W. Eric Martin
• Fresh on the heels of Legendary: Paint the Town Red hitting the U.S. market, Upper Deck Entertainment is announcing its next release for the Legendary game line — Legendary: Marvel Villains Deck Building Game. Details for this release are sketchy right now, but here's what I do know:
In Legendary: Marvel Villains Deck Building Game, you can now play as villains trying to take out the heroes protecting the city! The goal of the game remains roughly the same as in the first Legendary game as players can work both with and against other players to overcome obstacles that the game throws at them. In this case, however, players use the super villains of the Marvel Universe — including Venom, Magneto and Thanos — to battle superheroes such as the X-Men, the Avengers and Spider-Friends.
Legendary: Marvel Villains Deck Building Game, which bears a U.S. street date of June 25, 2014, is a standalone game that includes a game board, bystanders, agents, officers, dividers, and whatever else you need to play. I don't know whether cards from this game can be mixed with those already available, but details will likely be released during the GAMA Trade Show that takes place March 17-21, 2014.
• Upper Deck has also announced an August 2014 release date for Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game, so expect to see this at Gen Con 2014. Details are similarly light for this item right now, with the gist being that gameplay is similar to the Marvel version of Legendary, but is fully co-operative with players taking on the role of protagonists such as Ripley, Dallas, Bishop and
Private Corporal Hicks to wipe out Xenomorphs.
• Lorenzo Silva, co-designer of Dungeon Fighter, Steam Park and other titles, has separated from Italian publisher Cranio Creations and is now running the new board game publisher Horrible Games, with Dungeon Fighter and Steam Park also making the move. (Cranio will continue to distribute the Dungeon Fighter line in Italy.)
Dungeon Fighter: The Big Wave, the second large expansion for that game, will include:
...new monsters and equipment, a new pirate hero, and new maps with special rooms, while featuring Cthulhu as the Boss. As in a fantasy role-playing game, players can accumulate experience points, then use them for power cards that allow for devastating water powers, such as the "Major Healing" spell — but beware the new monster choking ability! You'll have to fight them off by using the three small elemental dice to make new "impossible" die rolls...
Silva says that Dungeon Fighter: The Big Wave will be released at the beginning of April in Europe, with the game being shipped to the U.S. at the same time for release at a date to be determined later by Fantasy Flight Games. Two other Dungeon Fighter expansions are in the works involving the elements air and earth, and as noted on BGG Silva hopes to have them both available by Spiel 2014 in October.
As for other Horrible releases, Silva says that an expansion for Steam Park is in development, with it containing "a new beautiful yellow ride", material to add a fifth player to the game, and ways to increase player interaction.
Also in the works from Horrible is a storytelling game titled Co-Mix that Silva says will "test the players' imagination and creativity, putting them in the shoes of comic writers with a strict schedule". You'll have a hand of panel cards, with hundreds of cards being included in the game, and you'll compose a story by placing panels on the empty "comic page" game board. Says Silva, "We are planning to work on some small expansions focused on different genres (horror, sci-fi, adventure) to go with the basic game that will feature themes like super heroes, detectives and robots". Here's a sketch of cards that you might see months down the line:
• U.S. publisher Bézier Games has announced two new releases for 2014, the first being Subdivision from first-time designer (and BGG admin) Lucas Hedgren. As you might be able to guess from the graphic design of this game, not to mention the archetypal guy-leaning-over-a-model-of-a-city, Subdivision bears some similarities to Bézier's Suburbia, both of them being city-building games. Suburbia designer and Bézier owner Ted Alspach says this is intentional as the two games "share the same fundamental city-building feel", albeit with gameplay that has nothing in common. Here's a summary of how to play:
In Subdivision, each player has been allocated a specific area in which to create the best possible subdivision, filling it with residential, commercial, industrial, civic, and luxury zones, while balancing various improvements to the area, including roads, schools, parks, sidewalks, and lakes. By the end of the game, each player will have created a unique, custom neighborhood with areas that interact with each other, hoping to outscore the competition by having the best subdivision.
In the game, each player starts with a subdivision player board and a hand of hex-shaped zone tiles. A parcel die is rolled to indicate the type of parcel where a zone tile may be placed, and all players simultaneously place one of their tiles. If a zone tile is placed next to existing zone tiles, those existing tiles have the ability to create new improvements, which may also be placed at this time. Those improvements provide money and points, while slowly covering up as many parcels as possible. Players pass the remaining zone tiles in hand to their left, then someone rolls the parcel die once again. This continues until only one zone tile remains in hand, which is discarded.
Players then play another round, but at the start of the second, third, and fourth rounds, players first check to see whether they've achieved bonuses, which give them extra cash or allow for extra activations of certain zone tiles.
After four rounds, the game ends, and scores are tallied, with players gaining points for parks being adjacent to other tiles, sidewalks passing through as many different zones and improvements as possible, schools ranking the best in the city, and zones connecting to the highway that runs around (or through) your subdivision.
Subdivision is scheduled for release in August 2014, with the game debuting at Gen Con 2014.
• The second title coming from Bézier Games, due out in October for Spiel 2014 with separate English and German editions is Castles of Mad King Ludwig from Bézier's Ted Alspach. If you know anything about the history of the Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian region of Germany, then you'll already have some idea of what's going on in the game. In more detail:
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria...one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he's commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he's building while also selling his services to other players.
In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards.
After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King's demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.
"The great thing about Castles," adds Alspach, "is that what you're building actually feels like a castle, with stone-walled rooms of various shapes and sizes, resulting in a castle that not only scores you points, but looks amazing as well." Castles of Mad King Ludwig has been developed by Dale Yu, who also worked as developer on Alspach's Suburbia.