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News from Italy: Beer & Vikings, Winter Tales, Wild Oltrenatura, Micro Monsters and Sheepland

Andrea Ligabue
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While most of my writing on BGG News has been game previews, this post is my first periodical round-up of what's happening in Italy. In such posts, I'll mostly focus on things that could be interesting for all BGG users (i.e., previews, interviews, new releases), but sometimes I'll include news about the Italian localization of games or gaming events in Italy.

Ares Games: Micro Monsters

The first family game from Ares Games arrives in stores starting April 30th: Micro Monsters from Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi, a funny dexterity game that's a revised edition of the old great X-Bugs! Here's a game summary:

Four armies of alien micro-monstrosities clash in a challenge to the last jump, fighting to close their rival monsters’ dimensional gates in an exciting contest of strategy and dexterity.

Micro Monsters presents four armies of horribly cute little aliens, each of them with special powers: the green, reptile-like wheeled Autogators; the bossy, brass-bolted Bigbears; the fuzzy, free-floating Finbacks; and toxic, tremor-triggering Turboturtles. A match between two players can be played under fifteen minutes, while three or four players’ games last no more than half an hour on average.

Albe Pavo: from Sake & Samurai to Beer & Vikings

After the success of Sake & Samurai and an expansion released during PLAY: The Games Festival, Albe Pavo's next release will be Beer & Vikings, a standalone game that will also be fully compatible with Sake & Samurai. Here's extra info about the new release that I was able to get from Matteo Santus, the game's designer.

1. As in real life, the effect of beer will differ from the effect of sake.
2. Vikings, as you might expect, will not be able to use iado but will become berserker with different effects.
3. The game will include funny Valhalla cards, a new add-on that could also be integrated with S&S. The cards will include Unloved Valkyrie, The Ticket for Valhalla, Fenrir's Fur, and the Drakkar in flames, something that shouldn't be missed from any Vikings' story.
4. The game will include new weapons, such as a battle axe that can also be thrown.
5. Moving will include the rules for charging, something Vikings are used to.
6. All the cards will differ from those in Sake & Samurai, both in theme and in effects.
7. Vikings will have new abilities.

All in all, this might be enough to consider Beer & Vikings a new game.

Albe Pavo: Winter Tales

I have an early version of the rules for Winter Tales in hand: 37 pages for the Italian version. The game genre is along the lines of Fabula, mixing boardgame elements with storytelling elements. The first six pages describe the setting and the character backgrounds, helping to set the right mood.

The players will be divided in factions: Spring (Fairy Tales), Winter (Soldiers of Autumn), and the Writer. Spring and Winter will fight along three Memories, and the Writer wins if the conflict ends with no winners or losers. Each player will control 2-4 of the 14 characters depending on the number of players. Each character – including Alice, Pinocchio, and Snow White (in a new dress you're not used to seeing) – has a deep background and special abilities. The game board displays the village with its plazas and streets, and locations have different effects on the game.

Missions are displayed on the game board, with players trying to use "narration cards" to resolve these missions. The rules about how cards are used, how missions are resolved, and how resolved missions are used to create Memories that influence the continuation of the game look really fine and seem to mix well both storytelling and "regular" gaming.

When the game is close to being finished, I'll be back with a full preview.

Cranio Creations: Sheepland

Cranio Creation has announced its July 2012 release: Sheepland by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini for 2-4 players.

After going through the rules, I think Sheepland looks like a nice easy-to-learn game. During your turn, you can do three actions choosing between moving the shepherd, moving a sheep, or buying a terrain tile. Moving the shepherd to an adjacent space is free, while moving elsewhere costs money. You also have to place a fence in the space you move from, and since you can't enter a terrain already occupied by a fence, you have to think carefully about when and where to move.

You can move a sheep from a space adjacent to your shepherd to another space adjacent to him.

You can buy a terrain tile of one of the terrain type adjacent to you.

In the end, you'll score points according to the terrain tiles you have and the number of sheep occupying this kind of terrain. A black sheep worth two points moves randomly during the game.

The game looks intriguing. If I'm able to grab a preview copy, I'll be back with a more detailed preview.

Ghenos Games: Wild

Ghenos Games has just published Wild Oltrenatura, a game based on the television series of the same name, and like that series, game play is based on extreme environments like Kenya's savanna, Namibia's desert, Colombia's jungle, and Alaska's forests and ice.

The object of the game is to meet as many animals as possible and, of course, to survive in the different extreme environments. Wild Oltrenatura, which includes rules in both Italian and English, looks like a family game, with the game being recommended for 2-4 players, ages 8 and up.

During your turn, you have to decide whether to move 1-3 spaces (consuming water and energy) to receive an animal card or special natural resource benefits, feed (discard an animal card to get energy back), or rest (to recover one energy, water or health). Players can challenge opponents to take over their animal cards, and the game ends as soon as one player has explored all four environments.

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