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Cardboard Children: Looking Ahead

The Clock Is Ticking

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Hello youse.

After my enormous Talisman column last week, I thought it might be nice to take a little breather and just take a quick look at what’s happening on the board game scene right now. Last year, thanks to Kickstarter and such, there were almost too many new board games filling the shelves on a weekly basis. And this year looks no different. It is, quite frankly, exhausting. And only Elton John has a house big enough to hold all those board games. And he’s too bad-tempered to play them.
UPCOMING PLEASURES

Shall we look at some upcoming pleasures? As usual, Fantasy Flight are pushing HARD.

They announced a new expansion for Warhammer: Invasion called “Cataclysm”. It turns this fantastic head-to-head card game into a multiplayer game. If you take a look at the introduction piece on the Fantasy Flight webpage you can see that there’s been some thought put into how compelling multiplayer battles can be fought. Those fulcrums look superb. I can’t wait to try it out. I know we’re all excited about Netrunner these days, but Warhammer: Invasion remains a great game, and I hope this expansion encourages more people to pick it up. All of you better have the base game already. Very annoying if you don’t, because I told you all to get it years ago. Honestly, it’s like talking to a brick wall.

Also in the Fantasy Flight pipeline, there’s Relic. Last week I expressed my love for Talisman, and you know how much I love Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. So Relic is way, way up there on my list of anticipated games for 2013. Space Marines (TRADEMARK GAMES WORKSHOP), baby! The game introduces a few new mechanics to the Talisman system, and most people will probably be happy to hear that. But maybe I’m weird, because I just want a Talisman with Space Marines (TRADEMARK GAMES WORKSHOP), and I hope that they haven’t fucked around with the game too much. Talisman works because of its simplicity, and I worry that Fantasy Flight might be adding some fiddly stuff that the system can’t bear the strain of. We’ll see in time. Oh, and as much as the little player “busts” are really nice in Relic, I’m sure I won’t be the only one flinging some Games Workshop Space Marine (TRADEMARK GAMES WORKSHOP) minis into the box.

Now, when the team behind the great Cosmic Encounter and Dune have their names on a box, you better sit up and pay attention. Just today Fantasy Flight pulled the sheets off their new edition of the classic Borderlands. It’s called GEARWORLD: THE BORDERLANDS now, and it’s all steampunky and stuff. It’s a diplomacy and trading game, which means lots of backstabbing, which means I am ALL THE WAY IN on this one. Check it out. I’m not sure about the style of it. Check it out. What do you think? I’m not sure. Check it out.

BATMAN: GOTHAM CITY STRATEGY GAME

What a terrible, terrible title.

Yeah, it’s not all Fantasy Flight. This is coming soon, and it’s from WizKids. And here’s the important part – it’s designed by Paolo Mori, the guy who designed the mighty Libertalia. A good Batman game would be nice, right?

Tom Vasel and his Miami Dice team just recently reviewed this game, and it really looks like a fun design. I like the fact that we’ve been seeing a return to uncomplicated, fun-first designs lately. There was a period, a couple of years ago, when games were becoming very cluttered and over-designed. Boxes were getting bigger, rulebooks were getting thicker, and it was often a result of unnecessary bloat. But this looks like a lovely, theme-heavy, rules-light game. Check out the review.

There’s just something about Tom Vasel’s reviews that I love. I think it’s because he’s a nice man. And all his friends seem nice too. Vasel is the reason why I stopped doing video reviews of board games. I’m not as likeable as he is, and not as knowledgeable about cardboard, so what was the point? When I did those board game videos, years ago now, there weren’t many people doing video reviews. There was Vasel, Boardgames with Scott, and a few more things. But today there are hundreds of video reviewers, and Vasel is still way up at the top, proving that what always lasts is charm and heart. Hey, it was the best decision I ever made – to just leave the videos to the nice man with all the lovely kids and the lovely buddies and the big table and the big wall full of games. I like just being a fan.

QUINNS

I hope you’re all aware that Quinns/Quintin Smith/Mr Smith/Mr Quintin Smith is covering board games over at Eurogamer. Quinns used to write for Rock Paper Shotgun until his contract was terminated for “unnecessary and irresponsible abbreviation of full name”. Since leaving he’s become a jet-setting games-writing David Carradine in Kung-Fu kinda guy, busting out online shows over at Shut Up Show and doing talks and pretty much becoming a kind of cardboard deity.

Anyway, we all want those Eurogamer pages to get hits up the wazoo as we all gather together to try to push this board gaming thing forward, right? Check out Q-Ball’s review of Tzolk’in, which I’ve yet to play, because there’s fucking corn in it, man. Seriously.

NEXT TIME

Back to regular service next week, with coverage of a new game. And I’ll be kicking off a little journal too, which will follow my efforts to bring some new people into board gaming. Yes, I’m going to try to bring some friends into this board game fold, and I’m going to write about all the successes and failures that come with that process. This has NEVER BEEN DONE. It is THRILLING.

Until then – keep shakin’!

Dice, I mean.

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Robert Florence

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