It's April, and like a fool (get it?) I'm going to line up some cool board game news for you. This might be the biggest year yet in terms of releases, again, as usual, so let's see what's coming down the line.
All the new announcements and updates BELOW!!!
BLOODBORNE: THE CARD GAME
In Dark Souls 3 week, it's fitting that we talk about the recently announced Bloodborne: The Card Game. You know Bloodborne, right? It's a fantastic game, an absolute smash, a masterclass in atmosphere and pacing. Eric Lang (amazing designer behind some of my favourite games) is bringing this card game to us, with players playing as Hunters, competing to travel through one of the game's Chalice Dungeons. Chalice Dungeons were these brilliant challenge dungeons you had to push through in the videogame, and they'll make a great setting for what the designer is promising will be a tough game. The stuff I've read and heard so far makes it sound quite similar to Cutthroat Caverns, which is an excellent little co-op/competitive game. But it also sounds lighter than I'd hoped.
I think maybe I just have a natural instinct to be a little bit down on card games, even though I like loads of them. What the hell is wrong with me? Did I want big map tiles and miniatures of the Bloodborne bosses and loads of dice and gear and loot and a 50 page rulebook?
Yes. Yes, I think I did.
NARUTO: THE BOARD GAME
Speaking of videogames, there's a Naruto game too. Actually, Naruto is an Anime first, or is it a Manga? Or both? It's one of those, or all of those, and now it's a board game too. This is an actual board game where characters move around a map, visiting villages, challenging monsters, doing quests of sorts, and having fights with monsters. Just like in the Manga, Anime or videogame, or all of the above, or whatever.
It's co-operative, looks beautiful, and seems very faithful to what is a very popular IP. It also appears to be quite simple, positioned for a broad market, so I hope it manages to be fun and clean and not too bland. What do you think? Do you enjoy the Manga? Or the Anime? Or the videogames? Or all of them?
Do you know anything about it? A boy has a little headscarf in it.
Looney Labs, for a long time now, have been releasing games that utilise little plastic pyramid pieces of different colours. I have a set myself. They're beautiful little components, and there have been lots of games that use them – it's been a true exercise in innovation in game design, making these little pyramids play in so many different ways.
I'm excited, then, that Pyramid Arcade is on its way. It's a collection of 22 of these games, with a whole load of gorgeous little pyramids and all the extra components you need to play the different titles within the box. I've played a few of these games before, and to have them collected in a premium set is just a wonderful idea. There's some great-looking stuff in this box, and it's like a whole library of games in a one-and-done purchase.
It's a Kickstarter, and it has funded already, and I think I might just throw in on it early doors. This isn't like your normal Kickstarter – these games are tried and tested and loved by many. And I just love the graphic design of the whole thing. It's beautiful – take a serious look at this one.
STAR TREK: ASCENDANCY
Gale Force Nine, who are brilliant at making board games, are bringing out a Star Trek game. And let me tell you – it looks like a real cracker. It's a big game, a game of “exploration, expansion and conflict”, and you can even be the baddies. The base game includes the Federation, the Klingons and the Romulans, but there are Cardassian and Ferengi expansions already in development. I mean – who doesn't want to be the Cardassians? The ultimate bastards of the Star Trek universe? I want to torture my friends with those lights and stuff. I want to do that.
I also love a big, long board game about territorial conquest – there just aren't as many of them getting made these days. It's a damn shame.
It's all about track record, though, and for me Gale Force Nine have been releasing strong stuff for quite some time. Spartacus is a modern classic, Sons of Anarchy is incredibly underrated, and plenty of people say Firefly is great. There's no reason to think they'll make a mess of bringing something as rich and lovingly-built as the Star Trek universe to the board game table. I'll stick my neck out and say that this will be good at the very least, and very likely great.
INTO THE ECHOSIDE
This is a card game based on the band Insane Clown Posse.
And finally, Lost Patrol is back. It was a sweet old Games Workshop game back in the day, with Space Marine Scouts trying to survive in a jungle infested by our old pals the Genestealers. And now it's back, with full miniatures and tasty new production all the way down the line.
It's exciting that Games Workshop seems to be back in the standalone game market for good. And releases like this are a great idea. Lost Patrol is a fine little game, and with some modern-gaming tweaks it could really shine this time round. But it's going to be expensive.
Oh, it'll be expensive, right?
It's going to be expensive.
Next week, in response to a guy moaning about me only covering games about shooting and dice, I'll be telling you about a lovely new non-violent game with traditional “Euro” mechanics. I will fall on that sword for y'all.