And so, here we are – the first day of 2012. What better thing to do than to look forwards at some of the cool stuff that we’ll be getting to our tables this year? There’s already a frankly ridiculous amount of stuff that I’m hyped to get my hands on, from demonic deckbuilders to stunning steampunk affairs. Here’s five that I’ve got my eye on.
I am gutted – GUTTED – that I missed out on the Kickstarter for Miskatonic School for Girls. A deck building game with a twist, players create not only their own decks but also contribute to their opponents’ stacks. You collect genteel young students while dropping as many faculty members on the opposition – but why would that be a bad thing? Well, the staff are all barely disguised Lovecraftian beasties intent on driving the girls to insanity – literally. With each player running one of the school’s houses, it’s a case of the last man standing – whoever stays sane the longest is the victor. It also helps that it’s an absolutely gorgeous looking game – the artwork is beautiful. So, it looks great, it’s got Cthulhu and his mates all over it and I love the spin on the format – when can I get a copy?
Not exactly a full release, but how could I ignore an expansion to one of my favourite games, Alien Frontiers? The first add-on, Factions, is due for release around March and having been lucky enough to try out the prototype version last year I’m very excited to see the finished product. Each player now has an additional mini-board representing one of eight in-game factions, each one offering two new opportunities for dice placement – one specifically for you, the other for anyone else who’s willing to pay you for it. There are also secret objectives to try and complete – if you’ve played the original you’ll know that scoring is open, but this new addition will keep people guessing who’s won until the end. It adds a fifth (purple) player into the mix as well and – thanks to the huge amount of cash that Clever Mojo raised during the campaign – the wooden M&Ms used as tokens will also be replaced with really lovely little biodome sculpts. An already wonderful game will be made even better. Oh yes.
After speaking to Stephen Buonocare from Stronghold Games about their remake of Crude (also known as McMulti), how could I not want a copy of this one? Now officially called Crude: The Oil Game, this one brings together tile placement and a heavy economic element as players become CEOs of petroleum companies. By investing, selling and distributing at all stages of the process, it’s all about making as much money as possible while dealing with a rising and falling markets at home and abroad. Of course, the usual Stronghold level of quality of to be expected – if you’ve seen and played anything they’ve released before, you know that this one is going to look amazing. The game has a legendary pedigree and the story behind it is a tale to behold – the moment this one is released, I’ll be picking it up. It deserves its time in the spotlight, albeit thirty-five years after it was first released.
Pick up and deliver? Got a few of those. Route planning? Check, plenty of them too. Not many that combine them, though, and none that are based in a Steampunk setting – but now Tasty Minstrel are releasing Kings of Air and Steam. Players pilot airships to grab goods from factories then distribute them through rail networks. While it may seem a little dry to some, I like that they’re taking a punt on it with an interesting theme and want to add something to my collection along the lines of Brass or Age of Industry. That’s the vibe I’m getting from this one and, assuming that it ticks all the boxes, I’d really like to try it out. I sadly didn’t put in for the Kickstarter campaign as shipping was more than the actual game and money was tight – a minimum of $95 was just a little too much to pledge – but when retail copies arrive, I want one.
I first posted an interview with Bryan Fischer from Nevermore Games pretty much an entire year ago about Chicken Caesar – a game that both myself and Chris from Dice Hate Me were looking forward to playing in 2011! It’s still not out but the release is getting closer; pictures of the board are now available and more information is leaking out about how the game will play. Political intrigue in a chicken coop is a somewhat unique premise, with players needing to combine lowly ranking officers (responsible for money and force) with higher powered fowl that gain fame and notoriety. Throw in some bribery, corruption and plain bloody murder and it could well end up as this year’s Pret-a-Porter – a stunning game with a truly odd theme. Kickstarter for this one begins this February and I’ll be backing it for sure.
There’s so many more games to look out for as well; there’s bugger all information about AtomPunk but I’m still keeping an eye on it (that Steampunk thing again), while 1989: Dawn of Freedom (the spiritual successor to Twilight Struggle) is also due. The whole Merchant of Venus situation should be sorted out sometime soon, though who knows where the dice will fall? Whoever finally gets the rights, either Stronghold or Fantasy Flight will hopefully do a good job with it – there’s a lot of people out there waiting impatiently for it! Fancy a truly intriguing theory though? How about the rumours that a new version of Blood Bowl is going to hit our stores? With it being 25 years since the original release and Games Workshop / FFG having previous form with the luxury 20th Anniversary reissue of Space Hulk, we can only hope our wishes come true…
Whatever happens, 2012 has got a lot to live up to if it’s going to make as much of an impact as last year did in the world of gaming. It’ll be a hard one to follow but you can’t help but feel that the many production companies out there are going to do their best to put out some great games – and we barely know anything that they’re planning. It’s going to be brilliant.
Happy New Year – and happy gaming!