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BoardGameGeek News

To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com

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Origins Game Fair 2016 IV: Mystic Vale, Dominion: Empires, Clout, Morocco, and Heir to the Pharaoh

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• The Dominion empire that Donald X. Vaccarino and Rio Grande Games has constructed over the past decade is impressive, and it expands still further with, um, Dominion: Empires, which RGG's Jay Tummelson took the time to introduce to us at the 2016 Origins Game Fair.





• At Origins 2016, Patrick Nickell of Crash of Games announced a license for a new version of Clout from Jesper Myrfors and Paul Peterson, with this new version being non-collectible and possibly having myriad other changes before its anticipated Q4 2017 release.





• After watching this overview of Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback's Morocco from Eagle-Gryphon Games, I am once again curious as to why they have a vendetta against juice vendors. What's the story here?





• Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! That's (sort of — okay, not really) what you're getting in Alf Seegert's two-player game Heir to the Pharaoh from Eagle-Gryphon Games.





• John D. Clair's Mystic Vale from Alderac Entertainment Group ended up topping the GeekBuzz chart at Origins 2016. Find out what's going on in this non-deck-building game that feels exactly like a deck-building game...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 III: Hero Realms, Fish Frenzy, Tin Goose, Swipe Out!, and Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft

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Star Realms has been a big deal for White Wizard Games since its launch in 2014, and now co-designers Rob Dougherty and Darwin Kastle are trying to go even bigger with Hero Realms, which adds in special character packs, boss enemies, and a campaign mode.





Swipe Out! from R&R Games is a quick, silly family game that stands out mostly because the designer — Oswald Greene — has been involved with numerous Grand Theft Auto titles and is now transitioning to family games since he has a family of his own.





• A Sherlock game not based on deduction? Seems impossible, but Diego Ibañez's Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft from Devir Americas exists and we demoed it on camera, so however improbable it must be the truth.





• Patrick Nickell of Crash of Games announced in late May 2016 that he had obtained the rights to release a new edition of Finca, and if the wood bits shown here in the unrelated Fish Frenzy by Brett J. Gilbert are any indication, the new Finca will look as chunky and woody as the old one. Aside from ogling the bits, you can also learn something about how Fish Frenzy plays from this video. Dual purpose!





• Of the handful of titles that Rio Grande Games' Jay Tummelson presented in the BGG booth at Origins Game Fair 2016, Matt Calkins' Tin Goose was the one he was most excited about, talking about it twice as long as anything else. Learn what's going on in this (group)thinky design...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 II: Adrenaline, Codenames: Pictures, Menu Masters, Hive Mind, and Running with the Bulls

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• Let's keep rolling with our coverage of the 2016 Origins Game Fair, starting with an overview of Adrenaline from Filip Neduk and Czech Games Edition, which sounds like the most Euro-y first-person shooter board game possible.





• Vlaada Chvátil's Codenames has proven to be a surprising success for CGE, selling more than 400,000 copies in less than a year on the market, and at Gen Con 2016 the sequel/standalone expansion Codenames: Pictures will be released, challenging players to transmit information to their partners in new and not-so-new ways.





• You're challenged to follow the recipe in Menu Masters from Jordan Weisman, Zach Weisman, and Calliope Games, but in order to do that you need money, need to be first at market to have first choice of goods, or crowd the market so that others can't afford what you want.





Running with the Bulls from Paul Peterson and Calliope Games is like a Pachinko machine come to life — except that it's on a board, with you as the balls and the bulls as bigger balls that will crush your spines and remove you from play.





• Calliope Games released a bit of info about Richard Garfield's upcoming Hive Mind prior to Origins 2016, and I immediately jumped to the question of whether this is a redesign of Garfield's nearly two-decades-old What Were You Thinking? The answer: Yes and no, but mostly yes.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 I: The Networks, Liars' Dice, Trick of the Rails, Dreamwell, and Days of Ire: Budapest 1956

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BoardGameGeek livestreamed game demonstrations, designer and publisher interviews, and ice cream taste-testing for five days at the 2016 Origins Game Fair, and despite that event having ended only on Sunday, June 19 — a mere four days ago — BGG owner Scott Alden has already processed much of that video, transforming it into dozens of short clips that will end up on the individual game and publisher pages in the weeks ahead.

You can watch the entire five days of video — complete with false starts and random nonsense — on BGG's Livestream channel. Alternatively, you can watch for all of the individual videos to appear on our Origins 2016 playlist on YouTube, with select videos appearing in this space. With Gen Con and Spiel not too far off, I'll try not to fall too far behind in posting them so that I can keep up on other things as well.

Thus, to start we'll have Keith Blume talk about the who, what, when, how, and why of Richard Borg's Liar's Dice being reintroduced to the North American market via L4 Studios and Mr. B Games:





• Mr. B Games is also partnering with Terra Nova Games to release a new edition of Hisashi Hayashi's trick-taking rail/stock card game Trick of the Rails:





• Yet another co-production with Mr. B Games is Days of Ire: Budapest 1956 with Cloud Island, with this one vs. many design representing a conflict not normally covered in the game world.





• Designer/publisher Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games has been hopping around the world to show off The Networks, and now the game is out in its finished form, wowing many gamers who got it to the table at Origins 2016.





• Designer Nick Little of Action Phase Games shows off Dreamwell, a trippy tile-based game of meeting friends and making sets.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:00 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Falling Angels Meet Rising Hopes

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• Sometimes I choose the game to be listed first in these c.f. round-ups by what I think will most interest readers; at other times, I'm simply searching for a game with a flat cover image that will look decent in this space. Whatever the reason, here's Fallen Angel from Terry Cheung and Asteria Games, a worker placement game of sorts in which you place dice in areas to do stuff — possibly modifying them via cards beforehand — with multiple dice being allowed into an area as long as you follow the placement rule and an end of round bonus going to those who have the largest sums in particular regions. Hmm, not much of a story going on when presented that way, but there we are. (KS link)

• Many people are trying to push out games on Kickstarter based on the current Clinton v. Trump U.S. presidential election, but most of them are painful to behold, so we'll instead turn the clock back a century to look at Patrick Steven's Bull Moose from his Numbskull Games, a 3-5 player game that revisits the fractured U.S. election of 1912. (KS link)

• Simone Cerruti Sola's Kepler-3042 from Post Scriptum flings you into a future in which you're exploring planets in the Milky Way via a finite store of energy, matter and antimatter. Don't use it all in one place! (KS link)

• Speaking of matter, Stéphane Vachon's Planetarium from Game Salute allows you to smash matter into your planet (or your planet into matter), then you can use that matter to play cards that evolve your planet to exert dominance over the solar system. (KS link)

• In its second go on KS, HOPE from Olivier Grégoire and Morning Players jumps us ahead two thousand more years into the future, a time when we members of Human Organization to Preserve Existence (HOPE) need to terraform planets via tile-laying to preserve our very existence — which is why we put that phrase into our organization's name in the first place. (KS link)

Hero Realms, a fantasy-based take on Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty's Star Realms from White Wizard Games, has blown up to $175k in support in less than a day — which shouldn't be surprising given (1) the love that Star Realms gets from fans and (2) the more expansive (and expensive) support options that feature character packs, boss packs, and more. (KS link)

• With Clash d'Ardèche, Dutch designer Jan Willem van Dijk of Gaudete Games brings English-speaking players a fight for the best camping grounds in the French countryside. (KS link)

Honeycombs from 4 Sisters Games gives players multiple games that are played with the same set of 55 hexagonal tiles, with each tile having a different arrangement of the same six symbols. (KS link)

The Robots Are Coming Today?, a project from first-timer Sarah Rogers, posits a future in which you need to find new sources of income to replace your current earnings since the robots are eager to take charge of your position. (KS link)

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:00 pm
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Cover the World in Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails

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I just launched the Gen Con 2016 Preview yesterday, and now Days of Wonder has obligingly added a new title to that list — Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails, the next iteration of Alan R. Moon's long-lived and highly successful Ticket to Ride game series.

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails, which carries an $80/€70 MSRP, will debut at Gen Con 2016 in August, then be released in stores worldwide in early September 2016. Here's an overview of what's familiar and what's new in the game, with images to assist in the explanation. (The complete rules are available in English, French and German on the DoW website.)

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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails takes the familiar gameplay of Ticket to Ride and expands it across the globe — which means that you'll be moving across water, of course, and that's where the sails come in.

As in other Ticket to Ride games, in Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails players start with tickets in hand that show two cities, and over the course of the game they try to collect colored cards, then claim routes on the game board with their colored train and ship tokens, scoring points while doing so. When any player has six or fewer tokens in their supply, each player takes two more turns, then the game ends. At that point, if they've created a continuous path between the two cities on a ticket, then they score the points on that ticket; if not, then they lose points instead.

World game board

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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails puts a few twists on the TtR formula, starting with split card decks of trains and ships (with all of the wild cards going in the train deck). Three cards of each type are revealed at the start of the game, and when you draw cards, you replace them with a card from whichever deck you like. (Shuffle the card types separately to form new decks when needed.)

Similarly, players choose their own mix of train and ship tokens at the start of the game. To claim a train route (rectangular spaces), you must play train cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with train tokens, and to claim a ship route (oval spaces), you must play ship cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with ship tokens. Ship cards depict one or two ships on them, and when you play a double-ship card, you can cover one or two ship spaces. You can take an action during play to swap train tokens for ships (or vice versa), and you lose one point for each token you swap.


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Some tickets show tour routes with multiple cities instead of simply two cities. If you build a network that matches the tour exactly, you score more points than if you simply include all of those cities in your network.

Sample World destination tickets, including a tour in the upper right

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Each player also starts the game with three harbors. If you have built a route to a port city, you can take an action during the game to place a harbor in that city (with a limit of one harbor per port). To place the harbor, you must discard two train cards and two ship cards of the same color, all of which must bear the harbor symbol (an anchor). At the end of the game, you lose four points for each harbor not placed, and you gain 10-40 points for each placed harbor depending on how many of your completed tickets show that port city.

Ship cards and joker; spot the anchor symbol used to build harbors

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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails includes a double-sided game board, with one side showing the world and the other side showing the Great Lakes of North America. Players start with a differing number of cards and tokens depending on which side they play, and each side has a few differences in gameplay.

Great Lakes game board

Sample Great Lakes destination tickets
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Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:46 pm
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Gen Con 2016 Preview — Now Live!

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Phew! The 2016 Origins Game Fair is now in the can. The BoardGameGeek crew was on site in Columbus, Ohio for five days, livestreaming dozens of game demonstrations and interviewing plenty of designers, publishers, and passers-by. We'll cut up those videos into smaller bits, then post them on our YouTube channel and on the individual game listings in the weeks to come.

While you wait for those videos in case you missed the livestreams — which can still be viewed in their entirety via the links below each date in the top post on this thread — I invite you to turn your attention to BGG's Gen Con 2016 Preview.

Yes, we're already looking to the future, to the Indianapolis convention where hundreds of new games will be presented to thousands of gamers. The Gen Con 2016 Preview starts with 135 titles on it and will only grow from there, with publishers submitting new information from now up until the day Gen Con opens, that being August 4, 2016. I still have more info to add from notes in my inbox, and if you have details of releases not already listed, feel free to email me at the address in the BGG News header at the top of the page.
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Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:08 pm
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New Game Round-up: Medici Gets a Little Brother, Millennium Blades Returns, and The Game of 49 Scores

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• Australian publisher Grail Games already plans to release a new version of Reiner Knizia's Medici at Gen Con 2016 in August. Beyond that, Grail plans to release the spinoff title Medici: The Card Game in Q1 2017. Here's an overview:

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Medici: The Card Game is a new design by Reiner Knizia that shares the setting and feel of the classic Medici board game, without using that game's auction mechanisms.

In 15th century Florence, players try to acquire the most valuable goods for their merchant ships by drawing 1-3 cards from a common deck each turn. After drawing, the active player must take the final card they drew and may select one or both of the previous two cards drawn (if available). They then load these commodity cards on their boat. Cards that are not taken remain available to future players. Once a player's boat is full (seven cards with two players, five cards with 3-6 players), they are out of the round and the day is scored.

Players score points for the value of their ships' holds, but also for the number of commodities of each type that they have stored in their warehouse. The highest earning merchant over three days wins the game. Some cards do not take up space on ships, while others contribute to the value of a hold, but cannot be stored in warehouses.

• Many Knizia games have been appearing and re-appearing in print from Japanese publishers in the past year, and Group SNE will debut the title above at Family Game Festival on June 19, 2016, with this event seeming to be (to my untrained eyes) something along the lines of Tokyo Game Market. (I'm not sure what Tokyo Armageddon is yet, so I need to investigate that...)




Level 99 Games has announced that it will reprint owner Brad Talton's Millennium Blades — which debuted in April 2016 and sold out almost immediately — via a new Kickstarter campaign in July 2016 similar to the one it ran in May 2015. The Millennium Blades expansion Set Rotation should be released in late 2016 at the same time as this reprint, along with Promo Pack #3 (which introduces two new playable characters) and Promo Pack #4 (which consists of four new Master-level card sets, each themed around one of the bosses in Set Rotation's Cooperative mode).

• Talton and Level 99 Games note that BattleCON: Trials, the next title in its BattleCON Universe, is getting ready to move to production.

White Wizard Games plans to release the Star Realms expansion United in 2016, with this expansion including dozens of new cards, some of them multi-faction cards such as the one depicted below:




• I find myself mentioning the U.S. retail chain Target over and over again in these new game round-ups, and that's because the company is making a big push in the hobby game market, both by expanding the number of titles that it carries and by working with publishers to carry new exclusive titles. In the former category, I present Mark Corsey's The Game of 49 from Breaking Games.

As Mark noted in a June 4, 2016 Kickstarter update: "Two years ago today, on June 4, 2014, we launched the Game of 49 Kickstarter campaign with a goal of printing 1,500 copies. Two weeks from today, on June 18, 2016, Go49 goes on sale at 2,000 Target stores nationwide."

I played games numerous times with Mark in the late 2000s, mostly when he visited my game group in Concord, NH, where he almost always arrived with a plate of cookies in hand to share with everyone. He's got a great spirit that always came out while chatting and playing, and I'm pleased to see his game succeed. Congrats, Mark!
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Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Munchkin: Trading Card Game, Arcadia Quest: Inferno, The Others: 7 Sins, and Mad Libs: The Game

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• With the 2016 Origins Game Fair starting in but a day, it's time to finally close the door on our GAMA Trade Show coverage from March 2016 as I had not quite published all of the videos that we recorded there. Oops.

To start with, while I posted the videos featuring Eric M. Lang talking about Bloodborne: The Card Game (here) and The Godfather: The Board Game (here), but not about three other games he's designed or co-designed that are due out in 2016. He's a busy guy, yes, he is.

First up is an overview of the Munchkin: Trading Card Game, which Lang co-designed with Kevin Wilson and which will of course be published by Steve Jackson Games. This game, the title of which isn't final, adopts the humorous approach and look of Munchkin, while having nothing in common with its gameplay.





• Lang and Cool Mini Or Not feel like they're joined in the hip given how successful they've been together on Kickstarter, and one of those collaborations is The Others: 7 Sins, which should be released in mid-2016. Lang doesn't give an overview of the game in this video, but he talks about his designs in general and demonstrates how resilient the miniatures in this game are. I'd like to see a follow-up video that explores such tests further...





• Another Lang and CMON 2016 release is Arcadia Quest: Inferno, which is co-designed by Thiago Aranha, Guilherme Goulart, and Fred Perret. As with The Others, this game has already been funded on KS and CMON now expects it to be delivered to backers in October 2016.





• The final GTS video stuck in the queue features Andy Looney showing off Mad Libs: The Game, which hit stores in late March 2016. I love that the Mad Libs publisher reached out to Looney Labs about designing a game based on the long-lived party activity. Apparently they cared enough to find someone who they thought would match the spirit of Mad Libs itself!

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Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Container Sails Again, and White Wizard Introduces Hero Realms

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• After many years of being lost at sea, Franz-Benno Delonge and Thomas Ewert's Container is headed back to port — I mean, print — via Mercury Games. This publication is a homecoming of sorts as Mercury Games is co-owned by Kevin Nesbitt, who developed the design when Valley Games first published Container in 2007 and who designed the Container: The Second Shipment expansion, which was released in 2008.

Whether Container will be a straight reprint or something revised from the original — as with Mercury's new edition of Martin Wallace's Princes of the Renaissance — is still in the works. In response to a question, Nesbitt noted that the expansion won't return to print, but he said, "I kept some notes over the years for ways I could further improve upon those ideas. Players will have some new and reworked mechanisms to have fun with, and depending on how well they work and how much complexity they add, they would be included in the base game or in an expansion (or possibly split between the two)."

Nesbitt added, "It's too early to say what, if anything, will be different about the reprint, but the original developer (me) is on board the project once again, and the designers were both very happy with the final product last time around."

One thing that will definitely differ in this new edition of Container, which Mercury expects to release in 2017 with new artwork, is the composition of the ships, which were created from dental composite resins, according to Nesbitt. "It's too early to guess at the final material", he says, "but I think it's safe to say that we'll be using a more conventional material with a little more shatter-resistance. We're leaning towards a material that allows for a little more detail in the ships and containers, and that could mean real miniatures. (It feels funny calling large ships miniatures.)"

• I kept pestering White Wizard Games for info on Hero Realms, which was originally billed as a fantasy-based reimplementation of Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty's Star Realms. Now WWG has dropped tons of info on the game in the form of a Kickstarter project, and there's a lot to absorb. First, an overview of the game itself:

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Hero Realms is a fantasy-themed deck-building game that is an adaptation of the award-winning Star Realms game. The game includes basic rules for two-player games, along with rules for multiplayer formats such as Free-For-All, Hunter, and Hydra.

Each player starts the game with a ten-card personal deck containing gold (for buying) and weapons (for combat). You start each turn with a new hand of five cards from your personal deck. When your deck runs out of cards, you shuffle your discard pile into your new deck. An 80-card Market deck is shared by all players, with five cards being revealed from that deck to create the Market Row. As you play, you use gold to buy champion cards and action cards from the Market. These champions and actions can generate large amounts of gold, combat, or other powerful effects. You use combat to attack your opponent and their champions. When you reduce your opponent's score (called health) to zero, you win!

Aside from the 144 cards in the basic Hero Realms game, WWG is also releasing:

—Five character packs, with each giving you ten starting cards specific to a fantasy character type (cleric, wizard, thief, fighter, ranger).
—Two Boss decks — Lich and Dragon — which allow one player to fight as the Boss against everyone else or for two players to compete with bosses head-to-head.
—A Campaign Starter Deck with solo and co-op campaign rules that let you gain skill and gear cards to improve your abilities so that you can effectively level up to try to complete the three missions included in the pack.

And as you might expect based on Star Realms, WWG has plans for much more:

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We will release an ongoing campaign of cooperative adventures, with a story that takes place over time. Make your mark in an adventure that takes place in Thandar and beyond! As the story develops, the game will develop, and the characters will progress with new options that will keep the game fresh and exciting!

For competitive players, Hero Realms launches with all of the deep strategy featured in Star Realms. And, just like in that game, we will continue to grow the game with optional expansions that will expand the scope and the depth of gameplay options. We will also provide support for organized play so that you can battle for prizes and fame.
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Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:30 pm
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