Valve and Cryptozoic Announce ‘Portal’ Board Game
There’s always an enormous ruckus when Valve releases a new game. Their brand has become synonymous with quality. Valve takes the time to polish their products before releasing them into the world, practically guaranteeing classic experience after classic experience. But that quality has always been associated with video games; which is why it’s huge news that Gaben & Company have announced the development of a Portal board game.
The prototype is currently titled “Portal: Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game” and is being designed in conjunction with Cryptozoic Entertainment. Cryptozoic has a long history of transforming licensed properties into heavily themed board games, but this business deal is rather unique. Valve created this experience from the ground-up, applying the same standards that they would to more traditional fare like Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress. It was only when they deemed the game ready for release that Valve turned to Cryptozoic, applying their expertise to any revisions and for ultimate publication.
In Portal, two-to-four players take on the role of new test subjects in Aperture Labs. The goal is to test in the most favorable chambers, although this mechanic is still mostly cloaked in shadow. The victor, however, is only declared when all of the other players have been eliminated. Portal can be played cooperatively at first, but is destined to devolve into a hilarious example of survival-of-the-fittest.
No release date has been announced, but the fact that this is Valve’s first foray into the tabletop space is enough to get any of their legions of fans excited. If they can capture the creativity and humor of Portal’s namesake, this could be one of best board games of 2014.
Stronghold’s “Space Cadet” Franchise Grows
Space Cadets has been an unlikely bestselling franchise for Stronghold Games, a constant sellout and a fan-favorite. Heavily inspired by hard science fiction classics like Star Trek and Babylon Five, this series sees players’ take on cooperative roles amidst the bustling bridge of a massive starship. Last year’s Space Cadets: Dice Duel was a critically acclaimed experience that brought hectic space battles booming to life, the crackle of falling dice adding to the tension.
It’s no surprise that Stronghold wants to make the most of this success. Thus, Space Cadets is getting a number of additions to its catalog. Space Cadets: Away Missions is a standalone experience for one-to-six players that will take the crew planet’s side, leading to the inevitable exchange of “phaser” bolts. Die Fighter is an expansion for Dice Duel in which a single member of the team mans a sleek, speedy starfighter. This adds an additional player option to the proceedings and also provides the option for a unique 1v1 dogfight. Lastly, Resistance is Mostly Futile is an expansion for the original Space Cadets that includes bonus missions, new enemies, and additional hazards.
There’s a huge future for this growing intellectual property and with three new releases in 2014, Space Cadets is certain to remain at the center of the modern board gaming lexicon. Be certain to keep them on your interstellar radar.
Game Mastering Star Wars: Age of Rebellion
Fantasy Flight Games just doesn’t know how to stay out of the news. With constant releases and developments, they’ve become one of the most prolific developers in the industry. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire has become their preeminent roleplaying experience and with Age of Rebellion closing in on a Q2 release date; Fantasy Flight is looking to repeat its previous supplement schedule and hopefully repeats its initial success.
As such, the company has announced the first information on the Age of Rebellion Game Master’s Kit, a tool for prospective GMs to learn their trade and dig deeper into the rules. As to be expected, the kit includes a screen covered in crucial statistics and information for on-the-fly decision making. It also emphasizes optional rules for building squads and squadrons of NPCs to assist players in taking on Palpatine’s evil Galactic Empire. Lastly, Dead in the Water is a first-rate adventure in which characters act as representatives for the Rebellion tasked with obtaining a cargo of essential droids. Fantasy Flight’s adventures have been some of the highlights of this line and Dead in the Water is probably worth the price of admission alone.
The Game Master’s Kit will find its way to store shelves soon, releasing with the rest of Age of Rebellion in the second-half of 2014.