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New Game Round-up: Build Porto, and Be Friendly with Fish

W. Eric Martin
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• Portuguese publisher MEBO Games unveiled its next release at the LeiriaCon event that took place in mid-March 2019, with that September 2019 release being Porto by Orlando Sá. Here's an overview of the game:

Quote:
Porto is a fast-playing, competitive tile-laying game driven by card play. On your turn, you either draw cards or build floors. If you draw cards, the total value of the drawn cards cannot exceed 3. (Cards have values between 1 and 3.)

If you build floors, you MUST play two cards from your hand. The number of one of the cards determines exactly how many floors you will build, and the color of the other card determines the color of those same floors. Thus, with only three cards in hand, you have six different possibilities for building; with more cards, your options increase even more! Building gives you the possibility of scoring points but also opens new possibilities for your opponents because buildings do not belong to any player.

Build floors, gain bonus points by completing houses or by constructing in the most crucial spaces, fulfill public contracts by building at crucial moments and by chaining combos to make a very profitable turn, shape the city so that it complies with your private contracts in order to maximize them at the end of the game, but above all, capitalize on opportunities opened by your opponents on the board. That said, in Porto any missed opportunity will lead to a new array of possibilities.

The game end is triggered at the end of the round in which a certain number of buildings have been completed. The player with the most points wins.

Sà adds this additional detail about the gameplay of this 1-4 player design: At the beginning of the game, you receive five private contract cards and keep three. These cards give you additional points at game's end if their conditions are met. During the game, you can attempt to entice others to complete these contracts for you because when you build a ground floor, you collect and score the points of the token sitting there, then you place that token in an empty roof space. "If you want to guarantee that that blue house you have just started is finished by the end of the game, maybe you should place that 4-point token that you collected on the empty roof of that house and let the others do the job", says Sà, "because you won't have time to build everything you want to build."




• To date, French publisher Super Meeple has mostly released new editions of older classic games, and while the publisher does have a new edition of Mississippi Queen due out in the first half of 2019, it's also planning to release three original games in 2019. I've already posted about Colors of Paris (preview video here), and the other two games are Génésia from Eric Labouze and Tajuto from Reiner Knizia, designer of the only other original Super Meeple game to date, Amun-Re: The Card Game.

I don't have many details for now, but Génésia, due out Q3 2019, is described as a quick-playing, card-drafting civilization game that has won prizes in prototype form at the Brussels Game Festival in 2017 and at the Paris Est Ludique game fair in 2018 under the name "Ancestor". Super Meeple's Charles Amir Perret describes Tajuto, due out at SPIEL '19, as a game of risk-taking, tactile recognition, and action point management that's a demonstration of the immense creativity of Knizia.

• I've started publishing game overview videos that we recorded at GAMA Trade Show 2019 on our BGG Express channel — only seven in the playlist so far! — and one of the titles that stood out to me was Tonari from the unexpected designer combination of Alex Randolph and Bruno Faidutti. The combo was unexpected mostly because Randolph died in 2004, and it seemed unlikely that they had worked on a design back then and sold it only fifteen years later.

Turns out that Faidutti had essentially taken Randolph's game Gute Nachbarn, modified it in various ways, then received an agreement from Randolph's agent to license this new design under both their names. IDW Games plans to debut Tonari at Gen Con 2019 ahead of a mid-August 2019 retail release, and I'll publish a designer's diary from Faidutti in July.

Ahead of that, here's the gist of the game: You fill the spaces of the game board with colored fish, which score in various ways (and which probably have special powers, knowing Faidutti). A single trawler starts the game in the center of the board. Players take turns moving this trawler and collecting fish from the board. In the two-player game, whoever has the highest score wins. In the three- and four-player game, your final score is equal to the sum of the fish you collect as well as the score of your left-hand neighbor, so throughout the game you want to set that player up to score well while somehow keeping them from setting up their left-hand neighbor!

Should you prefer a visual explanation, here's the one we recorded at GTS 2019:

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