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New Game Round-up: Yet More Hobbits, Shiny Revamped Goblins & Stone Age Architects

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• In the wake of recent announcements of Cryptozoic's handful of Hobbit board, card and deck-building games and WizKids' Clix-based Hobbit game, it might seem odd to run across yet another Hobbit-based game, but here we are – you and me and everyone else – learning about yet another Hobbit-based game, this one being The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill, a "Saga expansion" for Fantasy Flight Games' The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

Unlike those other Hobbit titles, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill – announced as a Q3 2012 release – is (1) an expansion for an existing card game, and (2) based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel and not the forthcoming movies from Peter Jackson. The three scenarios included are meant to be played sequentially, allowing players to recreate the Bilbo Baggins story from The Hobbit. Treasure can be found during a scenario that then stays in play for future outings. Bilbo Baggins appears as a hero in the expansion and should he leave play, everyone loses the game – seems fair.

A second Saga expansion encompassing the latter half of that novel is planned for release later in 2012.

• Fantasy Flight has also announced an English-language version of Walter Obert's Aargh!Tect with the apparently more "English" title Ugg-Tect – which coincidentally is nearly Obert's original name for the design, Urk!tekt. For those who haven't played Ugg-Tect, players are trying to build a structure, but they're cranially-limited cavemen who can communicate only through barely differentiated grunts and wild gestures. When the architect delivers building instructions to her partners and they do well, she bonks them once on the head with her club to praise them; when they do poorly, she bonks them twice. Fun!

• I was way off with my guess a couple of days ago that the "very strange message from another galaxy" posted on the Moonster Games website related to Kim Satô's forthcoming science-fiction-based game RYŪ. Message from another galaxy, SF game – you think it would have been obvious, right?

No, instead the message announced the second edition of Satô's GOSU, dubbed GOSU2. While game play will remain much the same as GOSU – with players building armies comprised of goblins from five clans, each with a special power, in order to have the strongest army in play once everyone passes in the current battle – Moonster Games has detailed a number of changes:

-----GOSU2 no longer includes activation tokens, which were used to draw cards or activate a goblin's power.
-----–All text has been removed from the cards to make them (and the game as a whole) fully multilingual.
-----–Goblin abilities are now based on seven symbols, each with a basic and a MAX version.
-----–The game includes a new «link» ability.
-----–The goblin clans are structured differently.

GOSU2, which will have shiny "foil"-covered cards, is currently due out in July 2012, according to Moonster. Not sure whether GOSU needs a reboot given that the first game appeared in late 2010 and the sequel/standalone/expansion GOSU: Kamakor was released only in early 2012, but we'll get a better idea of what Moonster has in mind when the GOSU2 rulebook is released in May 2012.

• For today's Kickstarter item, we'll point out David Short's Ground Floor from Tasty Minstrel Games, which went live on KS a few days ago and has already hit its first (unannounced) overfunding goal. TMG's Michael Mindes had an interesting strategy for this release, getting folks to sign up on a special email list just for this game, then sending these people complete print-and-play files for the game two weeks prior to the KS project going live. Several BGG users have put together versions of the game and posted reviews or session reports, and since only those enthusiastic about the concept of the game or its rulebook description would likely do such a thing, the reports have been fairly positive. Possibly a model that other publishers should consider... (KS link)
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