Friday, 10 February 2017

Future - 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

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Quite a bit late, but I am back to have a look at the year ahead and what games I'm excited to play (and buy). Hopefully it'll be more of the former than the latter. Eek!

Board Games

The game I'm probably most exited to get my hands on is First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet by Ignazy Trzewiczek and Portal Games. Mars was the big new board game theme last year and in the end the excellent (and Swedish!) Terraforming Mars seemed to totally dominate that genre while First Martians slipped into 2017. This was probably for the better, partly to give it some breathing space, but also to let Ignazy tweak it a little more and get the two (2!) campaigns just right.

Anyway, it's a kind of sequal to Robinson Crusoe and uses very similar mechanics, except this time you are first settlers on Mars, trying to survive in an extremely hostile environment. Think a coop version of The Martian where you're all trying to be out-Matt Damon each other! The big new thing is the introduction of an app to take care of a lot of the cards and story mechanics of the game. This has allowed Ignazy to construct much more dynamic stories that change depending on how you play. Similar to the two-part cards in RC where you'd encounter the first part and then the card would be mixed in with the event deck and come back and bite you at a later time... except times a thousand!

There will be six stand-alone missions, like in RC and two campaigns - one regular and one Legacy that will change drastically as you play. Really looking forward to this! I'm ready to go to Mars!

New Angeles was a great surprise when it was announced, but a happy one for sure. I'm always eager to see more games using the interesting Android setting and one where you control the different corps and vying for power in New Angeles just seems awesome right off the bat! As more previews turned up I came to the conclusion that it seems a bit like a mashup of Battlestar Galactica and Archipelago - two games I love. While you try to win as the different megacorps, it's not necessarily about being on top of the leader board as you simply need to be ahead of your main competitor (given to you as a secret card at the start of the game) and making sure the city runs relatively smoothly so the federal government doesn't step in and take the entire cake (which would be a win for an eventual federalist player).

It seems like so much fun, although I am definetly worried that it won't fly at all in at least one of my gaming groups. Since it's built on player interaction and to always be wheelin' and dealin' I think it will just collapse when faced with a group who refuses to do that. While I don't think my friends are that bad there are certainly strong elements of "if you get a small advantage by me gaining this huge advantage I am NOT doing that!". Hehe! Even so, I want this asap!

It's not all new-fangled doodads in this list either as my quest to play more COIN games is ongoing! It actually went decently last year, with me finally wrestling the bots to the ground and figuring out how their flowcharts work. This mean I could start playing "proper" solo games so I played Andean Abyss a couple of times and about half a game of A Distant Plain, just to grokk it. It works great and is fun indeed!

Of course, living opponents are even better and our gang of COIN enthusiasts have decided to play Andean Abyss a month from now so everyone can get to grips with the core COIN experience. These days I'm feeling pretty secure with the system so my main role will be to teach the other guys who have much less experience. We have loads of more titles to play though; A Distant Plain, Falling Sky, Liberty or Death and Cuba Libre are all owned by the group but have yet to be played.

Is one of these lists complete without some title from Phil Eklund? I think not! While the 3rd edition of High Frontier is finally close to shipping to backers, and I'm very eager to play it again, I'm going to put upcoming edition of Bios Megafauna here instead as I think it has so much potential! Not only will it feature updated designs allowing you to port your organism from Bios Genesis and continue playing in Megafauna, it will also have a puzzle Pangea that you slowly split apart as the continents start to form. Imagine that together with the art of Karim Chakroun and yeah... exciting times indeed!

Other games I'm extra eager to get my hands on and/or play are Bios: Genesis, Terraforming Mars, Kanagawa, Sekigahara, Apocalypse Road, MYTH, Imperial Assault: Jabba's Realm, Pax Renaissance and Forbidden Stars. To name a few...

Roleplaying Games

Last year we got Jovian Chronicles rolling and there's no chance I'm letting go of that baby! We actually just played our third session and had a blast, even though it mostly consisted of the tactical game as the players conducted an assault on an orbital station close to Jupiter. With The Expanse just starting its second season it just feels so right to have a hard science fiction game focused on space running alongside it. While The Expanse doesn't have giant robots, there are many, many other similarities so the show works as great inspiration for our gaming sessions (if you haven't seen it, do so now. It is fantastic!).

I'll type out a proper session report soon, but suffice to say we're having fun and now we're getting into the campain proper as the last session finished off the intro scenario.

I had put Torchbearer next, but with Cubicle 7 taking over Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay I'm torn! I love Torchbearer and the upcoming Middarmark world book looks absolutely phenomenal, but the possibility of getting a modernized WFRP that still retains that 1st edition feel is also very, very cool (not saying we'll actually get that, it's just what I hope for). Hmm.... but since we don't really know anything about the new WFRP yet I'll still go with Torchbearer. Because it is awesome!

It does require quite a bit of buy-in from the players though, and I'm not sure I can get mine to invest right now, but if I could have Jovian Chronicles sitting on my shelf for 20 years and then pull out and play it now I guess Torchbearer won't be going anywhere either.

Finally, with Blades in the Dark getting its final PDF and a proper hardcover book heading my way soonish I would love to play it during 2017. Blades is set in a kind of Victorian city named Duskwall and is heavily inspired by Dishonored and Thief. As John Harper writes, you play as "a gang of criminals seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of Duskwall. There are heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had if you're bold enough."

The system of goals and heists are very interesting and (as can be seen from the kickstarter) lend themselves well to hacking. We're getting not-Star Wars, not-Black Company, not-Shadowrun, not-Dune and a bunch of other setting hacks that you can use for the game as well! I have yet to read through the game cover to cover, but I feel it coming to me soon.

Some other roleplaying games I dearly want to play or buy are Coriolis, The One Ring (always!), Tales from the Loop rpg, Ten Candles, Swords Without Master and Mutant: Year Zero (any of them).

Miniature Games

This is the category where I feel the need to really get the old axe out and start chopping at my collection. While I love miniature games and painting, it is by far the most time and money consuming part of my gaming hobby, and these days time especially is a rare commodity.

With that said I am going to invest in the upcoming Jovian Wars kickstarter. I don't count this as a new game per se, as I've had Jovian Chronicles and Lightning Strike since the ninetiees and even though I like the new Jovian Wars rules I'll be using the ships and exos to play the older games as well. Just the opportunity to finally get models for all those gorgeous ship designs from the Ships of the Fleet series of books is making me salivate! More on this as the kickstarter launchers next week.

Infinity will always have a place in my collection and as I'm kind of rebooting my Yu Jing as they get more and more resculpts I'm aiming to paint the new starter set during the spring months and follow it up with fun additions to bring it to 300 points. As my friend Claes enjoys the game as well, with this Haqq, we can paint and play in tandem. Currently we're going through the intro campaign in Red Veil so Claes can get up to speed.

I have some new markers and terrain that I will be talking about soon as well. Of course, Infinity's big drawback is the amount of terrain it requires, but if I get rid of my Deadzone and some old GW stuff I'll have more than enough space for it.

Last up is Dropfleet Commander that I got in the mail a couple of months back. So far I've barely
touched it, just divided up the bits bits that my friend is getting and then shoving my Scourge under the bed. That might not seem like it's a game I'm excited for, but I really am! I just don't want to start another project only to find myself without an opponent when I'm done. So while I'm waiting for either of my friends who also backed to finish their fleets I will keep painting Jovian ships and Infinity figures. Then when I have an opponent with a painted fleet I'll get stuck in and do mine - Scourge ships are quick to paint (I think).

As for other miniatures games, I'm really trying not to but I think you could probably count MYTH and Imperial Assault in this category as they require a big time investment for painting as well. I don't see myself investing in any other large systems, but I will be keeping my 15mm stuff and would love to try things like Rogue Stars, Ronin and Saga - games with a low model count basically.

As always there are many more games that I want to play than I could possibly make time for, but hope never dies I suppose! I will be trying to focus better this year, especially when it comes to painting, so hopefully less wasted hours and more armies that get to see action! This goes for roleplaying as well though, as I want to play a decent amount of Jovian Chronicles, at the very least 10 sessions, before we switch to something else.

That's it for new plans for 2017!

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