The big story of the week is the reported sale of Asmodee, but there’s also two sets of award shortlists, Games Workshop (GW) bringing the mechs back and the chance to play as Spongebob.
Somebody is thinking about buying Asmodee
Someone is thinking about buying Asmodee. No, that’s not a typo even though their long stream of acquisitions makes you think I should have written Asmodee is thinking of buying someone. Reuters has a report claiming discussions are taking place about a €1.5 billion sale of the gaming giant, but there’s no clue as to who they might be, with guesses ranging from Hasbro to hedge fund managers playing their own version of Monopoly.
The why, however, is clear: Reuters claim Asmodee earn €100 million a year, and a billion Euro sale would give a vast profit for the people who bought them five years ago. One thing is for sure: an Asmodee sale would be a tectonic shift in our hobby.
Nominations Part One: Origins
The Origins Awards are an industry staple, given out at that convention and decided by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. This year’s shortlists have been announced and, to be honest, they’re not that short so we’re not going to repeat it all here, head over to their website for it all, and here’s some highlights:
Nominations Part Two: Spiel des Jahres
For many gamers, Germany’s Spiel des Jahres is the big award, and this year’s shortlists are out. Judging by comments I’ve seen on Facebook in the past weeks, no one is surprised about Azul and The Mind, but not many people saw Luxor coming. Recommended are: 5-Minute Dungeon, Facecards, Majesty: For the Realm, Memoarrr!, Santorini and Woodlands.
Also up for contention is the Ennerspiel des Jahres with Ganz Schön Clever, Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, and Heaven & Ale. The first two of them were designed by Wolfgang Warsch, who also worked on The Mind, giving him an impressive year.
The children’s Kinderspiel des Jahres has Panic Mansion, Emojito and Funkelschatz. Finally Pandemic Legacy’s masterminds Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau are given a special award for that genre's defining work.
Narcos comes to the table
TV show Narcos dramatised the rule of drugs baron Pablo Escobar, and when he was killed off continued the story of Columbian drugs cartels and international opposition. Now CMON are bringing this to board games with a fully licenced adaption from Fel Barros, who worked on Massive Darkness and Rising Sun among others.
The players are divided into two: the hidden movement El Patron of the cartels, and everyone else working as an uneasy alliance to stop them. Price is £40 with a release at the end of the year.
Age of Sigmar Second Edition
There are three things certain in life: death, taxes and new editions of Warhammer and 40k. The Warhammer reboot Age of Sigmar has been out for three years so it’s time for a second edition, which we’ve been promised will be streamlined and improved. It’s being heralded as transitional rather than an entire new rule set, so old units will work alongside new ones, and it’s going to be available free digitally rather than just a mandatory new book.
Adeptus Titanicus Returns
More GW news, and it’s the return of Adeptus Titanicus. We’re promised the most expensive box GW have ever produced, with multiple titan figures at a much larger scale than the original. The cons: it might not fit with your old Epic armies. The pros: bigger mechs and the hope of new Epic armies.
Nikki Valens leaves Fantasy Flight
“After over five years, I'm proud to announce that I'm stepping away from Fantasy Flight Games. I'm working on some new game ideas, but we will see where life takes me next. In any case, I'll still be making games, either more board games or returning to my video game roots.”
Z Man Drops Anchor
Abacusspiele’s Alles an Bord is getting an English release as ‘Anchors Aweigh!’ by Z Man Games. From Carlo Rossi, it tasks up to four players with filling their holds, matching equipment requirements (sometimes from memory) and then avoiding pirates, gathering treasure and beating the opposition. However this isn’t a miniatures game, it’s all done with tokens and cards. Z Man is taking pre-orders now.
Ticket to Ride Shrinks
A promo version of Ticket to Ride which shrank the game has proved so popular that a special shortened edition is going to public release. Ticket to Ride: New York takes the normal gameplay but sets it just in Manhattan and can be finished in 15 minutes.
The twist is you’re building lines of taxi cabs rather than trains. Obviously it’ll be out in America but a global released is hinted and every major city in the world must be looking at this and it’s £20 price tag and pondering.
North Sea Trilogy to become RPG
Shem Phillips carved out a strong niche with his North Sea trilogy, a set of games themed around Viking expansion. When he moved west for a new trilogy it looked like the Vikings might have to rest up a bit, but now there’s going to be North Sea: Epilogues. And it’s not another board game. Yep, Epilogues is an RPG, seemingly designed by Tim Devine and Kristin Devine, but we’re awaiting more details on what this all means. Shem is currently just teasing us…
Nickelodeon Food Fight: A board game
A series of games are going to be made about Nickelodeon properties, and the first one is a weird contrast. A game where you move miniatures of well-known cartoon characters while engaging in a food fight, but it's designed by Jonathan Ying, aka a co-designer of Star Wars: Imperial Assault.
So, thrill at the sight of Ninja Turtles, Invader Zim and Spongebob, look forward to fast, crazy fun and then go over to the Kickstarter to see how Splat Attack is doing.