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BoardGameGeek News

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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Origins Game Fair 2016 VIII: Wasteland Express Delivery Service, ManaSurge, Herbaceous, Salem, and Tau Ceti: Planetary Crisis

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• I keep hoping that we'll get a wave of post-nonapocalyptic games — you know, games in which people do fun things and enjoy decades of a satisfied existence among neighbors who are equally filled with the joys and frustrations that result from modern-day life, but apparently I'll have to wait a bit longer for such things as right now we are previewing Wasteland Express Delivery Service from the design trio of Matt Riddle, Ben Pinchback and Jonathan Gilmour and the publishing duo IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games.





• "A game of hot potato with fireballs" — that's the short description of Frank Sronce's ManaSurge from Daily Magic Games' Isaias Vallejo.





Herbaceous is a press-your-luck set collection game from Steve Finn and Eduardo Baraf of Pencil First Games with great looking art from Beth Sobel in which you're trying to score different sets of herbs by mooching from the communal supply in addition to collecting your own plants.





Joshua Balvin's Salem has been in the works for years, having funded on Kickstarter in 2012 but making it into the public for the first time at the 2016 Origins Game Fair, with Passport Game Studios having come on board as a production partner.





Tau Ceti: Planetary Crisis from Stan and Mike Strickland and Outer Limit Games aims to give you a 4X experience in space.

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Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 VII: Defenders of the Last Stand, Fate of the Elder Gods, Shark Island, Superhero Solitaire, and Gloomhaven

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• Designer Richard Launius turned up at the BGG booth three times during the 2016 Origins Game Fair to talk about upcoming titles, including his take on the post-apocalyptic genre with Defenders of the Last Stand from 8th Summit.





Fate of the Elder Gods — another Launius design, put together with Chris Kirkman and Darrell Louder of Greater Than Games — has you trying to bring about the end of the world by summoning your Elder God before anyone else can summon theirs.





• Our Launius trilogy ends with an overview of Shark Island, a co-design with Pete Shirey from Upper Deck that pits one shark player against everyone else in the water and on the shore. Can the shark create enough terror in time to win?





• Are you ready to fight crime and defend the forces of good while putting red cards on black cards? If so, then have a peek at Superhero Solitaire from Robert Kouba and 8th Summit's Jason Maxwell, which transforms the solitaire game Klondike into a special-powered bash-up.





Isaac Childres' Gloomhaven from Cephalofair Games takes the prize for "longest demo video" at Origins 2016, but the game has a lot to show off and is hugely anticipated, so it was good to bank that time at the show. (Lesson learned for Gen Con since it's good not to feel too stressed to shove in every game possible when you want to highlight something people really want to see.)

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Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 VI: Tyrants of the Underdark, Imperial Settlers: 3 Is a Magic Number, Catacombs & Castles, Sausage Party, and Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk

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• My lack of knowledge about Dungeons & Dragons is on full display in this overview of Tyrants of the Underdark, the first D&D board game from Wizards of the Coast publishing partner Gale Force Nine — although as Jean-Paul Brisigotti explained at Origins Game Fair 2016, much of the design came to GF9 via Lords of Waterdeep designers Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson.





• Ignacy Trzewiczek' Imperial Settlers from Portal Games had a new faction announced for it during Origins 2016 — Aztecs, with this announcement by way of Poland — but at Origins itself one day prior to that announcement we took a look at the 3 Is a Magic Number Empire Pack.





Aron West from Elzra showed off the disc-flicking game Catacombs & Castles and explained how it compares to their similar-but-not-that-similar Catacombs.





• I love real-time games, but I've found few people in my area who dig them as much as I do, so it was with great relish that we welcomed Mike Selinker to the BGG booth to give us a taste of Sausage Party from Lone Shark Games. Click on the link below for a spicy preview.





• Selinker also presented the much anticipated Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk, which Avalon Hill will release in October 2016 in time for holiday spooking and playing.

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Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:30 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 V: Arkwright, Haspelknecht, Salvation Road, The Fog of War, and The Dragon & Flagon

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Sydney and Brian Engelstein — two-thirds of the design team of The Dragon & Flagon from Stronghold Games along with father Geoff — visited the BGG during Origins Game Fair 2016 to jump on tables, swing from the chandelier, and explain how to play the game.





• Brian Engelstein then stuck around to explain The Fog of War, a Stronghold Games title credited to Geoff E. on which Brian E. apparently did much playtesting and development work. I'm not sure what constitutes a "credit threshold" in the Engelstein household; perhaps the family can explore that topic in a future Ludology episode.





Peter Gousis, co-designer of Salvation Road with Michael D. Kelley, thanked me for publishing this video the day that copies started arriving to Kickstarter backers from Van Ryder Games, but I think that coincidence is solely on them. In any case, here's how you're trying to survive the post-apocalyptic wasteland this time.





Capstone Games is debuting on the U.S. market with a new edition of Stefan Risthaus' Arkwright, a title first released by Spielworxx that then vanished as its short print run was snatched up by gamers. Capstone has made a few additions to the design to provide more play variety in the long run.





• The next project coming from Capstone Games is a new edition of Thomas Spitzer's Haspelknecht, which was the third title in his coal trilogy, but the first from Capstone since it serves as an introductory experience compared to the other two designs.

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Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 IV: Mystic Vale, Dominion: Empires, Clout, Morocco, and Heir to the Pharaoh

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• The Dominion empire that Donald X. Vaccarino and Rio Grande Games has constructed over the past decade is impressive, and it expands still further with, um, Dominion: Empires, which RGG's Jay Tummelson took the time to introduce to us at the 2016 Origins Game Fair.





• At Origins 2016, Patrick Nickell of Crash of Games announced a license for a new version of Clout from Jesper Myrfors and Paul Peterson, with this new version being non-collectible and possibly having myriad other changes before its anticipated Q4 2017 release.





• After watching this overview of Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback's Morocco from Eagle-Gryphon Games, I am once again curious as to why they have a vendetta against juice vendors. What's the story here?





• Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! That's (sort of — okay, not really) what you're getting in Alf Seegert's two-player game Heir to the Pharaoh from Eagle-Gryphon Games.





• John D. Clair's Mystic Vale from Alderac Entertainment Group ended up topping the GeekBuzz chart at Origins 2016. Find out what's going on in this non-deck-building game that feels exactly like a deck-building game...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 III: Hero Realms, Fish Frenzy, Tin Goose, Swipe Out!, and Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft

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Star Realms has been a big deal for White Wizard Games since its launch in 2014, and now co-designers Rob Dougherty and Darwin Kastle are trying to go even bigger with Hero Realms, which adds in special character packs, boss enemies, and a campaign mode.





Swipe Out! from R&R Games is a quick, silly family game that stands out mostly because the designer — Oswald Greene — has been involved with numerous Grand Theft Auto titles and is now transitioning to family games since he has a family of his own.





• A Sherlock game not based on deduction? Seems impossible, but Diego Ibañez's Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft from Devir Americas exists and we demoed it on camera, so however improbable it must be the truth.





• Patrick Nickell of Crash of Games announced in late May 2016 that he had obtained the rights to release a new edition of Finca, and if the wood bits shown here in the unrelated Fish Frenzy by Brett J. Gilbert are any indication, the new Finca will look as chunky and woody as the old one. Aside from ogling the bits, you can also learn something about how Fish Frenzy plays from this video. Dual purpose!





• Of the handful of titles that Rio Grande Games' Jay Tummelson presented in the BGG booth at Origins Game Fair 2016, Matt Calkins' Tin Goose was the one he was most excited about, talking about it twice as long as anything else. Learn what's going on in this (group)thinky design...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 II: Adrenaline, Codenames: Pictures, Menu Masters, Hive Mind, and Running with the Bulls

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• Let's keep rolling with our coverage of the 2016 Origins Game Fair, starting with an overview of Adrenaline from Filip Neduk and Czech Games Edition, which sounds like the most Euro-y first-person shooter board game possible.





• Vlaada Chvátil's Codenames has proven to be a surprising success for CGE, selling more than 400,000 copies in less than a year on the market, and at Gen Con 2016 the sequel/standalone expansion Codenames: Pictures will be released, challenging players to transmit information to their partners in new and not-so-new ways.





• You're challenged to follow the recipe in Menu Masters from Jordan Weisman, Zach Weisman, and Calliope Games, but in order to do that you need money, need to be first at market to have first choice of goods, or crowd the market so that others can't afford what you want.





Running with the Bulls from Paul Peterson and Calliope Games is like a Pachinko machine come to life — except that it's on a board, with you as the balls and the bulls as bigger balls that will crush your spines and remove you from play.





• Calliope Games released a bit of info about Richard Garfield's upcoming Hive Mind prior to Origins 2016, and I immediately jumped to the question of whether this is a redesign of Garfield's nearly two-decades-old What Were You Thinking? The answer: Yes and no, but mostly yes.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 I: The Networks, Liars' Dice, Trick of the Rails, Dreamwell, and Days of Ire: Budapest 1956

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BoardGameGeek livestreamed game demonstrations, designer and publisher interviews, and ice cream taste-testing for five days at the 2016 Origins Game Fair, and despite that event having ended only on Sunday, June 19 — a mere four days ago — BGG owner Scott Alden has already processed much of that video, transforming it into dozens of short clips that will end up on the individual game and publisher pages in the weeks ahead.

You can watch the entire five days of video — complete with false starts and random nonsense — on BGG's Livestream channel. Alternatively, you can watch for all of the individual videos to appear on our Origins 2016 playlist on YouTube, with select videos appearing in this space. With Gen Con and Spiel not too far off, I'll try not to fall too far behind in posting them so that I can keep up on other things as well.

Thus, to start we'll have Keith Blume talk about the who, what, when, how, and why of Richard Borg's Liar's Dice being reintroduced to the North American market via L4 Studios and Mr. B Games:





• Mr. B Games is also partnering with Terra Nova Games to release a new edition of Hisashi Hayashi's trick-taking rail/stock card game Trick of the Rails:





• Yet another co-production with Mr. B Games is Days of Ire: Budapest 1956 with Cloud Island, with this one vs. many design representing a conflict not normally covered in the game world.





• Designer/publisher Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games has been hopping around the world to show off The Networks, and now the game is out in its finished form, wowing many gamers who got it to the table at Origins 2016.





• Designer Nick Little of Action Phase Games shows off Dreamwell, a trippy tile-based game of meeting friends and making sets.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:00 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Falling Angels Meet Rising Hopes

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• Sometimes I choose the game to be listed first in these c.f. round-ups by what I think will most interest readers; at other times, I'm simply searching for a game with a flat cover image that will look decent in this space. Whatever the reason, here's Fallen Angel from Terry Cheung and Asteria Games, a worker placement game of sorts in which you place dice in areas to do stuff — possibly modifying them via cards beforehand — with multiple dice being allowed into an area as long as you follow the placement rule and an end of round bonus going to those who have the largest sums in particular regions. Hmm, not much of a story going on when presented that way, but there we are. (KS link)

• Many people are trying to push out games on Kickstarter based on the current Clinton v. Trump U.S. presidential election, but most of them are painful to behold, so we'll instead turn the clock back a century to look at Patrick Steven's Bull Moose from his Numbskull Games, a 3-5 player game that revisits the fractured U.S. election of 1912. (KS link)

• Simone Cerruti Sola's Kepler-3042 from Post Scriptum flings you into a future in which you're exploring planets in the Milky Way via a finite store of energy, matter and antimatter. Don't use it all in one place! (KS link)

• Speaking of matter, Stéphane Vachon's Planetarium from Game Salute allows you to smash matter into your planet (or your planet into matter), then you can use that matter to play cards that evolve your planet to exert dominance over the solar system. (KS link)

• In its second go on KS, HOPE from Olivier Grégoire and Morning Players jumps us ahead two thousand more years into the future, a time when we members of Human Organization to Preserve Existence (HOPE) need to terraform planets via tile-laying to preserve our very existence — which is why we put that phrase into our organization's name in the first place. (KS link)

Hero Realms, a fantasy-based take on Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty's Star Realms from White Wizard Games, has blown up to $175k in support in less than a day — which shouldn't be surprising given (1) the love that Star Realms gets from fans and (2) the more expansive (and expensive) support options that feature character packs, boss packs, and more. (KS link)

• With Clash d'Ardèche, Dutch designer Jan Willem van Dijk of Gaudete Games brings English-speaking players a fight for the best camping grounds in the French countryside. (KS link)

Honeycombs from 4 Sisters Games gives players multiple games that are played with the same set of 55 hexagonal tiles, with each tile having a different arrangement of the same six symbols. (KS link)

The Robots Are Coming Today?, a project from first-timer Sarah Rogers, posits a future in which you need to find new sources of income to replace your current earnings since the robots are eager to take charge of your position. (KS link)

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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Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:00 pm
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Cover the World in Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails

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I just launched the Gen Con 2016 Preview yesterday, and now Days of Wonder has obligingly added a new title to that list — Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails, the next iteration of Alan R. Moon's long-lived and highly successful Ticket to Ride game series.

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails, which carries an $80/€70 MSRP, will debut at Gen Con 2016 in August, then be released in stores worldwide in early September 2016. Here's an overview of what's familiar and what's new in the game, with images to assist in the explanation. (The complete rules are available in English, French and German on the DoW website.)

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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails takes the familiar gameplay of Ticket to Ride and expands it across the globe — which means that you'll be moving across water, of course, and that's where the sails come in.

As in other Ticket to Ride games, in Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails players start with tickets in hand that show two cities, and over the course of the game they try to collect colored cards, then claim routes on the game board with their colored train and ship tokens, scoring points while doing so. When any player has six or fewer tokens in their supply, each player takes two more turns, then the game ends. At that point, if they've created a continuous path between the two cities on a ticket, then they score the points on that ticket; if not, then they lose points instead.

World game board

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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails puts a few twists on the TtR formula, starting with split card decks of trains and ships (with all of the wild cards going in the train deck). Three cards of each type are revealed at the start of the game, and when you draw cards, you replace them with a card from whichever deck you like. (Shuffle the card types separately to form new decks when needed.)

Similarly, players choose their own mix of train and ship tokens at the start of the game. To claim a train route (rectangular spaces), you must play train cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with train tokens, and to claim a ship route (oval spaces), you must play ship cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with ship tokens. Ship cards depict one or two ships on them, and when you play a double-ship card, you can cover one or two ship spaces. You can take an action during play to swap train tokens for ships (or vice versa), and you lose one point for each token you swap.


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Some tickets show tour routes with multiple cities instead of simply two cities. If you build a network that matches the tour exactly, you score more points than if you simply include all of those cities in your network.

Sample World destination tickets, including a tour in the upper right

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Each player also starts the game with three harbors. If you have built a route to a port city, you can take an action during the game to place a harbor in that city (with a limit of one harbor per port). To place the harbor, you must discard two train cards and two ship cards of the same color, all of which must bear the harbor symbol (an anchor). At the end of the game, you lose four points for each harbor not placed, and you gain 10-40 points for each placed harbor depending on how many of your completed tickets show that port city.

Ship cards and joker; spot the anchor symbol used to build harbors

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Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails includes a double-sided game board, with one side showing the world and the other side showing the Great Lakes of North America. Players start with a differing number of cards and tokens depending on which side they play, and each side has a few differences in gameplay.

Great Lakes game board

Sample Great Lakes destination tickets
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Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:46 pm
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