The Average Gamer

Friday Night Unplugged #22: Skull and Roses, New Releases and Reprints.

While Debbie, Nick and co were zooming around E3 to bring you all the gaming news your hungry eyes can read I spent my week trapped in a cupboard, plotting my escape with only a dice bag for company. The escape attempt failed but that does mean I’m here to bring you a chunk of tasty news on new releases, re-releases and recent games I think you should check out. I’ll also be talking a little about Skulls and Roses which has quickly become a favourite icebreaker game of ours.

New Releases:

Here at FNU towers we’ve tried to bring you the best mix of old and new games we can, covering staples like Eclipse and Smallworld while throwing in new releases like City of Remnants and Zombicide. Things still slip through the net so here’s our top picks of recently released games.


Gearworld: The Borderlands:

Gearworld is one of Fantasy Flight’s many reboots. Based on the original Borderlands board game players must trade, negotiate and build across a post apocalyptic landscape. With a steampunk aesthetic and player communication being a key feature, it’s worth taking a look at.

Official Website:
Gearworld: The Borderlands will be available in game stores next week.


Seasons: Enchanted Kingdom:

Not long ago I wrote about the dice/card/boardgame hybrid Seasons, praising its ingenuity and refreshing take on the various styles of play. Enchanted Kingdom is the first expansion, adding new Power cards plus 10 new Enchantment cards to have a lasting effect on the game. One of our favourite parts of Enchanted Kingdom is the new Special Ability tokens. Each of these adds a unique ability to your sorcerer, increasing the variety and allowing for whole new tactics and playstyles. If you took our advice and picked up Seasons you can do much worse then grabbing Enchanted Kingdom from your local game store.

Official Website:
Seasons: Enchanted Kingdom is £16.99 over at Amazon.



Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Relic is a glorious reskin of the much loved Talisman. Players take on the role of Space Marines, Sister of Battle, Inquisitors and other iconic defenders of the Empire as they battle their way through the Xenos and fight off the forces of Chaos. With a heavily RPG-inspired core and lots of stats, items and weaponry to manage Relic is a beast of seriously epic proportions and if you want a big game to sit down with over a long evening then Relic is definitely for you.

Official Website :
You can pick up Relic for £49.99 at Travelling Man


Not all of our recommendations this week are brand new games. We do have one very exciting reprint to bring to your attention.

Eclipse Banner

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy:

Eclipse is probably one of the biggest things on our list this week, not just because of its gigantic box and sprawling map but due to its brand new price of £55. Considering how much we loved it in FNU#14 and its previous reasonable price of £69.99, this new price is a snap keep for anyone looking to grow their collection.

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy was also recently released in iPad form and considering the scale of the game itself it’s extremely well designed. I’ve already pumped hours into it and if you love the boardgame you will too.

Official Website:
Get Eclipse for £54.99 at Travelling Man or pick up the iPad version for £4.99

Skull and Roses

With our choice of new releases out of the way, it’s back to business and this week we’ve been playing Skull and Roses. Published by Seasons publishers Asmodee and designed by Werewolves of Millers Hollow designer Hervé Marly Skull and Roses is a quick but intensive bluffing game in the ilk of Liar’s Dice or Perudo.

How it works:

  • Each player gets a hand of 4 cards in their chosen “gang” colour.
  • Each hand consists of 3 rose cards and 1 skull card.
  • Starting with the first player and continuing clockwise, players place one card from their hand face down on the table in front of them forming a stack of cards.
  • Placement continues until there are no players with cards to play or a player has made a bid
  • Players bid on how many roses they can turn over before they hit a skull.
  • Each player from clockwise can then increase the wager or choose to pass
  • At any point a player can challenge the current wager.
  • The challenged player turns over one card at a time, working their way down their own stack first, after that they can choose the top card of any other stack to turn over and continue to do so until they either hit a skull or turn enough roses to match their bid.
  • If the challenged player successfully matches their wager they win the bet and all cards are returned to hands.
  • Win 2 bets to win the game.
The 6 biker themed gangs each have their own stylish symbols.

The 6 biker themed gangs each have their own stylish symbols.

Why do we like it:

Skull and Roses is a game of bluffing, prediction and skill. Hidden information games are a firm favourite of mine and there’s a lot to consider when playing. It does lack some of the versatility of traditional liars dice games however, with only 4 cards per player and anyone who fails a bid losing a card predicting and bidding correctly gets easier and easier as the game goes on. Of course bluffing is key to the game and sometimes it’s better for you to bluff and mess up your opponents bids then win your own.

The Skull and Roses artwork wouldn't look out of place tattooed on someones arm.

The Skull and Roses artwork wouldn’t look out of place tattooed on someones arm.

Playing with anywhere from 3 to 6 players and increasing in challenge and fun as the numbers get higher Skull and Roses is the perfect icebreaker game with rounds taking no more than minutes at a time. If you’ve got a competitive itch to scratch and a space on your shelf for a portable quickly setup game then Skull and Roses is the game for you. Pick it up from Amazon for £17.08

Next Week:

Next week we’re strapping on our swords, scheming against our family and friends and getting ready for a wedding with the first part of our epic 2 part delve into the Game of Thrones Boardgame (second edition) from Fantasy Flight Games.