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Blood Bowl Team Manager is Here!

Blood Bowl Team Manager

Blood BowlFans of the Games Workshop classic Blood Bowl—and gamers who love the crazy concept of fantasy football set in an ‘alternate’ Warhammer world—have been eagerly awaiting kick-off for the Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game, and it’s finally here! Yes, the whistle has been blown and it’s time to grab a copy of this fantastic foray into violence, cheating and, occasionally, goal scoring by your favourite Warhammer fantasy football teams.

For those of you who arrived late to the stadium, Blood Bowl is a game originally released way back in 1987, which has gone through several versions since then and still lives on as a fan favourite today—in fact the rules for the game are currently at version 6! The game pits teams of humans, orcs, skaven, elves, and other fantasy races against each other in vicious games of fast-paced and violent football—an unholy mix of American Football and Rugby, with a lot more injuries! Teams are represented by miniatures which you can paint in your team colours, and different teams have different abilities and strengths—orcs, obviously, are not known for their subtle play, elves tend to be agile, fast and light on their feet, and skaven just cheat!

From the simple first edition with a board and cardboard pieces, through the second edition with its spectacular polystyrene moulded board, to the sweeping rules changes of the third edition, Blood Bowl has always been a much loved game and one particularly popular in tournaments and league play. There’s even a World Cup tournament in England, with teams coming from as far afield as here in Australia!

There have been several attempts to bring Blood Bowl to the computer as a video game, culminating in the very successful video game released in 2009 by Cyanide Studio, which is now available for PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and XBox 360.

Blood Bowl

Which brings us to the latest game set in the alternate fantasy universe of Blood Bowl; a result of the alliance between Fantasy Flight Games and Games Workshop that is bringing us such excellent games set in the Warhammer universes as Chaos in the Old World, Warhammer: Invasion, Space Hulk: Death Angel and Horus Heresy. Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game is a bone-breaking, breathtaking card game of violence and outright cheating for two to four players. Chaos, Dwarf, Wood Elf, Human, Orc, and Skaven teams compete against each other over the course of a brutal season. Customize your team by drafting Star Players, hiring staff, upgrading facilities, and cheating like mad. Lead your gang of misfits and miscreants to glory over your rivals as you strive to become Spike! Magazine’s Manager of the Year!

The season is starting. What kind of team will you build? You can choose from six teams: the versatile humans of the Reikland Reavers; the short, tough, well-armoured Dwarven Grudgebearers; the athletic Wood Elf Athelorn Avengers; the sneaky Skavens of the Skavenblight Scramblers; the violent Orcs of the Gouged Eye; or the even-more-violent, cheating, and downright nast Chaos All-Stars. You have five weeks (or game turns) to groom your team for the final Blood Bowl tournament in head-to-head highlights—accumulating fans, gathering payouts and rewards and upgrades.

For old Blood Bowl fans this game is a no-brainer, but if you’re after a fast, thematic, and highly amusing card game with a unique atmosphere, you can’t go past Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game. Let the season begin!

Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game includes: over 150 Player and Matchup cards; 4 Scoreboards; 2 Tackle Dice; Rulebook; over 50 Team and Staff Upgrade cards; and over 50 Customized Tokens.

Avast Me Hearties! Games Workshop Announce Dreadfleet

Dreadfleet

For two bleak decades the Undead reavers of Count Noctilus have plagued the oceans of the world. After each raid, the Dreadfleet disappears into its lair as quickly and silently as it appeared, far from the reach of Man. And yet there remains hope. Captain Jaego Roth of the Heldenhammer has vowed to hunt down and destroy Count Noctilus and his Undead captains once and for all. With him sail the most notorious and cunning of the pirate lords of Sartosa, each borne to battle upon a giant warship bristling with cannons, organ guns and bolt throwers. At the stroke of midnight on Geheimnisnacht, most forsaken of nights, the Heldenhammer and her companions sail into the realm of undeath known as the Galleon’s Graveyard. One by one, Count Noctilus and his vile allies move in to stop them.

DreadfleetBack in my day (he says, putting his feet up by the fire and drawing back on his pipe), Games Workshop made fantastic, over-the top, ‘big box’ games in addition to their core tabletop miniatures systems. Games like Necromunda, Space Hulk, Blood Bowl, Dark Future and my personal favourite, a fantasy naval combat game called Man O’ War. These games are long, long gone, and if, for example, you want to get a few fleets of Man O’War miniatures together these days it will cost you a pretty penny on Ebay. Luckily, I bought these games when they were first released, and have built up a nice collection of miniatures for them over the years.

Although these games did have expansions and decent ranges of miniatures, they weren’t big money spinners like Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000, so they were dropped from the GW product line. Gamers like me waited in vain for them to return until suddenly, in 2009, a impressive new ‘limited edition’ of Space Hulk was released. Chock full of components and unique miniatures of incredibly high quality, and folding in some of the rules from expansions to make a stand-alone game, it showed that GW really could still pull out the stops and make an amazing miniatures-based boardgame if it wanted to. Space Hulk sold out of its print run pretty quickly, and it seemed thereafter that GW were content to leave Fantasy Flight Games to make money from boardgames based on their Warhammer licences.

DreadfleetBut to everyone’s surprise, it seems they aren’t done mining their old glory days yet. Dreadfleet has just been announced, and it’s a truly excessive and wonderfully extravagant-looking production with a huge gaming mat, 10 fantastically detailed ship models, over 130 cards, and numerous other bits. And all I can say, frankly, is … gimme!

I don’t see any sign of ship template cards, so it’s possible this is a completely different system than the original Man O’ War, or at least a streamlined version; and certainly that game had entire fleets for each of the races. For this game it appears to be the good guys alliance versus the bad guys alliance, five ships a side, though with the addition of some very cool island terrain and lots and lots of very thematic special events. Almost every Warhammer race is catered for with an unique ship, from a huge sea monster carcasse to a ghost ship that float above the waves to a Chaos Dwarven mechanical metal giant squid! Dreadfleet really does look spectacular, and is sure to be another short-run sellout for the GW.

So to all of you that missed out on the fun of Man O’War, you really should get your mitts on this game and experience the broadsides, boarding actions, manoeuvering and uniquely Warhammery madness of naval combat in the Warhammer world!

Click here to watch a video overview of Dreadfleet.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Update

I’ve written a couple of articles about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the fantasy role-playing game by Fantasy Flight Games set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer world. Check out my Introduction to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and leanr all about the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Guides and Vaults. But what’s been happening in the world of WFRP since we last visited? With the release of the new Black Fire Pass supplement, it seems a good time to check out the range as it stands, and explore why this is one of the most attractive and innovative role-playing systems around.

FFG has followed an interesting format for their main supplements; each features one of the four Ruinous Powers as a framework for expanding a particular sphere of the game, and each includes a small adventure based on that Power and its diabolical machinations. The first of these was The Winds of Magic, which gives players important background and setting information on the Colleges of Magic, some expanded optional rules and additional tools for wizards to practice their art, dozens of new spells across all eight College Orders, and more suggestions and guidance for playing wizard characters. Of course the Ruinous Power Tzeentch is also a master of magic, and he is covered in detail here.

Next came Signs of Faith, a treatise on religion in the Old World and new rules for priests and blessings, and suggestions on playing priestly characters. The daemonic Power explored in this supplement is Nurgle, the Plaguefather, and rules for disease are included to make the setting just that little bit more grim and perilous.

Omens of War covers the art of war in the Empire, new martial options, rules for mounted combat, and new fighting styles—including over 50 new Action cards. The matching Ruinous Power is of course Khorne, and this supplement explores his plans and minions. Give your players a shock with new Severe Injury rules that threaten characters with grisly fates and debilitating wounds, making combat even deadlier.

You can preorder now the newest supplement, Lure of Power, which covers the insidious Ruinous Power of temptation, pleasure and corruption, Slaanesh. Since Slaanesh is especially favoured by the decadent noble classes, this supplement is the perfect opportunity to explore their world, along with supplying new rules for social encounters.

WFRP

A game of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in full swing. Beer for the over 18s only of course! There are many different ways of setting up a game, so this is just one way of playing: I’ve added a map and miniatures, my own reference sheets, special character tins, and other bits and bobs to personalise our games. The most important ingredient is not shown—imagination!

Beyond this series has been several adventures to get you roleplaying in the Old World with a minimum of effort: the short campaign The Gathering Storm, the city adventure The Edge of Night, and an adventure in the Cursed Marshes near Marienburg, The Witch’s Song.

Black Fire PassThe newest release is of course a fascinating look into the dwarves and their culture in Black Fire Pass. The dwarf player in our game will be grunting with happiness at this release! Black Fire Pass presents a wealth of new information concerning dwarfs, the hold of Karak Azgaraz, and Black Fire Pass itself. The Book of Grudges features rules for runesmithing, dwarf engineering, ten brand-new dwarf careers, and much more; and also included are details on the history and geography of Black Fire Pass itself, with adventure and episode ideas for GMs and a complete adventure.

As you can see, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is still going strong. In fact I’ve played all three versions of the game since its release way back in 1987, and two of the players in our current group were playing the game when we started! If you’d like to read about the adventures of our group, our blog is here—but be warned, despite it being a fantasy adventure story, it’s not for children, has a language warning, and it’s also full of spoilers!

What’s Hot: Chaos in the Old World Horned Rat Expansion

The Horned RatChaos in the Old World fans rejoice! The new expansion for Fantasy Flight Games’ unique game of Chaos Gods competing to subjugate the Warhammer Old World is here: The Horned Rat. This exciting expansion adds a fifth player—the verminous Skaven—to the game, plus introduces terrible new events, and new upgrade and power cards for the existing Powers. In addition, new ‘expert level’ Old World cards can either be shuffled into the existing deck or played on their own, bringing even more variety and challenges to the Chaos in the Old World game.

If you haven’t yet discovered Chaos in the Old World, it’s a strategic and challenging game set in the Old World of the Warhammer Fantasy games. Four Ruinous Powers—the dark gods Tzeentch, Khorne, Nurgle and Slaanesh—compete to corrupt and dominate the world. Chaos in the Old World is certainly one of the best designed games FFG has released in the past few years, and I highly recommend grabbing a copy.

With this new expansion the Skaven player can send his teeming ratmen minions across the world in an attempt to conquer humankind for their god: the Horned Rat!

Roleplaying in the 41st Millennium

W40K Roleplaying

The grim, gothic science-fiction universe of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 is one of gaming’s greatest melieus. Since the original Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader hardcover book was first released way back in 1987 (my original copy sits behind me on the shelf as I write), the vast expanses of the 41st millennium have been continually developed in more and more detail as a background to the hugely popular tabletop miniatures game.

Almost since the original hardback hit the shelves, fans have dreamed of roleplaying in this incredible universe, but it took a long time for those dreams to become a reality. Finally, Black Industries, a Games Workshop publishing company—hot on the heels of the success of their 2nd edition launch of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game—announced that a W40K roleplaying game was imminent. But not just one roleplaying game—there would be three! There were so many possibilities in such a vast universe that one game couldn’t hope to cover them all, so there would be three games that shared similar mechanics, but focussed on different aspects of roleplaying in the far future.

Well, Black Industries released the first, long awaited system: Dark Heresy, and it sold out in no time at all. The future looked bright until suddenly the news came through that Black Industries was being dismantled. Thankfully, and to the great relief of roleplayers worldwide, it was announced that Fantasy Flight Games would take over not only WFRP and Dark Heresy, but all further development on both RPGs. And since then we have been treated to a surfeit of riches—and just recently, the announcement of a surprising fourth addition to the W40K RPG pantheon.

The Dark HeresyDark Heresy: Core Rulebook is the first game in the W40K RPG line (but of course you can choose and play any one—or more— of these RPG systems, depending on what kind of setting and characters you and your players would enjoy the most).

The setting is a part of the Imperium called the Calixis Sector (the background material is written by best-selling Warhammer 40,000 novelists Dan Abnett and Ben Counter), and players take on the roles of Acolytes of the Inquisition, aiming to uncover and combat the enemies of mankind. You stand in the front line of a great and secret war where your duty is to hunt out the foul stench of heresy, the vile alien, and the twisted influence of Chaos. You will tread where others fear, venturing to distant planets, ancient space hulks and the unsavoury depths of the under-hive. You will never know fame nor reward, yet if you stand resolute your deeds will be whispered to the God-Emperor of Mankind and your name will be revered for millennia…

At last count there were twelve supplements and expansions for Dark Heresy, so there’s no shortage of detailed background material and adventures to keep your players busy rooting out heretics for millennia! Two good places to start are the Game Master’s Kit, an essential resource for the GM containing a sturdy screen full of useful references and information, and a full scenario; and Purge the Unclean, an anthology of linked scenarios.

Then there are expansions full of new rules, careers, creatures, gear and packed with background material—The Inquisitor’s Handbook, The Radical’s Handbook, Disciples of the Dark Gods, Ascension, Blood of Martyrs, and Creatures Anathema.

Of course there is plenty of adventure material available, including the three-book epic campaign called Haarlock’s Legacy: Tattered Fates and Damned Cities, and Dead Stars. Also look out for The Black Sepulchre, the first installment of a new campaign.

Rogue TraderThe next RPG, Rogue Trader, took W40K roleplaying out into the blackness of infinite space. Players take on the roles of a Rogue Trader and his most trusted counsellors, empowered by an ancient warrant of trade to seek out profit and plunder amongst unexplored regions of space. Your ship will take you to new worlds and uncharted reaches of the void, where you will encounter rivals, pirates, aliens, and possibly even creatures of the warp. You will acquire and spend great wealth and riches, and fame or infamy will follow. You will discover ancient and forgotten mysteries and search out the unknown to find lost human worlds or never before seen celestial phenomena. You must survive the dangers of space, for beyond the threat of vacuum and deadly radiation lurk things Man was never meant to find.

Vast profits await for you and your fellow Explorers to find and claim. Fame and fortune reward the bold, but the unwary find only an anonymous death…

Best of all, there are rules for building your own starship (or starting play with one of six pre-generated vessels). Dynamic rules cover all eventualities from social interaction to deadly fast-paced combat, starships and psychic powers to a system of profit and influence. The Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook contains everything you need to start your adventure in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, including a complete adventure that puts you right into the middle of the action.

Then blast into some of the galaxy’s greatest adventures: The Lure of the Expanse, featuring three adventures set amongst the unexplored stars beyond the Imperium; and The Frozen Reaches, which puts the adventurers on a planet facing an imminent Ork invasion.

There’s plenty of expanded background material and new rules too: Edge of the Abyss offers in-depth descriptions of several important locations in the Expanse, and background information, statistics, and ships for the most powerful alien races and organizations; Into the Storm details new character options and gear (plus you can play as an alien!); and Battlefleet Koronus is an extensive sourcebook about the starships of the Imperium.

DeathwatchSomething W40K players have been wanting to do for a long, long time is actually roleplay the classic Space Marines or Adeptus Astartes—the devout, bio-engineered super-soldiers who are so iconic of the tabletop game and the W40K universe. And finally, the Deathwatch: Core Rulebook arrived. As a character in a Deathwatch game, you are an exceptional space marine singled out, after many years of faithful service to your own chapter, to join one of the most unique and specialized collectives of Space Marines—the mysterious Deathwatch. Its members swear a new oath to safeguard the Imperium from the darkest of threats. You will be called into service to hunt down and destroy hostile xenos forces, to seek out and crush the root of heresy and sedition, and to continually fight against the foul daemon menace that crawls forth hungrily from beyond the Warp. You and your fellow players will be on the front line of an Imperial Crusade to reclaim the vast region of space known as the Reach from darkness and heresy. The fate of billions rests in your hands!

Your GM would do well to employ the aid of the Deathwatch Gamemaster’s Kit, which comes complete with a sturdy GM screen featuring stunning artwork and useful tables, charts, rules, and statistics, providing quick Game Master reference and a handy place behind which to plot your evil schemes. In addition, there’s a 32-page full colour booklet with a selection of useful NPCs, an expanded Mission generation system, and a complete adventure, The Shadow of Madness. But that’s still not all … included is a section devoted to aiding Game Masters to devise missions and implement them into your own Deathwatch campaigns, plus an appendix detailing the important NPCs that your players’ Kill-team may encounter, with plenty of adventure ideas for each.

The surprising new addition to the W40K RPG line is a fourth game that was never announced back in the Black Industries days: Black Crusade. This new game will offer players an entirely new perspective on the conflict between the Imperium of Man and the forces of Chaos—for now you will be able to play as a Disciple of the Dark Gods, whether as a Chaos Space Marine or a human Servant of Chaos. It’s time to be the bad guys!

As you can see, Fantasy Flight Games has roleplaying in the universe of the 41st millennium well and truly covered—it only remains for you to choose your game, gear up your characters, and go forth to investigate, explore and of course—fight!

What’s Hot: Deathwatch RPG Rulebook

Deathwatch RPGWelcome to the front lines, Battle-Brother!

Deathwatch is a roleplaying game in which you take on the role of a member of the Adeptus Astartes—the devout, bio-engineered super-soldiers also known as Space Marines. After many years of exemplary service within your own chapter, you have been singled out and selected to join one of the most unique and specialized collectives of Space Marines—the Deathwatch.

Only the most exceptional candidates from the fighting forces of the Adeptus Astartes are invited to join the mysterious Deathwatch; to take on a new oath to safeguard the Imperium from the darkest of threats. You will now be called into service to hunt down and destroy hostile xenos forces, to seek out and crush the root of heresy and sedition, and to continually fight against the foul daemon menace that crawls forth hungrily from beyond the Warp. You are at the fore of Mankind’s war for survival against an extremely hostile universe.

For centuries, the Deathwatch have maintained their silent vigil over the ancient ruins of the Reach, but now you find yourselves on the front lines of a grand Imperial Crusade that has been launched to reclaim this vast region of space from darkness and heresy. The fate of billions rests in your hands!

For fans of the detailed universe of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 miniatures game—and science-fiction roleplayers everywhere—this is the perfect entry into roleplaying in the 41st century!

Friday’s Gaming News Update

Sample Dark Eldar armies from Games Workshop.

Obsessive Descent fan? Why not get yourself the unofficial Well of Darkness 3D board?

Sadly, Wizards of the Coast announce the end of the Heroscape line. Grab as much as you can before it all disappears …

Games personality Michael Barnes talks about Ten Games I Want To Play Again, Someday.

Tom Vasel, of Dicetower fame, reviews Castle Ravenloft.

Matt Drake Of Drake’s Flames reviews Heroes of Graxia.

Fantasy Flight Games release Arkham Horror pre-painted figures and City of Thieves pre-painted figures.

A new designer diary for Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Boardgame looks at the combat system.

Gaming News Update

Fantasy Flight Games has released a FAQ for Battles of Westeros.

Games Workshop have posted some great videos of designers Phil Kelly and Jes Goodwin discussing the new Dark Eldar range.

Check out the Michael Barnes review of Betrayal at House on the Hill 2nd Edition.

… and the Ted Cheatham video review of Werewolf-like card game The Resistance.

What’s Hot: Space Hulk Death Angel: The Card Game

Purge the Xenos threat! The Space Hulk Sin of Damnation has succumbed to a vicious Genestealer infestation. Now you must purge the vile alien…

Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a cooperative card game for 1-6 players. Set in the grim Warhammer 40,000 universe, Death Angel pits a squad of Blood Angel Space Marines against a growing alien horde. It will take strategic teamwork to make it out alive.

Pick your combat group, fall into formation, and prepare for the Genestealer swarms! 

Upcoming Games

I keep several boardgaming-related websites in my bookmarks list so I can keep an eye on the next batch of games that are in development or on their way. The big North American gaming convention GenCon has recently come and gone in Indianapolis, so a lot of new games saw their debut at the show. Here’s a quick look at some of the new games that should be out this year or early next year.

Fantasy Flight Games is, as you’ve no doubt guessed by now, my favourite publisher, and they have a stack of new goodies in the pipeline for release this year (hopefully). The two surprise announcements recently were Dust Tactics and Cadwallon: City of Thieves. These  were originally to be published by Dust Games, but that company suddenly found themselves short on the resources required, so have done a deal with FFG to hand over the games. Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures boardgame set in an alternative 1940s world created by the comic book artist Paolo Parente. It’s been in the works for a surprisingly long time; originally it was to be released by Rackham Entertainment, who then went on to release AT-43 instead. Dust Tactics is quite a spectacular-looking product, featuring over thirty detailed, individually-sculpted miniatures (including four huge tank/walker figures). The initial game consists of eight scenarios fought on a set of cardboard terrain tiles (with some model terrain), but later there will be a set of rules released for fighting battles on a tabletop, like a normal miniatures game.

The miniatures in the game come primed in a flat colour which you can paint, if you desire, but there is also a Collector’s Edition set on the way, with all the miniatures fully painted to an incredibly high standard. The Collector’s Edition will be pricey, but for the non-painters, I’m sure it will be worth it.

There are already plans for several expansion sets to the core game of course; introducing such things as artillery robots, strange creatures, new heroes, aircraft, and even an alien race, the Vrills. It’s all shaping up to be an amazing system, and it will be interesting to see the reaction to the core set and watch the future of this game.

The other game to arrive at FFG from Dust Games is Cadwallon: City of Thieves. This fast-paced boardgame of thievery and skulduggery is set in the Rackham fantasy city of Cadwallon, the subject of a short lived roleplaying/combat game. It’s a perfect addition to the FFG stable, with gorgeous art and miniatures dripping with character. You lead a gang of thieves sneaking about a district of Cadwallon, grabbing loot and avoiding the militiamen hot on your tail. Individual scenarios bring variety to the game play. Again, the miniatures are not pre-painted, but you’ll be able to buy a separate set of painted miniatures if you so choose.

Another exciting game from FFG in the works is a Space Hulk-themed cooperative card game set in the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 universe, called Space Hulk Death Angel: The Card Game. This will accommodate anywhere from 1-6 players, and sees you taking Blood Angel Terminator combat teams into the twisting labyrinthine corridors of an abandoned space hulk, to join combat with the horrific alien Genestealers. The game is playable in under and hour and comes in a small ‘Silver Line’ box. This looks like a great choice if you feel like a quick, theme-rich game experience.

Sticking with card games, there are two more on the way from FFG: The Lord of the Rings Card Game and The Blood Bowl Team Manager Card Game. There’s very little information yet about the latter but it’s certainly exciting news for Blood Bowl fans, and I certainly count myself a member of that group! Apparently it will be a frenzied game of deck-building for 2-4 players, and you can choose from Human, Dwarf, Wood Elf, Orc, Skaven, or Chaos factions and play through an entire season. The LotR Card Game will be another of FFG’s very successful Living Card Games, so they’ll be a long series of expansion card packs after the 216-card core set. 1-2 players (or more if you buy a couple of core sets) cooperate to select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts and complete quests in the land of Middle-Earth. Players can shape their decks to create their favourite combination of spheres of influence: leadership, lore, spirit and tactics. It looks like they’ll be lots of spectacular artwork and a huge amount of variety in this game, and hopefully it will be a must for any gamer who’s a fan of Tolkein’s world.

But wait! There’s more. The long-awaited return of the Games Workshop classic, Dungeonquest, is imminent. Anyone who played this cut-throat game back in the 80s knows that it’s tough work surviving that dungeon—but that’s all the fun. FFG have re-themed the game to set it in their world of Terrinoth (and cleverly cross-marketed the new characters by supplying components for them for Descent, Runebound and Runewars). Dungeonquest is a fast and fun game of dungeon exploration for 1-4 players.

Keep an eye peeled for some other FFG games on the horizon as well: Bruno Faidutti’s magnum opus, Isla Dorada, two army expansions for Battles of Westeros, various expansions for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying games, a quick card game called Dragonheart, Kevin Wilson’s new game, Civilization: The Board Game (inspired by Sid Meier’s video games), a new small-box version of the classic Lord of the Rings Board Game by Reiner Knizia, the new Tide of Iron expansion Fury of the Bear, and a new expansion for Talisman called The Sacred Pool. Not to mention the usual regular Living Card Game releases.

Well, there are other game companies in the world apart from FFG I admit, and another company with a hectic release schedule for 2010 is Z-Man Games. The company is known for releasing an eclectic mix of titles of all different styles and themes. Check out this list of titles: Earth Reborn, Parade, Burrows, The King Commands!, Power Struggle, Magical Athlete, Malta!, Prolix, Kings & Things, Mines of Zavandor, Trollhalla, Inca Empire, Pocket Battles: Orc vs Elves, and De Vulgari Eloquentia. Whew!

There’s certainly been some buzz about the new game from Christophe Boelinger, the creator of Dungeon Twister. It’s called Earth Reborn and it’s a post-apocalyptic scenario-based tactical combat game. It’s also one of the first forays by Z-Man Games into the world of plastic miniatures, and the ones that come with the game are looking mighty impressive. Parade is a quick 30 minute curious card game by Naoki Homma for 2-6 players. Hansa Teutonica is a tense game of route manipulation and economics by Andreas Steding for 2-5 players; players are merchants jostling for position and standing in the Hanseatic League. Power Struggle is a game about becoming the top-dog in a corporate empire by reaching milestones in investing, corruption, influence and position. In Burrows, you’ll find yourself trying to keep a group of fussy Gophers well-housed, using tiles to build a twisted network of burrows. Bottle Imp is a trick taking card game by Gunter Cornett. And of course, don’t forget the car-racing mayhem of Road Kill Rally; the new game by the creator of Duel in the Dark, Duel of the Giants, a tank-battle game; pirate fun with Merchants & Marauders; and a real-time strategy computer game-inspired game called The Ares Project. Zev from Z-Man must be run off his feet!

As for other publishers, there’s a new game coming from Asmodee and Antoine Bauza (Ghost Stories, Mystery Express) called 7 Wonders, a a civilization-building card game. Wizards of the Coast are releasing a Dungeons & Dragons board game called Castle Ravenloft that looks to be a classic dungeoncrawler with a simplified set of D&D 4th Edition mechanics. And Flying Frog Productions, makers of Last Night on Earth and A Touch of Evil, continue their series of crazy, fun games with photographic art with their new one, Invasion from Outer Space: The Martian Game, which pits alien invaders against circus freaks in a Tim Burtonesque carnival.

Well, if that lot doesn’t keep gamers happy I don’t know what will! There’s obviously no shortage whatsoever of great games on the way—all we need do now is somehow find the time to play as many as possible …

by Universal Head

For more information about the games mentioned in this article, visit the publisher sites or BoardgameGeek (www.boardgamegeek.com). There is a Dust Tactics site at www.dust-tactics.com. Z-Man Games can be previewed at www.zmangames.com. You can also find rules summaries and reference sheets for many games at Headless Hollow (www.headlesshollow.com/freebies_games.html).

Universal Head (www.universalhead.com), has been designing for clients across the globe for more than twenty years, and playing games for much longer than that. He’s responsible for the graphic design of several boardgames, notably ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’ by Z-Man Games, and once spent an entire year recreating the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in 3D for a computer game. In between he’s designed just about every form of visual communication: corporate identities, websites, packaging, brochures, even postage stamps. He also created the game websites www.tekumel.com and www.battleloremaster.com. His blog site www.headlesshollow.com is an obsessive repository of professionally designed rules summaries and reference sheets for popular boardgames.

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