The 2020 Aurora Award Nominees have been announced for best works done by Canadians in 2019 in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The Aurora Awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. The top five nominated works were selected. Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place. The awards ceremony will be held online in conjunction with When Words Collide (Calgary) on August 15th. (whenwordscollide.org).
Greg played Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Thread of Murder, part of Unlock: Heroic Adventures, “This was an interesting one where you had to find the suspects for the murder and then interrogate them before figuring out which one was the murderer and why. Some pretty interesting puzzles in it, but we managed to figure most of them out without too many hints.”
He also played Unlock: In Pursuit of the White Rabbit, the final scenario in the Heroic Adventures box and the one with the hardest difficulty rating. “It gives you 90 minutes instead of the usual 60 as well. Tracy and I were both pretty much on the right wavelength though, only taking one hint, which was kind of unnecessary actually, and finishing in about an hour. It had some more unusual uses of cards compared to other Unlock games and we both enjoyed it a lot!”
Greg finished Circuit Maze, “I’ve been working through the challenges and just finished the final Expert level. I found these to be a bit trickier than the Laser Maze, and although they were interesting the components were a bit more fiddly and often kept popping out of the tray, especially the switch. So I did enjoy the mental challenge but would recommend the other mazes over this one.”
Chris thinks this was somehow his quickest Kill Team project to date! “For a while I’d toyed with the idea of making an all-Stormtrooper Imperial Guard team, but the Tempestus Scions just never quite worked for me. My plans changed when I got my hands on some Raumjager figures by Wargames Atlantic. They were almost exactly what I wanted straight out of the box, but I decided to swap in heads from Eisenkern Stormtroopers by Dreamforge. A little modification of the lasgun barrels and a bit of converting for the Sergeant and I had my core team! Branching out into Commanders and Elites is pretty easy with Imperial Guard – all I had to do was add a Commissar and a single Bullgryn. I wanted all the models to be wearing some kind of gas mask, so I changed out the Commissar’s head for one from the Hellhound kit, ready-made with a peaked cap too. Given the style of the Raumjager equipment, painting them as Armageddon Steel Legion was the clear choice.”
Looking to play a quick familiar game, Jenn and Renee decided to play Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers, “Which we had actually only played once before, so it had the added benefit of being both very familiar and a little new at the same time. At it’s surface it looks like a re-skinned Carcassonne, but it does add some additional mechanics that are not in the original game. Instead of farmers there are hunters but in the fields there are animals with rules like each tiger eats one deer, so there are ways to impact the scoring of your opponents’ hunters. It also has bonus tiles which you get to place when completing a forest with a gold nugget, which can either give you an opportunity to earn additional points or the ability to mess with your opponent.”
Renee was looking for a game with a small number of components to play outside and inspired by Greg and Tracy’s plays of the various escape room style games, she pulled out a Deckscape game they’ve had for a while, Time Test. “I was curious how it would work, it using only cards with no app (like Unlock) and no interactive/destroyable pieces like the Exit games. You work your way down the deck, until you end up in your “locked room” and then you divide the deck into 4 piles, each with a puzzle to solve at the top. As you solve the puzzles in each pile your release items with you can use to solve other puzzles. It actually did a decent job of recreating locked room style puzzles. They had clue cards that allowed you to get a clue if you had puzzle that was stumping you. We enjoyed it!”
They finished the afternoon with another playable outside game, Circus Flohcati. “This is a classic Reiner Knizia game that has been a favourite in our family for years. It’s a press your luck game combined with set collecting. Quick playing a we always enjoy it.”