W. Eric Martin
• German publisher Feuerland Spiele usually debuts one big and beefy title at the SPIEL game convention in October, and for 2018 that title is Magnastorm by Bauldric & Friends, the pen name of Maximilian Thiel. This 2-4 player tactical design plays in 70-100 minutes, and the description of the action panels below makes more sense when you check out the image on the back of the box:
When the first exploration vessels entered the cloudy atmosphere of the planet Magnastorm, they discovered not only evidence of abundant natural resources, but also the remains of a long-lost civilization. At the bidding of the magistracy, scout vehicles are lowered to the barren surface to search for suitable mining areas.
The goal of Magnastorm is to be the first player with a certain number of reputation points. You acquire reputation mostly through fulfilling objectives, taking control of one or more of the eight commanders, and building transmitter stations. The flow of the game is controlled by an action board with two action panels, each of which has five columns. At the start of each round, there are a 3-5 action tokens (crew members) standing in each column on the upper action panel. To carry out an action, a player:
A) takes an action token from the upper panel and places it on the lower action panel either to gain resources or to pay for a movement on the planet surface, or
B) pays for every action token still standing in a certain column on the upper panel to gain control over the commander and his ability at the top of that panel, after which the player places those action tokens on the lower panel.
Since option A) will reduce the cost for option B), the players have to find the right timing for their actions. A round ends when the upper panel is empty. For the next round, the panels are swapped.
Magnastorm is a big, tactical board game with very little luck. Choose the right moment to perform actions or buy influence over helpful commanders. You will reap success through resource management, clever logistics, good timing, and a shrewd eye on the actions of your opponents. At the end of the game, each player receives one of 120 reward cards, which can be used in later games to compensate for varying levels of skill among the players.
Wait a sec — reward cards that affect future games? This sounds like a fascinating way to include a handicap (or leg up) for those who play the game multiple times. Do you keep the cards in your wallet and pull them out when you play on someone else's copy of the game? "I'm a Magnastorm expert, y'all, and I got the cards to prove it!"
• In addition to The Norwegians expansion for A Feast for Odin, covered previously here, Feuerland Spiele will have a co-operative game from Wolfgang Warsch for 2-4 players titled Fuji that works as follows:
In Fuji, you play as a group of adventurers on their way to Japan‘s most famous volcano, Mount Fuji. But just before you arrive at your destination, the earth begins to shake and the volcano erupts! Now your group must escape the deadly lava flows as quickly as possible to reach the safe village.
In this cooperative dice game, players simultaneously and secretely roll their dice behind their screens in each round. During the game, you must find the best way across a certain number of terrain cards to the safe village for each player. Each terrain card has a given dice requirement. You can move to a card only if you match this requirement better than both your neighbors — but since you know only your own dice and can communicate only vaguely, you will need both skill and luck to save yourselves.
The game ends with a success if all players reach the village. It fails if one of you falls victim to the lava or becomes too exhausted to proceed.
More communicatively-vague gameplay courtesy of WW? I'm in!
• Gaming trends and nostalgia have merged in the publication of MacGyver: The Escape Room Game from designers Rebecca Bleau and Nicholas Cravotta and publisher Pressman, with this title being one of several dozen new exclusive games on the shelves of the Target retail chain in the U.S. The game includes five scenarios that need to be played in order, and these scenarios were inspired by episodes of the MacGyver television series. A quote from the publisher's press release: "'Pressman's escape room game is unique since players have to "MacGyver" their way through the missions by using ordinary, everyday objects like a paperclip,' said David Norman, President of Pressman Toy Corporation."
• Designer Andy Looney of Looney Labs is developing a Star Trek-based version of his time-travel card game Chrononauts for release in 2019. Kristin Looney says that their license doesn't include 100% of everything ST-related, but "likely anything that you wish we had access to".
And check out that game design cave!