W. Eric Martin
• April is the second-slowest month for game announcements — December being the slowest — so I find myself with time to catch up on some of the notes that I've sent myself since the beginning of the year, time to clear out a few dozen tabs that have been lingering on my browser, awaiting a return trip by my eyeballs.
Reiner Knizia's Babylonia from Spanish publisher Ludonova, which is due out in Q3 2019, has been in the BGG database since Dec. 2018, but I've only just run across it:
The Neo-Babylonian empire, especially under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.), was a period of rebirth for southern Mesopotamia. Irrigation systems improved and expanded, increasing agricultural production. Urban life flourished with the creation of new cities, monuments and temples, and the consequent increase in trade.
In Babylonia, you try to make your clan prosper under the peace and imperial power of that era. You have to place your nobles, priests, and craftsmen tokens on the map to make your relations with the cities as profitable as possible. Properly placing these counters next to the court also allows you to gain the special power of some rulers. Finally, the good use of your peasants in the fertile areas gives more value to your crops. The player who gets the most points through all these actions wins.
If you're like me, you might be left saying, "That's cool and well, but what's the game like?" Thankfully Spanish gamer Javi Santos offered this briefing in the game's forum: "It is a tile lying game which may remind us about Samurai, but it is quite different. In this game it is very important to make chains with your tiles, and scoring is continuous, instead of scoring just at the end. Very tense, with this great feeling of always having too many things to do, which of course you cannot do all."
Trivia note: "[T]his great feeling of always having too many things to do, which of course you cannot do" is printed on Knizia's business card. Kind of a life philosophy, doncha know...
• While looking into the new edition of 10 Days in the USA, as covered in this March 2019 post, I ran across Korean publisher Popcorn Games, which was previously unknown to me. Turns out that the company was originally an online retailer called "Popcornedu" that moved into publishing in 2017 in order to sell its own games in addition to the games of others.
Popcorn Games has licensed most of NSV's line from the past few years (The Mind, Qwixx, etc.), but it's releasing other titles as well, such as a new version of Juhwa Lee's betting game Dark Horse, which debuted in 2014 from Korean publisher Magpie Games, then was licensed by Bombyx and Moonster Games for release as Minuscule.
• Another title with a new edition from Popcorn Games is Yeon-Min Jung's 돌진소녀, which translates as "Rush Girl" or "Dash Girl". (The game first appeared in an envelope edition from 1979games.)
Each player has a hand of seven cards, with each card showing a situation on the bottom — cat attack, ice cream sale, etc. — and the resolution of a different situation on the top. You flip over one card in the center of play, then everyone races to resolve that problem by playing the correct card, which then presents a different situation that needs resolving. Zoom bang boom, empty your hand first to win.
• While this item is only a prototype, it caught my eye, so I thought I'd include it anyway. Pest is a design from Kai Starck and Thomas Nielsen in which players are princes during the Middle Ages who oversee the discovery of new landscapes and the construction of buildings despite the constant threat of plague, which complicates their ability to procure resources for various projects, in addition to, you know, killing off their residents. As such, controlling the plague is another part of their responsibility during gameplay.