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NY Toy Fair 2019 II: Lost Cities, Jaws, SHŌBU, and Cloud Stacking with Unicorn Glitterluck

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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I recently started summarizing my NY Toy Fair 2019 experience in this space, but I managed to get through only 2.3 booths before I had flooded the post with images. Let's dip into a few more booths today:

• Thames & Kosmos, which releases games from KOSMOS in English in the U.S., will have the new edition of Reiner Knizia's Lost Cities on the market in April 2019. This version incorporates the sixth expedition expansion that debuted in 2016, and now you can play ye olde Lost Cities with five expeditions on one side of the game board as grandpappy used to play it and the new six-expedition version on the other side of the game board.

Ubongo Extreme: Fun-Size Edition, which debuted in Germany in 2008, finally has an English-language edition, with this title hitting retail in March 2019.

Other titles coming from Thames & Kosmos include Imhotep: The Duel in July 2019, the Brainwaves series — The Astute Goose, The Brilliant Boar, and The Wise Whale — in August 2019, and the Adventure Games series from Matthew Dunstan and Phil Walker-Harding — The Dungeon and Monochrome Inc. — in October 2019.

Brainwaves is a trilogy of tiny games developed by game designers and neuroscientists in which players challenge their episodic memory. In Reiner Knizia's The Astute Goose, for example, you look at six cards that show a man wearing one of five types of clothing in one of five colors with one of five animals on his shoulders, then you lay those cards face down. On a turn, the active player rolls two dice to determine what they must name (color/clothing/animal) on which card. If they name this item correctly, they claim the card and replace it with a new one; otherwise, they return it. Whoever collects the most cards wins.

• At the Ravensburger booth, I received confirmation that Las Vegas Royale and the new edition of The Castles of Burgundy — both covered in this preview video from Spielwarenmesse 2019 — are scheduled to debut in the U.S. at Gen Con 2019 in August. Carlo A. Rossi's co-operative game Red Peak — previewed here — is due out in the U.S. in October 2019. Ravensburger's English-language edition of the trivia game kNOW! will not come packaged with Google Assistant, something that was an option with the German edition. Apparently market penetration for Google Assistant is much higher in the U.S., so Ravensburger can assume buyers will have it already and sell this version for less.

• In addition to the title shown above, the U.S. branch of HABA is bringing in Snail Sprint!, a Marie and Wilfried Fort that comes across like a combination of Camel Up and Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise. At the start of play, each player receives a goal card that shows the colors of snails that they'll score points for at the end of the game should those snails finish first, second, or third.

On a turn, you roll the two color dice. Let's say you roll yellow and blue. You then move the yellow snail to the next blue space on the path or the blue snail to the next yellow space. A snail on the path counts as a space of that color, so if the blue snail is in front of the yellow snail, you would move the yellow snail on top of the blue one, which will then keep the blue one from moving until the yellow one advances. A stack can be only two snails high, and stacking isn't possible when the magnet-bottomed snails are crawling up and down the sides of the metal box, which is part of the path. Seems super cute, with just enough going on that adults would be fine playing as well.

Dude Games distributes titles from Belgian publisher Sit Down! in North America, and it expects to have both Bad Bones (preview video) and Gravity Superstar (preview) available to retailers in July 2019.

SHŌBU from Manolis Vranas and Jamie Sajdak is one of three titles Smirk & Laughter Games demoed at NY Toy Fair, and I loved the small taste that I got of it there. Ideally I'll describe it accurately here.

Each turn consists of two parts. First, you take a passive move on one of the boards on your side of the rope, moving one of your pieces up to two spaces in any direction. You can't pass through or attack the opponent with this move (which is why it's called "passive"). Second, you take an aggressive move on an opposite colored board with one of your pieces that mirrors your passive move in direction and distance; with this move, you can push an opponent off the board, and if you remove all of the opponents' pieces from one board, you win. I dig abstract strategy games, and this one seemed like a novel combination, akin to you making a small move in person, then having it replicated by a giant robot that will destroy your enemy.

Woolly Mammoth is due from Smirk & Laughter in June 2019, and in this game you're trying to be the first to collect six meat or to be the last player standing. Each round, all players play a card simultaneously, trying to collectively push a mammoth off a cliff while also trying to be closest to that cliff so that you can claim the meat. Mammoths can charge, though, and that's not going to be a good thing for people standing in the way.

In the party game We Need to Talk from Bryan Merlonghi, Michael Dunsmore, and Jordan Nichols, one player each round is suffering from an unusual condition and the other players give clues about this condition that might lead that player to guess what it is. The afflicted wants to guess the condition as quickly as possible, while the cluegivers want the answer given in later rounds in order to score more points.
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