Friday, January 16, 2015

Recent Gaming - Hospital Rush, Staufer Dynasty, and Orleans (now on Kickstarter!)

Last October I got the opportunity to go to Essen again. I saw a lot of the new stuff coming out, heard some buzz on a few popular titles (Aquasphere pretty much sold out at H@ll Games booth!), and even tried a couple of games.

One of the games I tried was Hospital Rush - a worker placement game that I did not enjoy. I felt like it was too easy for a player to undo anything another layer had done.

The other new game I played in Germany was The Staufer Dynasty, by Andreas Steading, who designed Hansa Teutonica which I liked very much. I picked up Staufer Dynasty at BGGcon and was able to play several times over the holiday break.

A couple weeks after Essen I went to Sasquatch in Seattle, and there I got a chance to play several of the new games that debuted in Germany. Of those, one of my favorites was Orleans. Orleans was at Essen, and seemed to have good buzz, but I didn't get a chance to check it out.

Orleans is sort of like a deck building game, but instead of a deck of cards, you draw tokens out of a bag. The tokens represent workers, who you assign to various tasks -- each task requires a specific combination of worker types. Many of those tasks hire you a new worker of one type or another, thereby adding tokens to your bag, in addition to giving you some kind of effect.

I like the deck building mechanism in general, and drawing tokens from a bag is largely the same thing. This game differs a little in that you return all used workers to the bag every turn -- compare that to shuffling your discard every turn in Dominion. In deckbuilders like Dominion, players choose to add a card to their deck because they want that card in their deck, and that's about it. Orleans takes a page out of my own Eminent Domain's playbook, workers are added to your bag as a side effect of taking an action. That's a dynamic I am partial to (obviously).

I enjoyed the game a lot. So much that I was super excited when I heard TMG had signed on as a partner and would be offering a DELUXE VERSION OF ORLEANS ON KICKSTARTER.

The KS price for a standard copy of Orleans is $45, comparable to online retail prices considering the $60 MSRP listed on the KS page.

The price for a deluxe version, with upgraded worker discs (wooden discs with stickers) and coins (metal coins instead of cardboard) is $57.

And as a kicker, for just $2 over the deluxe version price ($59 total), you can get a brand new small box TMG game ($20 MSRP) as well! This extra game, Bottlecap Vikings, is a Rondel game by my friend / TMG developer Andy Van Zandt (Grave Business, Zero Day). Bottlecap Vikings packs a lot of game into a small package (on the order of Harbour) and it has a variable rondel who's action order will be different from game to game. It's a solid game for the $20 price point, but for $2 it's a no-brainer.

Maybe a better way to look at it is this: If you're interested in Orleans enough that you want to get it for sure, then you're in for $45 already. For just $14 more you can get a $20 MSRP TMG small box game, and your Orleans copy will come upgraded to the deluxe version :)

If this interests you, then check it out, and if you want the deluxe version then be sure to pledge for a copy - the upgrade won't be reprinted after the first run.

Oh, did I mention we've hot a couple of stretch goals already? Which means not only will there be metal coins and wooden discs and stickers for the workers, but also now wooden wheels for the Technology tokens, and wooden meeples for the Citizen tokens! I don't think it's a stretch to say we will probably hit the next goal and be able to add 4 custom player pawns to the game as well, in lieu of the generic ones in the base game.

A new stretch goal was just announced, but it's going to be expensive... 90 custom wooden resources to use in place of the cardboard chits!


SuperioR said...

Met you in Essen (outside the subway station) and told you I lurk on your blog. Anyways, thought I'd step out of the shadows for a bit ;)

Orleans sounds really interesting, but sadly the kickstarter isn't available for us europeans. I guess I'll have to buy a normal (non-deluxe) copy instead :)

Got news about EmDo:Exotica / EmDo: 3rd Exp? Can't wait to find out more about them!

Seth Jaffee said...

Hi, and thanks for stopping me and saying hello in Germany!

As for Orleans, sorry - but we don't have rights to Europe, you can get the game from the publisher there. If you want deluxe components I guess you'd have to find someone in the US to kickstart it and then send it to you. Sounds like a lot of work and cost by the end of it.

Exotica news is that Ariel Seoane, an old friend from the BGDF ( and veteran TMG game artist, has begun work on the expansion. Meanwhile, Eric J Carter has been cranking out illustrations for tech cards for a number of months now. I'm looking forward to seeing this one come along.

I haven't put any further thought into the 3rd expansion yet, I kinda want to wait until Exotica is all wrapped up. but before too long I should get back into it! I have a pretty solid plan about how I want the expansion to be structured, I just have to make a prototype and some tech cards and agendas and try it out!

Thanks for reading my blog, and for commenting! I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of my posts, so don't be shy :)

- Seth

SuperioR said...

I'm sure I'll manage with the non-deluxe components, even if they'd be nice to have! :)

It's good to hear that Exotica is moving along. Even if Escalation would keep me busy for a long time, I'm a sucker for expansions since they keep the games fresh.

Well, since I'm out of the shadows now, I can try to comment more in future posts ;)