Here’s my second in the series of random Origins previews. These are games selected randomly from the BGG Origins list, and we’ll see what comes up. There are 130 titles at the time of this writing, so here we go!
The Hunt for the Ring (Marco Maggi/Gabrielle Mari/Francesco Nepitello, Ares Games) is a collaboration between the designers of War of the Ring and Letters from Whitechapel, and seems like a mix of the two games. One player is Frodo and his companions, on their way to Rivendell with the One Ring. The other 1-4 players are the Nazgul, hunting for the hobbits as they go. The game plays out in two chapters – the first from the Shire to Bree (which must be completed in 16 turns), and the next from Bree to Rivendell. The Frodo player wins if he makes it to Rivendell, and the Nazgul win if they catch him.
I haven’t played either War of the Ring or Letters from Whitechapel, but I’ve been interested in both. The game looks like it plays more like Whitechapel, but with the Tolkien theme (which is honestly a lot more appealing to me than Jack the Ripper). It’s an interesting twist for the hidden movement genre that the majority of players are bad guys hunting the good guy, as opposed to games like Scotland Yard and Fury of Dracula. It looks interesting, I’ll be interested to see more about it. The game won’t be for sale at Origins, but will be available for demo.
Werewords (Ted Alspach, Bézier Games) is the latest milking-the-franchise title from the publishers of Ultimate Werewolf. It starts out like all of the Werewolf games – some players are werewolves, some are villagers, one is the Seer. One player is the Mayor, and while everyone has their eyes shut, he finds out a secret word on a free app that is used for the game. The Seer will also find out the word, as will the werewolves. When everyone wakes up, they ask the mayor Yes or No questions to try to figure out the secret word. The Seer is trying to guide them to it. If the villagers get it correct, the werewolves must guess who the Seer was to win the game. If the villagers run out of time, they must vote in majority for who is a werewolf to win the game. Of course, there are additional roles in the game as well to keep things interesting.
This is basically Ultimate Werewolf: 20 Questions Edition. I have made no secret about my distaste for Werewolf over the years, and I’m honestly very tired of all the different permutations. I’m also not a word game person, so there’s not a whole lot here that appeals to me. I’m sure it will be successful and people will enjoy it, I just don’t think it’s for me. This game should be available to buy at Origins.
Skyways (Jeffrey D. Allers, Eagle-Gryphon Games) is a new game from designer of Piece O’ Cake/New York Slice and Alea Iacta Est (among others). This is a 3D city building game where players are pulling double pieces connected by a skyway out of a bag and placing them on a 6×8 grid in order to score points. You score by having big areas of color, much like in Ingenious. As you build up, you can add capitals to the buildings in order to claim areas and score big points at the end. Once all pieces have been taken out of the bag, you’ll score your final points and the high score wins.
The game looks interesting – pretty abstract, but I generally tend to like 3D games. There’s an interesting push and pull going on as you try not to make things to profitable for your opponents while still trying to maximize your own score. The second Kickstarter campaign Eagle-Gryphon has run for this game supposed to wrap up yesterday, but it did not succeed, so I don’t know what that means for the game’s future. As of now, it’s supposed to be available for demo at Origins.
Summit The Board Game (Conor McGoey, Inside Up Games) is all about mountain climbing. Players have a goal to get to the mountaintop, then make it back to base camp alive. Each player has a character with stats that increase and decrease as you go – food, oxygen, health, weight, and speed. As you play, you’ll be laying tiles that show how you cn ascend up mountain paths. At the end of each turn, you’ll roll and resolve an event die and a weather die, which could help you you or hinder you. When all players have either made it to base camp or died, scores are tallied and the highest score wins.
This game has a competitive and a cooperative mode. And it has a theme that I enjoy seeing in games. The triangular tiles used in creating the paths give the game a pretty unique look, though aesthetically, the white tiles on the mountain make the game look more and more abstract as you go on. It looks interesting, I think I’d try it out if given the opportunity, but it’s not one I’d be racing for. The game won’t be for sale, but will be for demo.
They Who Were 8 (Todd Sanders, LudiCreations) began life as a cycle of poems written by the designer, which were later turned into a PNP game in 2013 that has now gotten a published version. Players in the game are part of a pantheon of gods, each playing two. Gods will be placed between players, Between Two Cities style, so that each player is working with a neighbor and a pair of gods. Each god has its own power, and players will take turns playing a card from their hand of three. These cards will add and remove glory and infamy from the players. At the end of each round, player pass one card in their hand to the next player before drawing a new one. When glory or infamy tokens run out, the game ends. You’ll determine which god pair is dominant, then the lowest scoring god of that pair is the winner. There’s also a partnership game where you play with the person across the table from you, there are no god pairs, and the high score wins.
This is a cool looking game, and one that seems like it has some interesting ideas going on. The scoring at the end seems a little convoluted, but overall it looks like a very interesting experience. Todd Sanders is a pretty well respected designer in the PNP world, and a number of his designs have been finding their way to publishers recently. This is one I’d definitely want to check out at Origins.
Honshu (Kalle Malmioja, Renegade Games) is a trick-taking map building game set in feudal Japan. In each round, players will play a map card from their hand, possibly supplementing it with a resource to increase the value by 60. The highest value gets to be the first to choose one of the map cards played, and everyone will get one. You then add your map card to your map, trying to make large districts of certain terrain types. After 12 rounds, you’ll score and the high score wins.
Honshu is a very pretty game, and looks quite interesting. I’ve gotten a new appreciation for trick-taking games lately, and this looks like a very unique twist on the genre. It’s one I would definitely want to check out, not only for the game, but also because Renegade has been knocking it out of the park with their stuff. It was published last year by Lautepelit.fi, but this is an English only version. It should be released before Origins, and will be available there.
The Tower of Madness (Curt Covert, Smirk & Dagger Games) is a 3D game where you’re trying not to lose your marbles. The game has a Kickstarter campaign that will be running in June, presumably during Origins, so there’s not a whole lot of information out there. From what I can tell, it looks like Cthulhu Ker-Plunk. From my understanding, you will be investigating locations, and if you fail your dice rolls, you’ll have to remove a tentacle from the tower. Marbles that fall out will affect your character, sometimes with spells, sometimes with madness, and sometimes by summoning Cthulhu himself. It looks like a weird, fun game with some definite visual appeal. I think I’d have to check this one out just for the novelty.
And that’s another random preview in the books. I don’t think I’ll get in another one before the fair starts on June 14, but we’ll see. Thanks for reading!