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Pre-Order Highlights - January 2020
Black Rose Wars
Playtime: 90 Min
Estimated Release Date: May 2020
Wizard duels. It’s one of those concepts that is just inherently rad. Two scholars of the dark and arcane going mono-a-mono, no holds barred, has made for some of the most compelling scenes in fantasy. Black Rose Wars is a game that concentrates all the fun of the scheming, backstabbing, and epic magical conflagrations of wizard on wizard combat into one big box.
In Black Rose Wars, 1-4 players will each take on the role of a powerful wizard - a member of the Black Rose Order in the setting of Nova Aetas. There, they will have to battle one another for supremacy, bringing the full power of their grimoires to bear when they do battle in modular hexagonal arenas called “rooms.” Over the course of several phases, one of them will eventually defeat their rivals to capture the Black Rose Artifact and win the title Supreme Magister.
Starting with only six basic spells, players will gradually increase in power over the course of the game, gaining the ability to cast powerful magicks, summon deadly creatures, and escape prison rooms. In addition to fighting one another, the players will also spend the various phases completing missions, collecting spells, and battling the Black Rose (the system controlled by the game itself).
Combining elements from disparate genres such as deck building and strategy, Black Rose Wars promises to be a compelling new title when it comes out later this year.
Oath: Chronicles of Empire & Exile
Playtime: 45-120 Min
Estimated Release Date: Early 2021
Oh, boy! This is one we are really excited for. So excited in fact, that we’ve gone ahead and become a retailer backer of the game on Kickstarter. Brought to us by Leder Games, the creators of ROOT and Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Oath: Chronicles of Empire & Exile is a game that seeks to embody that old aphorism: “History is written by the victors.”
Between 1-6 players will act as agents of history, guiding an ancient society to glory or ruin. Bolster the kingdom and make it last for eaons, or scheme behind the scenes and bring it all crashing down.
Most of the players begin the game as “Exiles”, adventuring within a realm ruled by a powerful figure known as “the Chancellor” (played by another player). As they journey, they will meet new characters, build new institutions, and discover dark secrets. A player wins by either defeating the Chancellor (or if they are the Chancellor, by maintaining control) or by attempting to fulfill a new Vision.
But a single game of Oath only ever presents a small piece of the overall game. This is because the coolest thing about the game is how its narrative carries on every time the game hits the table. You see, at the end of every game of Oath, the players record the results of that game, the choices made, and their outcomes. The next time that you start a game, you will begin in the same world that you played in last time, complete with all of the consequences of the previous game.
At this point, those of you who have played your fair share of legacy games will be hearing a few bells ringing. It may surprise you then, that Leder Games tells us that Oath is “not a legacy game.” The distinction lies in the infinite nature of the game. While each game effects the next, there is no predetermined end state, and the game can theoretically be played indefinitely. This means that for those who are intrigued by the promise of long-term narratives and consequential mechanics that are inherent to legacy games, but afraid of buying a game that has a defined end point, Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile may be the perfect title.
Playtime: 30-45 Min
Estimated Release Date: May 2020
The Sonoran Desert is an arid expanse of land in the north west of Mexico, a place as harsh as it is viscerally beautiful. Sonora captures the pastel tones of the desert sunset in its beautiful design, all while presenting a compelling twist on the dexterity game genre.
Players take turns flicking discs across the board, jockeying for position and knocking the other players' discs out of position. However, the rules for each play area differ, forcing players to switch up their strategies as they progress through the game. The tactics that led you to victory in one area may not bear the same fruit in the next.
All the while you will be tracking your progress on Sonora’s dry erase scoring sheet. Covered in symbols, this phase represents the next level of strategy in a genre that the developers have dubbed “flick and write”. Here, obtaining a score requires choosing your spaces or route on the score pad carefully. Much like the play areas themselves, each scorepad operates on its own set of rules, forcing elasticity in your playstyle.
If you’re a fan of dexterity games, like us, Sonora represents a unique take on a venerable genre.