Despite recently becoming a Zatu blogger (which has exposed me to a kind and lively group of gamers far more knowledgeable than myself), I have remained terrible at keeping up with gaming news. I don’t really get hyped and make a wish list for games that interest me, namely because I’ll only hear about them 6 months after they’ve come out. It’s like being jump-scared by Freddy Fazbear, only Freddy is made of cardboard and he makes my wallet scream instead of me, and perhaps my bending shelves.
This lack of awareness is highlighted whenever I attend conventions. Despite this year being my first at UKGE, I have been to various gaming conventions at the NEC before (when I knew almost nothing about tabletop gaming). I remember gawking in awe at the board game stands, filled with countless classic titles that I had never heard of. Suddenly, a name I had heard before caught my eye, stamped on a gorgeously illustrated box in the style of a treasure chest. The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls is a multi-player card game based on the 2011 indie video game classic. Players must collect the souls of various monsters they defeat, whilst avoiding sabotage by other players. Like in the video game, death is an expected frustration, but you can immediately dive back into the action on your next turn.
As much as I wanted to, I never picked up that shiny box; it was outside my short monetary reach. In the years since, I’d pretty much forgotten about it. So, you can imagine my surprise when I searched the ‘New Releases’ section on Zatu, and was jump-scared by the Four Souls 'Second Edition' and Expansion Boxes. I’m holding out for UKGE, though, lest I find myself not picking up shiny boxes again...
Hannah Blacknell - Trekking Through History
Lately I have been introducing a lot of my friends to board games. Not in a pushy way, they have asked, but this has meant that my focus has been shifted slightly more towards the lighter and more accessible games rather than our usual midweight favourites. We have been slowing adding a few more accessible and lighter games to our wishlist, but there is one that has been residing on there for a while now which is Trekking Through History.
Trekking Through History is the next in the series following Trekking the World, although the gameplay is not too similar. During this game you are trying to build up treks from the oldest historic event to the newest. Each of these cards will have artwork and a fact blurb related to the specific event that happened in that year, for example the pyramids of giza were built, the war of the roses, the first flight etc. Each card will give you resources, but it will cost a certain amount of time to take that card. The time determines who will go next in the player order, like Patchwork, the last player goes next. Better cards will give you more resources but push you further ahead on the time track which means that you will take fewer turns that round. Depending on where the card is in the market will determine what resources you get when you take the card as well as those that are printed on the card. Your target is to both complete your day boards with resources for points and gain points from each trek that you complete. Most points wins.
This game is a rush, and I think it is perfect for some of my history loving friends and cannot wait to get my own copy soon.
I am off to my first ever UKGE this month! And of course, I am taking a shopping list of games, I am eager to get, with me! Recently, I have been adding and removing many Pencil First games from my shopping basket. But if I see one at the expo it’s getting bought! In particular, I have been eyeing up Floriferous, Sunset over Water and Delicious. Floriferous has players walking through their garden and choosing flowers. The aim is to obtain sets of garden cards. Players can do this by collecting desires, fulfilling bounty's and meeting arrangements. Each card is beautifully illustrated and there is even a cup of tea card to be won. It’s a themed game I'll want to play, especially with Summer on the horizon. Sunset Over Water, is also a stunning card game which focuses on painting and selling art. Players are given movement cards which help them get around the grid. These cards can only be used once. This makes each decision vital as one wrong move could cost you the winning commission. I love this theme as it isn’t like any other game I own. Finally, Delicious is a cute flip and write, where players simultaneously take turns planting fruit and vegetables. Each planter has different conditions to fill, and you never know which vegetables you will be planting as cards are drawn randomly. It’s a game that mixes item management with slight push your luck mechanics. It has a 1-100 player count which is great!
The reason I am after all these games, developed by Pencil First, is because they are quick to play, easy to teach, scale well, have a solo mode and I am a sucker for a good aesthetic. Also, even though these games share DNA each one is different enough that they won’t duplicate each other or games in my collection. These are small box, quick games, with some of the best illustrations I’ve seen. At least one of them has to end up in my collection this June!
With the world of board games bustling with new announcements and releases, my wishlist is quickly becoming vast and expansive; and I’m having to reserve space for future arrivals. That being said there are two games I just can’t wait to get my hands on:
Mansions of Madness - Honestly, it’s not surprising that a game featuring HP Lovecraft, Miniatures and detailed narration is at the top of my list. Fantasy Flight is proving that they can create strong app driven games that give a unique twist to their IP’s, so I can’t wait to see how they intertwine it with the world of Arkham.
Players take on the roles of brave investigators, tasked with exploring the dreaded mansions of arkham. Sounds right up my street. All of the narration and enemy development is dealt with by the app; all that’s left is to get stuck into exploration, and honestly I just can’t wait.
Frostpunk - Having played the brutal video game, I was very excited to see an adaptation for the tabletop. Admittedly, I was unsure how the world building elements would translate; but after playing it at a local store, any fears I had were quelled.
The gameplay revolves around building a safe haven from the oncoming ice age that threatens civilization. Players must build and research technology and laws to outlast the ever increasing cold. Of course, this is easier said than done, and every decision is the best of a bad situation.
With the use of cards, building miniatures and detailed tiles, every aspect of the video game is brought to life on the table in the most intuitive way possible. The thought of seeing a unique world rising from the tabletop and evolving as new threats arise excites me in a way only board games could.
I'm pretty sure that from now until forever, any game by Frank West will appear on my wish-list. The game of the moment: Race to the Raft - a co-operative, social puzzle game featuring my favourite apex predator, the majestic cat. Due to be delivered from Kickstarter this July, my wishes are to be fulfilled soon!
If you've followed The City of Games, you'll know cats feature quite heavily in their designs with Isle of Cats being their most popular game. As a fully-fledged cat lady, I'll admit the initial draw to the game was the art and theme, but upon playing you soon discover there's so much more to West's creations.
This is not the first time I've backed The City of Games on Kickstarter either. Last year I decided to go for both expansion packs for the Isle of Cats, as well as the more streamlined Isle of Cats Explore and Draw . Both were fantastic additions to my collection!
Currently, both of the games I own fulfil a different need for my gaming enjoyment. Isle of Cats is a meatier game, with more choices, fantastic components and a great table presence.
Explore and Draw is a more compact, travel friendly game, with a much faster playtime and easily teachable to newer gamers.
Race to the Raft is finally bringing what's missing: a co-operative cat saving objective!
I love co-operatives. As someone who can be very competitive, I find co-ops take the pressure off and I enjoy winning alongside my fellow players. Race to the Raft's main 'threat' is fire – and having enjoyed Flashpoint Fire Rescue, I can't wait to embark on cat rescue.
Race to the Raft also has a campaign style and each puzzle/game increases in difficultly, and introduces more rules. Perfect for someone like me, who finds dense rulebooks overwhelming.
I cannot wait to bring it to the table!