July continues to overflow with successful board game campaigns, and the (most likely) biggest one is only starting.
Time to present you with a third batch of this month’s games. This time: 3 titles releasing from July 20th to 29th.
Materia Prima – July 20th
A rare case of a game designer who also creates artwork for his own game and publishes it. Florian Pfab seems to be a real one-man-orchestra, and his debut game sounds brilliant so far. Materia Prima is an idea he wanted to make into reality for at least 5 years.
Materia Prima takes place in a medieval-like setting, in a land called Alka Sowa. The game is aimed at 2-4 players who for the time being become medieval alchemists. Their goal, like some of you might have guessed, is to discover the Philosopher’s Stone. That’s obviously oversimplifying as you will have dozens of other matters to take care of. Being an alchemist is no easy.
You character will have his or her own backstory and motivations, that pushed them towards alchemy. That includes a special goal hidden from other players. You also get… a personal tower, chosen at the beginning of the game.
The gameplay takes place on a modular board made of 7 hexes and involves lots of cards. Alchemists are able to gather resources, trade, wander around the board, dismantle items and most importantly: create new ones. The crafting system is one of the biggest parts of the game and can grant you everything if played properly: from weaponry to living homunculi, whom you control. To win you have to not only create the elusive Stone but also fulfill your hidden personal goal by using it.
The campaign will launch on Saturday. The price of €40 (€35 with Early bird) was already revealed and it will most likely be the only pledge level available. The author plans some stretch goals with alternative game elements and additional languages of the manual. If the campaign does well, we can expect some expansions in the future.
On The Rocks – July 23rd
Since the previous game was about fantasy alchemy… why not write about some more modern version of that craft? There are certainly not enough games about mixing drinks. Luckily thanks to PenTree games, this is going to change soon.
A game of On The Rocks consists of 3 rounds. Don’t get fooled by that number though, as it’s actually not a 10 minutes long filler game.
Players start by selecting orders and do their best to complete them. A special bag serves as a shaker and includes random marbles representing cocktail ingredients. These get drafted according to a dice roll and then: placed on several small bowls in the middle of the play area. Next you choose one of the bowls and place its ingredients on your board with glasses.
When you manage to complete a drink on your board – you get a tip card. These provide points at the end of the game, but can also grant special actions: from getting new ingredients to negative interaction with your competitors. Apart from the basic cocktail components, there are also 2 special marbles: one that works as a joker and one that makes you spill the drink and take various consequences.
The campaign for On The Rocks launches next Tuesday. The game reminds me of Azul and Sagrada (which I both love), with less puzzle elements and a bigger focus on cards.
Adventure Tactics: Domianne’s Tower – July 29th
A co-op game for a change, and a Final Fantasy Tactics inspired one at that.
Adventure Tactics: Domianne’s Tower tells a story of heroes, aiming to overthrow an evil queen, who dwells in an ancient tower far, far away.
Adventure Tactics is a card game at heart, focused on deck building mechanics. Its FFT inspirations are visible from the beginning – especially in the class system, that the famous video game is known for. Heroes belong to five distinct classes: archer, rogue, wizard, fighter and cleric. Your classes can evolve, and often require proficiency in at least 2 others before letting you take them on. As the campaign progresses, that number is expanded with another 15 (bishop, ranger, warlock etc). Every class has its own passive skills (e.g. more health) and you can use skills from multiple classes you are trained in.
Combat is resolved through cards and dice. Many cards just tell you to do a regular attack, but classes also have their own special attacks, heals, protective buffs or even teleportation spells. Attacking is resolved by rolling dice. These are actually quite unusual and characters use different sets of them to deal damage. There’s a die with results ranging from 1-3 (so D3 at heart), a dice where numbers go from 2 to 5 and the third one which goes from 1-6 and can offer best rewards at an increased risk. Apart from the attack dice list, each character has an attacking range and a max movement value. Every turn you draw 4 cards, and play up to 2 (although some cards with a star can be played outside of these limitations).
Adventure Tactics: Domianne’s Tower boasts having over 700 cards, including the boss AI decks. The scenario book is about 60 pages long and will tell you everything about the story and how to prepare each map for your encounter.