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Games News! 16/07/18

Paul: Once again, deep behind enemy lines, we light the fires and wave our torches into the cloudy night sky in the hope that our signals will be seen by our brave allies and that they will parachute in the latest drop of vital Games New supplies. The distant drone of an engine, a dark shape in the air. Suddenly, it’s here! Quinns, open the crate! What’s inside?

Quinns: IT’S ONLY THE SEQUEL TO AZUL.

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra riffs on the tile-collecting and pattern-building of the original Azul, one of our favourite games of 2017 (see Paul’s review here), but instead of laying out tiles, players are now creating stained glass window arrangements. It looks like it has the same mechanic of taking the elements you need from several central pools, as well as trying to avoid waste or “dropping” anything you can’t use.

Paul: This is like some sort of cross-fertilization between Azul and Sagrada, but hopefully it’s diverged enough from its porcelain parent. There’s two-sided player boards, for more variety, as well as that mysterious tall tower to put discarded glass panes in. Why? What happens in there? I’m going in to find out…

Quinns: I actually have a theory!

Paul: !!

Quinns: Azul designer Michael Kiesling has been known to work closely with El Grande designer Wolfgang Kramer. Could this tower for forgotten bits be a repurposing of the chipboard castille found in El Grande? Players in Stained Glass of Sintra might toss tiles into the tower and reveal them all later, probably causing someone terrible pain.

Paul: El Grande! Spanish for THE HUGE. Meanwhile, in space (the opposite of Spain), the new version of the science fiction epic Eclipse is gliding effortlessly through the heavens. The Kickstarter for this second edition has more than doubled its $300,000 goal and the result is, in theory, a shiny sequel that we should all be excited about, except…

Quintin, you said that sensors picked up some unexpected readings earlier…

Quinns: That’s right, Paul. This second edition is not the warp forward you might expect. The rules changes between these editions are are nowhere near as sweeping as those made for the fourth edition of Twilight Imperium (Eclipse’s sillier, more spectacular competitor), the art changes look relatively minor and most of what’s new is chrome: unique plastic miniatures and a buttload of trays. Lots of those stretch goals are only relevant if you back at the deluxe pledge level, too, meaning you have to lay down £128 to really benefit from the changes. Meanwhile, you can get Twilight Imperium for £90, or just buy the original Eclipse for £60?

I mean, I love Eclipse (see my old review here), but unless I had money coming out of my armpits I’d probably just stick with my first edition, or possibly just wait for a retail released of the second.

Paul: Crikey. That’s a pretty thorough breakdown and suddenly I’m… not quite as excited as I was. Perhaps it’s time to move on to…

Quinns: Ah yes, the Cthulhu: Death May Die Kickstarter. Talented designers Rob Daviau and Eric Lang team up for a Lovecraft game about kicking ass and taking names and possibly being eaten by a god.

Essentially, while Fantasy Flight try and balance the madcap combat of their Lovecraft games (like Mansions of Madness, Eldritch Horror and the superb Arkham Horror card game) with plenty of puzzles and atmospheric wandering, here CMON seem to be doubling down on combat. A game of Death May Die starts at the finale of a Cthulhu story, with the investigators barging through the door of the cultist’s final ritual, shotguns in hand, ready to disrupt it.

Paul: Ah yes, just like in all those Lovecraft stories where there are massive gunfights and it turns out that shooting extradimensional bad guys solves everything (?)! Will this be good? Who knows. But at $100 plus shipping, we would, as ever, encourage our readers to wait for the official SU&SD review before throwing down their hard-earned cash.

Quinns: Gosh, these days I feel like we complain about board game prices every single week.

Paul: As well we should! For some people, cost is a big consideration and board games are getting more flashy and more expensive in an effort to stand out from one another, and that’s only going to make this hobby harder to get into for most people.

Quinns: You’re right. We should stand our ground.

No word on what Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene will be priced at, but it’s arriving in shops this autumn and it’s an asymmetrical 2-4 player game where you can either be park security, customers, raptors or a tyrannosaurus rex.

It seems to be from a first-time board game designer and it’s debuting at comic-con… So, my head is telling me that this will absolutely be the traditional sloppy licensed game with nice miniatures and miserable mechanics.

Paul: But Quinns, that never happens! And what’s your heart telling you?

Quinns: That this will be the greatest game of ALL TIME. I am going to be three raptors

Paul: This week Fantasy Flight announced an expansion to Fallout: The Board Game, Fallout: New California. The box will add all new bits and stuff and things, including five new playable characters, two new scenarios, and will also fill out the scenarios of the original game a little more.

Topically, we have a video review of Fallout going live this Friday, so maybe wait for that before picking up this irradiated box.

Quinns: In more exciting expansion news, Paul! They’ve announced the first big box expansion for A Feast for Odin, one of our very favourite games of 2016!

Paul: Aaaaah!

Quinns: Aaaaaaah! It’s called The Norwegians and it will add beef and more islands and meat and PIGS. We don’t have a picture yet so I’ve just found some viking re-enactment types on google image search

Anyway, this announcement makes me feel very happy and oh-so-silly. There’s a good argument to be made that A Feast for Odin was already too big, too broad, with just too much stuff. I’m thrilled that with this expansion, they’re doubling down on this… well, ha, it’s a feast, isn’t it? A feast of things to try and to do.

Paul: BEEF. I will very much looking forward to the chance to try even more Odining.

And you know what? We’ve saved the best to last. By which we mean the worst. Last week I had to go and lie down in a dark room after I discovered the existence of WARHAMMER 40,000 MONOPOLY. I have absolutely no idea what is going on here but I can nevertheless say, right now, with all confidence, that none of us need another Monopoly game.

After tweeting out my bemusement, one of the replies I received was “In the grim darkness of the far future there is still free parking” and oh my goodness, there really still is. What the hell is going on with a game where you wander about the grimdark future of Games Workshop’s wartorn universe, sometimes buying planets and sometimes going to… space jail? I mean, what?

And yet, as I thought about this even more, I realised it’s probably no dumber than Star Wars Monopoly or (hnggg) Queen Monopoly or anything else that’s out there. These are all yet more hamfisted attempts to wrap another idea around an old game. It’s painful to see The Landlord’s Game buried deeper and deeper under this growing pile of nonsense and just writing this makes me want to go back into another dark room and lie down for a week or so.

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

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Review: Container

GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT! Container, the legendary contest of international shipping, has finally been reprinted. Inside this box are seven-inch resin container ships, it features a new module titled “The investment bank”, and we’ve finally discovered that this game is an utter car crash.

What’s that you say? None of those sound like “good things”!? Pah, our viewers are philistines.

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

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Podcast #81: Our Irradiated Pastries

Hot damn! We’ve got some smokin’ exclusives for you today. In this podcast we chat about our playtest of Reef, the next game in the series that brought us Azul. We gossip about Newspeak, a great-looking code-cracking game that will be arriving on Kickstarter imminently. We offer our thoughts on the fabulous labour of love Museum, which has yet to make its way to Kickstarter backers. Matt lays out his controversial verdict on Fantasy Flight’s Fallout board game!

As temperatures continue to rise, the boys discuss their secret pastry playtest from Jenn Sandercock’s Edible Games Cookbook, and talk about what to do when busy board game conventions become too hot to handle.

Finally, we approach a fiery finale where… oh dear. It seems the temperature of this podcast is reaching dangerous levels. Please, whatever you do, don’t click play! Podcast burns are NO JOKE

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

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Our 5 Minute Summer Donation Drive is Now Open!

Quinns: Hey everyone! We only like to remind people of this twice a year, but did you know that Shut Up & Sit Down is run mostly by donations from people like you?

If you’ve enjoyed the Monday news or our podcast, if you’ve got some use out of our ad-free reviews or bought a great game thanks to us, we’d like you to consider paying for the service we offer. Your money will go straight to our wages and expenses, and you’ll be helping us to help grow board gaming. ALSO, all donors receive our monthly behind-the-scenes newsletter, lettting you know what we’re working on, what games we’re excited about and what books and TV we’re enjoying.

ALSO, if you have Amazon Prime, you can now give us free money by creating a Twitch Prime account (free with Amazon Prime) and clicking subscribe on our new Twitch page. It’s only for one month, it doesn’t automatically roll month-to-month, but you can do it again for free every month if you’d like!

Thanks so much for your support, everybody. Giving you guys and girls content that you love continues to be the best job in the world.

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

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Games News! 03/07/18

Paul: Another week begins, another Monday Tuesday dawns and another cockerel’s call echoes out across the Shut Up & Sit Down farm. The first task of this week, and of every week, is to milk the News Cows, and so we lead the braying brown beasts over to the sheds. That sound you hear is the noise of FRESH AND WHOLESOME STORIES filling the pail.

And what could be more wholesome than Mesozooic, by far the cutest game of the week?

Mesozooic is Z-Man’s take on the growing “run a zoo but with dinosaurs” theme and it looks absolutely charming, sidestepping the traditional danger that guests will be eaten by exhibits and instead challenging administrators to create the most efficient park layouts possible. Monorails and maintenance teams are as important as T-Rex enclosures, as players draft cards to make maps that they then rearrange, card by card, to create the best arrangement they can.

Mesozooic is due out later this year and up for pre-order right now. Both Matt and Quinns got a brief bite of this during the Gathering of Friends, but we really like to gulp down our games before we know for certain how we feel. I know it’s one I want a taste of, for sure.

Thief’s Fortune is also based around card drafting, with each player given the curious task of putting together a potential narrative that just might describe an expert thief’s escape from the dangerous royal palace. With cards that represent possible elements of the past, present or future, they compete by trying to play locations, characters and events that create the optimal outcome for the chronocurious kleptomaniac.

While providing a light-fingered felon such expert metaphysical consultation doesn’t sound like something we’d be doing in Leibniz’s best of all possible worlds, if you ever wanted to help someone live their best life, this is exactly that and, I suppose, the next best thing. Something something Tina Turner.

Speaking of worlds, I was lucky enough to be able to invite Race for the Galaxy designer Tom Lehmann to a panel discussion I hosted at the Games Developers Conference this spring and during the con he started dropping hints about the next game in the series. I’ve sat on this secret like a mother hen until all the facts could hatch and now, to the sound of a cracking shell, New Frontiers is poking its way out.

New Frontiers features the same action selection, empire-building and windfall world concepts as its big brother, but is centered around a tableau randomly-selected developments that direct the course of each game. Between reaching into a bag of new worlds, players will be expanding their empires based around whatever developments are present this time around. It should make for some more directed growth and, perhaps, some fiercer and tighter races (for that galaxy). New Frontiers may be out as early as autumn.

Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of the charming-and-yet-so-challenging Keyflower series, you will likely be keen to hear about Key Flow, a new card game sailing its way toward an Essen October release. A faster twist on Keyflower, Key Flow mixes card drafting (it’s a drafty week, it seems) and city building, but again uses that familiar mechanic whereby players can burst into someone else’s buildings and businesses if they happen to be more useful than their own. There’s nothing more good-natured than a healthy bit of sharing, right? GET OFF MY FORGE.

Also filed under “more of” this week, we have Concordia Venus, the next expansion for one of Shut Up & Sit Down’s most favourite games of Mediterranean economics. Things get ever so bridge-like here, with four or six players splitting into teams of two that sit opposite each other and co-operate. When one teammate plays a card, both players perform that action. A new a god scores areas that teammates share, though they still maintain separate warehouses.

Good heavens, it’s been an interesting week for news and I feel we’ve skimmed off the cream here, with so much more we could have pasteurised, but before the sun sets on another busy day, let’s make sure you’re pointed toward Atlas Obscura’s interesting feature on the Viking game of hnefatafl. Often found at burial sites (indicating it was an important cultural artefact), it now turns out that all sorts of medieval texts that we might have previously assumed were referencing chess might have instead been nodding toward this widely-played asymmetric game of chase and capture. It’s an important reminder that history is always being re-evaluated and we find new information about old things all the time.

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

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Review: Century: Spice Road, Century: Eastern Wonders AND Century: From Sand to Sea

Please don your protective safety goggles! It’s time for some board game mad science.

In a decision that some critics are calling “A fine move,” today SU&SD acts with unprecedented boldness to review three games in one video: 2017’s Century: Spice Road, 2018’s Century: Eastern Wonders and Century: From Sand to Sea, the game you can play if you own both previous games.

Has designer Emerson Matsuuchi pulled it off? Will the boys be anticipating the third game in the series that releases next year? And what does all of this have to do with the Spice Girls?

Click play, and find out.

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

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Games News! 26/06/18

Quinns: Last week we wrote the news in a cider pub, tapping away at our keyboards to the merry belching of a few old men. Today, we thought we’d write the news in a fashionable local coffee shop.

Paul: This is a disaster. Why can’t people put their mugs into the saucers gently. Why are they all bashing them together like toddlers.

Quinns: There are at least two women within ten feet of me who think they’re Carrie Bradshaw. I’m friends with a lot of writers and none of them look this stylish or pleased with themselves as they write. They all put their hair up and enter a kind of sticky and hypnotised state.

Paul: I did like that yappy animal that was behind you though. The one that looked like a Normal Dog that a level 5 wizard had cast Reduce Dog on.

Quinns: I don’t want to ever come back here. Why would anyone come here instead of sitting snug in the shadowy confines of a quiet pub. I feel like I’m in an iPhone advert.

Paul: Top of our Kickstarter kollection this week is Jenn Sandercock’s Play With Your Food, a cookbook and rulebook of edible board games. You may remember Pip getting a taster of these on SU&SD just over a year ago, looking at games like The Order of the Oven Mitt and J-Wobble. These are as silly as they sound but, more importantly, as inventive as they sound and Sandercock’s use of food as a medium for play is terrific.

We played a demo game with Jenn as FRENCH PASTRY SPIES at the Games Developer’s Conference this year and it was proper puzzle solving. With added sugar.

Quinns: And I don’t think it’s the sugar talking when I say that it was absolutely terrific. What an amazing gift this book would make! What a showstopper any of these games would be at the end of a dinner party (I don’t know I don’t host dinner parties), or as a lazy Sunday thing to do with kids (I don’t know I don’t have kids).

An incredible amount of time, love and expertise went into this book, and if you’re thinking of backing it, let SU&SD be the first to tell you that you definitely, definitely should.

Quinns: Also on Kickstarter this week is the excellently-named Monikers: More Monikers.

Have you got too many Monikers expansions and you’d like – in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien – one box to hold them all? Would you just like 400 more Monikers cards? Have you previously let this excellent game pass you by? This Kickstarter can help!

Paul: Since we’ve previously contributed to Monikers, we won’t be reviewing this expansion as it’s a conflict of interest, but we can still nod towards our work and so very politely ask you not to forget to pick up the SU&SD Nonsense Box with your order. It’s the only way you’ll get a Brexit card in your set and that’s basically the Black Lotus of Monikers.

Quinns: But the Kickstarter this week that’s raised by far the most money is Tang Garden, a stunning-looking game of creating a Chinese garden in the year 700 C.E.. With 7,000 backers at the time of writing, Tang Garden has already sold more than most board games ever do and it isn’t even out yet.

As always, Shut Up & Sit Down would like to caution away our readers with less disposable income from being swept away on a tide of hype. If a game’s really good, you can always buy it later, and if it’s not really good, you’ve dodged a bullet.

Also, this Twitter thread on the game’s problematic elements makes for thought-provoking reading. We’ve emailed the publisher asking if they’d like to reply to Calvin’s comments, but have received no response.

Paul: Quinns that tiny dog next to us just made the noise of television static. Quinns that is not good.

Quinns: Chihuahuas are basically Lovecraftian creatures anyway. “Bred in Mexico to hunt rats”? A likely story. The first Chihuahua probably emerged from an egg in the sea.

A second edition of Games Workshop’s rebooted Warhammer Fantasy, Age of Sigmar, arrives in shops this week, along with a new starter set titled Age of Sigmar: SOUL WARS.

For the real scoop, I dropped an email to a personal friend of mine and ex-employer, Kieron Gillen. When he’s not writing hit comics like The Wicked and the Divine and Star Wars: Darth Vader, he plays lots of Warhammer. Also, he’s gotten really quite good at painting miniatures (see here), which is a bit like finding out that a Boston Dynamics robot (fig. a) can now use a paintbrush better than me. It’s unsettling and I need it to stop.

Take it away, Kieron!

Kieron: I generally like Age of Sigmar. It’s kind of the petri dish where Games Workshop try things out and then work out whether or not they’ll import into the main money-making universe of the Far Future. 8th Edition 40k was a delight in taking exactly as much from Age of Sigmar as it could without exploding the fanboy’s heads. AoS? It worked off a tightly compressed 4-page core rule-set, which adds modules to special-case all the weirdness in the world. It also motored along incredibly quickly! It’s the game I play when someone asks me show off the giggling dumb-ass thrill of a table full of little folk bashing the living shit out of each other and generates masses of heroic and hilarious narrative.

You’d hate it, Quinns. Last time I played my Axe Dude sent multiple Enormous Tree folks screaming into another dimension and it had me saying “Man, Quinns would have hated that” which means “That is excellent and I love it.”

Looking at the core new rule changes? There seems a slight increase in complexity in some areas, but they seem to be “Natural” rules which are always easier to remember. It seems to be a general tightening of an idiosyncratic game system. What we really should be looking at is the weirdo experimental stuff. The huge new spell effects? They’re hilarious and I want them. The Warhammer-Quest-esque individual datacards? A helpful boon to keep the telescoping modularity of the system under control.

Plus we have a quiet continuation of GW’s attempts to try and drag their games into the 21st century. I like how you can argue they’ve done a Metroid and show a armoured Sigmarite on the box, but on the rule cover you have an equally heavily-armoured sigmarite without the helmet, showing she’s a woman, so by implication making any masked Sigmarites possibly be a women, if you wanna.

The minis are great. Like most of GW’s starter kits, it’s pretty good value and I fear I’ll be buying it shortly, despite the fact I have all the miniatures in the world to paint. Downsides? I dislike that Games Workshop have not yet found a way to make me a real Skaven, who can be my friend and I can pet and hold. In conclusion, Age of Sigmar excites me, as it means Quinns mails me and that always makes me happy. I look forward to another mail from Quinns when Age of Sigmar 3rd edition happens. That will be a nice time.

Paul: Over on BoardGameGeek, there’s a wonderfully charming and colourful collection of photography by Steph Hodge that shows off some tantalising new titles from this year’s Origins Games Fair. Sometimes I wish publishers would take more fancy photos of games that they’re promoting and THIS IS EXACTLY WHY.

There are so many games on this list I want to know more about.

Take, for example, Sailing Toward Osiris, where players compete to build the most glorious monuments they can to a recently deceased pharaoh, including obelisks and sphinxes (that’s a plural I don’t get to use much). The more monuments that are built, the harder it becomes to collect resources for the next ones which, as all of us monument-makers will know, is a classic problem when you’re putting together endless collections of giant sandstone statues.

Then there’s MAMMOTH where you all play MAMMOTHS and spend your time MAMMOTHING AROUND in prehistory, gradually shaping the environment around them with the tiles that they lay, bringing life to the frosty tundra. Mammoths also features “other prehistoric mammals,” but is coy about what those are. Perhaps we’ll see a prehistoric cave bear (the old ursus spelaeus) or even a sabre-toothed tiger. What’s your favourite prehistoric mammal and was it cute or cruelly carnivorous?

My nose has also caught the scent of Shifting Realms, an attractive game of fantasy urban planning from the same publisher as MAMMOTHS, Soaring Rhino. Shifting Realms offers five different factions, including priests and pirates, each with a different board for you to rule over, and at the very least I’m interested to see what a city run by (or even entirely populated by) priests looks like. I mean, we know the pirate one will be just taverns and ports and 24/7 partying, right?

Quinns: AND FINALLY, we’ve got a Troyes Story for you.

Paul: Did the creators of Toy Story ever get back to you?

Quinns: They didn’t, NOR did they mail my script back.

Paul: It’s a shame, I really wanted to see what they’d do with the idea of Mr. Potato Head as a shapeshifting serial-killer. “Spud Slaughter” was a masterpiece.

Quinns: Anyway, the Troyes franchise (if you haven’t seen it, don’t miss our Troyes video review) now has my favourite naming conventions ever. First we had the Troyes expansion, Ladies of Troyes, a name which still make me laugh. Now we have news that the designer is working on a 2 player Troyes game called – are you ready? – Troyes 2.

Paul: Oh, that’s just crying out for a subtitle. TROYES 2: A KNIGHT AT THE OPERA.

Quinns: Or TROYES 2: BACK IN THE HOOD.

Anyway, the exciting news is that it’s going to be a roll’n’write, officially making 2018 the year that the roll’n’write became cool again. At the time of writing, Welcome To is sat at the top of the BGG hotness, and I can’t wait to do our review of that game when it comes out later this year.

Paul: I guess we’ll just have to (roll and) write that review soon, eh? How does that work? Do we roll around on the beach or something? No, wait, the beach is all stones and pebbles. That’s a very painful idea.

Quinns: Sometimes pain is the only route to truth.

Paul: I recognise that line! It’s a quote from your Troyes screenplay.

Quinns: It is indeed, Paul.

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

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Review: Arkwright

Who wants to play a game about manufacturing forks!

Anybody? No? What if we were to tell you that Arkwright turns the manufacturing of bread, forks and lamps into a bruising war. What if we were to say that this game puts the very machinery of the industrial revolution in your hands, and allows you to grind your friends in its very cogs.

What if we were to tell you that this game is a cheaper, rock-solid competitor to fascinating games like Food Chain Magnate and Panamax.

Would you want to play then?

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

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Podcast #80: Until The Sheep Goes “Berp”

Oho, this episode of the award-winning Shut Up & Sit Down podcast has more scoops than sweet shop, and is just as sweet.

We found out that learning geography CAN be fun in the tense game of Destination X. We learned that Lowlands is the best Uwe Rosenberg game since A Feast for Odin, and it isn’t even designed by Uwe Rosenberg. We learned that the amazing-looking Starship Samurai is, perhaps, not as good as we were hoping. And we learned that Quantified – an upcoming game you’ve definitely never heard of – is a thought-provoking co-op game about surveillance and big data.

We also found out that the vikings that hang around outside the UK Games Expo are not to be trifled with, as Matt narrowly escapes being skewered by an actual spear. Finally, we implemented the OMEGA PROTOCOL: A quick-fire round of questions that were tweeted to us by the audience, right then and there. Huge thanks to everybody who came down and contributed to the veritable cyclone of questions that followed.

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