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New Game Round-up: Cryptozoic's 2014 Line-Up — Walkers and Villains, Heroes and Hobbits, Ninja and the NHL, Plus Cake!

W. Eric Martin
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U.S. publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment has unveiled a plethora of forthcoming releases for 2014, and I've summarized them below with more complete descriptions usually being available on each individual game page. Expect to see more details and images once we get closer to their release dates, while keeping in mind that all release dates and other details presented below are subject to change due to any number of reasons. With that out of the way, here's this year's menu of offerings from Cryptozoic:

The Walking Dead Board Game: The Best Defense – Woodbury Expansion adds a new location to The Walking Dead Board Game: The Best Defense — Woodbury, duh — along with a new resource deck; if players manage to empty this deck, they win the game immediately. The Woodbury Expansion also adds The Governor, who can act as an automated piece that moves around the board and causes havoc or who can be controlled by a player, turning the game into a "one vs. many" experience. (March 12, 2014; $13 MSRP)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Deck-Building Game follows the same format of The Lord of the Rings deck-building games from Cryptozoic, with each player having an oversized hero card with a special ability and a hand of cards with which they want to use power in order to defeat and acquire cards from a central path. (May 2014; $40 MSRP)

• Speaking of which, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Deck-Building Game is, as you might expect, the third title in Cryptozoic's LotR deck-building series. As with the first two releases, this game can be played on its own or combined with the other games that use the "Cerberus" deck-building game engine, including the Hobbit game listed right above this one. A new feature in this set is "The Journey of the Ring" map, with some cards moving the Ring of Power toward Mount Doom while Sauron's minions try to delay its progress. (June 2014; $40 MSRP)

Archer: The Danger Zone! Board Game puts you in the role of one of the characters from the FX animated series, and by using your unique character deck you need to insult and get the upper hand on your fellow players in order to get the Upper Hand — this game's VPs — needed to win. (Q2 2014; $40 MSRP)

Bravest Warriors Co-operative Dice Game is based on the animated series created by Adventure Time's Pendleton Ward, with 1-6 players taking on the role of the Warriors (or their hangers-on) to use dice, portals, and special abilities to overcome encounters and survive events. (July 2014; $25 MSRP)

Naruto Shippuden Deck-Building Game, which uses characters from the popular manga and anime series, is also built on the "Cerberus" deck-building game engine, but with players also focusing on Chakra, a new source of energy for their characters and many of the cards they play. (July 2014; $40 MSRP)

The Walking Dead "Don't Look Back" Competitive Dice Game has one to four characters from the show, each with a different special power, competing to kill walkers in different locations, with each location requiring a different approach to gameplay. (tentatively August 2014; $20 MSRP)

Portal: Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is designed by the creators of the Portal and Portal 2 video games and will feature custom playing pieces such as "test subjects, sentry turret, weighted companion cube, and delicious cake". Mmmm, tasty, tasty cake. (tentatively Q3 2014; name not final)

DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Crisis Expansion (Pack 1) consists of two parts. First, six new superheroes and additional new main deck cards can be added to either standalone game in Cryptozoic's DC Comics line. Second, you can use revamped versions of the superheroes and supervillains from the original DC Comics Deck-Building Game as well as fifteen Crisis cards and the rules for the co-operative "Impossible Mode" to replay the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" storyline. (Q3 2014; $20 MSRP)

• Like the item just above, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Deck-Building Game Expansion Pack is not a standalone game but rather an expansion for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Deck-Building Game. This expansion contains a new main deck and Smaug as an Archenemy, and players dive into this deck immediately after finishing off the final Archenemy in An Unexpected Journey, bringing their now power-filled deck to bear against tougher opponents, not least of which is Smaug himself. (Q3 2014; $20 MSRP)

NHL Power Play Team-Building Card Game puts players in charge of building their own hockey teams, with a captain card to focus their efforts and players available from across all thirty NHL teams. Pull together attackers, defenders, skills and maneuvers in a game built on Cryptozoic's "Cerberus" deck-building game engine in order to take shots on the goal and score. This standalone game will include one hundred players, and Cryptozoic plans to release an expansion to coincide with the All-Star scheduled for January 2015 so that players can add promising rookies to their teams. (tentatively Q3 2014; name not final)

• Days before the Heroes Unite game hits the U.S. market on Feb. 26, Cryptozoic is already teasing the third standalone title in this game series: DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Forever Evil, which lets you play as the villains in the DC universe instead of as the heroes. (tentatively October 2014; $40 MSRP)
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