territory control

Eclipse has been one of the stand out 4x games since its release in 2011, consistently rating in the top three of the type and always within the top 100 games on BoardGameGeek. Its closest peer within the class, Twilight Imperium, was released in 1997 but has benefitted from 4 major revisions since that time.  Eclipse has had several expansions, but no revisions since its release.  No more!  An new Kickstarter from Kolossal Games has been opened that will update and expand the original version to create Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy.

“Second Dawn”, as the name might indicate, will go well beyond an update or minor revision and is therefore being billed as a game of it’s own.  It will have game play and art that will be familiar to fans, but will include an extensive number of revisions to streamline play. The producers have kindly posted a list of the revisions to the game for long time fans that want to consider upgrading.

Just some of the components. Head to the KS to see them all at the various pledge levels

The Kickstarter includes quite the array of deluxe components, including special trays to organize play, and a larger number of modeled ships and minis than the original version.  There is also a Galactic Counselor level pledge that will provide additional upgrades for those  who are ready to make the investment.  Language throughout the page indicates that the offering is a ‘retail version’ of the game. At this time nothing  indicates any Kickstarter exclusives but that could always. It looks like those not ready to fire the plasma cannons will still be able to get the game retail some day.

Visit the Kickstarter page and Kolossal Games for more information.

Just revealed at the GAMA Trade Show in Reno, Nevada, two enticing new products are on their way from WizKids themed on the ever-popular Magic: The Gathering trading card game. The first, Heroes of Dominaria, is a euro-style board game where 2 to 4 players explore iconic regions from the series while collecting mana, recruiting heroes, and uncovering artifacts to press an advantage in this competitive game. There’s an element of territory control as planeswalkers will construct leylines and sites to capitalize on resources and locations in order to secure the most points and claim victory. As described in the press release:

     “In Magic: The Gathering: Heroes of Dominaria Board Game, players take on the role of a powerful Hero as they travel to the lands of Dominaria. As the player explores the ancient lands, they will need to build sites, rediscover lost artifacts, and confront the sinister Cabal in order to gain the resources needed to save the multiverse before rival Heroes do. […] The land of Dominaria is filled with adventure and excitement! In true Eurogame fashion, use strategy to score the most victory points and emerge victorious.”

Heroes of Dominaria will be releasing in two versions – a standard version and a premium version, the only difference being that the premium game will include 4 pre-painted miniatures. Speaking of miniatures, the second product revealed is the Magic: The Gathering Creature Forge: Overwhelming Swarm. This new line will start with 28 sculpts that are meant to be used as stand-ins for the most common creature tokens used in the card game. Magic players have been slightly spoiled for choice when it comes to token representation in their matches, but miniatures are not-at-all unwelcome and will surely be a compelling and eye-catching option. For more information regarding these two new products from WizKids, be sure to check out their press release and website for further 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.

While the Green Horde continues to roam the countryside, gobbling up everything in it’s wake, lets see some other games on Kickstarter worthy of a second look.

First up is a game from Pandasaurus Games and Hisashi Hiyashi, designer of Yokohama and Trains, called Minerva.  Minerva is being called a brain burning tile laying game where the location of the tiles being placed has as much importance as the tiles themselves.  The reason for this is that each tile has an ability, but the abilities on the tiles aren’t triggered when they are placed in your tableau.  It isn’t until you put down a residence tile that they are triggered, and then it’s only the tiles in that row.  This is how you will gain resources, buy buildings, and eventually be able to purchase the temples to score big VP bonuses at the end.  Needless to say this game has a lot of tough decisions going as you determine how to build your tiled engine so that you can reap the most victory points.  Check out the Kickstarter today if this sounds like something you want to try.

Not enough Cthulhu in your life?  Do you think Carcassonne is too boring just building out a normal city?  Well Carcosa is here to answer the call and give you your cthulhu based Carcassonne game.  And as you can probably guess, this game plays much like the quintessential classic where you are drawing tiles and placing tiles, and then placing your cultists to claim majorities on different features.  Some differences come in the form of hidden information and the effects tiles can have when fully revealed.  On your turn you will place a tile you drew and looked at, but that tile will be face down, which for most tiles doesn’t change anything.  But, there are some tiles with a yellow mark on them, and these are the tiles which will have special effects when they are revealed, causing events like devouring several cultists on the board.  Plus with your cultists going mad and needing to recover whenever they score, you have a very different feeling game to normal Carcassonne.  Check out the Kickstarter today, and try to keep your sanity.

Next is a game which takes the Greek gods of old and gives them a high tech make-over for an interesting new take on territory control, called Lords of Hellas. Lords of Hellas’ look is very eye catching, taking mythological characters like Hercules, Helena, and the Minotaur and giving them a technology upgrade.  This also carries over into the huge monuments in the game of various Greek gods like Zeus, Hermes, and Athena, each standing nearly 5″ tall when fully built.  Gameplay for the game is territory control, but that alone would be boring, so changes and tweaks have been made to keep things fresh and new.  Multi-use cards give you tough choices in a game with few resources, do you play them to help in battle or for their resources?  Multiple end game conditions make it so that if you are losing on one front, you might still be able to win on another.  The heroes of each army also bring asymmetry to the game with different abilities and start conditions, plus you can upgrade your hero throughout the game making them even better.  Overall there are lots of things to like about this game, so check out their Kickstarter page to see everything it has to offer.

Finally we have something that is half game, half teaching tool called Turing Tumble, a name that plays on the famous Turing Test which tests for artificial intelligence.  The board is vertical with lots of pegs on it for the placement of different gears, flippers, switches, as well as launchers and catchers for two sets of colored marbles.  As you place the pieces on the board, you can get the board to sort or combine the colored marbles in predictable ways or do other functions.  It can even be taken as far as creating a calculator for doing math, making this board a mechanical computer that kids will have fun playing with.  The game aspect of the Turing Tumble comes from the included comic book which has you following the adventures Alia, a space engineer, as she tries to escape from a deserted planet.  The puzzles in the game start out easy and get harder as they go along, teaching your kinds the basics of computers and helping them build more complex sequences.  If this sounds as interesting to you as it does to me, head on over to their Kickstarter page.

fief

Diplomacy, chivalry, and dastardly deceit in 15th century France! Fief is a game of dynastic ambition, where players assume the robles of nobles in the 15th century Kingdom of France.

fief board

 Each player strives to become the most powerful ruling force in the Kingdom by gaining control of Fief and Bishopric territories. In turn, they acquire Royal and Ecclesiastical (church) titles which give their families influence to elect the next Pope and King. Players strengthen their positions by negotiating marriage alliances between their families, setting the stage for love, treachery and deception!

  • Ages 12+
  • 3-6 players
  • 2 hour play time