Watch your Back: Week March 20 to 26 (Part 1)

As mentioned in our previous crowdfunding overview, March is churning out games like hot buns, and this week's batch contains 8 new releases. Let's see what they are.


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We're starting off with some expansions:


Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, a TM spin-off that is arguably better than the original, is now getting three expansions: Discovery, Foudations, and Crisis. In Crisis, natural disasters are hitting Mars, and you have to either deal with them or suffer the consequences as the planet becomes less and less habitable. Discovery adds awards, milestones, upgraded phase cards and wild tags, offering more scoring opportunities to the players. Foundations expands the game to accommodate 6 players, and adds a new terraforming condition: infrastructure. It is launching on Kickstarter on March 22.

Image source: BGG

Personal opinion: Having invested in the fancy tiles and two expansions for the TM base game, I don't feel the need to purchase Ares Expedition. I am also one of the (few?) people who enjoy the card artwork of the original and find that the new iteration looks somewhat soulless. Perhaps JW can chime in and say if Ares Expedition is indeed the better game. For me, it's a pass.


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Tidal Blades: Rise of the Unfolders is a stand-alone game in the Tidal Blades universe. The first Tidal Blades, Heroes of the Reef, was a competitive worker placement game but Rise of the Unfolders is a 1-4 player cooperative campaign game that unfolds through 18 scenarios. You play as one of the Tidal Blades, a hero trying to protect their island from assaulting enemies.


To activate your hero, you place a card on a square grid, and power up the abilities of either the row or the column where the card is placed on. Combat is performed via dice rolls, and the board is made out of two spiral-bound atlases placed side by side. It is launching on Kickstarter on March 22.

Image source: BGG

Personal opinion: This one looks like a family-friendly Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion to me. I don't mind the seaside setting but it feels very teenager-oriented and does not speak to my elderly spinster sensibilities.


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The Okko Chronicles game franchise has a new installment coming out, and this time it includes solo/co-op mode in the base box. Okko Chronicles: Cycle of Earth-Ramparts of the Empire is a 1-4 player semi-co-op/cooperative game in which the Ronin Okko and his fellows are facing an army of undead medieval Japanese soldiers and the evil Black Tiger ninja.


One interesting aspect of the gameplay is that you choose to play your hero cards either on the left or the right side of your player board. If placed on the left, you use the card for its ability; if placed on the right, you use it to boost the hero stats. Combat is a simple dice rolling affair. It is launching on Kickstarter on March 22.

Image source: BGG

Personal opinion: This is my jam, I really like the Okko comics style. The previous Okko games didn't seem suited for solo, but this one is probably fine. I'll seriously consider backing if the price is right.


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Lastly, for Part 1 of the overview, we have Pharmageddon: a 1-4 player medical education game in which players kill bacteria with their antibiotics cards. Bug cards are laid out in a 3x3 grid, and if you successfully beat a bug with one of your drug cards, you can keep playing. If not, the next player goes to do the same. Drug cards have side effects and a cost, so you have to plan how to use them. The game can be played competitively (whoever exterminates the most bugs wins), or cooperatively/solo but no more details have been shared by the creator. It is launching on Kickstarter on March 22.

Image source: BGG

Personal opinion: I'm mildly interested in this but the lack of info and the fact that the company has no website or Facebook page puts me off.


Part 2 is coming soon...

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