Purple Haze, all around. Jimi Hendrix was definitely right when he sang these words, at least when it comes to my own experiences these few last weeks (if not months). I alluded to Purple Haze in two previous newsletters, but I wasn’t allowed to say too much about it – but no more! Since Essen SPIEL’21, the game is no longer a secret, in fact, some of you may’ve had the pleasure (at least I hope it was a pleasure!) of testing the game at that grand and epic board games fair. Did you like it? I hope so!
Purple Haze will feature heavily in this newsletter, and not just because it’s our newest project. Although the world is continuously battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Essen SPIEL has shown us not only that we need live conventions, but that they can also be safe. And this November we’re going to take part in three of those events, two live and one online. I’ll talk about it in a separate section of the newsletter, and as usual, I’ll also go through various PHALANX news and updates.
Your newsletter host,
Vietnam, 1967. You lead a squad of US Marines through the dense jungles, flooded rice paddies, and straw-thatched villages of a war-torn country. Gut-wrenching choices will determine the fate of you and your mission, showing if you have what it takes to survive…
Behold, the previously-mentioned Purple Haze! If you’re looking for a very thematic, and very personal Vietnam War game – or just an atmospheric, narrative-heavy, dark, and gritty game with a lot of twists – you’re going to love Purple Haze. And since I can finally talk about the game in more detail, let’s have a look at what it really is.
Purple Haze is a story-creation game for 1 to 6 players, but it’s also much, much more: a tactical combat game, a campaign game, and a role-playing game, all combined to give you a unique and immersive board game experience. How does it work?
Story-creation refers to the decisions you will make whenever you encounter what we call Story Events. These form the core storyline or narrative text of each of the eight linked missions that will coalesce into the full campaign. Your choice and the consequences of your actions will create the next branch of the story, and in some situations may impact later parts of the campaign. The missions themselves will have primary and secondary objectives and will reflect what Marines typically had to deal with in the Vietnam War, including patrols, ambushes, convoying, and even some larger operations.
Marines in your squad – each unique, with their own background story and five character attributes – can develop capabilities and specializations between missions by gaining experience during the game. At different points during the mission, Marines may be called upon to perform various tasks, with the direction of the story determined by how well they perform them. But most importantly: all the Marines will take part in combat, using a variety of weapons, equipment, and skills to achieve victory – or, in some more desperate encounters – simply survive.
That’s the gist of it. The game is coming to Gamefound in the first quarter of 2022. The draft page for the Purple Haze Gamefound campaign is already live – you can follow it to get a €5 discount at the end of the campaign, and to be fully up-to-date with everything that deals with Purple Haze (on Gamefound, we can publish updates well before the beginning of the campaign).
Note: the photos you see here show the first prototype version of the game, not the final product.
The work continues! Our development and playtesting team are working hard on Ancien Régime Expansion at the moment, figuring what needs to be tweaked or adjusted so that the game is perfectly balanced. And as you can see from the first photo, some changes are made pretty much on the spot 😉
As a reminder, the core game – and its two standalone expansions! – is available in Late Pledge.
German Deluxe Edition of Tinners’ Trail coming November 26
Tinners’ Trail by Martin Wallace is a redeveloped, expanded, and upgraded classic for 1-5 players. Set in 19th century Cornwall, the game puts you at the head of a mining conglomerate. By skillfully managing risks, time, and resources, you’ll be able to buy more lands, build more mines and ultimately outwit your competitors in a race to create the most successful tin and copper mining industry!
This edition of Tinners’ Trail comes with much-improved artwork and mechanisms, reduced randomness, a solo mode, custom painted meeples, and two brand-new expansions: Arsenic and Emigration.
Looking for Christmas gifts?
It’s never too early to look for these, especially now, with so many supply chain disruptions we’re experiencing around the globe. And while we’re primarily known for historical games and wargames (which are awesome Holidays gifts, too, of course – as a wargamer I love to see them under the Christmas tree!), we still have something to offer when it comes to lighter and family-oriented board games.
Take Rocketmen or Nanty Narking. Both for 1-4 players, both designed by the one and only Martin Wallace, both beautiful, and both perfectly suited for a family game night. And if you live somewhere in the United States or Canada, you’re very lucky to still have access to the Limited Deluxe Edition of Nanty Narking, which is already unavailable in Europe. And which is never going back into print, I may add. At any rate, watch out for Black Friday later this month, you may catch a really great Nanty Narking offer 😉
Join the PHALANX Club on Facebook
Do you like our games? Do you like seeing our work-in-progress artwork? Or maybe you want to ask some questions about our games or projects?
Then our Facebook PHALANX Club awaits you! Join our group, see our latest posts, ask any questions you like, and engage in varied discussions about anything related to our games, PHALANX or even history, if that’s your fancy 😉
SDHistCon (November 12-14)
The three-day online fall edition of the San Diego Historical Games Convention is coming soon, and with it: game demos, seminars, giveaways, special events, and last but not least, plenty of real-time online play. And we’re excited to say that we, too, are going to be a part of SDHistCon!
On Saturday, November 13, at 11:00 AM (UTC-8) / 8:00 PM (CET) prepare for an epic match of Europe Divided with a running commentary by the game’s designer, David Thompson! The Russian team will be represented by Fred Serval, the host of Homo Ludens YT channel, and the European side will be played by Don Baggett from The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast. Will the European Union and NATO triumph? Or will Russia reemerge as a dominant power in Central and Eastern Europe? Join SDHistCon and find out!
And just a few hours later, at 2:00 PM (UTC-8) / 11:00 PM (CET) join our own James Buckley for a demo of Purple Haze and “State of the Company Presentation”, as we half-jokingly call a quick overview of what we’re currently working on, and we’ve got in store for you in the next few months. The Purple Haze demo will answer a few of the questions you might have about the gameplay basics and mechanics, so if you want to know more, this is the place you want to be!
Dragonmeet and BGGCon and PHALANX
While SDHistCon is an online convention this year, both the London Dragonmeet (December 4) and the Dallas BGG.CON (November 17-21) are live events. And you’ll be able to see, demo, and play some of our games there!
At Dragonmeet you can expect to see a dedicated PHALANX booth. More than that – if you’re interested in Purple Haze, this will be the place to demo the game! As for BGG.CON, while we won’t have our separate stand, you can come up to the Ares Games booth to see, buy and play our games, Nanty Narking, Rocketmen, and others included.
Essen SPIEL’21 Report
If you visited our booth at Essen this year, played our games, or just came up to say hello and a few kind words – thank you, we really appreciate that!
As for what happened at our booth, well, Rocketmen was a massive hit. The table was occupied virtually non-stop. By the end of the fair, the English edition of the game was sold off, and we were left with just a few copies of the German version.
Purple Haze also brought a lot of attention, as we hoped it would! I demoed the game throughout the entire event for more than 50 people and got a lot of awesome and very useful feedback. I can already tell you, as a result of that we already improved the first few scenarios and streamlined some of the rules. Again, thank you!
The first video is a play-through of the First War of Diadochi 2-player scenario from Successors made by The Boardgames Chronicle, the second one is a short overview & review of said game by The Discriminating Gamer, and a third one is a great unboxing of Europe Divided by Gary Mengle. Enjoy!
The infographic below represents the current and projected status of our games as of November 2021.
It shows the overall production and development status of our officially announced in-house projects. White and black dots are explained in the image, and empty spaces indicate that a game hasn’t reached or it’s not expected to reach the status described in the column this month. Also, some projects are strictly Kickstarter-backed, and others are a part of the Make Games Happen program; these two can never be in the same column.
This program serves as a gateway to green-lit many fascinating and unique projects. Some are new, like Napoleonic Pursuit of Victory, and some are old, like the 1920 game about the Polish-Soviet War. It also exists to allow some games to be reprinted, as is the case with Freedom!
Two of these projects are almost completed, but they need your support to move forward. Let’s take a look at the first one.
Quick, Eastern Front WW2 wargame for grognards and newbies alike – what’s not to love? The stunning graphic design is nearly finished, and what remains is to tweak to rules and balance the overall gameplay.
It’s a finished and battle-tested design, a game about a battle that holds a special place in modern Greek history: the dramatic third siege of Messolonghi (1825-26). One player takes on the role of the brave defending Greeks, and the other one commands the awesome might of the Ottoman Empire that moves to crush all resistance and capture the city.
For the last several months, each new month we had a new special game/history-related quiz for you. Not this time – this time we’re going in a completely different direction! But first things first. The winner of the last month’s Europe Divided quiz is Denis!
Congratulations! In November, instead of a quiz, we’ve got a special Facebook Nanty Narking Caption Contest. Visit our Facebook page today at 9 PM CET to learn what you have to do. It’s really simple, though. Caption the image in the Facebook post, follow our fanpage there, and share the contest post for a chance to win a copy of the much-sought Limited Nanty Narking Deluxe Edition!
One thing stays the same, and that’s our lucky newsletter subscriber. Each month we randomly draw one e-mail from among the newest newsletter subscribers and the person using it receives a special prize from us, of course in the form of a board game. Are you ready? The October Newsletter Award goes to… jorgelruiz1! Congratulations! Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the award.