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New Game Round-up: Becoming a True Messiah, Opening Someone's Head, and Noshing on Marie Antoinette's Leftovers

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Osprey Games debuted in 2015 with The King Is Dead, a new version of Peer Sylvester's King of Siam, and in August 2016 it will release the original Peer Sylvester title Let Them Eat Cake, which features an enchanting cover image by Lauren Dawson. So much said with this one image!

Here's an overview of this 3-6 player game:

"Liberty! Equality! Eclairs!" The glorious revolution has done away with tyranny! Now you and your friends make up the Revolutionary Committee, overseeing justice throughout the land. Still, now that the queen's gone, it would be a shame to let all that cake go to waste...

Become the first among equals by amassing honor! Become happy by amassing cake! Send your friends' pawns to the guillotine! First to forty cakes wins!

Let Them Eat Cake is a game of committees, coercion, and cake. Elect your friends to positions of power in the hope that they look on your patronage favorably — or denounce them as enemies of the revolution. Alliances and betrayal are all fair game as you try to amass as much cake as you can before the revolution collapses.

Cool Mini Or Not has acquired worldwide rights to Sheriff of Nottingham from Brazilian publisher Galápagos Jogos, noting that it will continue to work with existing partners for continued availability of the game in English, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. In a press release announcing the deal, Bryan Pope from Arcane Wonders, which publishes the game in English, said, "This new relationship will provide even better support of the game and fans will see some great expansions in the future."

Craig Stern's True Messiah from Sinister Design has a compelling setting and equally fantastic art, both of which recall the Heresy CCG of the mid-1990s (at least from what I can recall of it). Here's what's going on in the game:

It is the near future; Earth. Years ago, scientists successfully constructed the Belief Engine, a machine that warps reality based on peoples' strongly held beliefs. The machine was turned on for testing, but it proved too sensitive: widespread belief in the depravity of man and fears of social collapse suddenly took on the full force of objective fact, and science skepticism rendered the Engine's creators helpless to intervene. Without resort to a shared external reality, civilization crumbled like a sand castle in the tide.

From the ruins have now arisen cults led by charismatic, messianic figures possessed of seemingly divine powers derived from the still-functioning Engine. You are one such a figure — the true one, the Messiah. It is God's will that you build temples and marshal followers, then mold their beliefs to perform miracles and destroy your rivals. They'll be doing the same, but don't worry – God is on your side...

Players combat one another on the 8x8 game board, build temples, loot the temples of others, and acquire cards through a market to build up personalized decks. Someone wins this 2-4 player game by slaying an enemy messiah, by reducing an enemy to fewer than four followers, by capturing an enemy's holy city, or by reducing an enemy to fewer than eight miracle cards. Stern plans to Kickstart True Messiah in late 2016 or early 2017.

• In the category of "it makes perfect sense when you think about it, but I'm still having a hard time believing it's real" comes H.E.A.D. Hunters from designers Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel and publisher Gut Shot Games. Here's what I'm talking about:

H.E.A.D. Hunters is an expandable card-driven miniatures game in which everything that one player needs is stored inside the head of a collectable toy.

In more detail, in this tabletop game for two or more players, each player controls their own Hero of Every Age & Dimension (H.E.A.D.) Hunter. Each toy features its own deck of cards, unique starting terrain and buildings, measuring string, and combat dice to attack and defend against other Hunters as it moves around the table for position and opportunity. When the game is over, all the components fit back inside the toy's head.

Gut Shot Games plans to Kickstarter this game/toy line in the latter half of 2016. The really disturbing thing about this project is the missing period in the graphic for H.E.A.D. Hunters; ideally they can fund that period and put it in its proper place.

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