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Review: Welcome To…

Welcome To… made its debut in podcast #82, but now it’s time for the real housewarming party: The official SU&SD review of one of the best roll’n’write games ever designed.

Are you a sharp enough architect to assemble three streets, speckle them with swimming pools, dab them with parkland and negotiate with real estate agents and contractors? You’re probably not, no. But you’ll have a great time trying.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Podcast #85: Do you have any Fascist Fish?

Come on up! Make yourself at home in our twiggy podcast nest, where Paul and Quinns are ready to regurgitate some warmed-up board game knowledge into your waiting beak.

This episode features the quietly fabulous tile-laying of Gunkimono. There’s Taj Mahal, the fourth in a fantastic series of beautiful Reiner Knizia remakes. We’ve had a first play of Trade on the Tigris, a new negotiation game from the designer of Space Cadets. Quinns talks about how GKR: Heavy Hitters is almost his favourite game of all time, if it could just be combined somehow with Critical Mass (see podcast #84). Also, like the rest of the internet, we’ve begun playing Root and can’t seem to stop.

Finally, the pair chat about a reader mail asking when, and where, we’d consider playing board games for money. 💷💷💷

Full podcast transcript available here.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Games News! 03/09/2018

Paul: I specifically told American punk rockers Green Day to wake me up when September came* and they have done with an absolute earful of games news. We’ve got everything from castles to fish to Lara Croft this week, so let’s get this season rolling…

Quinns: …with WARHAMMER.

Wait, hang on. Warhammer… in schools?

Paul: Yes, that’s right! Teachers across North America can now apply for a free package of Warhammer products that includes miniatures, paints, starter sets and rulebooks that Games Workshop say will “provide enriching and creative activities to engage in” and “give students an opportunity to develop leadership skills and decision-making skills.” It also might just happen to get a few more young people into Warhammer.

My feelings on this are immediately 50% cynical and 50% interested, as this is absolutely a way to reach more teenage fans, but getting young people into planning, reading and painting is no bad thing. Plus, we constantly underestimate teenagers and this is going to brainwash a legion of young people and create an army of Warhammer devotees, it’s going to bring a lot of new people into tabletop gaming and act as a springboard to a wider hobby. I am a tiny bit jealous, as I wish we’d had a Warhammer Club (pun intended) instead of endless poetry stuff.

Quinns: Oh gosh, as I wrote about in this little story, the Magic: The Gathering crew at my school caused me so much jealousy and pain.

Like you, I feel really conflicted about this. Obviously it’s a cool initiative, but also… this is a company offering a free taste of their product which can get terrifically expensive very quickly. I’m probably 75% cynical and 25% interested.

Paul: Also bleeping on my sonar this week is Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, a game that immediately made me think of Between Two Ferns and then disappointed me so much when it proved to be nothing like that. Instead, publishers Bezier and Stonemaier Games are combining forces to put a new spin on Castles of Mad King Ludwig (which we talked about on this podcast) and the very curious Between Two Cities (we we talked about here).

This time around, the game has a cooperative bent, with each player working with the people each side of them to build the best possible castle, meaning that, as long as there are more than two people at the table, you’ll be on two competing teams but still looking after yourself.

Quinns: Both parent games are ones we liked but didn’t love, but perhaps their bouncing baby offspring will delight and surprise us?

Paul: Oh gosh, don’t anthropomorphise it! What if we need to put it in a bin in future.

Paul: It would be impossible to let the week pass by without mentioning Tomb Raider Legends, coming straight from video game publisher Square Enix. Tomb Raider is a huge deal and while we can’t get excited about either the pedigree of this publisher, or by not knowing who the designer attached to this project is, we can at least… quote the text from the game’s BoardGameGeek entry?

“Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game challenges you to raid tombs in a non-electronic play environment.”

Quinns: Oh. My. Gosh.

Paul: Shall we just move on?

Quinns: Please!

Paul: German publisher Lookout has a whole load of expansions coming for some of their very best games. Caverna! Isle of Skye! And…

Quinns: …What if we told you that Uwe Rosenberg’s fishing game Nusfjord was getting a deck of new fish? Can you sea the potential?

Paul: Come on, there’s a time and a plaice for puns like that.

Quinns: Clam down, Paul.

Paul: You need to let minnow if you’re going to be like this.

Quinns: I cod do that in future.

Paul: QUICKLY MOVING FORWARD to the other expansions, we have the fan-designed Forgotten Folk, for Caverna. Introducing eight new fantasy races, from dark elves to trolls, each of which has its own particular quirks and unique rooms.

This is very cool both because it’s a fan passion project turned official, but also because it introduces so many cool new things. This creature is substantial!

Quinns: There’s also the second expansion for the terrific Isle of Skye. You can watch Paul’s video review here, or read Matt and I writing about the first expansion (Journeyman) here, but soon there will be DRUIDS.

Dramatically, this expansion lets you buy not one tile a round, but TWO, the second from a special druid shop of ancient druidical sites. Imagine it. Imagine being able to buy two tiles a turn.

Paul: I cannae.

Quinns: Right? It’ll mean everyone’s islands are even bigger than they are in normal games of Isle of Skye, which I find ridiculously exciting. There’ll be even more land for the journeyman to hike across, and… goodness- I’ve just realised something very cool. The base game of Isle of Skye is an amazing, accessible tile-laying game. But by buying the expansions one after another, you’ll gradually turn it into a nuanced, heavy game. What a lovely way for someone new to the hobby to build confidence!

Paul: Over in the dangerous and wild land of Kickstarter, where only the strong survive and everyone is either predator or prey, my binoculars give me a glimpse of the new Pax Pamir, a second edition of the political game set in a nineteenth century Afghanistan beset by competing colonial powers.

Quinns didn’t fall madly in love with the first edition of this, but this revised version promises to address several problems with the original, including making player relations a much more central element. There’s every chance that this is a second edition that really promises substantial change and, with esteemed Root creator Cole Wehrle is one of its designers, I think this may well be worth us returning to some time in the future.

Quinns: I will say that I’m really hoping the second edition is great. The first game had a tremendous amount of potential. It was packed with ideas.

Paul: How about you, dear readers, do we have any Pax Pamir fans in the audience?

*It’s been brought to my attention by another member of the team (who shall remain anonymous) that I have got the lyrics and specifics of this Green Day song wrong. I have to admit that I can only think of three Green Day songs and many of the details of these songs escape me. Please accept my apology for this error and it was not my intention to upset the fans and supporters of this popular beat combo.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Shut Up & Sit Down will return next week!

A photo of the game GKR: Heavy Hitters from SU&SD’s fancy new instagram.

Quinns: Hi everybody! Our editorial team is off this week. Before we begin the content marathon represented by the final few months of the year, we thought we’d take a short break to recharge our batteries.

To give you a peek behind the curtain, our traffic actually spikes significantly in the final third of the year. As we approach Christmas our audience all want to know which games they should buy and/or play. It’s an important time for us, one where we want to deliver the absolute best videos we can, covering the very best games we can find, so we thought we’d be sensible and dedicate this week to relaxing and playtesting.

Thanks so much for your patience, everybody. We’ll be back Monday.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Review: Champions of Midgard (and expansions!)

Did you think SU&SD only scoured new releases for the very best games? Oh goodness no. This week Paul examines Champions of Midgard, a 2015 game of running around a town, assembling a posse of dice and launching them at the biggest monster who’s currently available.

But wait! There’s more! Paul’s also spent some time with the Dark Mountain and Valhalla expansions. He’s been high, and he’s been low. And we’ll tell you what else- he’s had a very good time.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Our Shopping Guide to the Best Cheap Board Games!

Paul: Hot summer strawberries! It’s the middle of August, the sun is (sometimes) in the sky (here it’s mostly just windy) andthis is the season that you finally get into board games. It’s an intimidating prospect: you’ve eyed those enormous boxes on the shelves with price tags that would make a banker blush, but this really doesn’t have to be a hobby that destroys your wallet.

Wait! What’s that noise? An approaching siren? An… ice cream van?! It’s me pedalling furiously toward you in the Shut Up & Sit Down Budget Bus, adding a host of surprising prices in this sequel to our indispensable article, How To Build an Amazing Board Game Collection for $10. GET ON BOARD.

BUT FIRST. The infinite complexities of the modern world mean that prices are inevitably in flux, that different currencies offer different possibilities, that exchange rates rise and fall like a well-fed gull perched on a wavelet. With this in mind, we’ve chosen to focus foremost on deals we’ve spotted in the US, as so much of our audience is in North America, but we have also hunted for bargains using Euros and Mighty British Pounds wherever we can. We’re not quoting any shipping or customs costs, either, just the base costs we find.

We’ve kept one eye on Amazon, one on major independent retailers and one on the excellent and sites (yes, we have three eyes, stop staring). Sure, you can buy through the Amazon affiliate links on our game pages, and thank you if you do, but bear in mind these may not be the cheapest deal and we’ll never begrudge you if you don’t. In fact, we’ll always encourage you use both the sites above to shop around and, in particular, to support your independent retailers.


LET’S GO! What better way for us to sate your growing appetite than with Sushi Go Party!, one of the best card games out there. Not only is it as h*ckin darn cute as a kitten on catnip, it’s also quick to teach and an excellent way to start a games evening or reel new gamers into the hobby. Right now, you can find Sushi Go available for between around $12 and $15 through many US retailers, between £10 and £12 in the UK and under €20 in mainland Europe.

All right then! Fired up? Energetic? Where’s all that enthusiasm going to go? How about you plough it into the canny Codenames. This perplexing and frequently hilarious game of guessing and wordplay is one of Czech Games’ very finest titles, a jewel in a crown that can be seen glittering for many miles, and it will cost you as little as $17 in those United States, or between £12 and £13 across much of those United Kingdoms. Like Sushi Go, it could be the game that converts more acolytes, uh, fans to our cause.

Review: The Castles of Burgundy

Review: The Castles of Burgundy

Once you’ve warmed up with those two modern marvels, consider something a little more traditionally economic, such as SU&SD favourite The Castles of Burgundy, ideal for fulfilling all your crenellated needs. You can expect to find this Ravesnburger darling for around $25 to $29 through many North American retailers, though sadly it’s not quite as affordable or readily available in Europe right now, meaning you might expect to pay something in the mid 30s, but that’s still not a bad price for this fine fellow.

The colossal success of Pandemic means it’s practically a cornerstone of the industry at this point and pretty much the definitive co-operative game. It’s now almost impossible to move in the United States for lose copies of Pandemic, which explains why it’s as cheap as $23 at some retailers there right now.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride’s perennial popularity has also brought its price down, with customers in Britain able to find it for as little as £29, while our buddies across the pond might pay as little as $25, which is nuts cheap. Shopping around in Europe, you can find it for around €29 and it’s always worth noting that it’s German name is Zug um Zug.

It would be impossible for me to write this without mentioning tile-laying titan Carcassonne, a game whose name I reflexively cry out in my sleep every night, or sometimes feel compelled to whisper into the ear of a stranger’s dog. These days, a British person can start their Carcassonne journey for a reasonable £24, but in the US the game is as cheap as $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. I’m almost insulted.

eurogamer cosmic encounter

eurogamer cosmic encounter

If we’re talking about stone cold space combat classics (and when aren’t we?), you cannot do any better than the diplomacy and double-bluffs of Cosmic Encounter, a game that had achieved legendary status even before I could chew properly (i.e. last year). It’s not on the cheap in Europe or the UK right now, but it is flying around the US for as little as $23. $23! Again! What is it with that number?

Worry not, though, British buddies, as chess-like insect invasion Hive Pocket is very affordable, listed as low as £15 within our borders. It’s similarly cheap in the US, at around $18 or $19, and in Europe it can be found for about €13 right now. That’s the price of a mid-range dinner! Just forego dinner for one evening! For the sake of plastic bugs!

Review: Jungle Speed Safari

Review: Jungle Speed Safari

If you’d prefer indulging in something very different, the diametric opposite to the logical and segmented experience of Hive is the frantic fumbling and snatching of Jungle Speed. This knuckle-knocking dexterity game is bouncing around the US for as little as $12 right now, it’s a mild £14 in the UK, which isn’t quite as much of a bargain, but still not to be sniffed at.

The US really gets to go to town on Dominion right now, with base sets like Intrigue, Seaside and Prosperity going for great prices between $25 and $29, while Europe also has some sets as low as €19 to €24. All of Dominion’s base sets work perfectly well as standalone games, but mixing and matching can be a lot of fun and, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, I’d personally recommend Intrigue.



While I’m not the biggest fan of Istanbul, I can’t deny that it’s so well-loved and Quinns has had a terrific time playing on many occasions. It would be uncivil of me not to mention that this smart, sly Eurogame is available for for a modest $33, with copies of the bumper Big Box Edition going for around €38 in Europe. Both of those are very good deals, but the second is particularly impressive and should make all British people feel vengefully jealous.

We do get a better deal on Spyfall, however, and while £19 isn’t as dramatically low a price as some games here, it’s still a good deal on an absolutely gargantuanly great game of bluster and bull. Americans pay an even sassier $17 for this marvel and, if they’re cheeky enough to search for Spyfall 2, can find that for just $15. That’s a lot of very cheap fibbing.

The Coup is now on Kickstarter

The Coup is now on Kickstarter

If you find you’re developing an addition to cheap fibs (let’s face it, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives), then the bare-faced lying of Coup is also so incredibly affordable in the US right now. It’s selling for as little as $7, a sentence I can’t believe I just typed, and while a UK price tag of around £14 (or £11 for Reformation) is not a bad deal, they just don’t compare.

There’s an even tinier price pinned to Love Letter right now, which has been sighted by our experts at a mere €10 around Europe, £8 in the UK and $5 in the US. This is shockingly good value for money and if there was some sort of graph where we plotted fun versus price, Love Letter would ride high at the tip of an astounding peak. Don’t you dare think that a game so small and slight is any less exciting or extraordinary. Love Letter is a legend.

Azul is a game I feel passionate about in my deep and pulsing heart, and this bold, beautiful creation is also something of a steal in the US right now, available for as little as $28. Here in the UK, £32 isn’t quite as impressive a deal, but it’s still not bad for something so weighty, glossy and glorious. And amazing. Did I tell you it’s amazing? It’s amazing.

Santorini is beloved by many and nobody can deny that it’s both accessible and quite, quite charming. This beautiful box is an impressively cheap £26 in the UK right now and an insanely inexpensive $21. It’s rare to find a game as polished, pretty and also chunky for such a good price.

Review: Colt Express

Review: Colt Express

Similarly physically impressive, the wild west action of Colt Express is an impressive £23 for Brits and $32 for Americans, while it’s been spotted trundling through continental Europe for as little as €19. How appropriate that, at such a price, it’s a steal. But please don’t steal it. It’s important I’m clear that we do not endorse that.

Another game that’s jaw-detachingly cheap in the old world right now is Hanabi, which is retailing for a mere €6. Here in Britain, it’s lurking on shelves at £10, which is not baaaaad, but when Americans can grab it for $5, envy abounds. Five dollars for a game takes us into the realm of the ridiculous!

We’ve seen several impressive Reiner Knizia re-releases over the last few years and I think my favourite of those has to be Modern Art. Convenient, then, that this terrific game has been spotted in the US for $23, the best deal on this darling that you’re going to find anywhere, and…

…that same designer’s tight, two-player card game Lost Cities never seems to go out of fashion. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s selling at bargain prices right now, which include a reasonable £16 in Britain, about €15 around Europe and just $10 in the US. I am certainly seeing a theme here with these US prices and that theme is Americans sure got it good right now.

Star Realms

Star Realms

And last but not least, if you’re searching for even more no-nonsense, fast-paced, two-human action, Star Realms is not only one of the most loved deck-building games out there, it’s also one of the cheapest games in this roundup, available for as little as $9 in the US right now. Nine dollars for a terrific card game! Were you and your friend going to enjoy coffees together? Pool that money and get Star Realms instead!


You mean you let me ramble on for all that time when what you needed was The Bundle of Holding? I can’t possible leave without a nod toward this site, whether you’re a dedicated RPG fan or not. It’s a constantly rotating door of superb deals on all sorts of packages that you can download as PDF scans and the savings you can make are frequently absolutely extraordinary. Not only does the PDF format mean that you safe shelf space, it also means you immediately have a whole bunch of material that’s as portable as your laptop or tablet and some of the money you pay goes to a charitable cause.

Right now, the Bundle is showing off Deathwatch, the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game, with a starter set worth $70 on sale for just $17, plus $75 more of material if you’re willing to hand over $30. Not only are these savings huge and something that makes an often expensive hobby more accessible, the site never stops. There are also deals on Symbaroum an OneDice right now, while past Bundle bargains have included new and classic titles, including Delta Green, Pendragon, Deadlands, Traveller Dragon Age and so much more. Scientists have confirmed it’s bonkers. If you’ve any interest at all in RPGs, I’d recommend adding this to your bookmarks right now.

But let’s not stop there! Do you have any hot tips on excellent board game deals right now? Any favourites you’ve spotted on sale? Any bargains you absolutely must tell us all about? Let us know in the comments below.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Games News! 20/08/18

Paul: What’s that in the sky, soaring above us?! Is it a bird? A plane? Is it the GAMES NEWS, descending down upon us to… No, it is a bird. Oh no. It’s dead. Quinns, the bird is dead.

Quinns: That’s OK, I was just on my way to bury this copy of Risk. We’ll pop the bird in the box.

Paul: OK, but hurry back! There’s a news story in the Games News’ news about the Dune games that will soon be news?

It looks like a license that we thought was dead was merely sleeping all this time. One of the most beloved science fiction franchises (and a famously hard-to-get license) has returned and Gale Force Nine plan to gift the world both tabletop and miniatures games, tied in to the forthcoming Dune film.

Quinns: There’s going to be a new Dune film and new Dune tabletop games?! As somebody who absolutely adored the first half of the first Dune book, as well as this documentary on a Dune movie that was never made, I must profess to almost being excited.

Paul: Gale Force Nine are well-known for a whole host of tie-in titles, from “Star Trek” to the famous Star Trek spinoffs “Doctor Who,” “Firefly” and “Tanks: Panzer III Tank Expansion.” A classic, that last one.

Quinns: Don’t forget Spartacus! We did a video review of that one.

Paul: Honestly, I’ll be interested to see what they do with the Dune world, which is rich, unusual and remains starkly original to this day, as well as a big deal to a whole bunch of folks in the hobby. This is quite the score for them, as I’m sure Fantasy Flight Games would’ve liked to snatch it up. FFG’s excellent REX: Final Days of an Empire is well-known as a remake of the classic 70s Dune game, stripped of the license, which certainly more than stands on its own feet, but having a famous name attached to any game, particularly a very good one, is an enormous boon for any publisher.

Of course we’re always on the lookout for enormous boons and the next boon large enough to register on our boonometer appears to be the curious Discover: Lands Unknown. After revealing Keyforge at GenCon, a card game where every deck you buy is unique, Fantasy Flight are now showing off an entire board game where each copy is distinct.

Quinns: Yes! Players in Discover: Lands Unknown will (surprise!) discover some lands that are unknown, flipping over map tiles and trying to survive in a hex map that’s unique to you and your friends. Perhaps you’ll find a jungle, or a tundra, or a desert! It’s all very reminiscent of Kickstarter success story 7th Continent, except it’s ambitious in breadth rather than depth.

We couldn’t begin to guess at how fun this design will turn out (let alone your copy of this design), but one thing’s for sure: that art by Chan Chau is absolutely gorgeous. Also, kudos to Fantasy Flight for showing a woman wearing a headscarf in their playable characters, something that Pegasus Spiele has continually avoided in their Istanbul games.

(Which is obviously absurd. Pegasus Spiele’s situation a bit like when Nintendo refused to allow same-sex relationships in one of their games because they didn’t want the game to be “social commentary”, but this just caused the game to offer a different kind of social commentary. The truth of the matter is, in avoiding depicting headscarves in historic Istanbul Pegasus Spiele might have thought they were avoiding a political hot potato, but in truth were committing a politically-charged act.)

Paul: I love the concept of Discover but, of course, it’s all about the execution. Meanwhile, I’m also rather curious about Newton, CMON’s next announcement. In my head, I still can’t divorce CMON from a whole host of elaborate and embellished miniatures-based games, so Newton stands out like a sore head swollen from fallen fruit.

This card-based game of cleverness challenges players to travel around Europe and its universities, trying to become Very Clever, with the Most Clever winning. It sounds almost like my dream existence, except without the desire to intellectually diminish everyone else. If I wanted to do that, I’d actually make YouTube videos about how you’re actually wrong about everything, actually. In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.

Days of Wonder release but one game a year, like a very stingy Santa. Quinns, what are they hurling down our chimneys this time? Is this a game about Bruce Springsteen’s expertly-crafted working class lament to lost hope and broken dreams?

Quinns: Oh gosh, I thought you were quoting Scroobius Pip up there. That doesn’t speak well to my knowledge of classic rock.

Anyway, the answer to your question is “Nope”! The River is a game of resource management and settlement-building, dusted with Days of Wonder’s typically-polished presentation. Look at those little boats! Those cute piles of wood! This is a publisher who are very particular about their releases and while we haven’t loved all of their output (with the relatively recent Quadropolis being excellent but last year’s Yamatai being a bit of a disappointment), we still dutifully playtest each new game of theirs. I suppose even today it’s hard to ignore their reputation as the original publisher of such classics as Ticket to Ride, Memoir ‘44 and Small World.

Veteran designer Friedemann Friese announced a few upcoming releases this week, all subscribing to his personal brand of having titles beginning with the letter F and using the colour green in the same way that a cockroach exterminator might use poison gas.

Paul: The most exciting of these games is certainly Futuropia, “a big utopian economic game for 1-4 optimizers.” Set in a future society where labour is starting to become automated, players will be tasked with modernising their housing developments so that they produce food and energy automatically, leaving your little miniature people time to paint, practice fencing, fly light aircraft, or perform other leisure activities that the writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation guessed would survive into the future.

Quinns: There are very few rules and details available for Futuropia at present, but I’m quietly optimistic. It’s no secret that SU&SD’s favourite Friedemann Friese game is Power Grid, and with this being another large, economic game, Mr. Friese surely stands the best possible chance of replicating his earlier success.

Paul: And fiiiiinally, Quinns, do you know anything about Power Rangers? Please tell me you do. I don’t. I don’t know anything about the Power Rangers. Help. All I know is that Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is doing very well on Kickstarter and, coming from Bargain Quest and Imperial Assault designer Jonathan Ying, I’m immediately biased toward it.

Quinns: I felt enamoured of this Kickstarter the instant I saw the cheesy 1990s monsters they chose as sculpts. Pudgy Pig! Knasty Knight! A skeleton in a hat!

That said, even with Jonathon’s name attached, you’re probably best off waiting for the SU&SD review of this miniature-heavy game before you part with your cash. Not least because the “all-in” pledge is $240. Goodness me.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Podcast #84: The Post-Gen Con Blowout!

Can you hear a distant rumble of people applauding, firing party poppers and doing synchronised donuts in their cars? Don’t panic! Nothing could be more natural when our post-Gen Con podcast rolls around. It’s possible that there’s never been such a diverse and exciting array of games tucked into a single SU&SD podcast.

Today, Paul and Quinns exchange first impressions of Keyforge: Call of the Archons, Fantasy Flight’s new collaboration with Richard Garfield where every deck ever printed will be unique to you. Up next is Gen 7, the dramatic and curious sequel to Dead of Winter that takes place aboard a generation ship. Then there’s Nyctophobia, a game where all but one player is blindfolded and being hunted by a murderer. Critical Mass, which might be the best game of mecha-on-mecha violence ever made? Railroad Ink, which is the first roll-and-write game we’ve found that could steal the throne from Welcome To. And the pair close by talking about The Estates, which is both the meanest and most devious game of auctions that Quinns has ever experienced.

Among those six games are no less than four contenders for the prestigious SU&SD Recommends badge. You heard it here first- the rest of 2018 is going to be absolutely fabulous.

UPDATE: We now have a complete transcription of this podcast, courtesy of SU&SD fan InkyBloc!

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Games News! 13/08/18

Quinns: Oh my goodness. As always, a deluge of announcements came out of Gen Con this year. We should probably start by covering all of the news to gush forth from the excellent studio that is Fantasy Flight Games.

The centrepiece of this press conference? Keyforge. A new card game from Richard Garfield, designer of both Magic: The Gathering and Netrunner, that uses very advanced technology. In fact, the technology behind printing Keyforge is so bonkers that just about everybody in the audience couldn’t wrap their heads around it.

Paul: I coul-

Quinns: So, Keyforge is a game about fantastical factions smashing the crap out of one another in a quest for nebulous gems. The universe is ridiculous and reminds me of League of Legends, but in play the game resembles Magic: The Gathering or even Hearthstone. You play creatures, and then those creatures can spend your turn either attacking enemy creatures OR harvesting the crystals that ultimately win you the game.

But I’m burying the lede! The twist is that to play Keyforge you have to buy a deck, but every deck ever printed for this game will be unique, with its own card back and unique combination of cards. So Keyforge isn’t a game with any deckbuilding whatsoever. You just buy a deck off the shelf and that deck features a unique yet balanced combination of the 200-some cards the game will have at launch.

We’ll have some early impressions of Keyforge on the next podcast, but it’s both crazier and less crazy than it sounds.

Paul: Yeah! We had our first games of it at GenCon last week and there’s plenty to be said!

Speaking of crazy games, though none of us have ever been great lovers of Arkham Horror (don’t mistake the vast amount of time this this enormous game has demanded of us for adoration; it’s impossible to not play Arkham Horror for hours!), nobody can ignore the imminent arrival of a third edition. Thirteen years after the second edition, this is not a dramatic remake and is still an immediately recognisable beast, but it does boast some significant changes. There are still the thick decks of location cards, with their great variety of random events, an armoury’s worth of weapons to collect, clues tokens to be gobbled up Pacman-style, and tiny little Arkham dollars to be spent.

But there’s now also a new, modular board, which allows you to build different towns for different scenarios, as well as an increased focus on developing narrative as each game progresses. Finding more clues or failing to keep the forces of unpleasantness under control can both cause the story to progress and trigger new events. I had a chance to try this at GenCon, also, and it was still very much the Arkham that I recognise (and am not in love with), but undeniably streamlined and sculpted into a newer, slimmer shape.

Quinns: Fantasy Flight also announced a couple of very surprising expansions. Of all things, the classy and now venerable second edition of the Game of Thrones board game (released in 2011) is getting an expansion. Did you miss our review of this? In a nutshell, it’s a fabulously evocative experience where up to six players ceaselessly scheme and backstab their way towards the Iron Throne.

Mother of Dragons will be a dramatic and ambitious box that will add an entire new continent to the game. With this, a player can take on the role of Daenerys, mother of dragons, as well as three cute little marbled dragon pieces that will grow stronger and stronger throughout the game. Additionally, someone can play as the creepy House Arryn, bringing the total player count to eight.

There’s also some cool stuff to do with the Iron Bank and vassal houses and ooh, ooooh, all of this gets me excited! I think it’s great when publishers support the older board games in their stable, rather than just blasting us in new releases that may or may not be good.

In further news of ridiculous additions, Star Wars Armada is getting a laughably large 24-inch “miniature” of a Super Star Destroyer. I won’t be buying it, but I still do like Star Wars Armada and wish I had more time to play it. I wonder how long it takes a Chinese factory worker to paint something like this?

Paul: That is, without doubt, one of the most ridiculous and melodramatic miniatures I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, far more benign that heaving, hulking space-daggers are the docile dromedaries of Altiplano. Cue Altiplano: The Traveler, an upcoming expansion which adds a new board, more locations and resources to the furry, fuzzy game of resource management.

Quinns: There’s some debate over whether the gentle economic game of Altiplano is better than its predecessor, Orleans. All l I know is that Matt and I like Altiplano quite a bit. Crafting carpets in the Andes is a fabulous setting for a game, and while it’s true that Altiplano can be a little long and features hardly any player interaction, I was still delighted to see the announcement of The Traveler. Because again, I hate to see good games get forgotten in the crush of the new.

The Kickstarter we’d like to point you to this week is the second print run of Bargain Quest. Remember that game? We managed to sell out within 24 hours of our review going live? Yes, erm, sorry about that.

The good news is, the renewed interest in the game has allowed Jonathan and Victoria Ying to launch a second Kickstarter, featuring a new expansion! The Black Market will let players of Bargain Quest dabble in the illegal. By buying Black Market upgrades for your shop, not only will players unleash powerful (and hilarious!) cards from the new Black Market deck in the game’s drafting phase, those players will get first pick.

Paul: Fantastic! I do rather like that game and I’m delighted to see it doing well. Speaking of “doing well,” Games Workshop must be jubilant right now, as news of their profits doubling has been a big enough announcement that it’s reached the mainstream media and was reported by the BBC at the end of last month. GW’s shares have risen by almost 150% this year and those profits they’ve announced reach almost £75m.

That’s no small potatoes for what is supposed to be a relatively niche industry. After not doing so great the last couple of decades, England’s gaming veterans are enjoying an enormous resurgence, something which I have to say I honestly was not sure was coming for a while, but they’ve turned things around, haven’t they?

Quinns: As impressive as these numbers are, they’re also in no way surprising to me! Games Workshop have undergone a tremendous shift in management recently, one that I’d summarise as “Joining the 21st Century”. They’re working to make their games easier to start collecting, with free rules and generous starter sets. They’re licensing out their intellectual property far more freely to developers, and finally helping press to cover their games. In the last few years, Games Workshop went from never responding to the emails of Shut Up & Sit Down to eagerly offering us every new release.

Speaking of which, following on from last month’s news of Warhammer 40k Monopoly, Steve Jackson Games just announced Warhammer 40k Munchkin. Can Warhammer 40k Fluxx be that far away?

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Paul: And while we’re on the subject of the gigantic and gargantuan, we have to tell you all about Asmodee Digital’s decision to adapt Gloomhaven, coming “soon” to Steam, Valve’s all-powerful digital distribution platform. This means we could be playing Gloomhaven on our PCs and trawling our way through its complex, convoluted dungeons not long after the new year.

Asmodee have made a point of stating that this is not simply a direct translation, not a paragraph-by-paragraph rules adaptation, but a version of the game that has been tweaked to better suit this implementation and to make the most of the platform’s possibilities. As you can see from the trailer, there’s all sorts of animation and fancy new special effects for the kids, but I’d imagine we can also expect a little more number-crunching, handled effortlessly by our PCs, while we players are left to focus on making key choices. With a computer filing all the paperwork, so to speak (digital gnomes and all that), I think we’re going to be looking at more randomised, deeper dungeons and more detailed encounters.

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Quinns: And just to blitz past a few more announcements that made board gaming headlines this week, the 1981 board game of “electronic wizardry” The Dark Tower is being republished by Restoration Games, so that might be fun! 1995 VHS board game Atmosfear is being republished but not by Restoration Games, so that might be less fun.

I still want to get an old VHS player and a bunch of VHS board games. I think that’d be a pleasantly horrific series of items in my board game collection.

Paul: The Star Trek one, I hear, is terrible.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down

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Podcast #83: The Villain’s Criminal Google

Pop on your monocle and climb into your biggest chair, because this is a podcast where we are most definitely the bad guys.

First off, Matt and Quinns discuss the be-hyped box of Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game with the help of some royalty-free music. Next, the pair shatter a few dreams with their description of Disney’s Villainous board game. There’s then a quick discussion of Cryptozoic’s Wallet, in which a mob boss has the wallet of a… 9-year-old boy? Finally, the group plumb the depths of Google in a few rounds of Weird Things Humans Search For.

Enjoy, everybody! And look forward to podcast #84, because it’s gonna be a stormer.

The original article can be found on the fantastic Shut Up & Sit Down