At the Fantasy Flight Games In-Flight Report (which I’ll cover separately), Christian Petersen talked about Asmodee’s grand plans. The company, he said, sees the possibility of achieving a scale similar to the largest international toy companies but doing so by building on the best type of toy, games.
Asmodee’s presence at Gen Con was certainly consistent with that attitude. The booth and demo space was again even larger than last year, the number and variety of games more than I could cover.
One I was not able to try, Mysterium ($50), was also one of the hottest at the show. A limited supply brought people running to the booth with the opening of the exhibit hall doors. Mysterium is described as a combination of Dixit and Clue. It has a game-master of sorts but is played cooperatively. The goal is to solve a murder mystery with clues provided by art cards.
My favorite was one that Asmodee will be distributing for Queen Games, Treasure Hunter by Richard Garfield. Due at Essen, Treasure Hunter combines an easy card draft with a straightforward process that totals up the players’ cards in each of three color categories and awards the ones with the least and greatest values bonuses or penalties, as the case may be each round. In addition to value cards for each color, players are also drafting the occasional modification card, as well as dog cards used to fight off trolls.
Mafia de Cuba ($30, September) is Asmodee’s entry in to the social deduction category. It also comes with a beautiful cigar box, which is used in the game to hold the godfather’s diamonds, as well as a group of role tokens (faithful henchmen, driver, FBI agent, etc.). After the box is passed around the table, the goal of the godfather is to figure out who stole his diamonds. But say, for example, he accuses someone who turns out to be the agent, well then that agent wins the game instead.
Starfighter ($30) is a two-player card-based spaceship combat game played in columns. The concept is fighter screens making runs at opponents’ cruisers. However, the fewer columns a player takes advantage of one round, the more cards they may draw the next.
Barony ($50) has players trying to elevate their noble characters to the rank of Duke. This is accomplished by recruiting knights, moving them around the board, upgrading them in stages, producing resources, and eliminating opponents.
2015 has been a big year for dinosaur games. In this category, Asmodee will deliver at Essen Raptor. It’s a two-player tactical game in which one person plays the scientists trying to capture baby raptors and the other side plays the dinosaur mother protecting her young. Gameplay involves the simultaneous selection of cards. The person who’s card number is lower gets to play their card’s special ability that turn. The one who’s number is higher, receives the difference in action points.
Another Essen-scheduled game from Asmodee is Doctor Panic. An action party game with a medical theme, Doctor Panic incorporates eight mini-games, every one of which must be completed within the total time limit. The mini-games include such activities as matching the pose on an x-ray card or sewing thread to match a suture pattern. A soundtrack counts down the time limit and sometimes also interrupts normal play with sidetrack tasks, such as running around the table.
For Days of Wonder, Asmodee was showing the prototype of a new Ticket to Ride double-sided map board. One side features the British Isles, comes with a new deck of cards, and adds technology development to the game. For example, at the start, players can only complete length-2 routes. To complete longer routes, they must first upgrade their trains by playing wild-cards. The other side of the board has a map of Pennsylvania and adds company stocks to the game. Each completed route provides shares in certain companies. At the end of the game, the majority shareholder in each company earns a bonus.