W. Eric Martin
• U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new Living Card Game (LCG) in its line-up — Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, with Eric M. Lang leading the design. (For those who don't know, a Living Card Game consists of a boxed game that includes a large number of cards and all the components needed to play as well as regularly released expansion packs that add a non-random set of cards to the game.) Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, which retails for $40, is due out Q3 2014, so expect to see a rush through the doors at Gen Con 2014 to grab this one. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:
In Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, a two-player Living Card Game, you take the part of a warlord, leading your armies into battle against your opponent in a bid to claim glorious victory. Even as you lead your bravest warriors into battle, you must plan for the future, establishing a presence on planets before the tides of war consume them in blood and fire. You must conquer the Traxis sector by strength of arms for in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.
Warhammer 40,000: Conquest introduces seven distinct factions: Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Orks, Chaos, Dark Eldar, Eldar, and Tau. Each of these factions possesses a unique flavor and style of play, and an alignment wheel introduces the possibility of forming an alliance between two factions.
At the start of play, the Traxis sector lies open before you, with planets awaiting the tramp of armies on the road to war. Each round begins with you and your opponent preparing for battle. Planet cards are arranged in a row between the players at the beginning of the game, and the planet farthest to the left of the starting player is the first planet. Each round, you or your opponent will clash at the first planet, and the victor will capture the first planet.
Capturing planets is your ultimate goal. Some planets possess essential materials necessary for the armies of the 41st millennium. Others offer strategic advantages to those who hold them, while yet others are home to great technological wealth. Each of the planet cards possesses one or more symbols in the upper left hand corner, designating that planet's assets. These symbols grant no abilities by themselves, but the first player to collect three planets sharing a common symbol dominates the sector and wins the game.
Your warlord grants powerful special abilities, determines your starting resources and hand size, and serves as a vital part of your army, so you'll want to build your deck around your warlord to take full advantage of his strengths — and cover his weaknesses as defeating the opponent's warlord is another way to victory.
• Competing for those Gen Con 2014 dollars will be Doomtown: Reloaded, a revamped version of the late 1990s collectible card game Deadlands: Doomtown from Dave Williams and Alderac Entertainment Group. AEG's Mark Wootton is co-designer on this project, with Doomtown: Reloaded being an Expandable Card Game that consists of a base game set, which is due out in August 2014, and "Saddlebag" expansions. (Why "Expandable" instead of "Living"? Because "Living Card Game" is a registered trademark owned by FFG, and you don't mess with someone's ® unless you're lookin' for a duel.) Here's a short description of the game:
Featuring four factions fighting for control of Gomorra, California, Doomtown: Reloaded allows you to build your own deck from a fixed set of cards in the box. Play your dudes to control deeds in the town, and use actions, hexes, and more to thwart your opponents. Shootouts are resolved via a poker mechanism as every card has a suit and value. Preparing for the hands you want to draw is as much a part of deck building as choosing the actions and dudes you'll want to play.
• Hitting the market slightly earlier than those two items will be The X-Files, a new take on the much-loved television series from designer Kevin Wilson and publishing partners IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games. Not much details other than a July 2014 release date and the one vs. all nature of the game:
In The X-Files, players take on the role of Mulder, Scully, and the X-Files team as they work to uncover global conspiracies and threats while going up against various members of the Syndicate. In game terms, 2-5 players team up against one opponent who controls the Smoking Man and his nefarious network.
The X-Files board game will focus on material from the first three seasons of the television series, giving fans a chance to start from the beginning of the phenomenon.
The truth takes its own sweet time...
Update: No sooner had I hit "publish" then I received another press release from IDW Games and Pandasaurus announcing the English-language release of this little beauty:
Yes, Masao Suganuma's Machi Koro is due out July 2014 from these publishers with a $30 MSRP, with the Machi Koro Plus expansion due out by the end of 2014. For details on the gameplay of this die-based city-building game, head to my Machi Koro preview, which ran on BGG News in October 2013. I described the game then as "Catan Writ Small", and that label still works for me now.