As the Chancellor, I had the people on my side. The Empire was going to thrive and grow and be beautiful. Yet, there were rumours of Exiles stirring in the Provinces and Hinterland, trying their best to claw back control. They were two visionaries, one stomping through the regions, using brute force to exert their influence and letting the wolves lose on anyone who would get in their way, while the other was biding their time in the Salt Flats, enlisting the help of witches and unnatural powers, trying to glean secrets and waiting for the right moment to strike. Both were intent on taking over the Empire, because they both had sworn an Oath by Cole Wehrle from Leder Games.
Takahama was dying. We were tending to him and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. The windows were wide open and a warm breeze filled the room. Takahama was muttering about how he was too ill to visit his love Akiko’s grave and how she would miss the white rose he brought her every day. We told him that he would visit again as soon as he was better, when suddenly, a pure white butterfly flew in through one of the windows and landed on his pillow. We tried to shoo it away, but to no avail. The butterfly would keep coming back, so we relented and allowed it to stay. Takahama looked at the butterfly, smiled and then his final breath left his lungs, as he died in peace. The butterfly saw this, lifted off the pillow and flew out of one of the windows. We didn’t know this at the time, but it flew all the way to Akiko’s grave and when it landed, it disappeared. The butterfly was one of the Fluttering Souls by Joel Lewis from Good Games Publishing.
There was darkness everywhere. The surface of the Earth was empty and cold. There was no noise, nothing stirred or moved. It was an arid place, void of everything – a blank canvas – but you would change all that. You would command the energies of the Earth and mould lifeless piles of mud into creatures that would populate the world. It was the time of the Golems by ThunderGryph Games.
“Bubble, bubble, my lovely potions,” you cackle gleefully as you carefully stir more solvents into the vial that’s slowly being heated over the Bunsen burner. The library you’re working in is full of old, musty smelling books full of alchemic knowledge, carefully annotated and added to by the many generations of scientists who have come before you. You can’t stop now. You’re so close. The light is fading but your candles still provide enough light. Then you hear the familiar voice of your housekeeper: “It’s time to stop now, Rebis” by Gaetano Cavallaro from Thundergryph Games.
“Hands up! Give me all your money!” you shout at the passengers on this express steam train to Colt City as you wave your revolver from side to side. You’re in for a big haul and already imagine how you’re going to spend all this money and how you’re going to pawn the jewellery and become rich – but you hadn’t expected the marshall being on board, as well as other bandits going from coach to coach trying their luck at getting rich quick at the same time as you. Your carefully planned heist seemed to quickly go off its rails and you begin to consider jumping off this fast-moving Colt Express by Christophe Raimbault from Ludonaute.
The Moon was big enough for all of us, but of course, we were still competing like any other business would. We had to invest a fair amount, 3 credits, to build new modules and expand our base. We needed to make sure everything was connected up correctly and functioning as expected. If we succeeded and outdid our competitors, we would be the first to either get 10 colonists safely homed, make 5 different scientific discoveries or gain a profit of at least 20 credits from our Lunar Base by Joosep Simm, Kaido Koort, Martin Paroll and Silver Türk from Plepic Games.
We had been on this planet for decades now, exploring its riches, mining for crystals and ore, building factories, markets and other public buildings, growing our pool of experts and increasing our commerce. Now it was time for the steam guilds to move to another section of the amazing planet Tharos by Spielworxx.
Humans were close to becoming extinct. No, this wasn’t some sort of natural disaster. It was what many films had predicted. An artificial intelligence had seized power and started to manufacture parts that it added to itself. The longer we waited, the bigger this monstrosity grew and the more powerful it became. If we did nothing, it would eventually become our Doom Machine by Nathan Meunier.
Our spaceship had safely landed on Mars and it didn’t take too long to convert it into our base station. A few other corporations had done the same and we could just about see them in the distance. There was even an embassy station that was there to try and keep the peace. However, we were quite some way off thinking about politics. All of our energy was spent mining resources so we could build tunnels and other buildings to grow our settlement and increase our population. It would take a long time, but eventually, we would finish project Migration: Mars by Enhance Games.
Being halfway up the mountain, in bad weather, the time when we were still acclimatizing at base camp felt like an eternity ago. I knew that “Squiggle” was ahead of me and had erected their tent, but I had to save mine for nearer the top, where we needed the shelter more urgently. I could only imagine the relative comfort my fellow climber was in, while I was hunkered down behind a small collection of rocks to take the brunt of the storm. I kept thinking how dangerous it was, but I also kept reminding myself of the ultimate goal: reaching the summit of K2.