into the body parts that make us tick, from blood vessels to lungs and liver. Two sets of Learning Rules add trivia to help this educational game “bone up” on your anatomy facts.

Get the MacGuffin is a new fast paced card game, where the player holding the coveted MacGuffin often wins, but keeping ahold of such a thing can be difficult. 2-11 players take turns playing a card, discarding an object or using the power of an object, until the last card is played. Card powers range from “ridiculously powerful to just ridiculous” in this deduction game of hand management and player elimination.

Both Anatomy Fluxx and Get the MacGuffin will be available on April 5, 2018.

 

Thames and Kosmos has recently announced a ton of new games and expansions releasing in the coming months.

Word Slam Family, a more compact version of the 2016 Inka and Markus Brand hit Word Slam, is coming in September. Players try to get their teammates to guess a word, using only the 105 explanatory cards in the game; talking, signing and emoting are forbidden. Teams word simultaneously, and the first to get the word correct earns the point. Word Slam Family replaces the classic die and timer with an app, and the box itself becomes the screen between the teams. World Slam Family should arrive in September 2018.

Mercado by Rüdiger Dorn (Istanbul, Karuba) has 2-4 players purchasing valuable items from the great market. Players draw coins from their bag, and place them face down at market locations, competing with others for the same goals. Players who have paid all the necessary matching coins can take the location and gain reputation. Market boards can bring privilege or seals, or some can introduce counterfeit coins into a players bag. Look for Mercado in July 2018.

In Drop It, 2-4 players drop circle, triangle, square and diamond pieces of their color into the slots at the top of a large vertical board. Points are earned for hitting higher locations and special targets, but the pieces can bounce around a bit, so aiming is tricky. Additionally, if pieces of the same color or shape touch, they earn no points.

The EXIT series of escape room games have received well deserved accolades over the past year, including the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award in 2017. These games are self contained, one use, elaborate puzzle games driven by code wheels, puzzle books and props, which often involve the destruction of pieces while finding solutions. Six games in the series are already available, and now four new EXIT games are coming – Dead Man On The Orient Express and The Sunken Treasure are due out in July, while The Sinister Mansion and The Mysterious Museum should arrive in October. Due to the secret nature of the EXIT games, not much else is known about these games other then the titles.

Imhotep: A New Dynasty is a new expansion for the 2016 Spiel Nominee Imhotep. Imhotep had players mining and shipping their stone blocks to various locations, building pyramids, obelisks and temples for points. The new expansion adds 5 new locations, new market cards, gods and chariots to the classic. God cards add a bidding and betting element to the game, allowing players to secretly predict the outcome on various locations, earning rewards if they are correct. A New Dynasty should be available to purchase this August. \

Dark Heroes is a new expansion to the classic Legends of Andor. Winner of the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel in 2013, Legends of Andor is a cooperative fantasy quest game with strong puzzle and strategy elements. Dark Heroes adds 4 new hero boards with dice and standees, and allows up to 6 players to overcome the original challenge. Dark Heroes is scheduled to come to stores June 2018.

 

Eggertspiele has released a press release unveiling its new logo in the wake of being acquired by Plan B Games. Now inside Plan B Games Europe, Eggertspiele will be branding themselves as a publisher of “medium to heavy complexity European strategy games”. As part of their rebranding, Eggertspiele have updated their fox mascot Jeffrey into a more contemporary, cleaner design. Eggertspiele is the German publishing house behind such modern classics as Mombasa, Camel Up, Village and Great Western Trail.

For more details, you can read the press release on Eggertspiele’s facebook page here.

Steamforged, the publisher behind the popular Guild Ball miniatures game, has announced the first “Minor Guild” for the system, the Ratcatchers. All of the previously released Guilds for Guild Ball will be considered “Major Guilds”, but each one will be associated with a new “Minor Guild”, a fully playable team including a Captain, a Mascot and other players. Two of the players will be “dual Guild”, playable for either the Minor or Major team, and in the Ratcatchers, Skulk and Pelage will be usable in the Morticians Guild. Conversely, the associated Major team, in this case the Morticians, will have two players modified to be friendly with their Minor Guild. Bonesaw and Veteran Graves from the Morticians will be dual Guild with the Ratcatchers, and players who attend a launch event for the Ratcatchers will be able to win alternate sculpts for these players. In addition, as each Minor Guild is released, the associated Major Guild will no longer be allowed to play with Union Players. The Ratcatchers Guild also adds a new mechanism to Guild Ball, disease, a new powerful condition that spreads amongst players without further input from the player.

Read more about the first Minor Guild, the Ratcatchers, and how Minor Guilds interact with the Union, on Steamforged website here.

Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) has announced the newest expansion to the popular dice-driven Cthulhu game Elder Sign, Omens of the Pharaoh. This expansion adds an Egyptian Mythos to the struggle, as players try to combat the evil despot Nephren-Ka. Omens of the Pharaoh also adds a new mechanism in the form of Relics, powerful items which can be used to bring discarded dice back into play. Some Relics even work in combination with each other for more powerful effects. You can read the full press release regarding Omens of the Pharaoh on Fantasy Flight’s webpage here.

Also announced from FFG is the newest unit for Star Wars: Legion, the T-47 Airspeeder. Legion is FFG’s new ground battle miniatures game anchored strongly in the Star Wars universe, joining the space battles of Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Armada. The beautiful new T-47 comes with the famous Mo/Dk Power Harpoon, which does minimal damage on its own, but can be used to pivot a targeted vehicle, potentially spinning the target to expose its weaker side. You can read the full press release here.