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News from Italy: Aztlàn, Micro Monsters, AstroNuts, iPad/iPhone news and Italian Master

Andrea Ligabue
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Here I am with another round-up of news from Italy:

Ares Games: Aztlàn, an Euro-style game from Leo Colovini

Ares Games announces its debut in the Eurogame category with the upcoming board game Aztlán, created by the Italian game designer Leo Colovini and scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The game had previously been announced in 2010 as the second title in the "Designer Series" from Nexus Games, following Faidutti and Laget's Ad Astra.

Aztlán is a strategy game with bluffing and challenging mechanisms, for 3 to 4 players, set in the mythical land of Aztlán, ancestral home of the Nahuatl (Aztec) people. In Aztlán, four tribes strive to survive and prosper under the scrutiny of the Aztec Gods themselves.

From the publisher's game description: The game develops over five different epochs, with each divided into four phases. Players try to conquer the largest realm, using an intriguing and highly interactive mechanism. In each epoch, the tribes have uneven and secret strengths, so a player's strategy must be based on intuition and bluff. When winning a conflict, you are faced with the difficult choice between eliminating your enemies, or deciding to co-exist with them. Peaceful co-existence brings the opportunity to develop your own civilization and gain future advantages, but can you trust your opponent?

In a press release announcing the title, Christoph Cianci, CEO of Ares Games, said, "We are very happy to publish Aztlán. This will enrich our catalog with a great Euro-style game from Leo Colovini, one of the most renowned Italian game designers. It's an easy to learn game system, but with a deep strategy, which will please different players' profiles."

Game development is at an advanced stage, and Ares Games plans to release Aztlán at Spiel 2012, which takes place October 18-21 in Essen, Germany.

Ares Games: Details of Micro Monsters

I was able to get a preview copy of the international edition of Micro Monsters from Ares Games, and comparing it to previous editions of the design – that is, X-Bugs and Micro Mutants: EvolutionMicro Monsters is much simpler and more oriented toward play with kids and families. The four races differ only in their graphics and in the special power that's activated by one face of the single die.

During your turn, you roll the die and move the displayed monster. You have three different kinds of pieces: small round ones, big round ones, and rectangular ones.

The game is much more of a dexterity game than it was before, but it's really fun for families and kids. (Within a few days of receiving this preview copy, I had played it more than ten times with my son and his friends!)

Mücke Spiele: AstroNuts from Angelo Porazzi

Since I know Angelo Porazzi very well, thanks to his greatest design (Warangel) and to his presence at most of the Italian gaming events with Area Autoproduzione – an area for self-publishers to show of their creations – I'm going to let him say a little about AstroNuts, an almost unknown design published by Mücke Spiele and first presented at PLAY: The Games Festival in Modena in March 2012.

AstroNuts is a game in which you have to colonize the Galaxy to discover the "Nuts", the colored resources on the planets.

You can improve the technology of your fleet, meet Aliens, attack other players' colonies, and buy new ships...controlling the actions you have each turn.

The game art is also by Angelo, who started drawing the fighting fantasy warriors that you see in Warangel back in 1986! For the 2012 release AstroNuts, you have a more cartoonish "AstroNut" piloting his funny astroship while another ship is dogfighting as in a scene from Star Wars, a third ship is crashing in asteroids, and a mellow alien has discovered a ganja nut...

I've played the preview copy I got from the designer with my kids, and it's a real family/kids game with a lot of luck and interaction. To start your turn, you figure out how many actions you have by choosing a number from 1 to 6, then rolling the die. If you roll that number or higher, you receive two times as many action points as your declared number; otherwise you receive just the rolled number. With actions you can move, collect resources, colonize planets, attack, build new starships or research. Planets have 2-3 resources in different colors. Landing on a planet forces you to roll for a random effect on a 36-line table, something that brings to mind the random tables in the old Task Force Games.

iPad/iPhone Game News

• Designer Spartaco Albertarelli announced that he's working on an iPad version of Magnifico. More details in the next "News from Italy" round-up.

Dario de Toffoli announced that Studiogiochi and iNigma are working on an iPad version of Inkognito, which which was designed by Leo Colovini and Alex Randolph.

Game Releases

• Asterion Press released Dobble, the Italian version of Spot It!

• Giochi Uniti released Olympicards by Paolo Mori.

• Stratelibri released the Italian version of the new edition of 1830.

• Play Strong released Play Ultras, which is *ahem* "only for radicals".

Italian Masters 2012
25.308 points, 907 minutes of play, 68 gamers, 17 team, 7 games, 6 referees, 2 games of play, 1 winner: game

That's the data from the Italian Masters 2012, Italy's greatest board game competition which qualifies the team for the European Championship. Details of the event are on the website.
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