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At Gen Con 2019, CMON Limited Revamps Zombicide, Features Ankh: Gods of Egypt, and Looks Ahead to Cyberpunk 2077

W. Eric Martin
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I need to clone myself for major conventions because I'll learn something in passing or see a game announcement from a publisher — but I'm already committed to a publisher meeting or a game preview that absorbs the time that I would spend writing about all this new stuff, which means that I learn a lot during a convention like Gen Con, yet have little time to relay that material to you, gentle reader.

This is especially true for major announcements from publishers, as with CMON Limited's trio of announcements during Gen Con 2019, with the most exciting of these being the revelation of Eric M. Lang's Ankh: Gods of Egypt, which CMON describes as "the final installment of Eric M. Lang's strategic trilogy" following Blood Rage and Rising Sun. Here's a short description of the game, which is for 2-5 players and which will hit Kickstarter before the end of 2019:

Quote:
Play as a god of ancient Egypt, competing to survive as society begins to forget the old ways, so that only you and your followers remain.

Build caravans, summon monsters, and convert followers in your quest to reign supreme in Ankh: Gods of Egypt. Deities, monsters, and the people of ancient Egypt have been lovingly reimagined and interpreted in beautiful illustrations and detailed miniatures, and players will truly feel like gods as they shake the very foundations of Egypt. All gameplay in Ankh, including combat, is streamlined and non-random. Compete and win solely on your godly wits alone.
Given the nature of those other two titles and CMON's business model as a whole, you shouldn't be surprised to learn that Ankh: Gods of Egypt will feature miniatures aplenty, with Mike McVey directing the look of them. Here are samples displayed at Gen Con 2019:






Artist Adrian Smith, who worked with Lang and McVey on both Blood Rage and Rising Sun, is providing art for Ankh: Gods of Egypt:




• A second title announced by CMON Limited during Gen Con 2019 was Cyberpunk 2077: Afterlife: The Card Game, co-designed by Lang and Andrea Chiarvesio and produced in collaboration with CD PROJEKT RED, creator of the Cyberpunk 2077 video game. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
Cyberpunk 2077: Afterlife: The Card Game thrusts players into the dark alleyways of Night City where ruthless gangs clash with corporations in an endless war for money, power, and control.

In the game, you become fixers — databrokers and masterminds of Night City. Your job is to recruit cyberpunks, equip them with gear, and send them out on missions. Each successful mission raises your street cred, with mission survivors becoming veterans, imparting their knowledge and experience to newer recruits. In this chrome-infused world, street cred is the only currency that matters.

Nothing comes cheap in Night City. You need to balance between what you want and what you can actually afford. Using an innovative drafting mechanism and special dashboard, you must decide which cards you want to buy and which to sacrifice for funds in order to purchase new ones.
At Gen Con 2019, CMON labeled this title as a Q4 2077 release, but in fact it bears the far more reasonable release date of 2020.

• CMON also announced a 2020 Kickstarter campaign for Zombicide: 2nd Edition, with senior producer Thiago Aranha saying in a press release: "We've gone through every aspect of the game, from making doors easier to work, to updating how the car drives on the board, to reworking target priority for ranged attacks and adding in dark zones that will hide zombies from survivor's bullets, looking at where we could improve and make the Zombicide game experience all that it could be. We're very proud with how this new edition has turned out, and it'll provide all the thrill of Zombicide, yet challenge returning players in new ways."

While the original game had ten scenarios, this new edition features "25 different scenarios linked by a branching story". Updates will be available so that players can adapt their existing Zombicide material to the refined rules of this upcoming release.




• Finally, prior to Gen Con 2019, CMON announced a partnership with Italian company Xplored for a new gaming console called Teburu that will blend the physical and digital elements of gameplay.

The first title to be released on Teburu is Zombicide Evolution – Las Vegas, and at Gen Con 2019 CMON ran demos of this game for the press, VIGs, and others. The idea behind the game will be familiar to anyone who's played Zombicide: Explore your surroundings, collect weapons, complete missions, and (of course) destroy relentless hordes of zombies.

The Teburu system functions like a video game in that it manages all of the rules of the game, allowing you to jump into gameplay while knowing nothing. We placed our characters in the starting location on the game board, learned our mission, then started doing things — moving around, opening doors, interacting with NPCs, searching rooms, and so forth. If something wasn't allowed, the system told us so; if we goofed, perhaps ending our turn after taking only one action, we could undo our turn and try again. The system has a central game portal that relays information to all, while each player has their own phone (provided for the demo by CMON) that features their character. You can click around on your character to see their stats, check out what's in their inventory, switch weapons, trade weapons with others, etc.




When you want to move, you pick up your character and place it on a target in the room to which you're moving, with the device registering your presence in the room. (Each character has a magnet and embedded ID sensor.) When you roll dice to shoot or hack at zombies, the wireless dice relay the results of your roll to the game system. To search a room, you pick up your character, then place it back into the same room. At the end of a round after each player has taken their turn, the system tells you where new zombies enter the game board and where zombies already in play move. As you interact with NPCs, the game system plays out their role with video and audio accompaniment, as in a video game. Sometimes zombies burst into a room unexpectedly, with the system handling all of the random dice checks that you might otherwise be required to monitor and perform on your own.

I've never played Zombicide previously, but I jumped into the game and rolled through most of a scenario with others. The system was a little finicky at times, mostly with regard to the dice. Several times one player picked up the dice, shook them a little in his hand, then stopped to consider something or other, and the system would record the "result" of the roll because the dice were no longer moving — after which the player would undo the result, then actually roll the dice. For the most part, the Teburu system handled all of the details that I wouldn't want to do on my own, allowing me to focus on making plans with my fellow players. I didn't even pause to take a photo of anything, so clearly I was engaged!
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