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To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com

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New Game Round-up: Samurai Renewed, The Little Prince Revisited & World's Fair 1893 Relived

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• Following on the release of a new version of Reiner Knizia's Tigris & Euphrates in May 2015, Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new edition of Knizia's Samurai for Q4 2015, with this being the second title in its "Euro Classics" line (and T&E being the first).

FFG notes that nothing about the gameplay has changed — which you'd expect if you've played Samurai since the game is great as is — but the publisher is updating the look of the game with "beautifully sculpted game pieces, new leader tokens to aid in scoring, and all-new art and graphic design that draw upon traditional Japanese styles". For those unfamiliar with this game, which debuted in 1998, here's an overview:

Quote:
Samurai is set in medieval Japan. Players compete to gain the favor of three factions: samurai, peasants, and priests, which are represented by helmet, rice paddy, and Buddha tokens scattered about the board, which features the islands of Japan. The competition is waged through the use of hexagonal tiles, each of which help curry favor of one of the three factions — or all three at once! Players can make lightning-quick strikes with horseback ronin and ships or approach their conquests more methodically. As each token (helmets, rice paddies, and Buddhas) is surrounded, it is awarded to the player who has gained the most favor with the corresponding group.

Gameplay continues until all the symbols of one type have been removed from the board or four tokens have been removed from play due to a tie for influence.

At the end of the game, players compare captured symbols of each type, competing for majorities in each of the three types. Ties are not uncommon and are broken based on the number of other, "non-majority" symbols each player has collected.

• As I mentioned in April 2015, French publisher Ludonaute will publish a second game based on The Little Prince, this time to coincide with an animated film. As with its first game, The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet, The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars is from designers Bruno Cathala and Antoine Bauza. Here's an overview of this game, due out in Q3 2015:

Quote:
The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars brings you in a journey from the Grandfather's house to the Little Prince's planet. It is a point-to-point movement game, in which your goal is to collect stars.

You move your plane by playing one of the fox cards in your hand, and every player starts with the same set of cards (eight cards numbered 1-5, with duplicates of 2, 3 and 4). Whoever is farthest back on the path to the Little Prince's planet is the active player, and this player plays one card from hand, moving at least one cloud and up to the number of clouds shown on the card. If you land on a star cloud, you take a star from the reserve; if you land on a telescope cloud, you flip one of the tokens at Grandfather's house to see what happens; if you land on a bird cloud, you take one card from Grandfather's deck, which provide different types of movement. If you arrive on a cloud where an opponent's plane sits, you take a card at random from that opponent's hand and give him in return a card of your choice.

When you cross one of the three connecting boards, you take one of the story tiles next to it, with these tiles holding 1-5 stars. Collect both the fox and Little Prince, and you earn eight stars for this pair instead of only two.

If you manage to make it all the way to the Little Prince's planet — and you'll need to pick up extra movement cards in order to do so — you receive a star-filled paper plane, with the quickest players receiving the most stars. In the end, whoever collects the most stars wins.

Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast have announced that Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers — a strategy board game from Craig Van Ness that's set in the Magic: the Gathering universe with callbacks to Heroscape — has a national release date of August 1 2015, with the game first available at "major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com" on that date.

That said, "select hobby game stores and Amazon" will have the game available for purchase starting on July 1, 2015. I asked which stores other than Amazon will have the game and the Hasbro PR rep said she'd see whether she could share that information. In the meantime, Hasbro will run game demos and giveaways at San Diego Comic Con, while Wizards of the Coast will do the same at Gen Con 2015. I've clarified with the rep that Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers will not be available for purchase at Gen Con 2015, but the game will be available at retail outlets in general on August 1, so you'd (somewhat strangely) have to leave Gen Con to buy this game during that convention.




Z-Man Games has licensed Robin Lees and Steve Mackenzie's deduction game Beyond Baker Street — previously available as a print-and-play — for release at a date yet to be announced.

• In addition to the previously announced 2015 releases Gold West and Daxu, designer J. Alex Kevern now has a title on the schedule for 2016 with Foxtrot Games. Here's an overview of World's Fair 1893, along with a painting from that time:

Quote:
The World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago was a spectacular international exhibition that showcased many great achievements in science, technology, culture, and entertainment. Acting as organizers of the fair, players work diligently to increase their influence throughout the city and obtain the grand exhibits that will be put on display. The organizer who has earned the best reputation when the fair begins will emerge the victor.

On each turn of World's Fair 1893, the active player places an influence cube on one of the five areas and gathers the lot of cards associated with it. New cards are then added to some of the lots, and the next player takes a turn.

The five areas represent sections of exhibits, like Fine Arts and Electricity. Some cards represent influential people who affect influence in the areas, and other cards represent exhibit or attraction proposals. Every exhibit proposal has a specific type that matches one of the five areas.

The game consists of three scoring rounds, each triggered when players collectively gather a certain number of attraction cards. Players gain reputation points for having the most influence in an area and for gathering the most attractions in each round. Players with the most influence in an area also receive approval for exhibit proposals they have gathered that match the area. Players gain reputation points at the end of the game based on the breadth and diversity of their approved exhibits.

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New Game Round-up: Dividing Booty, Shrinking Catan & Rolling America

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• Pirates rarely do much pirating in games — seeing as such behavior is frowned upon by 98.3% of those who aren't pirates — so it's no surprise that in Alexander Cobian's Booty, due out in August 2015 from Mayfair Games, the player pirates already have their loot in hand and are concerned only about how to divide it amongst themselves. In somewhat more detail:

Quote:
Each round in Booty, cards representing treasures are revealed. Some are worth points immediately, some items cancel others, some give you a chance (but not a guarantee) for a big payday. The quartermaster, a job that travels from player to player, divides the treasures into shares and also includes the order of picking treasures in the next round. Balancing what you need, what others might want, and trying to get a little extra into your treasure pile is the key to success!

The building cards provide many special benefits that allow for a broad range of strategies every time you play.

• Mayfair Games has also announced a Q3 2015 release date for Catan: Traveler – Compact Edition, a small version of Klaus Teuber's Catan that comes packaged in a hard case and includes special two-player rules.

• To catch up on a few older announcements, Ares Games has signed a deal with Horrible Games to release Lorenzo Silva's Spiel 2014 storytelling comics-based design Co-Mix in an English-language edition in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Japanime Games has signed a deal to release in English the deck-building game Heart of Crown from designer ginkgo and original Japanese publisher FLIPFLOPs.

The X-Files co-publisher IDW Games has tweeted that "[t]he expansion is coming soon". No other details right now.

• I tweeted about this game announcement, um, two weeks ago, but somehow that was as far as I went. No one else entered the game into the BGG database in the meantime, so now I've done so. Woe is me.

In any case, U.S. publisher Gamewright has picked up the license to Hisashi Hayashi's Rolling Japan and plans to release Rolling America in Q4 2015 with an $11 MSRP. For those not familiar with this game, you can check out my video overview of the original game or read the description below:

Quote:
Rolling America is a light "multiplayer solitaire" dice game. Each player has a map of the United States that's divided into fifty (abstractly represented) states, which are then bunched together into six differently colored areas.

On a turn, a player draws two regular six-sided dice from a bag and rolls them; the bag starts with seven dice, six matching the colors of the areas on the map along with a wild gray die. All players now write down each number rolled on any state of the matching color, i.e., if the blue die shows 4 and the yellow a 2, write a 4 in one blue state and a 2 in one yellow state. If the gray die is rolled, you can place this number in a state of your choice; additionally, three times per game you can choose to use a non-gray die as any color. However, neighboring states can't have numbers with a difference larger than 1; if you can't place a number without breaking this rule, then you must place an X in a state of the appropriate color. (If all the states in an area are filled, you can ignore the die or use one of your three color changes to place the number elsewhere.)

Rolling America has a few changes from Rolling Japan. The "guard" action allows you to ignore the neighboring number restriction three times during the game, and the "dupe" action allows you to use one of the active dice twice in the same region. As in real life, Alaska and Hawaii are not connected to the continental United States, so you can drop any numbers you want in those states!

After six dice have been rolled, mark one round as being complete, then return the dice to the bag and start the next round. After eight rounds the game ends, and whoever has the fewest Xs on their map wins.

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Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:00 am
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Publisher Diary: The Journal of Discoveries

Anne-Cécile Lefebvre
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Everything started with a call from Cédrick Chaboussit in June 2014 just to have a little chat. (Since our common work on Lewis & Clark, which he designed and we as Ludonaute published, he has become a friend.) During the conversation, he explained that he had the idea of placing the stickered goodies from Lewis & Clark on some dice so that they could then be used to activate the actions of characters. He had already run a few tests and it seemed to work well, with the flow of the dice between players being quite interesting. There was still a lot to do, but he hoped to be able to show us a prototype during the upcoming Gen Con.



Cédrick Chaboussit and Vincent Dutrait at Spiel 2014


A few weeks later in Indianapolis, we tried the prototype together — and as it happened for Lewis & Clark, we fell in love quickly with the game. We think that the way of managing the dice is awesome and never seen before. Sure, the card effects are not yet balanced and there is a lot of work to do, but we're really into the game. It's decided — we're going to publish it.



The moment we decided to publish the game — Gen Con 2014


At this stage, Cédrick's idea for the game is to recount the return of Lewis and Clark's expedition. At first, we wondered whether another theme wouldn't be better because for us this game was a lot more that just a dice version of Lewis & Clark. All things considered, we decided to keep the exploration theme because we are fond of this aspect of scientist discoveries, which is not present in the earlier game.



Prototype dice make me crazy


In September 2014, that choice is confirmed: The game would be based on the Lewis and Clark Expedition from a point of view not too close to the action. It would deal not only with the return of that Expedition, but with the entire adventure, with your goal being to rewrite the Expedition's journals.



The prototype in September 2014



It took up a lot of space


In the meantime, we're working on the mechanisms of the game. We improve the flow during the stage when players retake dice, and we set up three ways to score (through the cartography, the discovery of species, and the knowledge of Indian tribes). Also, we're working on the design of the cards and the personal board. Finally, the Indian tribes' powers and the paths are still not balanced, but I'm not worried because knowing Cédrick, he would set up a little algorithm to balance everything and a few tests would do it.

This work takes more than a month. In the meantime, we create two kinds of tribes and alternative paths in order to create a more flexible game. We're happy because this is still coherent with our setting.



We used Lewis & Clark's pictures in the prototype


At the beginning of December 2014, the game is finished. (We are still discussing some little details, but mostly we're done.) It's time to call Vincent Dutrait, the illustrator whom we have already worked with on Shitenno and Lewis & Clark. We are on the same wavelength, so everything is working well. Vincent seems to be enthusiastic and creates awesome and detailed illustrations. He will tell you more about his work soon.



The prototype before Vincent started working on the game


During this time, we write, proofread, rewrite, and translate the rules so that everything will be perfect.

One of the main questions regarding the contents of the game involved the dice: wood or plastic? Both have their pros and cons, and in the end we went with wooden dice to fit with the game's spirit: exploration and the great outdoors. As dice recognition is crucial for game play, we chose colors easy to distinguish: white, red, yellow, blue and grey, pushing green to the side.



The final dice


By the end of April 2015, we had finally created a wonderful game ready to be produced. (On our website, we wrote about our trip to Ludo Fact to watch Discoveries being produced.)



Punched boards at Ludo Fact


Let's hope that you'll get as much fun playing this game as we got making it!

Anne-Cécile Lefebvre


•••


Editor's note: For an overview of the gameplay in Discoveries, here's a video that I recorded with Lefebvre at Spielwarenmesse in February 2015:

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Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:00 am
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Time Travel, Magic Poker, Nuclear War & More Time Travel

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• Another week, another triumph for designer Scott Almes on Kickstarter, with two games collecting funds right now. Tiny Epic Kingdoms: Heroes' Call from Gamelyn Games expands upon the original TEK by adding heroes, new factions, new regions and a new resource type to the game, making it less tiny in the process but perhaps more epic. (KS link)

• The other Almes title is Loop Inc. from Eagle-Gryphon Games, a time-travel themed game in which players work at a time-travel agency and try to bring customers back in time to certain historical events. In the game, you run through the same day three times, encountering your past self in the process, which in game terms means that the actions you take during your first pass through the day are still with you for passes two and three — and if you don't use these actions, you're punished. I played a prototype in April 2014 and provide more details in that write-up. (KS link)

Gomora: Down Town from Yorgo Manis, Antonio Zax and Storyception Games might have a tough climb through the funding forest as I know the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the name is that it's a new Doomtown: Reloaded spin-off and the second thing is a game about kaiju. Instead you're a detective solving cases in a neo-noir setting. (KS link)

Hocus from designers Joshua Buergel and Grant Rodiek and their Hyperbole Games has been in the works for a while, and I've been following the journey of this magic-themed, spell-driven poker-ish game for a while on their blog as they reworked the game over and over and over again. (KS link)

• Italian publisher Giochix.it typically releases a few involved strategy games each year, but the 45-60 playing time on Stefano Castelli's Bomarzo seems shorter than I'd expect given the look and description of the game, which has players exploring the mystery of the Bomarzo Sacred Grove in 16th century Italy. (KS link) (Giochistarter link)

• Interesting to note that 12 Realms: Bedtime Story, which I included in the June 20, 2015 c.f. round-up for its appearance on Kickstarter, is also funding on Giochistarter and on Spieleschmiede. The Italian publishers cover all the bases!

GAME-O-GAMI hit Kickstarter in early June 2015 with David Luis Sanhueza' Immortal, a strategy game of warring mythologies, but then quickly pulled it and has now relaunched. Warring mythologies-huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing unless this style of game appeals to your tastes. (KS link)

• This post is something of a tease given that nearly all of the available product has been claimed, but saiqlo dice are odd-looing handmade d6 dice from Japan. (KS link)




• Brian Suhre's Paradox from Split Second Games looked fascinating when I saw it at the 2014 Origins Game Fair, and here we are a year later with the game just now hitting Kickstarter. Paradox is another take on the time-travel genre, with players trying to keep worlds' timelines from fracturing through (among other means) a Bejeweled-style manipulation of discs. (KS link)

• Galgor's self-published €uro Crisis is "a satirical board game about the economic and political development in Europe". (Startnext link)

• Patrick Lysaght's Commissioned from Chara Games is a co-op deck-builder in which players are early Christian Apostles who want to strengthen their faith decks. (KS link)

• The third edition of Dawn of the Zeds from Hermann Luttmann and Victory Point Games fulfills the zombie obligation quotient in this post. (KS link)

• Why it seems like only ten years ago that Flying Buffalo, Inc. was releasing a fortieth anniversary edition of Douglas Malewicki's Nuclear War, and that's because it was — which means that FBI must be releasing a fiftieth anniversary edition for 2015, and indeed it is. This edition features full-color cards, a playmat, and 100 rem of glowing tokens. (KS link)

• Brent Ellison Howland's self-published press-your-luck dice and card game Jailbreakers: Plan Your Escape has players trying to do pretty much what it says in the title. (KS link)

Civicus Dice Game from Elree Ellis and Playco Games is "a civilization-themed, strategic area-control game of thoughtful settlement placement and fateful dice rolls" — or so says the publisher. (KS link)

Blood Oath: The Beginning from Imperia Games pitches itself as a three-player conflict between vampires, slayers and lycans. (KS link)

• Did you know about the Japanese crowdfunding site Campfire, which has its own section for game-related projects? The site's not that active, but there it is.

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Subs vs. Surface, Goblins vs. Stones & Players vs. The Holiday Spirit

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• In addition to launching its games line with Peer Sylvester's The King Is Dead, a reworking of King of Siam that will debut at Gen Con 2015 ahead of its Sept. 22, 2015 release date, UK publisher Osprey Games has two other titles due out before the end of 2015.

They Come Unseen is an asymmetrical game created by Andrew Benford, a retired Royal Navy Officer and submarine commander. One team must use submarines to sneak troops into enemy ports and destroy vital strategic targets, while the other team deploys a surface fleet to hunt down the subs and protect their crucial supply lines. The game uses two boards: one for action on the surface, seen by both players, and one for movement underwater, seen only by the submarine commanders. The game also comes with specially designed control panels to aid each player in tracking vital information such as fuel, ammunition and current cruising depth.

• The other game is much more lighthearted in nature: Secret Santa from Duncan Molloy. Here's an overview of this title, which like They Come Unseen, is due out on October 20, 2015:

Quote:
At Christmas, it's important to remember that it's better to give gifts than to receive them — but what's better than that is to be the best.

Secret Santa is a festive card game of proving to friends and family that you're a better person than they are. Be the first to give away every gift you've got to win the round. Some gifts trump others but good presents are rare, and a big stack of stuff is always exciting. Mix things up with Santa's Elves and Christmas Carol, give away all of your Gold Rings, and try not to get stuck with the Fruitcake.

"Prove to friends and family that you're a better person than they are" — now that's an inspiring holiday message for all!

GobbleStones is the second title coming from designer Stephen Glenn in 2015, and the short description that I've received from Glenn reminds me of the clever way that your hand size rises and falls in Lumis, his first release in 2015 and one that I really need to cover in more detail soon. As for GobbleStones, which is due out in September 2015 from R&R Games, here's an overview:

Quote:
GobbleStones is a tile-laying game in which players are hungry little goblins who love to eat stones. During play, you gobble up the most valuable stones across the board, and in the end the fattest goblin wins. It's CRUNCH time!!!

In more detail, players set up the game board by laying nine game boards in a 3x3 square; each game board features 25 spaces on it in a 5x5 array, and each space has both a color (one of five) and a number (one of six). Thus, you'll have a game board that measures 15 spaces on each side.

Players start with several 1x1 tiles, with each tile being one of the five colors. On a turn, you take exactly five actions, first playing 0-5 tiles, then drawing 5-0 tiles, e.g., playing three tiles, then drawing two. You play tiles onto the game board akin to playing words in Scrabble, with you covering the appropriate colors with your tiles as a single word and scoring the numbers that you cover. One tile-laying restriction: You can't place tiles so that a 2x2 area of the game board is covered.
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Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Peloponnes with a Box, Dice City with a Grid & The Game with New Subtitles

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• It's almost that time of the year when I have two browser tabs open so that I can update convention previews for both Gen Con and Spiel throughout the day, as with the news that designer/publisher Bernd Eisenstein of Irongames has a new expansion for his well-regarded 2009 release Peloponnes titled Peloponnes Box. This item collects seven previously released expansions, while adding a new Victoria expansion that allows each player to take one additional tile during the game.

Eisenstein has stated that once the Peloponnes Box is available on the market, he'll release the art for the Victoria expansion so that those who already own the other seven expansions will be able to create their own copy.

• And here's another release that will be highlighted at Spiel, the October 2015 release Dice City from a partnership between Artipia Games and Alderac Entertainment Group. At first glance, this Vangelis Bagiartakis design seems reminiscent of the 2014 release Doodle City from Aporta Games, with a grid of town spaces being organized by columns topped with dice numbered 1-6, but once you start looking over the Dice City rulebook (PDF), you see that the games have little in common other than dice and a city grid of sorts.

In Dice City, each player has their own grid along with five dice in the colors shown on the left-hand edge of the board. At the start of the game and the end of each of your turns, you roll the dice, then place them in the appropriate spaces in the grid, e.g., a white 1 in the upper left corner. On a turn, you take one action for each of the dice on your board, such as swapping out the location cards available for purchase, moving a different die to an adjacent space in the same row, or (duh) using the location where that die is located.

If you build your army's strength, you can attack bandits or locations on opponents' game boards. If you collect resources, you can export them via trade ships for VPs or purchase new locations that then cover those on your game board, thereby customizing your potential actions in future turns.


IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games have picked up the English-language license for Steffen Benndorf's The Game, giving them two of the 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominees, the other being Machi Koro. This version is due out Sep/Oct 2015. At the same time, Oya has acquired the French license for The Game and released it in June 2015.

It's interesting to see how each publisher puts its own spin on The Game's subtitle, which is the only thing that makes it possible to find The Game in Internet searches. IDW/Pandasaurus went with "Are you ready to play The Game?" while Oya has "Le Jeu n'est pas votre ami!" ("The Game is not your friend!") What would you suggest for a subtitle?

• Speaking of this design, designer Reinhard Staupe — who serves as editor for The Game publisher NSV — is conducting a survey of the tricks players use when they play The Game solo. Why? As he explains on his website, he's created a PC program that's played solitaire The Game thousands of times, always playing two cards with the smallest possible difference and using the plateau jump when possible, and on average this program loses with an average of twenty cards still to be played — a result far worse than most human players have. Thus, Staupe is asking people to submit detailed play records and explain when and why they'll play more than two cards and what else they do to perform better than the computer. (HT: Spielbox)
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:00 am
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New Game Round-up: 504 in 6 Languages, Dinosaurs in Battle & Skiers in a Race for Their Life

W. Eric Martin
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• I posted an overview of Friedemann Friese's 504 in April 2015, and here's a short description of the game for those who missed it at the time: Think of a children's flipbook that has the pages divided into thirds, and on each page of this book you have rules showing how to set up, play and score a game. To play a game, flip to three numerically different pages — say, 984 — and discover that you're playing a stock-based, production-driven wargame or perhaps a racing pick-up-and-deliver game with majority scoring. (Each number corresponds to a different game mechanism, and 504 = the number of possible combinations you can play.) Thematically, 2F-Spiele explains the game this way:

Quote:
Scientists in the future are able to build small alternate Earths. Exactly 504 such Earths have thus far been built. The scientists have programmed each of these worlds with an individual set of laws and rules, which the inhabitants strictly follow and consider most important for their lives. These may be exploration, consumption, economics, military, etc., and each is unique. You can visit all of these 504 alternate Earths to experience how the people are living and decide which of these worlds harbors the best civilization. On which world do you want to live? Explore them all and decide!

Friese has now created a FAQ that answers some questions that people have had about the design. What's more, German publisher 2F-Spiele has announced its co-publishers on the project: in French and Spanish Edge Entertainment, in Chinese Swan Panasia, in Korean Korea Boardgames and for the English edition Stronghold Games, which will release 504 as the second title in its "The Great Designer Series". 2F-Spiele and Stronghold Games will debut 504 in October at Spiel 2015, and Stronghold anticipates releasing the game to the U.S. retail market in November 2015.


Green Couch Games has announced two forthcoming titles that fit its small, quick-playing game ideal, with the first of these being JurassAttack! from Ryan Cowler:

Quote:
In JurassAttack!, two players face off in an epic face-to-face dinosaur battle!

In the game, each player chooses a dinosaur or pack of dinosaurs of the same type from their hand, then they reveal them simultaneously to compare Ferocity values. The player with the highest total Ferocity wins the round, taking their rival's dinosaurs into their score pile. Different types of dinosaurs are worth varying amounts of victory points, so it's important to plan well and make sure not to give away too many points in the event of a knockout!

These fierce, prehistoric beasts each have their own special effects as well. Some hunt alone while others may pack with dinos of different types. And sometimes, with a well-placed bluff, players may even be able to sneak some of their precious eggs into their own score pile to protect the future generation.

The second title is from Matt Wolfe, and despite me living in the same town with him, this is the first that I've heard of the game. An overview:

Quote:
It's a race to the finish when some super-smart, yet somehow clueless, engineering students invent rocket-powered skis and decide to test them out at Yeti Mountain!

In Avalanche At Yeti Mountain, players play dual-use cards — the same cards used to make up the ski slopes of Yeti Mountain — to determine their speed in a race down the mountain. If players collectively exceed the speed limit, which is determined by the number of players, the fastest players crash, only moving one space forward towards the goal. Players may also activate rocket jumps to overshoot the competition but at the expense of causing an avalanche to begin chasing them down the mountain. If that's not enough tension, rocket jumps are possible only if the Yeti, awoken from his slumber by all of the rocket-powered racket, doesn't attack and deactivate players' rocket-powered skis! The last skier standing, or the skier who makes it to the bottom of Yeti Mountain, wins the game.
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Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:00 pm
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Gale Force Nine Multiplies Fireflies, Tosses WWE into the Ring, Then Heads to Sea Under Black Sails

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Gale Force Nine has a trio of new expansions for Firefly: The Game, with the biggest of the three being Firefly: The Game – Kalidasa, a "Rim Space Expansion Set" along the lines of 2014's Blue Sun. Here's a short overview of Kalidasa, which GF9 will preview at Gen Con 2015 before its release in Sept. 2015:

Quote:
Kalidasa adds a massive star system to the 'Verse with loads of new opportunities for adventure and profit. No sector of space is safe as the long arm of the Alliance reaches out beyond the central planets with the addition of the Operative's Corvette. Every region of the 'Verse becomes more dangerous with the addition of new Nav Cards for Alliance Space, Border Space and Rim Space. Two new Contacts, including the twin brothers Fanty & Mingo, provide new work opportunities for ambitious crews, especially those willing to get their hands dirty. The bustling port of Beaumonde offers exciting new gear and supplies for captains of all sorts. The bounty of the Rim also flows back to other Supply Planets with new crew, gear and ship upgrades appearing on other worlds. Finally, new Set Up cards, new Story Cards, and a host of surprises await the bold.

The other Firefly items are a pair of "Coachworks game boosters" — Esmeralda and Jetwash — due out in Q3 2015, with each booster containing "a new Firefly Series IV model; ship card; color-coordinated ship dice; new ship upgrades; sheet of game tokens; a new Set Up Card; and a new Story Card".

• Also coming from GF9 in Q3 2015 is WWE Superstar Showdown from the GF9 design trio of Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski and Sean Sweigart. What's going on in this game?

Quote:
WWE Superstar Showdown features six of WWE's greatest superstars — Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton, and Big E — in a game of miniature combat driven by specialized card decks that highlight the unique style and signature moves for each WWE superstar.

A single match in WWE Superstar Showdown can be played in as little as ten minutes. The game expands with rules linking a series of matches to form an event, creating a longer and more in-depth play experience. With four different match cards, players can play a variety of different matches, further augmented with stipulation cards that introduce special rules to the contest. Players in an event can improve their superstar between matches by earning and adding powerful bonus cards to their superstar decks.

Can you dominate the ring? Will your team go down in history as the greatest phenomenon the world has ever known?

• Rules for WWE Superstar Showdown are available on the GF9 website, and the publisher notes that future expansions for the game will introduce "more WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends".


• As for what else Gale Force Nine has coming in the future, here's a banner that was in the GF9 booth at NY Toy Fair in February 2015. Black Sails: The Board Game — based on the Black Sails Starz television series — is now due out in 2016, according to GF9's John Kovaleski, and the publisher has multiple Family Guy games under development to explore the rich and varied cultural dynamism present in that television series.

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Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:35 pm
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Treefrog Games: Emerald Polished, Ships Incoming, Invaders Printed, Discworld Lost & Brass Attacks

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• While bouncing from one convention to the next (and preparing for the next couple of cons), I often run behind on posting everything that I'd like to post, such as a rundown of the latest from designer Martin Wallace and his Treefrog Games.

In mid-May 2015, Wallace announced details of the second edition of A Study in Emerald, which contains streamlined rules that he hopes will "help those folks who found the first version a tad complicated. Although the game is simpler, it still retains the feeling of paranoia from the first version. What I have done my best to do is remove inconsistencies and reduce the number of available actions to the minimum." The artwork in the second edition is completely new, and says Wallace, "Please note that the game comes without a free poster." A Study in Emerald, for those who aren't aware, is derived from a Neil Gaiman story in which Sherlock Holmes and the creations of H.P. Lovecraft co-exist.

Wallace expects the game to ship from the manufacturer in September 2015, which would make the game a Q4 2015 release. Phalanx, Asterion, Arclight, Ediciones MasQueOca and Schwerkraft will release versions of the game in their respective countries in languages appropriate for those countries.




• At about the same time, Wallace released a detailed overview of Ships, which follows Automobile and Aeroplanes in his transportation trilogy and the game board of which certainly calls Automobile to mind. The Ships page on the Treefrog Games website features an extensive summary of the gameplay, along with images of galley, sail and steamer cards, with those three types of ships representing the three ages in which the game takes place.

In March 2015, Mayfair Games had announced that it would not produce the standard edition of Ships, so now both the standard and the limited edition will be released by Treefrog, with the game currently expected to be manufactured in Q3 2015.

• In mid-June 2015, Wallace announced that the second edition of Moongha Invaders: Mad Scientists and Atomic Monsters Attack the Earth — which was funded via Kickstarter in November 2012 — had been printed and will be shipped to the U.S. and elsewhere within the next two months, after which they'll be sent to KS backers.

• Not everything has been moving toward production for Treefrog, however. Author Terry Pratchett died in March 2015, and in early June 2015 Wallace stated that Treefrog no longer has "the licence to produce Discworld: Ankh-Morpork or The Witches. I'm sorry to disappoint those fans looking forward to the next game, just one of those things."

• Finally, on June 22, 2015, Wallace posted a long note on the Treefrog Games website stating that Eagle-Gryphon Games "no longer have the rights to Brass", despite EGG planning to launch a Kickstarter for a deluxe version of Brass on July 16, 2015. Rick Soued, CEO of EGG, has responded on BGG, stating that "Eagle Games has an entirely valid and up-to-date contract with Martin for the publication rights to Brass and he is well aware of that", to which Wallace has responded with an excerpt of the contract. Much armchair lawyering is underway in this thread should you care to participate.

(Wallace named Soued as "owner of Eagle Gryphon, FRED and Funagain" in his original post. Nick Medinger from Funagain has stated that Soued "no longer owns any part of Funagain. This has been true for almost 2 years now. I say this as the guy who runs the daily operations of Funagain." Thus ends my participation in this discussion.)
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Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:31 am
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New Game Round-up: Terra in English, Steam Works for the English & Zombies Assault Those Who Speak English

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Friedemann Friese's Terra, a sequel to his Spiel des Jahres-nominated Fauna was released by German publisher HUCH! & friends in late 2014, and the cry went up immediately for an English-language version. After all, what good is a text-heavy party game when the text is in a language you don't speak? (Well, it's good for pedagogical purposes, but most people aren't looking for that when they pick up a game.)

In any case, U.S. publisher Bézier Games has now announced that it will release Terra in English, with the game being available for demoing at Gen Con 2015 and debuting at Spiel 2015 in October. As for what the game is, here's an overview:

Quote:
How tall is the Burj Khalifa? How deep is Lake Baikal? When was the Tower Bridge first opened?

In Terra, players are taken on a trip around the globe, visiting all the world's most famous sights, up to the highest mountain tops, onto the smallest islands, and into the depths of the deepest seas. From the equator to the Earth's poles, there's lots to discover! Who knows how long the Amazon River really is? Or where the world's steepest street is? Even if you don't know with certainty, you still have a good chance to become the world's greatest explorer. Points are also awarded if you come close.

Ted Alspach from Bézier says that the scoring has been simplified in this version of the game. It contains three categories of questions with 300 topics, and the game board is double-sided, with the original metric map on one side and an Imperial measurements map on the other.

• Among the many titles that Tasty Minstrel Games plans to release in 2015 is Alex Churchill's Steam Works, which features steamily appropriate artwork by Adam McIver. Here's a rundown of this design:

Quote:
Inventors and tinkerers abound in the Victorian era, harnessing the power of clockwork, steam, and electricks to build machines capable of anything to give glory to Queen Victoria!

In the steampunk worker placement game Steam Works, you'll put your mechanics to work collecting components and power sources, then you'll literally build devices by assembling those sources and components. What's more, those devices in turn become action spaces for other players to use!

Each player takes on an inventor persona with unique starting components or special abilities accessible only to themselves. But the heart of the game is in assembling modular component tiles into a device for other players to use. Sources may provide one or more of the three power types — clockwork, steam, or Tesla-style electrickal power — to the components connected to them, which in turn provide a wide range of effects for gaining resources, prestige points, or more component tiles. Devices start simple with just two components (one source and one component), but devices with three, four or more components will become possible — as soon as the players assemble a device to let it be possible. Because of the modular mix-and-match nature of the components, the available action spaces vary widely from one game to the next, providing great replayability: each game players will create devices never seen before!

• What's more, in a June 16, 2015 newsletter, Michael Mindes from TMG mentions that the publisher will be releasing My Village from Inka and Markus Brand, a title originating from eggertspiele, which also published the Brand's Kennerspiel des Jahres-winning Village in 2011.

• Those darn zombies just won't stop! GreenBrier Games has announced a sequel to Zpocalypse titled Zpocalypse 2: Defend the Burbs with the players now taking refuge in the relatively well-off suburbs before they're inevitably assaulted by zombie hordes. In slightly more detail:

Quote:
Zpocalypse 2: Defend The Burbs is a standalone tower defense-style game, evolved from the original Zpocalypse, a survival board game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Like the original, two to five players each control their own squad of survivors equipped to the teeth with weapons, food, and items. In this game, your actions as squad leader allow the survivors to choose their tasks on the daily action board. Each choice has limited space and will come with benefits (potential for more supplies) and costs (like all things in the Zpocalypse, it's never pleasant!)

With gained experience, your survivors level up on a variety skills. Rather than picking your path for you as in the original game, now you have the ability to carve out your survival scenario for yourself, but be careful what you wish for.
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Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:00 am
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