Quinns: Hello and welcome, I hope you’re all ready for another piping hot serving of Games News. Today, we have a double news, in which I’m joined by Paul and we’ll be firing off the news together, manning the News Cannons. Rotating the News Turrets.
Paul: I had to get up very early for this.
Quinns: So shall we dive right in?
Paul: Because of the time difference, it’s 4am in Shut Up & Sit Down’s North American Office and also 1986...
Quinns: Let’s go!
Paul: ...I’m using a dial-up modem.
Quinns: First up!
Plaid Hat’s new and distinctly white & textured card game Rise of the Phoenixborn is almost upon us. An expandable card game in the manner of Netrunner or their own lovely Summoner Wars that uses not just cards, but 40 gorgeous tiny dice.
Paul: We must have said half a dozen times already how good a reputation Plaid Hat Games have. They’ve assembled a respectable stable of games in which even their mangiest horses are still finer animals than what most other publishers try to feed hay to. Phoenixborn looks very interesting because combining both decks and custom dice is a curious thing. And that’s a lot of dice. And a lot of cards, too. It’s a bit like they took Quarriors and Netrunner into that stable of theirs, fed them lots of sweet, sweet hay and tried to, you know, get things going. Make something happen.
Paul: I’m sorry, it’s still very early. Er.
Quinns: Remember when we both died and had to play death at Summoner Wars for our immortal souls?
Quinns: Neither do I.
Paul: Minuscule! This looks very cute. Cute as could be. A bug-betting board game from Korea, Minuscule (yes, I’m spelling that right) has players laying down cards to move insects around, but also to bet on what the insects will do. Of course, you can imagine something of a disagreement arising between players when the behaviour of these insects doesn’t align with the bets they’ve made. Which will probably happen on turn one and every other turn.
Minuscule looks kinda cute and while that’s perhaps all there is to it, I do want to give it a try, just so I can make someone angry by moving a ladybird the wrong way. That seems a good way to make a person angry. Did you know they call ladybirds “ladybugs” here in North America? Also they have different creatures here. Creatures like cockroaches and scorpions and something called the “assassin bug.” So that’s nice. It’s not like in England where a bluebottle sort of flies past and goes “Oh I’m sorry,” and then leaves.
Quinns: I caught myself talking to a bumblebee yesterday. That’s not a joke it’s just a thing that happened.
I’ve got a piece of paper here where you’ve just written “Barony” and then something on it that might be drool?
Paul: Oh right, yes! How did I miss Barony? Apparently it’s about to come out this summer and I was entirely unaware of it until it was right on top of me. It looks gorgeous and compelling, or at least a little bit cute, like an aloof and ambivalent gallic actor, and while the increasing rejection of a lot of Euro-style games that you mentioned last week is totally real, I can’t help but look at those warm tones and that foresty map and feel something stirring inside me.
It has knights and castles and players competing to spread their territory across the land using simple, uncomplicated actions. How simple? Think Splendor simple, which is appropriate because Barony is by Splendor designer Marc André! How good is Splendor? Splendor is great, a lovely game spun out of simple rules, which makes me excited for Barony. That, and all its possibility for randomly-generated maps, which makes me even more excited breathe Paul breathe.
Quinns: Oh, I remember this. It was part of the preview room that Asmodee invited us to when we were at Gen Con last year. That was a weird time.
We were exhausted and split up and it was endless Frenchmen earnestly gesturing at you about primary-coloured construction paper that was meant to represent Odysseus or the Norovirus or whatever. I was unable to process any of what was happening. Then I accidentally left with the CEO’s backpack. That’s also not a joke it’s just a thing that happened.
Paul: I remember that there was a massive pile of fruit and when I went to the toilet it was an impossibly large room with a tiny toilet inside it and I don’t know why anyone thought that was necessary.
Quinns: I’ll tell you what news got me breathless & sweaty this week though, Paul.
Paul: Good segue. Was it the results back about your cholesterol levels?
Quinns: It was this reveal of the “second wave” of expansions for Star Wars: Armada! Look at them, Paul! Look with your eyes. Look with your soul. Can you imagine anything more exciting than this. There’s a Star Destroyer that’s slightly larger than the one in the base set, and one that’s slightly smaller! Slightly smaller, Paul!
Paul: Are you joking?
Quinns: Not... really? I am genuinely excited to control aggressive triangles of new sizes, but if people are looking for stuff to be genuinely excited about in Wave 2 it’d be the fingernail-sized Millenium Falcon.
Paul: Oh, this is the proper Star Destroyer type of Star Destroyer. I actually feel there are too many types of Star Destroyer in Star Wars and it gives me Star Destroyer Fatigue.
Quinns: I played my first proper-scale game of Armada with two core sets yesterday, Paul. It was ludicrously good fun. The thing that’s so funny about the supermassive ships is that you edge forward, not wanting to enter range of the enemy forces, except because you’re commanding what are basically space shopping trolleys with their own momentum they end up sliding forward anyway and then everything explodes.
Paul: I like that there’s a quote from Lando on that page, though, because I’ve always thought Lando was underrated as a character and also an actor. Billy Dee Williams added something a little different to the first Star Wars films and sod all this Clone Wars and other spinoff stuff. I think shows about the early days of Lando and Boba Fett would be much more interesting.
Anyway, speaking of charming actors, there’s also a hot new podcast in town!
Quinns: But my pods are already so hot, Paul.
Paul: Dual classed actor / gentleman Rich Sommer has launched Cardboard, an hour of happy evangalism and passion for table gaming. It’s slick, professional and very good fun, a lovely thing for us to end today’s Games News with. It even features cocktails.