This is a week of things we love. Yesterday we swooned over the Civilization series. The day before that we professed our love for zombies (not in that way). And now we're adding another thing to the list: we obsess over WWII.
But the world of Dust isn't exactly WWII. It's more an alternative history where technology salvaged from crashed flying saucers early on in the conflict. The end result? Walking Tanks and slick infantry rifles throughout the war torn battles of 1947.
Dust Tactics packs in some incredible detailed models, and for good reason. While this is a board game system release with promised 'easy to learn rules' (we'll wait and see FFG), it also includes rules for a full on table top miniatures game. The models themselves are primed for painting so you can craft your own style of uniforms, equipment and battle-worn tank plating. We thought our days of painting miniatures had long passed, but these models and figures are so detailed that it seems like it will be hard to resist.
Checkout the movie above for more information about the upcoming Dust Tactics. The official website also has a few interesting preview articles, too.
Oh boy. We're HUGE fans of the Civlization line of PC games (loyal readers might note that we're stoked about next month's upcoming Civilization 5). The series plays like a board game on your PC, which makes sense considering it was based on a board game in the first place.
But it's been a long time since the early 1990s when the first Civ game came out for Windows. The series has evolved considerably over the last few decades, incorporating new ways to win the game, new ways the sow the lands, new cultural elements, new armies and discoveries. Aside for striving to be the most influential Civilization in human history, from stone age to space age, the latest incarnations of the Civilization line of PC games are nothing like the oldies.
So is it time to remake the series into a board game? Heck yeah. And who better to do it than the masters of complex game elements: Fantasy Flight Games.
Below are the details. For more information check out the game's Product Description on FFG. We'll keep you posted as more information is released by way of preview articles. Enjoy!
"Designed by Kevin Wilson, Civilization: The Board Game is inspired by the legendary video game series created by Sid Meier. Players are tasked with guiding an entire civilization throughout the ages, taking ownership of your people's technology, economy, culture, and military, as well as all the choices that go along with them. There are four different paths to victory, and each is riddled with opposition.
In Civilization: The Board Game, 2-4 players take on the roles of famous leaders in charge of historical civilizations, each with their own abilities. Players will be able to explore a module game board, build cities and buildings, fight battles, research powerful technology, and attract great people by advancing their culture. No matter what your play style is, there is a civilization for you!"
Last night was a crazy blur, well for one of us. For a lack of a better name let's call him Russ. Well Russ was minding his own business at a party last night, hanging out by the cheese log and grapes, admiring the high quality disposable tablecloth. Meanwhile across the room Russ' wife let loose that he's a Critical Gamer. Normally that means bubkis, but suddenly before Russ knew what hit him there was an overly excited gamer in his face spitting Ritz as he gushed over 2010's quite release of Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead [Amazon]
Now we haven't played this title yet, but from what Russ could gather between dodging food particles and drunken hand gestures is this potential gem of the year is a mix between Diplomacy and Pandemic. That is: while everyone is dealing with an world wide outbreak, the game is not entirely cooperative to seal the disease off. Instead everyone serves their own best interest. Plus, Zombies. Gotta love the zombies.
Players acts as leaders of different regions of the world, complete with distinctive population levels, wealth for armies, and natural resources that aid in researching zombie killing technology, But war isn't forged amongst these disparate regions. Instead zombie outbreaks pop up and plague different portions of the planet. While you may let a zombie out break stew in foreign lands while you sit pretty and become more powerful, you may want to start lending a hand to an opponent in case the Z really hits the fan and zombies start pouring over your borders, too. Hence, the delicate balance of Diplomacy in a world stricken in zombie Apocalypse.
Details of the game intrigue us. Enough so that we've ordered a copy of the game, and its going to be the centerpiece for our August 2010 Dorkfest coming up in just a few weeks.
Agricola is ranked #2 on Board Game Geek. Number Two. That means of all the games, in all the world, the board gaming community bows down to worship only one other game with more vigor (Puerto Rico). It's one of the best titles ever.
The today-only Tanga sale includes the base Agricola [Amazon, Funagain] game, a 1-5 player title all about the family farming experience. It requires to you think about numerous variables like.. say squirting out more kids with the wife (or husband) to act as more farm hands, growing different types of food, and building out your farm's infrastructure. At first you're just a man and a wife working a small shack, but through the game you'll try to groom your land and assets into a major powerhouse farmstead.
Now normally you find Agricola for sale for about 46 bucks. This Tanga Sale is 65. So why is it so interesting? Well you get a deluxe set of 194 wooden pieces, a deluxe set of Meeples that not only make Agricola shine, but can be used for your other Eurogames as well. Meeples are used everywhere, from Carcasonne to Warcraft the Board Game..
Here are the title's official details:
In Agricola (Latin for "farmer"), you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you'll find on a farm: collecting clay, wood or stone; building fences; and so on. You might think about having kids in order to get more work accomplished, but first you need to expand your house. And what are you going to feed all the little rugrats?
Agricola is a turn-based game. There are 14 game turns plus 6 harvest phases (after turn 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 14). Each player starts with two playing tokens (farmer and wife) and thus can take two actions per turn. There are multiple options, and while the game progresses, you'll have more and more: first thing in a turn, a new action card is flipped over.
Problem: Each action can be taken just once per turn, so it's important to do some things with high preference. Each player also starts with a hand of 7 Occupation cards (of more than 160 total) and 7 Minor Improvement cards (of more than 140 total) that he may use during the game if they fit in his/her strategy. This amounts to countless strategies, some depending on your card hand. Sometimes it's a good choice to stay on course, sometimes you better react on what your opponents do.
Agricola can also be played without cards (family game) and can even be played solo.
The first expansion to 2009's highly successful castle siege board game Stronghold has been announced. Where as the original title (scheduled to be reprinted at the end of the year) pitted human defenders against the forces of orcs and trolls, Stronghold Undead does something unexpected: throws in legions of the undead skeletons under the control of an evil Necromancer.
OK, so maybe that was pretty expected. In fact, it was inevitable. Undead are all the rage these days...what's unexpected is that they weren't in the original game. So prepare for some more Stronghold awesomeness coming later this year!
Ah finally. The next game installment of the Catan Histories line of games is shipping from stores right now. Catan Histories: Settlers of America [Amazon, Funagain] has been dubbed the Catan Train Game, a mocking and dismissive moniker at first glance but damn enticing one once the idea stinks in fully.
We've liked the previous Catan Histories games, particularly Struggle for Rome. They tend to keep the resource gathering and building mechanics that make The Settlers of Catan so fun an approachable, and add just enough oomph of extra sophistication to make the game really, truly shine.
So now Catan is heading across the Atlantic, with the themed now centered around the delivery of goods from the coast of North America into the budding towns deeper inland. Of course, its up to the players to settle these budding towns. I mean, what would a Catan game be without constructing your own towns and cities.
At first you can push goods west over muddy roads with simple settlers. As play progresses, and players gather resources from their settlements, they will be able to upgrade and link towns with rail systems. These, of course, make the delivery of goods faster and more efficient. The winner is the player who delivers all of his / her resources to settlements out west, be them to their own cities or to their opponents settlements.
The rules of the game (which can be downloaded from the game's official website) also comes with historical details of all of the game's various components and action cards. This makes Catan Histories: Settlers of America Trails to Rais not only a fun, interesting game, but also an educational tool perfect for classrooms, too. Score!
Here are the title's official details.
The 19th Century has arrived and America is heading west. Wagon trains form on the frontier. Settlers seeking fresh lives and opportunities strike out to tame wild lands and build new cities. These new cities rely on young railroads for vital goods. Trails become rails and create great wealth.
While the crowded East still offers options, its resources dwindle. Look west to make your fortune. Smart money seeks rich, unclaimed land and hungry new markets. Finance your settlers as they head west to build capitals of tomorrow. Link these cities with rails of steel. Operate your railroad to supply the townsfolk with goods. Go west. Settle the wide, open land. Claim your destiny!
Settlers of America, Trails to Rails™ utilizes the simple, fun Catan hex-tile grid to map the young United States. Collect and trade resources in order to purchase and move settlers, build cities, lay rails and acquire and move trains. Create rail links to acquire gold, which lets you buy resources and use opponents' rails. Use trains to distribute goods to rival cities. But, as your settlers populate the West, they deplete the resources of the East. Still, your options always abound.
It's almost August and that means we'll soon be pushing together last year's Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 edition with with the upcoming late August release of A&A Europe 1940. Yep, both theater level editions will combine into a new A&A global game that's larger and more intricate than even the Anniversary Edition.
Axis & Allies.org has a full breakdown of what to expect in this amazing configuration. Not only is the original post at the top of the thread worthwhile, but lots of facts bubble up about the combined sets through the posts by other users in the forum. We especially like this bit:
"In the Global game the US gets a war time bonus income of 30IPCs. That means she's pulling down around 80+ IPCs. The US can, as you suggest, throw their entire global income in one direction if it likes. Fact is, it can purchase and place as it sees fit. This may concern some of you... but rest assured... the US is going to be dealing (in a real way) with both the European and Pacific theaters. As per the design, it cannot neglect either theater except at great peril. I really don't think a KGF, and throwing ALL, will work very well. Those Japanese forces are some mean sons of *bleep*"
While "Europe First" was usually the best option for the States in previous versions, it looks as though USA will have to make some carefully thought out and tough decisions in order to keep the balance of the war... in the balance, sort to say. Sounds freaking awesome.
Here's another great video review, this time coming from Ted Cheatham of BoardGameNews.
Fresco [Amazon, Funagain] features gameplay that reminds us quite a bit of the award winning Pillars in the Earth. Aside from the similar theme of building a major project out of human history, you're also jockeying for position to place workers to gather resources, or assigning them to refine base elements into better things, and then racing to apply your efforts to complete projects before your opponents do. The gameplay is definitely more competitive than Pillars, with a greater chance of butting heads with other players who strive the complete some of the same elements of the painting as you.
Fresco is prefect for family gamers and looking for soimething more complex (Ages 10+) Heck, the game even plays really well with gaming groups. It's nice to see a high quality title like this in a year so heavily populated with war games and new entries into the deck building genre.
Here's the game's official info:
"The ceiling in the cathedral is getting on a bit and is in urgent need of restoration. The bishop is awaiting important visitors and wants to show off his church from its best side. The players slip into the role of the fresco painters in this colorful family game and have to prove their abilities: But only the player who plans cleverly can win!
This fascinating game already contains 3 expansion modules which can be combined with the basic game in any desired manner to influence the scope of the game. Elaborately structured game cards, additional colored pieces and lots of bonus counters provide even more excitement!"
It seems that 2010 is the year of the war game system. Last week we reported that G.R.R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire received its own starting war game system with Battles of Westeros. Now, just a few days later, fans of history are treated with a swank new Napoleonic Wars system.
Battles of The Eagle and the Lion [Amazon, Funagain] is the first base set it what will probably be a long running franchise. It features 10 scenarios from the era and focuses on the English vs French conflicts. Other smaller factions play smaller supporting roles in this first set, including troops from the Kingdom of Hanover and Portugal. Future full-featured armies will follow in new expansion sets, so we shouldn't have to wait too long for the Prussians, Austrians and of course the Russians enter the mix.
Overall the system has been received extremely well. Case and point: this User Review on BGG. Sporting high-levels of production, clear and interesting rules, and a gaming system designed to be expanded upon, Battles of Napoleon could be one of the best wargames to pickup this year.
For more information please see our previous news stories related to the system:
For twenty years, from 1796 until the final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte and his generals fought on the battlefields of all Europe. Battles of Napoleon is a gaming system that allows two players to recreate the most important historical battles the era. The Eagle and the Lion, the first game in the Battles of Napoleon series, gives you all you need to recreate many of the major clashes that saw the French and English armies -- sworn enemies -- face each other on the battlefields of Belgium, Spain and Italy. No less than 10 battles are featured, each of them based on a major historical event. In Battles of Napoleon -- The Eagle and the Lion, the two players control the French and English armies (sometimes supported by allies of other nationalities) in a specific battle. Planned as the first in a series of products that combine principles and mechanics from board and miniature games, each subsequent release will be standalone two-player games that can also be combined with others for larger battles.
Zombie In My Pocket is a Print & Play game meaning you can download the images for the game for free and run it over your own stock paper to create the game components. Then dust your hands and you're good to go. Of course, if you don't have a professional-grade printer and the materials to print it on then you could just order it for relatively little money here -- it's much better than playing it on normal slips of white paper.
Tom Vasel does a good job breaking down the game and its components in this review filmed from his AstroTurf laden roof top. We're not quite sure why he chose 2nd floor craps table to stage his piece especially since the environment throws the sound off. Still it has us talking so maybe he's on to something.
Anyway, Zombie in My Pocket is 1-8 player twist on a cooperative / competitive board game. The review does a good job of walking through the setup and the rules, so we won't delve too far into that. What we'd like to note is that Zombie in My Pocket was written by a gamer with a degree in psychology, and was designed specifically to cause players to bicker and form friendly disputes in a cooperative survival horror type environment.
Where as games like Pandemic or Battlestar Galactica have you focus on working together, Zombie in my Pocket has you working together as a means to an end. Shrewd players will know when to help out the group to fight some zombies, or quickly run away to let everyone else get gnawed on while they take home the prize.