The DWP staff are lucky enough to attend the Gathering of Friends convention every year. It is an excellent place to check out what games will shape the hobby in the coming year. We tried a number of prototypes over the weekend – some close to finished, others still earlier in their development. That being the case, please keep in mind that some of the photos include prototype components or stock art, and we’re not able to share every detail about some of the games coming out later this year. We’re planning on doing full reviews of some of the games featured here, but we wanted to give you a little taste of the ones making big waves so far.
Colony is a resource management and tableau building game that takes place in a post apocalyptic world in the not too distant future. Players are competing to build their colonies using the left over scrap material of a failed society. Each Colony starts with the ability to store some resources, build new buildings, upgrade the ones they have, or add to their infrastructure. The goal is to construct your tableau of buildings to reach a particular number of points, depending on the number of players.
Colony comes with 28 different building types and, in Dominion-style, you’ll choose seven of them for each game that you play. The buildings give you renewable resources, allow you to attack other players, defend yourself against those attacks, or make trades and deals with your opponents, and that’s just what I’ve seen in the introductory setup. Knowing that there are a slew of other cards in the box, it’s clear right off the bat that there’s loads of replay value packed into this game.
The resources in Colony are dice. On a turn, you’ll roll your regular production as well as any other temporary boosts you may have acquired. As your Colony grows, you can also upgrade your buildings, making them more powerful and more valuable.
Colony is a joint design between Ted Alspach, Toryo Hojo and N2 and published by Bézier Games. It’s going to immediately appeal to fans of Machi Koro, Dominion, and Race For The Galaxy. The suggested starting cards had a lot to offer, and I’m really looking forward to getting new combinations of cards to the table.
7 Wonders Duel Expansion
Hmmmmm… I can’t actually say too much about this, but I’ll tell you what I can.
If you’ve played Duel or any of the other games in the 7 Wonders universe you know that they are well designed to integrate expansions. In fact, one of my first questions when I first played 7 Wonders Duel was “will there be any expansions?” Well, it was only a matter of time.
I can tell you that while the release of this expansion is still a little ways off (probably at Essen this year), it is already very polished and very fun. The great thing about it is that, while the expansion grows Duel in a totally new way, unrelated to any of the previous iterations, it still blends really well with the base game. It deals with ancient Gods and how you can win their favour. There are a few interesting new mechanics that I know will please fans of the series. This is a must buy for me!
On the surface Adrenaline is a first-person-shooter game where players scramble around an arena, picking up powerful weapons and ammo, frantically trying to destroy each other. If you dig a bit deeper, Adrenaline is actually an area control game, where the area is the other player’s life gauge, and the method of control is how many bullets you’ve managed to pump into them before they die. When a character is killed off, their body is scored: the person who dealt the most damage will score the most points, and bonuses are given to those players who drew first blood and/or delivered the kill shot.
Dying’s no big deal, though. You’ll respawn next turn, ready to rejoin the fray. Actually, taking some damage in Adrenaline is not a bad thing. As your injuries increase, so does your adrenaline level, making you faster and more threatening to the other combatants.
The game is driven by a wide array of cool guns that you’ll use to rip apart the competition. Grenade Launchers are good for blowing up a group that has gotten too close together, Heat Seekers allow you to target players anywhere in the arena, and if someone gets a little too close for comfort, your Chainsaw can teach them a lesson about personal space.
Adrenaline is still a little ways away from hitting the shelves (again, probably Essen), but it should definitely stay on your radar, as it’s a heck of a lot of fun picking off your friends one at a time.
This is the second release from Pretzel Games, following last year’s hit, Flick ‘Em Up. They’ve kept the same super high production value with Junk Art, with beautiful wooden pieces and the same gorgeous wooden box Flick ‘Em Up came in.
Junk Art is a dexterity game by Sen Foong-Lim and Jay Cormier. The idea is stacking mismatched pieces of junk to create a work of art, or, failing that, a mess of wooden pieces that aren’t currently falling over. The box contains 60 awesome pieces of ‘found art’ in four different colours. The beauty of Junk Art is that there are a lot of different ways to play.
In one version, you present two cards to the player on your left (each depicting a specific piece). They choose one and leave the other for you to add to your growing masterpiece. You get points for touching the same shape or colour in your structure, but you’ll lose points for dropping pieces. You have to decide on what cards to offer up, that will result in you getting what you want, but without giving too much away to your opponent. Another version has everyone getting ten cards dealt to them and racing to get them all piled onto your base. The first one to complete it wins.
Junk Art is what I’d call a gamer’s dexterity game. With so many different ways to play and actual decisions to make, it is as engaging as it is fun. When you add the vibrant colours and high production value, it’s very clear that Junk Art will be another hit for Pretzel Games. Look for a pre-release around Origins this year.
Yamataï (possibly not the final title) is about as polished a prototype as I’ve ever seen. Created by the prolific designer, Bruno Cathala, Yamataï has players exploring an archipelago, picking up resources, and constructing buildings and temples.
Actions are determined by selecting tiles that come with a supply of boats, a special ability and determine your turn oder for the next round. The stronger the tile you select, the later you’ll go in turn order. As you sail throughout the islands you must decide between picking up resources or constructing buildings. Resources can help you in a number of different ways, but as you take them you free up space for other players to lay claim to the land.
You also have the ability to hire characters with unique powers associated with them. Some are only worth points, but others will give you an advantage during play.
You may have to wait for a while before Yamataï shows up in your FLGS, but the version I tried was pretty much fully realized. It had the effect that most Cathala games have on me…I wanna play it again immediately!