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Watch your Back: Week November 29 to December 5

As hinted at in our Solitaire Times, they are a-changing post, our crowdfunding previews will from now on include weekly overviews and, possibly but not necessarily, individual game highlights. Two games are scheduled to launch this coming week: Harakiri: Blades of Honor, and Spring and Autumn: Story of China. I'm going to take a look at each, and briefly discuss their aesthetic and gameplay qualities.


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Okay, let's start with Harakiri: Blades of Honor, a 1-4 player cooperative adventure game set in a fantasy feudal Japan. The Empire has fallen into the evil hands of the Dark Shogun, and it's up to your team of heroes to eh... restore the Empire to its former glory? The game description doesn't state a clear goal, but it doesn't matter. You'll be traveling to cursed villages and fighting Japanese monsters, that should be enough to entice you if you're a fan of the setting.

Image source: BGG

This is a campaign game with multiple scenarios through which the heroes will progress via adventure and exploration phases. Snippets of story will be fed through travel and exploration events, and the decisions you make may have consequences later on in the game. Most of the gameplay is dice-driven. Heroes have skills powered by dice rolls, while enemies have a regular and an aggressive behaviour chart: you will be rolling a behaviour die at the start of the fight and determine how the monster will act that turn.


As for eye candy, there's plenty of it here, chiefly for minis fans. Map tiles show different landscapes, both daytime and nighttime, and monsters include some popular folklore spirits like the kappa and the onryo. If I understand correctly from the trailer, solo with just one character will be offered as an expansion. I assume you can play multi-handed solo with just the core box, though. The Kickstarter will launch on November 30.

Image source: BGG

Personal opinion: I'm a sucker for this theme and the fancy minis, and may consider pledging. It gives me Shadows of Brimstone: Forbidden Fortress vibes which is both good and bad. Good because I may have a good time playing it, and bad because I may merely have a good time playing it. Which means that gameplay may be a bit too shallow and random for me. There's a limit to the beer and pretzels I enjoy consuming. But let's wait for some playthrough videos to trickle in.


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Moving on to neighbouring China, with Spring and Autumn: Story of China by Scott de Mers. This is a new iteration of the system Scott used in his previous design, Hellenica: Story of Greece. It is a 4X civ-building game for 1-5 players in which rival states vie for power and expansion of their borders. You will be building academies and shrines, augmenting your military force, invading lands or sign treaties, and also facing barbarian hordes and even dragons.

Image source: Gamefound

Winning is achieved by completing objectives which will gradually be revealed over the course of the game. If, however, a player has gained too many Dishonor tokens, they are eliminated before they can claim victory. The pre-launch page on Gamefound advertizes the solo system which is AI-based and similar to the one used in Hellenica. If you can afford them, there are miniature buildings on offer that will enhance the game's visual and tactile experience. It will launch on December 1.

Image source: Gamefound

Personal opinion: I have so far refrained from 4X games because they seem to me better-suited to multiplayer, not solo gaming. I'm not too keen on following charts for the AI, so I'm clearly not the target audience here. Nevermind, there are enough Asian-inspired games for all of us.




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JW
JW
10 dic 2021

Spring and Autumn cancelled after funding. Boo. https://gamefound.com/projects/mr-b-games/spring-and-autumn-story-of-china/updates/1

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Zerbique
Zerbique
10 dic 2021
Contestando a

And relaunching in January... On Kickstarter!!!


After Pachamama, it's the second one that cancels their campaign on Gamefound and relaunch on Kickstarter

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Zerbique
Zerbique
01 dic 2021

So, live this week:

- Spring and Autumn: Story of China

- Formula'21GP

- Harakiri: Blades of Horror

- Voyages (PnP)

- Nine-minutes kingdom (unlocked solo mode yesterday). Not to be confused with Laukat's Eight Minute Empire... You draft nine tiles to build a 3x3 kingdom and try to maximize your score. So it's basically a tile-laying game.

- Speedrunners (language independent) from the Cosmocards series of French games. It's a memory game: you must learn sequences and reproduce them with your actions cards, in a limited time. I'll get it only to send one copy to Athena, she's bound to love it.

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Athena
Athena
01 dic 2021
Contestando a

😄

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Zerbique
Zerbique
29 nov 2021

And another miss for which I owe all the blame:


Formula'21GP is also launching on November 30.



This is a card-driven racing game, with a modular track and little car minis. It's rather heavy on the simulation side: you have DRS zones (I don't know what this means but people familiar with car racing might), tyre wear, weather conditions, pit stops, etc. You control your car by playing action cards and, to play solo, the other cars are managed by bots. You can build powerful combos of cards, but the more powerful the cards, the greater the risk of accident. There is also an "energy recovering system", forcing you to collect energy along the track to keep up.



Kickstarter pre-launch…


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Cadet Stimpy
Cadet Stimpy
30 nov 2021
Contestando a

I have to admit, I don't know what a Tower Defense game is, other than Castle Panic. 😄

Image Source: BGG

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Zerbique
Zerbique
29 nov 2021

I've failed Athena in that I did not bring the news on time:

Borderlands: Mister Torgue's Arena of Badassery will launch on Kickstarter on November 30.


Personally I am not a fan of the IP (I played the first one a bit though), and skirmish combat with miniatures is not something that is of any appeal to me, so I pass on this one. Fans of the IP are apparently puzzled that they went the "skirmish arena fight" route, which doesn't fit very well with what you do in the video game (questing, exploring a wide semi open-world, RPG-like character progression through killings loads of enemies, lots of loot). Very few info has been revealed so far, apart from a…


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Zerbique
Zerbique
01 dic 2021
Contestando a

This has been postponed to tomorrow (December 2).

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Gloomknight
Gloomknight
28 nov 2021

Spring and Autumn looks gorgeous! I understand how you feel about managing an ai with flow charts, but there is often a sweet spot that can be found once you commit most of the ai rules to memory. I would like to keep my eye on this… thanks for the article, Athena!

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Gloomknight
Gloomknight
01 dic 2021
Contestando a

Ugh, I understand. I actually skipped Voidfall myself. Don’t ask how.

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