Today’s venture into the misty realm of half-announced novelties and confused shapes of board games yet to be realized will be in two parts: first a chronological journey into history, and second a deep dive into the realms of slashing blade and spell-binding enchantment!
I didn’t have any games with dinosaurs, so I’ll have to start with Quest for Home: 30,000 BC, a narrative card game about surviving as a clan of Neanderthal (given what we know about them, I won’t bet on your chances of success). Manage the needs of your kin as they get cold, grow hungry, and have to face attacks of saber-tooth tigers. Each day you choose between crafting clothes to sheltering from the cold, foraging for food or medicinal plants, and entertaining the crowd with your buffoonery skills so that, even though your people die, they may die with a smile on their faces.
Fast forward to the Roman Antiquity with Discordia, a game set on the borders of the Rhine river, which you must settle according to the decree of Empress Agrippina. This is a very Euro game of city-building and town management, from Bernd Eisenstein, the designer of Peloponnes and other history-inspired Euro games. The publisher, Iron Games, usually sells its games straight to retail.
Next is Sabika, from Ludonova (they also usually go straight to retail). This is a rondel-driven Euro game about the construction of the Alhambra. On top of this, you are in charge of the supervision of trade routes between the Maghreb and Europe. There are also different scenarios to play, each with a different focus (Alhambra, trade routes, poetry).
Transcendent brings us to the late Renaissance, as alchemists competing (over what, the description does not say; but alchemists were probably competing for sport). In this deck-building game, you acquire resources and merge elements in a quest to become transcendent (or a bit more down-to-earth, to accomplish your hidden objectives). Hidden objectives, a focus on competition, and a 2-4 players icon on the back of the box in the pictures let me think that the 1-4 players count on the BGG page may be either a mistake or an afterthought.
Modernity takes off with First in Flight, another deck-building game about rivaling inventors. You can play as the most famous pioneering figures in the early history of aviation and can purchase technologies, acquire pilot skills, and refine your flyers, in order to be one of the first masters of the sky.
And so we come to the grim times of WWII with They Who Dare, a token-based stealth action game with action points, dice rolling, grid movement, in a series of missions where you will lead the SAS squad to fulfill specific objectives while keeping a low profile. If it reminds you of the video game series Commando, I think that’s the intention.
Finally, we arrive at the (hem hem) peaceful Present Day, where humankind is now all into the frivolities of hiking through beautiful landscapes – or more exactly, Thru the Appalachian in this new Town & Gear expansion, from Engro Games (Council of Backyardia). Thru the Appalachian is a roll ‘n’ write, and the expansion adds polyomino-shaped gear you can equip to better mitigate the dice rolls, as well as towns you can visit to better prepare your trek.
Exploration of the world’s beauties continues in Aquamarine, another roll ‘n’ write from Michael Dunstan (who’s behind what is probably the most successful KS of a PnP of all times, Voyages. You get to dive in the sea to explore caves in search of beautiful fishes, or to race to the ocean floor because the abyss is the new limit.
And since we’ve gained some momentum with this fast travel through history, let’s get carried away to the near future with RoboCafé, a minimalist game of dice allocation where you need to fulfill contracts to satisfy patrons, in a futuristic café operated by robots. The goal is to be the first to serve four customers, so I guess the solo mode pits you against an AI of sorts. The game is fully available as part of the 9-cards nanogame contest on BGG.
And we end the travel with a grand retrospective of it all thanks to Utopia, a game of time-travel featuring weird futuristic entities, key figures from history that you will draft to form a crew, narrative choices, and worker placement. This is definitely a weird title and I’m intrigued to learn more about it.
It’s time to fulfill my promise to deliver some sanguinary steel and mischievous magic, so here we are, starting with Midhalla (I guess they wanted to propose something a bit different from the tired tropes of Midgard and Valhalla). Self-described as a “euro-like cooperative dungeon crawler with almost no luck involved”, featuring “tower defense elements and a character-centered story-driven campaign”. It does sound promising, and if you like some horned helmet-free Fantasy Viking, you may be interested to learn that it should pop up on Kickstarter eventually.
At last, we come to the reason why I was avoiding the canonical name I wanted to use: Sword & Sorcery gets a new expansion with Northwind Tales, and I just didn’t want to name it beforehand. I know nothing of this game except it’s big, it features lots of minis, and it’s a respected title in the dungeon crawler niche, so I guess a new Kickstarter for a new expansion will be good news for some. And, guess what? Yes, there will be Vikings as well! Vikings are all the rage right now! As a Norman with clear Scandinavian genetic material, I guess I should feel proud somehow.
This brings us to Weavlings in the Wilds, a truly solitaire game where you must capture “Weavlings” by luring them into traps. It does seem like a weird hobby, I grant you that, and it’s dangerous too, as you can very well succumb to too many wounds while trying to succeed. The game also claims similarities to Sylvion.
Next is From the Shadows, a light deck-building game where you start with 15 cards, engage against Gothic Fantasy monsters (vampires, werewolves, zombies, mummies, etc.), acquire loot to strengthen your deck and keep going until you face the Villain and meet your final fate. The game is from the creators of Ausonia and Shard Hunters, carrying on with the same aesthetics.
The following news is about as fresh as the aforementioned zombies’ flesh, but I wanted to officially feature Septima, from Mindclash Games, because it just happens to be particularly pretty. I will let you guess who turns out to be the solo designer this time…
And we’ll end the day with Weirdwood Manor. No, the goal is not to explore a haunted house, but to protect it, as the Fae Monster and his Clockwork Scarab minions are trying to seize it. You will have the choice to play as one of the six asymmetric characters, facing one of the three Fae Monsters offered in the game, each with his own victory condition. Listed mechanics are dice drafting, card play, resource management, and you can apparently rotate the circular panels of the board throughout the game.