Welcome to the February 2017 Tabletop Tales News, a brand new monthly sub-feature of the most dicey column on the quite sublime That’s Not Current. We have a lot to cover so lets crack on highlighting some cool board game related news to have been unearthed in the infancy of 2017:
One game that had completely flown under my radar until recently is Ravensburger’s Crazy Race from Alessandro Zucchini. While on the surface it is a racing game, there is much more underneath. Playing as escaped lions from a zoo, each player has commandeered a car and gathered the lesser animals to pull the car, as obviously animals don’t know how to work cars. Movement is done with a dice mechanic that is actually a check roll, and not a distance roll and the race becomes a push-your-luck, balancing of odds and the risk and reward. Throw in some power up cards for randomness and you have something very special indeed. Release date yet to be set in stone, but expected Q1 2017.
And on the subject of racing games, GMT Games have announced Apocalypse Road that on first inspection seems like a Mad Max and Destruction Derby hybrid. The object isn’t so much a case of finishing the race first, more destroying all your rivals cars, with the game continuing until someone has scored 15 points achieved through various actions. It has been added to GMT’s P500 Page, which is a place where pre-orders can be made at a discounted rate and when 500 orders are in, production begins – somewhat like crowd-funding. The theme and mechanics of this game have most definitely got my attention.
Dice Tower supremo Tom Vasel is one of the most well known and respected reviewers out there, and a few years ago he introduced his “Dice Tower Essentials” line which is a host of formerly low-key independent games rereleased by Arcane Wonder with the Dice Tower seal of approval as must own games. The latest to be added to the collection is the area control game Viral, original by MESAboardgames. Up to five players take on the role of viruses laying onslaught to some poor soul, with the goal of mutating your virus and infecting the organs. The strategy comes in the form of too many viruses in one organ will lead to the immune system fighting back. Expected to arrive in August 2017, and given the Dice Tower Essentials previous, this will definitely be worth checking out.
HABA’s Rhino Hero (Super Rhino in UK) is one of the most ingenious little games about, fun for all the family with a simple stacking mechanic. Well news broke of a sequel in the form of Rhino Hero Super Battle. It introduces three new wonderfully named characters (Giraffe Boy, Big E. and Batguin) who will battle it out with each other on the card towers. It sounds very much like they have taken the original and just made it bigger. Without any sense of doubt whatsoever, I’m in. Even if it is only half as fun as Rhino Hero we have a winner. Expected in the UK towards the end of the year.
Another great little game, Ultimate Werewolf is getting a spin-off of sorts with Werewords, expected in June this year. In this game players must try and guess a secret word through yes/no questions, with secret roles adding an extra layer to proceedings. The mayor knows the word, as does the seer, but if the werewolf correctly predicts the seer at the end of the round he wins. All in, sounds like a novel new take on a truly classic party game.
The Captain is Dead, a game born through Kickstarter back in 2014, has been picked up by AEG for a reprint to arrive later this year. A co-op game for 2-7 players who assume the roles of panicked crew members aboard a space ship following the sudden death of their Captain. Working together, players must get the ship’s core back up and running before the enemy alien ship can destroy them. Fun, frantic and parody fuelled, I predict this will be a very popular rerelease when it arrives in April.
Cool expansion news came late last year with pirate racing game Jamaica getting one almost a decade on from it’s original release. As one of my favourite gateway games on the market (as I told you way back in September) it is very exciting. Jamaica: The Crew does what it says on the tin and introduces special crew cards to the game which will bring new powers and dynamics to the already fun gameplay. No firm release date, but expected early Q2 2017.
GaleForce9 may have a hotly anticipated Doctor Who game arriving in 2017, but its not the only venture into the world of the heroic Timelord. Cubicle 7’s card drafting game Doctor Who: Time Clash is also planned for a general release in 2017, and now the first expansion has been announced with the Against the Cyberman deck. This 2-4 player game focusses on the Doctor competing with the Daleks to recruit various character and races to their side for the forthcoming battle. As a massive Whovian, this is definitely something I will check out.
The ever popular crowd funding site’s has recently released their figures for 2016 revealing yet another massive hike in overall funding levels for board games, with a quite ridiculous total of $113million raised in successful campaigns over the year, a rise of 28% on 2015. Amazingly around 55% of all tabletop game campaigns were successfully funded in 2016 as it continues to be an amazing avenue for the realisation of multiple designers. These figures could rise yet again in 2017, with Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5’s taking an eye-watering $12,393,139 on their campaign this year, becoming the most crowd funded game (including video games) ever.
Two hotly anticipated games that scored very decent TITTIES in my Absolutely Gimongous 2017 Board Game Preview now have firm launch dates for their Kickstarter campaigns. The Terminator: The Official Board Game is launching on February 15th and the absolutely stunning Rising Sun from Eric Lang shall arrive on March 7th. Both promise to be very interesting and should both smash their goal and then some, allowing for many exclusive backer stretch goals. Make sure you check them out.
In other Kicktsarter related news, the big success story from last year, Dark Souls The Board Game has been given a retail release date of the 21st April, with the likelihood it could become one of 2017’s biggest selling games.
Likely to be going head to head with Dark Souls when it comes to 2017’s award season will be legacy-infused Euro-game Gloomhaven, which will finally hit retail at the end of February, 18 months after being funded on Kickstarter. Early indication suggests that designer Isaac Childres has served up something truly special, and despite the anticipated £100 RRP, this should prove to be a stellar success.
Funded on June 9th 2016, Asmandi Games’ One Deck Dungeon has now hit retail to some truly fantastic reviews. It is a card-driven dungeon crawler that promises a different experience each and every time it is played as players build up their chosen hero from scratch, levelling up as they go. Designed for one or two players – it has been particularly applauded for its solitaire mode – more players can be added by combining multiple copies. A game that I regretfully passed on when it was on Kickstarter, I’m now very keen to gets hands on.
One game currently gathering immense hype on Kickstarter is Tortuga 1667 – described as “A Pirate Game of Mutiny, Plunder & Deceit.” Using hand-management, partnerships and voting mechanics it is a game for 2-9 players heavily driven by social interaction, trust and betrayal as you work together to steal gold from a Spanish galleon while plotting when exactly you will stab your allies in the back. Just my kinda game! And with just about $300,000 raised from a $10,000 target, a lot of cool stretch goals have been unlocked. The Campaign ends Friday 17th, so get in quick if it floats your boat!
Unless you are some warped spawn of satan, you, like me, will love dogs. And now man’s best friend has been immortalised in a cute-as-hell board game currently on Kickstarter. Originally printed in Brazil, Dogs Board Game is all about running a dog sanctuary and trying to make it the best in town. With worker placement and resource management mechanics, it gives you a little taste of what is quite possibly the greatest job in the world in looking after dogs all day. Check it out.
I’m not a really a fan of traditional RPG’s. Thats not to say I’m against them, just never been drawn into that world despite the vast amount of wonderful produced scenarios, many set in some of my favourite franchises. However, a recent announcement from Toy Vault Inc has really piqued my interest and finally an RPG has come along that I simple cannot ignore. I’m talking of course about a Princess Bride RPG. Just the thought alone has me giddy. Utterly “inconceivable!”
Talking about licenses, an announcement came from NECA in early January that they had secured the license for Blade Runner 2049 and shall be releasing a number of merchandise from the upcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic. Given they own miniature and dice game specialists WizKids, all indications point to board game adaptations of the upcoming film. Watch this space.
Alan Tudyk is easily one of the biggest cult actors around, and his hugely satisfying Con-Man series is now getting adapted for the tabletop with a card game landing in April this year from Catalyst Game Labs. While details are scarce on the ground, it is rumoured to follow the plot of the show with players taking on the roles of his on-screen pals who all have conflicting agendas for Tudyk’s Wray Nerely character. I’m intrigued…
And finally, we have already discussed just how spectacular the marketing team behind Cards Against Humanity are with their anti-black Friday stunts. However, Superbowl fans may have caught a very bizarre 30 second advert lost among the multiple big budget film trailers that featured nothing more than a giant potato with the word “advertisement” written on it. The makers of the popular fill-in-the-blank card game have decreed their experiment a failure on their blog, yet I think it is another absolutely sublime statement on the commercialised world we live in. Bravo guys!
NEXT WEEK: I will be going hands on with the follow-up to one of my favourite party games of all time and offering solid consumer advice for a change.