W. Eric Martin
• I love the look of everything coming out of Mondo Games, with the most recent announcement from the company being Video Vortex, a 2-4 player game that will be demoed at Gen Con 2019 ahead of a planned release in September 2019. Here's an overview of the game, which only hints at the world in which this takes place:
Video Vortex is a competitive deck-building game for 2-4 players set in a radioactive future Earth inhabited by video-obsessed mutants. Each genre-worshiping character must strategically employ their individual mutant powers while battling opponents and navigating game effects in an attempt to seize control of the wasteland.
On their respective turns, players will spend Energy to play special cards, power their deck with Rentals from the local video store, and Eject chosen cards from play to weaken foes. Runtime, the measure of mutant health, is limited and unique to each character. By advancing an opponent's runtime beyond their limit through Lo-Fi and Hi-Fi attacks, mutants collect Be Kind tokens as trophies representative of their conquest. Once three distinctive trophies have been collected, victory is declared by the reigning champion.
• The newest title from Uli Blennemann's Spielworxx is now available for preorder, with this game having a print run of only 500 copies instead of the normal one thousand. Jimmy Maas's Auf der Walz draws on an interesting and unusual inspiration for source material in the game's setting:
Auf der Walz is a game that has the "journeyman years" as the topic. This is a tradition that dates back to medieval times and is still alive in German-speaking countries. A craftsman has to be "Auf der Walz" (roughly translated as "on the road") for three years and one day without ever getting closer than fifty kilometers to home. The young journeyman wears a traditional dress: flared pants, waistcoat, jacket, black hat (as a symbol for freedom), the "Stenz" (traditional curled hiking pole), and the "Charlottenburger" (coarse cloth to wrap up the belongings). They work (for a little bit of money but also for board and lodge) for people on their journey.
Auf der Walz is a "travel game" with resource management that takes place in the second half of the 19th century. Like life on the Walz, it includes uncertainty and random elements. Each player earns points at the end of each year on the journey and in an end-scoring after that additional one day.
The engine of the game is a deck of cards. Each player has six cards per year (and an additional card for the last day) and conducts actions with them: traveling, working, finding travel mates, etc. as well as leisure activities: music, writing, painting.
• The Dietz Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Jim Dietz, who ran Jolly Roger Games from 1996 to 2015. The purpose of the organization "is to produce games which enhance critical thinking, the use of math, and historical knowledge with the goal of generating revenue to endow scholarships for budding teachers and current teachers seeking to bring creative new means of education to the classroom".
For its first release, which will hit Kickstarter on July 8, 2019, The Dietz Foundation plans to release Jason Little's 3 Years of War, a 4-5 player game set during the Thirty Years' War that Little describes as "The Grizzled meets Knizia's Beowulf meets... Russian Roulette?" Here's a short description:
War is upon you. The major houses have all but forgotten you, yet your neighboring rivals have not. Be wary lest your enemies — and the crushing despair of war — destroy you once and for all!
3 Years of War is a card-based hand- and resource-management game. Through cunning card play, players vie for precious resources while making the most out of desperate situations and increasingly bleak options. The player who best navigates this barren and bitter landscape, minimizing their setbacks along the way, may have what it takes to survive...three years of war.