W. Eric Martin
• Das letzte Bankett, a gorgeous-looking game from German publisher GameHeads and designers Britta Wolf, Michael Nietzer and Oliver Wolf that was shown at Spiel 2011, has finally been released in German. Here's a description of the game as I imagine most would be unfamiliar with it:
The king is holding a great banquet for all the nobles in the realm so that they can bathe in his splendour. Artists and troubadours will bring the necessary entertainment. It is meant to be a feast that will long be remembered!
The guests attending the feast hall feel the same, for in the corners of the castle deadly plots are being developed. The guests are divided into two factions, with both planning to "dismiss" the king. One faction plans to smuggle a dagger into the feast hall to "open the king's heart to the realm" at the right time, while the other faction hopes to give the king "renewed motivation" with a poisoned drink.
In Das letzte Bankett, each player is a guest at the feast and needs to help his faction reach its goal and ensure that this will truly be the king's last banquet. The game includes 25 role cards, each portraying a person on the front and listing that person's skills on the back. In addition to "The Last Banquet", several other scenarios are provided in the rules that can be played with each of the roles. (GameHeads' Oliver Wolf notes, "Playing time ranges from 30 minutes up to 90 minutes or more, with more people tending to need more time to play." Also, some scenarios involve more than two factions.) Obstacle cards provide challenges for players to overcome.
When a faction succeeds in its goal, all players who belong to that faction win the game.
On its website, GameHeads notes, "The English version is already prepared and should be available soon."
• Marco Pranzo's and Giochix.it's Upon a Salty Ocean, which was available for sale at Spiel 2011 and in Europe afterwards, has finally reached retail stores in North America with distribution being handled by Rio Grande Games. Another Giochix title released at Spiel 2011 and being distributed by Rio Grande – Michele Quondam's The Forgotten Planet – has a U.S. street date of April 5, 2012.
• The revised version of Richard Sivél's Friedrich – the "Jubiläumsedition", with new cover art and small changes to the fate cards and some cities on the game board – also has a U.S. street date of April 5, 2012, with Rio Grande Games handling the distribution of that item as well.
• In a news update on his website, Jay Tummelson at Rio Grande Games says that "We have decided to postpone the release of the Dominion: Base Card item for 3-4 weeks in order to add something to the box that we hope everyone will find useful. We will post more information about this when we are closer to releasing the game."
• Designer Steve Finn has opened preorders for Scripts & Scribes: The Dice Game, with the game expected to be shipped – and available on the general retail market – in June 2012.
• Two titles newly published by the U.S. branch of Ravensburger have an April 4, 2012 street date in the U.S.: The Castles of Burgundy and Scotland Yard. Okay, Scotland Yard is hardly newly published, but it was listed with Burgundy and deserves a bit of face-time as well with Mister X nearing three decades on the run.
• Fantasy Flight Games previews a few details of the game play in Donald X. Vaccarino's Infiltration, previously announced as an April 2012 release.