March 16 2017
Board Game Geek
- ● Teasers for Troyes Dice, BANG!, Michael Strogoff, and More Balithis playlist! — and at GAMA Trade Show 2019 in Reno, Nevada — here are three to start us off! — so the regular BGG News posts have taken a back seat for the past few days. To tide you over for now, here are a tetrad of teasers for future releases:
• Belgian publisher Pearl Games has posted another teaser image for Troyes Dice, coming later in 2019. (Here's the first image from Dec. 2018.) You can almost hear all the characters saying, "Join us inside this box. Become one with us..." No?
• In late February 2019, Italian publisher dV Giochi posted the following BANG!-related teaser image on Facebook:
• Since 2013, French publisher Purple Brain Creations has released nine titles in its "Tales & Games" series of children's games based on classic fables and fairy tales. In 2016 it started a parallel "Purple Brain Classics" line of games based on classic literature that's aimed at slightly older players than the "Tales & Games" line. Around the World in 80 Days was the first title in the series, followed by Oliver Twist in 2017, and now PBC has revealed the third title in this series on Facebook, this being a gilded new edition of Alberto Corral's Michael Strogoff, which Spanish publisher Devir Games released in 2017.
• White Goblin Games has announced two more expansions for Klaus-Jürgen Wrede's 2017 release Bali, with Village of Tani already having a BGG listing and Jungle of Jimbaran not having one. You'll have to use the pics below and your imagination for now.
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- VideoFIJ 2019 II: Highlights from Cannes — Antoine Bauza, Tom Lehmann, Julien Delval, Claude Leroy, Namiji, Last Hope, Res Arcana, and TurbulencesBGG Express YouTube channel, a channel devoted to publication of lightly edited convention coverage videos, I pushed out thirty game overview videos yesterday, with nearly all of those videos highlighting a new or upcoming game that we saw at the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes in February 2019. So many videos!
We used to worry about flooding the regular BGG YouTube channel with these videos, overwhelming subscribers with dozens of links all at once, but that led to me spreading out their publication to such a degree that I'd still be publishing SPIEL videos in January of the following year. Now our goal is to publish quickly, link all of the videos to their respective game/designer/publisher page, then let people discover things as they will. You might not even be aware that such-and-such a game is due out in September 2019, but ideally once it does interest you, you'll find an overview video waiting for you.
That said, I will highlight a few of the new videos now residing in the FIJ 2019 playlist — which has 88 videos so far, with 22 more to go — starting with the recently announced Namiji from Antoine Bauza and Funforge.
Namiji features gameplay familiar to that in Tokaido: Players are traveling along a path that gives them the opportunity to stop and do something, and whoever is at the back of the pack takes the next turn. In that overarching description, the two games are identical. The details are what differ, though, and that's what Claude lays out in this overview video.
I'm sure that some people will say that they don't need more of the same, yet that's not usually an argument people make against something like Dominion, possibly because all of the sets have components that can be mixed together, making the boxed sets feel like one game sold in multiple packages, whereas this will be two separate games (similar to Ganz schön clever and Doppelt so clever, not to mention many Carcassonne titles).
• Bauza visited the BGG booth separately to talk a bit about Last Hope, the working title for a new edition of Ghost Stories coming from him and Repos Production. The prototype for this game was in about as basic a form as you could get — text on black and white cards — and Repos didn't want to show the game on camera, but the designer could talk about what's changing in the game, so he did. The game will have a medieval fantasy setting to differentiate it from the world of Ghost Stories, and the rules have been streamlined to remove multiple pages of details and exceptions that would trip up new players, ideally allowing you to focus solely on your impending defeat.
• Tom Lehmann's Res Arcana from Sand Castle Games debuted at FIJ 2019 and has now been released in retail outlets in France, while the U.S. release should take place in March 2019. At FIJ 2019, Lehmann and publisher Cyrille Daujean played two rounds of the game with me on camera to highlight how it plays and emphasize how I will never defeat them in this game.
I had played Res Arcana twice in pre-production form at BGG.CON 2018, previewing the game afterward, so I had already encountered what it feels like to be thrashed by experienced players. Daujean repeated the experience on camera at FIJ, setting up a combo from the first turn while I was still trying to figure out what my cards did. We'll all get more experience with this game soon enough, though, so perhaps some day I'll be able to come in third...
• At FIJ, we had a somewhat more open schedule than we do at shows like GAMA Trade Show, Gen Con, and SPIEL. I had scheduled more time per game to account for language issues (more on that later), and even doing that I had filled only half the schedule prior to the fair opening. Thus, I spent a lot of my time off camera visiting publisher booths to see who was interested in showing off games that we hadn't previously seen, which led to us showing dozens of prototypes of designs that won't appear in print until SPIEL '19 or even FIJ 2020. Apparently French designers and publishers love to publicly playtest games for months and months, and we got to benefit from that, although it's also caused me to create janky BGG game pages that have next to no info so that I can link the videos to them.
Anyway, one of the benefits of having so much open time is that we didn't have to focus solely on gameplay presentation. Thus, I scheduled time with artist Julien Delval to highlight the art that he created for Res Arcana, while also talking about some of the other work he's done over the past twenty years. In retrospect, I should have been better prepared and lined up questions in advance, but that's a lesson for the next time that I have such an opportunity.
• Thomas Planete's pick-up-and-deliver game Turbulences, co-designed with Samy Maronnier, was something I spotted while walking the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, and given the elaborate nature of the prototype, I knew we wanted to put it on camera as a still photo wouldn't do it justice. Planete creates many interesting dice as well as other all-wood gaming bits, and I was glad to feature a look at this unusual game that will be heading to Kickstarter sometime in 2019.
• One of the highlights of FIJ 2019 for me was getting to host designer Claude Leroy, creator of the fantastic abstract strategy game Gygès, to talk about the new Cosmoludo publishing line that is re-releasing some of his older titles while also bringing new games to market — or perhaps all of the titles have been previously released and we just don't have all of them in the BGG database as French-only abstract strategy games possibly don't have a huge fanbase on this site. We recorded overviews of three specific Cosmoludo titles as well, and those are among the 22 FIJ 2019 videos that remain to be published on BGG Express.
I greatly appreciate Leroy coming on the BGG livestream to demonstrate the games. Every time we post videos that feature non-native English speakers, we see a few comments from folks offended that the companies didn't have someone "competent" in English on hand to present their game, but I am incredibly thankful for all the effort that designers and publishers make to present their games on camera. They're passionate about what they do, and often they want to be the ones who present the games. I'm happy to trade some amount of fluency for passion because while you can generally find fluency anywhere, it's hard to replicate the passion that creators have for their work, and I'm glad that we can showcase it in the convention coverage that we do.
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- It's a Good Day to Die Hard on the Tabletopone, but two forthcoming licensed versions of Talisman in the past few weeks, U.S. publisher The OP (née USAopoly) has now revealed that it has yet another license coming to tabletops in the near future thanks to the scheduled Q2 2019 release of Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game.
This game is based on the original Die Hard movie from 1988, and as you might expect, it's a one-vs-many design for 3-8 players in which John McClane faces off against a group of armed individuals in a skyscraper. A summary of the gameplay from the publisher:
Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game uses one-versus-many, asymmetric gameplay to pit protagonist John McClane against others acting as thieves who are co-operating to foil the hero's plan, which is to save the hostages in the iconic Nakatomi Plaza high-rise. Movie buffs and hobby game enthusiasts will appreciate the game's distinct homage to the 1988 film, which packs rules and gameplay to the air vents with callbacks to Die Hard's most memorable scenes, characters, and events.
The game follows a three-act structure similar to the movie itself, and we'll publish an overview video of the gameplay that we recorded at GAMA Trade Show 2019 once the embargo on that item ends. For now, I'll leave you with this example from the press release of why movie executives aren't necessarily the best people to quote when trying to get players excited about a game announcement:
Read more »Federico San Martin, Vice President of Global Toys and Hardlines, 20th Century Fox Consumer Products added: "The Die Hard board game from USAopoly provides an engaging touch point for fans seeking a nostalgic trip back to Nakatomi Tower and, three decades after the film's release, allows a new generation of fans to play a unique game experience showcasing this incredible property."
- VideoRelive GAMA Trade Show 2019; Watch Bonus BGG Show Wrap-Up
BoardGameGeek was at GTS 2019, and we did our part to expose those new and upcoming games to players by livestreaming demonstrations for about twenty hours over three days. Videos of those demonstrations are included below, and you can see an approximate rundown of who presented which games at which time in this broadcast schedule that I posted ahead of GTS 2019. (We added in other publishers when we got ahead of schedule, and some folks showed up early as their phones autoshifted appointments due to time zone changes.)
In the weeks to come, we will chop these videos into individual segments and post them on the respective game and publisher pages in the BGG database as well as on our BGG Express YouTube channel, our new home for all the convention coverage we do.
I missed out on day three of our coverage as a virus hit me hard, leaving me driving the porcelain bus for hours until I pretty much collapsed due to weakness and dehydration, which led to a trip to the emergency room courtesy of Jon Cox. Many thanks to all for covering in my absence, and I'm almost back to normal as that virus stuck around just long enough to make Thursday, March 14, 2019 the worst Thursday that I've encountered in my life. Fingers crossed that record will stand until my death...
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- New Game Round-up: Traveling to Normandy, Terramara, and Other DimensionsOsprey Games typically has a literature tie-in with its game releases, but that's not always the case, as with Undaunted: Normandy, a two-player card-based wargame from designers Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson that's due out August 2019. Here's a summary of the setting and gameplay:
June, 1944: Through the D-Day landings, the Allies have seized a foothold on the beaches of Normandy. Now you must lead your troops forward as you push deeper into France and drive the German forces back. You will face intense resistance, machine gun fire, and mortar bombardment, but a great commander can turn the situation to their advantage!
Undaunted: Normandy is a deck-building game that places you and your opponent in command of American or German forces, fighting through a series of missions critical to the outcome of World War II. Use your cards to seize the initiative, bolster your forces, or control your troops on the battlefield. Strong leadership can turn the tide of battle in your favor, but reckless decisions could prove catastrophic as every casualty you take removes a card from your deck. Take charge amidst the chaos of battle, hold fast in the face of opposition, and remain undaunted.
• Glen More II: Chronicles, a new edition of Matthias Cramer's classic Glen More that new German publisher Funtails is funding on Kickstarter through mid-April 2019 (KS link), has been picked up Renegade Game Studios for release in North America in late 2019.
Green Couch Games revealed its next release, with this being a bigger box than what they normally release. Here's an overview of the 2-4 player game Darwinauts from designer Chris Bryan, with the game hitting Kickstarter in Q2 2019 ahead of a planned Q4 2019 release:
Congratulations! After decades of hard work, scientists have opened a portal to another dimension filled with alien life. You are one of the few brave enough to venture into this exciting but dangerous new land to research and record new species. The world watches to see the discoveries that will be uncovered. The media has dubbed you and your comrades "The Darwinauts" for daring to go beyond to record the new origins of species. You must work quickly to bring back records of the most exotic lifeforms to secure your place in history, but be careful, the portal is unstable and won't remain open for long... The Rift is coming!
During the course of Darwinauts, a player takes two actions on their turn, selecting from five possible actions: place an explorer, place a tile, replenish tiles and remove explorers, discover a species, and record a species. When recording a species, a player immediately takes one of five possible bonus actions that allow the player to set themselves up for future turns or alter the landscape. Players continue to take turns until The Rift tile is revealed, making the portal to the new world unstable. Once The Rift begins, players add an additional phase to their turns, taking part in dismantling the landscape they have opened up for exploration. The game comes to a close as they race to complete their tasks and return home. When the game ends, players receive prestige points for their recorded species and bonuses are earned for specializing in specific sets of species.
• Another mid-February announcement that fell behind the couch is Terramara from the Italian design team of Acchittocca (Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, Stefano Luperto, and Antonio Tinto) and Quined Games, with this title being the 25th entry in Quined's Masterprint series. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:
Terramara is the name of the villages founded around 1500 B.C., mid- to late Bronze Age, in Northern Italy. People lived, travelled, and traded between the Alps mountain range and the river Po. The main occupations of the Terramara people were hunting, farming and metallurgy, casting bronze tools like axe heads in stone molds. The houses in the villages were built on piles, meaning each house is built above the ground, supported by wooden stakes.
In Terramara, you play as the chief of a clan living in one of these villages. Your goal is to develop your clan, exploring lands farther away to trade with other villages, and reach sacred places. You improve your battle strength and discover new technologies to create useful artefacts. The player who develops the best clan by gaining more development points becomes leader of all of Terramara and wins the game!
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- VideoNew Game Round-up: Passing Trains, Dominating New Species, and Developing De Vulgari EloquentiaMercury Games was showing a prototype of Rail Pass by Ref Tom Green, and it looked like a hoot.
In this co-operative game for 2-6 players, everyone plays simultaneously, attempting to deliver as many goods as possible, with the color of a goods cube indicating its destination city. Players control one or more cities, and goods can be moved to neighboring cities only on trains run by personnel. To do this, you pick up and physically hand the train to your neighbor, ideally not dropping anything in the process. Personnel can't move more than one stop from their city, so the receiving player needs to swap in their personnel or move goods to a train in their city.
Everything happens in real time, and you have a lot to track all over the place. Game time is ten minutes total after set-up.
Frosted Games is stepping up the number of titles it's releasing in 2019, with Andreas Odendahl's Cooper Island being targeted for a SPIEL '19 release. Here's an overview of this 1-4 player game:
In the age of exploration, the players arrive at a new home far away from their homeland. They try to colonize the big island, and each player tries to explore one part of it by placing landscape tiles. Landscape tiles grant resources and those are used to erect buildings with special abilities. Barriers on the island have to be removed in order to explore the island even further. Players build valuable statues and supply ships get them the supplies from the old world they need to be a successful settler on Cooper Island.
The special thing about Cooper Island is the way the players mark their victory points. They take small ship markers around the island to show their progress. On their way around the island, they find smaller islands on shore that grant valuable benefits. After six rounds, a game of Cooper Island ends and the player who developed the best and went on furthest with their ships will win.
• In the category of "games I missed months ago", we have Chad Jensen's Dominant Species: Marine from GMT Games, which is a standalone game similar in nature to the 2010 Dominant Species, but with the action taking place in the water as players use their chosen trait card to try to take control of their surroundings. The easiest and longest way to see what's going on in this design is to watch this two-hour tutorial and playthrough video from Paul Grogan. You don't have anything else to do right now anyway, do you?
De Vulgari Eloquentia from Mario Papini and Giochix.it, with this title having a revised, deluxe edition going through crowdfunding in 2019. Here's an overview of the gameplay:
Read more »Italy, late Middle Ages: The fabric merchants need to write down their contracts in a language that everyone can understand, and the literates are looking for an alternative to the elite of the traditional Latin language, so the Volgare, the language spoken by the common people, taken from the dialects spoken in the various Italian regions, starts to gain relevance. During this period, Francesco D'Assisi writes his famous Canticle of the Sun and Dante writes the Divine Comedy, both written in Volgare.
In De Vulgari Eloquentia, players have to do their part in the creation of this new language! But who will provide them the proper knowledge to understand the manuscripts in the different dialects? Who will successfully uncover the secrets of the books inside the Papal Library? Who will embrace the religious life, and who will remain a merchant? Some of the players can become a famous banker, someone else can climb the church's hierarchy to be the next Pope! But in the end, who will be the most appreciated and respected for their status and culture?
The aim of the game is to obtain more Volgare points. The players gain VP from reading manuscripts and looking for important documents like the Canticle of the Sun or "The Riddle from Verona". Players can also gain VP by improving their social status, for example, if the merchant becomes a banker or the Friar becomes a Benedictine Monk or the Cardinal becomes Camerlengo or Pope. Moreover, VP can be gotten with money and with the support of Politicians, Noblemen, Abbesses, and the Amanuensis.
- Asmodee to Distribute CMON Limited Titles in North AmericaAsmodee North America announced that it had a new distribution deal with CMON Limited in which it would distribute titles from CMON to retail outlets in North America.
CMON would still be responsible for running and fulfilling its own Kickstarter campaigns, but once a Kickstarter is complete, any remaining product would enter the distribution chain via Asmodee NA.
One odd thing about this deal is that in December 2018, CMON announced that it had entered into distribution agreements with GTS Distribution and Southern Hobby Supply, so that as of January 1, 2019, U.S. retailers would be able to order CMON titles from these distributors in addition to getting them from ACD, Alliance, and Peachstate Hobby Distribution. Asmodee, however, has an exclusive distribution deal with Alliance Game Distributors — a deal put into practice in August 2017 — so after only a few months of carrying CMON titles, GTS and Southern Hobby Supply lose access to those titles once again, with ACD and Peachstate also having the CMON lines cut from their catalogs.
While this change in distribution practices might seem like a radical departure from previous practices, it's not out of the ordinary as in many European countries one of the branches of The Asmodee Group is already distributing titles from CMON Limited. Read more »
- New Games from GAMA 2019: Build with Mental Blocks and Lanterns Dice in Aquicorn CovePandasaurus Games has already announced the 2019 North American release of puzzley games passtally and Arraial — first published by analog lunchbox and MEBO Games respectively in 2018 — but at GAMA Trade Show 2019 it's adding another such title to its catalog: Mental Blocks from newcomer Micah Sawyer.
In this co-operative game, players attempt to complete a puzzle using oversized foam blocks, despite seeing only one perspective of the design. You have to co-operate to complete the puzzle as a team, but you have a time limit, so don't just sit around staring at the pieces. In addition to the time pressure, players have other challenges, such as not being able to talk or to touch certain color blocks.
Mental Blocks features sixty puzzles: thirty "family mode" puzzles and thirty "challenge mode" puzzles that ramp in difficulty. For an even wilder game, you can add a traitor to the table to block your block-building... Yes, developer Jonathan Gilmour apparently must have a traitor in everything he touches.
I'm looking forward to this one as I love spatial puzzles in general, and these types of puzzles have a special appeal, perhaps dating back to high school architecture classes in which you were presented with a 3D image, then challenged to represent it properly from the front, side, and top in individual images. Learning how to see things from multiple perspectives is a valuable skill, whether you're talking about objects or more complicated aspects of the world...
Renegade Game Studios has announced two new titles in the run-up to GTS 2019, one of those being the Chris Bryan roll-and-write game Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky, which is due out in June 2019 and which continues the story of Renegade's 2015 Lanterns: The Harvest Festival:
The harvest is in, and now it's time to celebrate! The emperor has declared that this shall be the best harvest festival yet.
In Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky, players act as artisans, decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns and launching fireworks to light up the sky. The player who earns the most honor has made the best impression on the emperor and wins.
In more detail, roll dice and choose which colored lanterns players can fill on their scoresheets. Earn gifts to perform special actions, fill in additional colored lanterns, and create powerful combinations. Cover completed shapes with fireworks tiles to score points and put on a spectacular show!
• The other title coming from Renegade is The Aquicorn Cove Board Game, a tabletop adaptation of Katie O'Neill's graphic novel Aquicorn Cove. Renegade, along with designers Steve Ellis and Tyler Tinsley, already adapted O'Neill's The Tea Dragon Society in 2018, and now those two designers have been joined by Ben and Tim Eisner for this 2-4 player co-operative board game due out in late 2019:
When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a big storm, Lana remembers how much she's missed the ocean — and the strong, reassuring presence of her aunt. As Lana explores the familiar beach, she discovers something incredible: a colony of aquicorns, small magical seahorse-like creatures that live in the coral reef. Lana rescues an injured aquicorn and cares for it with the help of her aunt, who may know more about these strange creatures than she's willing to admit. But when a second storm threatens to reach the town, choices made many years ago about how to co-exist with the sea start to rise to the surface. Lana realizes she will need to find the strength to stand on her own, even when it means standing up to the people who she has always relied on to protect her.
In the co-operative game The Aquicorn Cove Board Game, 2-4 players take on the roles of members of a small fishing village struggling to survive while maintaining a balance with the natural world. To win, the villagers must feed and grow their village, while helping to restore the health of the reef and aquatic ecosystem. The villagers are fortunate, though, and the waters of their cove are home to the beautiful and benevolent aquicorns, as well as the wondrous reef guardian Aure, who can help them both to understand the impact humans are having on the environment and to save the village.
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- VideoFIJ 2019 I: Highlights from Cannes — Clash of Rage, Dice Quest, One Key, Dice Forge: Rebellion, and Heroes of Normandie: The Tactical Card Game34 game overview videos from the 2019 Festival International des Jeux on the new BGG Express YouTube channel.
Here are a few of those videos you might have missed, starting with three from Libellud, with Dice Forge: Rebellion having debuted at FIJ 2019, with the co-operative deduction game One Key coming in the middle of 2019, and with Obscurio due out at the end of the year.
FIJ is an unusual show as it highlights the nature of French designers and publishers to demo unpublished game designs in public long before they'll be available in a published form. Designer Cédrick Chaboussit presented Dice Quest, for example, even though the game won't be released by Bombyx until FIJ 2020. As another publisher told me, they typically test and promote prototypes in public for a year to ensure that the game is both well-known and developed as thoroughly as possible.
As an example of that practice, here's an overview of Clash of Rage, a giant game from Frédéric Guérard and Le Boite de Jeu, with my first video of this game having been recorded at FIJ 2017.
Devil Pig Games dropped by our booth to show off the finished version of Heroes of Normandie: The Tactical Card Game, which had been Kickstarted in October 2016. Finally landing on shores now!
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- From Wildlands to Mega-City One with Judge Dredd: Helter SkelterOsprey Games, which has revealed an October 2019 release date for Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter, a Martin Wallace design based upon the gameplay in his own Wildlands, which was released by Osprey in 2018. Here's an overview of the setting and goal of the game:
Something in the multiverse has shattered, and now the universe is bleeding. Throughout Mega-City One there are reports of invaders wreaking havoc: Celtic barbarians in Ezquerra Block. Russian nobles in Apetown. And rumors of fragments of other universes scattered across the city, waiting to be claimed.
The worlds of Judge Dredd, Sláine, Strontium Dog, and Nikolai Dante will crash together on tabletops in the miniatures board game Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter.
The game brings some of 2000 AD’s most well-known characters to the streets of Mega-City One, fighting for the shattered fragments of their own universe! Faction-specific action decks and new special character abilities give each group their own playstyle, from the well-armed Judges with their explosive ammo to the bestial fury of Sláine and his Celtic allies. Playing to your faction's strengths and exploiting your opponents' weaknesses will be the key to claiming victory on the streets of Mega-City One.
While Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter features gameplay similar to Wildlands, with each player controlling a faction with special character abilities, the two games are not intended to be mixed together. The miniatures included in the game will be 28-32 mm in scale. Read more »
- Duel for Glory in Unmatched, Coming from Mondo and Restoration Games
With that in mind, Restoration Games has announced a publication partnership with Mondo for a new game series titled Unmatched from designers Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt, and Justin D. Jacobson. This series is being launched with two titles, and it's built on the core of Star Wars: Epic Duels, a 2002 release from Hasbro co-designed by Daviau and Craig Van Ness. Here's an overview of the game system:
In battle, there are no equals.
Unmatched is a highly asymmetrical miniature fighting game for two or four players. Each hero is represented by a unique deck designed to evoke their style and legend. Tactical movement and no-luck combat resolution create a unique play experience that rewards expertise, but just when you've mastered one set, new heroes arrive to provide all new match-ups.
Combat is resolved quickly by comparing attack and defense cards. However, each card's unique effects and a simple but deep timing system lead to interesting decisions each time. The game also features an updated version of the line-of-sight system from Tannhäuser for ranged attacks and area effects.
Each game includes a double-sided board with two different battlefields, pre-washed miniatures for each hero, and custom life trackers that's brought to life with the stunning artwork of Oliver Barrett.
Unmatched: Robin Hood vs. Bigfoot, with Robin Hood and his outlaws excelling at ranged attacks and robbing from their opponents, while Bigfoot and his pal the Jackalope crash through the forest for quick attacks before disappearing like a figment of the mind.
Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One is for either two or four players, and it features public domain characters of fiction and myth which play as follows:
King Arthur sacrifices cards to power up his attacks and gets some timely assistance from Merlin's magic. Alice is back from Wonderland with a giant vorpal blade and the Jabberwock by her side as she grows and shrinks to gain advantages on attack and defense. Medusa is happy to attack from range and let her harpies hound you, but just one devastating glance could end the battle quickly. Sinbad grows in power as he gains experience on each of his voyages.
The artwork by Oliver Barrett is indeed something special. Here are a few cards from the Alice deck, along with the card back:
BGG will be livestreaming from GAMA Trade Show 2019, starting on Tuesday, March 12, and Restoration is scheduled to show off Unmatched, along with other titles, on Wed., March 13 starting at 10:00 PDT (UTC-7). Our complete GTS broadcast schedule is here.
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- VideoNY Toy Fair 2019 IV: Quirky Circuits, TEAM3, Wordsmith, and Cute Games from FranceHasbro extravaganza, is there anything else to talk about regarding NY Toy Fair 2019? Yes, oh my goodness, so much more, starting with this delightful title:
I first got a look at Quirky Circuits during Spielwarenmesse 2019 at a press event, and I was smitten from the word "go". Bryan Bornmueller from Asmodee North America, who was showing the game at NY Toy Fair, describes Quirky Circuits as the lovechild of Robo Rally and The Mind, so you can possibly imagine why I was so taken with the game.
The gist of the game is that you need to clean house. Dust bunnies are everywhere! Remove them! Thankfully you have a cat, Gizmo, riding an automated vacuum device to guide around the room and suck everything up. The problem, though, is that every player is controlling this device at the same time, and you don't know what they're doing when.
In game terms, everyone has a hand of cards, and these cards show directions or speeds: turn left, turn right, go ahead 1-3 spaces, reverse 1 space, etc. Gizmo starts in one corner of the room, and at the start of a round players start playing cards face down in a row without saying which cards they played. Once you've played at least five cards — with each player contributing at least one card if I remember correctly — you can decide to stop playing cards, reveal them, then move Gizmo. Turn, move, turn, move, move! If Gizmo hits a wall, it automatically turns left. Sometimes you want this to happen since you don't have a turn card in hand; sometimes you guess that someone turned instead of moving and you guess wrong, so Gizmo heads off in an unexpected direction. At the end of the movement, you drop the battery one level, refill your hand, then play another round. If you suck up all the dust bunnies before the battery goes dead, you win.
In later rounds, you start adding complications, such as small vases on tables. Hit the table, and the vase falls on the floor and breaks, giving you more to clean up in order to claim victory. You have different room layouts to contend with, special movement cards that must be the first card you play in a round, and different cleaning robots with varied abilities, such as this guy who can hold things in its claw:
Quirky Circuits has the spiral-bound storybook format of Stuffed Fables, with the new room layouts on different pages and rules specific to those rooms on the opposite pages. This Nikki Valens and Plaid Hat Games release should be available at retailers in May 2019.
These components are adorable, and it's amazing to realize that I don't think I'd even heard of Djeco a year ago, while it started more than sixty years ago (albeit with some fallow time between then and now). HABA has always been the first company to come to mind when I thin kof quality children's games, yet Djeco's are just as pleasing to look at and touch as those of HABA. Check out Chop! Chop!, for example:
The cat and mice figures are great — if not quite as cute as the little piggie head sticking out of the pot in Woolfy — and what's really amazing is that the wooden legs screw into the table. That's the highest quality miniature table you'll likely ever see!
Asmodee NA isn't bringing in the entire Djeco game line at once as it's vast. No, ANA is bringing in "only" about twenty titles to start with, then it will re-assess and see where to go from there. By chance, we recorded overviews of Niwa and Cubissimo (see on the top shelf) during our livestream from the FIJ game fair in Cannes, France, so you can find out more about those items soon.
Wordsmith from Bill Eberle, Peter Olotka, and Greg Olotka is effectively a new version of Runes from their Eon days, with players trying to build words from letters — but first they have to build letters from the four types of bits available to them. Here's an overview of the game that BGG recorded with publisher HeidelBÄR Games at Spielwarenmesse 2019:
My interaction with publisher Brain Games covers my February as a whole. We saw Brain Games at the Spielwarenmesse 2019 fair at the start of the month, but their new games were stuck in customs, so they had nothing to show. Two weeks later, I took pics of these upcoming 2019 games at NY Toy Fair 2019, such as Urtis Šulinskas' Pigasus in which you're given an animal hybrid such as a crocoilla and must quickly spot the goridile. Just a few days after that show, we recorded an overview of Pigasus at the FIJ game fair in Cannes, France. Busy days...
The gameplay of Snowman Dice might be clear from the pic and description above, but a video would really make the gameplay evident. I recorded short videos (10-15 seconds) of a couple of games at NY Toy Fair, then tweeted those videos, and I need to do more of that in the future as those videos convey the impact or nature of a game far more quickly than anything else — at least for some games, this being one of them.
We did record an overview of Snowman Dice at FIJ 2019, and we did so thanks to me bringing the sole copy with production-quality dice from NY Toy Fair to FIJ. Publishers ask weird favors sometimes, but I could fit the game in my carryon, so it made the trip with me.
While at FIJ 2019, we also recorded overviews of Brain Games' co-operative memory game Farm Rescue, a design for ages 4+ from Harris Tsagas, and TEAM3, a sort of co-operative game from Alex Cutler and Matt Fantastic in which players build in teams of three, with one person (the monkey who can't speak) miming directions to another person who interprets those motions and explains to a third person (the monkey who can't see) who assembles components into a structure to match a target card. You can do all this against a timer or against another team who's trying to do the same thing with a separate set of components. The video shows off this activity more clearly than anything else.
Whoa, all my recent conventions are mixing together in this one post! Let me end it here for now and wrap up NY Toy Fair 2019 in one final post tomorrow... Read more »
- NY Toy Fair 2019 III: Tiny Pong, Porcupine Pop, The Slow-Motion Race Game, and Dungeon & Dragons: Stranger Things
That's just over two weeks ago as I write this, yet it feels like forever. My perspective is an odd one sometimes as I start to feel that all this stuff in my notebook and image files is old news, whereas most of it hasn't been seen by anyone who wasn't also at NY Toy Fair. Given that this post features games coming from Hasbro — that is, titles that might not appeal to much of the BGG audience — you might wish that I had forgotten to write about them, but I find it instructive to cover Hasbro for two reasons:
1. Hasbro sells a lot of games. If you are a designer and aspire to have a game in hundreds of thousands of homes, you should be aware of what Hasbro releases. You won't have the marketing funds to achieve that level of success on your own, but maybe you can place something with an agent and things will roll on from there. If nothing else, you can be aware that these games exist and represent probably the largest segment of the game-buying audience.
2. For the most part, Hasbro releases games that are so minimalistic, each of them can be described with a single sentence. I don't mean to suggest that such minimalism should always be a designer's goal, but I appreciate the aesthetic purity of the game and game-like experiences Hasbro is putting onto the market. The games essentially package a concept — a way for people to interact with one another — and that's what you're buying. You'll bring one of these designs out at a family event, and possibly without even realizing it, other people will suddenly find themselves in a game, similar to how some people will sit around a table after dinner and spontaneously create a dexterity game with the remaining food stuff. To quote the Seinfeld episode "The Pitch":
GEORGE: What'd you do today?
RUSSELL: I got up and came to work.
GEORGE: There's a show. That's a show.
The games seemingly arise out of nothing — and of course for many people they consist of nothing as well, but that's a matter of taste, not a question of whether or not something is a game. Some people want games to mimic an interactive stage play experience — an improvisatory show in which you're the star and the playing is akin to performing — and many of these designs deliver just that.
Let's move on to a few examples of what I'm talking about, leading off with Porcupine Pop:
In this Pie Face-like game, players take turns rolling the die, then pressing the porcupine's nose a number of times equal to the number rolled, hoping that its Nerf dart quills aren't shot into their face while doing so.
In the vein of Don't Wake Daddy, Plumber Pants challenges players to hang stuff on the plumber's belt without joggling him too much and causing his head to shoot up through the sink to yell at them.
Reach into the bowl in Blowfish Blowup and try to grab stuff out of the bowl without touching the blowfish and having it blow up.
Connect 4: Shots was a hit, so let's try Battleship Shots, which has you bouncing "missile" balls over a barrier to attempt to sink the opponent's ships. (Name and component design not final.)
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Star Wars: Escape From Death Star Game! Man, did my brother and I play that a ton in our youth! Not sure I'd want to play it today, though, even with the exclusive Grand Moff Tarkin figure. What am I going to do with that? Seat him at the game table and pretend that he's playing against me?
Bop It! Chewie seems like the logical next step from Bop It! R2-D2. Each of those figures seems to be somewhat divorced from the Star Wars canon these days and more product than anything else — as with Loopin' Chewie, for example — but maybe that's my cynical adult self talking.
I don't have much more to say about Tiny Pong than what I wrote above, and I'm not even sure it qualifies for a listing on BGG at this point. Depends on the scoring system, I think, as that's what would make it a game rather than an activity — as meaningless as that difference is at times...
"Headbands buzz when you go too fast!" You don't even need a description for The Slow-Motion Race Game as the caption on the box gives it all away. Not stated: Create an experience that others will film and share on social media to advertise this game.
The Lie Detector Game falls into the "embarrass yourself for the amusement of others" genre seen in other recent adult party games from Hasbro. Many of the questions have blanks that you fill in, which allows you to increase or decrease the level of embarrassment suffered by all. If you answer a question truthfully — and they all have a yes/no format — you claim the card, and whoever first collects ten cards wins a trip to therapy.
Raising Hell, due out Q2 2019, plays like What Do You Meme?, but with players playing images that relate to kids and parenthood and captions that relate to same in order to create humorous combinations of the two and score points.
Monopoly: Cats vs. Dogs is one of many Monopoly titles coming out in 2019, with this one hitting the market on August 1. The hook of this 2-6 player game is that players will split into opposing teams, with one of those teams winning at the end of the game, so presumably you'll want to trade solely with teammates in order to maximize the benefits of that trade.
Even more Monopoly is coming in 2019, as if you had any doubt. Monopoly Gamer: Overwatch follows Monopoly Gamer in 2017 and Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart in 2018, and like those two titles, I'm sure that multiple Power Packs will be available so that people can collect all the characters and line them up on a windowsill in their office.
The new version of Monopoly: Fortnite includes 27 new characters as collecting skins is one of the attractions of that online game.
Monopoly: L.O.L. Surprise! introduced me to the world of L.O.L. Surprise!, which seems to have a toy line, clothing line, a home furnishing line, and much more. The toy line features wide-eyed Keane girl figures from the Betty Boop school of design (oversized head that can be seen solely from the front), and the tokens in Monopoly: L.O.L. Surprise! are accessories for these toys, with those accessories being in a blind box so that you don't know what you're getting when you buy the game. Collectible toyetic play discovery — so synergistic!
Monopoly: Game of Thrones has a player count of 2-6, which seems wrong from the get-go. You need to go to seven, yes? Also, the selling point for this edition is the "Iron Throne card holder that plays the iconic theme song throughout gameplay, the first time that a music component has been incorporated into a Monopoly board", but as much as I love the Game of Thrones intro music, I don't think I'd want to hear it for every minute of an episode. The first bite is always the best, yes, with each subsequent one diluting your enjoyment.
We close our tour of Hasbro's NY Toy Fair 2019 game wing with three Stranger Things-related items, one of those being a Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set that includes the campaign created by series character Mike Wheeler, along with two demogorgon figures. This marketing tie-in is an ideal way to attract potential new players: You've seen the show, now play the game! You too can become encased in a portal to another dimension!
Trivial Pursuit: Back to the 80's asks how well I know the 1980s. I lived through that decade, so I have some recollection of things, but I don't recall this "Upside Down" at all. I think it's made up.
Finally, we have a tiny mock arcade that includes four classic arcade games from the 1980s, along with sixteen mock arcade games from that same time period. Mash those buttons, using only your mind...
Hasbro didn't have any swag to take home, but on my walk from its media center back to the Javits Center, I did run across this upright piano on the street free for the taking. Fitting it in my carry-on was a struggle, but you don't turn down free stuff, right? Read more »
- NY Toy Fair 2019 II: Lost Cities, Jaws, SHŌBU, and Cloud Stacking with Unicorn Glitterlucksummarizing my NY Toy Fair 2019 experience in this space, but I managed to get through only 2.3 booths before I had flooded the post with images. Let's dip into a few more booths today:
• Thames & Kosmos, which releases games from KOSMOS in English in the U.S., will have the new edition of Reiner Knizia's Lost Cities on the market in April 2019. This version incorporates the sixth expedition expansion that debuted in 2016, and now you can play ye olde Lost Cities with five expeditions on one side of the game board as grandpappy used to play it and the new six-expedition version on the other side of the game board.
Ubongo Extreme: Fun-Size Edition, which debuted in Germany in 2008, finally has an English-language edition, with this title hitting retail in March 2019.
Other titles coming from Thames & Kosmos include Imhotep: The Duel in July 2019, the Brainwaves series — The Astute Goose, The Brilliant Boar, and The Wise Whale — in August 2019, and the Adventure Games series from Matthew Dunstan and Phil Walker-Harding — The Dungeon and Monochrome Inc. — in October 2019.
Brainwaves is a trilogy of tiny games developed by game designers and neuroscientists in which players challenge their episodic memory. In Reiner Knizia's The Astute Goose, for example, you look at six cards that show a man wearing one of five types of clothing in one of five colors with one of five animals on his shoulders, then you lay those cards face down. On a turn, the active player rolls two dice to determine what they must name (color/clothing/animal) on which card. If they name this item correctly, they claim the card and replace it with a new one; otherwise, they return it. Whoever collects the most cards wins.
• At the Ravensburger booth, I received confirmation that Las Vegas Royale and the new edition of The Castles of Burgundy — both covered in this preview video from Spielwarenmesse 2019 — are scheduled to debut in the U.S. at Gen Con 2019 in August. Carlo A. Rossi's co-operative game Red Peak — previewed here — is due out in the U.S. in October 2019. Ravensburger's English-language edition of the trivia game kNOW! will not come packaged with Google Assistant, something that was an option with the German edition. Apparently market penetration for Google Assistant is much higher in the U.S., so Ravensburger can assume buyers will have it already and sell this version for less.
• In addition to the title shown above, the U.S. branch of HABA is bringing in Snail Sprint!, a Marie and Wilfried Fort that comes across like a combination of Camel Up and Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise. At the start of play, each player receives a goal card that shows the colors of snails that they'll score points for at the end of the game should those snails finish first, second, or third.
On a turn, you roll the two color dice. Let's say you roll yellow and blue. You then move the yellow snail to the next blue space on the path or the blue snail to the next yellow space. A snail on the path counts as a space of that color, so if the blue snail is in front of the yellow snail, you would move the yellow snail on top of the blue one, which will then keep the blue one from moving until the yellow one advances. A stack can be only two snails high, and stacking isn't possible when the magnet-bottomed snails are crawling up and down the sides of the metal box, which is part of the path. Seems super cute, with just enough going on that adults would be fine playing as well.
• Dude Games distributes titles from Belgian publisher Sit Down! in North America, and it expects to have both Bad Bones (preview video) and Gravity Superstar (preview) available to retailers in July 2019.
• SHŌBU from Manolis Vranas and Jamie Sajdak is one of three titles Smirk & Laughter Games demoed at NY Toy Fair, and I loved the small taste that I got of it there. Ideally I'll describe it accurately here.
Each turn consists of two parts. First, you take a passive move on one of the boards on your side of the rope, moving one of your pieces up to two spaces in any direction. You can't pass through or attack the opponent with this move (which is why it's called "passive"). Second, you take an aggressive move on an opposite colored board with one of your pieces that mirrors your passive move in direction and distance; with this move, you can push an opponent off the board, and if you remove all of the opponents' pieces from one board, you win. I dig abstract strategy games, and this one seemed like a novel combination, akin to you making a small move in person, then having it replicated by a giant robot that will destroy your enemy.
Woolly Mammoth is due from Smirk & Laughter in June 2019, and in this game you're trying to be the first to collect six meat or to be the last player standing. Each round, all players play a card simultaneously, trying to collectively push a mammoth off a cliff while also trying to be closest to that cliff so that you can claim the meat. Mammoths can charge, though, and that's not going to be a good thing for people standing in the way.
In the party game We Need to Talk from Bryan Merlonghi, Michael Dunsmore, and Jordan Nichols, one player each round is suffering from an unusual condition and the other players give clues about this condition that might lead that player to guess what it is. The afflicted wants to guess the condition as quickly as possible, while the cluegivers want the answer given in later rounds in order to score more points. Read more »
- NY Toy Fair 2019 I: Tentacle Town, Three-Dragon Ante, Spyfall: Time Travel, and More Rick and Morty
Monster Fight Club is a new publisher co-founded by John Kovaleski, and its presence at NY Toy Fair 2019 consisted of this game on a table in the Alliance Game Distributors booth. I didn't see anyone around, so I took pics, then moved on. Here's an overview of Tentacle Town from the BGG page, which went live the week after NYTF:
In Tentacle Town, each player is an adventurer who's arrived on unsettled land to found a new town — but the waters surrounding your new home are infested with giant tentacles!
The goal of the game is to become the new town's most famous resident and appointed as its first mayor. Players earn fame by recruiting the town's citizens to complete tasks, construct new buildings, and hunt tentacles!
You and the other players take turns recruiting citizens to build the town, all while defending your new home from the tentacle threat. New citizens can complete a task or build a building for you. The more buildings you have in a district, the more profitable some tasks become — AND the player with the most buildings in each district earns extra fame when the game ends.
Tentacle Town is divided into three districts: the market, the foundry, and the docks. Each district has its own tasks to be completed, from forging harpoons in the foundry to butchering food at the docks. The rewards for some tasks get better when there are more citizens are in the district, which means the new citizen you just recruited will benefit the other players, too! Likewise, the rewards for some tasks improve when there are more buildings to the district — but for these tasks, only you benefit from your own buildings. You may also pay the citizens of Tentacle Town overtime to complete additional tasks, assuming you have coins to spend.
At the end of a player's turn, they roll the danger die to see if the tentacles attack, stay quiet, or if more tentacles emerge from the depths. The more citizens in a district, the more likely the tentacles are to attack! When tentacles attack, they may destroy buildings, kill citizens, or cause the workers to flee to a safer district! This is your chance to be a hero and defend the district, provided you have some harpoons handy! Defeat a tentacle, and you'll not only earn a bit of fame and haul in some fresh calamari, too!
When the influx of new citizens runs out, the game is over and the person with the most fame becomes the mayor of Tentacle Town and wins the game!
As is its custom, Cryptozoic Entertainment — nestled in the "action figures / pop stop" aisles — showed off its range of collectible figures (of which I didn't take pics) along with a few upcoming IP-related games, such as DC Deck-Building Game: Rebirth, which it first showed at NY Toy Fair 2018. This game uses the standard deck-building elements of its other DC deck-building games, except that each player takes control of a specific character and moves cards between five locations over eight connected scenarios, with the characters progressing over the course of this campaign. The game includes a scenario #0 as well so that players can get a handle on things before they dive into the campaign itself.
Rebirth is due out in Q3 2019, along with...
...the latest entry in the Epic Spell Wars universe, which is (deep breath) Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: ANNIHILAGEDDON! – The Deck-Building Game. Each player represents a wizard and goes to battle against one another to bash their hit points. Says Cryptozoic's Adam Sblendorio, "You'll probably die 2-4 times during the game." As Nick Cave sang, "Just remember that death is not the end."
DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 8: Batman Ninja now bears a release date of Q4 2019.
Rick and Morty: Tales from the Citadel Deck-Building Game, due out Q4 2019, is another standalone deck-building game that can be integrated with earlier Rick and Morty DBG titles. Stick with your strengths, yes?
Spyfall: Time Travel, which we previewed with originating publisher Hobby World at Gen Con 2018, will see a Q3 2019 release in the U.S. from Cryptozoic. Thanks to your newfound ability to travel through time, the locations you and your fellow spies can find yourself at has much more variability than in earlier sets.
WizKids, down the aisle from Cryptozoic, showed off a few upcoming titles in addition to lots of licensed products from its NECA parent, but it didn't have much information for what was being shown aside from the price and release date info shown above. So I can show a few discs from Mike Elliott's Star Trek: Conflick in the Neutral Zone, due out in July 2019, but aside from that I suppose we'll need to wait until GAMA Trade Show 2019 or later for more details. (GTS 2019 is next week, though. Time is rushing by!)
Rob Heinsoo's Three-Dragon Ante is coming back in a new edition from WizKids, but I'm not sure how this "Legendary Edition" relates to the original game from 2005 or the Emperor's Gambit edition from 2010. More details to come...
I'm always jazzed to see these new Dice Masters sets, such as this Marvel Dice Masters: X-Men Forever Campaign Box due out in March 2019, then I remember that my son loves only manga and anime, not U.S. comics, so I'd never be able to play this. X-Men for-never.
WizKids also showed off a few cards and dice coming in the Warhammer 40,000 Dice Masters: Fracture of Biel-Tan Campaign Box, which is due out June 2019. Read more »
- Talisman: Batman – Super-Villains Edition Coming from The OP in June 2019USAopoly — which has since redubbed itself The OP — announced that it had signed a deal with Games Workshop for licensed versions of the board game Talisman.
One of those versions was revealed in late February as Talisman: Kingdom Hearts, with players controlling Mickey and other characters as they attempt to acquire the needed strength and magic to seal the Door to Darkness. The other version was accidentally spoiled when the GAMA Trade Show 2019 site book went live (Issuu link) with an advertisement from The OP that contained this image:
(And contrary to what I tweeted, Talisman Island gets the hat tip for spotting this item first — well, first in public. More on that below.)
Here's an overview of the now officially revealed Talisman: Batman – Super-Villains Edition, which is for 2-6 players ages 13 and up with a release date of June 2019:
Talisman: Batman – Super-Villains Edition allows players to take on the role of Gotham City's notorious evil-doers, sneaking and fighting their way through Arkham Asylum's two floors and central tower to be the first to subdue Batman and successfully release its dangerous inmates.
The anti-heroic objective in this take on the classic Talisman fantasy tabletop game focuses on building the health, strength, and cunning of the Caped Crusader's enemies. The game can be played co-operatively against an AI Batman or competitively against other foes with one player eventually earning the reputation needed to be King or Queen of the criminal underworld. The game board features artwork from DC's "New 52" era, and the game includes thirteen plastic character figures, more than one hundred encounter cards, six-sided dice, and stat boards to monitor each character.
The press release includes the following teaser — "Expect APBs leading up to the release of Talisman: Batman Super-Villains Edition unlocking the identities of the game's playable characters before they're spotted by citizens" — so I'll keep quiet about what I saw at NY Toy Fair 2019 as the game was under embargo at that time. You can see below that Harley Quinn is one of the playable characters, but I think that choice will come as a surprise to no one.
What I will say is that you can think of Batman in this game as being akin to the Grim Reaper from The Reaper Expansion for Talisman (Revised 4th Edition). No one gets to play Batman in this game; instead Batman will move to confound the villains as they try to make their way out of Arkham Asylum.
BGG will be livestreaming from GAMA Trade Show 2019 from March 12-14, and we're scheduled to show off Talisman: Batman – Super-Villains Edition on Thursday, March 14 at 11:00 (UTC-7), so you can discover more about the game at that time... Read more »
- New Game Round-up: Escape from Hako Onna, and Prepare for Another 10 Days in the USAWizKids was one of the first people in the U.S. to release games from Japanese designers, with Fairy Tale having a Z-Man Games edition in 2004. Thanks to his continuing editorial efforts, in September 2019 we'll see a new English-language edition of Go Ejin's Hako Onna appear from WizKids. Hako Onna debuted in 2016 from Ejin 研究所, and this will be an English edition of the game's fourth edition, with each edition having had minor adjustments from the previous ones. Here's an overview of this 3-5 player game that carries a $30 MSRP:
Hako Onna (ハコオンナ) is a board game with a theme of Japanese horror. One player takes the role of Hako Onna, a ghost girl who lurks in a box in the mansion, and the others are visitors of the mansion. ("Hako Onna" in English would be "lurking girl" or '"woman in a box"). Visitors win the game if one of the three victory conditions are met. However, to fulfill any of them, you must open boxes scattered in the mansion to obtain key items, and when they see her in a box, they are turned into a servant and have to work for her.
The game is a reverse hide-and-seek, one-against-all exploration game. During most of Hako Onna's turn, the human players must keep their eyes closed so they cannot see where she moves to or what action she has done. There is also a dexterity element to the game play. Before a human player can take their turn, each human player needs to stack a small disc on top the previous ones; if the tower collapses, they've made noise and it instantly becomes Hako Onna's turn.
Hako Onna can win the game in two ways: If all visitors are turned into servants, or if she collects all her power. The human players can win in one of three ways: If they manage to kill Hako Onna after finding her only weakness, if they find the secret exit, have the key ring hidden inside the safe, and successfully guess the combination to open it, or if they can bring peace to Hako Onna by bringing the remains of her body next to her precious doll Mary.
• To continue with gaming horror, Russian publisher Hobby World will have a booth at Gen Con 2019, marking its first official appearance at that show, and aside from new titles such as Cassiopeia, Artline: Hermitage, and Think It Up! Pictures — all of which we recorded preview videos of while at Spielwarenmesse 2019 — Hobby World will debut a new title called Deranged which is "an ominous American-style adventure survival game" in which you fight rivals, horrific monsters, and your own inner demons.
• Haakon Gaarder's Villagers, which collected nearly £500,000 on Kickstarter in mid-2018, has been licensed by Gigamic in French, KOSMOS in German, and CMON Limited in Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Korean. The English-language version from originating publisher Sinister Fish Games is currently due to reach backers in May/June 2019.
10 Days in the USA to the board game club that I run at my son's school, this being a game that I haven't played in years yet one that seems ideal for players aged 8-9. The kids caught on right away, yet I trounced them twice anyway — then I started wondering why this game wasn't still in print. Sure, the original publisher (Out of the Box) went out of business in 2015, but this game and the entire 10 Days... series is such a great example of modern and mainstream-friendly game design that I was surprised it was unavailable.
For those not familiar with the game, you're essentially playing Rack-O with states (or countries in the non-USA titles). Each player has a rack that holds ten tiles. You each initially file the racks somewhat at random, then you take turns drawing a tile from the deck or one of the three discard piles and swapping that tile for one currently in your rack in order to (eventually) complete a ten-day trip. A trip must begin and end in a state or country. If you have adjacent states (countries) on your rack, then they must also be adjacent in real life for the connection to be valid. You can use a car tile between two state tiles to represent a third state that touches both of the other two. States (mostly) come in five colors, and you can use a colored airplane to connect two states of the same color. Other 10 Days... titles include railroads or ships to serve as connections between locations.
Following my tweet about the game, Kevin Kim at Mandoo Games let me know that a new edition of the series is in the works. Hong Kong publisher Broadway Toys currently holds the rights, and it's working with Mandoo to refresh the series, for which Jacqui Davis has created all new art and Vincent Dutrait has overseen new graphics. The gameplay in this design is identical to the original, but each state card now features a landmark or icon from that state and a tiny U.S. map on the card indicates where the state is located.
Chinese and Korean editions are due out in May 2019, whereas a U.S. edition has not put on the release calendar as of yet. Even so, Kim says that Jacqui Davis is already working on the new version of 10 Days in Europe, which should debut in August 2019.
Read more »
- Expansions Galore for Terraforming Mars, Terra Mystica, Teotihuacan and MoreTeotihuacan: Late Preclassic Period, which adds modules to the Teotihuacan: City of Gods base game — asymmetric player powers, a fourth temple, new engineering techniques, variable effects that impact each season and eclipse — that can be used individually or in combination.
Publisher Board&Dice expects to debut that expansion at Gen Con 2019 in August.
• Next in alphabetical order we have Terra Mystica for which James Wolfpacker is developing an expansion currently titled Merchants. Here's his overview of the expansion: "It will have Merchants (ships for most factions) generated by a new building called the Shipyard (for most factions). Factions will send their Merchants to opponent's buildings to gain VP and resources. Factions receiving Merchants will be able to charge power as if an opponent built next to the building. This adds a new tactical movement element to the already deep strategy of Terra Mystica while maintaining perfect information.
"All 20 factions will receive a board extension to upgrade a Trading Post into the Shipyard with additional Special Actions to move and build ships. There will be new additional favors, round tiles, bonus tiles, town tiles, and power actions. This expansion MIGHT also come with physical versions of the online maps Loon Lakes and Fjords. This expansion is expected to be available at Essen in 2019." He's running tests of this expansion on Tabletop Simulator, and he explains how to get involved with the testing in this BGG thread.
Terraforming Mars: Turmoil, the fifth expansion for Terraforming Mars and one that brings new corporations, new projects, and a new type of cards (Global Events) to the base game. Publishers FryxGames and Stronghold Games plan to debut Turmoil at SPIEL '19 in October.
• Continuing through the Ts, we have Rise of the Combiners, the latest booster pack series for the Transformers Trading Card Game from Wizards of the Coast. Combiners are character cards that combine together to form a giant robot. That giant robot does not then harvest crops from a field, which seems like a missed opportunity, but that's probably not a useful skill in battle.
• Breaking with alphabetical order, we'll end with a tough one to tackle. The description of Anachrony: Fractures of Time from Mindclash Games probably makes sense if you've played the original game. I have not, so I won't attempt to summarize the following:
Read more »Since the Paths' Time Rifts powered up for the first time on the Day of Reminiscence, masses of people across New Earth have been seeing visions of a fifth Time Rift hovering over the eerie Ground Zero of the impact, waiting to be discovered. These visions also invoked an increasing sense of empathy and fellowship between these people — a bond much stronger than their Path affiliation. A mass exodus from the Path capitals took place over the course of the first Era, and the first pioneers discovered that the Time Rift in their visions not only exists, but it holds the foundations of a new civilization, one that may eventually set all people of New Earth down a new path — the Path of Unity.
Explorers from the Path of Unity soon discovered a secluded mountain valley where the enigmatic flora not only survived the impact, but it mutated and evolved by the asteroid's toxic Neutronium dust. The resulting flower-like crystal formations synthesize a substance called Flux, which is collected and studied by the Harvesters, the valley'Anachronys mysterious inhabitants. The Harvesters are willing to share the secrets of the Flux technology with the Paths, but remain silent about its side effects, which only they are immune to...
In the alternate storyline of Fractures of Time, Anachrony's first major expansion, the four original Paths and the newly formed, sanguine Path of Unity have gained access to a powerful new technology called Flux. Flux Cores can be acquired in the Amethynia Valley, the expansion’s new main zone. By using the Flux Cores to power up their Fracture device, players may move (“Blink”) one of their already placed Exosuits to a new action space instead of placing a new one, or immediately retrieve some of their Workers or Free Action markers. This can result in never-before-seen action efficiency, but just like the Time Rifts, the Flux technology is a double-edged sword. Without a sufficiently advanced Fracture device, overusing it can cause Temporal Glitches; hectic negative effects such as shutting down the Exosuit bay slots, temporarily disabling buildings, or making players more prone to Anomalies.
The Valley holds other secrets as well. The Harvesters' advanced technology allows players to remove the Temporal Glitches, upgrade their classic Path tech with new quirks, and even enlist the Harvesters themselves as a powerful new class of Workers, who are immune to the Flux's side effects.
- New Flight Plan Coming for Memoir '44 in May 2019Richard Borg's Memoir '44, which debuted in 2004 — the same year that publisher Days of Wonder released Ticket to Ride, another long-lived game series — and which had a new expansion for it announced today.
With the Memoir '44: New Flight Plan expansion, players can deploy air units such as fighters, fighter-bombers and even bombers to support their troops on the battlefield.
Days of Wonder had released Memoir '44: Air Pack in 2007, but New Flight Plan does something different. From the DoW press release:
[W]ith its all new set of streamlined rules, Memoir '44: New Flight Plan grants many new tactical options and is compatible with all existing scenarios in all theaters of operation. The expansion also comes with 21 new scenarios and 16 finely-crafted, legendary planes, in impressive sizes, such as the B-17 that measures 72mm by 101mm.
"Air supremacy was historically a key factor in WWII, so I'm quite happy that this new expansion features aircraft figures for each of the major nations," says Richard Borg, designer of Memoir '44. "The main goal with the New Flight Plan air rules was to give players the opportunity to use these new rules with any and all official scenarios they choose. This expansion will change most players' Memoir '44 experience forever."
Memoir '44: New Flight Plan carries a $60/€55 MSRP and is due out in May 2019.
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- G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, The Orville, Men in Black, and Throne of Glass Come to the TabletopWizKids announced an new licensing partnership with Hasbro in which "beloved properties G.I. Joe, My Little Pony and Transformers" would be added to WizKids' line of miniatures in 2019 in both pre-painted and unpainted formats. From the press release announcing the deal:
"Much of the WizKids team has grown up with these cherished brands and are thrilled to be bringing them to life with the high definition sculpting processes that our customers have come to love," said Justin Ziran, president of WizKids.
WizKids has also signed a deal for HeroClix releases related to The Orville television series. From the announcement: "The first product to release will be a Jumbo Starter Set featuring the main crew, including Captain Ed Mercer, played by actor Seth MacFarlane, along with Commander Kelly Grayson, Dr. Claire Finn, Lt. Alara Kitan, Lt. Gordon Malloy, Lt. Commander Bortus, Lt. Commander John LaMarr, enabling HeroClix players and fans to embark in interstellar combat with their favorite characters."
IDW Games is working with long-time design team Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim to bring out Men In Black: Undercover, a 3-6 player game due out in May 2019 in which you need to use aliens to advance your own goals:
In Men In Black: Undercover, you play as a member of three different groups with three very different goals. The Men In Black are a secret organization who supervise alien activity on Earth and work to keep their existence hidden from the general population. Meanwhile, members of the Shadow Government are doing everything in their power to capture aliens and weaponize them. Lastly, there are the Conspiracy Theorists who are working toward proving the existence of aliens to the world.
Which side will come out on top? That's where you come in! Join a team and influence the aliens to join your cause, but make sure you aren't too obvious with your goals. After all, you'll need to stay undercover to win...
Embers of Memory: A Throne of Glass Game, which is based on Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series of YA novels, as you might be able to tell from the subtitle. This Osprey Games title due out in October 2019 is based on a design from Kuro, presumably The Ravens of Thri Sahashri based on Osprey's prior publication of that design and this game description:
Aelin Galathynius has given up her freedom for the sake of her people. Held captive by the Queen of the Fae and tortured for information, her only companions are a silent prisoner and her own mind. The image of her mother, her lover, her friends. The embers of her memory, and a voice, deep inside...
"You will not yield."
Embers of Memory: A Throne of Glass Game is a two-player co-operative card game set during the events of Kingdom of Ash. Working together, you must delve into the memories of the young queen and help her face her inner demons before she is overwhelmed. Be warned — each challenge you face is more complex than the last, testing the bond between you and your partner to its limit.
Ravnica: Inquisition is a hidden role game for 5-10 players due out from WizKids in June 2019 in which players each represent one of the ten "two-color" guilds of Ravnica, with you being either loyal to the Gatewatch or an agent of Nicol Bolas. (If you've been following the current Magic: The Gathering storyline, that sentence will make sense to you. Otherwise I'll note only that the world of Ravnica has ten guilds on it, and each guild is identified by a different combination of two of the five colors of magic in Magic: white, blue, black, red, and green.) As for the gameplay:
Read more »The Gatewatch loyalists are tasked with discovering who the Agents of Bolas are, while the Agents simply need to survive in order to further the schemes of Nicol Bolas.
Players will elect leaders for each of the five colors, but only players whose guilds’ color pairs contains the color may be voted for. Each color leader has a special power they can use to further their goals, and players must be careful when voting, as Nicol Bolas’s influence may grow. Once all the color leaders have been elected, a vote is held to eliminate one player. Once the dust has settled, players will reveal their roles, and if the Agents of Bolas were eliminated, the Gatewatch wins.
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