Welcome to August's edition of What's On Our Wishlist! This one is... varied.
Three of my most played games this past couple of months have been Architects of the West Kingdom, Raiders of Scythia, and Wayfarers of the South Tigris. It seems I’m going through a bit of a Shem Phillips phase, but is it surprising when the games he puts out there are so good?
Due to this current obsession, my wishlist has Legacy of Yu at number one. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, I am currently enjoying a lot of solo games, so I find this one player release tantalising. Secondly, I have been playing an increased number of campaign games. I recently finished Sleeping Gods, and I’m looking to get my teeth into something else.
Finally, and probably most crucially, it’s a legacy game which isn’t going to take up a great deal of space, in terms of playing and storage. I love Sleeping Gods, but I play it at my partner’s house because it simply won’t fit onto my table. I store it on top of a Kallax because it takes up an entire square on its own. Having a legacy game in a smaller box and taking up less table space is certainly appealing.
I have seen many Instagram posts from those who backed the Kickstarter campaign talking about how glorious it is, and I regret waiting for it to come to retail. I guess the fact I’m still very keen to get a copy and haven’t waivered that is a good sign. I sometimes find that once the initial excitement of a game passes, I really don’t mind waiting – this has certainly not been the case here.
First up, a game that has been on there for a while and that’s BattleCon: Trials Of Indines. Publisher Level 99 Games are experts in presenting tabletop experiences that recreate the thrill of playing different video game genres, and the BattleCon series does exactly that for fighting games. Pick your characters out of the box, each with a pre-built deck for their unique fighting styles and special skills, then get fighting, either randomly playing cards like you’re button bashing away, or craft specific combos to counter then destroy your opponents moves. I first played the game ten years ago now, that box was full of fighters, game modes and expanded extras. That’s a bit too much to get to any game nights, but this box here comes with just 10 characters, not only providing replay value, but also not overwhelming you with choice, perfect for rookies!
<This Is Snake...>
Anyone who has played Metal Gear Solid should know the sound of the Codec chiming. I’d recognise it instantly, and this nostalgia is exactly what has drawn me to the upcoming pre-order campaign from CMON for the board game based on the video game, and catapulted it onto my list. There are a couple of gameplay videos up already I need to check out, showcasing the mix of gameplay, going between sneaking stealth missions, and taking down the big enemies in boss battles. The game features missions for 1-4 players, so I’ll be able to team up with a few friends, or just work alone as I relive my youthful espionage days helping Snake on his missions across Shadow Moses island. I’m very excited to read up and watch more videos about the game and then also, knowing that CMON are publishing this, look at all the cool miniatures that will come in the box and plan on painting them too!
Zombies have plagued and overrun humanity, they have even infected and converted some of our favourite Marvel heroes into Zombies. Society is on its knees and there is little to be hopeful for. Or is there? Some heroes remain uninfected and it is there mission to now come together and fight off the unrelenting Zombie hordes. Will they succeed?
Last month I was fortunate enough to write about Marvel Zombies as my wishlist item. In equal position to this is Marvel Zombies: X Men Resistance and I would not mind which came first off of my list. They both look amazing.
This set has a more traditional Zombicide feel to it. For those unfamiliar, CMON made a game called Zombicide in 2012, a cooperative game that sees you work with your friends to work through missions, complete objectives and ultimately try to survive an un relenting horde of Zombies. With this game created last year, you get to play as your favourite super heroes (which is just so cool!) fighting through the undead hordes. This set gives you Magneto, Colossus, Rogue, Mystique, Storm and of course, Wolverine as your playable heroes. You’re up against the Zombies that include Iceman, Juggernaut, Cyclops, Dark Phoenix, Psylocke and Sabertooth. The Zombie virus doesn’t discriminate, characters once enemies have had to come together for survival.
One of the huge highlights of Zombicide are the survivors are all unique with the skillsets they bring to the game, allowing for a unique gaming experience every time. I would also guess the Zombie heroes will also come with some unique challenges to go against, that won’t be pleasant.
I really would love to add this game to my collection!
My Wishlist is an ever growing pit of interaction, gruesomeness and a love of anything beautiful. A hard fit for all three categories, but a few games manage at least two of these and do so with excellent outcomes. Two games that have been on my wishlist as of late manage all but gruesome in my list of wants. Ra by 25th Century Games and Cockroach Poker by Drei Magier Spiel. Both are at least 19 years in age yet both are recent to me.
Ra is easily the most coveted game for me now from my wishlist. Initially I was skeptical about this chunky boy: it’s over 20 years old and has its theme solidly set in ancient Egypt. (A theme I avoid generally due to having to teach it as a topic in my day-today!) However, despite my reservations Ra boasted beauty from the off. Chunky components, a beautifully executed Egyptian hieroglyph theme and some stunning player interaction. Again, this game should have raised alarm bells for me as I’m not usually one for bidding games, but something within it clicked with me!
The game demands interaction between players to force you to bid on sets pulled from the tile bag. You might not want pharaohs or monuments… but that devious player up next to bid does. It makes you think hard about the repercussions of winning – or not winning – the current bid. If you haven’t yet checked out Ra, it’s one I’d highly recommend doing your homework on. If a skeptical fool like me can be won over by this beautiful work of bidding, set collecting and hieroglyphic stunnery, I have no doubt it’ll captivate you too!
On the other side of the board gaming world we have Cockroach Poker: a game with lots more than cockroaches and very little poking. This fast paced gem centres on bluffing and lying through your teeth to fool your opponents to believing your lies. Or doubting your truths! You get a hand, take a card and pass it to an opponent face down. You then call the card’s suit (or don’t! Call something wild!). If they want to pass it, they can: they look, pass and call again. If they believe you and you lied, they get the card. If they believe and you told the truth then you get the card.
It’s heavy on interaction and deception; holding a poker face is essential for this game.. though it’s near impossible when the tension created could easily choke you! For something so simple, it’s a near essential for anyone’s travel pack. 2 minutes to learn and 20 rounds later I still wasn’t burnt out from it. The conversations and driven interaction created broke the ice quickly and produced a superbly fun experience. Another game that’s been added to the top of my wishlist!!
The game on my wishlist is Skymines. Skymines is a re-implementation of Alexander Pfister's earlier game Mombasa, which is considered to be one of the best strategy games ever made, but that time incorporating a space exploration theme. Skymines retains the best elements of Mombasa while adding some new twists, such as the belt-side of the board, that adds some new mechanics and challenges, and the campaign mode.
As a big fan of Great Western Trail and Maracaibo who has never played Mombasa, Skymines instantly caught my attention for its mechanics (specially knowing that Maracaibo joins mechanics from GWT such as the movement and from Mombasa such as the nations’ support/companies’ stocks) and strategic elements. Not to mention the amazing hand management mechanic present in the game, where you need to carefully plan in which pile and when to play your cards because it matters a lot since you only recover one pile of cards a turn. It also contains a worker-placement element, bringing together two of my favourite mechanics in a magnificent way. It’s a game where you'll need to carefully manage your resources, invest in the right companies, and outmanoeuvre your opponents in order to win.
Skymines is also a very interactive game, as players can interfere with each other's plans by claiming action spots, acquiring cards and technologies and pushing different companies’ stocks back and forth while spreading their influence over the board. This adds a layer of tension and excitement to the game that is sure to keep you engaged.
So, if like me, you're looking for a challenging and rewarding strategy game with a nice chunk of player interaction, then Skymines is definitely worth checking out.