Victorian era

The most successful game based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe was Martin Wallace’s Discworld: Ankh-Morpork.  Despite the popularity of the game, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork fell out of print and became hard to find. The game was an obvious favorite for many Discworld fans, but even gamers unfamiliar with Discworld admired the game’s masterful mechanics, simple game play, and high replayability in a strategic game. While fans of Discworld may be saddened that Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is not returning, fans of the game will be pleased that the game is returning under a new theme.

Martin Wallace has reimplemented Discworld: Ankh-Morpork in Nanty Narking. Nanty Narking is set in Victorian London and features characters from literary works of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Player personalities include Monsieur De Sidonia, Fagin, Lord Bellinger, Lord Holdhurst, Lord Balmoral, Professor Moriarty, and Sherlock Holmes. Each has his own victory condition, and the game ends when either the player achieves the victory condition, or if the ‘Riot’ Random Event card is drawn and its conditions are met, or when the draw pile runs out.  Placing followers and buildings on the map establishes control over certain areas of the city, not only advancing players closer to their victory condition but also providing them additional abilities afforded by the control of the city area.

Nanty Narking features many upgraded components: a beautifully illustrated gameboard map of Victorian London, all new card artwork matching the new theme and featuring other literary characters of Dickens and Doyle, highly detailed plastic miniatures, and metal coins (included for Kickstarters).

Nanty Narking plays 2-4 players, ages 14+, in about 60 minutes. Contents include game board, 91 plastic miniatures (4 gentlemen, 24 hotels, 4 horse guards, 12 trouble makers, and 3 new citizens), 132 cards (101 action cards, 12 event cards, 12 city area cards, and 7 personality cards), rulebook, 4 player aids, 1 d12 die, and 50 cardboard counters (metal coins for Kickstarter backers).

The Kickstarter campaign runs through 20 September with an expected delivery in October 2019.  Go to Kickstarter campaign learn more about Nanty Narking.

Chaos Publishing, Triple Ace Games, and Counters Out team up to bring you Exploriana, a competitive push your luck and set collection game designed by Miles Ratcliffe and illustrated by Richard Dearing.

In Exploriana, players are intrepid 19th century explorers traveling the world in search of undiscovered plants, animals, treasures, maps, and locations. Players win by having the most victory points, which are earned by making discoveries and gaining renown.  Some discoveries are worth more in sets and cannot be completed without visiting the different continents. Players push their luck to explore deeper into the continent to make more discoveries, but they risk becoming lost and losing their discoveries.

In addition to push your luck and set collection, Exploriana also blends in worker placement and auction/bidding mechanics.  Players will have to decide each round which continent to send their explorers: South America, Africa or The Far East.  The auction round provides players an opportunity to buy equipment to ensure a better chance of a successful exploration. This unique blend of mechanics is seamless and smooth, resulting in a light strategy game that is easy to learn and plays in under an hour.

Exploriana plays 2-5 players, ages 12+, in 45-60 minutes.  Contents include game board, 5 double-sided player mats, 13 explorers, 6 renown markers, a guide marker, 60 coins (40 silver, 20 gold), 16 lost explorer tokens, 2 grapples tokens, 1 med kit token, 81 cards (18 Far East cards, 21 Africa cards, 24 South America cards, and 18 item cards) and rulebook.

Learn more about Exploriana on Kickstarter.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through 24 May and is expected to deliver October 2018.

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.