Cosmic Encounter Duel, Godspeed, Legends of Novus, Nevada City and More!

Cosmic Encounter Duel

Cosmic Encounter Duel, Fantasy Flight Games, 2020 (image provided by the publisher)

The Cosmic Citizenship Council has announced it will allow two new alien species to join its ranks, but they forgot to make two copies of the filing form — which means that only one species can join! Now, the two candidates must battle for control of the planets to determine who deserves the right to become a Certified Civilization.

Cosmic Encounter Duel is a competitive standalone two-player game in the Cosmic Encounter universe in which you and your closest frenemy race to be the first to control five planets. Each of twenty-seven alien species comes equipped with its own unique abilities that play with the game mechanisms in some way, offering you an edge in the fight, e.g., the Cheater, who can reserve an additional tactic that they can put toward any fight in the game — as long as their opponent doesn’t call out how they’re trying to “cheat”. How your game of Cosmic Encounter Duel plays out will inevitably be affected by which powers each dueling species has and how they play off of one another.

In addition to your unique species and its ability, you have twenty spaceships to traverse the cosmos and maintain control over the five planets you need to become a Certified Civilization. As long as you have a ship on a planet, you have control of it, even if your opponent also has ships there and you must share control. You can deploy these ships to fight in duels, use them to act as reinforcements, or draw them back for a tactful retreat. Just don’t lose them to the Warp or let them be claimed by the black void between the stars and end up lost in space forever!

To play, players draw and resolve Destiny cards, which come in three types: Discovery cards, Event cards, and Refresh cards. Discovery cards have you and your opponent discover a planet and duel for control, while Event cards ask you both to test your mettle against a variety of challenges and cosmic calamities, and Refresh cards offer a respite in which you can recover ships, gather allies, and ultimately prepare for another clash.

At the start of a duel, you and your opponent secretly decide how many ships to send to the planet, and once they have been deployed, you can call upon any befriended envoys. To plan your attack, you secretly choose a card from your hand and a standing tactic from your collection to either guard your ships or blast your opponent’s ships, then you fight, sending ships to face-off for control of the planet until the winner claims their prize while the loser retreats. After you and your opponent resolve a Destiny card, you check the icon on the bottom of the card to determine which deck to draw from next, then the race continues.

Legends of Novus

Box Cover Art

Legends of Novus is a fantasy adventure game, placing you in control of a heroic character who is embarking on a journey across the mythical world of Novus in an effort to help rid the world of powerful creatures who are terrorizing the lands…

The game is designed for 1-5 players, ages 13+, and takes between 60 to 90 minutes to play (less for Solo play).

The game has a combination of a physical character sheet and card based equipment attached to it. The variety of initial characters, and classes they can advance to make the game re-playable with a different game play experience each time. The world story, and the ability to navigate the world with a free roam aspect (and no dice rolling controlling how far or where you can travel to), gives the players a strong sense of control over their fate. The multiple paths to gaining XP also give the players a chance to explore different character strengths and game strategies in their goal to become a Legend of Novus.

Godspeed

Box Cover

The Space Race was a lie.

Look, it’s not that the moon landing was faked. It happened. Neil hates the conspiracy theories. The lie is that we ever wanted to go to the moon. We needed a spectacle to show the people. To justify the massive budgets. The agencies.

Neil stepped on a rock 239,000 miles from Earth. Big deal. I stepped on an exoplanet circling Ursae Majoris 18 months earlier. It’s a one-way trip — so there ain’t any going home.

No ticker tape parade for me, but that’s ok. I’m here for my country. See, the Russians beat us here by a few months. Japanese showed up a few weeks after us. We’ll colonize this planet for America. Because there isn’t a choice…

Godspeed is a mid-weight worker placement game of extra-terrestrial colonization for 2-5 players with a 60-90 minute playtime. — From the back of the box

In Godspeed, players play as scientists from one of 5 nations: the USA, Japan, Soviet Union, the European Nations, or India. The game is played in 10 rounds, each with four phases.

  1. High Council Phase — This is a negotiation phase where Nations will convene to decide how they will respond to an event occurring back on Earth or on the Exoplanet. The top card is drawn from the High Council deck. Nations then decide to respond to the event by assigning the specified Team Member to the event, keeping them from use during the rest of the round. If all Nations respond then everyone gets the bonus. If not, there’s a penalty for those that ignored it.
  2. Supply Depot Phase — This is an auction phase where Nations bid on Supply Depot cards or the first player marker. Players choose cards in the order of their bids. The player with the highest bid may take a second delivery.
  3. Action Phase — This is a worker placement phase. Nations place Team Members in Action Spaces to take various actions and earn prestige.
  4. Resolution Phase — In this phase, the Nations produce new resources and return their Team Members home.

Points — Prestige is gained on 4 tracks (Defense, Exploration, Commerce, and Infrastructure) and your position on these tracks gains you points at the end of the game. You may also gain points by achieving Civilization Milestones (only 1 Nation may claim each Milestone), completing Lunar Season scoring cards (any number of Nations may complete these), building ancient XenoRelics, completing special objective cards, and for left over resources.

The Nation with the most victory points wins.

Dance of the Fireflies

Box Cover

Dance of the Fireflies’ is a 2-6 player card game in which players striving to be the next royal gardener bid on flowers around a sundial in an attempt to create the most beautiful gardens and win the coveted title.

In the game, each player is allocated a set of seven fireflies, one of them being a royal firefly, more powerful than the regular fireflies. Each round, the players bid on flowers in the flower clock using their fireflies. They can also plant a flower from their hand into one of their gardens, secretly bid a royal firefly, and also discard one of the cards in their had to the compost heap so they can bid a second firefly on the flower clock. Each of the six types of beautifully colored flowers has a special ability which players can utilize to form combos and add benefits to their play. Additionally, orchid/weed cards can be bid on, and these allow players to add bonuses to their gardens or attack an opponent’s garden.

A round ends once all players have taken their turns and drawn back up to three flowers in their hand and the sundial has turned one card clockwise to see which flowers are coming off the flower clock that round. Once all the flowers have been exhausted from the potting shed (i.e., the draw deck), the game ends and points are totaled for flower beds created to see who wins and becomes the next royal gardener.

Nevada City

Nevada City, Rio Grande Games, 2019 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

You and your family have come to Nevada City to set up a homestead and help the town grow. Will you be able to outperform the other homesteaders?

Each player in Nevada City starts the game with a nuclear family — mother, father, daughter, and son — and a homestead mat where you can establish farms, fence in livestock, and develop silver mines. You start the game with one mine, one farm, and one ranch, along with some money and an assortment of commodities. The town consists of a few buildings, and other buildings will become available for construction as the years advance, with the game lasting four years.

A year lasts a number of turns until all players have used all of their characters and hired workers. On a turn, a player chooses one of their characters and takes actions until all of that character’s actions are spent; a character can’t take the same action during a turn. A character can buy new property from city hall; mine, farm, or ranch their own property; claim a building; construct a building; use an existing building; reserve a contract that has conditions for improving the city; or work to fulfill that contract. Each character and worker has a different set of skills that can boost the actions they take, such as finding additional silver in a mine or bringing lumber to a construction site.

You earn victory points (VPs) for constructing buildings, in addition to fees from those buildings when other players use them. You earn VPs for completing contracts as well, with those contracts having different values depending on which buildings are in place at the time. Each player receives a private goal card at the start of the game, and all players score points for these goal cards based on how well they do relative to other players, so pay attention to their choices.

Each year, various events pop up, leaving players to suffer drought or reap the benefits of fertile land, among other things. At the end of a year, workers leave unless you marry them into a family, which will require spirits and other resources.

Nevada City also includes advanced rules that add additional buildings and events to the game, a gambling subgame of sorts, a more volatile production market to make life in the West less predictable, and extra sons and daughters. On top of all that, the unhired workers at the end of a year get rowdy and start shooting up the town, so you need to use your gunslinging abilities to bring them to heel and try to avoid getting wounded since you might lose out on a character’s abilities in the subsequent year.

Detective: Signature Series – Dig Deeper

Detective: Dig Deeper

Dig Deeper, written by Rob Daviau, is the first case in the Detective: Signature Series. The story transports players into an American town in the 1970s where their goal will be to solve the mystery of the death of a local politician.

The case is full of surprises and dripping with theme. Just like the base game, it is for 1-5 players and uses modern tools to enhance the investigation.

Codinca

Codinca, Backspindle Games Ltd./Ninja Division, 2016 — box top (image provided by the publisher)

Deep within the rain forests of the Yucatan, rival teams of treasure hunters have recently discovered the lost city of Codinca. In the center of the once great citadel stands a stone temple. Local legends tell of great treasures that lie buried beneath the temple, but despite many weeks of searching no doorway has been found.

On the top of the temple stands a square stone altar. A small totem stands in the center of this, surrounded by a pattern of sixteen carved tiles. Examining them closely you discover an intricate series of mechanisms which allow the tiles to switch places and turn over, which reveals that each tile has a stone side and a gold side. Carvings on each side of the pillar indicate that a sequence of four key patterns must be made with the tiles to open the temple. Can you be the first to unlock the secrets of Codinca?

In Codinca, each player has control of a set of four matching symbol tiles: Air, Water, Earth or Fire. Players take turns attempting to move their tiles into a series of four specific key patterns indicated on the key discs drawn at the beginning of the game; those patterns are a block of four, a line of four, four corners (can be four corners of any nine tiles as well as outside corners) and a diagonal line of four.

On each turn a player must either switch and flip one of their own tiles with any adjacent tile, or switch one of their tiles with any adjacent tile and switch the same or another of their tiles with any adjacent tiles or flip two tiles, one of which must be one of their own tiles. In addition, players are allocated three Spirit Card that gives them the bonus move choice of Line Push or Rotate Four. This allows players to disguise their planned moves. On the back of the Spirt Card is a Trap Pattern. This can be used to change a set display of tiles from gold to stone and visa versa to match the pattern on the Trap Pattern. Players can match their required patterns in any order, and the first player to match all patterns wins.

National Parks Get Wild

National Parks Get Wild is a fun, fast-paced game in which each player must try to collect all of the correct animals into their park while sending non-native animals to other locations. Players simultaneously roll three dice and rapidly move the animals according to the direction, quantity, and animal indicated on the dice.

 

Leave a Reply