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New Game Round-up: Boarding Nautilion, Paddling Up the Amazon, and Riding Ohley and Orgler's Railroads

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• To follow up on my note from the other day, let's sample some of the new titles that I've dropped on the SPIEL 2016 Preview, such as Shadi Torbey's Nautilion, the next title in his Oniverse series and one that Z-Man Games will debut at SPIEL 2016 in October. Here's an overview:

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Nautilion is a dice game in the Oniverse series!

Take the helm of a Nautilion submarine and recruit a heroic crew to vanquish the treacherous Darkhouse that lurks in the oceanic depths. You must get to the Abyss, lair of the Darkhouse, before the Phantom Submarine (his henchman) reaches your homeland, the Happy Isles — but to defeat the Darkhouse, not only must you be faster than the Phantom Submarine, you must also assemble the submarine's crew along the way.

Each turn, you roll three dice and give one to each of these figures: the Nautilion, the Phantom Submarine, and the Darkhouse. The dice of the Nautilion and the Phantom Submarine move those figures along a path formed by Crew tokens: the Nautilion from the Happy Isles towards the Abyss; the Phantom Submarine in the opposite direction. The crew token on which your Nautilion ends its move joins your submarine, the one the Phantom Submarine reaches is lost!

Only four copies exist of each of the nine different tokens, so you have to decide carefully which die you need and which you can leave to your enemies. (The Darkhouse doesn't move, but inflicts damage to you each time he gets a die with a high value.) To win, you need to reach the Abyss with a full crew of nine different tokens.

Five expansions are included with the game, adding new crew members, powers, treacheries and challenges.




• Z-Man Games has a few other SPIEL 2016 releases as well, such as Klaus-Jürgen Wrede's Carcassonne: Amazonas, which original publisher Hans im Glück will release in German at the same show. How are we laying down tiles this time, in what is the third title in the "Carcassonne Around the World" series?

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In Carcassonne: Amazonas, players sail their boats to the Amazon to discover abundant wildlife. Players score points not only for discovering animals, but for visiting native villages, and whoever reaches the end of the Amazon first — which ends the game as well — receives a bonus reward.

• Hans im Glück has two other items due to debut at SPIEL 2016, neither of which has an announced English version yet, but let's give it time. Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler expand Russian Railroads with American Railroads — a mini-expansion with new player boards and various new elements — while Ohley on his own presents what HiG's Moritz Brunnhofer describes as an evolution of Russian Railroads, "a card game of about sixty minutes with the feeling of a board game". Here's a short description of First Class: Unterwegs im Orient Express:

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In First Class: Unterwegs im Orient Express, players try to score as many fame points as possible by building a rich network of rails, by building luxurious train cars, or by serving well-paying passengers.

First Class
is a card game that feels more like a board game, and since each game is played with the base cards and two of five modules, the game offers lots of variety as not all elements are used in each playing.
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Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:13 pm
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New Game Round-up: Nominating Cthulhu for King, Fighting Wizards with Rocks, and Exploring Key to the City

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IELLO has announced a new line of Monster Packs that will serve as mini-expansions for both King of Tokyo and King of New York with the first pack due out Q1 2017, and who else are you going to launch a monster-based line with other than Cthulhu? Here's an overview of what's inside King of Tokyo: Monster Pack – Cthulhu:

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King of Tokyo: Monster Pack – Cthulhu includes a new monster — Cthulhu, in case you couldn't guess — as well as eight evolution cards for use with King of Tokyo and eight evolution cards for King of New York. Fifteen cultist tokens are also included for card effects.

These packs will retail for $10-15 depending on their contents.


Yes, IELLO is aware of the typo on this promotional image


• Uwe Rosenberg's At the Gates of Loyang is returning to print, with Pegasus Spiele planning to have German-language copies on hand at SPIEL 2016 in October and with Tasty Minstrel Games bringing the English-language version to market at a later date.

WizKids has announced another D&D-related title in its board game line-up, but this design from Cappel, Lim and Cormier is a far different beast than its Temple of Elemental Evil Board Game. Here's a rundown of Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard, due out January 2017 but possibly showing up in time for advance sales at SPIEL 2016:

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In Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard, the dragon has been slain, leaving behind a treasure over which to fight, and the players are wizards who are fighting to claim the most gold from the dragon's pile.

The players have cards depicting various well-known D&D spells, and each card shows a Rock-Paper-Scissors gesture that the player must make to cast, while pointing at another player as the target of the spell. All players choose their spells simultaneously, and the spells can move the wizards closer or farther away from the treasure or affect the game state in other ways as well.

The first player to collect 25 gold wins.

• As is his custom, designer/publisher Richard Breese of R&D Games has created an explanatory Geeklist for the titles that he plans to debut at SPIEL, those titles being Key to the City – London (GL) and the Keyflower mini-expansion Keymelequin (GL). Complete rules for both items are linked to on their respective BGG game pages.

• I realize that BGG News posts have been sporadic of late, which is odd since this is the time of year in which I see more info on new games than any other. I've just been pouring all of that information onto BGG's SPIEL 2016 Preview — now up to four hundred listings! — and forgetting to post about them in this spot. I keep thinking about posting this or that, but then I see another five games and forget about the earlier ones. I'll try to keep y'all more up-to-date in the days and weeks ahead...
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Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:03 pm
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New Game Round-up: Stealing from Giants, Escorting a Princess, and Carrying a Parasite Back to Earth

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• In February 2016, WizKids announced that Zev Shlasinger — formerly of Z-Man Games — would lead its "expanded Board Game operations", and the first titles chosen by Shlasinger have been announced, starting with Jonathan Leistiko's Blank White Dice, which will debut in October 2016 and which works as follows:

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In Blank White Dice, players roll the game dice to activate the icons on them and gain enough points to win the game!

But not everything is as straightforward as that! If a player rolls a blank face, they draw their own icons on the faces of their dice. Some icons give players points, others may cause opponents to lose points, force competitors to re-roll and more! The first player to reach 13 points at the end of a round wins.

Following in December 2016 is Burke's Gambit from Rob Yates, which takes a minimalist approach (in terms of components) to the "traitor in space" genre:

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Speeding through space, Burke's Gambit is a rugged company freighter on an extremely important mission, with its seasoned crew being tasked with finding powerful alien technology. What the crew finds instead is something they never expected: a dangerous parasitic organism has somehow made its way into the ship and inside the body of one of the crew members!

Just as the bio-organism contamination alarm goes off, one of the crew members seizes the chaotic moment and sabotages the freighter's engines. The ship, its crew, and the parasitic organism are all on a collision course with planet Earth, where further contamination of the world's population awaits.

Which of the crew are dedicated company personnel wanting the alien organism to reach Earth? Which are just crew wanting to identify the infected crew member? Most importantly, which member of the crew is infected?! Join the crew of Burke's Gambit on a wild space adventure with hidden affiliations and a hidden infected player.

In Burke's Gambit, players take on specific roles of Captain, Marine, Comms Officer and more as they take turns and roll a die. The possibilities of the die include damaging another player, healing themselves, looking at a crew affiliation card, or even scanning a player's diagnostic card. But if you roll an engine power up, you hasten the ship's arrival to Earth. When Burke's Gambit reaches Earth, a vote must be held to eject someone from the airlock (assuming anyone's left)!

WizKids has also picked up the Matagot title Dice Stars from Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc for release in the U.S. by the end of 2016.

Japon Brand has announced two dozen games that it will have available at SPIEL 2016 — and yes, I know that I still need to add them to BGG's SPIEL 2016 Preview — with one of those titles being Unicornus Knights, a 2-6 player co-op from Seiji Kanai and Kuro that bears this description:

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Unicornus Knights is a cooperative board game where the players are generals who must assist the Princess of a Kingdom to reach her capital. Chased away from the capital by a sudden attack from the Empire, the Princess is set on returning, and will stop at nothing. The players must pave way for the princess so that she does not run into enemy hands.

The game is played on a modular board, where each board contains an enemy general. When a player closes in upon an enemy general, random "fate" cards are drawn that will represent the connection between the enemy general and the player, adding to the narrative and available tactics.

Should you not be attending SPIEL 2016 (which is true of most of people in the world) you can take comfort perhaps in Alderac Entertainment Group stating that it will release the game in 2017.


AEG featured Unicornus Knights at its Big Game Night during Gen Con 2016


Renegade Game Studios has announced a November 2016 release for The Blood of an Englishman from Dan Cassar, designer of the masterful Arboretum. Here's the lowdown on this two-player game:

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"Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!" roared the giant as he crashed through the vines. Jack, with one arm around his precious stolen harp and the other grasping the beanstalk, felt the rush of danger. Will he make it to the bottom in time to chop down the leafy ladder, or will the giant successfully catch the thieving beggar?

In The Blood of an Englishman, players take on the role of either Jack or the Giant. The Giant must maneuver the Fee Fi Fo and Fum cards while Jack tries to create three beanstalks to steal the bag of gold, the Golden Goose, and the Singing Harp. Each player has different available actions and must carefully arrange the cards to achieve their goal. Are you brave enough to face your fate?

And this cover deserves to shown at larger-than-thumbnail size, so here it is:


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Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:33 pm
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New Game Round-up: Deceiving in One Night Ultimate Alien, Drafting in Ethnos, and Drinking in Raise Your Goblets

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Wow, a week has passed since my last post! This is the longest I've gone without writing anything for BGG News, but this absence is not without reason. The final two weeks of preparation before Gen Con 2016 involved far more work than anticipated, what with publishers announcing titles up until the last minute before the show and the unexpected gift of the BGG Hot Games room (which worked out far better than I had anticipated).

With all that going on, I had barely made progress on the SPIEL 2016 Preview, which I pushed live on the Monday following Gen Con and have been working on ever since. The preview now holds 230 listings, and I still have a mountain of information to sift through. That said, let's check out a few other games that may or may not be available at SPIEL 2016, starting with:

One Night Ultimate Alien is the next title from Bézier Games in its One Night Ultimate... series of hidden role games. Little has been announced about this Ted Alspach and Akihisa Okui title other than that the roles involve aliens, the game can be combined with other ONU titles, and a Kickstarter for this title launches on August 29, 2016. This teaser trailer includes teasers, as promised.

• To follow up on that, at Gen Con 2016 Bézier Games announced Ultimate Werewolf Legacy, a project designed by Alspach and (yes) Rob Daviau that sounds exactly like what you'd expect those words to mean:

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In Ultimate Werewolf Legacy, players and the village itself have attributes that are retained between games, with events taking place in the first games having effects that ripple through remaining games. Make a bad decision early on, and it can haunt the village for years to come! Players can earn titles, which provides them with special abilities in future games, regardless of their role.

The full campaign is divided into chapters of about three games each, with each chapter designed to be played in a single night with the same group of players. Each chapter is standalone so that different players can play different chapters, but since early chapters affect successive ones, it's an even richer experience to play through more than one chapter. Even better, the chapters are designed so that you can switch moderators between games.

Ultimate Werewolf Legacy uses the basic gameplay found in Ultimate Werewolf and adds a number of twists and Legacy-style mechanisms to give the game a richer, more immersive experience than werewolf players will find any other way.




• In addition to unveiling a new logo at Gen Con 2016, Cool Mini Or Not previewed at least a dozen upcoming titles, some in fairly extensive detail during press events and some with little more than a box in a display case.

One of the more detailed presentations was for Paolo Mori's Ethnos, which features artwork by John Howe and which is due out Q4 2016/Q1 2017. Here's an overview of gameplay:

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In Ethnos, players call upon the support of giants, merfolk, halfings, minotaurs, and other fantasy tribes to help them gain control of the land. After three ages of play, whoever has collected the most glory wins!

In more detail, the land of Ethnos contains twelve tribes of fantasy creatures, and in each game you choose six of them (five in a 2/3-player game), then create a deck with only the creatures in those tribes. The cards come in six colors, which match the six regions of Ethnos. Place three glory tokens in each region, arranging them from low to high.

Each player starts the game with one card in hand, then 4-12 cards are placed face up on the table. On a turn, a player either recruits an ally or plays a band of allies. In the former case, you take a face-up card (without replacing it from the deck) or the top card of the deck and add it to your hand. In the latter case, you choose a set of cards in your hand that match either in tribe or in color, play them in front of you on the table, then discard all other cards in hand. You then place one or more tokens in the region that matches the color of the top card just played, and you use the power of the tribe member on the top card just played.

At the end of the first age, whoever has the most tokens in a region scores the glory shown on the first token. After the second age, the players with the most and secondmost tokens score glory equal to the values shown on the first and second tokens. Players score again after the third age, then whoever has the most glory wins. (Games with two and three players last only two ages.)






• Another CMON title shown to the press — and one that we played, too — was Tim Page's Raise Your Goblets, a co-publication with Italian publisher Horrible Games. Let's start with a short description:

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Have you felt the thrill of the struggle between life and death, sitting at the same table with your worst enemy and an unreasonable amount of poison? Don’t forget to bring some antidote when playing Raise Your Goblets!

In Raise Your Goblets, players take the roles of nobles at a banquet, each one with their own agenda of personal vendetta. Each player has wine, poison and antidote tokens they can pour into the goblets, trying to poison their enemies while staying alive themselves! Each noble also has a special ability that allows them to bend or even break a rule.

Use all of your actions to become the most influent noble at the table!

I have not felt the thrill of the struggle between life and death, but I did enjoy the simulacrum of same presented in this design. In more detail, each character has a plastic goblet, and each goblet is primed in secret at the start of the round with either wine, poison or antidote. On a turn, you take two actions, with actions being to peek inside your goblet, rotate all goblets left or right, swap your goblet with someone else's, or secretly add one of your wine, poison or antidote tokens to any goblet. Once someone has "served" all of their wine, they can call a toast on their turn instead of doing anything else. Each player, including the toaster, takes one more action, then everyone drinks. If you have more poison than antidote, you die.

What's your goal in doing all of this? Well, at the start of a round you are given a target to kill, and everyone knows who is targeting whom. If at the end of a round, your target is dead, you score 1 point; if you're alive, you score 1 point; if both of these things are true, you score a bonus point (3 total). Also, whoever has the most wine in their cup scores 1 point. If someone has died, they receive a new noble card, and at the end of three rounds, whoever has scored the most points wins.

The noble cards provide all the twists that you can imagine, with players being able to peek into any goblet, or remove two tokens from a goblet then return one of them, or call for a vote on a final goblet rotation before drinking, and so on.

In the end, I tied with Brittanie Boe for the most points, so we had a drink-off to determine the winner, and I ended up with poison in my cup. All hail Queen Bebo!

The colored goblet rings are optional; remove them to increase the game's difficulty!
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Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:30 pm
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Explore Arkham and Westeros Anew; Android, Too!

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In an effort to ensure that Gen Con 2016 attendees spend no time anywhere but its booth, Fantasy Flight Games has announced two more Q4 2016 releases in the past couple of days, including Arkham Horror: The Card Game, the existence of which was leaked in May 2016.

This cooperative design by Nate French and Matthew Newman is for 1-2 players — which continues the trend of games including solo play as an option — with players three and four being able to join the game should you have a second Core Set, and at the mention of the words "Core Set", you should recognize Arkham Horror: The Card Game as a Living Card Game, that is, a game for which regular mini-expansions will be released in the months and years ahead. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

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Something evil stirs in Arkham, and only you can stop it. Blurring the traditional lines between roleplaying and card game experiences, Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a Living Card Game of Lovecraftian mystery, monsters, and madness!

In the game, you and your friend become characters within the quiet New England town of Arkham. You have your talents, sure, but you also have your flaws. Perhaps you've dabbled a little too much in the writings of the Necronomicon, and its words continue to haunt you. Perhaps you feel compelled to cover up any signs of otherworldly evils, hampering your own investigations in order to protect the quiet confidence of the greater population. Perhaps you'll be scarred by your encounters with a ghoulish cult.

No matter what compels you, no matter what haunts you, you'll find both your strengths and weaknesses reflected in your custom deck of cards, and these cards will be your resources as you work with your friends to unravel the world's most terrifying mysteries.

Each of your adventures in Arkham Horror LCG carries you deeper into mystery. You'll find cultists and foul rituals. You'll find haunted houses and strange creatures. And you may find signs of the Ancient Ones straining against the barriers to our world...

The basic mode of play in Arkham LCG is not the adventure, but the campaign. You might be scarred by your adventures, your sanity may be strained, and you may alter Arkham's landscape, burning buildings to the ground. All your choices and actions have consequences that reach far beyond the immediate resolution of the scenario at hand — and your actions may earn you valuable experience with which you can better prepare yourself for the adventures that still lie before you.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is available for demo games at Gen Con 2016.

• With Hand of the King, FFG will add another title to its stable of games based on the works of George R. R. Martin, with this design having neither realistic fantasy art nor screenshot stills from the HBO television series, but rather Eurocomic-style caricatures of the Westeros characters. An overview:

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The king has called for a lavish feast and tourney, the likes of which have not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms since the days of Aegon the Conquerer. What's more, the king has declared that at this feast, he will choose his new Hand — and you have a chance of rising to this lofty position. Of course, you're not the only one with eyes set on becoming the power behind the Iron Throne. In Hand of the King, you need to scheme and backstab to outwit your opponents, and you need the help of Varys, the Master of Whispers, to do it.

Hand of the King is a fast-paced card game of conspiracies and sudden twists of fate for two to four players, challenging each of you to gain the most support among the twisted intrigues of the King's Landing court. Each turn, you send Varys to do your bidding, moving through the court and inciting iconic characters from A Song of Ice and Fire to support your cause. With the help of some companions and crafty alliances with other players, you just might rise to become the king's new Hand!

In more detail, this Bruno Cathala design has players moving Varys in orthogonal lines in a 6x6 grid, stopping it on a character token, then collecting that token and any other character from that House that you passed over. Possess as many characters from a House as someone else, and you claim the banner from that person. Collect the final character from a House, and you immediately use the power of one of six companions; since the game contains fourteen companions, the mix of powers will differ each game.

As with the title above, A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King is due out Q4 2016 and will be available for demo at Gen Con 2016.




Will this be the final title FFG announces prior to Gen Con 2016? What else could be left?!

Update, August 3, 11:30 a.m.: Well, here's what was left — the revelation of a 4-6 player, 120-240-minute game set in the Android universe by James Kniffen titled New Angeles, which will also be available for demo games at Gen Con 2016 ahead of its scheduled release in Q4 2016. Here's an overview of the game:

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The largest, richest, and most diverse city on Earth, New Angeles is home to the Space Elevator that rises along its buckyweave tether and connects us to Luna and its invaluable Helium-3 deposits. It is here, in New Angeles, that you'll find the global headquarters for the worlds' most powerful megacorps: Haas-Bioroid, Globalsec, Jinteki, Melange Mining, NBN, and the Weyland Consortium. And it is here, in this shining beacon of human achievement and advancement, that these powerful megacorps enjoy a uniquely fertile breeding ground for their projects and their rivalries.

In New Angeles, you gain control of one of these megacorporations, then you use your wealth and influence to create more wealth and more influence. To do this, you cut deals and forge temporary alliances. You leverage your credits and assets to gain financial superiority over your corporate rivals. All the while, you also need to keep an eye toward the masses, striking deals with the other corps as necessary in order to keep a lid on crime, disease, and unrest. If you want to maximize your profit, you need to keep New Angeles open for business!


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Wed Aug 3, 2016 4:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Race to a New Galaxy with Jump Drive, Explore Alternate Realities for Temporum, and Briefly Relive the Cuban Missile Crisis

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• While preparing our broadcast schedule for Gen Con 2016, I heard from Rio Grande Games' Jay Tummelson, who asked about showing a few upcoming games on camera since he had presented all of the new RGG at Origins 2016. He didn't reveal what those titles are, but now we have info on two likely candidates, starting with Tom Lehmann's Race for the Galaxy: Jump Drive, a Q4 2016 release that bears this description:

Quote:
With the invention of Jump Drive, the race for the galaxy begins! Develop new technologies and settle worlds to build a space empire. Find winning card combinations!

Race for the Galaxy: Jump Drive is a fast-paced card game that introduces players to the Race for the Galaxy universe. Can you build the most prosperous galactic civilization?

In a teaser post that contains a few card images from the game, Lehmann writes, "Jump Drive is a stand-alone game for 2-4 players, separate from Race for the Galaxy, intended to introduce players to some Race for the Galaxy concepts. While Jump Drive borrows a bit from my earlier game, The City, it is NOT a simple re-theme or 're-skin' of that game. Jump Drive has two card types, different actions and bonuses, military conquest, and some new player interactions. Unlike Race for the Galaxy, Jump Drive doesn't have goods, production, or consumption."

• The other RGG title, also likely to be released in Q4 2016, is Temporum: Alternate Realities, an expansion for Donald X. Vaccarino's Temporum that is more description than details at this point:

Quote:
What is time? Is it like a river? Or maybe an ocean? Is it like up, but sideways? Is it churning chaos, background noise, held together only briefly by our own awareness of it? You don't know. You just work the machinery; someone else built it. To you, time is a means to an end, a glorious end in which humanity's crowning achievement turns out to be your own benevolent rule. It's a simple process of weeding through the alternatives, snipping prudently — an ungrateful utopia here, a useless revolution there. In the end, from the Age of Atlantis to the Zombie Apocalypse, the eras will sing your praise.

Temporum: Alternate Realities, an expansion for Temporum, adds 48 more Zones and 60 more Player cards, plus chits and cards used by the new Zones.

• Asmodee has announced a new edition of Bruno Faidutti's Citadels from its Windrider Games studio for release Q4 2016, with this edition featuring the same gameplay as the original Citadels from 2000, but now with twenty-seven characters — eight from Citadels, ten from the Dark City expansion, and nine new ones — along with thirty unique building districts. The rulebook includes six preset lists of characters and districts beyond the starter list, and this new version of Citadels can be demoed at Gen Con 2016.

• Another Q4 2016 release that you can demo at Gen Con 2016 is 13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis, a sequel of sorts by Asger Sams Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen to their own 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis from Jolly Roger Games and Ultra Pro. Here's an overview:

Quote:
13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis is a card-driven microgame with tough decisions. Playing as either Kennedy or Khrushchev, your aim is to exit the Cuban Missile Crisis as the most powerful superpower. During the game you play only five strategy cards that you use to place Influence on battlegrounds to score majorities or manipulate battlegrounds. Each card you play turns into a new battleground, so the "world map" is ever-changing. Be careful because each decision is important and you may trigger global nuclear war!
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Tue Aug 2, 2016 5:32 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: The Heart and Solo of the Party

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• As board games amble out of the back alley and into the social conscious, shrewd merchandising mavens have turned a hungry eye, and geek-magnet IPs are cropping up in cardboard form. Cryptozoic Entertainment was on the forefront of that movement, and fans of a certain AMC drama may finally have their grail in The Walking Dead: No Sanctuary from sibling designers Brady and Adam Sadler, both former in-house design talent for Fantasy Flight Games. A slick product rollout includes planned expansions to the 1-4 player base game, with fan-favorite playable characters spread across those releases. (KS link)

• Today’s film makers, comic writers, and game designers continue to raid the ’80s pop culture cupboards for inspiration. 1987’s Evil Dead II is getting a film reboot, Space Goat Productions has been publishing Evil Dead 2 comics, and now they’re completing the trifecta with Evil Dead 2: The Official Board Game by rookie designer Taylor Smith. Memorabilia hounds will be interested to know that the custom wooden dice included in higher pledge tiers are made from the wood used in the iconic cabin of the film. I can’t imagine they afford too many friendly rolls… (KS link)

• According to Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp family singers, far is a long long way to run, but Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games is accustomed to going the distance with his KS projects, and the campaign for Near and Far is his most popular yet. Its success is no doubt precipitated by the strong critical reception of Laukat’s Above and Below, to which it serves as a sequel of sorts. What caught my eye is the spiral-bound atlas that, when folded open, provides a set of 11 different game maps. Variety without modularity! Whoa. (KS link)

• One of the hallmarks of a well-produced euro game is custom wood shapes instead of simple cubes to represent the game’s resources. Sotirios Tsantilos, Pantelis Bouboulis, and the rest of the LudiCreations team know that well, and are offering a “deluxe” version of Crisis, which has proven 20 times as popular as the cheaper, cubes-only version. Despite success in video games and RPGs, dieselpunk isn’t done all that often in cardboard; in fact, it has no category here on the ’Geek. Perhaps this release will grease the zerks for others to follow. (KS link)

• Though it didn’t win the Golden Geek for best solitaire game last year, A.J. Porfirio’s Hostage Negotiator, published by Van Ryder Games, has a dedicated player base (especially among the 1 Player Guild, who gave it GOTY honors) and is currently ranked among the top 10 solitaires in the database. The game has already seen expansions, but Crime Wave is both expansion and standalone. The box dwarfs the original’s — necessitated by all the new content. Now just fork over the ransom money and no one gets hurt. (KS link)

• Given the ubiquity of classic solitaire — also known as Klondike — among modern audiences, I’m surprised that its core conceit has been so seldom used as the foundation stone for modern hobby designs. The folks at 8th Summit are crossing their fingers that it could work as an entire system of solitaire decks with overlaid themes. The first concept from Robert Kouba and Jason Maxwell is Superhero Solitaire. The two red suits relate to the player’s hero character, the two black suits to the villain AI character. If it’s a retail success, more themed sets will follow. (KS link)

• There’s been some impetus to introduce “mid-Atlantic” as a term for the melding of European and American game design sensibilities. Brian Suhre’s Coldwater Crown is full euro in its design, but at least the theme lets you go fishing in the mid-Atlantic! (Sorry for the bait-and-switch.) This marks Bellwether Games’ first deep sea charter, after getting their feet wet with a handful of smaller productions. The worker placement genre is fairly muddy waters these days, but this game’s unique hook is triggering actions on both placement and removal of pawns. (KS link)

• The most indie title on this list comes to us by way of new publisher Druid City Games and designer James Hudson, whose debut title Barnyard Roundup is interesting in that it puts bluffing in a title aimed at mixed-age audiences. It’s basic set-collection, but you have to out-Vezzini your opponents to get the cards you want and avoid the cards you don’t want. The Mr. Cuddington team lent their talents to the game’s appearance; the airy illustrations belie the experience of getting back-stabbed by your friend’s fistful of crows. Who knew the barnyard could be so vicious? Orwell, maybe. (KS link)

• A lot of game publishers have tapped the 16-bit well for its magic geek fuel, but Magic Meeple Games, founded by video game and board game enthusiasts, is crafting a product line aimed squarely at the intersection of those two interests. The line, dubbed the “Super Nano Enhanced Series” (boil it down to an acronym to get the reference), will be portable-friendly games bristling with classic video game graphics and homages. The first release is Fire of Eidolon from designer Michael Lipton, a co-operative game of exploring a dungeon with a group of adventurers. (KS link)

• Lovecraft may have been a nihilist, but nothing says you can’t contemplate your existential helplessness while you plot the downfall of humanity, right? Greater Than Games is making use of their new-ish Fabled Nexus imprint to summon forth Fate of the Elder Gods, an arcane creation from Richard Launius, Darrell Louder, and Chris Kirkman. Eschewing the cooperative elements so native to mythos games, FotEG (which I like to pronounce phonetically, like the name of some gibbous elder being: foe-tegg) invokes in-your-face PvP elements and also sports a solo mode. (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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Mon Aug 1, 2016 1:00 am
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Star Wars: Destiny Wants You to Play Dice for the Fate of the Universe

W. Eric Martin
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In what is perhaps its final announcement prior to Gen Con 2016 (but not likely), Fantasy Flight Games has revealed yet another game set in the Star Wars universe: Star Wars: Destiny, a collectible dice and card game for two players.

Yes, collectible — a word dreaded by some and embraced by others, a word to divide all against one another similar to the light and dark forces present in this game. In this game's announcement, designer Lukas Litzsinger says, "We haven't made a collectible game in years, even though many gamers enjoy this format's aspects of discovery and trading. Star Wars: Destiny is a game that could only exist within this category, and we're excited to reenter the collectible marketplace and start supporting fans of this genre once more."




Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
Star Wars: Destiny is a collectible dice and card game of battles between iconic heroes and villains that encompasses characters, locations, and themes from the entire Star Wars saga.

In Star Wars: Destiny, two players engage in a fast-paced duel, each striving to eliminate the other's characters first. The game's innovative mechanisms combine dice-driven combat with faction-driven hand management. Straightforward rules make the game easy to learn, but also enable deep strategic thinking and clever deck-building. Players can create decks that include characters from every faction and any era, as long as heroes and villains are on opposite sides of the fight. For example, Padmé Amidala might fight alongside Rey and Finn, taking on Jabba the Hutt, Kylo Ren, and Jango Fett.

Each round, you use your characters' abilities, an assortment of dice, and a carefully constructed thirty-card deck filled with events, upgrades, and supports. You and your opponent alternate actions: activating your dice, playing cards from your hand, attacking your foes, and claiming the battlefield. You need to prove your skills and defeat your opponent's characters to claim your destiny!

Star Wars: Destiny can be demoed at Gen Con 2016, but it won't be released until November 2016, with two starter decks — Rey and Kylo Ren, each $15 MSRP — being available and each player needing a starter set in order to play, along with Awakenings booster packs ($3). The starter sets each have nine dice and 24 cards, while the booster packs contain one die and five cards.

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Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:40 pm
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New Game Round-up: Previews at Gen Con 2016 — New Doom, Tickets for Tots, and Inventing Bit By Bit

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• The pre-Gen Con 2016 announcements continue, with Fantasy Flight Games announcing DOOM: The Board Game, an adaptation of the Bethesda Softworks and id Software, for demo at the convention ahead of a Q4 2016 release.

Now, FFG released Doom: The Boardgame by Kevin Wilson and company CEO Christian T. Petersen back in 2004, but the publisher notes that aside from the asymmetrical play and a customizable Invader deck, this new design from Jonathan Ying is almost completely new: "It is designed capture the feel of the video game's most recent incarnation, complete with fast-paced action, aggressive combat, relentless suspense, and even Glory Kills that allow marines to swiftly execute wounded demons and recover damage at the same time."




• Another pre-Gen Con 2016 (sort of) surprise comes from Days of Wonder, this being Alan R. Moon's Ticket to Ride: First Journey. I say "sort of" because this title is being released exclusively at the Target retail chain in the U.S., and Target initially had an embargo date for July 31, 2016 — the day that the game will go on sale (MSRP $35) — but a few Target stores released the game ahead of time, so now Days of Wonder has published details on the gameplay:

Quote:
Ticket to Ride: First Journey takes the gameplay of the Ticket to Ride series and scales it down for a younger audience.

In general, players collect train cards, claim routes on the map, and try to connect the cities shown on their tickets. In more detail, the game board shows a map of the United States with certain cities being connect by colored paths. Each player starts with four colored train cards in hand and two tickets; each ticket shows two cities, and you're trying to connect those two cities with a contiguous path of your trains in order to complete the ticket.

On a turn, you either draw two train cards from the deck or discard train cards to claim a route between two cities; for this latter option, you must discard cards matching the color and number of spaces on that route (e.g., two yellow cards for a yellow route that's two spaces long). If you connect the two cities shown on a ticket with a path of your trains, reveal the ticket, place it face up in front of you, then draw a new ticket. (If you can't connect cities on either ticket because the paths are blocked, you can take your entire turn to discard those tickets and draw two new ones.)

If you connect one of the West Coast cities to one of the East Coast cities with a path of your turns, you immediately claim a Coast-to-Coast ticket.

The first player to complete six tickets wins! Alternatively, if someone has placed all twenty of their trains on the game board, then whoever has completed the most tickets wins!

My understanding is that Ticket to Ride: First Journey will be available for demo games at Gen Con 2016, but not sold there. We'll see!




• Finally (for now) is Legendary Inventors from Frédéric Henry and Bombyx, with this design sounding similar to Henry's The Builders in the way that players apply the skills of their workers, but now all players both compete and cooperate to finish building things. Here's an overview of Legendary Inventors, which will be available for demo at Gen Con 2016 ahead of its Q4 2016 release date:

Quote:
Lead a team of history's greatest minds to glory in Legendary Inventors, a game in which 2-5 players each captain a group of four inventors working to bring their knowledge to life by creating useful objects to improve the world. Compete against rival teams to patent inventions and work to improve the knowledge of your inventors. The inventing team who has patented the most inventions or who has the smartest inventors wins.

In more detail, the game takes place over three ages, with each age representing a different period of technological advancement and those inventions becoming more complex in each subsequent age. On a turn, you either send one of your inventors to work on an invention or refresh your inventors to make all of them available again. When you send an inventor to work you apply that character's skills — Albert Einstein has a starting skill of four Physics, for example, while Johannes Gutenberg has a starting skill of two Mechanics — against the needs of the invention, marking off what you've done with colored cubes.

When an invention is complete, the three players who have contributed the most reap the rewards of its completion! Players can choose to acquire and patent the invention by placing the invention card face up in front of them, or they earn reward tokens to upgrade their inventors, gain extra victory points, and even add additional knowledge to an invention.

As soon as all but two inventions in an age are complete, that age ends and a new one begins. After the third age, the team of inventors with the most victory points wins!

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Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:09 pm
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New Game Round-up: New Mansions to Explore, Digital Cards to Purchase, and Tasty Cupcakes to Save

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• Pre-Gen Con 2016 announcements continue from Fantasy Flight Games, with the revelation that Mansions of Madness: Second Edition from Nikki Valens, based on the original Corey Konieczka design, will be available for purchase both at that show and through other retail outlets.

The big news of this new edition is that the role of the Keeper — a player who would control monsters in the game and work against everyone else — has been replaced by an app, thereby allowing for fully cooperative play, in addition to solitaire play. To quote from the announcement: "Throughout every game, the app generates an entirely unique map, full of differing items to utilize, monsters to confront, and events to endure. Instead of the map being fully visible from the start of the game, however, the app obscures the majority of the board in shadows until you endeavor to explore further."




Stone Blade Entertainment has announced the August 1, 2016 launch of Ascension VR, which it describes as a virtual-reality deck-building experience. This experience can be demoed at Gen Con 2016, and here are more details from the press release:

Quote:
Bringing the tabletop world into the digital sphere by connecting players from all over the world into one virtual space, Ascension VR uses 3D fully animated avatars and showcases social elements including spatialized voice chat, avatar lip sync and avatar animation triggered by real time player movement. Players can battle for supremacy regardless of what platform they're on, whether mobile or PC and from a variety of VR headsets.

For new gamers, learning to play is as easy as if they were sitting around a real table together. Ascension VR features a full single player tutorial, as well as single player AI modes. Fans can play with up to three AI opponents to build familiarity with the cards, or dive right into multiplayer to learn with friends.

More solitaire play!



• As it has done for the past two years with Red7 and One Deck Dungeon, at Gen Con 2016 Asmadi Games will debut an "instant game", this being Save the Cupcake by Asmadi owner Chris Cieslik. A description:

Quote:
In Save the Cupcake, one of you has a cupcake, while the other one desires to crush the cupcake in the most epic way possible — by rolling a ball down a hill to run it over.

The Defender of Cupcakes will hide the cupcake in one of many possible locations at the bottom of the hill. The Crusher of Cupcakes will roll four balls down the hill, through an elaborate network of fruit-themed pathways. The Defender and Crusher must cleverly use these pathways to meet their ultimate cupcake goals!

• In non-Gen Con 2016 news, Gamelyn Games has revealed the cover art for Scott Almes' Tiny Epic Quest, a 2017 release that can be demoed at Gen Con 2016. Okay, nevermind — everything is about Gen Con these days!

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Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:15 pm
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