Freshly Added to BGG - October 26, 2022
New week, new format; these posts are now meant to be slightly shorter. In Solitaire Times we always keep trimming.
I’ll start with another board game adaptation of a video game, this time from the recent and major hit Elden Ring, by the creator of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Hidetaka Miyazaki, and with no less than G.R.R. Martin contributing to the game's world-building. The board game adaptation, however, cannot boast any great name for itself, except perhaps that of the publisher, Steamforged Games, who made it a business to adapt major video game franchises (with mitigated reception among board gamers, to say it gently). You can at least expect a tower of expansions and enough minis to make an impressive parade of grey plastic on your home's floor on the days you get bored and don't want to go through a two-year-length narrative campaign.
Another big license is getting a board game: I’m talking about Legendary Encounters: The Matrix, based on the corresponding trilogy of movies (maybe they are saving the fourth for a future expansion). I am not much familiar with the Legendary Encounters series, but at least it’s a proven line of good deck-builders, so if you have a liking for the franchise and a taste for card games, this can only be good news.
Shifting away from the world of IPs, and diving into Fantasy, Maps of Misterra is an exploration game by Sit Down, the publishers of the recent Tiwanaku, who like to tinker with new components, although I don’t know what will be the gimmick here. The game revolves around laying tiles and taking control over them, which is all I could gather from the BGG description.
Statera is a game to be crowdfunded on Gamefound next February. Besides area control and worker placement, the game features giant scales in the middle of the board, fed with the dead from the ongoing feuds, and tipping up to signal the victor of the game. The gameplay features heavy asymmetry since you can either play as a war-raging nation or as a god that tries to manipulate the events to establish further its dominion over the people’s faith. I certainly don’t see how any of this can turn out to be good in solitaire mode, but I don’t want to weigh in for a game I know so little about.
I wasn’t too sure about featuring the next game, Ascendia: Seasons of Thargos, but since one of the designers, Chris Loizou, reached out to us in the past, it seemed rather fitting. The Thargos universe has been first introduced through a dueling (yet soloable) card game, but Ascendia takes a completely different path, offering exploration on a hex-tiled map, crafting and gearing up, dice-driven encounters resolution, and a deadly winter that flips over the tiles, revealing a more dangerous version of the world.
The next two games can perhaps be subsumed under the ‘husbandry’ notion. In Wild Gardens (subtitle: Forage Food, Find Friends), you gather food to make recipes in order to please your guests. Feeding people is the way to socialization, we all know this! I am sure a solo player will be delighted at the prospect of mingling with a nice and cheerful company, even though it only lasts three rounds and then you are left all alone again. The publisher is the new indie studio Rose Gauntlet, who had kickstarted their previous game, Keystone North America.
Dorfromantik is the second video-game adaptation of the list, but since I have never seen giant trailers for it in the train station, I wasn’t aware of its existence prior to seeing the board game implementation popping up on BGG. This is a tile-laying, territory-building game by the Palm & Zach designer duo (renowned for Aventuria). The juicy stuff is that the game is campaign-based (some would say green legacy): the points you earn in each game enable you to unlock new tiles for the next games. This is published by Pegasus Spiele, so wide retail availability is expected, at least in Europe.
For the final trio, I have kept abstract games with a folkloric theme – a genre of its own apparently. First of the lot is Boussanga, in which you try to gather stones by fulfilling patterns shown on transparent cards (you are supposed to look at the board from above and see if the colored beads on the grid fit the pattern of your card). When you do so, you collect stones, and whenever you have more than three stones of the same color, you score all but three, which go back onto the board as you arrange them to your liking (that is, so you can fulfill more patterns). The goal is to reach a point threshold with the minimum amount of pattern cards (this sounds like a win condition from a Rosenberg abstract solo).
The next one allows me to feature a game from Bulgaria, Etno, where you lay tiles to reproduce traditional patterns of folkloric Bulgarian embroidery. This has not been released yet, but you can pre-order the game here (EU only), and it will be shipped... at some point (they expected to reach their threshold number of pre-orders in December 2021, I guess they missed that deadline). Also, a huge caveat: the solo mode is a stretch goal of this not-going-too-well-at-first-sight pre-order campaign.
Finally, let me advertise Skoventyr, the first game fully designed by 1PGer Morten Monrad Petersen, who is actually a seasoned designer as part of the Automa factory. This is also the first game from the new inPatience publisher not to belong to Shady Torbey’s Oniverse; and just to add one more famous name to the package, it has art by Vincent Dutrait. And if you still need to know what the game is about after all, it seems to be a hand management game with a Danish folktales theme about saving the forest by protecting a magical badger against the Devil. To win the game, you must defeat all the evil minions before they catch Vogter the badger.