Unbreakable Bonds

It’s a game day extra here at spalanz.com!

As it’s Fantasy Week here, in celebration of the blog’s third birthday on Friday, I wanted to talk a bit about the upcoming Unbreakable Bonds expansion for Runebound third edition, which provides a co-op/solo alternative to the game.

There hasn’t been a great deal of news for the new edition of Runebound for quite some time, which has had many folks fearing the sky would soon be falling on the game. But feat not! This bad boy is coming in the third quarter, with new stuff (including new heroes) to add to the game.

To start with, there are five scenarios presented in the expansion – two new ones, and co-op/solo versions of both base game scenarios and Caught in a Web. I like this idea a lot, as I feel it could leave the door open for FFG to produce further co-op/solo expansions that do the same for any subsequent expansions they put out. I’m sure plenty of people will complain that this not only requires the base game, but also other expansions in order to play, but I’m sure there are plenty more completionists for whom this won’t be an issue. And the smaller expansions FFG have put out so far seem so packed-full of stuff, I don’t think you’ll be wasting money on them…

The way that combat is being handled in this expansion has interested me a great deal, as rather than having specific rules to essentially bolt-on a monster AI, there are new “combat boards” for four different monster types, along with the respective combat tokens. This could well future-proof the game for Unbreakable Bonds to work with whatever is next for Runebound third edition – though of course, we’re still waiting to see any kind of big box expansion come out here.

It’s definitely an interesting twist, and has come at a time when I’ve actually been on the cusp of trading off this game as one that I haven’t played since my first foray almost a year ago. I might just keep hold of the game and wait to see what Unbreakable Bonds has to offer me, after all!

More DC!

Following on from the Rivals blog I posted earlier, I just wanted to mention some of the other stuff we’ve slowly been seeing that will be coming out for the game in the next few months. It was the New York Toy Fair last week, which is usually the first event of the year to start showcasing new games, and always worth checking out Twitter to see what’s on the horizon from your favourite publishers!

So let’s start with this bad boy! Looks like a big box version of the Rivals game, with four iconic pairings of heroes and villains! We’ve got Superman vs Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman vs Circe, Aquaman vs Orm, and Zatanna vs Felix Faust, it seems! Bit sad that there’s no Flash in here, vs either Zoom or Captain Cold, but this box looks like it releases in Q4, so maybe there’s still time for a standalone box? I’m kidding myself, I know…

Long before that, however, we’re getting a massive storage box for all of the current content, as well as room for future expansions. It’s not just a big box, though, as there’s a Crossover Pack inside that utilises cards from across the entire range of the deck-building game, which sounds like it should be pretty great! At a really good price, it’s going to be a must-buy for anyone who enjoys the game!

We’ve also got two more Crossover Packs due out imminently – Birds of Prey (which you can see at the bottom here) and The Rogues, which allows you to play as some of the iconic Flash villains!

I had been hoping that we’d be seeing another big box expansion for the game by now, but it looks like the above Confrontations could well be it. I’m not exactly disappointed, but I had been hoping for something… else. At any rate, I think it’s just great to be getting new stuff for the game, in general. It’s been quiet for a long time on the DC DBG front now, probably not helped by the Rebirth stuff going on within the comic book world itself – have you noticed all of these preview images have the new DC logo on them? New 52 is now old news, it seems! Perfect timing for that new big box, then!

Eldritch Moon spoiler season!

Wow. I’m not really intending to post a whole bunch of blogs about this, but I wanted to say something about this today, at least, because I’m kinda blown away by how interesting this new stuff is for the upcoming set, Eldritch Moon. If you’re not following the spoilers, then turn back now! Otherwise, take a look at this video that went up on Wizards’ website yesterday:

My goodness, meld cards!

When I first watched this video, I wasn’t convinced. I mean, it just felt way too gimmicky for my liking, and I didn’t think I would ever want to bother with it. I mean, sure, the card is a beast when you can get it melded, and recent spoilers seem to support that other cards will be similarly insane, but I couldn’t really see me playing a deck with these things. I’d much rather have won the game by the time any such meld shenanigans could have happened.

But I’ve been mulling it all over today, and I think I might be convinced.

First of all, I still think it’s a bit gimmicky. And mechanically, I think it could be a bit of a nightmare. Knowing how poor my luck is, I don’t think I would ever be able to get to the point where both of the required cards are out, and even if I could, I would probably end up having one or both bounced or something happening to them! But I really like the fact that one “side” of the card is a perfectly good card, and allows you to meld if you have the required other “side”, while that second “side” allows you to essentially bring back the first from your graveyard, if it should have ended up in there. Definitely leads to a tactical play, and I think it could be a whole other level as you try to mind game your opponent. Just play Gisela the Broken Blade and watch the panic whether you have Bruna the Fading Light in your deck or not! (I think my favourite play would be to play them the other way around, just to confuse the issue!)

Thematically, however, I think it’s really cool as a demonstration of the insanity that has invaded Innistrad after Emrakul’s arrival. It’s a crazy mechanic, let’s make no mistake, so entirely fitting with the craziness that’s going on there!

I’m scared for the pre-release, of course, but I’m also more than a little bit excited now, I have to admit!

New Magic Stuff!

It’s a game day extra!

Seems like a very exciting time to be alive right now for us card game players! Yesterday was “announcement day” over on Wizards of the Coast’s website, where they published an article featuring a whole host of announcements about the future of the game, which sound really cool!

kaladesh

First off: we’re going to Kaladesh next block, the home plane of Chandra. This should be really interesting, lots of artifacts no doubt… But yeah, the artwork, I’m guessing for the new planeswalker Saheeli Rai (above) looks stunning as usual, at any rate!

Nissa vs Ob Nixilis

The next duel deck also looks like a lot of fun – Nissa vs Ob Nixilis! Ob Nixilis is a favourite of mine, as I do love a molten fire demon, so that’ll hopefully be a lot of fun to get hold of.

However, the reason I wanted to write a blog today about all this is due to the blog from the head designer Mark Rosewater, which details the replacement for core sets that we’ll be seeing this summer. At least, that’s how it starts, but the product he goes on to discuss is described as a replacement for Intro Packs. Well, anyway.

Planeswalker Decks sound cool, a dual-colour, Standard-legal deck built around one copy of a mythic rare planeswalker from the current block. At first, I thought this will potentially ruin the economy of the mythic rare, or else see these packs never in stock anywhere because the new Liliana card is so powerful or whatever. However, it seems that these planeswalkers are going to be a little different to the standard type – in fact, it seems these are going to be completely separate from the block the deck is attached to. So we won’t be seeing these walkers in boosters. In addition, the decks will have specific cards that interact with these intro-walkers that aren’t in the block but will be Standard legal while the block is in Standard. Seems reasonable, anyway!

I’m not a huge fan of planeswalkers – I prefer to build my decks around Legendary Creatures, if I’m building a character deck at all, so I don’t see a big draw from that side of things. Part of the reason for my dislike of planeswalkers is that I find them so confusing in-game. It seems like these new decks might actually be the product I need, then, to get me playing this type of card, as they’re going to be marketed with beginners in mind.

It certainly seems exciting, so I’m looking forward to seeing the lay of the land when these things hit in September!

Birthday Week Game Day Extra!

It’s birthday week here on spalanz.com, and time for a bit of game day extra, as I take a look at some more nostalgia from my childhood: The Real Ghostbusters: The Game!

Ghostbusters retro games

Oh, this one’s hilarious! Dating from 1989, the game is a tie-in to the cartoon series of the same name (more on that tomorrow!) You play one of the four Ghostbusters, or Janine or Slimer, and travel around the board trying to trap ghosts – once all the ghosts are trapped, the winner is the person who had the most.

Ghostbusters retro games

Along the way, there are mechanics for player interaction where you can attempt to “spook” your opponents – basically by playing rock/paper/scissors – to take their kit cards. Without all three pieces of kit (proton pack, proton gun, trap), you can’t trap ghosts and so cannot win the game. When you come to trap ghosts, the “bust-o-meter” is spun to determine the strength of your stream: if it’s higher than the ghost’s slime value (listed on the side of the board), you trap it. That’s pretty much all there is to it, though Action cards do allow you to interact with the game a little more, such as moving to ghosts to trap them etc.

I had this game from new, and seem to remember trying to get my brother to play it with me back in the day. I found it in the attic when I moved a few years ago, along with another awesome retro game that will be featured here no doubt eventually, and convinced my regular gaming buddy Tony to play, but it didn’t really stand up to the test of time.

Something I wasn’t all that impressed by was just how easy it is to knock somebody out of the game entirely, by winning just one round of rock/paper/scissors. Given your ability in the game is based entirely on something so arbitrary is just bizarre, I thought – it feels more luck-based than any kind of dice game, somehow! Maybe I’m just not good at rock/paper/scissors, though?

At any rate, it was fun to revisit the past, but I can’t say I’d recommend hunting down a copy on ebay anytime soon!

Upcoming Games!

Hey everybody!
It’s time for another game day extra, as I decided to catch up with some of the news around upcoming games over the weekend. So sit back and enjoy a look at three games that I’m really intrigued by, due out in the coming months!

Deathwatch: Overkill

Deathwatch: Overkill

Of course I’m going to start with something from Games Workshop! There have been rumours of a Deathwatch/Genestealer Cult boxed game coming out from GW for months now, but we finally have enough confirmation that I’m going to talk about it here! I am a huge fan of the Deathwatch – one of the first 40k novels I read was the short story collection, and I’ve always enjoyed the RPG from Fantasy Flight. I think the idea of a whole bunch of really great warriors from different chapters working together to purge the xenos just really captures my imagination! The pictures floating around of the Genestealer Cult are a little, erm, odd, but if it gets me some Deathwatch, then I’m in! It’ll be up for pre-order on Saturday, and released on 5 March, so I’ll no doubt have something to say about it then!

I’ve bought all of these boxed games they’ve released over the last few years, but this is the first one I feel that I really want to build up and paint to play the actual game, even though the details of it are still unknown. I simply want Deathwatch marines!

Star Wars: Rebellion

Star Wars: Rebellion

This has been the next big thing from Fantasy Flight for a while now, and a few weeks back they essentially had a publicity week where the only news published on their site was a series of previews for this.

When it was first announced, I wasn’t particularly chomping at the bit for it, I have to say. It looked a bit too messy, and I was worried it might be a huge time sink, the sort of game that you spend all night playing, only to feel like you would have been better off playing a lot of smaller games. At any rate, I wasn’t exactly going to drop £80 or whatever it turns out costing me on day one. However, the more I’ve seen of it, the more I’m beginning to revise that opinion somewhat.

The game looks like a juggernaut, there’s no denying this, but it looks like the kind of game that I would really enjoy sitting down for a few hours to pit myself against my opponent. There are actually very few games that I like that are both long and competitive. So while I still might not actually buy it on day one, I’m nevertheless changing my entire viewpoint on this one now, and may well be investing later this year!

Tyrants of the Underdark

Tyrants of the Underdark

A deck-building game coming in May, Tyrants of the Underdark pits players together as the drow houses of Menzoberranzan! This sounds really cool, as you play members of the ruling houses trying to control the most of the Underdark by the game end. I really like this idea, and while I’m not quite sure how it would work as a deck-builder – I think I’d prefer to see a more traditional CCG/LCG style of game, where each house feels different rather than just all being able to use the same cards – it’s still very exciting, I’ve got to say!

So those are three of the most-anticipated games, for me, that are due out in the coming weeks and months!

Legions of Death!

Warhammer 40k Conquest Necrons

Well this is some very exciting news!

I have been a huge lover of the Necrons pretty much since I got into Warhammer 40k, and when FFG announced the Necrons would be in Conquest, I was very excited. That it has taken over a year to get them is a little rough, but finally!

I find the enslavement mechanic a little interesting. In Warhammer 40k, Necrons can only ally with Chaos Space Marines as allies of convenience, and everyone else is come the apocalypse, yet here we see them able to ally with any other faction (even Tyranids, it seems?) as the Necrons have enslaved them – presumably with some kind of scarab? It’s interesting, anyway, and could lead to some funky decks as we see rank-and-file space marines alongside Necrons.

Out in the first quarter next year, I can’t wait to get my hands on this bad boy and rediscover the game!