Well, here I was just finished patting myself on the back for my good idea of releasing these kinds of overview articles on a monthly basis, when I suddenly realized that not even that is enough. At this point I find so many games that the articles are threatening to become endless. First off, it would mean that nobody would read them, and secondly it also eats so much of my time that I’d be incredibly stressed if I wanted to write other meaningful stuff in the meantime. So it seems as if I’m going to publish my “New Games from Latin America” – articles on the 1st and 3rd Monday of a month. Among other dates, this means today. We’ll see if it proves successful.
I had noted here on several occasions that I learned quite a bit about South American history from games. The game Maipú also falls under this category, in which, in 1818, the Spanish colonial troops lost against a Chilean-Argentinian army and had to retreat from Chile. The hug of the two victorious leaders is seen as the hour of birth of the independent state of Chile. In honor of the 200. anniversary of the battle there’s now the gaming simulation Maipú 1818 by Miguel García and Gerardo Montenego, which was published by Alquimia Creativa. The players move around with various troops and then fight each other with 2d6, whereby they get different kinds of modifiers according to the troop type and leader. It is designed by Sabina Mangiavacchi.
Released in March already, but I seem to have slightly missed, is a game with the weird name Melvin vs. Kronk. In the end I want to report about it also due to the fact that it will be one of the Latin American games that will likely be available at Essen in October. Melvin vs. Kronk is penned by Renato Simões and is a reaction game. You play cards with faces (of Melvin, the Geek and Kronk, the Orc) on your personal card pile. But the cards show varying facial expressions – if you notice that there are two similar cards lying face up, you hit the pile of jewel cards in the middle. Whoever manages to do so first, draws the two topmost cards, keeps one of them and gifts the other. The player who has gathered the most juwels by the end of the game wins. The game has been published by Geeks N‘ Orks, a publisher, who despite having a name very much tailored to this one, also has other games in store.
Very close before the end of a successful crowd-funding campaign stands Orbs, by Raubher Borba, which is supposed to be released by Usina Studios. A bunch of Alien peoples have the small problem, that their sun has exploded, which of course does lower the life expectancy and quality drastically. Now they don’t just want to escape the explosion radius, but also take an artificial planet with them. Sadly there exists an old prophecy, that says that this will only work out for one of the nations. Whether this could be connected to a certain game from Chile (see below)? Orbs was illustrated by José Serrano.
The sun of the earth seems to be fairly well, and still it’s not all just fun and games. In the cooperative game Earth’s Last Stand by Ignacio Gonzalo Paz Cornejo the oblivious players cruise around the earth in their small spacecraft, when suddenly a dimensional portal opens and a gigantic alien vessel appears and conquers the earth. The last hope now rests on the shoulders of the players, that need to destroy the strange spaceship, before it rings the end of humanity.
Oh, you’ll be thinking, that all sounds nice and all, but I’ll never get my hands on a game this exotic. Far from it, you can download a (graphically downgraded) print and play. You can find the rules (in English) here and the game materials here, Although you’ll also need 34 dice in three different colors, which already tells quite a bit about the game mechanics. Sooner or later the game is supposed to hit the shelves with full graphics.
I can remember vividly how my local football club Werder Bremen signed a completely unknown player from Peru in 1999 and I had some reason to have higher than average hopes, that he would become a hit. Well, he did, because it was Claudio Pizarro, who returned every couple of years and stayed a popular figure until the end. I don’t know what happens in Peruvian football nowadays. But like elsewhere it seems to be a popular pastime, since LEAP Game Studios, a publisher for computer games, has for the first time ventured into analog entertainment and released the football card game Supercards – Perú Campeón, by Luis Wong, which is available since mid-May in kiosks in Peru. The illustrations are by Edward Torres and Christian Magán. Two players compete against each other and try to combine the most successful game moves with their five hand cards. If the opponent can’t block them you score a goal. There’s also a solitaire mode, in which you can play through a world cup final. Computer gaming firms often think a bit bigger, which is the reason why LEAP Game Studios has gotten together with depor.com, a bigger sports website. If you know Spanish, you can look at a short video explanation here.
So far I hadn’t found anything from Venezuela. Now this has changed. As might also be known in these parts through the media, Venezuela is embroiled in a massive economic and currency crisis. In such an environment games are of course a luxury. Despite that – or exactly because of that – a publisher by the name of SBMjuegos has decided to release a game. It is called El Infiltrado (English: The Infiltrated) and is a sort of political Werewolf variant. The story is hereby told through both the lens of the extreme right (that valiantly fights against a corrupt regime) as well as the extreme left (that fights the terrorists, that want to push the country into the abyss). Meanwhile not even everyone knows their own roles (some might be controlled by the opposition without their knowledge) and the roles get merrily switched during a play. I have a preview copy of it lying around here, but sadly couldn’t find a group for it yet.
Currently there is a campaign for El Infiltrado on Kickstarter, in fact it is in Spanish and English. Since there aren’t many people in Venezuela who can afford games right now, the campaign is also supposed to make sure that the local price will be manageable and of course that it will also be produced there – due to this it is relatively pricey with 13 euros for a micro game. Whoever may have some euros spare may very well think about whether or not to back this project and in turn also support the economy in a crisis-ridden country.