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New Game Round-up: Container Sails Again, and White Wizard Introduces Hero Realms

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Container
• After many years of being lost at sea, Franz-Benno Delonge and Thomas Ewert's Container is headed back to port — I mean, print — via Mercury Games. This publication is a homecoming of sorts as Mercury Games is co-owned by Kevin Nesbitt, who developed the design when Valley Games first published Container in 2007 and who designed the Container: The Second Shipment expansion, which was released in 2008.

Whether Container will be a straight reprint or something revised from the original — as with Mercury's new edition of Martin Wallace's Princes of the Renaissance — is still in the works. In response to a question, Nesbitt noted that the expansion won't return to print, but he said, "I kept some notes over the years for ways I could further improve upon those ideas. Players will have some new and reworked mechanisms to have fun with, and depending on how well they work and how much complexity they add, they would be included in the base game or in an expansion (or possibly split between the two)."

Nesbitt added, "It's too early to say what, if anything, will be different about the reprint, but the original developer (me) is on board the project once again, and the designers were both very happy with the final product last time around."

One thing that will definitely differ in this new edition of Container, which Mercury expects to release in 2017 with new artwork, is the composition of the ships, which were created from dental composite resins, according to Nesbitt. "It's too early to guess at the final material", he says, "but I think it's safe to say that we'll be using a more conventional material with a little more shatter-resistance. We're leaning towards a material that allows for a little more detail in the ships and containers, and that could mean real miniatures. (It feels funny calling large ships miniatures.)"

Board Game: Hero Realms
• I kept pestering White Wizard Games for info on Hero Realms, which was originally billed as a fantasy-based reimplementation of Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty's Star Realms. Now WWG has dropped tons of info on the game in the form of a Kickstarter project, and there's a lot to absorb. First, an overview of the game itself:

Hero Realms is a fantasy-themed deck-building game that is an adaptation of the award-winning Star Realms game. The game includes basic rules for two-player games, along with rules for multiplayer formats such as Free-For-All, Hunter, and Hydra.

Each player starts the game with a ten-card personal deck containing gold (for buying) and weapons (for combat). You start each turn with a new hand of five cards from your personal deck. When your deck runs out of cards, you shuffle your discard pile into your new deck. An 80-card Market deck is shared by all players, with five cards being revealed from that deck to create the Market Row. As you play, you use gold to buy champion cards and action cards from the Market. These champions and actions can generate large amounts of gold, combat, or other powerful effects. You use combat to attack your opponent and their champions. When you reduce your opponent's score (called health) to zero, you win!
Aside from the 144 cards in the basic Hero Realms game, WWG is also releasing:

—Five character packs, with each giving you ten starting cards specific to a fantasy character type (cleric, wizard, thief, fighter, ranger).
—Two Boss decks — Lich and Dragon — which allow one player to fight as the Boss against everyone else or for two players to compete with bosses head-to-head.
—A Campaign Starter Deck with solo and co-op campaign rules that let you gain skill and gear cards to improve your abilities so that you can effectively level up to try to complete the three missions included in the pack.

And as you might expect based on Star Realms, WWG has plans for much more:

We will release an ongoing campaign of cooperative adventures, with a story that takes place over time. Make your mark in an adventure that takes place in Thandar and beyond! As the story develops, the game will develop, and the characters will progress with new options that will keep the game fresh and exciting!

For competitive players, Hero Realms launches with all of the deep strategy featured in Star Realms. And, just like in that game, we will continue to grow the game with optional expansions that will expand the scope and the depth of gameplay options. We will also provide support for organized play so that you can battle for prizes and fame.
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