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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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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2016: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, Broom Service: The Card Game, Legends, Make 'n' Break Architect & Memory: Das Brettspiel

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This past weekend I took a trip to Spielwarenmesse 2016, the annual toy fair in Nürnberg, Germany, and I've already uploaded a dozen game overview videos to BGG's YouTube account. Woohoo! Much faster progress than for Spiel 2015 and other recent conventions, partly because I'm not posting all of the videos that we've recorded on BGG News, but instead simply on the individual game pages (and on YouTube itself, of course).

That said, I will highlight some of these videos when I expect interest in the featured game to be higher than average or when I think people will get a kick out of the video itself. We'll see whether I'm right. (Also, I must apologize in advance for forgetting to white balance these videos. Perhaps someday I'll function like a professional in this regard, but I haven't made that leap yet in five years. Sigh.)

• Let's start with an overview of Stefan Feld's The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, one of two "board game to card game" transfigurations to take place from German publisher alea. My ever-increasing smile in this video comes from me thinking than Alban is about to wrap up, but then we keep plowing on with yet more that you can do on your turn. The half-sized cards in this game make a lot of sense as you'll be sprawling all over the table with your holdings!





• The other alea title that we covered was Broom Service: The Card Game from Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister, which unlike TCOB:TCG adheres much less closely to the preceding board game. Only a few finished cards were on display — and none of the expansion material for the board game — but I think this will give you an idea of the "brave vs. cowardly" mechanism taking place in this design.





• I received information from Ravensburger not too long before my flight, so I've entered many of that publisher's titles into BGG's Nürnberg/New York 2016 Preview only since returning to the U.S., including the family game Legends from Knut Happel and Christian Fiore. This design features a time track movement system a là Thebes and challenges players to collect knowledge of legendary events to earn points, while also requiring them to give up some of that knowledge if they actually want to score those points.





• The Make 'n' Break game series takes a familiar concept — do something quickly to complete a challenge — and presents it in all sorts of different ways, with the 2016 offering from Ravensburger being Make 'n' Break Architect, with players now wielding a colored folding ruler and trying to shape to match the images provided.





Memory: Das Brettspiel? By Kramer and Kiesling?! At first I wondered whether I was being punked, but after seeing the thing itself, the design and brand extension makes perfect sense, and the choices made here provide an interesting lesson for game designers.

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Tue Feb 2, 2016 4:37 pm
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New Releases from F2Z Entertainment: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu from Z-Man, Dead of Winter: The Long Night from Plaid Hat, Junk Art from Pretzel & More

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• The biggest news for hobby gamers from Spielwarenmesse 2016 is the soft announcement of Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu from designer Chuck D. Yager and publisher Z-Man Games.

Sophie Gravel of F2Z Entertainment, owner of Z-Man Games, told me that Yager based the design on the gameplay at the heart of Pandemic, with Pandemic designer Matt Leacock then working with Yager to provide development and polishing. In short, players are investigators who want to seal four portals before creatures of unspeakable horror are unleashed or the investigators themselves go insane.

I describe this as a "soft announcement" because this is all the information available for now, with Z-Man Games planning to officially announce the game on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2016.




• As noted in late January 2016, designer Rob Daviau has delivered SeaFall to publisher Plaid Hat Games. A new look for the box was on display at Spielwarenmesse, but the box itself was empty and even the back cover was blank, revealing nothing that isn't already known. (I previewed SeaFall in Nov. 2014 after playing one game on the prototype and interviewed Daviau about the design.)

Gravel from F2Z Entertainment did state that SeaFall will debut at Gen Con 2016, so you can start marking off the calendar if you wish.




• Before PHG gets to SeaFall, though, it will first release Dead of Winter: The Long Night at Origins Game Fair 2016. This title is a standalone expansion to Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game from designers Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega. Again, this title hasn't been officially announced, so that's all the info I have for now.

The cover shown below is a non-final mock-up that probably won't be used, according to Gravel, since at first glance it appears to be a black-and-white version of the DoW cover and therefore doesn't stand enough on its own.




• The F2Z Entertainment label Pretzel Games debuted in 2015 with the beefy (as in massively heavy) Flick 'Em Up!, with that title having a soft launch at Origins 2015 and officially debuting at Gen Con 2015.

In March 2016, Z-Man Games will release a version of Flick 'em Up! with plastic components — with the figures and houses being the same size as in the original game. This version is aimed more at the broad market thanks to its $35 price tag compared to the $70 MSRP on the original, but note that the original version will still be available for those who want to knock wood.

As for the feel of the plastic versus the wood, I can't report on that as we had a lot to cover in our one-hour meeting. Co-designer Gaëtan Beaujannot took one shot, blowing away an innocent cactus, but then he had to split so that I could start said meeting.




• As for what's new from Pretzel Games, that would be Junk Art from Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier, with this title scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2016 in a separate Pretzel Games booth. Gravel says that as with Flick 'em Up! in 2015, Pretzel will feature a giant-sized version of Junk Art at Gen Con 2016. As for what the game is about, here's an overview:

Quote:
In Junk Art, players are presented with junk from which they must create art. Thus the name.

Junk Art contains multiple ways to play. In one version of the game, players pile all of the wooden parts in the center of the table, then are dealt a number of cards, with each card depicting one of these parts. On a turn, a player presents their left-hand neighbor with two cards from their hand. This neighbor takes one card in hand, then takes the part shown on the other card and places it on their base or on other parts that they've already placed. If something falls, it stays on the table and the player continues to build on whatever still stands. Once players have finished playing cards, whoever has the tallest work of art wins.

Gravel says that her original intention for Pretzel Games was to release high quality, all-wood games — one title per year — that would bear whatever MSRP was appropriate given the costs of the material. She says she's been somewhat surprised by the success of Flick 'em Up!, but perhaps some of its success is due to precisely what others might view as a drawback — its craft-like appearance that looks nothing like a standard game.




• Speaking of being crafty, the reception that Flick 'em Up! received inspired Gravel and the Z-Man team to go even further with Matt Leacock's Knit Wit, the packaging and components of which were on display at Spielwarenmesse 2016. Having the Leacock name on the box no doubt makes it easier to experiment with the graphic design and presentation...




• Another graphic design experiment will be seen in Caravan, an Emerson Matsuuchi design due out at Spiel 2016 that will be presented with two completely independent looks. The Spice Road edition and Crystal Golem edition will feature the same gameplay — that is, they're the same game — while having different covers, component artwork, and settings. As for details of the gameplay, I've got nothing as the official announcement will come later.

Having two different covers on Pandemic Legacy was Gravel's idea as she wanted to allow players to be able to run independent games with different groups and better track which game was which. For Caravan, she wanted to go even further, with one game receiving a Eurogame gloss while the other has a somewhat anime-inspired fantasy setting.

Caravan was originally intended to be a release from Plaid Hat Games, but both the PHG crew and Gravel agreed that it fit better as part of the Z-Man line so that's how the game will be released.


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Mon Feb 1, 2016 3:20 pm
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Links: Selling Yourself to Gamers and Publishers, and Knowing When to Kill a Game Design

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• On his Hyperbole! blog, designer Grant Rodiek suggests how game designers can sell themselves — and by extension their games — at conventions:

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When I play my games with people at a convention, I do my best to break down walls as quickly as possible. I immediately start playfully talking shit (pardon my crudeness), I poke fun at people, I crack jokes, and I highlight the cool things happening in the game.

Many publishers say you should let the demoers win, and there's value to this, but I've often found value in executing high level strategies or subtle combos, then explaining it so that people could see how cool the game CAN be beyond that learner's game.

• Designer/publisher Jason Kotarski of Green Couch Games tackles the same topic from the reverse angle, that of designers trying to sell a game — and by extension themselves — to a publisher:

Quote:
As an independent publisher in the tabletop gaming space, I'd much rather work with calm, collected people that I feel like I can be friends with than needy, draining, smelly geniuses. I want to spend time making something I love with people I actually like being around.

Andrei Novac of NSKN Games lists reasons why he killed "one of my beloved projects", W: The Board Game, which includes this gem: "Asking our play-testers if they'd buy the game, less than half said yes while 90% said they'd love to play it." Seems like a decent question to ask all playtesters, although what would move the needle from "play" to "buy" will likely differ from person to person.

• Following Gen Con 2015, Eric Teo from Push Your Luck Podcast had a nice write-up of "Five New Board Games You Should Play" on Kotaku, and I'm only linking to that article just now.

• More recently, Teo has presented Pandemic Legacy to the Kotaku audience: "Pandemic Legacy is all about the decisions that you have made during the game. Etching the results of these decisions into the game reminds you of what you have done. It will feel like you are crafting a game experience that is uniquely yours."

• At Spiel 2015, German podcasters/reviewers Hunter & Cron invited me to appear on their round-up of designers, publishers and ne'er-do-wells, and thankfully they did not require me to speak in German or else I would have been restricted to saying things like "Ich bin eine Ente" or "Die Wasser braucht eine Tasse". What did I say instead? Hopefully things more intelligible than that...

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Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Escape a Dying Solar System, Create Weapons for the Third Reich, and Discover Animals in Taiwan

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• Believe it or not, I have still more overlooked (by me) new game announcements that have been nestled in my inbox for months — typically due to me sending myself a link, then having those links buried by other announcements — so let's break out another handful, starting with a 2016 release from Gabriel J. Cohn and Tasty Minstrel Games titled The Exodus Fleet, which bears this description:

Quote:
What's left of civilization on this planet is being cut into portions by those most prone to cutting. Those of us who want something better...we'll find it somewhere else.

The Exodus Fleet features resource management and tableau building mechanisms along with a highly interactive system of role selection and bidding in which players compete to hire miners, spaceship builders, and other groups to piece together their own fleet to escape a dying Earth. Just building ships and filling them with refugees will score you points, but making sure your ships work together may give you the advantage you need.

Players must decide whether to prioritize building ships within one faction (to score bonus points) or whether it might be better to build ships with synergy for powering their actions. Is it better to spend your resources on more ships or rescuing more survivors off of Earth? Should you gamble on explorers or just take a turn to gather more resources? And exactly how much money does my opponent still have? Can they outbid me for the action I really need to perform? A variety of strategic and tactical dilemmas await...

• Along the same lines is Sol: Last Days of a Star, which brothers Ryan and Sean Spangler plan to Kickstart in February 2016 through Elephant Laboratories. In the game, players need to build multiple spaceships in order to draw energy from the dying sun in order to fuel their ark into the great unknown before being consumed in fire.

Secret Weapons of the Third Reich from Luca Cammisa simulates "the arms race of World War II from the German perspective", with players trying to get projects approved and completed. An excerpt from the game description:

Quote:
Play begins in 1938, one year before the outbreak of world War. At the start, players can only place research groups for their Approved Projects (Project Plants) in the portion of the map representing Germany and Austria. In 1939 and later, the conquests of Nazi Germany allow players to deploy their Project Plants in occupied European territories. But players will have to pay attention to the various locations, because some areas allow only research and development, others only Weapon production, and still others only research and development for U-Boat Projects.

Also, players must operate in a "state of warfare". This means that as time goes on they are more and more subject to enemy Bombardments that can cause a great loss of resources and technologies. In addition, as starting in 1943 Allied and Soviet advances on Berlin make the map progressively smaller, players must face logistical issues never encountered during the early years of the war.

• Australian publisher Grail Games plans to release a new edition of Reiner Knizia's Circus Flohcati in 2016 that features fleas in the art, but not everyone seems keen on the idea of staring at insects while playing this fabulous little game. If you're one of those averse to seeing fleas, check out this 2015 version of the game from Taiwanese publisher TwoPlus Games titled Formosa 生態公園 (Formosa Ecological Park). Instead of fleas, whether cartoony or realistic, this version features animals native to Taiwan, with a different short caption on each of that animal's eight cards.

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Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Pics from Spielwarenmesse 2016

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My cameraperson John and I have been at Spielwarenmesse 2016 — the annual toy fair in Nürnberg, Germany — only one full day (and two hours of a second day), and we've already recorded a few dozen game overview videos, including Cry Havoc, In the Name of Odin, Bunny Kingdom, Cacao: Chocolatl, and Oceanos (an Antoine Bauza designer from IELLO that I need to add to the database).

Our hotel's Internet connection is miserably slow, so I can't upload any videos from here, but I plan to start posting them the week of February 1, 2016 once I return to the U.S. For now, I've been posting pics of new games (and new editions of old games) via BGG's Twitter account because each photo upload also takes longer than I'd expect it to. Should you care to look at the feed, here's a sample of what I've been posting there:







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Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:54 pm
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Links: Asmodee and Z-Man Redistribute Distributors, Nature Explores Evolution & Computers Learn Go

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• Continuing its acquisitive habits, the Asmodee Group announced on January 27, 2016 that it has purchased Bergsala Enigma, a board game and collectible card game distributor in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. A press release from Asmodee notes that "The company will operate from now on under its original name, Enigma Distribution." An excerpt from the press release:

Quote:
The synergy between Asmodee's catalogue and Enigma Distribution's operations in the Nordics and in the Netherlands is a great opportunity to bring new games, from the Asmodee Group studios and from all Asmodee partners to these markets.

Thanks to this operation, Asmodee will have a direct access to two of the most important game markets in Europe of a combined size of €240M.

• In other distribution news, F2Z Entertainment has stated that as of March 15, 2016, Z-Man Games will no longer be distributed in the U.S. exclusively by Alliance Game Distributors, but will instead also be available from ACD Distribution,GTS Distribution, Peachstate Hobby Distribution, and Southern Hobby Supply. F2Z brands Pretzel Games and Plaid Hat Games were already available from multiple distributors in the U.S., and this will continue to be the case.

• In the Dec. 10, 2015 issue of the science journal Nature, Stuart West discusses three games based on evolution: Evolution from North Star Games, Evolution: Random Mutations from Rightgames, and Terra Evolution: Tree of Life from Mindwarrior Games. An excerpt on Evolution:

Quote:
The gameplay is simple to grasp, but can get very tactical. In particular, as with real evolution, the best strategy depends on what everyone else is doing. If there are a lot of herbivores, there is an advantage to being an efficient forager, with traits such as cooperation, but lots of herbivores also means a big advantage to becoming a carnivore. When carnivores appear, herbivores need defences, which carnivores try to get around — and so on, in a co-evolutionary dance.

• Remember all those articles stating that computers have beaten Chess but haven't come close to being on par with masters of Go? Well, that's no longer the case thanks to Google DeepMind and its computer program AlphaGo, which bested European Go champion Fan Hui in five straight games. As Will Knight explains on MIT Technology Review:

Quote:
The researchers built AlphaGo using an extremely popular and successful machine-learning method known as deep learning combined with another simulation technique for modeling potential moves. Deep learning involves training a large simulated neural network to respond to patterns in data. It has proven very useful for image and audio processing, and many large tech companies are exploring new ways to apply the technique.

Two deep-learning networks were used in AlphaGo: one network learned to predict the next move, and the other learned to predict the outcome from different arrangements on the board. The two networks were combined using a more conventional AI algorithm to look ahead in the game for possible moves.

• Speaking of chess, in Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh "has ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam, saying it encourages gambling and is a waste of time", according to The Guardian. That said, the article notes that chess probably isn't really forbidden:

Quote:
It is unlikely that Sheikh's ruling will be enforced, and more plausible that chess will be relegated to the status of other minor vices, such as music, which many in the clerical establishment frown upon. Moreover, since the ruling was in response to a specific question, it was probably meant as an advisory opinion rather than a formal edict.

Okay, well, nevermind then...
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Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:46 pm
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New Game Round-up: Martin Wallace Visits Via Nebula, Libellud Reveals Hidden Signs for Mysterium & Witches Fly Again in Broom Service: The Card Game

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• What's this? A fantasy-based Martin Wallace design from Space Cowboys? Yes, at first glance Via Nebula — a 2-4 player design due in Q2 2016 — isn't something I would have expected from Wallace, but once you get into the meat of the gameplay below, it's easier to imagine:

Quote:
Crafters, builders and carriers — your help is needed to dispel the mists of Nebula! The people of the valley will reward you handsomely if you harvest and exploit our many resources, open paths through the mists, and help our settlers build new structures. Cooperate temporarily with other builders in order to create paths and share goods, but do not forget your own objectives. Will you have a statue erected in your honor on the Nebula City plaza?

A game of Via Nebula starts with a board showing a hexagonal grid, some production sites with a few available resources on them (wood, stone, wheat, and pigs), building sites in various areas scattered over the whole board, and a lot of mist.

Turn after turn, players have two actions at their disposal from these options: They may clear the mist of a hex to create new paths of transportation, open new production sites, open a building site in a city, carry resources from any production site to their own building sites, and, of course, achieve a construction. Resources and paths through the mist may be used by all the players. This initially induces a kind of cooperation, but eventually other players will take advantage of your actions!

To achieve a construction, you fulfill a contract on one of your cards. You start the game with two contracts, and four more contracts are available for all players to see and use on a first come, first served basis — and that's where the cooperation abruptly stops. Additionally, most contracts have special powers that are triggered on completion.

The game ends when a player finishes a fifth building. Opponents each take two final actions, then players score based on the number of cleared hexes and opened production sites and the point value of their contracts, with a bonus for the player who ended the game.

What about Route 666, another Wallace/Space Cowboys design that was originally announced as a 2015 release? I'll see whether I can get an update on this while attending the Spielwarenmesse fair in Nürnberg, Germany this week.

• Hey, speaking of Spielwarenmesse, here's a short summary of Broom Service: The Card Game, coming from designers Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister and publisher alea, with this title due out in April 2016 in Europe and in June in the U.S. This design is not Witch's Brew, the precursor to the Broom Service board game, but something else entirely:

Quote:
Broom Service: The Card Game focuses on the brave/cowardly mechanism used in the Broom Service board game.

Okay, not much to go on there. The game consists of 160 cards (witches, goals, victory point tables) and takes five minutes per player. What's more, alea developer Stefan Brück notes that Broom Service: The Card Game includes "some separate expansion cards for the board game". Exactly what those cards are and how this game works is something I hope to find out in the next week!


• Another Spielwarenmesse preview item will be Mysterium: Hidden Signs, from Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko, and Libellud. Here's all the info I have for now:

Quote:
They thought the secret of Warwick mansion had been solved and the spirit had found peace, but now new signs have emerged that were previously hidden. New suspects, places, and objects that do not fit into the picture — and the presence of the ghost is strong once again.

In Mysterium: Hidden Signs, the spiritualists must return to the old mansion and investigate these disturbing visions. Will they understand all the instructions this time and give the ghost its final rest?

• In non-Toy Fair news, in 2016 Stronghold Games will release an English-language version of City of Spies: Estoril 1942 from designers Gil d'Orey and Antonio Sousa Lara. To learn how to play this hidden placement game, check out this overview video that I recorded with d'Orey at Spiel 2015:

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Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Bézier Games Sells America, Libellud Visits More Loonies & NSV Invites Existential Despair

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• Like Fauna or Terra? America from Bézier Games reworks the game system at the heart of those Friedemann Friese designs to, according to co-designer Ted Alspach, "make it more accessible and fun than its more serious lineage". Here's an overview of gameplay for those not familiar with the game system:

Quote:
• In which year was Close Encounters first in theaters?
• Which state gets the most snow each year?
• How many albums has Madonna sold?

It's likely that you don't know any of these facts, but you might have a rough idea, and that's good enough because America is a party game in which being close counts. And what if you have absolutely no idea what the answer is? Take advantage of your friends who do know. And if you realize that no one (including you) seems to know what the answer is, you can bet against everyone!

In America, which includes almost one thousand questions covering more than three hundred topics, each player uses their knowledge of pop culture, food, products, games, sports, and United States history to score more points than their opponents. If your opponents know something that you don't, you can leverage their knowledge to your advantage, scoring more than them with clever play. The cards have full color clues to help you, as well as interesting factoids for every question in the game.

As for changes to the system, Alspach says that the length/distance bar has been removed, with each "region" now being exactly one U.S. state. and no ocean or non-USA regions being part of the game. The title and picture on a card relate to the year, number and state on that card, although Alspach adds that "the state isn't tied as closely to the topic as it was in Terra". All answers are singular, that is, the number or year are not a range but only a single numeral. The game board is double-sided, with the reverse side having unlabeled U.S. states.

As for the scoring, America features new "No Exact" and "No Exact or Adjacent" squares for the two bars and the "states" section. As Alspach explains, "Players get 3 points if there are no cubes on the correct answer ('No Exact') and/or 7 points if there are no cubes on the correct or adjacent answers ('No Exact or Adjacent')."


• German publisher Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag has only one new title for the first half of 2016: the somewhat tragic-looking Life Is Life from Lorenz Kutschke. Here's an overview, which I've summarized from the rules:

Quote:
Every player starts Life Is Life with five life cards, and things only go downhill from there.

To set up a round, shuffle the sixty-card deck, deal ten cards face down to each player, then place ten cards face up on the table in four rows, with the rows holding 1-4 cards. The deck consists of animal cards, with nine giraffe cards, eight bear cards, seven each mole and goat, and so on down to three mouse cards.

On a turn, a player either swaps 1-4 cards in hand with the face-up row that contains the same number of cards or knocks on the table to signal the end of the round; when a player knocks, each other player can make one final swap or also knock. Players then compare cards in hand to see who holds a majority of each type of animal. If a player holds more giraffe cards than each other player, for example, then that player keeps one giraffe card (worth 9 points as nine such cards are in the game) while all other giraffe cards are discarded. (A player can hold a majority by having one card and no one else having any cards.) After all animal types are compared, whoever has the most points loses no life cards; whoever has the fewest points loses two life cards; and whoever has a total between these extremes loses one life card.

Alternatively, if during a round a player collects all four cats or all five rabbits or pigs in hand, that player can end the round immediately, with all other players losing one life card.

If a player runs out of life cards, they're out of the game. At the end of a round, shuffle the cards and play again. Whoever last clings to life wins!

• With the Spielwarenmesse fair opening in just two days, I'm still adding titles to BGG's Nürnberg/New York 2016 Preview, such as Libellud's Loony Quest: The Lost City, which adds more complications to the already involved (by comparison to Doodle Quest) design from Laurent Escoffier and David Franck. Here's a sneak peek at what you'll find inside:

Quote:
The Arkadia tournament is now over, but the king's exiled evil brother Vadoor has caught the five adventurers and is sending them far away. To save the kingdom, our heroes must begin by fleeing a pirate ship. During their escape, they will find the legendary sunken city of Spectra, inhabited by a hitherto-unknown, ancient tribe of Loonies who appear to have come from another galaxy. Where will this new quest lead our adventurers?

In Loony Quest: The Lost City, the first expansion for Loony Quest, players discover five new worlds and strive to master the previously unseen challenges of this 32-level content pack! Travel through secret passages that let you reappear in another location on the level. A 3D-pyramid spaceship turns up the fun factor of the new levels and brings a new angle to the original Loony Quest game, boosting replayability.

New special stages and more bonus and penalty tokens add up to even more fun with the players around the table!

What does this pyramid look like, by chance? Well, like this:

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:02 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Embrace the Chaos or Find Your Zen

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• Publisher Cool Mini Or Not had a banner year in 2015, raking in over $8.7 million in pledges across five projects, and the publisher is out the gate in a hurry already in 2016 with XenoShyft: Dreadmire, a standalone follow-up to XenoShyft: Onslaught, its co-op deck-building title. Designer Michael Shinall has accomplished two goals with this set: 1) expanding the game mechanically by way of a cycling weather deck that triggers additional card abilities and 2) balancing the difficulty curve that Onslaught players experienced in a way that can be backported relatively painlessly. (KS link)

Letiman Games is bringing you Dirigible Disaster, a frenetic real-time co-op with a quirky sense of humor in which players are tasked with keeping a dirigible afloat as disasters strike left and right. If that sounds somewhat like Red November transposed into the skies, that's because designer Daniel Grek drew inspiration from that Faidutti/Gontier release of yesteryear. When I hear "dirigible disaster", my mind automatically goes to this posh movie scene. Could this game be a retelling of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from the perspective of Baron Bomburst? (KS link)

• Somehow I can't seem to shake this bad analogy I've cooked up in which rival publishers snapping up the rights to all the out-of-print Reiner Knizia designs on the market is the new space race. Indeed, the good doctor seems to be in the middle of a renaissance. This time it's Grail Games bringing back fan-favorite and former SdJ-recommended title Medici. The game, originally published over two decades ago, was the second in Knizia's famed "auction trilogy". Vincent Dutrait is on art duties this time around, taking the torch from another legendary illustrator, Franz Vohwinkel. (KS link)

• If you were to compare games by number of dice relative to the box size, King's Forge would probably rank near the top of the list. The 2014 Game Salute title from designer Nick Sibicky recently received an updated second edition (scheduled to hit store shelves two days ago on Jan. 22) and is also getting a new expansion, King's Forge: Glassworks, which adds glass as another resource with which to craft items in the smithy of the titular Adolphoson Sedgwickson III. (KS link)

• Most games designed with an educational thrust will cause gamers to back away slowly, but Martin Looij is both a game designer and a scuba diver, which may mean that Scuba breaks free of that dangerous reef. Looij is bringing the game to market under his Keep Exploring Games imprint, which has one of the coolest logos I've seen. Managing your air supply is a unique take on the infamous "feed your people" mechanism, balanced by the zen experience of spotting underwater wildlife. (KS link)

• Probably the last theme you'd expect to find in a tile-placement game is communal beard braiding, but the KS landscape never ceases to surprise. I'm talking about Beardsmith from HaleFire Games and designer Benjamin Hale. Things are bound to get hairy when up to six stylists all compete to leave their mark on one unfortunate dwarf's beard — even if that means adding some gum to prevent the other stylists from getting all the glory. Who knew that the barbershop could be home to such a cutthroat experience? (KS link)

Pocket N30N City RUMBLE from Booyah Games and designer Davy Wagnarok is refreshing in that it's clearly throwing back to the heyday of arcade games, but without crutching on 8-bit graphics. This is, of course, a pocket version of N30N City Rumble, which was crowdfunded in August 2014. Booyah has teamed up with Level 99 Games to offer crossover content, with several fighters from the World of Indines putting in an appearance. (KS link)

• The award for most unorthodox title of the week goes to Gob'z'Heroes. Where orcs signal a serious tone in fantasy, goblins have always been the silly half-siblings, and this two-player tactical board game from Skulls Mini and designers Fabien Friess and Antoine Roffé amps that silly up to eleven. You have major stats (movement, strength, stamina) that matter in this duel, but you can really bring the vinegar with maneuvers like "Good Joke" or "Acid Fart". (KS link)

• Sometimes, when you find a game you like, you'd rather spend a chunk of change upgrading that game's aesthetics than sinking that same amount of cash into purchasing another game. That's what Cynthia and Chris Landon of Meeple Source are banking on, anyway — likely a safe bet, considering their five previous successful KS campaigns. Rather than simply offering a wide variety of generic resources, they've grouped them into efficient upgrade kits for a variety of popular games. (KS link)

• The thread linking Club Zen and Don't Get Eated is that they share a designer, which is why they're being bundled as a two-fer in "The T.C. Petty Experience", a campaign from Dice Hate Me Games. It's a unique approach to marketing; come for the intentionally ironic faux-celebrityism, stay for the games (or, if you're an art junkie, the illustrations of Adam Rebottaro and Kwanchai Moriya, respectively). Club Zen promises a new and relaxing approach to worker placement, while DGE is remarkable in that it has salvaged the much-maligned spinner from the tabletop slag heap and given it new life. (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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New Game Round-up: SeaFall Lands at Plaid Hat, Days of Wonder Establishes Monuments & Indonesia Returns to Print

W. Eric Martin
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• Designer Rob Daviau says that he has delivered the final version of SeaFall to publisher Plaid Hat Games. As for when the game will actually be released, well, I'll be visiting the F2Z Entertainment booth at Spielwarenmesse this week in Nürnberg, Germany (F2Z being Plaid Hat's owner), so I'll let you know what I find out.

• For the release of Quadropolis in March/April 2016, Days of Wonder plans to celebrate with the publication of several promotional monument tiles. Monuments — which are used only in the game's expert mode — are rare buildings that earn you victory points when placed next to parks, shops, or public services in the city that you build, but cost you points when placed next to harbors or factories. To use one of these tiles, replace the monument tile in the base game that bears the same ID number as the promo tile. (Monuments with the same ID number cannot coexist in the game, even if they have different final letters.)

The four tiles below — Monuments of the World — will be available as part of the prerelease program in the U.S. and through retail stores in Europe. What's more, each market in which the game debuts (Korea, Spain, Belgium, etc.) will have a unique promo tile of its own featuring a real-world monument from that country.


• Dutch publisher Splotter Spellen has opened preorders for new editions of Indonesia (first released in 2005) and The Great Zimbabwe (from 2012), with those titles due for release at some point prior to Spiel 2016 in October. Indonesia co-designer Joris Wiersinga has clarified some of the changes to this new edition in a BGG thread; for The Great Zimbabwe, the publishers state that "We will include thicker wooden pieces. Other changes are not yet confirmed."

• Along the same lines, Asmadi Games is taking preorders for Mottainai, Red7, and Innovation, games that are already on the market, but Asmadi is judging the market for versions of its games that include "100% plastic cards", versions that generally cost twice as much as the far-less-hip paper versions.

Blue Orange Games co-owner Thierry Denoual notes that BOG will release a new edition of Claude Leroy's Gyges in 2017.

• To continue the stream of Antoine Bauza tweets, here's a small mention of an expansion being in the works for 7 Wonders: Duel:

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:03 pm
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