Upcoming Games from Fantasy Flight and Days of Wonder

To me, Fantasy Flight and Days of Wonder are two of the best game companies out there; their games are top quality and have great components. I’m definitely looking forward to some recently announced titles.BattleLore command cardMost exciting to me is Days of Wonder’s BattleLore. This is a light fantasy wargame in the vein of the WWII game Memoir ’44 (and before that, the Civil War game Battle Cry). Each commander has cards that describe what types of orders he can give to units in each area of the map. Some people don’t like this system, saying it is too random (ie, if I want to attack the right flank, I don’t want to wait for a card that tells me I can do it). I felt that way when I first started playing Memoir ’44, but then I made the mental adjustment that it represents the “fog of war”, the lines of communication and so on. In real life you may have the perfect plan but be unable to enact it for one reason or another.

The game is played on a map with modular tiles so many different situations can be set up. It will come with a large number of miniatures. Expansions are planned (of course) with more minis, terrain, and scenarios. They’ve done a great job with Memoir ’44 and this is a great way to expand the mechanic into fantasy.

I’m not sure of the release date for this one.

Marvel Heroes from Fantasy FlightFantasy Flight has a page up for their new Marvel Heroes game.

This is not a “collectable” HeroClix-type or a miniatures HeroScope-type game, but a straight up board game. According to the website:

In MARVEL HEROES, 2-4 players each take on the role of a popular super-team straight from the pages of Marvel comics, including such well-known heroes as Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, and the Fantastic Four. Simultaneously, they take the role of an evil Mastermind, whether it’s the Kingpin of Crime, Dr. Doom, the Red Skull, or the mutant terrorist Magneto. They will fight crime and progress their story as super heroes, and work to complete their villainous plans as Masterminds, all competing to be the most successful at both tasks.

The action unfolds in New York City, on an impressively detailed and accurate map depicting Manhattan Island as well as Brooklyn and Queens. Players will respond to dangerous and crimnal events, represented by Headlines, that crop up across the city, sending members of their super hero team to rescue citizens, fight crime, and battle super villains. Meanwhile, the dastardly Masterminds work to their own purposes – and especially to defeat their Nemesis super-team!

Marvel Heroes figuresThe figures look really nice, and I like the mechanic of each player playing both good guys and bad guys (similar to Monsters Menace America). It’s good to see a self-contained superhero game instead of the whole HeroClix thing.

The game is supposed to release in November 2006.

gp2tanx Dev Log Continued

gp2tanx is now feature-complete. I’m just waiting on some art for the splash screens and victory screens, and then it is ready to go. Well, almost. Everything works great on Windows, but when I compile for the gp2x, it crashes at the pause screen. I’m trying to isolate the problem but I haven’t been able to figure out what is causing it. Very frustrating since I don’t have a way to debug directly on the gp2x; I have to change the code, rebuild, recopy to the gp2x, run it again (and again and again).

Atlantis Launch Today

Atlantis on the launch pad. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann The shuttle Atlantis will (hopefully) launch this morning around 11:41 AM EST. The schedule for this mission, STS115, has been moved around a lot but it’s finally getting off the ground.

You can read the mission overview on the STS115 page. NASA says:

NASA’s ready to get back to building the International Space Station, which means the shuttle program is coming up on some of the most challenging space missions ever. And it all starts with the launch of Atlantis on STS-115 in August.

Atlantis’ six crew members will install a second set of solar arrays on the space station, doubling the station’s ability to generate power from sunlight and adding 17.5 tons to its mass. It’s a mission they’ve had four years to train for, and it’s still no cakewalk.

“It’s a very busy flight,” Atlantis Commander Brent Jett said. “We’ve never had to fit so many activities back to back on consecutive days.”

Watch the launch on NASATV

Update: the mission has been postponed until Saturday at 11:14 due to a problem with a fuel system sensor.

September 8, 2006 | Posted in: Astronomy | Comments Closed

How Planets Are Named

The Planetary Society has a brief article by a member of the IAU Nomenclature Committee about the naming process for planets, planetary features and so on.

For example:

We maintain a database of potential names for planetary features, which must all fit within a theme for that body. For example, eruptive centers on Io are named after mythological deities that are related to fire, Sun, or thunder (Loki, for example, is a Norse blacksmith as well as the trickster god).

It’s a good read, check it out.