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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

Archive for W. Eric Martin

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New Game Round-up: Summoning a Genie Before Collecting Wood and Building a Habitat

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Following the release of The Pied Piper in Q2 2016, Purple Brain Creations will publish its next Tales & Games series in September 2016: Tiago Damey's Aladdin & The Magic Lamp, a 2-5 player game that IELLO will release in the U.S. Here's an overview:

Quote:
The sorcerer has sent you, a street urchin like Aladdin, into a cave to look for a magic lamp that lets you call upon a genie's favors. However, the cave also encloses fabulous treasures sorted into three chests. If you're not too greedy, this could be your chance to become rich!

In Tales & Games: Aladdin & The Magic Lamp, a turn has three phases during which everyone plays simultaneously. First, choose how many chest cards you want to draw and from which chest. Then, call out to the genie by being the fastest. Finally, if you haven't been too greedy, draw chest cards while avoiding the scorpions.

The game ends when a player draws one of the three sorcerer cards and closes the cave.

• Harald Mücke of Mücke Spiele says that he's releasing another five hundred copies of Alexander Huemer's Lignum in July 2016 ahead of a new edition of the game that will be released in Q2 2017 in German and a language to be announced later by Mücke Spiele and in English by Capstone Games. This new edition will have "minor adaptions and rule optimizations", and an expansion will be available, with this item being sold separately for those who already own the original game.

Habitats is the next release from Cwali's Corné van Moorsel, and in this tile-laying game players each build their own wildlife park without cages and fences, with each animal wanting to have certain habitats around it, but with those habitats naturally having a tendency to conflict with the desires of other animals nearby. Van Moorsel has stated that he plans to Kickstart Habitats in July 2016.

• At UK Games Expo 2016, designer Peter Burley released a new edition of his long-lived, million-selling game Take it Easy! through his own Burley Games. This new "Daffodil" edition of one thousand copies includes double-sided game boards with the original Take it Easy! design on one side and a daffodil pattern on the other. For this side of the game board, each player has four additional tiles that include wild card stripes, allowing for (potentially) more matches when they're drawn during play.

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Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:00 pm
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Links: Leacock in Time, Awards in Passing, and Women Not in View

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• Designer Matt Leacock was featured in a June 30, 2016 write-up in TIME in the magazine's "American Genius" section. The article gets a few details wrong — Leacock self-funded the publication of his 2000 title Lunatix Loop, not Pandemic — but it's a nice summary of Leacock's career arc to date.

The really strange thing is that the article doesn't include a picture of either Leacock or Pandemic. What's up with that?! We'll just have to settle for the old-school game references in the article title...

• In May 2016, Nicolas Ricketts — curator of The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York — highlighted the breadth of Sid Sackson's works, unpublished prototypes, and correspondence held by the museum.

• On The Cardboard Republic, Erin Ryan surveyed the cover art of new releases in the top one hundred games on BGG from 2009 to 2016 and concluded that "You are more likely to see a sheep on the cover of a board game box than you are to see a group of women". An excerpt:

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On average, only 5.1% of games released within a year of making it onto the BGG Top 100 featured women alone. No games featured a group of characters made up primarily of women. Groups of predominantly men or men alone (i.e. without women) made up 74.4% of the sample. Groups containing an equal number of men and women came in at 20.5%.

But okay, like above, that’s an average. A more telling (and, thankfully, more hopeful) picture shows how representation has changed from 2009 to 2016.


• The 14th annual Japan Boardgame Prizes have been announced, with the seven-member jury selecting Alex Randolph's Mahé — a modern edition of his Die heisse Schlacht am kalten Buffet — for the U-more Award aimed at beginning and family gamers.

In the Voters' Selection category, Libellud's edition of Mysterium took first place, edging out The Voyages of Marco Polo, Karesansui, Deep Sea Adventure, and Patchwork in close voting.

• In older award news, the nominees for the 2016 GRAF LUDO were announced in early June 2016. This award is intended to highlight aesthetically pleasing design in games, and the nominees for 2016 in the family category are The Bloody Inn, Celestia, Game of Trains, Gum Gum Machine, Mysterium, and Die Wände haben Ohren, with the last title being a complete mystery to me and something lacking from the BGG database.

GRAF LUDO nominees in the children's category for 2016 are BauBoom, Die Drachenzähne, Die Helden von Kaskaria, Insekten Hotel, My First Stone Age, and Spookies.
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Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Spiel 2016 — HUCH! & friends Challenges You to Build, Sail, Coerce, Fight, Destroy Dragons, Gain Life Energy, and Devote Years to a Mystery

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• Time for another look ahead at late 2016 releases from a German publisher that will be highlighted at Spiel 2016, this time showing off a few of the items from HUCH! & friends, starting with Skibe from Viking-lookalike Arve D. Fühler:

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In Skibe, players assume the role of a tribal chief in the days of Erik the Red.

Erik has ordered the building of ships for the purpose of sending the bravest Vikings to Greenland. The players build longboats, supply them with provisions and equipment, and try to bring as many Vikings of their own tribe as possible on board. Will the ship stand up to inspection by all tribal chiefs? And which tribe will be best represented on the ships in the end?

Adrian Adamescu's Rival Kings — the cover of which is not final — presents us with a setting, but no gameplay details:

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In Rival Kings, two royal families compete for the country and its people. High-ranking personalities prevent the members of the opposing family from using their subjects for their own purposes and from erecting valuable buildings — but everything comes at a price. Who will lead his family to fame and honor?

• I'm not sure whether Cards: Die Partie deines Lebens from Renè Haustein and Mathias Spaan qualifies as a game or not, but it's close enough from the description to merit entry, possibly simply from something that pushes the envelope of what a game might be. An overview:

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Cards: Die Partie deines Lebens is an unusual card game, one in which you have to master crazy tasks and tricky riddles. You play on your own, and the game can take weeks, months, or even years to complete. Each card provides a new challenge that works its way into the player's life. Only when you fulfill the condition on a card may you reveal the next one.

Cards: Die Partie deines Lebens contains fifty cards, and as soon as you have fulfilled the last card, you have completed the game.

• Continuing in that vein of games about which we know v. little, let's look at all we know of Touria from Inka and Markus Brand and Michael Rieneck:

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In Touria, Princess Tara has decided to marry – but not just anyone, of course. She expects a lot from her husband-to-be: Heroic deeds and precious gifts are a must.

A group of bold adventurers set out to pit themselves against dragons, dig up gems from the haunted mines of the country – and make a good deal from time to time, since the father of the bride demands an appropriate price for his daughter's hand. Touria's dancing towers show the heroes the way, so the brave men and women go from one adventure to the next. Brave women? Of course – or have we forgotten to mention that Tara's handsome brother, Prince Talan, is also of marriageable age?

Günter Burkhardt's Ulm offers even fewer peanuts with which to build a gameplay trail:

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Ulm is at its heyday. The construction of the Ulm cathedral has not yet been completed, but the city is already wealthy and prestigious.

In Ulm, players try to expand their spheres of influence and to make optimal use of the hustle and bustle on the marketplace around the cathedral.

• The description for Dave Grigger's Ankh leaves much to the imagination, but it does posit a strange theory about gender politics in the afterlife:

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The key to immortality: When the female pharaoh holds court in the dark chamber, even the toughest mummies become unhinged. The petulant ruler distributes her favor and, at the same time, also the prospect of new life energy. But even if you've just been highly esteemed by the old Egyptian monarch in Ankh, you might fall into disgrace in the next moment.

• Danger of a different sort awaits in Michael Xuereb's Clonk!, which once again defines dwarves almost entirely by a desire to get dirty:

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The dwarves are loose in Clonk!, with many valuable crystals to dig up from the cursed mine, but a sinister danger is lurking in the dark corners. Who will manage to collect the most valuable load in their wagon and exit the mine unscathed?

Tatsu, which will also be released by designer John Yianni's own Gen42 Games, features backgammon-style dice rolling and piece movement with each player trying to eliminate all of one type of the opponent's pieces from the game or knock all of the opponent's dragons off the board. Amazingly enough, we have video overview of this game thanks to Yianni showing it in advance at Spiel 2015:

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Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:00 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Treasures from Taiwan, and Pages from Pierô

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• Let's lead off this crowdfunding round-up with a project that will probably expire before most people see it: Far East War 1592, from Imjin Creative, in which 2-4 players "are divided into Japan and China/Korea factions, with each side trying to conquer the target provinces of their rivals. Players alternate moving around the action rondel to perform different actions such as recruit forces, assign generals, march armies, initiate battles, etc. With careful planning on the action rondel, tactical movement and assignment of troops and generals, and a bit luck in dice roll during battles, players should revive the vivid history in the Far East War."

If nothing else, you now know about one more of the hundreds of new titles that will be available at Spiel 2016 — assuming that the game funds, that is. (KS link)

• If time has run out on the project above, perhaps you'd instead prefer another game from the same part of the world, such as Taiwan Monsters, which is on Chinese-language funding site Zeczec.com and which is a complete mystery to me, although it looks purty and is already funded. (Zeczec link)




• No? Then how about Bubble Tea from Li-He Studio's Aza Chen, designer of Cat Tower, Doggy GO!, and other adorable games. In this real-time game, each player has nine bubble tea ingredient cards, someone rolls the ingredient dice from the bubble tea container, then everyone races to put the right ingredients in the right cup card. (Zeczec link)

• How about yet another Taiwanese project, this one being the more-accessible-outside-of-Taiwan Guns & Steel: Renaissance, a standalone expansion to Jesse Li's Guns & Steel from Grail Games and Moaideas Game Design. This game plays like the original, with players laying cards face down as resources or face up to use their developmental power, with the long-term goal of acquiring wonders, taking all of the space age cards, or stockpiling VPs. (KS link)

• Joost Das' Hylaria from FableSmith is a party game in which players divide into teams, then each receive two image tiles face down in front of them while three tiles are placed face up on the table to start a storyline. On a turn, you try to communicate what's on your tiles to your teammates — perhaps through a code you've created earlier — then you take a tile from in front of any other player and add it to the storyline. If the storyline now has three identical tiles in it, your team scores every tile up to the one just played. Collect enough tiles, and your team wins! (KS link)

• Designer Mitsuo Yamamoto and publisher Logy Games were on Kickstarter in 2015 with the stacking game Moon-Sun-Angel, and now they're back with a different stacking challenge under the name ACTOP: Ancient Construct Tower of Philosopher. In this 2-6 player game, players take turns adding a polycube and a balance stone on a 3x3 space (that must be kept clear in the center to create a chimney-like structure), with players scoring points based on the size of the piece they place and using the balance stone to mess with the next to place. When the polycubes have all been placed or someone knocks over the tower, the game ends. (KS link)




• The letters in the game title ABXY will likely trigger thoughts of video games past, and that's the intent of this design from Jack Rosetree and Broken Games, which pits two players against one another in creature combat with two of the A, B, X, and Y actions being secretly chosen by each player each round. (KS link)

• Designer Chris James of Stratus Games has used Kickstarter to fund the first four years of Casual Game Insider, a mainstream-friendly quarterly magazine about tabletop games sold in game stores and newsstands, and he's back to fund year five, with the focus once again being casual games that can be taught in ten minutes and played in under an hour. (KS link)

Bad People carries the tagline "The Party Game You Probably Shouldn't Play", yet here designer Mike Lancanster is, trying to get you to fund a party game in which you vote on which of the players involved would be a terrible phone sex operator or would have the fewest people at their funeral. I suggest that you probably shouldn't play it. (KS link)

• We'll close with a game-related item that might be of interest to a few folks on this site: Pierô's Artbook 10th, this being a tenth anniversary retrospective of the artwork of Pierô, who debuted with Une Ombre sur Whitechapel — which most people will know under its reprint name of Mr. Jack — then became a hot commodity in 2008 thanks to his eye-catching work on Ghost Stories.

Pierô's Artbook 10th from ilinx édition will include 80-120 pages depending on the final funding total, with text in both French and English and a foreword by Ghost Stories designer Antoine Bauza. (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 Jul 10, 2016 3:42 am
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Power Grid Gets Carded

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The game industry has seen a wave of [Game Title]: The Card Games being released in recent years, with many popular titles being transformed into more portable games with smaller footprints (except for The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game).

The trick to these designs is that they need to feel like the original game, yet not fall so closely to the tree that people don't see a reason for them existing. Come October 2016, we'll have yet another chance to see whether one of these transformations is successful thanks to the release of Power Grid: The Card Game from Friedemann Friese and 2F-Spiele, with Rio Grande Games handling the release of the English-language version.

What's different in this design? In Power Grid, players compete in three arenas — the power plant marketplace, the resource pool, and the network of cities to which they're supplying power. This latter aspect has been removed in this new design, as explained below:

Quote:
In Power Grid: The Card Game, the players represent CEOs of mighty power companies producing electricity.

During the game, the players bid for power plants at auctions and supply them with resources. Their income depends on the amount of electricity produced in each round. At the end of the game, the player who produces the most electricity wins the game.

Power Grid: The Card Game offers all the tension and tactics well-known of its two big brothers — Power Grid and Power Grid deluxe — without using the different maps. You get the full Power Grid emotions in an intensive playing time of sixty minutes!

To give two players an exciting experience, they will play with the Trust acting as a third player. While challenging the opponent, they must incorporate the schemes of the competing Trust in their plans and use these schemes against their opponent.

This game includes a small variant for the Demolition Contractor. This variant is playable with Power Grid: The Card Game, and all maps of Power Grid deluxe and Power Grid!




Power Grid: The Card Game will debut at Spiel 2016, and one other Power Grid item that people will be able to find there is Power Grid: High-Voltage DC Transmission Passage C, which was originally released as part of the 2015 Brettspiel Adventskalender. This mini-expansion is playable solely with the Power Grid map of Germany, and like most of the promos that 2F-Spiele produces, it will be available for a small donation that will be forwarded to an organization to be revealed later. Here's what this item does:

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In future years, Germany plans a new high-voltage transmission line from North Germany to South Germany to deliver the electricity produced by wind power to the regions in South Germany with demand for that power. You are collectively building this transmission line, so step by step your power companies will not need to pay connection costs anymore between Cuxhaven and Stuttgart. Sadly, the construction of this transmission line is paid with tax money, so you must pay taxes to supply these cities with electricity.

Henning Kröpke from 2F-Spiele notes that other ways to get this promo will be revealed following Spiel 2016.

When passing along this information, Kröpke also added a footnote to the other 2F-Spiele game announcements for 2016. In that earlier post, which mentioned that 2F-Spiele's new Strategic Partnership with Stronghold Games would not include existing 2F-Spiele game lines currently published with other partners, I speculated that this referred only to Power Grid. Kröpke clarified that all games currently under license by Rio Grande Games will remain with that publisher, including upcoming reprints of Power Grid: The First Sparks, Power Grid: Factory Manager, Unexpected Treasures, Friday, and Fearsome Floors.
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Sat Jul 9, 2016 1:20 pm
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New Game Round-up: Fighting with Spells, Battling with Chibis, and Rolling Like a Hero

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Cool Mini Or Not has gone old school with the look of Steve Avery's Ta-Da!, which will debut at Gen Con 2016 ahead of the game's Q3 2016 release date. Here's an overview of gameplay:

Quote:
This year's annual Wizard Talent Show promises to be an exciting event with skilled witches and wizards attending from far and wide. Players will attempt to prove they are the most talented and deserving spellcaster of the bunch.

Ta-Da! is played over a number of fast-paced, frantic rounds. Each player furiously rolls dice in an effort to collect the elements needed to cast their spell. With each roll, players can add one die to their spell, then must reroll the rest. As soon as they have completed their spell, they yell "Ta-da!" and they're one step closer to winning the Talent Show.

However, game-changing feats will be in play throughout the game, making players perform crazy acts as they play, such as making animal noises, keeping their heads on the table, and more!

• Another CMON title making its debut at Gen Con 2016 — one of many, all of which are covered in BGG's Gen Con 2016 Preview — is Krosmaster Arena 2.0, which adds eight new figures to the Krosmaster universe in a standalone game that's compatible with all of the figures previously released.

Alderac Entertainment Group has announced that it will release its own version of Seiji Kanai's cooperative 1-8 player dice game Eight Epics in October 2016.

• And here's a notice I should have seen earlier: AEG is closing out the Doomtown: Reloaded game line with the release of the Blood Moon Rising expansion pack in October 2016, after which it will return Doomtown to owner Pinnacle Entertainment Group. AEG notes that "Pinnacle does not have any immediate plans to continue with the Doomtown ECG product at this time, but may look to do so at some point in the future."

Heidelberger Spieleverlag has announced two more Justice League Hero Dice titles from Andreas Schmidt for the line that it launched in late 2015 with Superman and Batman.

As with those two titles, Flash and Green Lantern — available in separate English and German versions, but only in Europe — are both solitaire dice games in which the player tries to take out villains that appear in random order. In addition, any of the titles can be combined with one or more other Hero Dice sets to allow for multiplayer games.

Wonder Woman and Cyborg are depicted in the marketing images for these titles, so expect two more such games down the road.

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Fri Jul 8, 2016 2:12 pm
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Friedemann Friese, 2F-Spiele and Stronghold Games Feature Fabled Fruit and Fuji Flush

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German publisher 2F-Spiele and U.S. publisher Stronghold Games, who cooperated on the publication of Friedemann Friese's 504 in English in 2015, have announced a "Strategic Partnership" that will result in Stronghold Games co-publishing "all new future 2F-Spiele tiles in English globally effective immediately". The titles will be printed together at Ludo Fact in Germany, so according to Stronghold Games' press release about this announcement "this will also enable a virtually simultaneous worldwide release of the titles".

To go hand-in-hand with this announcement, 2F-Spiele and Stronghold Games have released info about two new Friese titles that will debut at Spiel 2016 in October: Fabled Fruit and Fuji Flush. Let's start with the larger of the two, called Fabelsaft in German:

Quote:
Once upon a time there was a marvelous forest full of gorgeous fruits. These fruits came in vivid colors with the sweetest tastes, and the best part was that the fruits could be squeezed and mixed into the most delicious juices.

You are animals living in this forest, searching for the most savory fruits. You find them with the help of friendly forest-dwellers. They give you fruits, trade them with you, or help you in other ways. It is most advantageous to be the first at these locations. If you are already at a location, you get a fruit from the animals arriving after you.

You are greedy and thirsty. Who will be the first to satisfy their appetite for fabled juices?

2F-Spiele describes Fabled Fruit as a "Fable game", noting that a Fable game "is one where the gameplay changes over time", and while that sounds like a Rob Daviau-style Legacy game at first the longer description reveals differences:

Quote:
The first time you play, the game starts in its initial state, which is a relatively simple state. But as you explore deeper into the game system, the mechanisms and gameplay experience will evolve. You play the game many times, and each play changes the game slightly. However, the game is never permanently changed. At any time you may easily restart a Fable game from the beginning, either after you have run through the entire game system, or at any time during the multiple plays you will get from this game system. The Fable game will remain just as playable on the twentieth play as it was on the first play of the game.




The other title — Fuji Flush, a.k.a. Futschikato — has an interesting history, despite it not yet being released on the market.

In March 2016, copies of a game titled Doppelt und Dreifach started showing up in the mailboxes of well-connected gamers in Germany, with the designer being listed only as "Der Bruder von Christian Anders" (the brother of Christian Anders). Then copies showed up at the Gathering of Friends convention as well. One recipient created the BGG listing, but the game didn't create a huge splash given that it was a simple card game, had no marketing, and was seen by only a few hundred people.

I skipped the Gathering in 2016 (as I'm already committed to nearly a dozen conventions for work this year, so the "just for fun" one takes a backseat), which means that I hadn't heard of the game until Chris Schreiber told me about it at Origins 2016, describing it in terms of Abluxxen (*little starbursts*) and thereby making me want it immediately.

As it turns out, Friese was pulling a Richard Bachman and trying to see what kind of reaction this unknown game from an unknown designer would get from gamers in the know. (Friese tells the complete story in a BGG GeekList.) The answer so far is "very little", but now that the Friese name is attachd to it, we'll see what happens from here. The BGG description, however, is scant:

Quote:
Be the first player to get rid of all of your cards!

Join forces with fellow players to beat cards played by other players...or independently play the highest card to outdo all your opponents together, flushing their cards down the drain!

Fuji Flush is a fast, fun, easy-to-learn card game that will have you shouting as your cards are sent down the drain!




...so let's turn to the Doppelt und Dreifach description instead:

Quote:
Doppelt und Dreifach is an abstract card game by an anonymous author. It consists of cards numbered 2-15, with higher numbers being rarer. Each player holds six cards at the beginning. In clockwise order, players play one card each. If it is higher than any other card currently on the table, the lower card is discarded and the player who had played it has to draw a new card. However, if two or more players play the same number, the card values are cumulated. When it's a player's turn and their card is still in front of them, they can discard it without redrawing. First player(s) to get rid of their cards wins.




The press release concludes by announcing that "Additional titles will be announced at a future date", but I will circle back to an earlier line in the announcement, one that clarifies the "all new" phrase in the partnership for "all new future 2F-Spiele tiles". This line: "This arrangement does not include existing 2F-Spiele game lines currently published with other partners"; the only existing 2F-Spiele game line that I can think of is Power Grid, so if anything is coming along those circuits, we might have to wait a little longer to find out.
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Wed Jul 6, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Spiel 2016 — KOSMOS Expands Andor, Invites Cunning, Revisits Luther, and Asks You to Leave the Room

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Spiel 2016 is still more than three months away at this point, but some companies have started to reveal their late 2016 titles, so expect more such round-ups like these from now through mid-October. (The Spiel 2016 Preview will go live August 8, 2016, the day after Gen Con 2016 ends. One con at a time!) That said, we can still take an early look at what KOSMOS will release:

• While Die Legenden von Andor: Die Letzte Hoffnung has been announced as the final title in Michael Menzel's Andor trilogy, this September 2016 release from KOSMOS is actually a standalone title (instead of simply an expansion) and it will be followed in February 2017 by Die Legenden von Andor: Dunkle Helden, a five- & six-player expansion that adds four new heroes to the game.

• The description of Martin and Erika Schlegel's Luther: Das Spiel is brief for now, so it's not clear what the nature of gameplay is like. KOSMOS does mention that an enclosed brochure includes background information on Luther's work, but other than that detail we have only the following for now:

Quote:
For the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses of 1517, players can now live as Luther's contemporaries, following in his footsteps, traveling the cities where he worked, and encountering important companions of the Reformer.

Michael Rieneck's Mit List und Tücke is billed as having "twenty cards with which to cut and thrust" and other than 52 influence crests that's it for game components. Here's an overview:

Quote:
The King is dead; long live the Queen! Or vice versa, really, as in the intriguing game Mit List und Tücke it's hard to tell what everyone is up to and who will have the greatest impact until it all ends. Yes, the bishop's poison has been touched, but has it been administered to the abbot or is it still waiting to be used? What's happening with the witch? And the executioner is waiting for his next job...

At the beginning of a round, each player has four character cards in hand. On your turn, you play a card in front of you and follow its instructions. With some cards, you can carry out actions on your opponent and bring an end to the round's influence — but only if you don't fall victim to your opponent in the process.

• Four years after the release of the base game, Andreas Steiger's Targi gets an expansion in the plainly titled Targi: Die Erweiterung, which like the item above is due out September 2016. An overview:

Quote:
The expansion of the tribe goes on in Targi: Die Erweiterung. With water as a new element, the tribe has more flexibility in how it will extend itself. To send a Targi to a drifting sand dune can be an advantage at the right moment, and whoever searches near the Tuareg woman — the Targia — will be rewarded.

Word Slam from the team of Inka and Markus Brand will likely be a hard pass for English speakers, but for those learning or already speaking German, I present the following:

Quote:
In the communication game Word Slam, two teams compete against one another simultaneously.

In each round, one player on each team tries to get their teammates to guess a hidden word or phrase using only the 105 explanatory cards available in the box — no words! A player can use as many explanatory cards as desired, and whichever team guesses correctly first scores a point.

• The Brands are also responsible for a trio of "escape room" games from KOSMOS — EXIT: Das Spiel – Das geheime Labor, Die Grabkammer des Pharao, and Die verlassene Hütte — with each of them being a single-play experience for €13 that puts 1-6 players in a sticky situation with nothing more than a notebook and a spinning code dial of some sort to get them started on the path to freedom.

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Tue Jul 5, 2016 6:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Sail an Angry Ocean, Prepare to Go Backstage, and Ascend Above and Below

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Okay, I've posted all of our 2016 Origins Game Fair coverage — 162 videos in all — in one week (and less than two weeks after Origins ended!), with only the five uncut, day-long livestream videos still to be posted. (They're ~15GB each, and YouTube is taking forever to process them.)

What next? The Gen Con 2016 Preview bears 228 listings, and while I have another 10-20 messages in the inbox about Gen Con right now, I feel mostly caught up, so let's use this round-up to kick out a bunch of short notes about this and that.

• As mentioned in April 2016, Portal Games will release a scenario expansion pack for Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot at Gen Con 2016. Angry Ocean contains two unique dice, a character card for each, and 28 other cards. In "Angry Ocean", the ocean fights back with krakens, rocks, wrecks, and whirlpools, while in "Old Dogs" the players start with fully-equipped galleons and focus solely on the treasure.

• Canadian company Lion Rampant Imports will release two Schmidt Spiele titles — Wolfgang Kramer's Vampire Queen and Guido Hoffmann's Castle Flutterstone — in North America, with the former due out in August 2016 and the latter in Q3 2016 in a new English/French edition.

Stone Blade Entertainment has opened preorders for Ascension X: War of Shadows, with copies bearing a Chaos Rider promo and due out in July 2016.

Shakespeare: Backstage, an expansion for Hervé Rigal's Shakespeare from Ystari Games, adds new actors, new objectives, and new costumes to the game, along with backstage cards that allow players to place unwagered cylinders on the deck and spend them on special abilities, "such as placing fewer rest tokens, adding hats to actors, or increasing ambiance".

Catan Studio plans to re-release Klaus Teuber's Struggle for Catan in August 2016 in a tuckbox edition for $13.

• On Facebook, artist Pascal Quidault has shared cover artwork for "the new edition of game Sherlock Holmes, published soon by Space Cowboys". Ystari's Cyril Demaegd is a member of Space Cowboys, so the transition of this title from one publisher to the other is not surprising.

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Fri Jul 1, 2016 3:05 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 X: Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea, Seikatsu, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game, and Love Will Tear Us Apart

W. Eric Martin
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• We featured many games on our 2016 Origins Game Fair livestream, and the one that excited me the most was Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea from designer Nicholas Fortugno and publisher Killer Snails. I'm not saying this is the best game shown in our booth, but it was the most unexpected in both subject matter and the publisher's approach in bringing the game to market.



And whatever you think of the game, you really should watch the video of these killer snails. Amazing!





• Everything old comes back again, right? That's probably why zombies resonate so well in the public culture; you inherently understand the principle of zombies because you see someone wearing wide-flared bell bottoms or hear about a remake of some movie that struck you as ghastly even as an undiscriminating teenager and wonder, "Why is everyone into this stuff once again?"

Admittedly pop-culture zombieism is sometimes a plus, and the return of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to game tables after more than a decade's absence will likely excite some percentage of former and current fans. Here's an overview of this title, which Jasco Games will release on October 28, 2016.





• We had a fair amount of unscheduled time at Origins, but thankfully the hall is filled with exhibitors and designers, so we were often able to pull people on camera to talk about something other than the game release most immediately on their mind. Here, for example, Ryan Bruns of Mayday Games talks about his experience of game conventions as an exhibitor and how little of a show he actually sees, especially at Gen Con — which opens five weeks from today!





• We also found time to demo a few games that hadn't even been signed, such as the tile-laying game Seikatsu from Isaac Shalev and Matt Loomis — although from the whispering voices that I heard at Origins 2016, you'll probably be seeing this title on tables sooner rather than later.





• You might have noticed pummeling sounds in the background of our Origins 2016 videos. Directly across from the BGG booth was a fenced area in which people beat on one another with foam swords and other weapons. To explain the pummeling in more detail, Stephanie invited someone from the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society on camera to talk about what they do, both at Origins and at other events.





• We closed Origins 2016 with a mammoth conversation with designer/publisher Matt Fantastic of Prettiest Princess Games, who explained Love Will Tear Us Apart in the first couple of minutes of this 48-minute video (!) and I finally played the game on camera in the final few minutes when Stephanie Straw arrived back in the booth after touring the convention hall. Probably NSFW, but I will humbly suggest that this video is well worth your time.

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Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:00 pm
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