Hidden Objectives

There’s a new Vampire: The Masquerade board game that will seek crowdfunding in June and it’s literally too big not to share. That’s because it’s a MegaGame – an appropriate name for such a large-scale thing, typically involving more than ten people split into teams around multiple tables or rooms. Publisher Everything Epic and designer Ben Kanelos want to bring that kind of experience to board gaming for ease of approach and faster play. Vampire: The Masquerade – Blood Feud, coming to Kickstarter, will allow 4 to 32 people to play as vampires or humans within teams, each with different abilities and group-dependent goals involving politics, diplomacy, trade, and combat across a big city map.

“Blood Feud uses a large room or two separate rooms with 2-4 tables. One game table features the Cityscape and Orders, the map where players move their forces around the city and order them to fight and take control of important territories. The other game table features the Council and Market where players use their best diplomatic and resource management skills to make sly trades, buy upgrades and player level-ups, as well as make large political decisions that will shape the destinies of teams to determine whether they win or lose!”

Some might read the above two paragraphs and think, “What makes this so different from Werewolf, really?” After all, they’re both occult/horror themed games of intrigue for large groups of people, right? That would be neglecting a huge part of what makes a MegaGame so fun and unique. It’s not just that it’s built for a huge group of people, but that it’s got so many points of interactivity that it feels more akin to live action role-playing with layers of decision-making and sudden consequences for every action and inaction.

This publisher and designer both realize the prohibitive nature of MegaGames (their difficulty in organizing) and what makes them great, so it’s fantastic that they’re bringing this in a more manageable format for our hobby to truly appreciate. Moreover, the history and nature of the Vampire: The Masquerade setting lends itself to negotiation, strong-arming, and role-playing. It’s a perfect theme to use as an entry point for a game this ambitious. If you’re interested in learning more about Vampire: The Masquerade – Blood Feud, check out the Everything Epic website for more information and be on the lookout for it on Kickstarter this June.

New from Floodgate Games is Bad Maps, a programing game with a pirate theme.  In Bad Maps, players are pirate captains with hidden objective that award points based on where certain pirate minions are on the map in relation to the buried treasure on the island.  Each round, the players give instructions to the minions by playing a map piece from their hands.  Some map pieces are played face up and some are played faced down, preventing other players from knowing exactly where each minion will be on the island during that step.  Once all the instructions for the minion’s map have been given, the minions execute each step of their instructions on their maps, moving closer or further from the treasure, or falling victim to pits.  Once all the minions have completed their movement, the captains score their objective and the minions dig pits (looking for treasure). The second round begins with a much more hazardous island.  The captain with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.  Bad Maps is designed by Tim Armstrong, designer of Orbis and Kaiju Crush, and is wonderfully illustrated by Kristen Pauline, who also illustrated Stuffed Fables.

Bad Maps plays 3-5 players (but includes a 2 player mode), ages 13+, in about 40 minutes. Contents include a double-sides island board, 5 Captain player boards, 45 map cards, 40 objective cards, 10 blackout cards (shows which maps cards will be face up or face down), 10 spyglass tokens, 4 minion markers, 4 minion start tokens, a first mate token, a first player token, and 8 pit markers.

Bad Maps was successfully kickstarted back in September 2018 with a projected delivery of March 2019. If you missed the kickstarter campaign, it is available for pre-order now, or you can look for the game at your friendly local game store in March 2019.

 

illegal

New from Ludically and distributed by Asmodee by designer Christopher Belinger is the party game Illegal.  This game is very much directed at a mature market.  They even put on the box 18 years and older which is a rare thing to see for a game and by putting it on there signals that the content will at best be risque.

This game involves you taking on the role of a dealer in some illicit good.  You will have to go off and try to convince others to sell you goods and to buy your goods. You score points at the end of the game by acquiring goods that are part of your secret objective and flying under the radar for the kinds of goods you are trying to sell.

illegal cards

For me this game feels like the thrill of diplomacy negotiating with people mixed with something akin to Pit where you are trying to do major set collection on the sly.  Because this game not only requires you to keep your selling habits but also purchasing desires secret it is a great game of cloak and dagger and misdirection.  With the inclusion of an all knowing GM who has intentionally given people their items to sell, desires to buy, and their stock of supplies this game has the potential for great success with those that like a bit more thinky and accusatory party game without descending into an hours long murder mystery or some nonsense.

If this sounds appealing I would encourage you to head over to Ludically’s website here.