The Week in BG - TLotR:LCGLCE, Crypto for everyone, & Origins Awards Winners
Since the announcement last year that Fantasy Flight Games have opened a digital division and that their first game would be an adaptation of the long running Lord of The Rings LCG, there hasn’t been too many details on offer. This week though they have broken silence and have announced the release date in Early Access of the game. In a bold move, they have decided to tie Early Access to their Digital game, to a Physical pre-order bundle. The bundle comes with the aforementioned Early Access to the digital LoTR LCG game on August 28th, as well as a new 2 player starter set for the physical card game, a physical play-mat, and some other gubbins like a replica One Ring. As someone looking forward to playing the digital game, but with little to no interest in the physical cards, this does seem a somewhat baffling decision. Maybe the intention is to keep the beta/early access phase more limited, so only serious physical card players will be enticed to stump up the $100+tax to get in, though they could have easily achieved the same by just giving out limited keys and drip feeding access like most other beta services.
Either way, the game is shaping up quite well from the screenshots and brief video glimpses that we’ve seen. The look of the gameplay is definitely borrowing heavily from Hearthstone, let’s be generous and call it inspired by, which is no bad decision considering Hearthstone is the market leader in digital card games. The decision to stick to an LCG model is also a good one, it would have been easy for them to switch over to a loot box system and offer blind packs to try and get more cash out of players, but it’s a good sign they didn’t. The Early Access game will feature the first campaign of the game, Adventures in Mirkwood, and the first 4 heroes to play around with.
I play a lot of Arkham Horror LCG and Hearthstone, so this game sounds like it should be perfect for me. Let’s hope it all comes together, and there will be other ways to access the game on its initial release.
The amazingly named Capital Gains Studio, a Singapore based independent game studio, has announced the next game in its financially themed game line-up. Like the financial markets they represent, the studio has gone crypto crazy, with the quite literal named game Cryptocurrency, hitting KS later this year. They will be giving away 300 copies of the game while the Kickstarter runs to drum up interest, so worth keeping an eye on.
The game will pit budding bedroom crypto-heads against each other to see who can generate the most fake currency and then sell it all to make a pretty penny before the market realises it’s all nonsense and the bottom falls out, leaving the other players to hand over the deed to their homes. Let’s hope the game will be less brutal than real life, though maybe in the world it’s set in I’ll be able to buy a new graphics card that isn’t 80% marked-up because of miners buying them all.
The winners have been announced for the annual Origins Awards. The awards, unsurprisingly given the name, are awarded at the Origins Game Fair, and are awarded to the best games of the last year in a variety of categories. While not quite as prestigious and well known as the German Spiel des Jahres awards, they are definitely a good indicator of quality, and tend to favour more Americanised games than the drier Euro style that tends to sweep the Spiel's.
There were few surprises among some of the big prizes, with Gloomhaven taking Best Board Game and Game of the Year, and Azul winning Best Family Game. Best collectible game went to Star Wars Destiny, which might be a surprise to some, though it has kept a steady fan base since it's release, and even more surprising was Hero Realms winning Fan Favourite Card Game. I like Hero Realms, it's a good quick deck building game that plays well with multiple players, but only really if you have the expansion character packs. Also it came out in 2016, so not entirely sure how that works out. Either way, this has been a great year for games from large box to small, long may it continue