Board Game News – The Gateway Gazette – 09/03/2017

Right, let’s not beat about the proverbial Cherry Blossom by waxing on with an unnecessary intro. There’s only one bit of news that apparently matters this week, and that’s the Kickstarter for Rising Sun.

It’s been described by many, including designer Eric Lang, as the spiritual successor to Blood Rage, and although there are indeed a number of visual similarities, as it turns out that spirit is shared strongest in the actual campaign structure. You won’t find deluxe boxes and a range of pledge levels here, as with Blood Rage it’s the core box and that’s that. Well, the core box and all those stretch goals and KS exclusives. And again as with Blood Rage, they’re mainly focused on component upgrades and additional minis.

The bad news first – Rising Sun’s core box will set you back $100. As a comparison, Blood Rage was $75, but keep in mind that Rising Sun offers a fifth player from the get go. The real seppuku-like kicker is that shipping to the tip of Africa will cost $80. No, that’s not a typo. Let me soothe that blow with a few of the more interesting design choices that stood out the most for us. There’s an element of Race for the Galaxy’s simultaneous action selection in the Political Mandates phase, with a dash of Cry Havoc’s combat mechanic. Clans all begin the game with differing strengths, the Bonsai clan for example don’t spend coins when buying resources. Rising Sun is sitting comfortably on the $2,000,000 mark, and those stretch goals are going to become increasingly difficult to ignore.

Other stuff happened too! Love them or hate them, the 2016 BoardGameGeek Winners have been announced. Scythe is the big winner, taking Board Game of the Year, best Artwork and Presentation, as well as best Solo game and best Strategy game. I love the game, but it’s definitely a divisive winner. You can check out the full list here.

Rising Son is by all means not the only very pretty game currently on Kickstarter. Strawberry Ninja is a card-sliding game aimed at Family market. The illustrations are gorgeous, the gameplay is quick and easy and best of all, $10 and free shipping? Strawberry Studio were also behind the relatively well-received 3 Wishes and What’s Up.

Divinity Derby from Ares Games looks equally as alluring and asks that question we’ve all wondered from time to time – just what do the Greek Gods do on a boozy Saturday afternoon? The answer of course being, you make bets involving mythic creatures. Who’s the fastest? Who would win in a one on one fight? Divinity will use something referred to as a card-sharing draft, which basically means you’ll play two movement cards, one of which is shared with each neighbour. Minis, Bet cards, God powers, loads of tokens and a beautiful board – Camel (C)Up sees a surprising amount of play off my shelf, so I can certainly see Divinity Derby as a potential successor.

Greater Than Games seems to get a frequent mention in our news, and with 12 Kickstarter projects and the highly successful Sentinels of the Multiverse, it’s not hard to see why. Dubai: Rebuild the Ruins is their latest campaign, and is a design that’s apparently been in the works for quite some time. The setting is already fairly unique, with a sort of future Arabian Nights aesthetic, but the core of the game’s appeal lies in the worker rotation mechanic, which puts a focus on turn order and player interaction. I’m quite surprised to see they’re short of their rather modest $50k goal with only 15 days to go, although at $100 for local backers it falls in that bracket normally reserved for pledges of greater certainty. Still, it’s a very interesting concept and well worth a look.

Bezier have announced a new title from Voluspa designer Scott Caputo called Whistle Stop, which as you may have deduced is a train route building game with a potent dose of pick up and deliver and a touch of player interference. It plays 2 – 5 in around an hour and aims to still be accessible to casual gamers but with enough bite that more hardcore gamers may find it appealing. Whistle Stop launches at this year’s Gen Con in August.

Mayfair is getting into the 2017 action, mainly on the reprint side of things (why wouldn’t they with a back catalogue like that), but there are some much needed expansions also on the way. Glass Road returns, Atlantis and Iron Dragon get reprints as does Agricola: All Creatures Great and Small, with expansions on the way for Lords of Vegas and Nuns on the Run. In terms of new titles, Bärenpark comes from the mind of Imhotep designer Phil Walker-Harding and concerns players with the construction and upkeep of, you guessed it, bear parks.

Knizia fans will be delighted to hear that Imperium has been reimplemented as King’s Road, an area-majority game where players use an identical deck of 11 cards to gain power and influence. The game sports a classic fantasy art style which is actually quite attractive, as is the AU$35 and estimated August delivery date.

I get strong Grim Dawn vibes from the straight-to-the-point Village Attacks and that’s not a bad thing. No fanciful game titles here, this Grimlord Games design just says it like it is. This 1-5 player co-op games puts a spin on the traditional dungeon crawler by casting you as infamous creatures from folklore attempting to quell the threat of the local villagers. Vampires, Lichs, Succubi, Banshees, all with great looking minis – but the villagers don’t get the short end of the stick, take on look at that Executioner Town Hero. Modular tiles, custom dice tons of cards and tokens and scenario based play that carries over from one session to the next. The artwork is gorgeous and the team are clearly passionate about this project.

In terms of innovation, designer Jonathan Mariucci is hoping his HEXplore It system will bring something fresh to the gaming table, and the first iteration of this system is The Valley of the Dead King. Build your hero by combining traits under Role and Race, initially 6 of each for an already impressive number of combinations, but the vision is to eventually grant 576 combinations. Everything is designed with a dry-marker in mind, whether you’re tracking your characters stats or the groups current predicament. The hex-based map tiles offer a variable setup each game and is designed with future expansions in mind.

And lastly to close out the news on a lighter note, ever been out drinking with friends, soaking in the atmosphere of your favourite pub, and yet something seems to be missing? Well, that sense of ennui needs a visit from the Rumrauder and the Palealedin, or put another way, you need BaRPiG. Portable, customisable, it even allows you to incorporate your surroundings to ensure every game is both different and memorable. And it all fits in a shirt pocket.

It’s a quieter local weekend, but we are nearing the end of April craziness in Cape Town that will be FanCon and rAge over the same weekend. We’d like to give a special mention as well for our friends at The Big Box boardgame cafe in Cape Town. They need to vacate their premises at the start of April and are still on the lookout for a new home. It’s a great venue and Eric is great host with a fiery passion for our hobby. If you’re in a position to assist them, give Eric a shout!

Good gaming all!