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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

Archive for W. Eric Martin

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New Game Round-up: Rise from Amino Acids in Bios: Genesis, Flick Others to Death in Catacombs and Castles, & Prepare to Save Andor

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Phil Eklund's Bios: Genesis from Sierra Madre Games has been listed in the BGG database since the start of 2012, but only now does the game have a release date attached to it — October 2016 — along with a final cover that succinctly summarizes the nature of gameplay and drives the point home with the "Molecular Arms Race" tagline. Here's an overview:

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One to four players start as organic compounds shortly after Earth's formation, represented by up to three Biont tokens. The Amino Acids command Metabolism, the lipids create cells, the pigments control energy absorption and storage, and the nucleic acids control templated replication. Their goal is a double origin of life: first as Autocatalytic Life (a metabolic cycle reproducing, yet not replicating, its own constituents), and the second as Darwinian Life (an Organism using a template to replicate in an RNA world). Players can play cooperative, competitive, or solitaire.

Notes designer Phil Eklund, "This subject is the most difficult and ambitious I have ever attempted, and it has taken many years to get it to work right." With Bios: Genesis, Bios: Megafauna, and Origins: How We Became Human, Eklund takes players through almost the whole breadth and scope of life on Earth.

• Joshua Githens from Czech Games Edition posted an image of the Codenames: Pictures prototype on his Facebook feed recently, and with his permission I present it here. Adds Githens, "I'll have it on the ITTD steam this Saturday", i.e., Saturday, April 30, 2016, which is International TableTop Day.


Non-final prototype


• Canadian publisher Elzra Corp. plans to run a Kickstarter in 2016 for Catacombs and Castles, a standalone game in the Catacombs universe that pits two teams of heroes against one another. The expansion also serves as an expansion for the third edition of Catacombs thanks to the new game board included.

• Clever or crazy? In May 2016, Steve Jackson Games will release Munchkin: Sketch Edition, a art-free special version of the Munchkin base game that allows you to draw your own munchkins on the cards and make the game look exactly like you want, depending on your artistic abilities, of course...

Level 99 Games reports that Millennium Blades is sold out at the publisher level. Says designer/publisher D. Brad Talton, Jr., "We do not have immediate plans for a reprint, so players who want to guarantee their copy of the game should seek it out as soon as possible." Gas on the fire, Brad, gas on the fire!

KOSMOS has released a teaser trailer for Die Legenden von Andor: Die letzte Hoffnung, part three of Michael Menzel's Legends of Andor, which is due out in Q4 2016. Here's a short description from the publisher:

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On returning from the far north, the heroes find a devastated Andor. Conquered by the Krahder from the south and their skeleton army, many Andori were enslaved and abducted by them. The heroes are the last hope for the kingdom.

Die Legenden von Andor: Die letzte Hoffnung, the last large expansion for Legends of Andor, includes a new map of the southern regions of Andor, new legends, and more.

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Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:07 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Ancient Games with Modern Funding

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• For star power in a crowdfunded game this week, let's start with Tak, an abstract strategy game that novelist Patrick Rothfuss introduced as an ancient design in the book The Wise Man's Fear and which James Ernest of Cheapass Games has now transformed into an actual "ancient" game — that is, a game that feels like it could have been around forever given that you use three simple types of pieces on a board that measures anywhere from 3x3 to 8x8 with the goal of creating a path that connects opposite edges of the board. I'm reminded of Daniel Solis' Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge from 2011 and suitably impressed that such things can still be created. (KS link)

• I suppose an argument could have been made for placing Steamforged Games' Dark Souls: The Board Game in the top spot given that it is a miniatures game based on the extremely popular Dark Souls videogame series that has collected nearly $2 million in funding within a couple of days, but we don't have a flat front cover image of the game in the database, so no can do. I hope that blow to their crowdfunding efforts won't be too harsh. Also, I keep thinking the name is Dead Souls and am curious to see how they've adapted the Nikolai Gogol novel. That college education is only getting in my way at this point... (KS link)

• Another game that actually is novel-based and blowing up on KS is The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game from Eric B. Vogel and Evil Hat Productions. We met with Vogel at the GAMA Trade Show in March 2016 and recorded this overview of what the game is like, what you might expect from the design in the future, and how many times Vogel read the books to pull out everything that he wanted from them. (KS link)




• Todd Sanders' Aether Captains from MAGE Company is back on KS for another flight, and this time the steampunky sky pirate battle game has more than doubled its slightly lowered goal. When at first you don't succeed, fly, fly again. (KS link)

• If steampunk isn't your thing, you can step up to 20th century dieselpunk in André Schillo's Xibalba from Voodoo Games and raid opponents in a fight for resources in order to raid an ark from an intergalactic civilization. At least I think that's what you're doing — whatever it is, though, you'll have fantastic hair and cleavage when doing it. (KS link)

• Diesel-powered fists are also on display in Battle for Sularia: Blood, Profit, and Glory, an expansion for the BoS base game from Jesse Bergman, John Kimmel, and Punch-It Entertainment that adds new mercenary allies to the game with three new ability keywords that are (despite the promise of the title) not blood, profit, and glory. (KS link)

• Designer Stefan Risthaus of OSTIA Spiele is back with another minigame along the lines of 2015's Visby. In Tallinn, named after the Estonian capital, each player has the same set of ten cards, with each card having two actions on it. All players simultaneously reveal a card — with their thumb on the half of the card they want to use — then they stack it on the other cards they've played, with scoring occurring both between rounds and at the end of the game. (Spieleschmiede link)

Exposed from designers Brian Henk and Clayton Skancke and publisher Overworld Games has you trying to steal wallets from passengers aboard a cruise ship while not being revealed as a thief in the process. (KS link)

• Draft card, create inventions, and win bonus points for alliteration in David J. Clarke's Great Scott! from Sinister Fish Games. All approve alliteration! (KS link)

• The cover of Bucks, Bullets and Flowers — a game from Cristian Mungherli and Apokalypse Inc in which you use mobsters to try to rule 1920s Chicago — is glorious, but apparently other people don't think it's $57K worth of glorious. (KS link)




• At the halfway point in this long c.f. post, we'll hit the ancient world once again with Eliot Hochberg's ILIOS: The Battle of Troy, which was released by Playford Games in 2015 as part of the Ancient Conflict Treasure Chest. In this game, players take turns placing tiles with arrows onto a board that measures anywhere from 4x4 to 10x10. You claim ownership of the tiles being pointed at by your newly placed tile, and if you surround or fence off tiles, you claim the tiles themselves as points. (KS link)

• War of a very different sort takes place in Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game from Dan Verssen and his DVG, with 1-6 players working together to complete World War II squad-level combat missions. (KS link)

• Stepping back even further in time we come to Hold the Line: The American Revolution, a project from Worthington Games and PSC Games that combines two prior Worthington games — Clash for a Continent and Hold the Line, both from Matt Burchfield, Grant Wylie, and Mike Wylie — along with eighteen new scenarios, two hundred miniatures, and a separate expansion for The French & Indian War. (KS link)

Stonemaier Games is avoiding the c.f. route for its Token Treasury, a three-set collection of fancy resin and metal tokens that can replace the prosaic wood and cardboard bits in the games on your shelves. Instead the publisher is taking money from people directly on the basis that it's producing a minimum of 1,500 sets no matter what and the contents of those sets won't change no matter how many people back it. Stonemaier is also reproducing the metal coins from Viticulture/Tuscany and Scythe should the metallic bling be more of your thing. (Stonemaier Games link)

• The Cthulhu portion of this crowdfunding post comes to you courtesy of Miskatonic School for Boys, a reverse deduction game from Garrett Herdter and Fun to 11 in which players are fifth dimensional beasts who know what creature everyone else is possessing but not who they're possessing. Maybe they're born with it, maybe it's Miskatonic. (KS link)

• Andy Breckman's Shit Happens — available with or without a G-rated decoy cover — from AdMagic Games plays like a filth-covered Timeline with you trying to place events in your row of miserable events based on how you think an event ranks on the 1-100 Misery Index. How does a lost pet compare to a ketchup bottle being stick in your butt? Now you finally answer this conundrum that has puzzled philosophers for centuries. (KS link)

• Bijhan Valibeigi's Time Wars: Supreme Command bills itself as the world's first "deck stacking" game as players place each discarded or used card on the bottom of someone's deck, thereby trying to set up (or foil) combinations that allow players to set up and collapse the Timeline in a way that's most favorable to them. (KS link)

• Let's end where we began this week, with a minimalist abstract strategy game that seems like it could have been designed at any point in the past thousand years. King's Valley, from Mitsuo Yamamoto and his own Logy Games, presents players with five pieces each on a 5x5 board, with each piece moving as far as it can in any direction, stopping only when it hits another piece or the edges of the playing area. Your goal is to land your king piece in the central square before your opponent does this first. As with Yamamoto's earlier KS project for e-SOLO-e, many designs of board and pieces are available because he apparently creates everything by hand. (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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Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:17 pm
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Links: Tabletop Season 4, Gaming in the Bookstore, and More Hasbro-Inspired Crowdfunding

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• Wil Wheaton has announced the game line-up for the fourth season of Tabletop, an online series showing games being played by Wheaton and others. The titles being featured include Eldritch Horror, Codenames, Mysterium, Flash Point, Star Realms, Champions of Midgard, Steam Park, and Star Trek: Five-Year Mission. I'd expect a bit of role-playing in that last one, assuming they use The Next Generation role cards, which seems like a must. Filming begins before the end of April, and Wheaton expects to start publishing episodes in June or July 2016.

• As I noted in March 2016, U.S. bookstore chain Barnes & Noble held "Casual Game Gatherings" in 56 B&N stores each Thursday night during March 2016 to introduce one "light strategy game" to newcomers and established gamers. Now B&N has announced that it will hold a "Tabletop Gaming Meet Up" at all 640 of its stores in the U.S. on Saturday, April 30, starting at 4 p.m., with these events featuring the following five games: Machi Koro, Munchkin, Qwirkle, Superfight, and Ticket to Ride. (April 30 is International TableTop Day, so many brick and mortar game stores will be holding their own events that same day.)

The press release notes that "Participants will have the chance to play against each other to win prizes, including a Machi Koro Diamine Promo Card Pack, a Qwirkle Brainteaser Book, Superfight Promo Card Sets, and more. Customers should contact their local store to find out the full list of prizes available." A further excerpt from the press release:

Quote:
"Seeing our customers respond so positively to the game gatherings we hosted at select stores was not only rewarding, but it crystalized what we believed all along: customers in local communities are looking for an alternative evening out. For so many, Barnes & Noble is already a place to meet up, socialize and spend quality time together. Our Tabletop Gaming Meet Up is designed to do all that and more," said Kathleen Campisano, Vice President, Toys & Games at Barnes & Noble. "We will feature a unique array of games that celebrate collaboration, encourage strategic thinking and even provide a little healthy competition."

"The tabletop gaming industry has always had a wide appeal to Americans as a fun, engaging pastime, but we see Barnes & Noble's entry into events and gatherings as a game changer," said Andrew Lupp of the gaming industry organization, PSI. "Few retailers can offer a store environment that's already tailor-made for gaming. Barnes & Noble has always had a fantastically curated selection of games. Now they're creating the social experience and building new communities to bring these games to many more gamers around the country."

For those who don't know, PSI helps game "manufacturers to optimize their presence in the mass market, book trade, and specialty retail channels", including Barnes & Noble.

• In 2015, Z-Man Games hosted multiple "Pandemic Survival" events that culminated in a World Championship at Spiel 2015. For 2016, the publisher has helped organize Pandemic Survival tournaments in 25 countries — with these tournaments being listed on the Z-Man events page — with the 2016 Pandemic Survival World Championship to be held in Barcelona, Spain in November 2016. The winning team can take a trip to any city that appears on the Pandemic board. For those not in the know, here's an overview of Pandemic Survival:

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Pandemic Survival is an extreme version of Pandemic in which teams of two players compete simultaneously with the same objective in mind: Be the first team to find all four cures or be the sole survivor at the end of the game. During this unique experience, each team faces the same starting situation: identical roles, infected cities, and the same player cards in the same order. Only your strategic choices will differentiate you and prove to be a winning or losing strategy! 12 teams maximum.

• While Hasbro reported strong sales and earnings for Q1 2016 — $831.2 million in revenues (up 16% from 2015) and $48.8 million in earnings (up 83% from 2015) — the games category stayed the course from the previous year. (HT: Dan Bray) From Seeking Alpha:

Quote:
Games category revenues declined 2% for the quarter to $231.1 million. Pie Face continued to be a strong contributor to growth, along with growth in Yahtzee and Duel Masters. Growth in these brands was more than offset by declines in other gaming brands for the quarter. The Games category was flat absent the impact of foreign exchange.

• Speaking of Hasbro, the company has launched its second crowdfunding-based game design competition, following on its first such campaign in 2015 which will lead to the publication of The Mr Toast Game in 2016 (as detailed here). This time Hasbro is searching for "face-to-face games" (as opposed to face-to-butt games?), and it's accepting submissions through the Hasbro Gaming Lab website from designers in the U.S., the UK, Canada, France and Germany through May 15, 2016.

• Gift site Vat19 has posted the following educative missive, which prompts the question: Which other games might be enhanced by a showering of devil's blood?

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Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:00 pm
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Widow's Walk Brings More Betrayal to the House on the Hill

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Avalon Hill delivered a shock to many gamers on April 20, 2016 by announcing Widow's Walk, a huge expansion for Bruce Glassco's Betrayal at House on the Hill that will hit stores on October 14, 2016. Here's an overview of the expansion from the publisher:

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The house on the hill has a wicked reputation. Those who dare to darken its door often leave steeped in madness and despair — if they leave at all.

Now the horror reaches new heights with Widow's Walk, the first-ever expansion for the critically acclaimed board game Betrayal at House on the Hill. The house is expanded with the addition of twenty new rooms, including the roof, a previously unexplored floor. Also in its halls you will find new monsters, items, omens, events, and fifty brand-new haunts, penned by lead developer Mike Selinker's all-star cast of contributors from the world of gaming and entertainment. In Widow's Walk, terror and panic are taken to a whole new level.

Enter if you dare. Exit if you can...

Get it? Widow's Walk includes a roof for the house and "terror and panic are taken to a whole new level"? Good multi-level wordplay there; perhaps Selinker wrote that text himself...

The Avalon Hill announcement lists more than forty people who are credited with contributing to the haunts included in Widow's Walk, and the list includes names that you'd expect to see from the base game (Glassco, Selinker, Rob Daviau), names of other board and card game designers (e.g., Paul Peterson, Justin Gary, Liz Spain, Christopher Badell, Jonathan Gilmour, Elisa Teague), and names that you probably wouldn't have expected (e.g., Adventure Time's Pendleton Ward, Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian, Cards Against Humanity's Max Temkin, Depression Quest's Zoë Quinn, The Doubleclicks' Angela Webber).

As for the compatibility of Widow's Walk with the existing editions of Betrayal at House on the Hill — both the original from 2004 and the 2010 second edition — Michael Robles, Community Manager at developer Lone Shark Games, has noted on Reddit that the expansion "is compatible with all editions".
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Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: A Gathering of Games, Cathala's Archipelago, and Old Favorites in New Boxes

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• I've already posted about a few of the prototypes that were played at The Gathering of Friends convention held in mid-April 2016: Codenames Pictures (here), a Quadropolis mini-expansion (here), and Dark Moon: Shadow Corporation (here).

Sean Jacquemain of The Daily Worker Placement has covered a handful of his favorite prototypes from the Gathering, including a 7 Wonders: Duel expansion that "deals with ancient Gods and how you can win their favour", Bézier Games' Colony (which I previewed in March 2016), Pretzel Games' Junk Art (which will debut at Gen Con 2016 after a sneak peek at Origins), Adrenaline (a first-person shooter from Czech Games Edition that was included in my 2015 Gathering round-up, and Bruno Cathala's Yamataï.

This last game — Yamataï, which possibly isn't the final title — is tentatively a 2017 release from Days of Wonder, something Cathala relayed to me when I had the chance to play the prototype at Gen Con 2015. (Yes, Cathala and Days of Wonder both spend a lot of time honing and testing and retesting!) Here's a short description from Jacquemain:

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Yamataï has players exploring an archipelago, picking up resources, and constructing buildings and temples.

Actions are determined by selecting tiles that come with a supply of boats and a special ability and they determine your turn order for the next round. The stronger the tile you select, the later you'll go in turn order. As you sail throughout the islands, you must decide between picking up resources or constructing buildings. Resources can help you in a number of different ways, but as you take them you free up space for other players to lay claim to the land.

You also have the ability to hire characters with unique powers associated with them. Some are only worth points, but others will give you an advantage during play.

This write-up of Yamataï on a French gamer's blog includes more pics of the prototype, with the pics showing the beginning and ending of a game. The cards at the bottom of the game board are for selecting turn order and determining your action for the round, the cards are top are the characters you can hire, and the cards at right are the buildings that can be constructed to any player.

This design already felt pretty polished at Gen Con 2015 — although the wheels did come off at one point as we couldn't seem to end the game — so I'm curious to see what's changed in the months since then.

• Designer Ignacy Trzewiczek of Portal Games has confirmed that a rethemed edition of Prêt-à-Porter is due out in 2017.

• Along the same lines, Thomas Ewert — co-designer of Container along with Franz-Benno Delonge — has posted an update on the status of the game: "The contract for Container has been expired for several years already, and all rights have reverted back to their respective designers/heirs. We are discussing the possibility of a reprint of the game with a new publisher and will keep you all informed if there is any news."

• On April 7, 2016, I mentioned a couple of items that Stronghold Games had teased when announcing its demo program: Kraftwagen: V6 Edition and The Fog of War. Now Stronghold has teased a few more items: an upgrade kit for the first edition of Stronghold by Ignacy Trzewiczek (him again!), as well as an Undead expansion for the second edition of Stronghold, which Portal Games and Stronghold jointly released at Spiel 2015 and in 2016. New editions for all!
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Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Shooting Zombies on Route 666, and Bringing Kaleidos to the U.S.

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• I first wrote about Martin Wallace's Route 666 in April 2015, and now here we are again one year later with the game getting an official release date from publisher Space Cowboys of Q3 2016, with the game also being available at Gen Con 2016 in August. Here's a more detailed overview of the game compared to what we knew before:

Quote:
In the fast-paced and morbidly kitschy game Route 666, you and your fellow players embark on a road trip going south from Chicago along America's famous Route 66 — now infested by zombies. As you travel though a deck of adventure cards rife with dangers, you battle zombie hordes, drive abandoned school buses, scavenge for gas and bullets, and explore a darkened, tainted American countryside full of shambling undead, haunted carnivals, and plumes of toxic gas. Your goal is to stay alive until you reach the safe, sandy beaches of the California coast.

Three different stages of adventure cards create an experience of increasing difficulty and ensure that each playthrough is unique. Each round begins with an auction that determines both player order and which cards you will encounter. Since the resources used for bidding are the same as those used to battle the oncoming zombie hordes, your survival depends as much on your resource management as it does upon winning those bidding wars. The player who either accumulates the most points or survives the longest wins.

Zombies of all types await, with cannibals, anti-personnel mines and radioactive wastes also being among the hazards awaiting the players. Who will survive the zombie onslaught?

A press release announcing the game included this quote about the design from Wallace: "My objective was to create an adventure style game with connectivity between actions and encounters, where there are unforeseen consequences to what might seem to be rather mundane events. I am becoming increasingly drawn to designing games that have a stronger 'narrative'. I think it is an interesting challenge to create ways to tell a story within a game but in a way that the game can be played repeatedly. I also have to congratulate Space Cowboys on amazing development work. They have created a game that looks as if it is part of the world that the story is set in."

It might be hard to tell from the thumbnail image at top, but Route 666's box is made to look like a repurposed family game from decades past. Space Cowboys' distributor, Asmodee, doesn't show the back cover in its press material, but the mock-up I saw at Spielwarenmesse really sold this look. If only they can distress each game prior to shipping it. (The comics anthology Raw did this back in 1985, and I still recall the impact this had on my comics-bagging self.)


• Etienne Espreman's Bruxelles 1893 will return to print again in the U.S. in Q3 2016, according to Asmodee, which distributes titles from Pearl Games in North America.

• Designer Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games has announced plans for Bad Medicine: Second Opinion, an expansion for Bad Medicine that will add 100-150 new cards and "a new mechanism that can add 'surprise' cards to your pitch".

• German publisher AMIGO Spiel has announced that the recently published Wizard: Jubiläumsedition is being pulled from the market as the card backs show "strong signs of wear on the card backs after a short time". If you have such a copy, write to hotline@amigo-spiele.de for a replacement.

Cool Mini Or Not has signed a deal with Spartaco Albertarelli of KaleidosGames to release his party game Kaleidos in the U.S. in Q3 2016, more than twenty years after the game debuted in Germany and was recommended by the Spiel des Jahres jury.

How do you play Kaleidos? Either individually or in teams, players all look at the same image and has sixty seconds to write down as many things they see in the imagine as possible that begin with a randomly chosen letter. Once time is up, players reveal their answers, scoring 1 point if someone else named the same thing and 3 points for an answer uniquely their own. After playing on and scoring a predetermined number of images, whichever player or team has the highest score wins.

Image from one of the Kaleidos expansions
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Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:00 pm
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Links: Nominees for the 2016 Origins Awards, Mensa Select for 2016, and Ernest and Peterson's Game Golem

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• On April 15, 2016, the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design announced the nominees for the 2016 Origins Awards, the winners of which will be revealed at the 2016 Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio in June. Attendees at that convention can vote on the nominees as well to determine a fan favorite in each category. The nominees are:

—Board Games: Champions of Midgard, La Granja, New York 1901, Orléans, and Star Wars: Imperial Assault
—Card Games: 7 Wonders: Duel, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, The Grizzled, Medieval Academy, and Welcome to the Dungeon
—Collectible Games: DC Comics Dice Masters: War of Light, Force of Will, and Yugi's Legendary Decks (in case you're as baffled about that as I am, it's three TCG-exclusive sets released to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Yu-Gi-Oh!)
—Family Games: Codenames, Co-Mix, Dohdles!, Fuse, and Me Want Cookies!
—Miniatures Games: Frostgrave, Guild Ball, Star Wars: Armada, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, and Wrath of Kings

• The Mensa Select winners of 2016 have been determined by the attendees of the annual Mensa Mind Games event, which was held April 15-17, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The winners are:

Circular Reasoning
Favor of the Pharaoh
The Last Spike
New York 1901
World's Fair 1893

Image: American Mensa

• The U.S. branch of IELLO has announced a new release policy in which preorders of their games by brick-and-mortar stores will be shipped to those stores two weeks before online retailers and mass market stores receive their copies. This policy starts with its release of Sea of Clouds, Candy Chaser, and Kenjin, although due to shipping delays those titles will have an April 21, 2016 street date at B&M stores, only one week prior to their release at other locations.

• Television station KARE in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota shared the "board games are booming" trend with a story of a British family that traveled to the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville, Minnesota instead of Walt Disney World. (The TV host goofed, though, as the games are designed, not manufactured, in that part of the world. Anyone who shows up at the Games Center expected to see X-Wings rolling off the production line like Krispy Kreme donuts will be extremely disappointed.)

• Designers James Ernest and Paul Peterson showed up on Twitch channel Hyper RPG!'s show "Grab Bag" to take parts from Tsuro, Loot, and Mage Knight Board Game, then design a new game with them. What did they come up with? A co-op game called Mr. Dragon Bro!

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Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:22 pm
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New Game Round-up: Works in Progress — Zombies Around the Dark Moon in 80 Days

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Twilight Creations has announced that it plans to release a Zombies!!! Ultimate Collector Set in 2016, with this item being a giant carrying case that can hold all fifteen Zombies!!! sets released (to date).

The case — shown below as a work in progress — will be available on its own or jam-packed with all fifteen Zombies!!! titles. The publisher notes in its announcement, "We originally wanted to do this as a Kickstarter, but to save you all (the customer) money we will be offering this through retailers as well as [via] direct sales. Hopefully this will be available by Halloween — if all goes well."

In a separate announcement, Twilight Creations revealed that Midnight Syndicate will produce a "dark instrumental album, which will feature new and previously recorded material blended with movie-style sound design" to serve as a soundtrack to accompany the playing of Zombies!!!. From the press release:

Quote:
"We've been talking about doing this project for a long time," said Edward Douglas. "With Zombies!!! celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2016, now seemed like the perfect time. We're working closely with the Twilight team to create something that really enhances their players' gaming experience."

"Musically, it will be interesting to work in a modern setting," added Gavin Goszka. "Most of our albums have been set in the Victorian and early 20th century, so this will definitely be something different and exciting for us and our fans."

Twilight Creations anticipates releasing this soundtrack in September 2016, and it will be included in both the empty and game-filled versions of the Zombies!!! Ultimate Collector Set. An Ultimate Upgrade Kit is also in the works for Zombies!!!, with details of this item to be announced at a later date.




• Continuing the theme this post of "works in progress", in this blurry pic from The Gathering of Friends, Stronghold Games owner Stephen Buonocore "revealed" the Dark Moon expansion Shadow Corporation. Whether this is something under development, under contract, or under consideration for possible publication in the future is, like the picture, unclear.



• In early 2014, I wrote that French publisher Purple Brain Creations was publishing a new version of Gary Kim's Royal Turtle as The Hare and the Tortoise as part of its "Tales & Games" series.

Now the name of that familiar fable is coming up once again as PBC plans to launch a new series of "storybook games" — one aimed at an older audience than "Tales & Games" — in 2016 with a new version of David Parlett's Hare & Tortoise, with this design being revamped to have players live the story of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. As noted on Tric Trac, Tom Vuarchex is handling the graphic design of this game (and the subsequent series), and he's taking inspiration from the look of Pierre-Jules Hetzel editions of the Verne novels released in the mid-1800s. The design is still a work in progress, but I practically fell out of my chair when I saw the pics below that PBC's Benoît Forget posted on Facebook. So gorgeous!


Then Forget followed up by posting this teaser of what might come in the future, stressing that David Parlett is not the author of every game in this series — simply a placeholder for this work in progress by Vuarchex:

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Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Revisiting Vanuatu, Joining La Cosa Nostra, and Obtaining Happiness from Tramways

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• In March 2016, I noted that Quined Games planned to release a second edition of Alain Epron's Vanuatu at Spiel 2016 as part of its Master Print Series, with this edition including both the Rising Waters and Governor expansions.

Ahead of a Kickstarter project for this new edition that will launch in late April 2016, Quined has issued the following press release about Epron's failed attempts to deliver a new printing of the game in 2012:

Quote:
A few years ago, we decided to publish Vanuatu. We fell in love with the game and decided to breathe new life into this forgotten gem. We decided to give the game a whole new makeover and we decided also to include the expansion The Rising Waters. We were aware at the time that there had been problems with the initial crowdfunding campaign, and although we had nothing to do with this campaign, we have now decided – together with designer Alain Epron – to give the unfortunate backers who never caught their copy a generous compensation.

Every backer of the original campaign that did NOT receive their game (or the expansion) will receive their copy (or copies) for FREE. Yes, because we are nice that way. How will this work? Well, we kindly ask each one of the backers to send an e-mail to kickstarter@quined.nl with your full name, address, phone number, and a copy of the original e-mail you received during the original Ulule/Indiegogo campaign, clearly detailing the precise quantities of the copies that you ordered originally. The mail address mentioned in that original e-mail should be the one you send the e-mail from as proof. One word of warning though: Since this is a gift to you previous backers, one thing we do ask of you though is to cover the shipping costs. We hope you understand this. We will also arrange for a pick-up option at the following fairs: Spiel 2016 (DE), Spellenspektakel 2016 (NL), and Spel 2016 (BE). So shoot us an e-mail before 31-08-2016 and we will be in touch.

• Quined Games plans to follow up that KS with a separate crowdfunding campaign in June 2016 for an English-language edition of Johannes Sich's La Cosa Nostra, which he had self-published in 2014 through Hard Boiled Games. This release will be title #17 in Quined's Master Print Series. Here's an overview of this design:

Quote:
In La Cosa Nostra, you take on the role of a mafia boss. In the beginning, you control a crew of gangsters and a couple of businesses. During the game, you will hire new gangsters to do the dirty work and collect your money. Investments lead to new lines of business or monopoly positions: take control of the drug dealing, moneylending or prostitution. Bribe politicians and cops, invest your money in night clubs, casinos or the waste management industry. To get the big deals, you need to cooperate with the other families — but never rely on those "friendships". The others will take the first opportunity to stab you in the back, so you better do it first...

Each player controls gangster cards that serve to either gain money or attack other players. Actions are planned secretly, placed face down, then played in turn. Often you need certain business cards to succeed. If you don't own them yourself, you can negotiate deals with the other players. The players bargain, spy, threaten, and deceive each other.

Each of the four rounds brings new action cards into the game, and the number of gangsters increases. Thus, the possibilities for actions become more diverse, the jobs more profitable, and the attacks more powerful. Co-operation gets more attractive and treason alluring because at the end of the day money is the only thing that counts.

• To continue the trend this post of covering games prior to their appearance on Kickstarter, here's an overview of Alban Viard's Tramways, which will appear from his own AVStudioGames in October 2016 in time for Spiel. Yes, this whole thing is also secretly a Spiel 2016 preview post. It's already getting to be that time!

Tramways, which will appear in Kickstarter in May 2016, is being incorporated into the world that Viard has been building one game at a time over the past few years:

Quote:
The 1920s: Small City was founded just a few years ago and is still a fledgling town at this stage. Nonetheless, the Town Center is prosperous, and the managers of the weird CliniC have been duly incarcerated for years by this point. Now it is time to reach a new step: Building a new map transit.

In Tramways, you take the role of one of the managers of the local CliniC who were fired last month when it was discovered that you had acquired wealth on the backs of patients and their poor health. You are now at the head of a team of engineers, ready to build the best and most effective network possible for Small City. Your aim is to find the best places between buildings and citizens so that they can use your networks (and not those of your opponents, who are always ready to buy the most interesting development areas). Be assured that a happy citizen who is able to move where and when he wants will thank the best transport companies. There is nothing that satisfies a chief manager more than seeing citizens happy...

The game is divided into six rounds, each of which is divided into two halves:

• During the first half of a round, players compete to acquire the best development cards to create their most efficient deck. An original auction phase also determines turn order — and being the first player increases your stress level.

• During the second half, they play a train game, using their deck to try to build a great network between the different buildings of Small City. They try to move passengers without stressing them during the transit, in the end obtaining happiness points, which is the aim of the game.

The more that players use the symbols on their cards, the more actions they can do, but they also increase their stress level at the same time, which leads to negative victory points...

Prototype components
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Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Dark Souls on Your Table, and Diamonds in Your Treasure Chest

W. Eric Martin
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• Apparently I need to start paying attention to video games as more and more of them are making their way from the consoles to the dining room table, as with the news that Steamforged Games will release a Dark Souls board game, with the project hitting Kickstarter on April 19, 2016. Here's a game overview from the publisher:

Quote:
The Dark Souls board game is a brutally hard exploration miniatures game for 1-4 players. Prepare to die.

The game features a "fast set-up, long reveal" mechanism that gets you into the game quickly and builds the location as you explore. The sense of danger is palpable as you discover new locations and the monsters that inhabit these dark places. The core combat mechanism and enemy behavior system forces deep strategic play and clever management of stamina to survive.

Dark Souls includes numerous boss and mini-boss encounters — including one against the Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough — and utilizes an innovative behavior mechanism so that no two encounters are ever the same, thus giving the game near infinite replayability.

In announcing the project, Steamforged stressed that it has "worked closely with the team at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment" and that "with the entirety of the Dark Souls universe available to us" the core game will include enemies and bosses from both older games and Dark Souls III.

Core game? Miniatures? Kickstarter? Popular video game series? And, lo, did the cash rain down upon them, burying them up to their happy necks with gilded treasure...

Teaser image of possible miniatures

North Star Games has signed a deal with Funforge for a French version of the Evolution base game, with this version due out before the end of 2016 in all French-speaking countries.

• Uli Blennemann from Spielworxx notes that an upgrade kit for Stefan Risthaus's Arkwright, presumably to match the changes in Capstone's second edition of the game, has been printed and should be available before the end of April 2016.

• Blennemann also states that ADC Blackfire is producing a small extension for Martin Schlegel's just released West of Africa that will be available "shortly".

• Jinkies! Designer Bruno Faidutti has shared the cover of the new edition of Diamant, co-designed with Alan R. Moon, that IELLO will release in Europe in July 2016. As noted in a write-up on Tric Trac, this version includes both the pawns and game board of the original Diamant as well as the artifact cards and the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go cards of Incan Gold. (Yes, we should probably merge the game listings of these two titles, but I don't know whether we will.)

For those who haven't played, Diamant is a great press-your-luck game that handles up to eight players, with everyone exploring a cave together to pocket whatever gems they can. However, everyone must split the haul evenly, so as you progress in each cave, you hope that other explorers will be unnerved by the danger signals around you and leave the cave, thereby allowing you to grab more gems for yourself. The risk, however, is that danger actually arrives, in which case you lose everything you would have gained from that cave.

I've played my copy of Diamant more than eighty times and recently sleeved the cards as they were starting to stick after so much use. It will be good to have a decent replacement for it!

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Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:30 pm
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