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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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New Game Round-up: Revisiting Vanuatu, Joining La Cosa Nostra, and Obtaining Happiness from Tramways

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• In March 2016, I noted that Quined Games planned to release a second edition of Alain Epron's Vanuatu at Spiel 2016 as part of its Master Print Series, with this edition including both the Rising Waters and Governor expansions.

Ahead of a Kickstarter project for this new edition that will launch in late April 2016, Quined has issued the following press release about Epron's failed attempts to deliver a new printing of the game in 2012:

Quote:
A few years ago, we decided to publish Vanuatu. We fell in love with the game and decided to breathe new life into this forgotten gem. We decided to give the game a whole new makeover and we decided also to include the expansion The Rising Waters. We were aware at the time that there had been problems with the initial crowdfunding campaign, and although we had nothing to do with this campaign, we have now decided – together with designer Alain Epron – to give the unfortunate backers who never caught their copy a generous compensation.

Every backer of the original campaign that did NOT receive their game (or the expansion) will receive their copy (or copies) for FREE. Yes, because we are nice that way. How will this work? Well, we kindly ask each one of the backers to send an e-mail to kickstarter@quined.nl with your full name, address, phone number, and a copy of the original e-mail you received during the original Ulule/Indiegogo campaign, clearly detailing the precise quantities of the copies that you ordered originally. The mail address mentioned in that original e-mail should be the one you send the e-mail from as proof. One word of warning though: Since this is a gift to you previous backers, one thing we do ask of you though is to cover the shipping costs. We hope you understand this. We will also arrange for a pick-up option at the following fairs: Spiel 2016 (DE), Spellenspektakel 2016 (NL), and Spel 2016 (BE). So shoot us an e-mail before 31-08-2016 and we will be in touch.

• Quined Games plans to follow up that KS with a separate crowdfunding campaign in June 2016 for an English-language edition of Johannes Sich's La Cosa Nostra, which he had self-published in 2014 through Hard Boiled Games. This release will be title #17 in Quined's Master Print Series. Here's an overview of this design:

Quote:
In La Cosa Nostra, you take on the role of a mafia boss. In the beginning, you control a crew of gangsters and a couple of businesses. During the game, you will hire new gangsters to do the dirty work and collect your money. Investments lead to new lines of business or monopoly positions: take control of the drug dealing, moneylending or prostitution. Bribe politicians and cops, invest your money in night clubs, casinos or the waste management industry. To get the big deals, you need to cooperate with the other families — but never rely on those "friendships". The others will take the first opportunity to stab you in the back, so you better do it first...

Each player controls gangster cards that serve to either gain money or attack other players. Actions are planned secretly, placed face down, then played in turn. Often you need certain business cards to succeed. If you don't own them yourself, you can negotiate deals with the other players. The players bargain, spy, threaten, and deceive each other.

Each of the four rounds brings new action cards into the game, and the number of gangsters increases. Thus, the possibilities for actions become more diverse, the jobs more profitable, and the attacks more powerful. Co-operation gets more attractive and treason alluring because at the end of the day money is the only thing that counts.

• To continue the trend this post of covering games prior to their appearance on Kickstarter, here's an overview of Alban Viard's Tramways, which will appear from his own AVStudioGames in October 2016 in time for Spiel. Yes, this whole thing is also secretly a Spiel 2016 preview post. It's already getting to be that time!

Tramways, which will appear in Kickstarter in May 2016, is being incorporated into the world that Viard has been building one game at a time over the past few years:

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The 1920s: Small City was founded just a few years ago and is still a fledgling town at this stage. Nonetheless, the Town Center is prosperous, and the managers of the weird CliniC have been duly incarcerated for years by this point. Now it is time to reach a new step: Building a new map transit.

In Tramways, you take the role of one of the managers of the local CliniC who were fired last month when it was discovered that you had acquired wealth on the backs of patients and their poor health. You are now at the head of a team of engineers, ready to build the best and most effective network possible for Small City. Your aim is to find the best places between buildings and citizens so that they can use your networks (and not those of your opponents, who are always ready to buy the most interesting development areas). Be assured that a happy citizen who is able to move where and when he wants will thank the best transport companies. There is nothing that satisfies a chief manager more than seeing citizens happy...

The game is divided into six rounds, each of which is divided into two halves:

• During the first half of a round, players compete to acquire the best development cards to create their most efficient deck. An original auction phase also determines turn order — and being the first player increases your stress level.

• During the second half, they play a train game, using their deck to try to build a great network between the different buildings of Small City. They try to move passengers without stressing them during the transit, in the end obtaining happiness points, which is the aim of the game.

The more that players use the symbols on their cards, the more actions they can do, but they also increase their stress level at the same time, which leads to negative victory points...

Prototype components
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Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Dark Souls on Your Table, and Diamonds in Your Treasure Chest

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• Apparently I need to start paying attention to video games as more and more of them are making their way from the consoles to the dining room table, as with the news that Steamforged Games will release a Dark Souls board game, with the project hitting Kickstarter on April 19, 2016. Here's a game overview from the publisher:

Quote:
The Dark Souls board game is a brutally hard exploration miniatures game for 1-4 players. Prepare to die.

The game features a "fast set-up, long reveal" mechanism that gets you into the game quickly and builds the location as you explore. The sense of danger is palpable as you discover new locations and the monsters that inhabit these dark places. The core combat mechanism and enemy behavior system forces deep strategic play and clever management of stamina to survive.

Dark Souls includes numerous boss and mini-boss encounters — including one against the Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough — and utilizes an innovative behavior mechanism so that no two encounters are ever the same, thus giving the game near infinite replayability.

In announcing the project, Steamforged stressed that it has "worked closely with the team at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment" and that "with the entirety of the Dark Souls universe available to us" the core game will include enemies and bosses from both older games and Dark Souls III.

Core game? Miniatures? Kickstarter? Popular video game series? And, lo, did the cash rain down upon them, burying them up to their happy necks with gilded treasure...

Teaser image of possible miniatures

North Star Games has signed a deal with Funforge for a French version of the Evolution base game, with this version due out before the end of 2016 in all French-speaking countries.

• Uli Blennemann from Spielworxx notes that an upgrade kit for Stefan Risthaus's Arkwright, presumably to match the changes in Capstone's second edition of the game, has been printed and should be available before the end of April 2016.

• Blennemann also states that ADC Blackfire is producing a small extension for Martin Schlegel's just released West of Africa that will be available "shortly".

• Jinkies! Designer Bruno Faidutti has shared the cover of the new edition of Diamant, co-designed with Alan R. Moon, that IELLO will release in Europe in July 2016. As noted in a write-up on Tric Trac, this version includes both the pawns and game board of the original Diamant as well as the artifact cards and the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go cards of Incan Gold. (Yes, we should probably merge the game listings of these two titles, but I don't know whether we will.)

For those who haven't played, Diamant is a great press-your-luck game that handles up to eight players, with everyone exploring a cave together to pocket whatever gems they can. However, everyone must split the haul evenly, so as you progress in each cave, you hope that other explorers will be unnerved by the danger signals around you and leave the cave, thereby allowing you to grab more gems for yourself. The risk, however, is that danger actually arrives, in which case you lose everything you would have gained from that cave.

I've played my copy of Diamant more than eighty times and recently sleeved the cards as they were starting to stick after so much use. It will be good to have a decent replacement for it!

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Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:30 pm
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New Game Round-up: Setting Up Defense Grid, Reviving Arcane Academy, and Expanding Public Service

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• Forged by Geeks is a new U.S. publisher that plans to release Defense Grid: The Board Game, a board game version of the Defense Grid video game franchise, in early 2017. Here's an overview of the gameplay:

Quote:
In the cooperative deck-building game Defense Grid: The Board Game, players must face off against waves and waves of aliens as they try to #ProtectTheCores. How you construct your deck for each mission is just as important as where you place your towers and which ones you choose to power each round.

Defense Grid: The Board Game includes at least ten missions and six AI characters from which to choose. Over the course of the game, players unlock new AI improvements, AI abilities, towers, and cards that they can use to go for the Gold Medal on each mission as they fight to #ProtectTheCores.

• In August 2013, I wrote about Generation Hex, a design from Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson that U.S. publisher Th3rd World Studios planned for release in 2014, but then never delivered. That title has now been picked up by IDW Games for co-publication in August 2016 under the title Arcane Academy. Here's an overview of the setting:

Quote:
Challenge rival students to become the best in class in Arcane Academy, an innovative board game of tile-linking, wizardry for 2-4 players that pits young spellcasters against one another in a duel for honor and prestige. Forge potent magic items and wield wickedly powerful elemental energies to outthink and outmaneuver your opponents in this elegantly simple and quick-to-learn board game that will appeal to families and experienced players alike!

Arcane Academy is based on the critically acclaimed, all-ages comic series Finding Gossamyr, which is set in a fantasy world in which math is the language of magic.

• On Opinionated Gamers, editor Dale Yu has presented an overview of a Quadropolis mini-expansion in the works from François Gandon and Days of Wonder, with the expansion currently consisting of twenty public service buildings, each with a special scoring condition (e.g. +1 VP per park in your city) in addition to the regular scoring.

Alderac Entertainment Group plans to release Benjamin Schwer's Yeti in the U.S. in September 2016, following the game's debut in Europe in mid-March 2016 from Pegasus Spiele.

• For its English-language version of Yusuke Sato's TimeBomb, Indie Boards & Cards replaced the terrorist vs. SWAT setting with one of investigators trying to keep cultists from waking Cthulhu. For the French-language version coming from IELLO, the game will be titled Timebomb: Sherlock vs. Moriarty. Notes IELLO's Matthieu Bonin:

Quote:
The challenge for us was to keep the bomb disarming theme (which is perfect for this game, I think), but without the unfortunate link to tragic recent (or future) events.

For this reason we needed a strong theme, something that people can identify immediately as being totally fictional, and Sherlock achieves that perfectly: everyone knows Moriarty is evil, and trying to bomb Big Ben is something quite likely from him. But no one can accuse him of being anything [other] than the great British crime lord we all know...

There was no easy theme for this game, but Sherlock became the obvious one.


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Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Duelling on Level 99, Getting Lost in R'lyeh, and Busting Yet More Ghosts

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• U.S. publisher Level 99 Games is beefing up its two-player Duelist Line in late 2016/early 2017 with the release of the Duelist Library, a collection of five new two-player-only titles. Four of these games will be available individually, while the collection includes a bonus fifth game as well as "a package of additional expansion cards that tie the various games together", according to the publisher.

Three of the titles have been announced to date, with one of them being Professor Treasure's Secret Sky Castle from Jason D. Kingsley, a "a competitive puzzle game in which you and your opponent race to find keys, unlock treasure chests, and collect priceless treasures from around the world and history".

Ballistic Reign from Michael and Lisa Eskue is set in Level 99's World of Indines, home to BattleCON, Argent, Pixel Tactics, and more. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

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War has come to the World of Indines. As the Mercenary King Gerard Matranga makes his bid to become the absolute ruler of Relecour, the fearful barons lock themselves away in fortresses of ancient stone. Mercenaries from across the world take to the field of battle, waging a proxy war on behalf of their opulent masters.

Take control of one of the Mercenary Companies of Indines in Ballistic Reign and put your mastery of battlefield strategy to the test! Build great siege engines, cast powerful war magic, and erect impenetrable fortresses on the field of battle. Use your workers carefully to balance between maintaining your forces and manning the units and structures you build. Invest your time in spell research, economic development, defense, and offense by working together and against other mercenary companies and capturing neutral locations in your campaign. Only the shrewdest tactician will be able to conquer their foe and bring peace to Indines once more!

Play as ten different Mercenary companies from the World of Indines universe, each with their own weapons, spells, and leader! Recruit from over seventy different units and strongholds to build your forces!


Alex Brock's Card Fusion Chaos expands upon the metalevel gaming in Level 99's Millennium Blades:

Quote:
For centuries, the heroes of the world have used the power of Millennium Blades trading cards to protect the world from evil. The most powerful weapons in their arsenal were Fusion Cards – cards that combined the incredible powers hidden away within the game, bringing out their true potential. With the world in chaos once more, a new champion must master Card Fusion in order to defend earth!

Using your collection of trading cards and mystical Fusion Gems in Card Fusion Chaos, you combine cards together to create the most unbalanced, overpowered cards you can imagine. Clash with your rival to uncover shards of the Master Fusion Gem. The first player who can acquire enough shards to assemble the Master Gem will be declared the new champion of earth!

Card Fusion Chaos includes more than eighty already-overpowered trading cards that you can combine into more than 350,000 unique fusion combinations!

• In June 2016, Atlas Games will release Lost in R'lyeh, a card game from Kedric Winks in which the last player with cards still in hand loses the game. Here's an overview of gameplay:

Quote:
Each turn choose to play either event cards and horror cards. Play the largest card sets you can to unlock ever-mightier powers. When the time is right, transition from playing cards from your hand to eliminating your array of escape cards. What's more, decide each turn whether picking up the whole stack will help you win, even though you're ultimately trying to get rid of cards.

• While Uwe Rosenberg's A Feast for Odin will be released in Germany in September or October 2016, Frank Heeren from Feuerland Spiele says that the game will be out in English from Z-Man Games ahead of the this: "They are aiming for Origins Game Fair, but the plan is tight, so it might be Gen Con in the end for the English release." He adds, "It will be our biggest game so far and we are very ex[c]ited about it. With 4.8 inches in depth it tops even Caverna!"

• Designer Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games has dropped word of the next project he'll announce: a "legacy Euro" game titled Charterstone, with an overview of that game to be revealed by the end of April 2016. (The link jumps to a spot mid-video when Stegmaier diverges from his previous topic to reveal tiny drops of information.)

• Geek & Sundry has posted a list of the promos available at participating stores on International TableTop Day on April 30, 2016, so if you want to increase the percentage of items in your collection that bear the likenesses of Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, you now know what's coming.

Cryptozoic Entertainment launched a Kickstarter for Ghostbusters: The Board Game II on Monday, April 11 — with this standalone game featuring three new scenarios, KS-backer exclusive glow-in-the-dark pink dice, a whole mess of ghost and Ghostbuster miniatures, and more — and the project has already topped its $250K goal after only two hours. Craziness, man. (KS link)

Curiously, original Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson reprises his role as Winston Zeddemore in the teaser video on the KS project. One person has even backed the KS at the $2,500 level, which allows you to be a ghostbuster, receive a backstory by the writer of the Ghostbusters comic, and have a miniature of yourself. (And now the KS has passed $300K while I was busy doing something else aside from this post. The power of nostalgia combined with a 24-hour early bird discount!)
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Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:00 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Pyramid-Wielding Dictators Raid the Chthonic Rails, Bound for the South Pole

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• At NY Toy Fair 2016 in February, I ran into designer Andrew Looney, who was practically glowing while talking about Pyramid Arcade, a collection of 22 pyramid-based games created over the past two decades. Looney views this collection as the culmination of his design career, the thing he wants to be known for a century down the road when we're all collecting dust and our progeny can't stop fiddling with their neckjacks when playing tabletop games.

I caught up with Looney again at GAMA Trade Show 2016, and we caught his enthusiasm on video ahead of the Looney Labs launch of the Pyramid Arcade Kickstarter, the first second in the company's history and something they've undertaken because this project is bigger than anything it's released in the past. (KS link).




Action Phase Games has been riding Kickstarter like a Wild West superstar, jumping from one project to the next with nary a break in between. Its latest project is a monster compared to the string of small box releases before it, with Aeon's End being a co-op deck-builder from Kevin Riley in which players must defend the forgotten underground city of Gravehold. (KS link)

• The Thunder Alley: Crew Chief Expansion from Richard Launius adds many new options (crew chief cards, star drivers, season play) to Jeff and Carla Horger's Thunder Alley, and it's being released by the Horger's Nothing Now Games, with permission from original publisher GMT Games. (KS link)

• Just as the obscure Japanese release TimeBomb transformed to Don't Mess with Cthulhu, the equally obscure Japanese release Terrible Monster from Shun and Studio GG has transformed to, um, Terrible Monster. Okay, the name hasn't changed in this tiny two-player battle game from Sweet Lemon Publishing, but the art has, with the cute line drawings being replaced with an indie U.S. comic style. (KS link)

Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division are working together on Rail Raiders Infinite, a sci-fi western board game from David Freeman in which players try to loot a train that unsurprisingly for a SPM release features chibi-style art and miniatures. I'm not sure where infinity enters the picture except perhaps in the optimism expressed over the possible number of backers. (KS link)

The Vampire, the Elf and the Cthulhu from Luca Ricci and Giochix.it fulfills the Cthulhu portion of this c.f. post, but in this game players deal with the Great Old One and other fantasy elements in an abstract way as they represent writers who through card play are trying to complete a novel. (KS link, Giochistarter link)

• Lovecraft's creations also pop up in NecronomiCards, Andy Hunt's self-published card game that has players putting runes into sets in order to cast summon spells and unleash special effects upon an entirely suspecting tableful of opponents. (KS link)

Pleasant Company Games has adopted an understandably harsh look for Snowblind, a dice-based press-your-luck and risk management game from Simon McGregor, Simmy Peerutin, and Rob van Zyl that has players competing to get their expedition to the South Pole first. (KS link)

• A race of a different sort takes place in Revenge of the Dictators from Black Box Adventures and designers Damoiseaux, Latten, and Manzhelevska, with the player-dictators racing across the U.S. to reach Washington DC first. They need to cooperate along the way to disarm the country's nuclear facilities (and thereby protect their homelands), but dictators don't have the best reputation for working well with others. (KS link)

Zephyr: Winds of Change from designers Aaron Kluck and Jon Mietling and publisher Portal Dragon features transparent crew cards that combine with role cards to create different combinations of powers that players then use to create and upgrade airships. (KS link)

• Designer Kris Gould of Wattsalpoag Games has a new set of five expansions — hotel cards, guest markers, jumbo jets, and more — for his 2008 title Jet Set in Jet Set: Jumbo Jets – Expansion Set 2. (KS link)

• Corné van Moorsel's Fit the Word! from his own company Cwali is a different take on the "fill in the blank" gameplay seen in Cards Against Humanity and its many spinoffs. In this game, each player receives their own sentence, secretly chooses a word/phrase card to fill the blank, then mixes up those cards with everyone else's before trying to guess who has created which combinations. (KS link)

• In Robin David's Sub Rosa: Spies for Hire from Uncanny Cardboard, players bid for control of the spies in question or use their bid tokens to activate the powers of those spies, which might mix up those aforementioned bids. (KS link)

Thrashing Dice: Assassin Edition from Tailor Games is a revised version of Biela and Matusik's Thrash'n Roll from 2015, with this version now supporting both solitaire play and band battles with up to five players. (Spieleschmiede link)

• I'm not sure what to make of Rodger Deering's Dungeon Crusade - Book I: Genesis of Evil other than to say it looks like the work of someone who has been focused on nothing else for the past decade. (KS link)

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Pizza in Naples, Pictures in Codenames, Broadsides in Merchants & Marauders, and Multilingual Maids in Tanto Cuore

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• In mid-March 2016, I mentioned an upcoming title in Quined Games' Master Print Series — Papà Paolo by designer Fabrice Vandenbogaerde — but knew nothing about the design beyond those bare facts. Now Quined has filled in some of the details:

Quote:
Papà Paolo brings you to the beautiful city of Naples, birthplace of one of the world's favorite dishes: pizza.

In Papà Paolo, 2 to 4 players compete to deliver the most pizzas to the hungry customers of Naples. To do this, you must outsmart your rivals by being a clever investor, bidding on the right city tiles, and creating your own little district of Naples.

Over the course of five game rounds, players first have to plan their actions carefully, choosing whether they want to invest in new pizzerias, make express deliveries, get sponsored by the bank, or decide to expand their district. Once all players have used up their action tokens, players get rewarded by receiving Lira, which they can then use in a bidding phase to determine how many deliveries you can make, and how many pizzas you can deliver. Once you deliver pizzas to your hungry customers, they reward you by boosting your abilities, making each action more powerful as the game progresses.

Z-Man Games has announced a Gen Con 2016 debut for Merchants & Marauders: Broadsides from Josh Cappel that bears this brief description: "Set in the Merchants & Marauders universe, Broadsides is a standalone game in which the two opposing players need to carefully choose between defending their ship and unloading everything they've got on the enemy."

• As many have anticipated, Z-Man Games will release Matthias Cramer's Dynasties: Heirate & Herrsche in English. No word on a release date at this point.

Tasty Minstrel Games noted in its April 5, 2016 newsletter that it's acquired the rights to both Iori Tsukinami's area-control, trick-taking game Joraku from Moaideas Game Design and Jesse Li's Ponzi Scheme from Homosapiens Lab.

Japanime Games plans to use Kickstarter to produce versions of the deck-building game Tanto Cuore and its standalone expansions (Expanding the House, Romantic Vacation and Oktoberfest) in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and any other language in which it can gain the financial support of at least 250 backers.

• Dale Yu, editor at Opinionated Gamers, has posted a pic of one of the many prototypes that will show up at The Gathering of Friends, an annual invite-only convention run by designer Alan R. Moon. The convention started simply as a way for friends to play together, but it's evolved over the years into a platform for designers to pitch to publishers and publishers to showcase upcoming games, such as Vlaada Chvátil's Codenames Pictures from Czech Games Edition.

I got a glimpse of this design at Spielwarenmesse 2016, but it was still in rough form, so I have nothing to say about it beyond my continued admiration at the malleability of Chvátil's Codenames. The design is a delightfully interactive 5x5 shell that can be — and has been — filled with almost everything that people can imagine, and I'm curious to see what twists have been brought to the game in this iteration.

Image: Dale Yu
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Fri Apr 8, 2016 4:07 pm
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New Game Round-up: Details on Star Trek: Ascendancy, and the Return of Zendo (Maybe)

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Gale Force Nine has finally released more information about Star Trek: Ascendancy, a design from Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski and Sean Sweigart for which we previously had only the briefest of overview videos recorded at BGG.CON 2015. Here's what we now know:

Quote:
Boldly go where no one has gone before. In Star Trek: Ascendancy — a board game of exploration, expansion and conflict between the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Star Empire — you control the great civilizations of the Galaxy, striking out from your home worlds to expand your influence and grow your civilization. Will you journey for peace and exploration, or will you travel the path of conquest and exploitation? Command starships, establish space lanes, construct starbases, and bring other systems under your banner. With more than 200 plastic miniatures and 30 star systems representing some of the Star Trek galaxy's most notable planets and locations, Star Trek: Ascendancy puts the fate of the galaxy in your hands.

The great unknown lies before you; with every turn is a new adventure as your ships explore new space systems, encounter new life forms and new civilizations, make wondrous discoveries, and face challenging obstacles, all drawn from the vast fifty year history of Star Trek. Will you brave the hazards of Rura Penthe to harvest vital resources, race to develop Sherman's Planet before your rivals stake their claim, or explore they mysteries of the Mutara Nebula on an ever-growing, adaptive map of the galaxy. With an infinite combination of planets and interstellar phenomena, no two games of Star Trek: Ascendancy will ever play the same!

GF9 plans to release Star Trek: Ascendancy in Q3 2016, with two expansion sets — Cardassian Union and Ferengi Alliance — due out before the end of 2016. GF9 notes that it plans to post new information about the game each week on its website.



• In mid-March 2016, I posted an overview of Imperial Settlers: 3 Is a Magic Number — the next mini-expansion for Ignacy Trzewiczek's Imperial Settlers, which includes new cards for all five factions — and now Portal Games has announced a May 25, 2016 worldwide release date for this $16 item.

• In a press release announcing a new demo program for brick-and-mortar game stores, Stronghold Games teased three additional releases forthcoming in 2016, one with the unhelpful name "To be announced" while the other two are Kraftwagen: V6 Edition and The Fog of War. Asked for details, Stronghold's Stephen Buonocore promised information sometime later in April 2016.

• In its Kickstarter for Pyramid Arcade, Looney Labs notes that if the KS reaches $100,000 in support, it will start work on "a follow-up project called Zendo Arcade for 2017". Kory Heath's Zendo is not included in Pyramid Arcade as that game requires many full stashes of pyramids in a narrow range of colors in order to work well. From the project description: "This number covers the total cost of development and printing of the first 5,000 Pyramid Arcade sets. Bringing in this amount both ensures that we have the cash available to immediately start working on Zendo Arcade and convinces us that there is enough market interest to go forward with this project."
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Thu Apr 7, 2016 7:30 pm
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New Game Round-up: Sharks, Wonders, Juggalos, and the Start of a New Season for Baseball Highlights: 2045

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• Everyone always talks about this game or that one jumping the shark, but what are you going to do when the sharks start flying through the air, hunh? Try to jump them then, and they'll tear your stomach out!

Why would the sharks be in midair, you ask? Due to all the tornadoes swarming around, duh! Thankfully you can stay safely inside, and experience all of these terrible things from afar thanks to Sharknado: The Board Game!, a cooperative design based on the Sharknado movie franchise on the Syfy channel that features multiple scenarios and everything you'd expect based on this game's origins, including chainsaws, bombs, loss of limbs, and (of course) plenty of hungry sharks.

This Eric Cesare and Anthony Rando design from Devious Devices is due to hit Kickstarter in Q2 2016 ahead of a release in late 2016.

Czech Games Edition editor/developer Paul Grogan notes that an expansion for Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization with alternative leaders and wonders that substitute for cards in the base game is in the works and will likely be shown at UK Games Expo in June 2016 — assuming that development has finished by then.

Into the Echoside from designers Robert Bruce and Louis Simpson and publisher Psychopathic Records "is a Juggalo version of a deck building game where players delve into the deepest levels of the Nethervoid, gain allies from some of the most notable characters in the Juggalo universe, and fight creatures of infinite evil to aid them in their quest to halt the evil that threatens to consume the mortal realm!" Juggalos, for those who don't know, are fans of the musical group Insane Clown Posse, which has been performing since 1989, and Into the Echoside is scheduled to debut on July 20, 2016 at the annual Gathering of the Juggalos.

• Mayfair Games has noted that as of April 1, 2016 "Asmodee North America will also be handling all customer service for component issues and rules questions" related to the Catan game line, even though Mayfair will "continue to facilitate events and sales of Catan during the 2016 convention season".

Eagle-Gryphon Games has announced Baseball Highlights: 2045 tournament kits for 2016 that include a Single Player Play Mat as a grand prize and a Double Player Play Mat as part of the kit that stores can use to organize the games. Both of these items are available for purchase separately ($25 and $50 respectively), and EGG also plans to eight new starter teams for Baseball Highlights: 2045: teams 17-24, representing Canada, UK, Pan Asia, the Caribbean Basin, and other locations.

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Tue Apr 5, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Roll the Dice in La Granja: No Siesta, Prepare to Flick Up Tomahawks, and Rattle, Battle on an Angry Ocean

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• On Brettspiel News, Daniel Krause has posted an overview of Matthias Cramer's revised version of Glen More following test games at Ratinger Spieletagen (a weekend gaming event) in March 2016. Krause notes that the design is still being developed, with the main change being a switch from three rounds of play with scoring at the end of each round to the inclusion of character tiles that trigger a scoring when acquired; in addition to this predetermined scoring, the player who takes the tile can choose whether to score chieftains, whisky, or tiles.

• Christoph Post of Brettspielbox also posted about Ratinger Spieletagen, and in addition to talking about "Glen More 2" (which is not the final name), he highlighted La Granja: No Siesta from Andreas Odendahl, which will be coming out from ADC Blackfire Entertainment and Stronghold Games. Here's an overview of that game from the designer:

Quote:
In La Granja: No Siesta, a standalone dice game following up the boardgame La Granja, players need to collect resources to cross them off on their scoring sheet in order to get the most victory points. They can hire helpers to use their special effects. They build a barn to store goods and sometimes they need to have a little time off and have a siesta!

The dice game singles out the dice mechanism from the board game and transfers it into a much lighter game. Every round the players roll the dice and draft them until everybody has at least three dice to score.

Once a player completes the siesta track, the game comes to an end. Whoever collected resources in the most effective way wins!

• In a mid-March 2016 post, I covered some of the forthcoming items from Portal Games, including something for Ignacy Trzewiczek's Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot. Well, turns out that European distributor ADC Blackfire Entertainment lists a Gen Con 2016 release date for something titled Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot: Scenario Pack – Angry Ocean. Portal Games has declined to share any info about this item right now.

Pretzel Games has announced a second expansion for Gaëtan Beaujannot and Jean Yves Monpertuis' Flick 'em Up!, with Flick'em Up!: Red Rock Tomahawk scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2016. Here's an overview of this expansion, followed by a teaser video:

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The infamous Cooper clan has begun taking over small villages. Those villages, however, belong to the Native Americans who are armed with bows and tomahawks and ready to defend their land in five exciting scenarios — but they best be careful around the Cooper clan's new weapon: the relentless Gatling gun...

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Mon Apr 4, 2016 1:00 pm
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Links: Delivery Troubles, Narrative Games, and Animals on Stage

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• Designer Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games offers advice to first-time publishers — well, all publishers really — on the costs and trouble spots involved with shipping your games to backers of your Kickstarter project. An excerpt:

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The plan was to ship a few cases of the games to SFC for Asia/Australia/New Zealand fulfillment, and put the rest on the boat to go directly to the Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC). Additionally, there were two cases of promotional cards (blank Drug Cards) that were supposed to have been sent directly to me.

I didn't think this was a complex shipping plan. I now know it is. The plant put everything on the boat: games for U.S. backers, games for Asian backers, and my two cases of blank Drug Cards. As a result, any game going to backers in Asia had to circle the planet; they had to go from Asia to the U.S., and then to the UK, and then back to Asia.

In the future, for any shipping plan more complex than "put it all on the boat", I will request that the plant not ship anything until they confirm the shipping plan with me. That will hopefully prevent this sort of issue from recurring.

• Old news from the inbox: Joshua Kosman at San Francisco Chronicle weighs in with 2015's best board games for that paper's annual holiday buying guide. Which games get the "jumpy man" this year? Mysterium, Colt Express, Elysium, Mogul, Trambahn, and Isle of Skye.

• In The Wall Street Journal, Christopher Chabris delivers "The Inside Story on Narrative Games", highlighting what separates Pandemic Legacy and T.I.M.E Stories from other games:

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The legacy and narrative formats violate two familiar premises of most games: The rules never change, and you can play as many times as you want. Traditionally, a game is defined by its rules. If you don't let pawns turn into queens, you aren't playing chess, and if you make captures optional, you aren't playing checkers. The success of Pandemic Legacy and T.I.M.E. Stories shows that this rule itself was made to be broken.

• In The Seattle Times, an article by Tracey Lien is headlined "Artificial intelligence has mastered board games; what's the next test?" One answer: different types of games, namely those with incomplete information. From the article:

Quote:
"The game of two-player-limit Texas Hold 'em poker has almost been solved," said [Tuomas Sandholm, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies artificial intelligence], who described "solving" a game as finding the optimal way of playing it. "In the larger game of two-player no-limit Texas Hold 'em poker, we're right at the cusp of it. We currently have the world's best computer program, but we are still not better than the very best dozen or so humans."

• Carlo A. Rossi's Zoowaboo from Pegasus Spiele was featured on the German television show "Das Spiel beginnt!" in March 2016. In the game, animal cards are revealed one at a time after players have been presented with a raft. As long as everyone thinks that the animals can fit on the raft, another animal card is revealed. As soon as someone votes "No", then all those who voted "Yes" have a limited amount of time to make those animals fit.

On the show, kids competed against adults in eleven games, with one of them being a giant-sized version of Zoowaboo.


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Sat Apr 2, 2016 1:00 pm
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