W. Eric MartinUnited States
• Touko Tahkokallio's Eclipse will be released by Finnish publisher Lautapelit.fi by Spiel 2011 in October. Tahkokallio and developer/artist Sampo Sikiö have been posting designer notes about this 4X civilization-building game on the BGG page: #1 provides a game overview and #2 examines two of the species in the game. Tahkokallio wrote a designer diary for BGG News for his Principato in February 2011 and plans to write one for Eclipse.
• Designer and self-publisher D. Brad Talton Jr. has launched a Kickstarter project to fund the production of BattleCON, a game "envisioned as an adaptation of 2D console fighting games". The Kickstarter page includes an overview of the game from the designer, highlighting how a character card combines with a tactics card to create a single attack – think of a fighting version of Hey Waiter!, for those who have played that game. To test BattleCON, you can visit the Level 99 Games website to download four of the twelve characters included in the game.
• Pete Miller at Savage Tales has previewed John Clowdus' Omen: A Reign of War, which is now available for preorder from Clowdus' Small Box Games. (Rules PDF) I'm perturbed by the reclining oracle being labeled "nature's keyhole", but maybe I'm reading too much into the name...
• Asmadi Games plans to release a few new games in 2011 along the lines of how it released Innovation in 2010, that is, publishing a short run of the game and selling it directly. Asmadi's Chris Cieslik says, "The first game of this line that we're ready to announce is Fealty, by R. Eric Reuss. Fealty is a quick strategy game for 2-4 players, designed in response to the question 'How many interesting decisions could you pack into a 10-minute game?'"
• Mayfair Games has announced that its partnership with Calliope Games, which brought about the creation of its FunFair line of games for a family audience, has been dissolved. From the press release: "Our arrangement with Calliope Games was not feasible, as our philosophies of business, operations and our goals were simply too divergent... Mayfair Games will not be publishing Tsuro, Got’Em, Double Double Dominos, Ugh!,or any of the titles from the Calliope group. Mayfair Games expects to publish White Water, Rocket Jockey, and Badger! Badger! this year. The 2012 schedules are being planned."
FunFair will continue to exist, but will now be run entirely by Mayfair. As noted in the press release from Mayfair's Bob Carty, "Mayfair Games is committed to building a brand within Mayfair for those games which will help broaden the market. We will continue to develop games for Funfair [sic] which will accomplish the mission."
As for Calliope, that company will continue to be run by Ray Wehrs, who confirms that the titles no longer forthcoming from FunFair will be released by Calliope. Ugh! is due out July/August 2011, Double Double Dominoes has a September 2011 release date, and dates for Tsuro and Got'Em will be announced later.
Funforge will release a new edition of James Ernest's The Big Idea in Q3 2011. For this edition, Ernest and Funforge's Philippe Nouhra have stripped out everything related to investing and earning money to transform the design into a true party game. Players still have a hand of adjective and noun cards and pair one of each together to create a fancy invention. They then take turns pitching their ideas to everyone in the game, lobbying players as if they were in front of a crowd of venture capitalists. Players then secretly vote on which idea they feel should be rewarded, placing a reward card face down in front of the chosen invention and blank cards in front of all other inventions. The player who collects the most rewards wins the round.
Unlike the Cheapass titles of yore, Funforge's The Big Idea will include high-quality, full-color illustrated cards packaged in a nice box. Since the game has a heavy language component compared with previous Funforge releases, the publisher is issuing separate French and English editions, with the French version due out late Q2/early Q3 2011 and the English edition coming later.
• NG International has updated the release status of its upcoming titles: Magestorm will be in North American stores the week of March 21, 2011 and hitting European distributors at roughly the same time. As for the release of Letters from Whitechapel in Europe, the game's arrival "is now foreseen for March 10th, finally landing in Italy after the delay caused by the container ship deviation to bring Chinese citizens out of Lybia. Sequestered by the Chinese government, the ship had its course changed to Bengasi, and then went to Port Said, in Egypt. Now it is back to the original route. At this point, the game is expected to become available by the end of March."
• LEGO's Heroica series of role-playing-ish games, which can be played individually or combined, will be released in North America in August 2011. LEGO also has other new games in the pipeline, games along the line of those previously released. Those titles – Banana Balance, Frog Rush, Ninjago, Ramses Return and Sunblock have a March 2011 release date in Europe; no word on a North American release date at this time.
• On his blog, Antoine Bauza previews artwork from 7 Wonders: Leaders.
• Steve Jackson's Munchkin Zombies will debut at PAX East, which takes place March 11-13, 2011.