deck building game

If you’re a fan of narrative driven games, historical themes, deck-building, punchy two-player experiences, or all of the above, you will be interested in Undaunted: Normandy coming this August from Osprey Games. It comes with some whopping credits behind it, designed by both David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin (both of whom created the recently popular War Chest) with art by Roland MacDonald (whose brilliant, sharp illustrations are featured in Western Legends and Stop Thief!). This campaign-style game follows the history of the US 30th Infantry Division, where one player operates a deck representing those US troops as they drive into occupied France, while the other player controls the German opposition. Both participants must manage troops, reinforcements, and casualties as they simulate this titanic point in WWII history through tactical choices and card play.

“Undaunted: Normandy is a deck-building game that places you and your opponent in command of American or German forces, fighting through a series of missions critical to the outcome of World War II. Use your cards to seize the initiative, bolster your forces, or control your troops on the battlefield. Strong leadership can turn the tide of battle in your favour, but reckless decisions could prove catastrophic, as every casualty you take removes a card from your deck.”

While there are no shortage of war games that are capable of providing a tension-filled window into the Invasion of Normandy, this is no-doubt a much faster, more personal approach. Where there is a lack of miniatures, there’s an excellent use of Roland McDonald’s work that provides fresh, evocative faces of the stakes both players know. It may not have an expansive spatial element to it, but the struggles your deck will go through should more than impress. If you’re interested in learning more about Undaunted: Normandy, check out Osprey Games’ website/blog for further reading and announcements.

The 2017 Spiel des Jahres nominee, The Quest for El Dorado, is getting it’s first expansion – Heroes & Hexes! Reiner Knizia’s deck-building racing game through South America can be expanded to add heroes and demons to the course, injecting riskier decisions and daring rewards. Demon spaces are cheap, costing nothing to enter, and can even offer shortcuts, but all of it is for a price. Demon spaces bring curses, burdening the player with unsavory effects they’ll have to deal with for the rest of the game. It’s not all bad though, as everyone starts with familiars in their deck offering one-off powers and tavern spaces on the board provide heroes that can really give you an edge on your way to the City of Gold.

 “To play with this expansion, you must use the “Caves” variant of The Quest for El Dorado base game in which mountains are loaded with cave tokens. This expansion includes new cave tokens to be mixed with those of the base game, as well as four new types of expedition cards (with three copies of each) that can be pulled into the market once a stall opens. […] The expansion includes six suggested map set-ups — all at medium or hard levels, and all with three new terrain tiles — as well as guidelines for how to create maps yourself.”

Knizia’s games are often mechanically strong, elegant, and lacking frills, so to see an expansion to one of his designs which adds risk/reward systems is exciting. Do you take the path that’s really less traveled, or take the longer route to come out of this race with a clean soul and sounder mind? To me this feels like a must-have expansion for anyone who loves The Quest for El Dorado, as the familiars, cards, and map variability alone breathe more zest into an already rock solid game, all the other bits are an even more pleasing bonus. The expansion is slated to make it to retail soon, or at least before the end of the year as far as I can find, but If you’d like to find out more be sure to check out their website for rulebooks and further announcements.

Rick and Morty: The Rickshank Rickdemption Deck-Building Game  by Cryptozoic Entertainment is available for pre-order now! This Rick-diculous sequel to Rick and Morty: Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind Deck-Building Game can be played either as a stand alone game or mix it with the original for a wackier experience! This edition introduces Access Tokens which gives you access to votes. They are limited but you can relieve your opponent of them! Council Cards will create crazy scenarios that require players to vote – so make sure you have those Access Tokens.

Contents include: 84 Standard Main Deck Cards, 35 Genius Waves, 15 Smith Family Cards, 20 Morty Waves, 16 Portal Guns, 7 Nemesis Cards, which include Seal Team Ricks, 15 Location Cards, 9 Access Tokens, 1 Location Token, 6 Oversized Rick, Morty, and Summer Character Cards, 1 Rulebook and an oversized Promo Jerry card (first printing of game only!)

To be released in the 3rd Quarter of 2018.

Legacy games continue to be the hot item, and Indie Boards and Cards is joining in with a legacy game based on their popular Aeon’s End deck building game.  Aeon’s End Legacy is unique in terms of legacy games in that you aren’t playing a one-off type game where it’s used up at the end, nor are you creating a game like you do in Charterstone.  No, in Aeon’s End Legacy you are creating and building up your own unique character that you can then take to play in the rest of the Aeon’s End content.  But at the start of the game your character is bland and rather weak, so you have to play through games, called chapters, that allow you to get more powerful cards and add new abilities to your character.  This will mainly be done through adding stickers to your player board, until at the end of the game you have a fully fleshed out character with their own unique starting deck.

A base pledge of $65 plus shipping will get you Aeon’s End Legacy.  You will also be able to add on various expansions from the base game along with the base game itself  in case you need those.  If you want to run through the legacy game multiple times you will need recharge packs that cost $25 a piece.  There are even options for accessories to up the component quality of the game, and a playmat to help keep things organized on the table.  So if the idea of creating your own character in Aeon’s End appeals to you, along with just more content for the game, you will want to check out their Kickstarter.

Asmodee Digital continues to up it’s game by entering into a partnership with Playdeck. Four games that will immediately be transformed under the new brand are Ascension, Twilight Struggle, Summoner Wars, and Agricola.  Notice that these games aren’t new to the app space as they have been previously under Playdeck, but now they are under Asmodee Digital’s control.  Will we see new updates or additional versions of the games in the future?  Well we won’t know until Asmodee tells us about it.  You can download the games from your respective app stores, and check out each of the links above for more information on the individual game apps.

Things are returning to normal in the land of crowd funding, so here are some more campaigns for you to check out.  First one the list is the latest expansion set for the Red Dragon Inn, and that’s the Red Dragon Inn 7.  This new set finally brings the tavern workers into the mix, so now you will be able to see if the servers can keep up with their patrons.  Red Dragon Inn is a game all about drinking, brawling, and gambling, with the person who is the last one standing, while stilling having some gold, will be the winner.  Each round you will be playing cards to get people to drink, gamble their hard earned money, or just try to beat the tar out of each other.  But be careful, if your fortitude ever meets your drunkenness, you pass out and are out of the game, or if you run out of gold then the bartender tosses you out.  The expansion will come with everything you need in order to play the game, plus promos or metal coins depending on the pledge level you go for.  A copy will run you $40, but if you have Red Dragon Inn 5, you can opt for an ECO option and they will send just the contents to you without the box for $5 cheaper.  You can check out the Kickstarter campaign now to pledge for your copy.

Next up is a new worker placement and deck building game all about launching your new cafe in the diverse city of Berlin, called Seize the Bean.  In this game you are trying to hit a certain level of good reviews, but to do that you need to be able to consistently serve your customers.  You will first have to build up your cafe through worker placement, getting ingredients, attracting customers, and upgrading you cafe to make your actions more powerful.  At the end of the round you will shuffle up your customers and draw some, then using your collected supplies you will try to satisfy their orders in order to get their good reviews.  Components for this game are excellent, art for the game is also good, and the written reviews on the tokens are funny as well.  So if you have a passion for coffee or the unique city that is Berlin, check out the Kickstarter campaign, a base pledge costs you only 39 euro.

Next is a simple and strategic card game called Home on Lagrange, where you are trying to build the best space station among the other players.  You will be doing this through multi-use cards, which can be played for effects, used as currency, or used as resources in the modules.  Modules are what you will be going after because once someone finishes an entire station with the four different modules, the game will end.  Each of these modules by themselves will score a certain amount, but if you can stack one, two, or three resources on them you can increase it’s score.  Plus the action cards give you special actions to help you get a leg up on the competition.  So be careful with your building, if you don’t pay attention to the scores you may end up triggering the end game without having the winning hand so to speak.  You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here, and a copy of the game will run you £25.

And finally, we have a family friendly deduction game called Noises at Night.  In this game each of the players will be a different character like the boogeyman, a rat, dad, mom, ghost, and so forth, trying to score the most points.  You will score points in three different ways, one is by having your icons scoring on the cards being played, second by playing cards to your secret location, and finally by guessing who everyone else is.  Play is simple in that on your turn you will play cards out onto the board, trying to maximize your points without giving away who and where you are.  After everyone has played out cards you will go into a guessing phase where you can guess who other people are.  Get it right and you get some bonus points, get it wrong and they get the points instead.  After ten rounds the player with the most points is the winner.  So if you are a fan of deduction games, and this family weight one seems your speed, then head on over to the campaign page to check it out.  A pledge of only $19 will get you the base game and any stretch goals they unlock.

Renegade Games has been partnering with Dire Wolf Digital to bring some of their physical games into the mobile space, such titles include Lotus and Lanterns: The Harvest Festival.  So to kick off the holiday season they have announced updates to their digital games of Lotus and Lanterns as well as a new update to their companion app.

Lotus is a game all about forming beautiful flowers and using some area control to make sure that when the flowers finish and score, you are the ones getting the points.  The app version of this game brought the game into beautiful 3D with excellent graphics and animation, bringing this simple card game up to another level.  The update featured for the app is that the leader-board and friends list of the game is compatible with Lanterns, so now you can challenge friends from either game to either game you own.  You can purchase the app in the App Store or on Google Play.

Lanterns is a simple tile laying game where you lay down tiles in order to collection various colored lantern cards.  You will then use these lantern cards to make dedications and depending on which array of colors you turn in will net you different points.  Like Lotus the app version of Lanterns elevates the game by giving it some beautiful graphics and scenery along with great animation.  The app even has the expansion, The Emperor’s Gift, available for download as well.  The update featured for the app is that the leader-board and friends list of the game is compatible with Lotus, so now you can challenge friends from either game to either game you own.  You can purchase the app in the App Store or on Google Play.

And finally, Renegade games has updated their companion app, adding in some content for their latest game, Clank in Space.  Already the app includes content for the games FUSE, Flatline, and the original Clank game.  But with this latest update you will now be able to play Clank in Space solo, with you going against the AI as you explore Lord Eradikus’ starship alone.  The update has already been made so you can either check your app now, or download it for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Somewhere out there, a nerd is crying because I am about to talk about a DC Deck building release and Marvel Legendary release in the same article.  Anyway, first of the two releases I will be talking about is the upcoming DC Deck Building Game: Confrontations.  This is a stand alone game and plays similar to the Rivals set where it was Batman vs. Joker, but expands the roster on both sides and expands the player count up to 2 vs 2.  On the heroes side you will be able to choose from Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or Zatanna, and on the villain side you will have your choice of Lex Luthor, Circe, Ocean Master, or Felix Faust.  You can even combine this with the Rivals set to expand the options and gameplay.  You can read more about the upcoming release on Cryptozoic’s website, and look for it on store shelves towards the end of the month.

The second release we have is from Upper Deck for Marvel Legendary, and that’s Marvel Legendary: Champions.  This set takes it’s heroes and cards from a very recent addition to the comic book universe, specifically the Champions series which debuted at the end of last year.  This set will bring in a selection of younger heroes with a more cooperative and less violent bent to them.  You will see the return of the keyword Versatile, as well as the addition of a new keyword, Cheering Crowds (yes it’s two words but work with me here).  The cheering crowds mechanics allows you to return a bystander you rescued to be able to activate that card a second time, opening up new options for gameplay.  There are also lots of new strategies to be had with characters like Viv Vision being able to rescue bystanders while recruiting.  So if this sounds like something you want to add to your Legendary collection, look for it on store shelves in early 2018, and you can check out Upper Deck’s website for more information.

Grey Fox Games has announced SUPERHOT Card Game, based on the popular FPS video game SUPERHOT. SUPERHOT Card Game is a deck building game based on Agent Decker (2015), which can be played solo, cooperatively with 2, competitively 1 on 1, or 2 vs 1. As in the videogame, time moves forward when you take actions, meaning the more cards you play, the faster a line of obstacles moves towards you. Look for SUPERHOT Card Game in December 2017. You can read more about SUPERHOT Card Game on Grey Fox’s website here.

Grand Gamers Guild is bringing Pocket Ops, a 2 player competitive deduction/abstract game, to stores in December. Based on the Tic-Tac-Toe framework, players anticipate each others’ moves and stay one step ahead. Victory can be snatched or thwarted by clever use of elite agents – the sniper, assassin, pusher, grappler, or hacker. First to capture both parts of the doomsday device wins Pocket Ops. For more information and pictures of the excellent components, visit the Grand Gamers Guild website here.

Another week, another round of Kickstarters as things start to ramp up for PAX Unplugged this weekend.  First on the list is the second game from Mathew Sisson and company, makers of the card game Spaceteam, this time all about surviving on an uncharted island instead of a falling apart spaceship.  The game is called Ravine, and in the game you will crash land on an island, with each person starting out at different levels of being hurt, and from there it’s up to you to survive.  You will risk your health to forage for food and supplies, then use those supplies to build helpful items like spears, shelter, baskets, or fires in order to survive.  Come night time you will flip over a card that will try to hurt you in some way, but comes with a way to avoid it if you have the right cards.  If you and all your companions are able to survive through all the night cards, you will be rescued and win the game!  If you like this kind of cooperative survival game, and found the Spaceteam card game enjoyable, check out the Kickstarter today.

Next is the latest in the line of Wallet Games from Button Shy Games, and that is HeroTec, In Vino Morte, and Kintsugi.  To start this trio we have the drafting game HeroTec, where you want to outfit your hero with the best gear possible to impress everyone.  You will do this by drafting cards into your stockpile, and then from your stockpile you will use them as resources in order to build the gadgets for you hero.  Once you have fully outfitted your hero you will compare with everyone else and the most stars will be the winner.  Kintsugi is a tile laying game where you will be taking cards and overlaying them, keeping in mind placement rules, in order to score the lowest score.  You and your opponent will be alternating placing cards on the board, trying to make your secret color dominant, but without letting your opponent know which one it is.  If you get figured out the your opponent gets to reduce their score, if you are able to keep it hidden, then their score will go up, lowest score is the winner.  And finally, In Vino Morte is a very light social deduction game where you are trying to be the last one standing at the party.  Each round a new bartender will be chosen and they will pass out the drinks, with at least one of them being poisoned.  On your turn you can either drink what is in front of you or trade, after everyone has a turn and it gets back to the bartender then everyone else drinks.  People who are poisoned are out and the rest stay in for another round.  So if any of these games sound interesting to you, head on over to the Kickstarter page to back for one, some, or all of these games.

Next up is a game called Mountaineers, which takes the 3D aspect to a whole other level.  In this game your goal is to complete climbing routes in a ticket to ride type fashion by hiking around the ground and climbing the massive mountain in front of you.  And when I say mountain, I mean a three sided spire of a mountain that you will be placing your pawn on as you climb up it.  Each round different events will be happening that give you supplies, the main currency of the game, and alter the game conditions in either good or bad ways.  Then each player will get the chance to use the supplies they have to buy upgrades, move around the board, or mess with their fellow players in a bid to gain the most climbing points.  Rounds will continue and players will keep climbing until they have run out the event deck, at that point routes are scored and whoever has the most points is the winner.  Thus if you like mountain games, or are just a fan of 3D games with an impressive table presence, check out the Kickstarter page.

After that we have a new cooperative deck building game called Direwild, a first design by Vas Obeyesekere.  In this game you Animists, mages who summon animals to aid them, and are trying to stop the evil Karn, a member of your own order that turned evil.  During the game, which is a mix of dungeon crawl and deck building, the minions of Karn will move around the board, trying to take you out and keep you from stopping him.  On your turn you will do typical deck building actions of drawing cards, playing cards, and buying upgraded cards.  After that then you use the cards you just played to summon an animal to move around the board and fight the evil monsters.  Cards will often have a basic animal on them for you to choose from, but they also have text that is upside down, and so if you rotate the card, it then becomes an add-on to an already summoned animal.  This way you can turn a smaller animal into something formidable to fight along side you.  If you and your friends are able to defeat the minions, find and defeat Karn, you will be the winner of Direwild.  To find out more about this game check out the Kickstarter page.

Finally we have the freshest Kickstarter on the list, and that is the second Kickstarter for Ogre miniatures from Steve Jackson Games.  This campaign offers a whole new set of miniatures for the latest edition of Ogre, and all the models being offered are not the same as the ones in the first set.  Backing this set means you will be able to upgrade a good variety of units in the game from cardboard chits, to full blown minis.  Included in this set are: 1 Paneuropean Fencer with extra Fencer-B turret, 6 Superheavy Tanks, 4 Mobile Howitzers, 6 GEV-PCs with 3 infantry each (infantry are compatible with those from Set 1), 12 Light Tanks, and 12 Light GEVs.  So if you want more minis for this classic game, check out the Kickstarter now.