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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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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
Mar 20, 2022

Pharmageddon has me interested with its educational theme, however since it's doing it all (comp, coop, solo), I wonder what was the original intent and I'm guessing comp... which is usually a bummer for me. I would love to use these for more than just solo play, but I don't play competitively and I think learning together is better than competing who learns more and better, we have already real life for that part. But that's just me.

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Zerbique
Zerbique
Mar 19, 2022

I have read the first volumes of Okko but quickly dropped out of it. It's very French in style (narrative, humor, art), which is not what I prefer.


I also don't like French comics from an editorial point of view: they are published in volumes of 46 pages, which are large, expensive (always hardback), and are read within fifteen minutes. In the end, following a French series ends up being too costly for very little content. They also often rush the story has each volume has to move it forward enough. For this reason, I prefer US comics that collect 5-6 issues in one TPB, cost the same, take less space on the shelf, and offer about three times more…


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Cadet Stimpy
Cadet Stimpy
Mar 19, 2022

"...elderly spinster sensibilities". 😄 If you were immature, as I can be, you could play 'teenager games' without guilt or sensibilities.


Do you think the Ares Expedition Expansions will have a bunch of additional components, or just be lots of cards, or both?


Here's the "Notify Me" Link for Pharmageddon. I like the name.

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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
Mar 20, 2022
Replying to

There's quite a bit in that expansion. Including a different "Mars" board (aka the main board). There's also new solo/coop mode.


I went into Ares even though I didn't much like the original from playthroughs I saw and I really like this game. So I'm in for the expansions. From what I heard/saw about it, it should spice things up quite a bit.

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The Hank
The Hank
Mar 19, 2022

Don't forget to mention Mageling: Rise of the Ancient Ones in part 2. The KS campaign runs till 25th of March and they still can need some additional support.

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The Hank
The Hank
Mar 19, 2022
Replying to

No offense at all from my side. You all are doing a great job! It is always interesting to read about knew releases and launches, and yes there are way to much new ones these days that I think you hit the spot with your question "where do we put the limit?". In my view you already gave the answer as well: stick to the games that you (might like to) love and which would deserve to get a bit of spotlight. The preferences of the three of you, Athena, JW and Zerbique, are quite diverse so there will still be enough to publish and read...and I could imagine this would make the writing of such posts also more interesting…


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