Crystal Clans is an expandable two player battle card game. Each player selects a unique clan to battle with and tries to outwit their opponent for control of powerful crystals. The first player to gain four crystals wins. Now, two new clans are joining the original six to add even more variety to the base game: the Shadow Clan and the Fang Clan.
The Shadow Clan excels in surprise attacks and working alone, instead of in large squads, with their signature Shadow Step ability. This ability gives many of the units incredible range to attack the opponent anywhere on the board for a very low cost, but then they’ll only have that single unit to fight with.
“Clan Signature Ability: Shadow Step – As an action, if there are no other units in this squad, you may spend 1 initiative to place this unit in a zone that contains an enemy squad but no friendly squad.”
The Fang Clan is extremely powerful but at a cost. Each of their Alphas have individual abilities that need to be considered when organizing your squads, such as abilities that force you to discard from your draw pile or not be able to take a score action. Players will need to carefully consider their options when using their signature Alpha ability.
“Clan Signature Ability: Alpha – Whenever this squad is reordered, summoned to, or combined, an Alpha unit must become the top unit of the squad. After any action, if this squad’s top card is not an Alpha unit, you must immediately reorder this squad.”
You can read more about the cards in the Shadow Clan and the Fang Clan on Plaid Hat Games website. If you haven’t played the base game, you can check out The Dice Tower reviews.
FFG has announced an upcoming release to Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game. Whispers of Shadow and Steel is a novella set in the fictional land of Rokugan. This is the second installment of Legends of the Five Rings Fiction, but the first to include 2 new upgraded art cards that can be used in L5R:TCG. This novella is approximately 100 pages long and features the Scorpion Clan, and specifically, Bayushi Yojiro, one of this clan’s characters.
There will be three copies of each card, for a total of 6 cards, which will be tucked inside the book. The first card is an extended art version of Bayushi from the Imperial Cycle:
As a Magistrate, Bayushi Yojiro alters the rules of conflicts—in his case, ignoring the effects of status tokens on participating characters. This can enhance the dishonorable Scorpions around him, and erase the bonus of your opponent’s honorable characters.
The second card is from the upcoming Elemental Cycle for this game, and features an ability unique to the Scorpion Clan: Infiltrator:
Infiltrator is an attachment that allows you, as an action, to reveal the top card of your opponent’s conflict deck and either play it as if it were in your hand or discard it.
As an attachment, you can repeat this process every turn, as long as your infiltrator is in play, and as long as your bid remains higher than your opponent’s. This allows you to infiltrate your opponent’s conflict deck and turn their very best weapons against them—a tactic well befitting a Scorpion.
They’re already existing cards (or soon to be existing cards) with full art. They’ll look different than what will be in the standard LCG packs, but will function the same in-game (same stats, abilities, etc.). From a pure gameplay perspective, these promotional cards won’t be exclusive to people who purchase the book, but if you’re looking for the fantastic alt-art cards to make your deck ‘pop’, these are for you.
There is yet no release date set for Whispers of Shadow and Steel, but it is available for preorder from both local retailers and FFG.
For a review of Legends of the Five Rings, click here and for more information on this expansion, click here
In another time, another future seemingly none too distant from now, governments have been mostly abolished and overcome by Mega Corporations. The fragile balance of control is being broken by four major media conglomerates, but who will own each conglomerate and the companies they’ve overtaken remains to be seen. In New Corp Order, now on Kickstarter, up to four players carefully take stocks in conglomerates and, through clever play and the help of consultants, manipulate the control over smaller companies in the hopes of owning and scoring them. Designed by Miguel Bruque, with art by Heiko Günther, the game is suited for ages 12 and up and plays in 30 to 45 minutes.
“As the top executive of one of the world’s leading MegaCorps, your task is to improve the brand awareness of your company through the wise manipulation of the 4 biggest Media Conglomerates. Infiltrate their structures and use that influence to your advantage, even if that means playing one conglomerate against the other. After all, the prize is big: The World.
New Corp Order features a rules system that is very simple but offers deep tactical play. You can learn and teach the game in 5 minutes, but it will take you time to master all the possibilities it offers!”
There’s a particular elegance to the design which makes New Corp Order unique, and it’s rooted in it’s Ticket to Ride-style card drafting. Players must draft shares in order to do anything, as they allow placement and control of their corresponding color on the board. However, just because you sometimes place or move units of that color doesn’t mean you own them and that depends on cat-and-mouse tactics in order to ensure that the board state, your shares, and captured pieces are aligned in your favor in the end. As of writing this, the game is funded and steadily unlocking stretch goals that add better components to an already thoughtfully-designed game. If you’re interested in learning more about New Corp Order, check out their Kickstarter campaign for multiple video reviews, rules explanations, print-and-play files, community feedback, and updates.
The Steampunk theme is one that will forever remain endearing for some, and I’m no exception. However, nowadays it takes something a little more than a typical card game with a theme I like to grab my attention. So what about a game that has a Steampunk theme that does something really cool with cards?! That gives us Noxford, the newest game from Quick Simple Fun Games releasing this month. It’s essentially a tile-laying game that uses cards instead of tiles which everyone is placing in a shared space in a mad bid of territory control. Here’s a brief description from the publisher:
“Set in a Steampunk universe, Noxford gives you the opportunity to seize control of the Victorian city that you build over the course of the game. In turn, players place either cards depicting influence of their syndicate or neutral cards representing rich districts (victory points) as well as barracks (which cancel syndicate influence around those areas). Cards must be placed so that they touch at least two cards already in play and must have at least two edges aligned on the edges of the cards that it touches.”
We’ve seen this type of card placement before in a game called Honshu, which featured bidding for cards to place them in your own personal town for points and resources. Noxford, on its face, is quite a bit more sinister than that as it forces all the players to build one city, a city where points come from neutral cards that must be played and also protected and fought for in order to be scored. If it lives up to Quick Simple Fun’s namesake, Noxford will be a game that I will be looking out for when it releases. If you too are interested in Noxford and other Quick Simple Fun releases, please check out their website for more information.
In the words of the visionary Benjamin Franklin, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except more Munchkin content from Steve Jackson Games,” or something like that. Steve Jackson Games has announced a new expansion to their crossover title, Munchkin Pathfinder, coming in June 2017, adding the Gunslinger class and a new faction, Razmiran Vision. These additions also work with the Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition. See the publisher’s page here. From the description:
The Gunslinger class specializes in firearms (always the best specialty for a fantasy character), and the Razmiran Vision faction lets players benefit from backstabbing. It’s a 112-card expansion that draws on the rich Pathfinder lore.
With the beginning of summer, Steve Jackson Games will also be releasing Ghosts Love Candy, a card game in which players use teams of ghosts to possess trick-or-treaters on Halloween night and eat all of their candy, which may just realize the deep-seated desires of many. See more of the game, including some of card art, here. The game does come with a warning, though:
The player whose ghosts earn them the most candy points after 8 rounds wins. But be careful! When a Trick-or-Treater eats too much candy they get sick and become your burden if you were the one to push them past their candy limit. The game is over when there is no more candy left to hand out, which is 8 rounds with 2-4 players and 6 rounds with 5-6.
Look for these new releases from Steve Jackson Games this summer.
Set Enterprises, Inc., arguably most famous for Quiddler, has announced another card game all about creating words. In WordSpiel, players play letter cards to make cards and try to be the first to rid their hand. Each word must start with the last letter of the previously played word, however, so laying down all 10 cards may not be so easy. The game also includes a timer for fast-paced play. It is for 2-6 players and is set to release in February 2017. You can hop over to the publisher’s page for more information here.
In case you were wondering if you could customize your game of Cards Against Humanity with your own content, your curiosity has been satisfied…
Being released from Cards Against Humanity LLC is a card pack entitled “Your S****y Jokes” This pack will come with 50 blank cards, 40 White / 10 Black, allowing you to add whatever content to the game you wish creating a customized version of your game.
Does your group have a lot of inside jokes that would be served well in this game? Do you feel the content is too extreme, and you need to ‘lighten the mood’ by adding some tamer material? Do you feel the game isn’t raunchy enough and you can do better? All of these things are now possible with this expansion. CAH’s website states that this also comes with a guide to help you create content for the game that ‘doesn’t suck’.
Love it or hate it, Cards Against Humanity isn’t going anywhere and this pack of blank cards allows you to create content for your game in any way you see fit.
Cards Against Humanity: Your S****y Jokes contains:
- 40 White Cards
- 10 Black Cards
- Instructions for writing your own cards
For more information on Cards Against Humanity, please follow the link here
If you thought that poker was too much bluffing and not enough attacking, then Cryptozoic Entertainment’s new release, Poker Assault, might be right up your alley.
Poker Assault, designed by Ben Cichoski and Daniel Mandel, has players taking on one of four factions, each with their own 52-card deck, trying to craft poker hands to attack their opponents. To assault your opponent, you must play cards that form at least a pair or greater. Your opponent has a chance to defend by playing cards that either match the value of your cards, or exceed it if it is in the same suit. Players that attack with a stronger hand (e.g. a Straight or a Flush) will also gain power cards unique to their faction! Each attacking card that is unblocked will chip away at your opponent’s health, the last player standing wins!
Already released and in stores, Poker Assault is for 2-4 players and plays in 15-25 minutes. It comes with the following components:
- 1 Vampire Court Poker Deck (52 cards)
- 1 Wolf Pack Poker Deck (52 cards)
- 1 The Invaders Poker Deck (52 cards)
- 1 Rocket Patrol Poker Deck (52 cards)
- 4 Sets of Eight Power Cards
- Lots of Hit Point Tokens
- 1 Rulebook
For additional information, visit Cryptozoic Entertainment’s website here.
Continuing with the trend of more and more board games becoming digitized, the latest offering to be released on Steam is AEG‘s Smash Up designed by Paul Peterson.
Smash Up is a card game that takes a deck of 20 cards of a faction, and combines them with another deck of 20 cards of another faction. Each faction has a special ability associated with it, so the combinations when mixing various factions is almost endless. These cards are shuffled to make your deck, and you use that deck to attempt to Smash a base. Points are awarded for the first, second, and third most power on that base.
Smash Up on Steam is currently in what Steam calls an ‘Early Access Game’. This grants you early access to the full game in its current state allowing you to play as is, with more content added as the developer completes it. If you buy into the game during Early Access, you’ll receive a discount as well as access to additional content as it’s completed.
A link to what the developers of the game have to say can be found here.
More info on Smash Up the board game can be found here and here.
Just as Essen was getting underway, Portal games gets the convention started by announcing four new games that will be made available in 2017. Three of these are expansions to existing games and the fourth is a new card game.
The First up is the expansion to the 51st State: Master set entitled 51st State: Scavengers from Ignacy Trzewiczek. 51st State: Scavengers is based on a previous 51st State expansion called Ruins. This re-do brings back favorite cards from Ruins in addition to introducing new locations and a brand new mechanism to the game. With Scavengers, you’ll have the ability to search the discards and retrieve those valuable cards for use within your State.
Are you willing to scavenge to have the best state?
The second up is an expansion to one of the hottest games of 2016…Cry Havoc entitled Cry Havoc: Aftermath. Cry Havoc: Aftermath expands upon the base game, adding 5 new skills and 3 new structures to each faction. In addition to the skills and structures, there is a new game mode that allows for a full 5 round game. This game mode introduces new scoring abilities when an event token is passed instead of its removal, further increasing your options for scoring victory points.
Will your faction be the one left standing in the wake of the aftermath?
The third expansion is for the all new Stronghold Second Edition entitled Stronghold: Undead by Ignacy Trzewiczek. Stronghold: Undead is a re-balancing release of the original Undead expansion to be compatible with Stronghold Second Edition. This expansion introduces new rules for terror, casting spells, and gathering mana. New buildings and abilities for the Defender to help ward off the Attacker on a new map with new routes.
Can you hold back the undead, or will your Stronghold fall?
Last but not least is a new game from Marcin Ropka and Viola Kijowska entitled Alien Artifacts. Alien Artifacts is a 4x style of card game, where you take on the role of an interplanetary corporation exploring uncharted space in hopes to gain knowledge and power. Alien Artifacts boasts a true 4x experience in under 1 hour!
Does your corporation have what it takes to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate the other corporations?
Portal Games has stated that these new titles will follow Portal’s first release of 2017 entitled First Martians. Alien Artifacts will be released at Gen Con 2017. Price and contents will be announced at a later date as well as the details for all other titles.
For more information, you can visit Portal’s website here.
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