• Steve Jackson Games has announced two upcoming boosters for Munchkin, due out in August 2015. The first is a reprint of Munchkin Dragons. The second booster is all-new and continues the "slaying dragons for treasure" theme, titled Munchkin Dragon's Trike. That little dragon looks so adorable on its tricycle, but it's most likely part of an elaborate ploy to make us humans let our guard down. Don't say I didn't warn you when they're melting you with their fiery breath!
Both boosters include 15 cards to satisfy all your treasure hoarding desires.
The expansion adds puzzle-cut tiles to the game that players can use to construct suggested arenas to battle on, or to create their own arenas. The new tiles have optional terrain effects that can be used to increase the difficulty, presumably creating obstacles and traps that you need crafty spells to bypass. Battlegrounds Domination also includes a new mode, aptly called Domination, in which players need to focus on controlling powerful orbs in the arena. The expansion comes with new spells and other cards, all compatible with the play modes in the base game, so you can start tweaking your spellbook to meet the new challenges.
Battlegrounds Domination will be pre-released in limited numbers at Origins at the beginning of June 2015, just in case you're too excited to wait for the expansion's full release on July 6, 2015.
• Do you find Fluxx a little too predictable? Do you crave more chaos? Look no further because Looney Labs has announced Fluxx Dice, an expansion that can be added to any Fluxx card game. Fluxx Dice takes the only consistent element of the game — the starting "Draw 1, Play 1" rule — and throws it out the window. Players instead roll a draw die and a play die at the start of their turn, following the instructions on them. Designer Andy Looney said the expansion makes Fluxx "a new game every turn".
Fluxx Dice also includes five cards and is expected to be available worldwide starting on August 28, 2015.
• Bezier Games will sell Suburbia: Con Tiles through preorders on its website and at upcoming conventions. This mini-expansion contains five tiles so you can add some of the best gaming conventions to your very own suburb: Kublacon, Dice Tower Con, Gen Con, Essen SPIEL and BGG.CON. Just like in real life, the more conventions the better; each one grants you an increasing reputation bonus, until your suburb is eventually an irresistible hub of gaming heaven.
Con Tiles can be used with only the base game, but they also include the ★ symbol to integrate with the upcoming Suburbia 5★ expansion.
Rumble at Castle Tentakill adds familiars that you can befriend (until you throw them in the line of fire), blood to collect to power your dark magiks, reactions that can activate from beyond the grave, and turns the standee into an heirloom that increases the strength of some spells.
• Fantasy Flight Games has announcedStrange Remnants, an upcoming expansion for Eldritch Horror. In the expansion, players face a new Ancient One that is no mere monster; its name is Syzygy, a deadly alignment of the planets that will devour the Earth. I may not know much about Lovecraftian lore, but I know that sounds ominous.
Strange Remnants tasks players to save the universe by exploring ancient landmarks for clues, adds new Special Encounters and includes four new investigators. It is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2015.
Portal Games has announced that an expansion for Imperial Settlers will debut at Gen Con 2015, adding the long-awaited fifth faction to the game. Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans allows players to develop the lost civilization of Atlantis, and adds not just a new faction deck but also a new resource — Technology — and new faction cards for the original four civilizations to interact with the Atlantean newcomers.
In a press release, designer Ignacy Trzewiczek said his goal in adding new factions to the game was to make each one play very differently from the others. The Atlanteans have access to advanced Technology that the other civilizations can take advantage of only with certain cards. Technology can help the Atlanteans make common cards more powerful, in addition to activating special abilities on their faction cards. The Atlanteans may have powerful cards, but their civilization is doomed to fall. Once the game ends, all Atlantean faction cards sink without scoring any points, so the player needs to focus on generating points during the game in order to compete with the other civilizations.
Finally, with Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans, which is due to reach U.S. stores in August 2015, up to five players can compete at the same time. Let the clash of civilizations begin!
2015 looks to be another big year for IELLO, with two new games recently released and more details announced about three mid-year releases.
• An English edition of Konito?, designed by Richard Champion, was released on March 26, 2015. Konito? is a "fill in the blank" party game in which players have to complete the last word in common phrases and sayings. Players have a time limit to answer, and if you don't know the answer you have to rely on your friends' charade skills to give you a clue. Cards have three levels of difficulty, and challenge cards can also be included. Correctly completing a phrase lets you move forward on the game track, and you want to be the first over the finish line.
1924... The First World War has been raging for ten years. You control a new generation of combat submarines. Your mission: Take control of the seas to lead your side to ultimate victory.
Players first build, then battle with their submarines to take out their opponent, all the while worrying about countering attacks and how useless their crew will be if they run out of oxygen.
The non-collectible booster Steam Torpedo: R&D includes ten more submarine tiles for the game. Players can use these when they construct their submarines, adding different abilities and new strategies for combat.
• Alien Wars, designed by Markus Geiger, is a part-memory, part-dexterity family game due for release in July 2015.
In Alien Wars, you want to become Master of the Galaxy (naturally) but there are all these other pesky enemy aliens around who are trying to stop you.
Each player starts with a fleet of nine alien cards that are placed facedown with everyone else's aliens to form a "galaxy" at the start of the game. On your turn, you pick one of these cards to turn over. If it's yours, hooray, you get to complete its special action; if it belongs to someone else, they get the action instead.
To win the game, you need to eliminate all the other aliens by "shooting" them with your dexterity-driven blasters! Hopefully you remember roughly where you put your weapons because if you find the right alien on your turn, you get to eliminate a card by throwing the shooting disc onto the galaxy and removing one of the cards it covers.
The other alien actions allow you to look at other cards, or to return one of your eliminated aliens to the galaxy.
• Medieval Academy, designed by Nicolas Poncin and originally published by Blue Cocker Games, is due to be released by IELLO in June 2015. In Medieval Academy, players are vying to become the most chivalrous squire and be knighted by King Arthur himself. Here's a description from the publisher, along with a gameplay overview from Spiel 2014:
"Squires, welcome to Medieval Academy, the place where you'll be trained to become a knight. You'll have to master the arts of Jousts and Tournaments, complete dangerous Quests, and polish your Education. You'll also have to serve the King, and show that you have a sense of Charity and Gallantry. Only one of you will be knighted by King Arthur, so it's time to show what you're capable of." - Father Adevan Nicolus Emilius, chairman of the Medieval Academy
In Too Many Cinderellas, the Prince has been charmed by Cinderella at the ball and is searching everywhere for signs of her whereabouts. Befuddled and with a glass slipper as his only clue, the poor Prince is easily influenced by rumors of his love's true identity.
Each player wants to "help" the Prince by persuading him that one of their friends, relatives or servants is in fact the real Cinderella.
Players use cards to spread rumors about Cinderella's appearance, likes and dislikes (and have a chance to veto rumors that might ruin the chances of their own candidates). Maybe Cinderella was a brunette with a fondness for cake, or in fact an old man who enjoys ice cream, or even an unusually blonde cat. The Prince will believe any and all of the rumors, providing no one challenges them!
Players will then present the Prince with a candidate for marriage if they have one who meets all the requirements of the rumors that have been played. The player who presents the highest ranking candidate wins the game and the Prince gets his "happily ever after", oblivious to the potentially false identity of his "Cinderella".
• The second title is Matcha, a two-player game themed around preparing and completing a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha is created by David Harding and TJ Lubrano, the (almost) same designer/artist team as the previous Grail Game release Elevenses, and maybe it's just my British half talking, but I'm a huge fan of the ongoing tea theme.
Each player needs to try to present a perfect matcha (tea) by secretly playing cards on the table to collect sets of the required utensils. Cards can be matched by number (1-4) or suit (tea, water, bowl, or scoop), but matching won't always be an advantage. With only 18 cards in the game, a key part of the gameplay is bluffing and out-thinking your opponent to make every card matter.
More specific rules and scoring aren't available yet, but I'll keep an eye out as the release date approaches.