AquaSphere is a Stefan Feld-designed worker placement and programming game due out at some point in 2014. The game takes place within a deep sea research facility and players must conduct research and gain knowledge to secure victory. There’s also a robot-programming aspect (something we’ve seen a fair amount of lately) and a good deal of resource-management. I’m intrigued by the rise of programmable action mechanics, a la Walk the Plank, because they introduce an element of controlled luck – you can program where your robot will go, but not what will happen in the meantime that could affect the outcome of your strategy. It’s an interesting addition to game that seems otherwise very tightly controlled. (via BGG)
Greenland, due out in October, was co-designed by Phil Eklund and Philipp Klarmann seems to play a bit (or a lot) like Banished. In early Greenland, players are tribes that must contend with all the usual euro-game villains – food, resources, tech trees – but must also weather, demographics, and religion. Just how simulation-y it feels remains to be seen, but it could add a layer of realism to game genre that tends toward the abstract. (via BGG)
Z-Man Games will be releasing Camel Up, one of the three 2014 Spiel des Jahres contenders, in the US this year.
Dark Harvest 2nd Edition is in development with Iain Lowson as lead. It’s a dark fantasy/horror setting. More details soon.
Munchkin Legends 2 has been delayed until August. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through with all of the other Munchkin titles available.
Fantasy Flight is growing Wiz War with Bestial Forces, an expansion that features a slew of new monsters that you can summon to destroy your foes.
Ascension: Realms Unraveled is slated for release on June 18th.
Cosmic Dominion, the fan-designed expansion to Fantasy Flight’s Cosmic Encounter, features 30 new races and a mess of new powers.
Hex has responded to the accusations and lawsuit made against them by Wizards of the Coast. As expected, they’re going to fight the claims.
The Escapist has some updated details on D&D 5th Ed., including this interesting tidbit: the launch will include a free basic player’s handbook.
In case you need more atmosphere in your Gloom game, Atlas Games has compiled a playlist of creepy tracks to set the mood.
Waggle Dance – A dice-placement game by Grublin Games, Waggle Dance is all about being a bee. Players must build and manage their hive, all while competing to score the most honey at the end of the game. This one could have made the top three for the clever theme and simple, playful artwork alone, but it was really this phrase that did us in: “We have involved many people in testing and editing the rules text to make sure the rules are explained in the most efficient ways.” Swoon! Seriously, though, Waggle Dance seems to have taken the clean design and minimal use of text that is a hallmark of the latest slew of microgames and imported those aspects into a heavier model. I hope it lives up to its . . . buzz! Ha! You know I had to. Anyway, Waggle Dance ships to the US for £27, which is approximately $45.
Hero’s Journey – I read a story awhile ago set in a world just like ours, only the gods (and goddesses) were very much real. Every modern family had an alter in their living room and a personal god or goddess to hear their prayers. These deities were ordered up online and sacrifices had to be made in order to keep them happy, but their intervention had a demonstrable and incontrovertible affect on our world. Hero’s Journey feels a bit like that – it’s a world in which the ancient gods have persisted to the modern day, and those who follow them can command supernatural power. It’s an interesting take on the urban fantasy genre, and I’m curious to see how it develops.
Heat – Asmadi Games is Kickstarting Heat, a card-based heist game. Players have to plan the perfect crime, and plan around each other to pull it off. While it isn’t a bluffing game per se, white lies and a good poker face will definitely help you out. In addition to pulling off your caper, though, you also have to deflect attention from yourself afterwards to avoid detection. You know, toning down the heat on you. Hence the name.
And if you have any updates or interesting stories, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.