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Cry Havoc! And Check Out 3 New Games of War

Avalonia – Kickstarter >>>

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If Risk and a Ghost album cover had a baby, and that baby spent its entire life watching nothing but Army of Darkness, it would grow up to be Avalonia. Farside Games, fresh off of their very successful Epic 7 Arise campaign, is bringing something very unique to the war game genre with this grim, apocalyptic battle for the wastelands. 

Avalonia is a game set in a post-Arthurian wasteland where a disease created by Excalibur has ravaged humanity. 2 to 4 players take on a distinct faction, each with 3 heroes pulled right out of Arthurian legend. 

This game is grim. In this world, human blood burns with disease, and the only way to survive is to harvest the blood of Pure Bloods, specifically Pure Blood infants. See what I mean? Grim. Pure Blood infants act as the games currency and are used to spawn new units and to curry favor with the monstrous Arthur, currently locked in a Cthulhu-esque sleep.

You see cards, I see my master stroke.
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Each turn, players to try to control areas of the board, especially any zone with a gigantic, baby-headed Pure Blood trader. After all, you’ve gotta get those Pure-Blood adults if you want Pure-Blood infants, amiright? In order to do so, you will need to carefully plan your moves ahead of time using action cards. Each action card gives a player 2 actions, and players may choose 2 action cards a turn. However, you may only choose 3 of your 4 total actions, and once they’re set, you’re locked in. So think carefully about whether you’d like to research a new action card or charge your forces into battle. 

This game is less Arthur, more morte.
Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

While trying to control the board, invariably you will find yourself in battle with your opponents. Combat is straight forward and much more about strategy than luck. Each faction controls 3 units: basic, armored, and advanced. A basic unit gives you1/2 a hit, an armored unit gives you 1 hit while simultaneously negating an enemy hit, and an advanced unit gives you 2 hits. Attack action cards let you know how many units you can use, and from there it’s just a matter of adding up your total hits. Any hits not blocked by armor equal an enemy unit removed from the game.

Near the end of each round, there is a bidding phase that allows characters to bid for Arthur’s dormant artifacts: skeletal giants that can enter the battle under your control. Each player secretly bids Pure-Blood Infants, and the winner gets a victory point and one of Arthur’s artifacts to use. They also get to place a baby miniature at the foot of the giant Arthur statue on the board which is so creepy, and metal, and cool, and oh my God I love it. 

Admittedly, Arthur’s PR slogans need some work.
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But players have to be careful about accepting Arthur’s help. At the end of each round, players also score points for controlling human hives and Traders, and the first to 30 victory points wins. BUT, as soon as 8 Pure-Blood infants are placed at the foot of Arthur’s statue, he awakens and ends the game. The player with the most Arthurian artifacts is immediately eliminated, regardless of their score, and the winner is the player with the second highest score. It’s almost like accepting help from an evil, magical, undead king is a bad idea? So crazy.

Nightmare Cathedral – Gamefound, March 28 >>>

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Next up is another nightmarish war-game. And yes, I stand by this joke.  

Based on the very eerie works of Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński, Nightmare Cathedral from Board & Dice puts 2 to 4 players in the role of powerful Dreamers trying to control the dreamscape.

Funny, I had this exact dream!.
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Like Avalonia, this game also has an area control and action deck aspect with some very interesting differences. In Nightmare Cathedral, players try to control areas of the dreamscape which they can do by placing their followers in an area, but this game is all about building. Players can build 3-story forts across the dreamscape and upgrade areas which will score them points in the end and give them a big boost in combat. Speaking of, the forts are just as enjoyable to tear down as they are to stack up. During combat, players simply play attack and defense cards, then compare the number of attack vs defense symbols on their cards. For every unblocked attack you have, you can destroy an opposing follower or tear down one story of your opponent’s fort. However, if the fort is still there at the end of combat, your opponent wins and you have to skedaddle elsewhere.

Gonna skip this Sunday, thank you very much.
Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

But why stop at tiny forts? Why not build, oh I don’t know, an entire freaking cathedral. After each active player’s turn, a new piece of the colossal Nightmare Cathedral is added to the board, unlocking some new special ability. When the last piece is put in place, ultra-powerful Nightmares enter the game and set about devouring your followers. Surprisingly, this is a good thing as devoured followers actually help you score points in the end.

You know what, I will have another cup of coffee. Strongest you’ve got.
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When you’re not building things, you’re playing action cards to move, fight, and perform rituals for points and bonuses. But unlike other action card mechanics, the fun doesn’t stop with just your action. Each card also has 2 possible reactions built in that give you the option to respond to the active player’s action. So even when it’s not your turn, the engagement and strategy doesn’t end.

Boglins: Battle for the Bogland – Kickstarter >>>

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For those of you who weren’t around, the 80’s and early 90’s were a very special time. Disgusting, rubbery, practical-effects movie monsters were all the rage, and toy companies were doing everything possible to cash in on it. Some, like Madballs, were more successful than others, but none were as cool or sought after as the Boglins. 

Boglins were rubbery puppets with realistic, moveable eyes and had gross or silly names like King Drool and Dwork. Parents hated them and kids loved them. So much so, in fact, that over the last few years there has been a relaunch of the toy brand. Kids of today can now experience the wonder of Boglins, and adult fans can replace their favorite childhood toy.

Behold its rubbery majesty.
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In case you can’t tell, I definitely fall into that latter category which is why I am so pumped from this latest announcement from Jack Dire over at Grim Rabbit Games. Little is known about it yet as the project is still in the very early stages of production, but what we do know is that the game is going to use the Gatefall System introduced in the Gatefall skirmish game.

Big minis, bigger battles.
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If you didn’t see our previous article on Gatefall, let me fill you in. Gatefall is a rules-lite skirmish game in which a mysterious portal has opened up linking different genre worlds which, invariably, leads to full-on brawls between each world’s inhabitants. Players draw cards from a deck which tells them how many actions they can take with their squad of inter-dimensional pugilists and the fighting commences. Attacks involve dice which will either score hits on your opponents or reward you with coins to upgrade your deck and your fighters. Whenever a fighter is killed, he simply loses a turn, heads back to your starting line, and then rejoins the fight. Your opponent, in the meantime, scores a victory point toward winning the game. Boglins: Battle for the Boglands will be a standalone game that can also be integrated into any of the other Gatefall games. That means Dwork, Drool, and the rest of the Boglins gang (Come on, Slobster!) can square off against a giant ogre, a radioactive badlands biker, or even Dracula himself. Gatefall has been on my radar for a while now, but Jack Dire, you mad genius, you finally got me with this one.

Boglins: Battle for the Boglands will be a standalone game that can also be integrated into any of the other Gatefall games. That means Dwork, Drool, and the rest of the Boglins gang (Come on, Slobster!) can square off against a giant ogre, a radioactive badlands biker, or even Dracula himself. Gatefall has been on my radar for a while now, but Jack Dire, you mad genius, you finally got me with this one.

by Zane Messina

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