The first full working week of 2019 has brought with it an avalanche of new releases and announcements from some big names in the publishing industry. Take a look at this week's news to get a glimpse of what gaming goodness the year to come has in store for us.
Will Z-Man's Latest Game Brighten up your Day?
Noctiluca is a beautiful looking abstract dice game designed by Shem Philips and announced by Z-Man Games earlier this week. The Noctiluca are tiny, glowing sea creatures with healing properties. It is up to the players to dive into the warm summer seas that they enjoy and collect them to fill jars that they will take back to healers.
The basic premise of the game looks simple: each player will ‘dive’ into the sea and collect some of the four colours of dice there. They will then use these dice to match combinations on jar cards, earning points for doing so. Each player also has a favourite colour assigned randomly at the start of the game; collecting Noctiluca of this colour will earn them more points.
Noctiluca looks like an accessible, family-weight abstract game that will be available to order in the coming weeks.
Prove your Skills in Renegade's Upcoming 2019 Release
Renegade Game Studios’ latest announcement is a story-driven solo game combining an original novella from Monica Valentinelli with a card and dice game from Kane Klenko. The two work together to submerge players in the story of Maia Strongheart, the daughter of the Sun Queen, who has been falsely accused of her mother’s murder.
Players jump into this real-time solo game to recreate Maia Strongheart’s battle to ascend to the Sun Throne. Valentinelli’s book gives you all the context you need to understand the events leading to Maia’s greatest battle.
The game comes with a training module and six additional modules that can be mixed and matched as required, giving players all kinds of different ways to play the game. Renegade says that this will be a great starting point for people who haven’t tried a solo game before and it looks like it will be a lot of fun for experienced solo gamers, too. Keep an eye out for its release in April 2019.
Who's Ready for some more Vampire Hunting?
Fury of Dracula is one of the most celebrated hidden movement games of all time and now it’s fourth edition is finally available to pre-order! The Fury of Dracula was originally released in 1987 and has been loved by tabletop gamers for over 30 years. However, it had been hard to get hold of for anything like a reasonable price in recent years. Now WizKids has brought out a new edition, bringing the game to the attention of board game fans once again.
The publisher has not changed anything mechanically or graphically from the third edition. The gameplay and graphics were good enough that the only changes WizKids made were enlarging the cards to standard poker size and adding fully painted figures for all of the playable characters.
Munchkin is still going strong with new IPs
Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to escape the fact that Munchkin is an enduringly popular game. Steve Jackson Games continues to breathe new life into the series by acquiring new intellectual properties for the game. The latest releases are Munchkin Harry Potter and Munchkin Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both of which are properties with sizeable followings.
Do these versions change anything from the basic game? In Harry Potter, you choose which house you want to play, rather than a specific character. There’s not a lot of mechanical information other than that out at the moment.
In TMNT, however, the emphasis is on crazy fights and team-ups. The monsters are tougher than ever, which means you’ll need powerful equipment and legendary martial arts skills. If you don’t have enough to beat them on your own and you don’t want to ally yourself with a competitor, you can partner up with powerful allies instead.
Board & Dice's Release Schedule is Snow Joke
Board & Dice has announced two of its 2019 titles: Inuit and Sierra West. We don’t have loads of information on either one as yet, but what has been teased is looking good. Inuit will be a “card based strategy game of drafting and tableau-building.” The art looks stunning and the theme is certainly new, but we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.
Sierra West, on the other hand, clearly features an innovative action selection and programming mechanism. The prototypes that Board & Dice has teased on Twitter look bright and engaging, so this is another one that we’ll be following with interest.
Two very Different Kickstarters that we're Watching
Finally, there are a couple of active Kickstarter campaigns that we want to highlight. The first is Stonehenge and the Sun, an intriguing dexterity game from designer Naotaka Shimamoto and Japanese publisher itten. The game revolves around a metal ball that you hang from the ceiling, an innovative concept that was originally conceived as an experiment, not a publishable game. Now, Stonehenge and the Sun is a fully fledged dexterity game that you can help bring to life on Kickstarter.
Our other Kickstarter recommendation couldn’t be more different. Invasions: Volume 1 is a crunchy game from Philip Thibaut that takes players through 300 years of the European dark ages, from the death of the Roman Empire to the start of the Muslim expansion. This game is not for the faint of heart, but fans of war games and historical themes will undoubtedly find a lot to enjoy.