Siege Storm: SiegeMode by designers Kamil ‘Sanex’ Cieśla and Marcin Świerkot is a competitive battle card game in a fantasy world, meant to be “a game that feels like a CCG, but that is more accessible and doesn’t have the ‘Pay to Win’ aspects of the CCG model.” A successful 2018 Kickstarter project, this game has distilled a head to head card game to its very essence, with only one card type, simple and intuitive play, and combos galore. Each card can be used 3 ways: it can be sacrificed for mana, the card action can be used, or the card can be deployed onto a track for future use. SiegeMode supports 1v1, team play, or co-op/solo play with a specialized AI deck. Awaken Realms Lite also has support for organized play, and plans for future expansions.
Bees: The Secret Kingdom by Kamil ‘Sanex’ Cieśla is a beautiful, family weight card game “light on rules but featur[ing] interactive gameplay suitable for just about anyone.” In Bees, 2-6 players choose between generating honey and playing a flower card to collect pollen. Playing cards for resources allows all players to collect, however the active player gains the biggest benefit. Bees has 2 different play modes, one for families and small children, and one for more competitive play. Van Ryder Games president A. J. Porfirio quipped “Like a bee to the flower, customers will be attracted by the beauty of the game, but the sweet gameplay is what will keep them coming back.”
Awaken Realms, makers of massively successful Kickstarter projects This War of Mine (2017) and Lords of Hellas (2018), have started a campaign for their new game, Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon from designers Krzysztof Piskorski and Marcin Świerkot. Tainted Grail is a cooperative story driven adventure game which takes place in an alternate, dark Arthurian world, and features amazing art from Piotr Foksowicz. In Tainted Grail, 1-4 players work cooperatively, without turn order, to explore a growing map made of high quality tarot sized cards, in a manner reminiscent of the ground-breaking 7th Continent. These map cards can be flipped over as they are explored, or even replaced with changed versions of the land. Stories come from a printed book of more than 100,000 words, filled with choices, drama, characters and conflict. Each player chooses from one of 4 unlikely outcasts, each with unique stats and abilities which can improve over time, trying to avert the wyrdness from Avalon by healing the fading Menhir guardian statues. Each character comes with its own deck of combat cards and diplomacy cards, leading to a fascinating and unique conflict mechanism for both violent and non-violent interactions. Players lay down a chain of cards, linked by key symbols to first the threat, then to each other. A character can have as many cards in the combat as they like, as long as they are all linked, but if a card in the chain is lost, other cards may fall away. Characters use up energy to perform actions, exploring, fighting or negotiating their way through the campaign, chapter by chapter. Chapters can be playerd in a single session, and a robust system to save and store games is in the box.
Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon Core Game comes with 8 miniatures, 4 boards, 576 standard cards (encounters, items, events, secrets), 100 small cards, 72 oversized cards (maps), 100+ tokens and markers and a 220 page story book, but the stretch goals and add-ons are growing by the moment, dwarfing these numbers. The Kickstarter Campaign for Tainted Grail is set to continue through December 28, and the game should deliver in August 2019. For more information, and a preliminary rule book, check out the Kickstarter web page here, or Awaken Realm’s web page here.