News & Stuff – 20th August, 2010

A few interesting things to report on this week, even though we’re now officially in the lull between GenCon and Essen! Let’s get on with it.

I don’t get to bring it to the table very often, but once in a while I do enjoy a game of Zooloretto. Michael Schacht’s simple game of collecting groups of animals to make your zoo the best has been ported to the iPhone (and it’s a pretty good interpretation) but what I didn’t realise is quite how many expansions there are out there! While we’re not looking at Carcassonne levels, there are certainly plenty of options for you to extend your Zooloretto experience and publisher Abacusspiele are looking for another way to take your money with a new one – Zooloretto Boss. Designed to make the game “more challenging” it seems to add an element of people and money management to the game – but that’s about all we know at the moment! Michael’s blog doesn’t say too much more aside from it’s release date – you should have a chance to become the boss from this October.

On the subject of expanding your games, if you’re an Arkham Horror fan you’ll know that there’s plenty available for Fantasy Flight’s Lovecraftian extravaganza. There were plans announced last year for a series of minis to pimp out your game, but the tiny investigators were scrapped due to the pricepoint being far too high. However, FFG have decided that they still want to get them out to players, and have announced you’ll be able to get them individually “soon”. You can check them out here and as you can see, they’re pretty cool – the investigators are recognisable immediately and are (thankfully) prepainted! They’re $4 in the US and will available through the the website – no news yet on if they’ll be able to ship them outside of the States, but I’ll keep an eye out. Here’s hoping though, because they look ace – and Ashcan Pete even has a dog!

Next up, not really a news story, but something I found interesting. I’m always on the lookout for well written pieces on board games, so was pleased to see Gamasutra post up a (rather long) article on how they can influence the design of video games. While John Harris covers the usual suspects such as Chess and Go (which have a long history when it comes to computing as anyone who’s seen WarGames will tell you), he also discusses games such as Puerto Rico and Catan. Each selection is accompanied with a summary of how to play as well as what designers can draw from the game, and is well worth devoting a little bit of your time to have a read. Cheers to Rev for pointing it out to me on Twitter.

I also stumbled across an interesting site that produces a quarterly e-zine that I’ve really enjoyed reading – Thru The Portal is filled with interesting articles on a wide range of gaming areas. There’s three issues available for download right now – the files come as PDFs so you can read them on your computer or (if you’ve got iBooks or a similar reader) on your iPhone/iPad. Well worth reading.

Finally, a quick mention for Dungeons & Dragon’s World Games Day which takes place tomorrow! There’s a pre-made Dark Sun adventure for players to take part in, free swag for everyone involved, and all the dice you can throw. Full details on the Wizards of the Coast page – find your nearest event using the locator right here.

That’s it from me, I’m off to edit the next episode of the podcast together. It’ll be available tomorrow via iTunes (and directly from here, of course) so keep an eye out while you’re playing whatever you’re playing. I’m going to get some more time with the excellent Ascension – review to come soon!

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