W. Eric Martin
At the 2012 New York Toy Fair, U.S. publisher Mayfair Games was showing off Giza: The Great Pyramid from designer Dave Heberer, which was released in January 2012 as well as Fréderic Moyersoen's Whitewater and James Spurny's Rocket Jockey, both of which hit retail shelves in the U.S. on February 23. Here's a description of Whitewater:
Danger and excitement lurk around every bend of the river in Whitewater. Race down a deadly river, carefully navigating your raft through the obstacles, while trying to keep your paddles and crew inside the raft.
In Whitewater each player directs the actions of four courageous rafters. Each raft in the race contains four crew, with two crew from you and two from another player. Players control the crew within a raft, but also may use Energy cards to additionally help one raft or the other. Dice represent the effects of hazards you encounter, and even your best-laid plans can be spoiled by another raft pushing you a direction you don't want to go. Earn points for getting your rafts and passengers home safely, while navigating through treacherous waters containing rocks, driftwood and the dreaded whirlpool!
As with Friese's Fast Flowing Forest Fellers of a few years back, Whitewater includes multiple boards that can be used to create hundreds of routes, and the bluffing aspect of how much you'll work to move a raft (while hoping the other player does more) is a nice twist. My main complaint is that Mayfair spells the game as both "White Water" and "Whitewater" across its press catalog, its website, and press releases, but that's the obsessive cataloguist in me coming out. Consistency, people!
Oh, my goodness, I remembered to take a picture!
In Rocket Jockey, players use maneuver cards to hop a rocket from one planet to another in order to pick up and deliver goods. You keep the goods card as proof of delivery and receive points at game's end for the number of goods collected (with more points awarded for collecting multiples of the same type) and number of planets to which you delivered goods.
Holy smokes! A second one!!
Other games coming in 2012 that Mayfair has already formally announced are:
-----• Steam: Map Expansion #2, which originally had a January 18, 2012 release date when announced in September 2011 and now has a March 22, 2012 street date.
-----• Catan: Junior, due in April 2012. Here's my description from a Jan 2012 news item: "The theme of Catan: Junior remains the same as in the German version, with players now being pirates who need to build additional pirate warehouses in order to win the game. Existing warehouses provide resources (wood, wool, rum, sabers, gold) based on the roll of a die, and players need to construct ships in order to reach new locations in which to build warehouses."
-----• Empire Express, announced in this Feb. 2012 news item and due in May 2012.
-----• Aeroplanes: Aviation Ascendant, a Martin Wallace design also due out in May 2012 and covered in this Jan. 2012 news item.
In addition to these, Mayfair has three other titles listed on its schedule, two of which were shown at NY Toy Fair in 2011 for release in that year. As with everything, plans change. One of those titles is Simone Luciani's Urbania, which Mayfair now expects to have out in Q3 2012. Here's the game description from last year's catalog:
In Urbania the city center has seen glory in its past. But the future calls to you for renewal! Build the new city upon the old, and forge ahead with progress, hammering new profits from those old foundations! Plan a new landscape and garner power and prestige to yourself!
The other title is Andreas Steding's Five Points, and here's ye olde description of that game, now scheduled for release in Q4 2012 or early 2013:
The name "Five Points" evokes images of poverty, rampant crime, decadence and despair. That's true. The Five Points area of New York in the mid-1800s was a lurid geographical cancer filled with dilapidated and inlivable tenement houses, gang extortion, corrupt politicians, dance halls and drunkenness and gambling. This was a place where all manner of crime flourished, the residents were terrorized and squalor prevailed. This is the setting over many decades through the nineteenth century.
In Five Points, players represent members of powerful factions trying to gain influence in the upcoming election. To achieve this, they engage agitators to sow chaos in the streets of New York.
You had me at "lurid geographical cancer"...
Finally is a new version of A House Divided from designers Frank Chadwick and Alan Emrich. This two-player game about the U.S. "War Between the States" – first published in 1981 by GDW, then reissued by Phalanx in 2001 – will have some rules streamlining, according to Mayfair's Ron Magin, and is currently due out in Q3 2012.