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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: Monks Brewing, Detectives Chasing, and Devil Pigs Teasing

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• Apparently it's time to start covering titles that will debut at SPIEL 2017 in October as eggertspiele has revealed the final cover for Heaven & Ale, a design by Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt that puts you in charge of monks in a brewery. In more detail:

Quote:
You have been assigned to lead an ancient monastery and its brewery. Now it's your time to brew the best beer under God's blue sky!

The fine art of brewing beer demands your best timing. In order to get the best results of your production, you have to provide your cloister's garden with fertile resources and the right number of monks helping with the harvest — but keep your brewmaster in mind as he is ready and eager to refine each and every one of your barrels!

In Heaven & Ale, you have to overcome the harsh competition of your fellow players. There is a fine balance between upgrading your cloister's garden and harvesting the resources you need to fill your barrels. Only those who manage to keep a cool head are able to win the race for the best beer!

• Norwegian publisher Aporta Games will debut Destination X from Bård Tuseth and Kristian Amundsen Østby, with the name calling to mind the hunt for Mr. X in Scotland Yard, although in this game it's enough to peg the country in which the spy is located in order to rack up a victory. Here's an overview:

Quote:
Destination X is a game of one-against-many: One player takes the moderator role as a spy on the run, while the remaining players are detectives who must cooperate and use their deductive skills and geographical knowledge to track down the spy and identify their secret destination.

At the beginning of each round, six destination cards are placed face up on the table. The spy secretly chooses one of the destinations, and flips to the chosen country's page in the handbook. Each detective is given three informant cards, and in turn each detective must play an informant to get information about the spy's secret destination. The spy must find the relevant information in the handbook and answer truthfully. The informants may provide information on various aspects such as population, industry, religion, history, economy, and so on. After a detective has played an informant, the detective must also eliminate one of the destinations on the table.

At any time, the detectives can decide to guess on the spy's destination. If they guess correctly, the detectives win the round; otherwise the spy wins. The spy also wins if the detectives run out of informant cards, so the detectives must manage their resources well and not spend too much time or else the spy will manage to get away. The first side to win three rounds wins the game.

• Designer J. Alex Kevern is becoming a regular with Renegade Game Studios, with his Sentient due out in Q3 2017 and the freshly announced Atlas: Enchanted Lands coming in Q4 2017. Here's an overview of that latter game:

Quote:
Atlas: Enchanted Lands is an elegant card game set in a world of fairies and magic. Play cards to reveal a certain place and time — and place your stake in one of the two. Explore a location at dawn, day, sunset, and night, or see what the whole land looks like in the dark. Each card offers two choices, and it's up to you to uncover the world that awaits.

In more detail, players are challenged to predict the time or place that will be uncovered first. Cards laid on the board will complete sets. Depending on the cards chosen by the players, sets of similar cards or numerically ascending cards will be revealed, granting points to the players that deduced the correct combination.

Fully Baked Ideas, the adults-only imprint of Looney Labs, will release Adult Mad Libs: The Game on June 22, 2017, with this design featuring the same gameplay as Andy Looney's Mad Libs: The Game but with racier or more suggestive words. Adult party games are a thing, yo!

• On Facebook, Yann and Clem from Devil Pig Games have posted the following image with no comment other than "GRUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIK!", which is precisely the sound made by a devil pig and not at all helpful in terms of enlightening others as to precisely what deal has been made between DPG and Games Workshop. Questions have been asked; I'll let you know if responses come, but in all likelihood something will be announced during Warhammer Fest 2017, which takes place May 27-28.



Update, May 24: Devil Pig Games has now posted an overview page for Heroes of Black Reach, which bears this description:

Quote:
On June 19, prepare for war! The Heroes System Tactical Scale expands beyond the Norman bocages to the very stars into the universe of Warhammer 40,000!

On the world-hive of Black Reach, an Ork Waaagh! breaks, jeopardizing this sector of the galaxy!

You will soon be able to help the Ultramarines in their merciless fight against the Warlord Zanzag and relive the grim adventures of Captain Cato Sicarius and Sergeant Scout Marines Torias Telion!

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Wed May 24, 2017 5:05 pm
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Kingdomino, Magic Maze, and Wettlauf nach El Dorado Nominated for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres

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The nominees for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres — Germany's "game of the year" award, which typically boosts sales of the winner by several hundred thousand copies — have been announced, and they are:

Kingdomino, by Bruno Cathala and Pegasus Spiele, with Blue Orange Games being the publisher of origin
Magic Maze, by Kasper Lapp and Pegasus Spiele (originally Sit Down!)
Wettlauf nach El Dorado, by Reiner Knizia and Ravensburger




Seven additional titles were recommended by the jury of journalists and game reviewers that oversees the Spiel des Jahres, an annual award meant to honor a game that would be a great choice for play by German families (and by extension families everywhere). These titles are DEJA-VU, Dodelino, Fabled Fruit, KLASK, Shiftago, Tempel des Schreckens, and Word Slam.

The jury announced nominees for two additional awards as well. Titles up for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, Germany's game of the year for children, are:

Captain Silver, by Wolfgang Dirscherl, Manfred Reindl, and Queen Games
Ice Cool, by Brian Gomez and AMIGO Spiele (originally Brain Games)
Der Mysteriöse Wald (a.k.a. The Mysterious Forest), by Carlo A. Rossi and IELLO




The games nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres — an award aimed at enthusiasts who already have some familiarity with modern games — are:

EXIT: Das Spiel, a series of three escape room games from Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and KOSMOS
Räuber der Nordsee (a.k.a. Raiders of the North Sea), by Shem Phillips and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally Phillips' own Garphill Games)
Terraforming Mars, by Jacob Fryxelius and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally from FryxGames and Stronghold Games)




Four additional Kennerspiel-level titles were recommended by the jury: The Big Book of Madness, Captain Sonar, Great Western Trail, and The Grizzled.

The winner of the 2017 Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced Monday, June 19 in Hamburg, while the 2017 Spiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners will be revealed on Monday, July 17 in Berlin.

Congratulations to all the nominees!
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Mon May 22, 2017 10:00 am
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Combat and Miniatures Galore!

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• Will you be cruel or merciful? That's the question Indie Boards & Cards is using to pitch Path of Light and Shadow, a design by Travis R. Chance, Jonathan Gilmour, and Nick Little in which you're rewarded for pushing toward one end or the other of that scale. Neutrality is not a plus because then you're seen as a wishy-washy hand wringer and won't maximize your points. Followers want decisiveness! (KS link)

• While Path has aspects of area control on a map, it's only a "dude on a map" game since you have only one dude. Clash of Rage from Frédéric Guérard and La Boite de Jeu adopts the more familiar formula of placing many dudes on their map, with players both trying to overcome a failing elvish empire and other competitors for the remains of that empire. (KS link)

BGG shot an overview of Clash of Rage while at the game fair in Cannes in early 2017. Components shown are not final, of course.




• Want even more face-smashing action? Luke Seinen's Carthage from SAS Creative is a 2-5 player arena combat game with a deck-building element. Should you be eliminated from play in a game with more than two players, you can come back to life as a sabertooth tiger or another beast to attempt to get revenge for your former human self. (KS link)

Magitics from Norbert Kiss and A-games is also an arena combat, but one set in a fantasy realm in which players can use spells and magic items in addition to more traditional figure-based combat. (KS link)

• I feel like A.E.G.I.S.: Combining Robot Strategy Game from Zephyr Workshop has been around forever since I've included it on two Gen Con previews, yet the game won't be released until January 2018. Funny how that works. Here's a short description of the game from the Kickstarter project: "We love strategy games, and noticed there was a severe lack of combining robots and simple strategy games. We decided to change that..." (KS link)

• Even more combat comes your way courtesy of Phil Vestal, Eddie Zakoor, Anneke Zakoor and newcomer Shadow Squirrel Games with the 1-7 player game Wanted Earth, in which players must defend the Earth against several invading alien races — unless players want to play as those races, that is, in which case the game becomes 100% less cooperative and you can play as a frog whose tongue is longer than its body. (KS link)


Evolutionarily unlikely


Tradewars: Homeworld – Exterra Edition from Kristopher R. Kycia and Outer Limit Games presents the mirror image of the game above, with humans leaving Earth to colonize other worlds under the leadership of four megacorporations. Naturally you and the other megacorporations can't play nicely, so you'll need to build a fancy deck and manage your resources well in order to show them up. Solitaire rules are included in case you want to head spaceward on your own. (KS link)

Diceborn Heroes from Keith Donaldson and his Diceborn Games seems like an old-school RPG-style co-op dice chucker, and I can't think of much to say about the game beyond that. (KS link)

Deadly Premonition: The Board Game from newcomer Rising Star Games is a deduction-driven card game based on the video game Deadly Premonition. (KS link)

• Given the huge number of games with miniatures in this round-up, I thought I'd also mention the crowdfunding campaign for the Skirmish Box from Dog Might Games, this being a fancy wood box with a metal plate under the felt bottom so that your miniatures with magnets will not get tossed around in the box when you travel with them — and should your miniatures not have magnets on them, well, Dog Might will sell you magnets as well. Problem and solution in one step! (KS link)

• We'll close with Barker's Row from Steven Aramini and Overworld Games, which has the amusing scoretrack of "rube" meeples being placed in your grandstand. Yes, your goal is to put butts in seats. In the game, you draft and play cards to use their powers and attract those rubes, but with each attraction you play, you have to work harder to attract more rubes in the future — just like real life. (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 May 21, 2017 6:41 pm
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Links: Mensa Winners, Co-op Games for Newbies, and Black-and-White Squares Forever

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It's been a while since my previous link round-up, so some of these links might be less timely than is ideal. Still, onward!

• Voting for the Deutscher Spielepreis 2017 is underway, with gamers being asked to vote for their five favorite games from the second half of 2016 and the first half-ish of 2017. Votes can be placed through July 31, 2017, and the winners will be revealed at SPIEL 2017 in October.

• Speaking of awards, American Mensa announced the latest winners of their annual Mind Games competition in late April 2017:


That's a handful of traditional Eurogames right there, with Renegade Game Studios picking up its three straight win for Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure, following Lanterns: The Harvest Festival in 2015 and World's Fair 1893 in 2016. (Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension won a Mensa Select award in 2014 when it was published by Cryptozoic Entertainment, with Renegade taking over as that game's publisher in late 2014.)

Around the World in 80 Days is a new version of Hare & Tortoise (the first Spiel des Jahres winner), while Amalgam is a U.S. version of Glastonbury, which is itself a new version of Kupferkessel Co. (which was a Spiel des Jahres-recommended title in 2002). Imagine and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle rounded out the Mensa Select awards for 2017.

• Before I started writing about games full-time, I was a freelance magazine writer, following in my wife's footsteps. She's still carrying on in this career, with 2017 marking the end of her second decade in this field, and she recently wrote about "7 board games for kids who hate to lose", with this essentially being an introduction to co-op games for Canadian publication Today's Parent.

• I posted a Hasbro-centric links round-up in late April 2017, noting the company's 41% net earnings increase in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016. What I didn't note is that this quarter marks the first time in seventeen years that Hasbro has beaten Mattel in revenue, a detail highlighted in an Associated Press article that credits Toilet Trouble for this wondrous event. From the article:

Quote:
"I never thought I would actually get to talk about this on an earnings call but, you know, Toilet Trouble is off to a very good start," CEO Brian Goldner told analysts Monday after putting up very strong first-quarter numbers.

Now Hasbro is flush with cash!

Popular Mechanics is a relic of the past, at least in my mind, because I associate it with my father, who had huge stacks of both that magazine and Popular Science in his basement workshop. I loved reading "Wordless Workshop" even though most of the ideas seemed gimmicky and impractical, on par with solutions to all the Encyclopedia Brown stories I read in my youth. I'm not even sure what Popular Mechanics now covers or how it still exists, but I do know that it recently featured "The 50 Best New Board Games", a pictorially jam-packed, Amazon-affiliate-laden overview of fifty new board games that you may or may not agree are "best". 'Twas ever thus...

• This video in PBS' "Infinite Series" explores concepts related to infinite chess — that is, chess played on an infinitely large chessboard — including how many moves it might take to determine when a game might end.

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Thu May 18, 2017 2:37 pm
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New Game Round-up: The Empire Rises, Roosters Go Rushing, and Ruins Inhabits New Scavengers

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• I've been writing about Tokyo Game Market for the past week or so (and tweeting dozens of pics from that show), but plenty of other game announcements have taken place during this time, such as Fantasy Flight Games' announcement of Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire, with this prequel(?) expansion including "eight new leaders, thirty-six plastic miniatures, five target markers, two attachment rings, three new dice, and more than one-hundred new cards" to incorporate elements from the movie Rogue One into the earlier game.

• On Facebook, Lookout Games has posted two images of a prototype from Michael Kiesling titled Riverboat: entlang des Mississippi (Riverboat: Along the Mississippi), with the earlier, March 2017 image referring to the game as one of their "summer novelties", but nothing has been announced definitively, so I'll leave this as a teaser for now.

• The video game Deadly Premonition is being made into a board game, specifically Deadly Premonition: The Board Game. The website for the game has almost no information on the design, but that's because it served to countdown the launch of a Kickstarter funding project that has already netted $120K. As for the gameplay, here's a short description:

Quote:
Deadly Premonition: The Board Game is a detective-themed 2-4 player card-based board game inspired by cult sensation video game Deadly Premonition and set in the mysterious town of Greenvale, following the Murder of Anna Graham.

In Deadly Premonition: The Board Game, you and your fellow detectives must take on the task of protecting the innocent, incriminating the guilty, and working out who might not be who they say they are. With a hidden killer amongst the detectives, the race is on to identify a suspect as an accomplice in order track down the true killer.

• Designers Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat originally self-published Gaijin Dash! for Tokyo Game Market in 2016, and now Mayday Games has licensed the design for a U.S. release in Q4 2017 as Rooster Rush.

I recorded an overview video in May 2016 if you want the full details on the game, but in brief players are trying to cross a busy road and not be hit by traffic. On a turn, you spin colored tokens that represent vehicles, and you want to slap the matching-colored card that you feel won't hit you — but the safety of that lane in the highway won't be determined until the token stops spinning and lands on SAFE or UNSAFE. Collect three unsafe results, and you're out of the game; score eleven points or be the last one standing, and you win.

• On June 7, 2017, Portal Games debuts 51st State: Scavengers — an expansion for 51st State: Master Set based on the older 51st State expansion Ruins — in Poland and Germany, with the English-language expansion coming to Europe on June 14 and North America on June 28. The expansion includes new and old cards, with players now being able search the discard pile for valuable locations in order to reuse them for your own purposes.
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Wed May 17, 2017 3:29 pm
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Tokyo Game Market, May 2017: Preview Night — Mini Rails, Crows Overkill, Korocchi!, and Sweet Honey, Bee Mine!

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On the day before Tokyo Game Market, which took place May 14, 2017, I attended a preview event hosted by designer Shimpei Sato (Onitama, Eggs of Ostrich) where a number of Japanese and Taiwanese designers and publishers showed off their TGM titles in advance. Here are four of the games I saw and played at that event:

Mark Gerrits' Mini Rails from Moaideas Game Design is a magically simple rail game for 3-5 players. At the start of each round, you draw colored discs equal to twice the number of players plus one from the bag, then in player order (as shown by the pawns on the player order track) players take one of two actions: buy a share or place a track. Whichever action you don't take the first time, you must take the second time. When you buy a share, its value is zero no matter activity has already taken place in that color. When you place a track, the value of all existing shares goes up or down $1-3 depending on the space covered, with all discs of a color being placed contiguously.

As you take discs, you determine player order for the next round. Whichever disc hasn't been taken drops down to the bottom row; that action represents the company paying its taxes, and now that color will score points for all shareholders at the end of the game, with the value for each player being determined by the location of that share disc on their player board.

The game has a few other details, but that's mostly it. With only twelve disc choices in the game, along with the placement of those discs on the board, every choice matters. I played horribly in my one game, not looking ahead to what might be placed where and setting myself up for failure. Moaideas will have a presence at SPIEL 2017 should you not be able to travel back in time to TGM.




Crows Overkill from EmperorS4 is a new version of Roy Nambu's Sanzen Sekai: I'd kill all the crows in the world to be with you a little longer, which he originally self-published in 2015. The title is less flamboyant in the new edition, but the setting remains the same: You're visiting your sweetheart and want to stay as long as possible, but your lover is very sensitive and you know that as soon as the crows start crying out that you'll have to leave, so you resolve to kill as many of them as possible in order to stay longer. I would imagine that the feathers and blood all over your hands would be a bigger turnoff than the squawking, but hey, who am I to judge?

You start the game with three bird cards in front of you and two shamisen (action) cards in hand. On a turn, you gain three more bird cards — which might show 1-3 crows, roosters, owls, warblers, or bats (and no, bats aren't birds, but they're here as well) — and two more action cards, then you must take actions so that you have fewer crows in front of you than the current limit. Oh, and no owls. They hoot all the time, so you must scoot any owls along to another player. The bird deck contains a few gong cards as well, and each time a gong is rung, the hour advances, which lowers the acceptable bird count. Suddenly you can't have a pair of roosters in front of you, or even one warbler, so you must shoo them along to some other lover, being content to ruin their relationship to ensure your personal happiness.





Sweet Honey, Bee Mine! is from Katsuya Kitano and New Board Game Party, creators of Who Soiled the Toilet? in 2016. This game combines bluffing, hand management, and your ability to be a jerk in one tidy package. In a round, each player starts with a hand of five cards, with the cards being similar to a Pairs deck (one 1, two 2s, up to ten 10s), but with some of the cards from 1-5 being labeled "low" and some from 6-10 being labeled "high"; if a card isn't labeled, then it can be anything from 1-10.

Each player reveals one card simultaneously, and whoever reveals the highest card starts. On a turn, the player choose one card from hand, places it face down with 1-3 honey chips on it, then draw a new card. The next player can either place the same number of chips on it to pass the card to the next player or take the card and chips; if the card matches a number the player already has, they are out of the round and must ante a number of chips equal to the card number to the pot. If no one takes the card, then whoever first played the card must take it, scoring lots of chips but killing themselves if they played a number they already had.

The round continues until a player has cards that sum to at least 35, they have three cards valued 1-5 in front of them, or they're the only one still in the round. That player wins the pot, then everyone scores points equal to the number of honey chips they have. After a certain number of rounds, whoever has the most points wins.




• Host Sato taught his new game Korocchi!, the description of which I wrote previously:

Quote:
In Korocchi!, you try to find the correct card that is determined by two (or three) unique dice, and whoever touches the correct card first score points. Each of the two dice in the basic game has two pieces of information:

• Color die: Shows you the outside color and inside color.
• Shape die: Shows you the outside shape and the inside shape.

Three different creatures (cat, bat and obake) are depicted on the cards, with these creatures appearing in three colors. Each card depicts one large creature in one color holding a tiny creature in another color. By pairing the two dice, you know precisely which one card to touch from all those face up on the table.

For an additional challenge, you can roll the third die as well. The faces on this die might just show that you play as normal scoring one or two points, or it might show the shapes or colors being reversed — which means you need to look for the opposite card (sort of) instead.

The gameplay matches precisely what I thought it would be: ye olde game of rolling, staring, and pouncing. Sato's tie-breaker rule for when two players touch the right card at the same time is hilarious: Whoever yells "Korocchi!" louder wins. "Korocchi" combines the Japanese words for rolling (as in dice) and grabbing, so the yelling makes sense.

You can also use the cards to play a memory game by turning them face down. On a turn, a player reveals two cards and if both the outer colors and the inner colors match on the cards, then the player claims the cards and takes another turn. Whoever collects the most cards wins.


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Mon May 15, 2017 1:05 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2017 V: Fanhunter: Urban Warfare, Road Hog, Zombie Tsunami, and Immortals

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To continue my thoughts from yesterday's post, we record a lot of videos at game conventions — 100 or so at Spielwarenmesse, 150 at Origins, 150-175 at Gen Con, and 300-ish at SPIEL, with a few dozen more at various other events along the way — so it might not come as a surprise that we sometimes don't get everything into print, whether in the weeks following the event or, well, ever. I'm not trying to bury videos, but in the rush to get everything to print before preparations for the next event get underway, sometimes I overlook a video (or five) that are waiting for nothing more than a bit of preparation and a push out the door on YouTube, as with these recently discovered videos from the 2017 GAMA Trade Show.

• At SPIEL 2016, Devir's Matt Hyland raved about the Fanhunter comic created by Cels Piñol, trying to give me context to appreciate the Fanhunter: Urban Warfare game from David Esbri that Devir will be selling and demoing at the 2017 Origins Game Fair. Here's a short description from Wikipedia:

Quote:
In 1996, in the city of Barcelona, Alejo Cuervo (an insane ex-librarian who thinks he is possessed by the spirit of Philip K. Dick), proclaims himself as the new Pope Alejo I (killing the old one by blowing up Vatican City), submitting (sometimes through bribes) all of Europe to the boring "Dick's Rule" by forbidding almost any form of subculture (video games, comics, DVDs, role-playing games, hopscotch) and allowing just what he likes: religious music, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the works of Philip K. Dick: "Minority Report", "Blade Runner", etc.

Alejo I decided to create a special force, the Fanhunters, and used the cloned soldiers Tintin Macute (who are not so intelligent) to annihilate the civilians who still resist: otakus, gamers, comic fans, and geeks left in Europe. Barcelona is renamed as Barnacity, being now the capital of Europe, which has been renamed Europe of Dick.

To defend themselves, the rebels created a group "The Resistance" to fight against Pope Alejo I and his evil forces. Many fans organized to defend their ideals and lifestyle, stopping the destruction of imagination that moves the world, using their knowledge of movie, comics, TV shows, and books like "V", "M*A*S*H", "Constantine", "The A-Team", and "The Rock".






• Here's a double miss by me, which makes me feel extra embarrassed to mention it. At Gen Con 2016, I recorded an interview with Douglas Morse, creator of the documentary The Next Great American Game, and Randall Hoyt, whose efforts to license the game Turnpike are covered in that film. I think that file is on a thumb drive somewhere, but thumb drives are small and possibly I ate it during the madness of that show. I'm not sure. My organization skills excel in some ways, but only at the cost of decelling in other areas.

At the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, Sean Lashagari from Ultra PRO presented an overview of Road Hog: Rule the Road, which is the published name of Turnpike and which hit U.S. retail shelves in February 2017.





Vincent Vergonjeanne is co-designer, with Jeremie Torton, of Zombie Tsunami from Lucky Duck Games, with this being a tabletop adaptation of the Zombie Tsunami app. In this game, due out at SPIEL 2017 in October if the Kickstarter funding goes well, each player has their own wave of zombies coming into town and you want to survive the resistance of the humans better than anyone else.





• This final video overview from the 2017 GAMA Trade Show (I think) was not held up as a result of my incompetence, but rather as a result of a name change. Queen Games was developing a design by Dirk Henn and Mike Elliott titled War Eternal, then right after we recorded this video the German office found out about the Indie Boards & Cards title Aeon's End: War Eternal and asked not to publish the video until they had settled on a new name. That name is Immortals, and here's a short overview:

Quote:
In Immortals, each game is just another episode in the eternal cycle of war between the Light Realm and the Dark Realm in the World of Twilight. The armies defeated in one world are resurrected in the other world.

It is each player's aim to control and make efficient use of the different areas and their resources (inhabitants, gold, energy) in both realms. The player who most successfully implements their ambitions will be the winner of the game.


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Sun May 14, 2017 1:05 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse VIII: Valletta and Sword & Sorcery

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I attend more game conventions than the average bear, which often makes me anxious to get things learned or recorded at one convention into print as quickly as possible because I've learned from experience that once that next convention arrives, I am pretty much done with the earlier one. Now I have new announcements, new pics, new videos, new things to write about! Everything else is old news, a stratum of data that will be covered be fresher news —but as soon as that new material arrives, the clock starts ticking once again. Hurry!

I have a half-written report about the Festival International des Jeux — the annual con in Cannes, France — that never went to print because as soon as I landed from that show, I started preparing for the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, with someone else processing the videos from Cannes in order to get them on the airwaves before the BGG team headed to Las Vegas. Pardonnez-moi, s'il vous plaît.

Thus, it did not come as a surprise to discover that while I thought I had published all the game overview videos that we recorded at Spielwarenmesse 2017 — the annual trade fair that takes place in early February in Nürnberg, Germany — it turns out that I had published only 101 out of 103. This past week, while planning for BGG.CON Spring and Origins, I went looking for the overviews of Stefan Dorra's Valletta (from Hans im Glück) and Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace's Sword & Sorcery (from Ares Games), and found them missing. Thankfully I still had the raw files, and I've now bounced those online, forgetting to trim the opening seconds of nothingness that I'd prefer not be there, but I'll live with the task being done rather than waiting still longer to cut them and upload them once again.

At least I think I'm done. We'll see what I find in the weeks to come...






• Please recall for all dates mentioned in the following video that we recorded this overview in early February 2017. I try to jump in with a year or a quarter of a year, e.g., Q3 2017, when someone mentions only a month or season, but I don't always make it.





• Bonus video! After getting an overview of Günter and Lena Burkhardt's Die Gärten von Versailles from Schmidt Spiele's Matthias Karl, I felt compelled to ask Karl why Schmidt included the choice of languages that it did across the various products in their line.

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Sat May 13, 2017 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: Titles at Tokyo Game Market 2017 – Mini Rails, Animal Village, and Dungeon of Mandom VIII

W. Eric Martin
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• Not all of the publishers with new games scheduled to be at Tokyo Game Market — which next takes place May 14, 2017 — are from Japan. Many Taiwanese publishers show up with new games as well, sometimes with those games having Japanese editions on the market before editions in any other language!

One such title debuting at TGM is Mark Gerrits' Mini Rails from Moaideas Game Design. The current game description is the briefest of takes, but ideally I can record an overview video while at the show since this title will undoubtedly be available at SPIEL 2017 as well.

Quote:
Mini Rails distills the essence of the stock-buying and track-laying game genre into a tight experience that can be finished under an hour.

The game includes only two types of actions — "Buy Shares" and "Build Tracks — and you must carefully decide how to best use them. You must do each action exactly once per round, and which company you choose affects the turn order on the next round.



Oink Games first released Masato Uesugi's Dungeon of Mandom in 2013, with this game being a sort of press-your-luck dungeon delve in which players essentially boast about tackling a dungeon with less and less equipment (learning about some of creatures lurking inside the dungeon while doing so) until finally only one person remains standing — then this chump sets off into the dungeon to see whether they survive or not. If you don't make it, you're wounded, and a second wound eliminates you from play. Be the last player standing or successfully navigate the dungeon twice, and you win.

French publisher IELLO licensed the design and released Welcome to the Dungeon in 2015, with this game including four heroes and more pieces of equipment to give players more variety. They followed this title in 2016 with Welcome Back to the Dungeon, with Antoine Bauza serving as co-designer to add another four heroes and yet more equipment and monsters to the game.

Now with Dungeon of Mandom VIII, which debuts at TGM in mid-May, Oink Games is putting everything in one box with new artwork. I imagine that this title won't receive distribution in the U.S. and Europe due to the licensing deal with IELLO, but that's something I hope to find out.




Tetsuya Iida from Yamato Games typically includes English rules with purchases at TGM — assuming that you ask for English rules, that is — but right now only the Japanese rules are available for Animal Village, so I've cobbled together this short description for now:

Quote:
Animal Village is a worker-placement style game played solely with cards in which players try to cultivate both crops and sheep to score points.


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Fri May 12, 2017 1:05 pm
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Game Overview: Birdie Fight!, or Color Your Nest the Right Way to Win

W. Eric Martin
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In May 2016, ahead of my trip to Tokyo Game Market, I published an overview of ButaBabel from designer Yuo and design circle Kocchiya. Since I'm headed to TGM once again in May 2017, I thought I'd do it again, this time looking at Yuo's card game Birdie Fight!

In fact, this game is slightly more than a card game given that it contains ten scoring tokens that are laid out to define the boundaries of a 5x5 grid. Each player has a hand of cards, with the cards coming in four suits numbered 1-7; one card is placed in the center of the grid to start play. On a turn, you place a card from your hand adjacent to a card already in play, and when the game ends you'll still hold one card. That's it!

Oh, wait, there's that small detail about how to score and win — you know, that detail that drives everything else that you do. At the end of the game, you determine which color has the highest sum in each row and column, with tied colors being ignored Raj-style; in each row, that highest color scores the points shown on the token sitting at left, and for each column, that color scores for the token above it. The card that you hold shows your color, and you score all the points that the color has scored, in addition to 1-7 points to match the value of the card you hold. After two complete rounds, whoever has the highest score wins.

Birdie Fight! includes rules for solo play in which your score equals the points scored by your color minus the points scored by all three other colors. Yes, you're one small bird up against an unfriendly world, so you'll need to set your enemies against one another to do well.

Image by Suzanne Sheldon


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Thu May 11, 2017 11:59 pm
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