Push Your Luck Games
Chaosium, the long time forerunner of the Cthulhu RPG world, has announced a new Kickstarter project, the card game Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection. Chaosium, famous for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, had been out of the board and card game world for quite a while until last year’s release of Reiner Knizia‘s Khan of Khans. Now the studio has returned to the Lovecraftian world with the push-your-luck card game Miskatonic University, also designed by the master, Dr. Reiner Knizia, with Graphic design by Ian O’Toole and art by Victor Leza and Goomi. In Miskatonic University, 2-5 players take turns drawing cards from the library, trying to collect sets of 3 differing Sigil and Grimoire cards. However, if the player draws a duplicate card, they and their students will be expelled from the library, losing their progress that round. Players can use one of their 7 defense cards to mitigate expulsion in different ways, and graduate students can be collected to recharge used defense cards. If players opt to leave the library voluntarily, they earn points for collected sets. The game lasts five terrifying rounds, and the most points from collected lore and saved sanity wins.
The Kickstarter Campaign for Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection will continue through May 8, and the game is expected to deliver in November 2018.
One of the recent trends in board games has been for big box stores, such as Target and Walmart, to claim their share of exclusive titles from within the hobby board gaming world. Several of these exclusives have been noteworthy; we have seen Target obtain Bob Ross Art of Chill Game, and Walmart is the exclusive seller of Fog of Love. The most recent participant, Red Raven Games, has announced an exclusive game with Target, Megaland. Ryan Laukat‘s newest creation Megaland has the look and feel of his previous masterpieces, bringing up images of Near and Far or Artifacts Inc. Megaland is a push-your-luck game set in a video game universe, where players fight monsters to collect coins and build up their world. 2-5 players can use coins to improve their character, build bowling alleys or arcades, and delve deeper into each new level. But players who push too hard are likely to come home with nothing. The player with the most coins at the end wins.
Megaland is due to come out in Fall 2018, exclusively at Target stores.
Everyone’s favorite altruistic archer is about to grace our tabletops again as Final Frontier Games announces the launch of their upcoming Kickstarter project – Robin Hood and the Merry Men!
In this latest offering from the makers of Cavern Tavern and Rise to Nobility, 2 to 4 players will assume the roles of various rogue heroes in a mission to defy the unjust rule of the nefarious King John and to outwit and outmaneuver the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham and his cronies.
The game plays out over a series of rounds, each consisting of a Merry Men phase and a Hero phase. Players take turns assigning their loyal followers during the Merry Men phase, collecting resources and setting traps to ambush Royal carriages. While it may be tempting to simply rob all the resources you need be careful, a push-your-luck system ensures that no good deed goes unpunished and you may end up with your followers being sent to the dungeons for their crimes!
The Hero phase offers you a chance to rescue prisoners and/or take part in various attacks, competitions or even sending envoys to King Richard updating him of your progress. Once each player has completed 5 rounds in this fashion, the player with the most victory points and therefore the greatest Hero of the land is declared the winner!
The campaign is set to launch on February 21st, 2018 and offers both a standard and deluxe (non-retail) version of the game at separate pledge levels.
Smirk & Dagger Games and lead designer Curt Covert have announced a game they have been teasing for some time, Tower of Madness. 3-5 Players take turns fulfilling location cards in push-your-luck dice rolling, however if they fail their investigation, they must face the tower. The actual tower stands over a foot tall, and houses colored marbles held in place by 30 demonic tentacles, much in the style of the older game Kerplunk. Failing to fulfill a card means pulling a tentacle from the tower, possibly releasing colored marbles, which add to your discovery total but permanently affect your character. Even worse, the tower may release a DOOM marble, which is one more step towards summoning Cthulhu, and ending the game. The investigator with the most discovery wins.
Look for Tower of Madness on store shelves June 2018.
That isn’t a typo in the title, Z-Man Games has announced a new game called Junggle, with two G’s, designed by Bruno Faidutti and Anja Wrede. This game promises to give you five games in one using just a deck of cards and a single card showing the hierarchy of all the animals. With these two components they have come up with different styled games, like a push your luck game called King of the Jungle. In this variation you have cards out on the table face down, and one by one you will look at face down cards on your turn. What you are doing is trying to figure out what animal will be left that is highest up in the hierarchy. This is hard to figure out because animals are scared away by the things directly above them on the hierarchy, so those top animals may be scared off and left with someone near the middle of the ladder. Either way if you manage to figure it out first, you win.
Another variation is a bluffing style game called Jungle Party. In this version of the game you have two face-up cards, constituting your party, and two cards in your hand. On your turn you draw a card and then pass one of your three hand cards to another player face down. They then have to decide to keep it or give it back to you, and whichever choice is made, the recipient has to flip the card and add it to their party. Like before if the animal is directly above them in the hierarchy they will be scared off or scare off other members of your party. First person to collect five of the same animal at the end of their turn is the winner.
So that is two out of the five possible variations, and more will be revealed on the Z-Man Games website as the release date gets closer.
Grail Games is stepping up the releases with the previously reported Knizia reprints and three more games coming later this year. First is a push your luck style party game called Hang 12. In the game players will be asking other players simple true/false, A or B type questions, and it’s their job to guess your answer. If you guess right then you get to catch a wave, then the push your luck part of the game starts. You can keep answering questions to increase the amount of points you will get, and if you reach a certain threshold you could get bonus points. But the downside is that if you get something wrong, you lose all the points you built up that round. So, do you know your friends as well as you think? Look for this on store shelves in mid-2017.
Next is the Kickstarter game Doughnut Drive-thru, a worker placement dice style game all about those tasty treats. The main goal of the game is to serve the most value in doughnuts to your customers. To accomplish your goal you will be using 4 different actions, prepare, learn a recipe, serve, and coffee breaks. Each action has a normal and improved version of the action that depends on how many workers, read doughnuts, you place on the card. Learning a recipe lets you draw cards from the deck and then keep one recipe, discarding the others. Prepare has you rolling a die to try and prepare a doughnut, with more valuable doughnuts needing higher values on the die. Serving works the same way, and if you succeed you flip the card over and it will be scored at the end, plus each served doughnut can be used for +1 on a roll. Lastly you have coffee break, which is how you will refresh used ability cards as well as get your doughnuts back from any single card. Most tips at the end determines the winner. Look for this on store shelves in April of 2017.
Last is the card game version of the Kinizia classic, Medici the Card Game. This takes the big box bidding game and turns it into a small box push your luck style game using just a deck of cards. On your turn you will turn cards over until you have drawn three cards or get what you want, taking at least one card into your hand. The next player gets to draw some more cards and take cards from what they drew or what you drew. Play will continue around like this until you get either five or seven cards (based on player count) in your hand. You will then score your hand, called a boat, and put any cards you can keep into your warehouse. You will do this again for two more rounds scoring your boat and then your warehouse as well. As the end of the third round, whoever has the most points is the winner. Look for this on store shelves in May of 2017.
Clank! is the hot deck-building game right now that utilizes a push your luck type mechanic as well as utilizing a board to good effect. So to not let a good thing go to waste, Renegade Games is releasing an expansion for the game in March called Clank! Sunken Treasures. This expansion will include an all new board that has a partially flooded dungeon, meaning in some rooms you will have to contend with flooding as well as the normal dangers. Can you make it out with your loot of will you drown while trying to carry it all?
Look for this expansion on store shelves in March, and if you are going to PAX South at the end of the month you can check out Clank! at the Dire Wolf Digital booth.
Fireside Games and Justin De Witt, the publisher and designer behind the Castle Panic game, are designing a new game all about fighting forest fires called Hotshots. Hotshots is going to be a push your luck style game where you will take on different roles in the effort to fight a raging forest fire. Roles like the Crew Boss, Swamper, Sawyer, and Spotter will each have unique abilities as well as home tiles, and you will lose those abilities if you home tile gets destroyed. On your turn you will roll dice to try and fight the fire on the tile you move to, manage to match enough symbols and you will beat back the fire, don’t match enough and the fire will spread instead. Then at the end of your turn you will draw a fire card which indicates how the fire spreads and if there are gusts of wind that blow around the embers. Manage to put out the fire and everyone wins! Look for this game on store shelves at the end of May.
Celestia is the highly popular push your luck style game where everyone is a passenger on an air shop traveling through troubled skies. You will stay on hoping to get farther in to score more points, but stay on too long and you might go down with the ship and get nothing!
The expansion, Celestia: A Little Help, aims to bring some cooperative and asymmetrical elements into the game with additional cards and player powers. The player powers will allow you to manipulate the die results, the cards in your hand, even who the captain for the round is. Also included are additional cards added to the draw deck with more special abilities, the cards you can give to the captain, and double symbol cards to help you be more card efficient. Overall if you like the base game, I think this is going to be a must buy, so grab it at your local game store this week.
Medici is one of Reiner Kinizia’s classic designs, and it recently got a reprint through Kickstarter courtesy of Grail Games. Well now they are back to fund the card game version of the game, aptly called, Medici: The Card Game. This takes the bidding mechanic of the full board game and turns it into a push your luck mechanic with drawing from a central stack of cards. On your turn you will draw up to three cards from the deck, always drawing at least one, and then deciding if you want more than just the last card you drew. This goes around until someone reaches seven cards in hand, play then stops and the day is scored, giving out points for what you are holding and what is in your warehouses. After scoring you take the cards in your hand and put them into your warehouses for scoring in later rounds. At the end of the third day, whoever has the most points is the winner.
While the tight bidding of the board game kept me away, turning it into a light push your luck card game will definitely get me interested. It also helps that the art is stunning and done by the highly regarded Vincent Dutrait, so I am definitely backing this game. If you want to join in then head on over to the campaign page to snag a copy for yourself.
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