Pre-order Highlights - July 2019

With approximately 300 titles now available for pre-order on our site, customers are now spoilt for choice when shopping for upcoming games. But this mountain of new games that become available for pre-order every month can sometimes be hard to parse, especially for those who have limited time or a light wallet.

This monthly column aims to take some of the stress out of your shopping experience by showcasing a smattering of the upcoming games that have us the most excited here at Mission: Fun & Games. Have a read and see if any of them pique your interest as well…

Terraforming Mars: Turmoil Expansion

Price: $26.31
Players: 1-5
Ages: 12+
Playtime: 120 min.
Estimated Release Date: November 2019

Crisis on the Red Planet! In this expansion to the award winning Terraforming Mars, players will be faced with a multitude of natural disasters, conflicts, and political upheavals that threaten their Martian colonies with catastrophe.

Brand new Global Event cards introduce a new layer of strategy to the game, forcing players to plan ahead for the crises to come. Killer dust storms, riots, and increases in resource demands are just a few of the problems that can beset the planet.

At any given time there will be a Distant Global Event, a Coming Global Event, and a Current Global Event. This means that you’ll always be able to see what’s coming, but whether or not you’ll be prepared for the consequences of each complication will depend on how well you play… and the other players.

Turmoil also introduces a political component to the base game. Players will jockey for power over the Terraforming Committee Board, trying to become the chairman and ensure that the policies that they want enacted are put into play.

Can Mars survive the petty politics of the committee? Or will players be able to work together to overcome the events and find a solution that works in everyone’s interest?

BattleLands

Price: $16.99
Players: 3-5
Ages: 14+
Playtime: 30-60 min.
Estimated Release Date: Fall 2019

A card game of post-apocalyptic proportions! After the fall of humankind, animals scavenge the remains of civilization for survival, doing battle over rare and precious bits of technology.

The game takes place over two wars, consisting of three battles each. Players will have to fight over key locations, recruiting more and more powerful warriors to ensure that they come out on top.

The art of this game is deceptively cute considering the subject matter, with adorable mice and lizards bedecked in a plethora of scavenged attire and weaponry. There’s a surprising amount of whimsy packed into the design of the cards - a personal favourite is the sniper rifle constructed out of an old, ballpoint pen.

Plaid Hat Games has a history of producing some really interesting card games (such as Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn) and BattleLands seems to fit nicely into their niche as designers. We can’t wait to take it for a spin.

Pandemic: Rapid Response


Price:
$42.49
Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Playtime: 20 min.
Estimated Release Date: TBA

In board games, there are few franchises that have become as venerated as Pandemic. Between the base game, its many expansions, two seasons of legacy games, and several spinoffs, chances are there’s a version of Pandemic for everyone out there.

Pandemic: Rapid Response is yet another addition to the franchise. But while it may share the same overall theme of global calamity that unites the series, the gameplay appears to be going in a completely different direction.

Players take on the position of members of an airborne relief team, charged with delivering emergency resources all over the world to crisis zones. They do this by rolling dice, using the results to fly around, gather supplies, and deliver them to where they are needed. Each player has an individual role with its own special ability. The Analyst, for example, is able to reroll the dice pool up to two additional times, allowing them to fish for the results that the team needs, when they need them. With seven different roles to take on, players are encouraged to experiment and replay to find the best combination for the team.

For us, the chief appeal of this game is the unified mechanic of the dice rolling and its quick playtime. The Z-man site lists the estimated playtime at 20 minutes, making it ideal to play several times in a single gaming night, or to slot in between other games. Rapid Response also comes with the ability to adjust the difficulty, allowing players to ramp up the challenge once they find themselves familiar with the game’s core mechanics.

Escape the Dark Castle


Price:
$42.49
Players: 1-4
Ages: 14+
Playtime: 30 min.
Estimated Release Date: TBA

The last few years have seen an explosion in games inspired by old school role playing games and choose your own adventure fiction. Escape the Dark Castle joins an ever growing stable of retro inspired board games (Near and Far, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, and Four Against Darkness just to name a few) that unite narrative driven choice-making with modern gameplay, breathing new life into old formats.

As prisoners of the castle, players must work together to escape, making their way past monsters, traps, and challenges that all hold the potential to spell their end. Randomly drawn chapter cards provide the story, narrating the dangers that the players face and presenting them with multiple options for getting past them. However, like any classic choose your own adventure, you must think carefully before you choose, lest you make the wrong choice and find yourself in a situation beyond your capabilities.

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Combat in the game is undertaken cooperatively as well. Players roll their dice to generate the necessary Might, Cunning, and Wisdom results to defeat their enemies. Skill checks and item cards round out the gameplay, recalling the experience of those retro dungeon crawls from which Escape the Dark Castle draws inspiration.

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This palpable feeling of old school role playing is also invoked by the game’s artwork. The various art pieces on the chapter cards, characters, and items mimic the style of early editions of Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs from the 70s and 80s. While some may find the black and white colour palette a tad austere, it effectively recreates the aesthetic of those games from yesteryear. Each image oozes with retro charm.

So if you ever find yourself nostalgic for those heady days spent in the basement, hunched over old rule books with your friends and trusty dice by your side (or if you wish to have a taste of what they may have been like), this may be the game for you.

And feel free to check out the rest of our available pre-orders here.

(Note: The prices listed in this article reflect the price of each pre-order at the time of publishing, and may be subject to change. All release dates are estimates based on publisher information.)

Alex, Editor Errant
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