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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

Archive for W. Eric Martin

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Game Overview: Dream Home, or Home Is Where the Points Are

W. Eric Martin
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City-building is a common theme for board games for obvious reasons: Players can easily grasp the setting and goal, you can apply simple rules to building or resource acquisition that create the basic framework of a game, and people like putting stuff together and marveling at what they made.

Klemens Kalicki and REBEL.pl took these same concepts, but applied a scaled-down approach in Dream Home, which has each player creating their own home one room at a time. This process mimics reality only loosely since sometimes you'll be forced to add another bathroom to the house when you already have two or will find yourself holding a grand piano with no place to put it. Oh, well, just toss it away and get on to the next room. You have only twelve rounds in which to build, so there's no use crying over spilt Steinways...

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Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Shooting Superhot Cards, Phasing Past to Present, and Reduxing Three Kingdoms Redux

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SUPERHOT is a highly stylized first-person shooter video game in which, as the tagline reminds you constantly, "time moves only when you move". Think of The Matrix, but with red and gray replacing all the black and green, and with mannequins in place of Agents.

Designer Manuel Correia and publisher Board&Dice have licensed this design and reworked Correia's Agent Decker into SUPERHOT Card Game, due out in 2017. Here's an overview of this design, which has solitaire, versus, co-op, and 2v1 playing modes:

Quote:
A bullet misses you by millimeters. A dozen more come from every direction. Armed red guys are everywhere. You take a breath, check your options...and play a card.

In the micro deck-building SUPERHOT Card Game, you use abilities and items to deal with increasing threats. Threats you eliminate are added to your hand, giving you improved abilities and more options while bringing you closer to victory — but you need to be careful because the more cards you use, the faster you move through time (represented by a line of obstacles moving in your direction).

In more detail, you need to interact with obstacles — whether killing them or knocking them out — to increase your future possibilities for interaction or to give you more time before bullets appear! The cards that you use are discarded to the obstacle pile while cards you pass by are placed in your personal discard pile, creating a mini-deck of cards. The game has three types of obstacle cards: enemy, scenery, and objects, with each type giving you different abilities when they're in your deck.

• In 2014, Alderac Entertainment Group released Black Box on Black Friday, i.e., the Friday after Thanksgiving in the U.S., with the contents of the Black BoxTrains, two variants of existing games, and a standalone expansion for a third game — not being revealed prior to it going on sale. AEG repeated this experiment in 2015, with that year's Black Box containing new, existing and variant games.

For 2016, however, AEG has revealed that the Black Box to be released on Nov. 25 — today! — will contain only a single game: Jeremy Holcomb's Phase, a collectible card game that was announced by AEG in 2010 but never released. Cards are double-sided, with one side being light and the other dark, and they "phase" (that is, flip) throughout the game for various reasons, changing what the cards can do in the process. AEG is marketing Phase as an old-school CCG (that's not collectible, mind you) in which "crazy combos" pop up all over the place:

Quote:
People will figure out all sorts of strategies to use these cards in ways that the rules don't envision. We think that's a feature, not a bug. Phase is a game that celebrates the kind of overpowered, surprising, inventive player strategies that got left behind when CCGs "became so serious".

Capstone Games has announced an agreement for the North American release of Three Kingdoms Redux with original publisher Starting Player. This three-player-only design from Christina Ng Zhen Wei and Yeo Keng Leong challenges players to bring all of China under your control following the end of the Han Dynasty.

Renegade Game Studios has picked up Kalle Malmioja's Honshu — which debuted at SPIEL 2016 from Finnish publisher Lautepelit.fi — for release in North America in 2017. Honshu is an auction game that resembles a trick-taking game, with each player playing a numbered card from hand on the table before each player claims one of those cards starting with whoever played the highest card. Players then place their claimed card in their tableau, overlapping one or more cards already present. At the end of the game, players score for the largest city in their tableau, water spaces beyond the first in a lake, forests, and resource cubes delivered to destinations.

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Playroom Entertainment are combining licensing power with a pre-existing game to create Geek Out! The Big Bang Theory, which takes the existing Geek Out! formula in which players bid on how many things they think they can name for questions related to comics, science fiction, and other geeky topics. This new edition includes questions about the Warner Bros. Television’s sitcom of the same name.
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Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews at BGG.CON 2016: Room 25 Ultimate, Fugitive, Moa, One Card Wonder, Munchkin Collectible Card Game, Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, and Much More

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• Let's continue a run-through of some of the forthcoming games available for a look-see at BGG.CON 2016, starting with one looked at and seen only by the press, this being Steve Jackson Games' Munchkin Collectible Card Game from Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson.

Lang presented the game in the BGG booth during the 2016 GAMA Trade Show, but here's my take for those who want it in writing: The Munchkin CCG is a 2-4 player battle that leans heavily on bluffing. The game will be sold in three starter packs — each with two pre-set decks of cards that feature a different hero, such as warrior vs. bard or thief vs. cleric — with booster packs of randomized cards being sold separately.

Each hero has a health value and a special ability; the warrior, for example, can zap a hero or monster for 1 damage. A la Hearthstone, players start at level 1 and advance one level a turn to a maximum of ten, although a SJG rep assures me that few games last that long.



Preparing for my turn at BGG.CON 2016


At the start of a turn, you get money from the bank up to whatever your current level is, untap everything, draw a card, place any cards in your stash into your hand, then start doing stuff.

On a turn, you can have at most one location in play, with any new one played replacing your existing one; you can have loot in play with star power up to your current level; you can play hirelings for defense; and you can play monsters to attack the opposing hero, but when you play a monster, you play it face down, placing zero or more coins on it. If the opponent wants to run away, which they can do once per turn, you get the coins back and place the monster face down in your stash. If they want to face the monster, you flip it over; if you didn't pay enough, you take one damage and lose the monster; if you did, the opponent can use hirelings, loot, or both to defend themselves against the monster; the opponent can also play mischief cards from hand to surprise you. If the monster lives, it goes to your stash, while any opposing hirelings and loot are tapped and unavailable for use later in the turn.

And this is where all the bluffing comes in, as with morphing creatures in Magic: The Gathering. Which monster do you want to play in which order? Once an opponent sees you have something, they get to guess whether you're attacking with that or something else. Can you psych them out to waste loot on Blandy McBlanderson so that you can punch through with something else? Can you do it again?



Sample cards from the bard deck; art not finished



If the opponent puts up no defense or you hit with more damage than the loot absorbs, you damage the hero, with the damage points piling up over time until one of you is dead.

Due to the constantly increasing levels, everything in the game scales up over time, but because of the nature of combat — one creature at a time, please — the board doesn't bog down with creature standoffs. The game is all about the solitary face-off and trying to prepare for it so that you don't get hurt too badly if you guess wrong. (You do get a mulligan at the start of play, allowing you to ditch high-cost cards to redraw so that you're not a punching bag for the first few rounds.)

The bard's power — tap to return a card from the stash to your hand — seemed odd given the nature of the game. If the bard bluffs and I run away, the bard gets the money back and can simply return the card to hand to play it out once again, which makes my running seem pointless, but I've played the game only once and don't know everything in the decks, so I could be talking through my hat here.



Sample cards from the thief deck; art not finished


• I also tried Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, which debuted at BGG.CON 2016. This game is a reimplementation of Steve Jackson's Zombie Dice, with the players representing villains who are trying to swipe as much loot as possible without getting caught by Batman.

On a turn, a player takes three dice from the cup and rolls them. Set aside dice showing loot and Batman, then decide whether to reroll alarms. If you do reroll, first draw dice from the cup so that you again have three dice. Keep playing until you either have three or more Batman symbols — which means you were caught and score nothing — or you decide to stop; if you stop, score one point for each loot.

The villain powers provide some variety and push players in different directions during the game. Poison Ivy can ignore one blue Batman, Catwoman doubles blue bills, Joker scores extra for each set of dice on the table, and Riddler rolls four dice on the first turn, then decides what to keep and what to return to the cup. No heavy decisions here, with this being a press-your-luck affair in a race to collect thirty loot first.




• In one of the exhibitor halls, Matagot showed off Room 25 Ultimate, which takes the Room 25 base game and Room 25: Season 2 expansion and shoves them in a single box.

Some small changes were made to details of the game, but the gameplay remains the same, with everyone trapped and looking for a way out through Room 25 — assuming they can find it in time.



Couldn't avoid glare with this shiny box and multiple spot lights!


Tim Fowers ran a Kickstarter for his two-player cat-and-mouse chase game Fugitive in mid-2016 — collecting more than $200K in the process — but I was oblivious to this design until I ran across the final product on display at BGG.CON 2016. So many games to see!

In the game, one player is the fugitive and is trying to play cards to reach #42 and escape, while the other player hunts for the first, revealing cards along the way, which then provides clues toward which other cards might be in play.



Some of the cards in the game, showing the final art


One Card Wonder is a Nathaniel Levan design that existed only as a box and a framed piece of art in the APE Games booth as the components were currently residing somewhere else, but APE's Kevin Brusky conveyed an overview of the game to me, and now I share one with you:

Quote:
In One Card Wonder, each player receives a card that shows a wonder of the ancient world and a set of support buildings. The multiple stages of the wonder must be built from the ground up, while the buildings may be built in any order. Players have four worker meeples and a personal supply of resources, and a general supply of resources also exists. The resource supply bag moves from player to player to indicate who is the active player.

On a turn, you take one of four actions. You may draw three cubes from the cloth supply bag, then add one to your personal supply, placing the other two in the general supply. You may take all resources of one type from the general supply. (You may hold only eight resources at a time in your supply, so if after drawing or taking you have more than eight resources, you must return some to the general supply.) You may build a level of the wonder or a building by paying its resource cost from your supply; your workers mark individual buildings as you build them, unlocking abilities. Finally, you may sell pairs of matching goods to the supply in exchange for coins. Coins can be used as a wild resource, but they also appear in the cost of some wonders. Resources sold or used to build are returned to the supply bag.

In games of four or more players, players may also trade. Trading occurs off-turn, that is, it can involve anyone except the active player. You may negotiate and trade freely with other players, but you must stop negotiating once you receive the supply bag and become the active player. The longer you spend on your turn, the more opportunity your opponents have to make deals.

The first player to complete their wonder wins!




• Other upcoming games on display or available for demo at BGG.CON included:



Moa reimplements Martin Wallace's Liberté to retell the conflict between birds and mammals in New Zealand;
due out from APE Games at SPIEL 2017 in October



Dark is the Night from APE Games pits hunter in firelight against monster in the dark on a board much smaller than their convention demo



Issue double-sided commands Major General: Duel of Time, with one command affecting each player as long as they're visible



Tiny Epic Quest was being played on the Gamelyn Games table every day



Artwork from Days of Wonders' Yamataï, due out in May 2017



3 to 4 Headed Monster, released by Tasty Minstrel Games after first being announced in 2014



Other TMG offerings newly available at BGG.CON 2016: The Oracle of Delphi, Orléans: Invasion,
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Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews at BGG.CON 2016: Mole Rats in Space, Pyramid Poker, Automobiles: Racing Season, Notre Dame, and In the Year of the Dragon

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• In the closing hours of BGG.CON 2016, designer Matt Leacock showed off Mole Rats in Space, a cooperative design due out in 2017 from Peaceable Kingdom, a U.S. publisher that specializes in cooperative games for youngsters.

In this game for 2-4 players, you and your teammates are mole rats on a research station that has been invaded by snakes. You need to collect four pieces of equipment and leave the station in an escape pod before you're bit or time runs out.

On a turn, you carry out the instructions on the card in front of you, perhaps moving yourself or your teammates, moving one or more snakes, or adding a new snake to the board. Land on the bottom of a ladder, and the character (or snake) advances one level toward the escape pod; land on a chute, and you descend a level — or are shot out into the vast reaches of space where you die slowly of asphyxiation. Make sure that only snakes suffer this fate or you lose the game!

If you land on a snake, you're bit and must return to your starting location; get bit a second time, and you die. Run out of cards, you die. Let a snake board the escape pod, you die. In case that threat of death isn't enough for you, the game includes a pack of cards to add to the deck once you've triumphed a few times so that you can increase the challenge. Snakes on a pod!



Prototype artwork


Pyramid Poker is a two-player design from Aaron Weissblum, Norman Woods, and R&R Games due out January 2017 that consists of 54 wooden rectangular blocks, 52 of them with the standard card deck distribution (2-A in four suits) on one side and two of them with a pharaoh on one side.

To set up the game, place all of the blocks face down and shuffle them. Each player then takes fifteen blocks and turns the blocks so that only they see what's one them. They take turns placing the blocks into a two-dimensional pyramid-shaped structure, again seeing only their blocks, then they take turns removing any one block from the pyramid and placing it into one of three poker hands that they're constructing. Each poker hand is competing against the one opposite it that's being built by the opponent.

If a player draws a pharaoh, they draw three face-down blocks that weren't initially chosen, discard two of them, then add the third block to one of their poker hands.

Once all the blocks have been removed, the player who wins two or three of the poker hands wins!

Even with all of this wood in the box — well, nothing but wood really! — R&R Games plans to market this game with a $20 MSRP to make it an autobuy for anyone with even a slight interest in the game.




• Designer David Short demoed the forthcoming Automobiles: Racing Season expansion for Automobiles from Alderac, and he told me a bit about the game that I have hopefully rendered correctly below.

The Automobiles: Racing Season expansion adds multiple elements to the Automobiles base game. First, players can adopt the role of a driver who has a special power unique to that character. Players can also acquire sponsors during the game, and each sponsor has an array of actions available to them.

Automobiles: Racing Season includes three new tracks, two smaller ones on half of the game board and a larger one on the reverse side of the entire board. Cards are included for these boards and those in the base game, and now players can compete in a season of multiple tracks, keeping their driver for the entire season and (more importantly) keeping their bag intact as they move from one track to another, thereby supercharging the race right from the starting line for each race past the first.




• To follow up from my post of a few days ago, in Q2 2017 the U.S. branch of Ravensburger plans to release 10th anniversary editions of Stefan Feld's Notre Dame and In the Year of the Dragon, both with expansions not included in the original releases and both with rules in English, French and German.

More specifically, In the Year of the Dragon — now dubbed In the Year of the Dragon: 10th Anniversary — will include The Great Wall of China & The Super Events expansions from the alea Treasure Chest.

Notre Dame: 10th Anniversary will contain the Notre Dame base game, the New Persons expansion from Treasure Chest (now dubbed "New Persons I"), and a new "New Persons II" expansion. Each of the "New Persons" expansions consists of nine character cards, with three of each labeled A, B or C, and you can choose to use particular characters in a game or draw three cards at random from shuffled A, B and C decks.



Mock-ups of New Persons I & II at BGG.CON 2016


What's more, Notre Dame: 10th Anniversary will include a small expansion for The Castles of Burgundy called Trade Routes. The gist of this twelve-card expansion is that each player starts with three cards in a row above their player board, with each card depicting three actions. When a player takes the first action depicted on their leftmost card, they receive a bonus and cover this space; when they now take the second action, they receive a bonus and cover this space; etc.

To answer some of the questions asked in that original post, these new editions of Notre Dame and In the Year of the Dragon will bear the same numbers in the alea big box series as the original releases. These expansions — both the new ones and old — will likely be available separately, possibly through the BGG Store, according to Ravensburger's Florian Baldenhofer, who I spoke with at BGG.CON 2016.



Mock-up of the Trade Routes cards at BGG.CON 2016
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Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Preview from BGG.CON 2016: Alien Artifacts

W. Eric Martin
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I played a number of forthcoming games at BGG.CON 2016, some of which cannot yet be revealed and others of which have been announced loud and proud by the publishers in question, with one of the latter being Alien Artifacts from Portal Games.

The pitch for Alien Artifacts is crystal clear — a 4X-style gaming experience in sixty minutes or less — and the trick to making that short playing time possible is that everything you do in the game is on cards: planets you explore, technology you exploit, resources you expend, and spaceships you use for attacking. (Extermination is too strong a word for what happens in this game, at least in its current iteration, but Portal Games is still developing this Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska design ahead of a planned Gen Con 2017 release, so note that the final game might differ from what's described and depicted below.)

At the start of the game, you can produce (draw) two cards each turn, store two cards, and assemble (use) one. Cards have a number from 1-4 on them as well as 1-3 colored squares on each end. The squares represent currencies, with blue building technology, green exploring planets, red fueling military growth, and yellow (seemingly always a single square) being a joker than can apply toward anything.


Approx. seven turns in; storage should be one higher since I explored a planet


Each turn, you take one action. You might store two cards to be used as money to buy something later, or work toward discovering a planet (with each additional planet requiring more effort than earlier ones), or use a special, single-use action acquired on a planet previously discovered, or buy a technology card (with these cards being color-coded for expand, explore, exterminate, and exploit categories), or complete a technology previously purchased. If you spend money from storage or take a planet action, then you keep your cards in hand for use next turn; otherwise you assemble what you can, then throw away the rest.

As you increase your holdings, your abilities increase. More military leads to more production, giving you more cards in hand each turn. More technology allows you to assemble more, letting you tuck more cards each turn to find planets and complete technology faster. More planets gives you more storage, letting you bank more money toward future purchases, such as a dreadnought or a mothership, which will then allow further military growth, which gets you more cards, which lets you buy more technology, etc.


Details on the possible actions and their costs


Alternatively, you can use money to buy more production, storage, and assembly, but ideally you want to build tech, military, and planetary holdings since those things will help with everything else you're doing.

You play twice through the giant money stack with two players and three times through with three or four players. (Shades of Bohnanza here, to pull out an unlikely comparison, since the stack shrinks due to cards being in storage or assembly, causing the second and third passes through the deck to go more quickly than the first.) Once the game ends, players tally points for each type of technology, each set of all four tech cards, each planet explored, each maximum reached in production, storage and assembly, and possibly other things as well.


Almost through round one, w/ one planet used up, three techs in place, and zero military


Greg from Portal Games gave me a quick overview, then we dove in, with us completing more than half of a two-player game in fifteen minutes. (I had an appointment to get to, so I didn't experience the humiliation of point-counting.) I kept initially thinking, "I'm not doing very much", but at some point I realized that we were flying through the deck and I had explored three planets and completed one of each technology and was powering up a mothership for future Greg-threatening and was grabbing four cards each turn, which was jetting me through everything else that I was trying to do.

Mind you I'm not saying that I played well, but I felt like I did a lot. Alien Artifacts is one of those designs that I approach with blinders, initially seeing only my own board and not even all of that. I completed multiple technology items, but I don't think I used one of them. I used one planet power without knowing what I was trying to do with it; I ignored another planet power that I should have used. I knew that Greg was doing stuff, but I never once considered what his cards might be or why I might want to take a planet that would help him (if they would have). I bought a mothership before him, without realizing that he had been storing money to buy it.

No, I was just doing stuff to do things, with that first play being all about feeling out the system and seeing how things work — and the short take is that they work amazingly well, with the game having a Splendor-like feel in how the micro actions each turn pile up into exponential growth, but with many more choices for what to do and lots of details that I didn't even begin to examine.

Next time, I can play for real and actually try to think about what I'm doing!


Thanks to Grzegorz Polewka for teaching the game at BGG.CON 2016!
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Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Preview from BGG.CON 2016: Yamataï

W. Eric Martin
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BGG.CON 2016 is over — or at least it is for me as I'm no longer in Dallas surrounded by hundreds of games and gamers. No matter as I can reminisce over the many games that I played during the fair. Most of those titles were already familiar to me as I frequently played with my son and our family's exchange student — which meant going with the flow of what they want to play — but I did put on my reporter's hat for a few upcoming titles, and I'll post about them here and in a few posts later this week.

We'll start with Yamataï, a design from Bruno Cathala and Marc Paquien due out in May 2017 that presents players with a lush, somewhat fantastical world that is a hallmark of Days of Wonder releases.

In the game, 2-4 players compete to build palaces, torii, and their own buildings in the land of Yamataï. The game includes ten numbered action tiles, each showing one or more colored ships and with most showing a special action. You shuffle these tiles, place them in a row, then reveal one more than the number of players.


First turn of the game


On a turn, each player chooses a tile, collects the depicted ships from the reserve, optionally buys or sells one ship, then places the ships on the board. The land has five entryways, and you must start from these points or place adjacent to ships already on the board. You can't branch the ships being placed, and if you place your first ship adjacent to another, then that first ship must be the same color as the adjacent one; otherwise you can place ships without regard to color.

After placing ships, you can either claim colored resources from land that you've touched with new ships this turn or build on one vacant space. To build, the space must have colored ships around it that match the ships depicted on one of the available building tiles. If you build a personal building that's connected to others you own, you receive money equal to the number of buildings.

You can bank one ship before the end of your turn, then you can use any three resources or a pair of matching resources to purchase a specialist, each of whom has a unique power.


Mid-game; one action lets you place a dragon to make an area off-limits


After all players go, you shuffle the action tiles, place them face down in the row, then reveal enough tiles at the front of the line to set up for the next turn, with the turn order being determined by the numbers on the tiles that players chose the previous turn. Once you trigger one of the game-ending conditions — e.g., no ships of one color or no more specialists — you finish the round, then count points for buildings built, specialists hired, fans collected, and money on hand.

Yamataï feels like a spiritual successor to Five Tribes in two ways. First, players constantly jockey for turn order, with you ideally being able to go last in one round, then first in the next in order to set up particular moves — especially since you can't build on a land bearing resources, and clearing the land potentially opens it to building by others before you can put a stake in the ground. As you might expect, the tiles with more powerful actions have higher numbers to push you back further in turn order on the subsequent turn, but this isn't necessarily bad since the less powerful (and lower-numbered) tiles might still be available when you finally get to go.

Second, players own their personal buildings, but everything else on the board is shared, with the ship trails being built collectively. Actions let you swap, move or remove ships, letting you build where you otherwise couldn't or blocking someone else from building because they lack the ships (or funds for a ship) that will let them expand into a new territory. Thus, you're constantly trying to judge who can (or might) build what on their turns, then choosing actions of your own to minimize what others can do.


Final board; building on hills & next to special buildings earns you fans


I've played Yamataï twice with four players — once at BGG.CON 2016 and once at Gen Con 2015 on a somewhat different version — and those two games have played out quite differently, with the latter being a drawn-out building fest that occupied nearly everything on the board and the former being a quick dash to the finish line as Cathala took advantage of our resource clearing to erect six personal buildings (and trigger the end) before we could do much on our own.

Note that the pics here include some final artwork, with the graphic design, components, and other elements still being works in progress.


Co-designer Bruno Cathala played Yamataï constantly at BGG.CON 2016
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Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:12 pm
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New Game Round-up: Dividing Spoils of War, Terminating Timelines, and Celebrating Ten-Year-Old Feld

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• Every gamer knows, whether true or not, that Vikings were all about pillaging, and now in Spoils of War — due out from Bryan Pope, Jason Medina, and Arcane Wonders in April 2017 — 3-5 players get to figure out how to divvy up the goods. An overview:

Quote:
The raid is over, and the victorious Vikings gather in the chieftain's tent to divide the spoils of war! Piled high on a massive oak table are the best treasures taken during the raid: gleaming gems, shiny swords, fine armor, and magical artifacts! Once strong allies, the Vikings are taken by greed, and soon a heated debate ensues — who will get which spoils? Fists pound the table, insults are made, and tempers rise!

Spoils of War is a fast-paced and exciting game of bidding and wagering. Each round, players roll their dice, then cleverly bluff and bet to outwit their fellow Vikings. The winners of each round get to claim fantastic treasures to add to their collection! With lots of twists and surprises, no one knows who will win until the last treasure is claimed and the spoils are counted!

Space Goat Productions, publisher of the forthcoming Evil Dead 2: The Official Board Game, has announced that it will kickstart The Terminator: The Official Board Game in 2017, with William Wisher Jr. — screenwriter on both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day — serving as a story consultant for the game. Here's an overview of the setting:

Quote:
The Terminator: The Official Board Game is an asymmetrical strategy game played across two boards: one in 1984 and one in 2029. One player takes control of all the forces of the machines — Hunter Killer flying machines, Terminator endoskeletons, and new robots based on the classic 1980s aesthetic — while the rest of the players take the role of the human resistance, struggling against the impossible odds of the machine uprising.


CMON Limited has licensed Edward Chan's Banana Bandits for release in the U.S. in Q2 2017, with the monkey players crawling around a skyscraper trying to punch one another to steal each other's coins. A representative from CMON Limited told me that the game rules have been reworked somewhat from the game's first appearance at SPIEL 2016 from Capstone HK.

Thames & Kosmos will release the three escape room games from Inka & Markus Brand — EXIT: The Game – The Pharaoh's Tomb, The Secret Lab, and The Abandoned Cabin — in English in Q2 2017.

• At BGG.CON 2016, the U.S. branch of Ravensburger teased two items forthcoming in 2017, those being new editions of Stefan Feld's Notre Dame and In the Year of the Dragon, with both of the cover mock-ups being labeled "10th anniversary" and "Expansions included". The expansions in In the Year of the Dragon are straightforward — The Great Wall of China & The Super Events, both of which appeared in the Treasure Chest of alea expansions released in 2009 — but it's not clear exactly what's in Notre Dame as the expansions listed are "New Persons I" and "New Persons II", while the Treasure Chest included only a set of nine "new person" cards.

What's more, the back cover of Notre Dame notes that it also includes "The Trading Routes" expansion for The Castles of Burgundy. I plan to speak with a Ravensburger rep at BGG.CON 2016 on Friday to find out more about these two items.




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Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:00 pm
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X-Men to Join the Munchkin Universe in 2017

W. Eric Martin
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The X-Men might not be able to share the screen with Captain America and the other Avengers due to licensing agreements between Marvel Comics and Fox, but they will be able to share your gaming table come March 2017 with the release of Munchkin X-Men.

USAopoly previously released Munchkin Marvel in April 2016, along with two expansions in the middle of 2016, and now the X-Men get to join the cardplay with a standalone game that can also be combined with the earlier release. Here's an overview of this title from the publisher:

Quote:
Join the X-Men on a thrilling adventure to defend mankind from renegade mutants. Munchkin X-Men combines Marvel's beloved collection of X-Men comics with the role-playing fun of Munchkin.

In the game, players take on the role of students attending Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and team up with Professor X, Wolverine, and more super-charged mutants to take down the likes of Sabretooth, Juggernaut, and the almighty Magneto. The game includes 128 Door and Treasure cards, four player Role cards, four level trackers, game rules, and a custom die.

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Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:00 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XVII: Mythic Battle: Pantheon, Unlock!, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Tokyo Ghoul, and B-Movie Showdown

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• We're nearing the end of game preview videos at SPIEL 2016, with this one being one of the longest we shot, but given all of the material in Mythic Battles: Pantheon — not to mention the seemingly endless supply of expansions that draw in every character from Greek mythology — the length is not really a surprise. This game is a re-creation of Benoit Vogt's Mythic Battles, with everything being upsized and vividly produced by co-publishers Mythic Games and Monolith.





• Escape rooms were a big thing at SPIEL 2016, with three different companies presenting their own play-at-home versions of this trend, and even more are coming, with Cyril Demaegd from Space Cowboys here presenting his take on the concept: Unlock!. This item, due out in Q1 2017, will include three different escape room adventures as well as two tutorials that allow players to learn all the rules by playing rather than reading the rules. A companion app is required for, in Demaegd's words, roughly 10% of the game, with the app providing clues (if needed), ambiance, and verification of a successful escape.





• Demaegd also explained what's happening with the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective line, which was rebooted by Ystari Games in 2011 and is now moving to Space Cowboys, with the partly new, partly reprint Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures arriving at stores in Q1 2017, followed by a revamped SHCD in Q2 2017, and a collection of the individual expansions released by Ystari coming at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Ludonova's Watson & Holmes from 2015 is also being released as part of Space Cowboys' Sherlock Holmes line of games, with the French version hitting shelves on December 2, 2016 and the English version coming later.





• The little that I know of Tokyo Ghoul, a hidden role board game coming from Don't Panic Games, is contained in this brief video shot during SPIEL 2016. When time is running short on a Sunday at a convention, you take the teaser, then move on to what's next.





• Don't Panic Games, in cooperation with co-publisher Volumique, was also previewing B-Movie Showdown, with co-designer Farid Ben Salem running through the basics of gameplay and presenting some of the factions that will face off in this two-player game.

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Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:00 pm
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New Games to Explore at BGG.CON 2016: Alien Artifacts, Sagrada, HOP!, Mega Man Pixel Tactics, and The Blood of an Englishman

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I realize that not everyone can attend BGG.CON 2016, which starts Wednesday, November 16 in Dallas, Texas, but since a number of publishers will debut titles at that show or have upcoming games on hand for playing and playtesting, I thought I'd highlight those titles in case either you will attend and want to try them out, or you want to watch for pics and game reports from those who were at the show.

• Igancy Trzewiczek from Portal Games, for example, has announced that for BGG.CON he won't be highlighting recent releases such as Cry Havoc, but will instead be focused on presenting Portal's Gen Con 2017 release Alien Artifacts, a 4X-style card game from Marcin Ropka and Viola Kijowska.

Renegade Game Studios will have final production copies of Dan Cassar's The Blood of an Englishman available for purchase or demoing, with Cassar being present at the RGS booth Thursday through Saturday. Renegade also plans to demo the tile-laying game Castles of Caladale, with designer David Wilkinson being present Friday and Saturday, as well as Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts expansion.

• At BGG.CON 2016, Steve Jackson Games will have public demonstrations of Ogre: Sixth Edition, Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, and Ghosts Love Candy (which SJG picked up for publication following the demise of original publisher 5th Street Games). These last two titles should also be available for purchase.

Cryptozoic Entertainment plans to have its newly released Attack on Titan: Deck-Building Game for demo and purchase, while also demoing its 2017 release Batman: The Animated Series – Almost Got 'Im Card Game. Yes, two B:TAS titles at one show!

Floodgate Games will demo the dice-drafting, stained-glass-window-making Sagrada by designers Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews.

• Publisher of many tiny games Button Shy will have a half-dozen upcoming titles in its "wallet games" series available for playing at BGG.CON: Universal Rule, Avignon: Pilgrimage, Turbo Drift, Find Your Seats, That Snow Moon, and Circle The Wagons.

• Not content to bring just games, Level 99 Games will have a special playing space at BGG.CON 2016: the Duelist Lounge, which will be open in room 1112 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6-10 p.m. Here's the room description from Level 99's D. Brad Talton, Jr.:

Quote:
Duelist Lounge is a space reserved for head-to-head games, sponsored by Level 99 Games. We'll be providing drinks, snacks, and a variety of one-on-one games from our Duelist Line series, including BattleCON, EXCEED, Sellswords, Pixel Tactics (including the currently-on-kickstarter Mega Man Pixel Tactics) and more! Feel free to bring your own favorite two-player games from the BGG Library as well!

Attendees to BGG will find a copy of Level 99 Games's recent release, Dragon Punch, in their registration bags.

Passport Game Studios will have the LudiCreations title Mythe, just released at retail on November 11, while previewing the two titles that French publisher Funforge debuted at SPIEL 2016: Pocket Madness and HOP!
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Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:00 pm
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