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New Game Round-up: Rosenberg on Würfel Bohnanza, Easier Empire Building & No Hoth for the U.S.?

W. Eric Martin
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• Designer Uwe Rosenberg writes about the development of Würfel Bohnanza – just out now in Germany – on the AMIGO Spiel website. (PDF link on the bottom of this page.) Rosenberg talks about his educational experience as a statistician and how he had to pull that knowledge from the memory vault in order to arrange all the tasks the right way in Würfel Bohnanza, specifically so that players could potentially (3-6% chance) complete the first three tasks on each card while not being able to complete the fourth. He notes that the published cards have the probability of completing each task as a percentage on the card, as can be seen in this image.

Aside from that, the big elements of the game design are the desire to have everyone involved in every turn – which is why opponents can complete tasks using the active player's newly rolled dice – and the desire to make Würfel Bohnanza not simply a dice/puzzle game. He writes: "Many dice games are about the exact fulfillment of a task. For me, a dice game is attractive only if the task is not clearly defined." Specifically, a player might be confronted with a roll that completes a more difficult task while an easier one is yet to be completed. Does he gamble on getting the dice needed for that easier task while risking no progress at all if he fails?

• U.S. publisher Mayfair Games has an introductory game coming for its Empire Builder line in May 2012. Here's the description of Empire Express:

Quote:
In Empire Express, designed to be an easy-to-play introduction to the Empire Builder series of games, players create competing railroad empires by drawing railroad tracks with crayons upon an erasable board. You win if you utilize your network of rail lines to acquire and deliver goods efficiently to accumulate the largest personal fortune!

The base game provides pre-programmed routes on a board depicting a north-eastern portion of the U.S. with demand cards providing players with an easy way to learn the system through play. Players start with the bare bones of a railroad: an empty train and track connecting some cities. Each turn you and your fellow players take turns building track, operating trains, and delivering loads. The bank will pay you for each delivered load.

With the starting route guided by the board, only two loads per card, and a visual pick-up and delivery guide on every card, the learning curve is greatly shortened.
• A usually reliable source has informed me that Star Wars: Battle of Hoth, a new title in the LEGO games series due out in 2012 that hotted up a number of BGG News readers, will not be available in the U.S. due to licensing issues. I'll be at NY Toy Fair next week to check up on this info.

• German publisher Pegasus Spiele has let loose a list of upcoming releases for 2012, including German-language versions of Mage Knight, Mutant Meeples, Pictomania, Eminent Domain, City Tycoon, Thunderstone Advance, Panic Station and Monty Python Fluxx.

In partnership with Gerhards Spiel und Design, Pegasus is releasing a line of wooden games, starting with a new version of Frank Stack's Zoom, previously released by both HiKu Spiele and Gerhards. Zoom will include a play variant, possibly TriHop, which is also by Stack and was paired with Zoom in the Gerhards release. Other titles forthcoming in this series are Puzzle of Oz, Avverso and Sia Doble.

Mondo Sapiens, a spin-offy sequel of sorts to Michael Schacht's Mondo, uses similar game play with players simultaneously laying down tiles to populate their individual player boards with people, buildings and roads.

• Tric Trac reports that Repos Production has licensed Sandwich – a card game in which you try to make the least disgusting, nay, the most appetizing sandwiches possible – from Le Joueur for a new edition of the game in late 2012.

• U.S. publisher North Star Games will expand its Wits & Wagers family in 2012 with the release of Wits & Wagers Party. More details beyond the strange appearance of Elvis on the game cover soonish.

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