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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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Say Hello to the SPIEL 2016 Preview

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Gen Con 2016 has ended, so let's move on to what's next with the launching of the SPIEL 2016 Preview. Yes, already!

While I'm happy to kick off this preview, I regret to say that it contains barely more than one hundred titles at this point. Why the regrets? Because I wrote to dozens of publishers two weeks prior to Gen Con 2016 and I had anticipated being able to add all of the information that they sent me to the SPIEL 2016 Preview before it went live. Alas, info on Gen Con kept pouring in, too, so I focused on that (as well as regular BGG News posts) instead and filtered everything related to SPIEL into an increasingly jam-packed inbox folder.

Now I've switched gears, though, and other than a few Gen Con round-ups and the publication of individual game overview videos once Aldie edits the four days of livestream game demonstrations that we recorded in Indianapolis, I'll be kicking out SPIEL 2016 info right and left until I hit my final update deadline of Friday, October 7.

If you have info about new games being released or demoed at SPIEL — and yes, the convention's name is spelled in all caps, as confirmed by the event organizer — and that info isn't already on the SPIEL 2016 Preview, feel free to email me at the address in the BGG News header at the top of the page. We hit 774 listings in the SPIEL 2015 Preview, and I'm excited/terrified to see what the final tally will be this year.

With that said, dig in!
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Mon Aug 8, 2016 7:43 am
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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:

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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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Final Pre-Gen Con 2016 Preparations

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Gen Con 2016 starts on August 4, and I'll be in Indianapolis with the BoardGameGeek crew starting on Wednesday, August 3 — i.e., tomorrow (yikes!) — to help set up our booth (#1949) and to take pics from the show floor. What might you need to know before that happens?

If you're going: The BGG Hot Games room will now feature donations from 59 publishers, giving up to 120 gamers at a time the chance to play or fondle the newest releases from Gen Con 2016. We'll post a final list of games once we collect everything from the publishers (or see what they drop off), then prep, punch, and bag everything to be ready for the opening bell on Thursday.

If you're not going: BGG's Gen Con 2016 broadcast schedule is now live! Yes, for all four days of Gen Con 2016, BoardGameGeek will be livestreaming interviews with designers and publishers about their creations.

In addition to watching us for four days, you can follow our posts on Twitter as I'll be snapping pics throughout the show and trying not to fall too far behind in posting them.

Whether you fall into either category: BGG's Gen Con 2016 Preview is now (almost) complete, with its 411 listings being just a smidge more than we saw on the 2015 Preview. That said, I threw in the "almost" caveat because a couple of publishers sent me info on August 1, which I had set as my cutoff date; if I have the time, I'll add them to the Preview, but I might not have time since I'll be jamming on the SPIEL 2016 Preview, which will launch on Monday, August 8.

Yes, we'll slingshot our way straight from the ashes of Gen Con to the fevered beginnings of SPIEL, which opens October 13. I already have eighty titles on that preview and a stuffed inbox folder to which all my requests for information have been routed. Time to crack that open and get to work...again!
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Tue Aug 2, 2016 1:00 pm
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Star Wars: Destiny Wants You to Play Dice for the Fate of the Universe

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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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New Game Round-up: Cosmic Thrones Encounter Westeros, Invaders Arrive in Érin, and Thieves Invite Suspicion

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• The sixth season of the Game of Thrones television series has ended, but before too long players will have a new way to re-enact all the struggles of that show thanks to Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne, a Q4 2016 release from Fantasy Flight Games credited to Bill Eberle, Peter Olotka, Greg Olotka, and Justin Kemppainen that takes the game systems from Cosmic Encounter and transports them to the world of Westeros.

FFG plans to demo Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne at Gen Con 2016, with the game scheduled for a Q4 2016 release. Here's a preview of how CE has been transformed:

Quote:
In Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne, which uses the game systems from Cosmic Encounter, you and your friends each command one of the Great Houses of Westeros, pitting iconic characters against each other in epic battles and schemes. Negotiate, bluff, forge alliances, threaten your rivals — use every tool at your disposal to spread your influence, establish supremacy, and claim the ultimate prize: the Iron Throne!

In more detail, each turn centers around the resolution of an encounter between two players. These encounters can result in hostilities, startling conquests, and the spread of influence, or they can result in the formation of temporary alliances. And though only two players in any encounter will be the "active" players, your friends might offer you their support — or turn around and offer it to someone else.

Win enough of these encounters, though — and find the right ones to lose — and you might find yourself in position to seize the Iron Throne. The goal of the game is to spread five of your influence to your opponents' House cards and take the crown for yourself.

• I just highlighted the fab 1960s art of Ta-Da! in early July 2016, and here's another title bearing the same retro look: Suspicion from the design team of Forrest-Pruzan Creative and publisher Wonder Forge, with this title being available for demo games at Gen Con 2016. An overview:

Quote:
You are a jewel thief, and you've been invited to the mansion of someone who doesn't know that you engage in such nefarious doings. While at that mansion, you're going to try to nick as many jewels as possible, but *gadzooks* the mansion turns out to be filled with jewel thieves who are all trying to do the same thing. Can you out them publicly, while staying unknown yourself and bagging a nice collection of gems?

In Suspicion, ten characters start on the perimeter of the game board, and each player is secretly one of these characters. On a turn, you roll two dice, then move the two characters shown (or characters of your choice if you roll a joker). After this, you play one of the two action cards in your hand, and carry out one of the actions on that card: stealing a type of gem in the space where your character is located, moving any character, asking someone else whether their character can be seen by someone on the board, and so on.

Gems come in three types, and when one of the piles is empty, the game ends. Everyone guesses who is which character, then all identities are revealed. For each player you've guessed correctly, you score 7 points; for each set of three different gems, you score 6 points; and for each individual gem aside from the sets, you score 1 point. Whoever has the most points wins!

• To continue with the theme of the past returning in new forms, I present The Arrival, which new German publisher Game's Up describes as a revamped version of Martin Wallace's Mordred, which was first released in 1999 by Wallace's Warfrog Games. (Note that the cover image shown is not final.) This title will debut at SPIEL 2016 in October, with rules in English and German. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
In a time long forgotten, the cruel Fomori rule over Érin, the green island. They praise their king Balor, who reigns from his fortifications in the north with an iron fist. Old paths and ruins spread over the island's face, which will be called Ireland many generations from now. But new tribes arrive at the island striving for permanent presence. Who will control Érin's fate over the next centuries to come?

Each player in The Arrival represents a tribe leader who tries to gain predominance over the mythical island of Érin while pushing back the demon-like Fomori. But the players are facing a dilemma, for spreading too quickly means becoming more and more corrupt and strengthening the Fomori in their power...

Over 4-6 rounds, the players determine their resources by means of a unique game mechanism, which will be used later on profitably. During a first phase (Earning Phase), players draw four cards, each showing three sections of different resources. Two of these sections are gradually blocked by the player, thus leaving one section. The resources shown on this section are the ones the player gets. During this phase, they have to decide which section is the best one; while the upper section of the cards offers many resources, it also results in unwanted Corruption Points. The middle and the lower sections offer fewer resources, but also less Corruption.

After that, the Action Phase takes place and the players must use their resources wisely while having the choice from different kinds of actions in order to get Fame Points.

The game ends when a certain number of rounds have been played or somebody reaches the corruption limit.

The winner is either the one with the highest amount of Fame Points or the one with the fewest Corruption Points. This depends on the scene of the board at the end: Do the tribes (players) control more locations on Érin than the Fomori do — or is it the other way around?

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Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:09 pm
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Asmodee in Negotiations to Acquire F2Z Entertainment

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Following Asmodee's acquisitions of Days of Wonder (BGG News story) and Fantasy Flight Games (story) in 2014 and the worldwide English rights to Catan (story) in 2016, many people have wondered which domino in the hobby game industry would fall next.

The answer turns out to be F2Z Entertainment, the Canadian publisher/distributor that owns the Z-Man Games, Filosofia Éditions, Pretzel Games, and Plaid Hat Games studios. Asmodee and F2Z Entertainment aren't strangers, having worked with one another over the years, with Asmodee distributing F2Z titles in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe, while F2Z has distributed Asmodee titles in Canada. (This is the basis for the "partnership" referred to in the quotes from the press release below.)

Asmodee has issued the following press release about the deal, and Asmodee North America VP of Marketing Aaron Elliott told me that it can give no other comment at this time since the discussions are still under way. (The "exclusiveness" referred to in the first line of the press release means only that no one else is competing with Asmodee to acquire this company.) Here's what has been made public to date:

Quote:
The Asmodee Group has announced today that it has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire F2Z Entertainment Inc.

In line with the acquisitions of the worldwide rights to Dobble/Spot-It!, Days of Wonder, and Fantasy Flight Games publishers, and more recently the set-up of Catan Studio, these exclusive discussions with F2Z Entertainment Inc. emphasize Asmodee's strategy to strengthen its intellectual property portfolio and international presence. Closing of this acquisition is expected to take place in the coming months.

Created in Canada in 2002 by Sophie Gravel, F2Z Entertainment Inc. has become, over the years, one of the most worldwide renowned publisher & distributor of modern board games, with key owned brands such as Pandemic (over 1 million units sold), Dead of Winter, and also publishing rights for evergreen games (Carcassonne for French and English version, Catan for French version).

Stéphane Carville, CEO of Asmodee Group said: "I am delighted to enter into these exclusive discussions with F2Z Entertainment, which is, for us, the natural next step of a strong and long-lasting partnership built over the years with Sophie Gravel and her teams. Through this acquisition, we will continue expanding our IP portfolio with fantastic games and incredibly innovative studios such as Z-Man Games, Plaid Hat Games and Filosofia. This will also enable us to increase our presence on the global game market."

Sophie Gravel, CEO of F2Z Entertainment added: "As we are close to celebrating 15 years of success with F2Z, we are proud to announce these exclusive discussions with Asmodee Group, a key partner since the beginning of our adventure. This deal is in the direct continuation of our close business partnership and will provide the best environment for our iconic games to reach their full potential and help our studios to continue publishing amazing games."
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Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Crowing in Detroit, Building on Other Planets, and Drawing Like Lightning

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• I've mostly been working on the Gen Con 2016 Preview the past couple of days — 340 game listings and counting! — and in the process of doing so, I've added a few new game listings to the BGG database, such as The Crow: Fire It Up!, which Upper Deck Entertainment will debut at Gen Con 2016 ahead of its retail release. Here's an overview of the gameplay:

Quote:
In a world without justice, one man was chosen to protect the innocent! On Devil's Night in the Motor City, play as Eric Draven as he dishes out revenge against the gang that took his life and the life of his fiance, Shelly, in The Crow: Fire It Up!

As Eric Draven, the player uses the aid of Officer Albrecht, Sarah, and the mysterious Crow to track down the Motor City Gang and stave off their reign of terror, while the opposing players portray members of the vicious gang consisting of Tin-Tin, Funboy, T-Bird, Grange, Myca, and Top Dollar spreading fires and mayhem throughout the city as they seek to lure the undead avenger out of the shadows and take him out!

Victory Point Games plans to release the Reiner Knizia design Planet Rush in 2016, and while the game description is brief, the title is tagged as a reimplementation of Knizia's Tower of Babel, a 2005 release that I just happened to play again this year after a decade's absence from the gaming table. This design fits the Knizia model of seeming like not a lot is going on, while in fact everything is intricately linked. Here's the short description from VPG:

Quote:
It's the age of the next great space race and you are competing to see who will control the newest earth-like planet. Can you build the greatest planet structures and prove you have technological mastery over the planet?

Planet Rush is a fun euro game of bidding and building. You take control of one of five corporate factions, each bidding to contribute the most to the colonization of the planet. The one who builds the most on the planet wins and gets to claim majority ownership of the world itself!

• On a related note, VPG announced in July 2016 that it will relocate from California sometime in 2017, and at that time it will cease in-house production of its print-on-demand titles, moving instead to full production in China and external warehousing. Some of its titles have already made the jump to full production, but not all of them will, so act now or risk having to scour for used copies later.

Wonder Forge will debut three new games at Gen Con 2016, with these titles being available exclusively from the Target retail chain in the U.S., and I have details on two of them for now, starting with Really Bad Art:

Quote:
Really Bad Art is what you're making in this party game, but not because you're a terrible drawer, no — only because you have exactly six seconds to see what you're supposed to draw, then draw it!

Each round, each player secretly takes a card with two phrases like "lack of confidence", "quality of life", "constructive criticism", or "yikes!", then draws a representation of one of those phrases based on whichever color was chosen. Those cards are then shuffled with a dummy card and laid out next to the game board, after which everyone secretly votes on which piece of art corresponds to which card. Guess correctly, and you score two points; have others guess your phrase correctly, and you score one point.

Rounds continue until someone has scored thirty or more points and won the game!

Stick Stack from Brad Ross and Jim Winslow is another incarnation of players needing to place things on top of other things, which really should be the title of a GeekList, if it isn't already:

Quote:
You don't want to be stuck with sticks in Stick Stack, so try to place them as carefully as you can on the wobble tower in the center of the playing area.

Each turn, you either draw a stick from the bag or choose one of the sticks in front of you (in case you had collected any on an earlier turn), then you place that stick onto the tower — but when you place it, the colors on that stack can touch only matching colors on the crow's nest or on other sticks that have already been placed. (If a stick slides onto other colors later as the tower tilts and wobbles, that's okay, but you need to match when placing!)

If any sticks fall off the tower on your turn, collect them and place them in front of you. When all the sticks have been placed onto the tower or when the tower falls over, the game ends immediately. If you caused the tower to fall, you don't collect any of the sticks, but you do score five points (which isn't good). Every player scores one point for each stick in front of them.

If anyone has eleven or more points, the game ends and the player with the lowest score wins. If not, play another round!

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Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:05 pm
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