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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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New Game Round-up: Old Games Made New — Acquire, RoboRally, Order of the Gilded Compass & Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier Game

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• In what might be seen as a perfect branding opportunity, Brian Yu's Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters — the 2014 Kinderspiel des Jahres winner that's finally due out in English from Mattel in July 2016 — will also be released in a separate edition as Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier Game. I believe that this latter item will be exclusive to the Target retail chain in the U.S., but I'm double-checking that detail. Update, June 1: This item will be available at multiple retailers, according to designer Brian Yu. Target, which does have exclusivity on a number of game releases, has just listed the game prior to anyone else in this situation.

Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier Game includes four ways to play: Basic Battle, Basic Battle with Rowan, Advanced Adventure, and Advanced Adventure with Rowan. Designer Yu tells me that Rowan is a special ghost figure included in this version that cannot be killed. When Rowan's card comes up in the deck, you draw the next card, then move it to that room. If that room becomes a haunting due to the number of ghosts in it, Rowan automatically moves to the next room.


Grey Fox Games plans to release a new edition of Jeffrey D. Allers and Bernd Eisenstein's Alea Iacta Est at Gen Con 2016 under the title Order of the Gilded Compass. (Note that the image at left shows only the logo for this new release.) Here's an overview of the setting for this re-design:

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Order of the Gilded Compass is a dice assignment game for 2-5 players. In this game, each player takes on the role of a treasure hunter seeking invitation to join the most prestigious of archaeological secret societies. Players scour the globe to unearth fantastic and valuable artifacts. By assigning their archaeologist dice to the right locations at the right time, players acquire treasure maps and specialists to follow them, dive for sunken treasure, acquire rare finds at the auction house, and even enlist the help of the Illuminati. The player who has the most treasure at the end of the game earns an invitation to The Order of the Gilded Compass and wins.

Order of the Gilded Compass uses a variable set-up in order to create fresh and interesting game play experiences. Each game has five locations in play to which players may assign their dice for various kinds of treasures and bonuses, and the game includes nine different buildings to allow for many unique combinations.

• I skipped ACD Games Day this year to attend BGG.CON Spring 2016, which meant that I missed out on seeing the new versions of Sid Sackson's Acquire and Richard Garfield's Robo Rally that Avalon Hill displayed at that trade show, but thankfully Josh Githens from Czech Games Edition passed along the following image to me:


I posted some details about the new edition of Robo Rally on BGG News in March 2016, but this is the first that I've head about Acquire hitting the market again, so I've contacted Avalon Hill for details and will post again if I hear anything.
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Wed Jun 1, 2016 1:00 pm
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Giochi Uniti Offers Guilds and Murderers for Your Entertainment

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• Everywhere I look, I keep coming across games that I feel I should know about, but which were announced by their publishers months ago and about which I know nothing. Perhaps this is simply the result of an ever-increasing number of games coming onto the marketplace. You cannot possibly keep track of everything coming out, much less know the rules or (heaven forbid) play the darned things. That said, I do what I can to keep up and before the game has been released sometime in 2016, I still have time to present an overview of Guilds from designer Christian Giove and publishers Giochi Uniti and Stratelibri:

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The bloody War of the Seven Kingdoms has been over for more than thirty years, and the kingdom of Anderis is experiencing a period of great expansion, thanks in part to its central position which has quickly transformed it into an important commercial crossroads. New roads have been built in the kingdom, with a new city founded at their meeting point which has grown so much that the King has decided to move the capital there and build a new castle.

Numerous corporations of craftsmen were already present in the city, but now guilds are forming, which are larger and more wide-ranging, powerful and in competition with one another. With the goal of obtaining favor with the King, the guilds will gather together the most prestigious personages within them, not to mention those who can bring the largest influx of money or useful talent.

What better place than the central square to find new members? For this reason, each guild places its tents in the central square every week, inviting the persons it considers most interesting to sign up by incentivizing them with precious gifts. This is certainly not a low-cost operation considering that it can cost many pieces of silver to put together the most convincing gift.

At the same time, each guild must build its headquarters, spending large amounts of gold to enlarge it with a range of luxurious rooms suitable for its members; if this were not enough, the guilds must also take into account the King's current tastes on what is most important for a guild worthy of his approval.

Will you manage to make your guild stand out so that it becomes the most important in the city? Which means will you be willing to use in Guilds to win the King's favor?

• Another title from Giochi Uniti/Stratelibri that I probably should have covered earlier is Whitehall from designers Gabriele Mari and Gianluca Santopietro, with this title being a thematic sequel to their Letters from Whitechapel. Here's a short description:

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October 1888: During the construction of the Metropolitan Police headquarters near Whitehall, which would later be known as Scotland Yard, the remains of a body were found. In September, a severed arm had already been discovered in the muddy shore of the River Thames.

There is another murderer roaming the streets of London in Whitehall, amusing himself by spreading the pieces of a poor woman around Whitehall, like some kind of macabre treasure hunt. The identity of this monster and his unfortunate victim are a mystery, the Whitehall Mystery.
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Mon May 30, 2016 4:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 Preview — Now Live!

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Given that BGG.CON Spring 2016 is wrapping up — and I plan to post a wrap-up of that experience in the near future — it's time to publish our Origins Game Fair 2016 Preview. Right now the preview is fairly small with only 35 items listed, but the Origins 2015 Preview grew to more than 150 titles before that convention opened, and I expect similar growth on the 2016 Preview in the two weeks prior to the opening of Origins 2016 on June 15.

In case you missed my note from mid-May 2016, BGG will be at Origins for all five days of Origins, and the current plan is to livestream game demonstrations from 10:00 to 16:00 each day. We've scheduled time with some of the publishers who will be there, and I'm reaching out to others this coming week. I plan to publish our broadcast schedule on Monday, June 13 in order to give us enough time to finalize everything, although at this point we might just be playing games on camera during the final day.

With that in mind, if you're a publisher or designer who will be selling or showing off new designs at Origins 2016, please contact me via the email address in the BGG News header and drop the info on these designs!
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Mon May 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Exploring Gaslands, Adding Corruption to Stockpile, and Hosting Another Festival in Kingsport

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• From board game to card game — that's seemingly the trend these days, with the latest example of this being the announcement of the June 2016 release of Kingsport Festival: The Card Game from designer Gianluca Santopietro and publishers Giochi Uniti, Passport Game Studios, and Sir Chester Cobblepot. Here's an overview:

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In the unimaginable darkness of Kingsport, silent wanderers are called to a profane celebration. Their goal: to invoke unthinkable horrors! A dread terror that is not of this world or any other — but rather from the spaces between the stars — demands your submission. Meanwhile, unwary investigators vainly attempt to halt this appalling chapter in the dark history of Arkham.

As the high priest of one of these shadowy cults in Kingsport Festival: The Card Game, you must dominate the city. You will invoke cosmic creatures and unholy gods to receive their "gifts", but you must take care to preserve your sanity and thwart the investigators who seek to stop you. This time, you are the bad guys. Why settle for the lesser evil?

Osprey Publishing is currently developing Mike Hutchinson's Gaslands — "a game of post-apocalyptic vehicular mayhem" — for publication in 2017 and parties interested in playtesting are invited to sign up on the Gaslands website. The game in slightly more detail:

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In Gaslands, you field bikes, cars, trucks, big rigs, buggies, and buses as a post-apocalyptic racing team. You equip your vehicles with an array of weapons, then compete for money and prestige across a campaign that alternates between race events (for money and reputation) and wasteland scraps (for resources and the gas you need for the next race).

Gaslands is unashamedly inspired by classic car combat games and is designed to work with kitbashed Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars.

Nauvoo Games has announced a small expansion for Brett Sobol and Seth Van Orden's Stockpile titled Continuing Corruption, and as with many other expansions these days, this one consists of multiple modules that can be used independently or in any combination. New investors, bonds, commodities, and more await their inclusion in your pile.

• While cleaning house in the BGG News queue, I ran across an in-progress post from Phoebe Wild, and while I'd mostly covered the games she had mentioned in posts of my own (since our coordination skills are near nil), I realized that I still hadn't covered the following, so here's Phoebe's write-up:

Publisher Harebrained Schemes has announced that the latest expansion for Golem Arcana — titled Durani: Champions of the Western Wind — has been made available for purchase earlier than expected on January 27, 2015. The publisher has also announced that this will be the final product released for the game, and that the app required to play the game will not be updated since the most recent version was created at the end of 2015. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

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We here at HBS are devastated that we can't continue to expand this ground-breaking game. We poured our hearts and souls, as well as millions of our dollars, into a landmark development in tabletop hybrid games. We're very proud of this game, with glowing reviews by everyone from Penny Arcade to Game Informer, and an Origins Award for Best Miniature Figure Rules. Unfortunately, sales have not recouped our extensive investment in software and manufacturing.

The most recent code-update from the end of 2015 is the final state of the App, representing our best foot forward for supporting as many iOS and Android devices and operating systems as possible at that time. We recognize that there are still many minor bugs and sometimes unexpected behavior, and that future devices or OS updates may create additional bugs.

Unfortunately this means that Golem Arcana is likely to be unplayable in the near future as the app becomes buggy or unusable on newer devices. If you like the game, it might be worth keeping your old device so that you can still play when you have the iPad 27.

WEM adds: But wait! Turns out that app updates, at least small ones, are possible as on March 10, 2016 Harebrained Schemes' Brian Poel posted "a modest list of changes" for the Golem Arcana app. Adds Poel: "Once the dust settles, assuming everything goes smoothly, we'll begin to prioritize the next possible update (code or data) and we'll just keep chipping away at things as best we can."
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Sat May 28, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: French Ticklers — Kanagawa, Hop!, The Inventors, Schotten Totten, and Welcome Back to the Dungeon

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I've run across a lot of teaser images and videos recently for games coming from French companies, so I thought I'd drop them in a single post to highlight all of this artistic goodness in one go and see whether any of them tickle your fancy.

IELLO notes that Kanagawa — from Abyss designers Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier — is a game about ōkami that's scheduled to debut at Spiel 2016 in October. Beyond that, I've seen no other information on the game. The illustration is by Elk64, and I think she's a newcomer to games. Lots of beautiful illustrations to check out on her DeviantArt page if you want to see more!




• I've already posted about the new edition of Reiner Knizia's Schotten Totten due out from IELLO in June 2016 in France and in Q3 2016 in the U.S., but here's a new card image from illustrator Djib, who offers this tagline: "One shot, one kilt".



• Each week, someone from IELLO walks around the office with a video camera and records what everyone is doing, which often leads to teasers and previews for what's coming out in the future, as with this video that shows off Masato Uesugi and Antoine Bauza's Welcome Back to the Dungeon, a standalone sequel to Welcome to the Dungeon with four new characters — princess, ninja, minstrel and necromancer — that can also be mixed with that original game. The video — which is in French, mind you — shows off the new characters and monsters and gives you lots of symbols to interpret, should you so desire. (Start at the 1:10 to skip the info on Happy Cows — yes, cows, not pigs.)



• Another Spiel 2016 release being teased is Hop! from Funforge, Ludovic Maublanc, and Marie Cardouat, with Cardouat also supplying the illustrations. Here's the summarized description for now: "In Hop!, you will travel the sky and cross the path of the legendary hippopocorns."



Les Inventeurs (The Inventors) resembles designer Frédéric Henry's The Builders at first glance, but the description of what players do in this Bombyx/Multiverse release that's due out in October 2016 doesn't match that earlier game. An overview:

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In Les Inventeurs, you manage a team of four inventors from different eras (antiquity, the Middle Ages, etc.), taking advantage of their special skills to create the great inventions of history, improve their personal skills, and submit patents that will ideally make your team famous — although the other players might also benefit from your shared discoveries.

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Fri May 27, 2016 1:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market • May 2016 III — Game Overviews of Gaijin Dash!, Trick of Spy, Rummy 17, Mushroom Mania, Same One!, Genie's Banquet & Matadoon!

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Filming at the Tokyo Game Market is tough. The event lasts only seven hours, tables are small, few people speak English (and I can only count a bit in Japanese), and most JP designer/publishers don't want to appear on camera anyway. Add all that together, and you can understand why I didn't film any game overviews during TGM itself.

Instead my guide/translator Ken Shoda met me at the Tokyo game café Dear Spiele on the Saturday following TGM, where we spent four hours reading rules (Ken), asking questions (me), and filming these videos (my wife Linda). As you might be able to tell from the walls around us, Dear Spiele has a great selection of games and I'll post lots of pics from the café in another TGM picture round-up. Many thanks to Ken for volunteering to do this, especially since he seemed to be coming down with a cold at the time!

• We'll start with an overview of the non-Japanese game Gaijin Dash!, self-published by designers Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat and released in a 500-copy edition at TGM.





• Reiner Knizia seems to have had a handful of games released or re-released at each TGM that I've attended. In May 2016, Oink Games released a snazzy version of Twins, New Games Order had an in-joke-filled version of Escalation!, and Ten Days Games released the seemingly new Rummy 17. I say "seemingly new" as (1) it's hard to track everything that Knizia has released over the years and (2) the game is mostly standard rummy aside from a few twists — but naturally the twists are what's going to make this game something different.





• A couple of titles from designer Susumu Kawasaki (Traders of Carthage/Osaka, R-Eco) have made their way into markets around the world, but he produces at least one new title each year through his own Kawasaki Factory and those never seem to leave Japan. At TGM in May 2016, Kawasaki debuted Trick of Spy, a trick-taking/deduction combination for 3-4 players.





• I wasn't sure what to expect from looking at the Mushroom Mania box, but BGG owner Scott Alden asked me to buy a copy for him, so I did. Then I discovered that it contained rules only in Japanese, which isn't uncommon, but thankfully Ken was able to explain all, so we can now all consume the 'shrooms (so to speak) at BGG.CON Spring. Here's an overview of this design from Peke and Takamagahara:





• Before TGM opened, I didn't know all the details of Genie's Banquet — a title from Naoki Eifuku and Yu Takada — but I did know that (1) it's a co-op game with (2) a solo mode and (3) players laying down numbered and suited cards in order to clear goals, and that reminded me enough of house favorite The Game to transport money out my wallet and into the hands of publisher Kotatsu Party.





• I wrote an overview of Yoshihisa Itsubaki's MountTen in November 2015, and now he and One Draw have released Same One!, an evolved version of that hand-voiding design that allows you to scale the difficult up or down depending on the age (or experience) of the players.





• Most of the games released at TGM consist solely of cards since those games take up less space on shelves, cost less to create and buy, and take less time to produce — but sometimes you'll find board games among the TGM offerings, as with Ejin Laboratory's Matadoon!, which contains a tiny handmade board that folds up to fit in the equally tiny box, along with four player screens, four meeples, a bunch of paper tiles, and a bag.

Aside from the game, I've amazed by the "Matadoon!" name given the explanation presented in this video. Lots of layers in a single word!





• In addition to recording these game overview videos at Dear Spiele, Ken and I interviewed café owner Masashi Kawaguchi about his experience running the store and dealing with competition from those setting up game cafés in the wake of his success.

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Thu May 26, 2016 6:47 pm
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New Game Round-up: Sweets on the Streets, More Zombie Fighters, and Team Spirit for Cash 'n Guns

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• The weather's getting hotter — at least in the Northern Hemisphere — so Green Couch Games is preparing a game filled with cool treats that, um, won't be delivered until the end of 2016 when the temperatures have dropped once again. Oh, well, that's game publishing life in the Kickstarter era, with the worst part being the backers in Australia probably won't receive copies until mid-2017 when they're in the midst of winter once again.

In any case, here's an overview of the game in question: Rocky Road a la Mode from first-time designer Joshua J Mills:

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Get in the driver seat and feel what it's like to live the life of a sweet treat trucker! Stock up your truck, attract customers, and serve a hefty scoop of tasty frozen delight! The best truckers get to know their customers' favorite selections so that they can always meet demand and gain an edge over the competition in the battle to claim the hottest locations. You'll see the business of icy entrepreneurship is no day at the beach. Buckle up, turn on the loudspeaker, and take to the rocky road...with ice cream!

Rocky Road a la Mode is a game of managing time and resources to meet the demands of sweet-treat-seekers! The game features multi-use cards and a time track that determines the players' turn order. The player whose ice cream truck is furthest back on the road goes next and may choose from several actions on their turn: stocking up on new treats, playing music over the loudspeaker to attract business, or passing out treats to fulfill customer desires. Every choice costs time and forces players to move ahead on the road track. Once a player is no longer in the rear of the pack, their turn ends until they find themselves lagging behind again.

In addition to gaining loyalty points from happy customers, players can gain bonus treats in their permanent supply so that they can meet demand a little easier. Throughout the game, players also fight to earn the right to take over several of the different territories that make summer great: the beach, the pool, the park, and the ballfield.

• I'm attending BGG.CON Spring 2016, which takes place May 27-30, but for the first time in years I'm attending a convention as a player and not as a news guy. That said, I keep finding announcements of goodies that will be available at the show, so here I am spreading word of them to you all, such as the I Hate Zombies: Spyke and Geek promo cards that Steve Jackson Games will hand out to those who participate in its "horde-sized" games of I Hate Zombies that will accommodate up to 48 players.



• A second expansion for the second edition of Ludovic Maublanc's Cash 'n Guns is due out Q3 2016 from Repos Production, with Team Spirit taking a page from the Yakuzas expansion for the original Ca$h 'n Gun$ in that you'll now be able to play with up to nine at the table with players competing in teams instead of on their own. Team Spirit also includes a silencer, three new guns, seven new characters you can play, and twelve mercenaries you can hire to put extra muscle on your team.

Reiner Knizia's Silver Screen, a card game version of Traumfabrik that fell into limbo when publisher Cambridge Games Factory vanished, might appear in print after all. In April 2016, CGF developer Robert Seater posted the following on BGG: "I have tentatively found another publisher for it, which Knizia is now working with. I don't know the timeline, but I think the game has a future!"

• The image below appeared on a Facebook group page, then was referenced in a Reddit post. I asked Asmodee North America whether Arkham Horror: The Card Game was indeed in the works from Fantasy Flight Games, and social marketing coordinator Cynthia Hornbeck responded as anticipated: "Our official statement is 'no comment'."

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Wed May 25, 2016 3:01 pm
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New Game Round-up: Aliens Battle, Rats Return, Blocks Ship Early, and Ants Want Your Money

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Upper Deck Entertainment's unwieldily named Vs. System 2PCG expands once again on July 20, 2016 with the release of Vs. System 2PCG: The Alien Battles, which consists of two hundred cards that cover all four Alien movies. Players can play as any of the major characters from the Alien universe or as the Xenomorphs themselves. Vs. System 2PCG: The Alien Battles can be played on its own or combined with any other standalone Vs. System 2PCG title for more battling fun.

• Speaking of the Vs. System 2PCG, Upper Deck notes that attendees of BGG.CON Spring (which takes place May 27-30, 2016) will receive extended art Venom promo cards. Whoever does the best impersonation of Venom at the Upper Deck exhibitor booth receives a bonus set. I look forward to videotaping those efforts!


• Here's something that I missed months ago: White Goblin Games is reprinting the base game of Åse and Henrik Berg's Rattus and expects to have information in mid-2016 about its availability. Some of the Rattus expansions and promos are still available in the WGG webshop, and it expects to release "new things later this year", i.e. 2016.

• Following Imhotep's nomination for the 2016 Spiel des Jahres, Thames & Kosmos — the U.S. branch of German publisher KOSMOS — has announced that it will release that game in North America on June 21, 2016, instead of in August 2016 as previously planned. (I'm checking whether copies will be available at Origins Game Fair, which takes plae in mid-June.) Clearly those goods aren't crossing the Atlantic on a solar ship...

• Helaina Cappel of Kids Table BG notes that it's headed to Kickstarter in September 2016 to get backing for Problem Picnic: Attack of the Ants from Kickstarter king Scott Almes. No details on the gameplay yet, but clearly ant farms need to be a stretch goal.

• Mariano Iannelli from What's Your Game? posted the following teaser image on Facebook, noting that they're "[t]esting the next game from Zhanguo's authors", those being Marco Canetta and Stefania Niccolini. He expects this title — whatever it might be — to be released at Spiel 2016.

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Tue May 24, 2016 3:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Welcoming Tides of Madness, Succeeding Alexander, Revisiting Barony & Eating Fresh Fruit

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• In mid-March 2016, I posted about a sequel to Kristian Čurla's Tides of Time titled "Tentacles of Time". Turns out that info had leaked early as the final title of this Portal Games release — which will debut at Gen Con 2016 in August — is Tides of Madness, with the "madness" coming from a new way to score and/or lose. Some details:

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Tides of Madness is a sequel to Tides of Time and features gameplay similar to that design. Tides of Time is a drafting game for two players. Each game consists of three rounds in which players draft cards from their hands to build their kingdom. Each card is one of five suits and also has a scoring objective.

After all cards have been drafted for the round, players total their points based on the suits of cards they collected and the scoring objectives on each card, then they record their score. Each round, the players each select one card to leave in their kingdom as a "relic of the past" to help them in later rounds. After three rounds, the player with the the most prosperous kingdom wins.

Tides of Madness adds a new twist to the above game: madness. Some cards, while powerful, harm your psyche, so you must keep an eye on your madness level or else risk losing the game early as your mind is lost to the power of the ancients. More specifically, eight of the eighteen cards in the game feature a madness icon, and while scoring, you receive a madness token for each such icon in your collection of cards. Whoever has the most madness in a round either scores 4 points or discards 1 madness token — and the latter option is valuable because if you ever have nine or more madness, you lose the game immediately.

A draft of the English rules for Tides of Madness (PDF) is available on the Portal Games website.

• Speaking of time, a couple more publishers have decided it's time to start unveiling information about titles they'll release at Spiel 2016 in October. Designer/publisher Bernd Eisenstein of Irongames explores a similar era as in games past with Phalanxx, which bears this brief description:

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Alexander the Great has conquered a vast empire, but his power is now waning and the time is ripe to compete for his inheritance.

Each player in Phalanxx leads one of four competing factions that are ready to rule that vast empire. To do this, you must become the most powerful faction by reinforcing your troops, ensuring sufficient supplies, and occupying the most important cities and oases.

In addition, in April 2016 Eisenstein released solo rules for the Peloponnes Card Game, his Spiel 2015 release, in English (PDF) and German (PDF).

• At Spiel 2016, Matagot will expand Marc André's 2015 release Barony with Barony: Sorcery, which includes components for a fifth player — new tiles, new wooden components, new player aid — as well as something new to the gameplay itself:

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Barony: Sorcery brings magic to the world, with a sixth action now available to the players that allows them to cast powerful spells. Before they can cast spells, however, they need mana, and only a few places on the board allow them to collect those precious mana points. The battle for control and access to these places will be hard!

Barony: Sorcery stays true to the base game as the new elements add no luck to the game, instead opening up possibilities for players to bend the rules, thereby adding even more tension to the board.

Crash of Games has acquired publication rights to Wolfgang Sentker and Ralf zur Linde's Finca, which was nominated for Spiel des Jahres in 2009. In Finca, players use their workers to collect fruit, then fulfill orders scattered across the Mallorca countryside. You're not free to move your workers however you wish, though, as their movement is restricted by the location of workers owned by other players — just as their movement is restricted by yours.

Crash of Games plans to release its new version of Finca in Q2 2017, keeping the farming-based nature of the original game, but moving the setting to North America and using new artwork throughout the game. CoG's Patrick Nickell has raved to me about the wondrous wooden bits of the original version of Finca, so I'd expect something similar in this version.

Bits in the 2009 version of Finca
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Mon May 23, 2016 6:40 pm
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Spiel des Jahres Nominations for 2016: Codenames, Imhotep and Karuba

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In Germany, the Spiel des Jahres and Kinderspiel des Jahres juries have announced their nominations for the largest awards in gaming in terms of publicity and generated sales, and as usual the Spiel des Jahres nominations are a combination of the expected and "Really? That one?" The nominees for Spiel des Jahres, Germany's "game of the year" award, are

Codenames, by Vlaada Chvátil and Czech Games Edition (overview video with the designer on BGG)
Imhotep, by Phil Walker-Harding and KOSMOS (overview video)
Karuba, by Rüdiger Dorn and HABA (overview video)

Codenames was on every list of SdJ nominations that I saw, and given the way that this game has taken the hobby by storm — especially how players have created their own variations for the design using Dixit cards, Cards Against Humanity cards, other game boxes, and so forth — I have a hard time imagining how it won't win. Just yesterday during a game session, a single fellow and a couple told me how they had each introduced Codenames to new people within the past week, with those converts wanting to play again and again and again. The gameplay is as easy or as involved as the players make it; the design invites creativity from the players; and people can join (or drop out) of the game as needed, making it something that goes on the table while you're waiting for guests, only to absorb those guests into the game when they arrive. That said, who knows what will happen as "surefire" winners have failed to take home the red poppel in previous years...

The SdJ jury has also issued a recommended list of five titles, with those titles being:

Agent Undercover (a.k.a. Spyfall)
Animals on Board
Die fiesen 7
Krazy WORDZ
Qwinto



Nominations for the Kennerspiel des Jahres — the enthusiast's game of the year — have likewise been announced by the SdJ jury:

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, by Andreas Pelikan, Alexander Pfister and Lookout Games
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, by Matt Leacock, Rob Daviau and Z-Man Games
T.I.M.E Stories, by Manuel Rozoy and Space Cowboys

Pandemic Legacy has to be the odds-on favorite to win given how the game has dominated the mindspace of those who play it. The game is a story created by you and your fellow players, a world that you both travel through and affect with your actions, leaving you in the end with an incredibly personal experience that feels more like an event than a game. I've been a huge fan of T.I.M.E Stories since 2012 when I first played the prototype, and that game took years to come together — both in terms of assembling scenarios and figuring out how to package the experience into something that players could do easily at home — only to find itself overshadowed by Pandemic Legacy once it finally hit the market.

The recommended list for the KedJ is a bit shorter, but it contains probably the three most expected titles by the BGG audience:

7 Wonders: Duel
Blood Rage
Mombasa



Finally, the separate Kinderspiel des Jahres jury has its own list of nominations for the children's game of the year, and those are:

Leo muss zum Friseur (Leo Goes to the Barber), by Leo Colovini and ABACUSSPIELE
Mmm!, by Reiner Knizia and Pegasus Spiele
Stone Age Junior, by Marco Teubner and Hans im Glück

Hans im Glück with a Kinderspiel nom and HABA with the SdJ nom — things have flipped on their head in Germany! I've played both Leo and Mmm! a fair amount, so it's time to get to work on overview videos for those games. Mmm! already won the Spiel der Spiele in Austria in 2015, and I thought that its absence from the Kinderspiel nominations in 2015 was surprising given how well the game introduces kids to the concept of pressing their luck in games (not that they have any aversion to pressing their luck in real life, mind you), but perhaps it absence was merely a fluke of the calendar, with it being released too late for consideration.

The recommendation list for KidJ consists of the following:

Burg Flatterstein (a.k.a. Flutterstone Castle)
Burg Schlummerschatz (a.k.a. Sleepy Castle)
Die geheimnisvolle Drachenhöhle (a.k.a. The Mysterious Dragon Cave)
Dschungelbande
Harry Hopper
Mein Schatz
Sag's mir! Junior (a.k.a. Time's Up! Kids)



The Kinderspiel des Jahres winner will be announced on June 20, 2016, while the SdJ and KedJ winners will be revealed on July 18, 2016. Should you be at BGG.CON Spring on Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30, 2016), four members of the SdJ jury will be on hand with all of the nominees so that you can try them out. How this will work for Pandemic Legacy will be interesting to discover!
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Mon May 23, 2016 10:34 am
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