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Freshly Added to BGG - May 11, 2023

The lovely month of May continues to unfold, and board games keep popping up, exploring methodically all the seemingly infinite variations of the key themes: pets, nature, post-apocalyptic, Fantasy, sci-fi, history... Each one a drop, carving a fascinating landscape of the contemporary mind frame. Across repetition, we start to hear distinctively the rhymes and rhythms of our western, twenty-first century culture. So listen with me to the litany of themes titles, and you will discern the melody of our times.


Starting with cats - always a good start when you don't have dinosaurs in store. After Isle of Cats, we now get House of Cats, from publisher Aporta games (meaning retail), and designers William Attia (Caylus) and Kristian Amundsen Østby (Santa Maria, Revive, Trails of Tucana). Each round you roll the four dice and report them on your sheet. Your aim is to form rooms, which you achieve when you get a number of adjacent squares showing that same number (e.g. four squares of four). This activates abilities you can use. Mice and cats also fill your board, and score depending on the map you play (of which there are four). There doesn't seem to be any specific theme aside from "cats and mice in a house with rooms".


If you have read JW's latest grumpy post, you shouldn't be surprised to see that the escapist trend continues with more and more nostalgic games about a doomed and mostly gone natural world only surviving within the dystopic cocoon of a human-managed enclosure. In Kavango, you draft animal cards to build the most successful reserve (meaning more beautiful and tourist-attractive than the reserve of your peers), managing money wisely and manipulating score-trackers meeples playfully. It is set for a Kickstarter campaign in the near future.


In the same vein, Two Degrees got a splendid idea: what about making climate change fun? You will erect wind turbines, plant forests, manage fires, promote science, transport people, and overcome the plagues of our times with a whimsical laying of your tiles as you fight off the rise of the temperature. I like how cities are oddly represented as isolated walls amidst a mostly wasteland: this feels deliciously futuristic. Back to to the city-state system of Antiquity! Two Degrees is already available as a print-on-demand game on the Game Crafter, with a crowd sale ongoing for three more days.


Well, apparently you had too much fun and not enough success, because let's face it: you failed preventing the impeding disaster. Only a handful of Survivors now remain in this Dystopia Rising Game. And if things weren't bad enough, there are zombies around now (I guess these poor lads have been awakened from their dead slumber because of the constant whining of the wind turbines). Even nature has become deadly, and infectious spores are sickening your ravaged lungs. Despite all this, you are set with the task of founding a new settlement for humanity to wane in peace: gather resources, face encounters, roll dice, and hopefully, you'll have a tiny lovely camp by the end of the game. This should get to Kickstarter eventually.


Post-apocalyptic also blossoms in Fantasy worlds, so we are not alone in our sorrow. Storm Raiders tells the story of a city confined within the eye of thousand-years-long gigantic storm, and as the eye slowly widens, the city people start discovering their surroundings and the ruins of their past world. This opens new opportunities to raid these remains of a once-powerful empire... Race to the newly found sites, upgrade your vehicles, hire a crew, and fight mercilessly against any competition in this game by Shem Phillips (but not published by Garphill Games!) that should appear on Kickstarter soon.



Ah! The fools! Fighting over scraps, like ravenous dogs over the pitiful remnants of flesh on a dusty bone. If only we could make them hear to reason, and have them cease their pointless feuds! This is a noble goal, and the one you shall pursue in Peacemakers: Horrors of War, the latest Sami Laakso game, actually a re-implementation of Dawn of the Peacemakers. It befalls you to prevent two warring factions from spiraling even more deeply toward their mutual destruction. The game has been streamlined, there are no more secret envelopes, it plays as a set of scenarios instead of a campaign, and the graphic design has been fully overhauled. The Gamefound page is already up, with a launch date set in the late summer.


Isn't it startling how Fantasy is now increasingly focusing on peaceful, ideal societies, as our own world more and more goes astray? Stonespine Architects offers another example of this vein, featuring wise minotaur architects constructing labyrinthine structures filled with monsters and secret passageways. The more deadly your dungeon, the more successful an architect you become. I guess it's not so peaceful and idealistic after all, but it still may be a lot of fun. The game is set in the dull world of Ulos, also known as the Role Player universe, and should launch on Kickstarter in the next few weeks.



But you know what? I tell you of nature, of grim and dark renditions of the future, of our wonderful imagination that depicts lovely Fantasy death maze architects, but in the end, we'll get all wiped out in the most sudden and unexpected possible way, as they are coming to seal our fate once and for all: yes, I'm speaking of the Freaky Frogs from Outaspace, right out of the deranged mind of Friedmann Frise! Well, no need to worry, it's not a real extraterrestrial attack, it's only a pinball game. A pinball game where you can score lots and lots of points, or lose almost from the start and get frustrated (yes, the game advertises this explicitly). To provide the thrills of silvery bouncing ball, the game relies on deck-building mechanics. Soon to be available in retail!


You know the drill: I end my post with one expansion, one PnP. The expansion is Turukhan for Stroganov, adding four new modules to this Euro game of Siberian hunting and fur trade, including a chipmunk - so preciously soft...- and a diplomacy track.


This gave ideas to penguins who decided to launch their own fur trade, hunting down seals and walruses on the ice fields in Swords and Penguins. Don't worry about getting your hands bloody, this will only grant you the love of your fellow penguins of Friendsville. If you are interested, you need to ask for the files for free on this website (I have tried it for you, it doesn't seem to be a malware and I received my files instantly). Now I have to go for lunch - skewers of sea gulls on a pointy stick on the menu today. Yummy.

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Zerbique
Zerbique
Sep 19, 2023

Kavango is live on KS.

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Derek
Derek
May 20, 2023

Storm Raiders definitely has my attention. Shem's games are great!

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Zerbique
Zerbique
May 14, 2023

To the ST patrons,


I have noticed a decrease in interest in these posts lately. So I was wondering: what works for you, what doesn't? Is there a change of formula I could do? Is the tone too much bitter at times? I remember your previous feedback allowed us to change the formula of the KS posts, certainly for the better, so I am curious to hear your thoughts on it.


One of the reasons I usually resort to that tone is that I feel BGG is too much of a giant and collective mutual advertisement platform for board games, and I like to be a bit excessively 'skeptic' about the festival of new releases to counter-balance a bit this…


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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
May 15, 2023
Replying to

It's a bit hard for me to judge how much edgy humour and sarcasm is more than enough, since sarcasm is my life. That's my most basic tone. It can be hard to get excited for all these games, like just few weeks ago one of my watchlist games just disappeared from bgg (Fauxlio if you want to know, about librarians trying to save books). But I think these posts are great to see what's going on with the hobby, what's getting out there, just more of a general idea. But I'm a weirdo who likes these things. And reading rulebooks.

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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
May 12, 2023

House of Cats? Amateurs, I already have that at home. Two cats and it already feels like the apartment is theirs.


I liked what I read about Two Degrees, but alas, nope, not for me, Game Crafter. That's a leg and a kidney with maybe a lung on top. I'm crazy, able to pay a lot for games that most people wouldn't, but that is too much even for me.


One game that I sort of wished I had, but not entirely (since I had a chance to get it, but was still undecided, so I passed) is Dawn of Peacemakers. Unlike the chatter around here, I'm very much into cutesy themes. And I always say that I'm able to…

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Zerbique
Zerbique
May 11, 2023

I have read more about Stonespine Architects.


It's by the same designer of Cartographers, and it shares a lot of DNA with that game. Each game, you build, row by row starting from the top, a 4x4 dungeon with tiles. These tiles show a terrain type, maybe a monster and/or a trap, and a pathway.


At the end of the game, you score points:

- if the pathway starting from the entrance is long enough

- if you have fulfilled the terrain types and the monster locations of the "blueprint" you are given at the beginning of the game (the more blueprint requirements you fulfill, the more points you get)

- according to the varying score conditions that you draw…


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