“Perfect timing” is something that we say a lot but sometimes it just fits.
A couple of months ago, I bought a bunch of games, including one that a friend of mine had been wanting to try for a while. It looked truly interesting, so I thought “why not? It’s on sale.”
That game was Martin Wallace’s A Study in Emerald (2nd Edition), based on the Neil Gaiman short story of the same name.
The basic premise of this story and game is that the Cthulhu Old Ones have taken over the world and there are two factions fighting around the world: Loyalists who are minions of the Old Ones and Restorationists who are fighting against them and trying to get the world to see what’s really happening.
It’s a cross between Cthulhu and Sherlock Holmes, and it sounded damned interesting.
I finally got it to the table on Sunday (Spoiler: it’s a lot of fun!)
So what’s the perfect timing?
This morning, I read today’s Boardgame Geek news entry and see that there is a “sequel” of sorts coming out.
Called AuZtralia, this game is part of a two-year deal that Wallace signed with SchilMil Games to design games including one set in Middle Earth.
Let me just blurb it here (using the same blurb Boardgame Geek did, because we’re both equally lazy).
Ever since 1180, for seven long centuries, the Old Ones held full sway over the riches of the Earth and the affairs of humankind. All that changed in 1888. For in that momentous year, Sherlock Holmes and a clandestine fraternity of intrepid Victorian heroes succeeded in vanquishing these monstrous tyrants and driving them from their lands. Humanity had triumphed, but the countries of Europe and America were in a terrible state. The land was poisoned and food shortages were a constant scourge.
Other parts of the planet had not yet been explored as the Old Ones had enforced a draconic ban on exploration. Humanity, enjoying its new-found freedom, sent ships out to explore the world. A vast new continent was discovered on the far side of the world. At first called Terra Australis, it quickly became known as Australia. Brave prospectors and surveyors came to explore the new continent. They were followed by pioneers and settlers who constructed ports and built railways into the vast interior, developing farms and shipping the produce back to the hungry masses they had left behind. Untold riches in coal, iron and gold were discovered in the hinterland — but that was not all that awaited the pioneers…
There was a reason why a ban existed on exploring this part of the world. Unbeknownst to all, hidden in the outback of the land, the Old Ones had created a secret base. Following their defeat the surviving Old Ones and some of their loyal human allies made their way to their holdfasts in the arid plains beyond the Great Dividing Range. As the colonists spread, so the Old Ones began to stir, hell-bent on driving these irksome intruders back into the sea. Terrible creatures bred by the Old Ones started to move across the land, destroying everyone they encountered, blighting everything in their path.
Faced with this horror, the pioneers pinned their hopes on the one advantage they had: the power of modern military technology, which was now so much more advanced than in 1888 when mankind was last called upon to face against the Old Ones.
Inspired by Martin Wallace’s A Study in Emerald, AuZtralia is an economic/adventure game set in an alternate reality 1930s in which Australia is waiting to be explored. As well as riches from the land, darkness and insanity lies in the outback. The game meshes themes of exploration, adventure, and economy (farming and mining), with battles against fantastical Old One creatures who act as an in-game player. It also boasts a randomized board set-up, an innovative combat mechanism, and a surprisingly tense solo play mode.
That sounds…incredibly intriguing.
Economic/Adventure? I’m not sure how those two will mix, but I trust Wallace to make it interesting.
And I’ll bet there will be loans required.
I’m anxious to get A Study in Emerald to the table again. First impressions coming in my “New to Me: September” post that’s upcoming. But I definitely did enjoy it and want to play it again.
And now we have another game to keep an eye on.
I can’t wait!