Welcome back! Three thoughts for today: Valiant Dust cover, Civ 6, and Plan Number B.
Valiant Dust Cover Reveal
Okay, so I know I mentioned Valiant Dust just last week, but this is pretty cool: Tor revealed the cover for my book today! I am super-happy with the artwork and the snazzy cover design work (and Mike Stackpole’s generous testimonial is double-super cool). Here’s a link if you’d like to go have a look for yourself.
I love the cover. Hope you like it too!
I’ve been a big fan of the Civilization franchise for something like twenty years now. I pretty much run out and buy each new edition as soon as I can find the right moment to pick up a twenty-hour-a-week habit for a couple of months. So I’ve been happily exploring Civilization VI for the last month or two (at substantially less than twenty hours a week, since I am insanely busy these days). I’m still forming my impressions of how the newest offering stands in comparison to previous versions, but I generally like it so far. I like laying out districts for my cities, I like the civics and government, I like the lower number of units on the board, and I like the mix of strategic and luxury resources. It’s a fresh new take on the series, which is probably good—it would have been very hard to “out-Civ 5” the Civ 5 game.
One thing I wish the diplomacy interface let you do: I wish there was more of a “same to you!” function available. When a NPC leader Denounces me, I want a button right there on that screen to Denounce the guy right back. And when a NPC leader asks to build an embassy in my capital, I want an option that says, “Sure, if I can build one in yours.” In the mid- to late game NPC leaders *never* let me build embassies. It’s hard not to take that personally.
I’ll touch on Civ VI a little more as I play through a couple more games, but so far I’ll give it a thumbs-up.
Plan Number B
You Ultimate Scheme fans out there will be happy to know that I’ve got a rough design hammered out for Plan Number B, the expansion deck for Ultimate Scheme. We’re lining up artist Claudio Pozas to do our card illustrations again, and we’re playtesting right now. Plan Number B introduces 5 new factions, 3 new ultimate schemes, and a couple of new X-factors. The biggest new elements of the expansion are a brand-new scheme deck (Power schemes) and the introduction of the Interpol Agent (that mysterious pawn from the original box), plus plenty of Action cards to support the new stuff.
I generally feel that game expansions ought to offer something besides just “more,” so you’ll find that the Interpol Agent provides you with a new complication to scheme around (and a new weapon to use against your rivals). The Power schemes are built around a theme of controlling the Interpol Agent and accomplishing special “mission” schemes that offer valuable new abilities as rewards. With a little luck we’ll have Plan Number B finished up in about 4-6 weeks. We’ll print and ship it very quickly after that, since we’ll be using a print-on-demand vendor for this (it’s a pretty small print run).
That’s all for now!