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Cast Spells, Make Crop Circles, Save Species, and Face Tough Calls with Fractal Juegos

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Sanssouci
Board Game: Crop Circles
Chilean publisher Fractal Juegos releases a large number of licensed games — Bohnanza, IKI, Marrakech, The Mind, Draftosaurus — but it also releases new editions of older games, such as Michael Kiesling's garden-building game Sanssouci, which debuted from Ravensburger in 2013 and which Fractal Juegos re-released in 2022.

• As for Fractal Juegos' original releases, it has a roll-and-write game, of course, as every publisher and designer seems to have these days. In Crop Circles from Sebastián Martínez, players attempt to create attractive circles by rolling two six-sided dice each turn and placing the results in eight interlocking circles — the seven overlapping circles and an eighth formed by the central location of each of those seven circles.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Board Game: Alakablast
Diego Burgos' Alakablast presents another familiar gaming situation, with 2-5 players trying to pass their magic school exam by battling one another with a variety of spells — the problem being that you don't know exactly which spells you hold because some cards in your hand face away from you.

On a turn, you can ask opponents for clues as to which cards you hold or you can duel someone either with power (i.e., the numbers on the cards) or with elements (with water beating fire, which beats plants, which beats water, although everything beats the 7-power shadow while losing to the 0-power light).

Board Game: Tori-Tori: Endangered Species
Laura Mena's Tori-Tori: Endangered Species is a 2021 co-operative design co-published with Ludoismo in which players attempt to save endangered species on an island. Each turn, dice determine which events take place, such as predators, pollution, or precipitation, then players take actions, developing specialities over the course of play to perform better. If any species goes extinct before the players transform the island and make the industry on it more environmentally friendly, they lose.

Board Game: Inferno
• Fractal Juegos has a title from Reiner Knizia, of course, as his goal is to have a title in every publisher's catalog everywhere. that game is Monster Chef, with this being a new edition of the 2005 card game Inferno.

Each round, players start with twelve cards in hand, with cards coming in five colors each numbered 1-5. A "condition card" is revealed at the start of play, and on a turn you either discard a card of the same number or color as the condition card or else claim all discarded cards and the condition card, then play a new condition card from your hand. (If you take fewer than three discarded cards, take random cards from the deck until you have three.) When a player's hand is emptied, finish the round, then score points: face value for red cards and 1 point for everything else. Whoever has the fewest points after as many rounds as the number of players wins.

Board Game: Tough Calls: Dystopia – Emergencias y Desafíos
Tough Calls: Dystopia, a 2020 design from Diego Burgos and Margarita Pino, looks unlike other Fractal Juegos titles, and that's because players are confronted by a variety of post-apocalyptic scenarios such as planet-wide drought, an alien invasion, or mysterious beasts from the oceanic depths. Here's a short description:
Quote:
Each participant must build a character and try to convince everyone else on how to best manage and survive the adversities of each playthrough. The game's main mechanism is similar to a debate in which each player must confront different complications and events that may happen during a round, trying to find clever ways of surviving in order to prove to your fellow survivors that you are the best choice to lead the colony of survivors.
The game was supplemented in 2022 with the Emergencias y Desafíos ("Emergencies and Challenges") expansion that adds new scenarios, events, emergencies, and factions.

Board Game: Tough Calls: Dystopia
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Sun May 15, 2022 1:00 pm
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Links: Czech Designers, Thor's Hammer, and Our Family Plays Games on Social Media

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
• Mik and Starla Fitch of Our Family Plays Games were featured in the documentary film The First Twenty: Social from Dehanza Rogers, a film on activism and Black cultural identity that debuted on May 10, 2022 and that explores "the role of social media as a source of joy, pain, and transformation".

The title "The First Twenty" refers to the first twenty years of the 21st century, and this film series is hosted by ALL ARTS. You can watch a 30-second preview of the show or a minute-long excerpt of Mik and Starla's interview or of course the entire film via the ALL ARTS app.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Screenshot from the preview

• On April 28, 2022, the Fort Leavenworth Lamp, a publication of the U.S. Army installation at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, published an article titled "Board-based wargame used for CGSC elective". Here's an excerpt from that article:
Quote:
Sustainment students from the Command and General Staff College used a board-based wargame to practice principles of sustainment in their elective class April 22 at the Lewis and Clark Center.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Image: Dan Neal/Army University Public Affairs

The game, Thor's Hammer, (not related to the commercial e-game of the same name), set in Norway and Sweden, was designed by game-design students at Georgetown University in cooperation with the Department of Sustainment and Force Management at CGSC. CGSC's Department of Simulation Education assisted in the design and development of the game...

During the after-action review, students pointed out some game issues such as the game favoring defense over offense and allowing for regeneration of units that could not be regenerated in the field. They were also able to see how the game reinforced the principles of sustainment, principally anticipation, survivability and integration, and how during the game they changed the priority of supply or priority of support to adjust for game events.
From gallery of W Eric Martin
• In a column on ICv2, Paul Alexander Butler, owner of Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, Maryland, wrote about the rising price of miniatures and how not all price increases are the same. An excerpt:
Quote:
My store Games and Stuff is fairly miniatures-heavy; minis and related paints and accessories account for over 25% of my overall sales. We carry a lot of miniatures lines and probably too many paint lines. However, those customers that are the traditional wargamer/hobbyist types (i.e. competitive players and serious modelers and painters) probably spend on average more money than any other category of customer. It's highly unlikely a new gamer is going to come into your store and want to dip their toes into something like The Horus Heresy. That's a hobby product for a hobby customer. In some respects, that end of the minis market has a fair amount of tolerance with regards to price increases. Games Workshop has been raising prices near yearly for ages, and I only see more units moved each year.

What's more complicated is the matter of WizKids. I don't even think of my average D&D Nolzur's or Pathfinder Deep Cuts customer as a "miniatures" customer, but as an "RPG" customer. And as such, they're looking for different things from a miniature product. Usually, it's price, convenience, and a certain grab-and-go functionality.

So far, those latter two points are winning against rising prices, but they won't forever.
Czech Games Edition hired Eleni Papadopoulou from Cardboard Rhino as an in-house content creator, and during a CGE retreat she interviewed Vlaada Chvátil, Tomáš Uhlíř, Adam Španěl, Ondra Skoupý, and Elwen & Mín to get them to answer frequently asked questions, starting with how to pronounce their names:

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Sat May 14, 2022 1:00 pm
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Stellarion Joins the Oniverse — Which Has a New Home at inPatience

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Stellarion
Designer Shadi Torbey has announced a new entry in his Oniverse series of games: Stellarion, with this 1-2 player game being due out in Q3/Q4 2022.

Here's a succinct overview of this design, which will include rules in English and French:
Quote:
You are the director of the Observatory. With your telescopes aimed at the stars, planets, and nebulas of the Oniverse, you are ready to launch daring spaceships into the skies.

Stellarion, the sixth entry in the Oniverse series, is a deck-management game. All the cards you need are split into eight decks, and you know the contents of each one. You'll need to manage all these resources to ensure that you have the right cards available at the right time.
You might notice a new publisher label on the box — inPatience — and this company is Torbey's own. In response to my outreach, he passed along the following statement:
Quote:
After ten years of fruitful collaboration, the Oniverse series will no longer be published by Z-Man Games.

I've known Z-Man in practically all its "avatars": first as what was almost a one-man operation run by Zev Shlasinger, then later as what I would call a family business after it was bought by Sophie Gravel and merged with Filosofia, and finally, following Asmodee's acquisition of F2Z, as a branch of a huge multinational company.

I have enjoyed working with this publisher in each of these iterations and was rather proud to see my games released under its label — even if I must admit that, in its latest avatar, I felt like an independent director shooting personal movies within a big Hollywood studio specializing in blockbusters.

I was thus only half-surprised when Steven Kimball, at that time head of Z-Man, told me in 2019 that, in spite of the good sales and reviews of Aerion, the company would not pursue the Oniverse saga.

It was at this point that an old idea (as old as Onirim, actually) resurfaced: I would create my own publishing house. In 2009, I had presented Onirim to Zev to see whether he would be interested in licensing the game for the U.S., thinking to publish it myself for the French-speaking market. His counter-offer was an exclusive global contract. It was too tempting an offer to pass on — and I have never regretted accepting it since.

Ten years later, even with Steve Kimball offering to transfer the series to another established publisher, the time had come to make my project a reality.

Board Game Publisher: inPatience

This is how inPatience was born. inPatience will debut by publishing the next chapter of the Oniverse, Stellarion, and by making all previously published games in the series available again. We will pursue the Oniverse until its completion (nine chapters are planned in total), releasing one game a year.

But inPatience will be home not only to the Oniverse (nor only to games I create). We have already signed two games by immensely talented designers, and are very excited — I dare not write impatient... — to release them in the coming years. The first is planned for 2023.

Board Game: Onirim (Second Edition)
Board Game: Sylvion
Board Game: Castellion

Our motto: Each of our games will be playable solo. They won't all be solitaires — actually, for the time being, none of our planned games is exclusively solo — but each will have one-player rules that are more than an afterthought or a pasted-on addition.

We are looking forward to seeing our games on the shelves of your FLGS, to being devastated by some negative comments, delighted to read positive reviews, to presenting "our" games to you.

In short, we are looking forward to being a publishing company.
Torbey has clarified that all of the inPatience editions of the existing Oniverse titles — Onirim, Sylvion, Castellion, Nautilion, and Aerion — should be available at the same time that Stellarion debuts. Each of these titles other than Stellarion will have a separate English and French edition, and Asmodee NA and Asmodee UK will distribute inPatience titles in English, while IELLO will distribute the titles to French-speaking territories. Adds Torbey, "Devir will have a Spanish-Portuguese edition of Onirim, and Oliphante will bring Onirm and Stellarion to Italy."

Board Game: Nautilion
Board Game: Aerion

Previously released promos for Onirim and Sylvion will not be included in these new editions. Says Torbey, "We are thinking about ways to make them available easily."

Torbey and inPatience plan to have a booth at SPIEL '22, so if you're missing a title from your Oniverse collection, haven't yet tried these intriguing designs, or are also an opera fan, be sure to visit!

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Fri May 13, 2022 5:32 pm
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Designer Diary: Take a Seat

Ferran Renalias Zueras
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Board Game: Take a Seat
By designers Eloi Pujadas and Ferran Renalias

Greetings, all! Take a Seat has been published in Spain, and the game will be presented internationally at SPIEL '22. We thought it would be a good idea to post a design diary to share some background info, design decisions, art, and more.

Initial Idea

In September 2019, we started our first design as a team. We had a clear premise: Create a roll-and-write game themed on scheduling the calendar of Santa Claus, who has a busy December managing reindeer, manufacturing presents, and visiting all the continents of the globe.

From gallery of Ferran Renalias
Santa Claus calendar

Some months after the first sketch, we changed the theme in order to make a non-seasonal game. Players are now scheduling the calendar of a Shakespeare company trying to represent different characters, build the scenery, rehearse with actors, and manage the theater seats.

From gallery of Ferran Renalias

From gallery of Ferran Renalias

At this point, we realized that when we playtested the game, we really enjoyed the part about theater management, finding the rest of the game uninteresting.

Main Design Premises

We decided to start a new game using only the part that was really fun for us: managing a theater. We focused on two main points:

1. We wanted to create a roll-and-write game with its own identity. Could it be possible to suppress all the randomness coming from dice or cards?

Some inspiration came from Between Two Cities, in which you share cities with your neighbors. Perhaps we could share and strive for our target audience. We created the concept of "share-and-write", in which randomness is created through player interaction instead of by rolling a die or flipping a card.

2. We love polyominoes, and we wanted to introduce something that could not be implemented in a normal cardboard game. Writing on the board should have something special — Wait! Decreasing polyominoes, with you scratching them during the game and changing their shape.

From gallery of Ferran Renalias

We worked hard during the first quarter of 2020 in order to test it at Protos y Tipos, a prototype convention organized by Ludo, the Spanish designers association. We obtained lots of ideas and feedback to focus on the final development of the game.


Publishing with Salt & Pepper

In October 2021, Gonzalo from Salt & Pepper Games contacted us for the first time in order to see the game, and later we signed the game at SPIEL '21. That was fast!


With a clear idea of the game concept, Meeple Foundry put a vintage flavor in all the design, making bright the lights of the whole game.

From gallery of Ferran Renalias
Box cover

From gallery of Ferran Renalias
Game board

Finally! All preparations for the theater are over, and the final audience sits in their seats. Now if you'll excuse us, the show must go on!

Eloi and Ferran

Board Game: Take a Seat
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Fri May 13, 2022 1:00 pm
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Take Part in the Taíno Resistance in Borikén, and Help Migrants Travel Safely in La Frontera

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Borikén: The Taíno Resistance
Julio E. Nazario's first two published designs — Ctrl and Holi: Festival of Colors — were both somewhat abstract games about moving through space, but his work goes in a new direction in Borikén: The Taíno Resistance, which is currently part of GMT Games' P500 preorder program.

Here's an overview of this 1-4 player co-operative game:
Quote:
Borikén — that is, modern-day Puerto Rico — is now home to a people that proudly trace their heritage back to its Taíno, African, and Spanish roots. These three different cultures were brought together by some of the worst measures of the human condition — greed, slavery, and genocide — but the result is a vibrant culture, rich with history and traditions, and known for its beauty and passion.

The Taíno people are gone, but they live on through the people who are trying to connect the broken pieces of their culture almost five hundred years later. To that end, this game tells the story of Borikén through the eyes of the Taíno people, a people who existed and faced their own challenges even before the Spanish arrived on their shores (pre-1493), who rallied together to try to rid their home of the overwhelming invaders (1493-1512), and in failing to do so had to make hard sacrifices so that a few might survive (1512-1529).

In designing and developing Borikén: The Taíno Resistance, we decided that in an effort to convey a holistic picture of the Taíno people, no part of their story could be left out, so the campaign game combines three unique scenarios, each covering one of the three eras of Taíno history, focusing on the type of conflict in which the Taíno people were engaged.

These three game scenarios can be played individually as standalone games or played as a three-part campaign in which the end state of each game serves as the set up for the next. Each game scenario accommodates 2-4 players and takes between 45-90 minutes to play.
You can check out the game listing on the GMT Games website for details on the scenarios and an overview of game mechanisms. Alternatively, you can check out this interview of Nazario by Jason Perez of Shelf Stories:


Board Game: Peanut Butter Belly Time
• For a complete 180º on subject matter and graphics, we can look at another upcoming Nazario release — Peanut Butter Belly Time, a custom-made card game for South Dakota-based Nerdy Nuts, which sells small batches of specially flavored peanut butters such as coconut cream pie, blueberry lemon crisp, and dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

Here's an overview of this 2-7 player card game that's due out in Q3 2022:
Quote:
You are peanut butter makers for Nerdy Nuts! Decide what flavors you want to create from Chocolate Marshmallow to Banana Cookie and everything in between, then prepare your jars and collect the right ingredients for your special peanut butter creations. You can add mystery ingredients for extra flavor, but don't push your luck too far or your sweet treats might end up too salty instead!

In Peanut Butter Belly Time, players draft ingredient cards to create jars of peanut butter. Each card also has a scoring rule on it, but only one card will score for each jar. Players may take orders from a central display if they can fulfill them, and an order replaces a jar's normal scoring. Players can also compete for ingredient majority cards.
Board Game: La Frontera
• Let's sandwich the peanut butter with another crunchy game from the Americas: La Frontera from designers Feño Casals Caro and Cami Muñoz Villar and Chilean publisher Sobremesa.

Here's an overview of this two-player game that takes 60-90 minutes to play:
Quote:
La Frontera is a co-operative game for two players in which one player represents the migrants, a group of people who for different reasons have had to leave their country and seek to settle elsewhere. The other player takes on the role of an NGO whose mission is to facilitate the entry of migrants.

Both players must work together, taking care of their confidential information, so that the greatest number of migrants reach the Residence, avoiding bureaucratic, political, social, and economic obstacles before it's too late.
Designer Hilko Drude has a special interest in Latin American games and has been adding them to this GeekList as he adds them to the BGG database. Here are a few notes that he received from the publisher about this game:
Quote:
La Frontera was born from a need to put immigration as a topic on the table, literally and figuratively. We want to open spaces for conversation through a relaxed and pressure-free environment so that people can reflect on the various issues involved in immigration processes, both for people who migrate and for people who live in destination countries.

Board Game: La Frontera

We firmly believe that everyone has the right to move freely and to choose their residence in the territory of a State and that everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country.
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Thu May 12, 2022 1:00 pm
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Escape from New York along the John Muir Trail on the Way to a Lunar Outpost

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Lunar Outpost
Ravensburger has announced a June 2022 release date for Lunar Outpost, a 2-4 player co-operative game from Mike Mulvihill that was "inspired by the PBS science series NOVA and developed with NASA astronaut Dani Tani", according to the press release.

Here's an overview of what you'll face:
Quote:
In Lunar Outpost, players work together to mine lunar elements and build a circular base on the moon. Players can choose to build a starter base, habitat colony, research center, or manufacturing facility. Each type of base is comprised of different "modules", such as a solar monitor or a machine shop, some of which allow the players to do more as the game goes on. The game also comes with a "training mission" to get new players up to speed.

Board Game: Lunar Outpost

Throughout the game, players need to contend with events ranging from oxygen leaks to meteorite strikes. A newly created Alexa skill serves as Mission Control, keeping track of the team's progress and announcing the special events for each round; players can also play offline using a deck of event cards.
Board Game: Escape from New York
• Italian publisher Pendragon Game Studio, which released The Thing: The Boardgame in early 2022, plans to bring another John Carpenter film to your tabletop with Kevin Wilson's Escape from New York. A crowdfunding project for this game is scheduled for the end of 2022, and you can sign up for notices here.

Board Game: G.I. JOE Mission Critical
Jonathan Ying's G.I. JOE Mission Critical from Renegade Game Studios is live on Kickstarter until May 12, 2022, and this co-operative miniatures-based board game uses the Guardian System game engine from Ying's 2019 Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, which means that all the kids who used to play with Power Rangers and G.I. JOE toys in the 1990s can now relive those childhood obsessions on the tabletop today — well, not today since G.I. JOE Mission Critical isn't due out until near the end of 2022, but you know what I mean.

Trailblazer: The John Muir Trail is the first title from designer Dan R Rice III of Mariposa Games, and this design that will hit Kickstarter sometime in 2022 looks like it's learned a few lessons from PARKS and Wingspan in terms of surrounding players with natural beauty.

Board Game: Trailblazer: The John Muir Trail

As for the gameplay, this description touches on that while pouring on the setting:
Quote:
Embark on a journey of exploration and discovery along the historic John Muir Trail through the High Sierras of California. Explore the majestic mountains and lush meadows, the picturesque waterfalls and alpine lakes. Scale the heights of Yosemite's iconic Half Dome or Sequouia's Mt. Whitney! Enjoy meandering through Evolution Valley or Tuolumne Meadows, pausing to take in the beauty of Thousand Islands Lake or cooling your feet in the Kings River. Be humbled beneath a giant and ancient Sequoia, or catch (and release) a Golden Trout, listen to the song of an Ouzel, watch Marmots at play, or spot the rare Snow Plant. Happy trails!

Trailblazer: The John Muir Trail takes place over the course of twelve days/rounds of hiking and backpacking along the John Muir Trail. You will experience daily trail encounters, choose to explore destinations along the trail, acquire and manage natural and personal resources, discover and observe the sights and sounds of your environment, adapt to ever-changing weather conditions, and move along the entire trail, all while wisely using the items in your backpack to maximize your experience.

Board Game: Trailblazer: The John Muir Trail

You can earn trail points in several ways along the route, such as placing workers on your tracks, collecting sets of field guide cards, scoring instantly with destination cards, and using your backpack gear efficiently.
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Wed May 11, 2022 1:00 pm
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Designer Diary: Garden Nation

Nathalie SAUNIER
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Board Game: Garden Nation
By Nathalie and Rémi Saunier

Rémi: The story of Garden Nation begins in 2013 when watching a video about mathematics and "super noughts and crosses".

What is this? It consists of nine little grids drawn in the nine spaces of a main big grid of noughts and crosses, each of them being connected to the other places.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nathalie: We created the first prototype to show to our gamers club near home. At this point, it is an abstract game with four colors. The aim is to do alignments of x tokens with your color and realize secret objectives. Gamers like the idea, but it is too abstract and too long. We still have a lot of work to do...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rémi: The board has 81 places: 9 places composed of 9 places. We decide to reduce it to 7 by 7. The theme of the game decides itself: it will be "urban".

Each board is composed of two shops, two factories, two houses, with the seventh place being the recycling center. Each ground has a value between 1 and 5 credits.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The theme helps with the idea of layering the tokens to build buildings: these are now floors.

What else has now appeared in the game:

• Money in the form of banknotes that are used to pay for the floors built.
• The opportunity to sell already built buildings to the bank or to other players.

We have the idea of a majority at the end of each round to earn money, and there are both common objectives and personal ones to earn victory points. The first tests of this version are better and give us a feeling of good hope with the mechanisms.

We go to a festival in the north of France with that brand new prototype, but players say it is difficult to read the board and the pictures are overloaded.

Back home, I do a new lighter and easier prototype to play with.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nathalie: The next evolution comes after another festival in Toulouse. After a notably frustrating game, the idea of two actions per round for each player arrives after a debriefing.

Also during that festival, after a conversation with a publisher who doesn't like the theme, we start to think about a new one.

Rémi: I find one — hacking — but Nathalie immediately disagrees with it.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

That theme brings new ideas we find interesting. For example, it's fun to turn the different boards to gain access to the network. An AI also appears.

The game becomes half co-operative as players have to attack a system and beat the AI that protects the system, but each player also has a secret mission. Finally, we abandon that version and go back to the urban theme.

Then we try to upgrade the game with inter-zones and add special buildings and bonus victory points. Bonus actions that players can play during the game arrive at that point.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nathalie: Here comes a new festival, and new changes in the life of that prototype. We drive to Britany for the Finist'Aire de Jeux festival, one of our favorite ones. Erwan Hascoët, the boss of Bombyx comes and tries our game. He seems to appreciate it, takes it for tests with his team, and after a few months says Bombyx wants to publish it.

At Bombyx, exchanges between the team and authors are at the heart of development. You come with a project, but it's together with the Bombyx team that the game evolves — and these years of development have been rich!

Together we decide on the difficulty level. We deconstruct the game and simplify it to keep the bits that seem to be the best. A few modifications which bring us to the final version:

• The banknotes leave room for an individual board to manage the budget and the special actions.
• Roofs related to the objectives of "public markets" appear.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rémi: Mechanically we start to feel that the game is quite finished, but we are still searching for a more "sexy" theme.

Nathalie and I decide to explore an Asian one. An imperial city must be built. The grounds become military, religious, civil, and wasteland. We imagine common objectives with the new theme like temples, barracks, and post offices. Each player represents a family who wants prestige and wants to become the Emperor's advisor. I create and print 3D pagodas (one sort per family).

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nathalie: Test after test, the game evolves until the fantastic day when after a memorable common game, Erwan says: "Good job, the development is over. We'll now take charge for the next step."

Bombyx is well-known for its very rich graphic universes. We can't wait to see what they are about to do with our mechanism. With Loïg at the controls, they propose different universes to us...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rémi: And a few weeks later we meet four little people and the artwork of Maxime Morin, who had previously done Codex Naturalis for Bombyx.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

When we signed with Bombyx, we had the ambition of having a deep and strong graphic game, but the result is incredible and amazes us. We can't tell you how fantastic this human and professional story was.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nathalie: And the story has just begun because Garden Nation is to due arrive in an English version in the United States and England in the middle of 2022!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Image: "Game Trotteur" and Sylvain Trabut

Nathalie & Remi

From gallery of NathalieSaunier
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Tue May 10, 2022 1:00 pm
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Groo Returns Inkognito with a Bag of Chips, and Pokémon Infiltrates Point Salad

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Inkognito
• May 4, 2022 was the 100th anniversary of the birth of designer Alex Randolph, and to mark the occasion publisher Ares Games announced that it will release a new edition of Inkognito, co-designed by Randolph and Leo Colovini and first released in 1988, in Q4 2022, with the game including rules in English, Italian, and Korean.

For those not familiar with Inkognito, your goal is to complete a mission with your teammate, but initially you don't know who that is. You're represented on the game board by four figures, but only one of them is actually you, with the other being decoys. The Ares edition of the game is for 3-5 players, but pretty much everyone suggests playing solely with four players. Your first task is to determine who your teammate is, then you need to exchange information so that collectively you know what to do.

Board Game: Point Salad
Board Game: Point Salad
Point Salad is a great little card game from Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich of Flatout Games in which you're collecting both veggies and scoring cards and occasionally converting those scoring cards back into veggies in order to maximize your holdings. (For more details, check out my overview from July 2019.)

Korean publisher Mandoo Games released Point Salad with its original theme in 2019, but it has now announced a Pokémon-themed version — Point Salad: Eevee Edition — for release in Korean. If you are a BGG user in Korea, you can undoubtedly make bank on this title if it never sees release in another country, so be prepared!


Board Game: Groo: The Game
• During its FnordCon 5 event in late April and early May 2022, publisher Steve Jackson Games announced that it will release a new edition of Groo: The Game, which first appeared in 1997 from Archangel Studios.

This title will be included in SJG's crowdfunding project for a new edition of Tom Jolly's Wiz-War, something that was announced in October 2019 and is now scheduled to be crowdfunded in 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Image from Steve Jackson Games' Twitter

Board Game: Bag of Chips
• In May 2022, Mathieu Aubert and Théo Rivière's Bag of Chips was released in France by Mixlore under the Frenchier name Paquet de Chips.

In this gambling-style card game, you reduce your hand of cards one by one based on which flavors of chips have been drawn from a bag until you finally have to lock in three cards to score: two positive and one negative. Whoever scores the most in a round wins a token, and the first player to collect a certain number of tokens wins. For more details on the gameplay, head to my written and video-based overview from September 2021.

Additionally, Blue Orange Games will release an English-version of Bag of Chips in the U.S. in June 2022.

Board Game: Bag of Chips
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Mon May 9, 2022 4:00 pm
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Lockdown in China: The Consequences

Board Game: Shogun no Katana
[Editor's note: Mario Sacchi, CEO and lead developer of Placentia Games and Post Scriptum, regularly blogs about game development and production on the Post Scriptum Games blog on BGG. This article was first published on May 6, 2022 on that blog. —WEM]

We have to say that this article is gloomier than usual, covering the worst accident that has ever happened to Post Scriptum in seventeen years of business, with this being only the latest of a long series of accidents that have hit all the supply chains in the world. Nevertheless, in the end you'll find a sparkle of hope which confirms that we are determined not to give up or get discouraged; we will continue to do our work, which we love very much.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Here we go again.

The finish line was in sight: Shogun no Katana's launch seemed near, possibly even in time for the Play game fair that's scheduled to take place in Modena, Italy at the end of May. Everything was planned for the delivery of the boxes, and we were looking forward to touching our years' worth of work, admiring the miniatures, getting a whiff of the freshly printed cards...

When this happened –> From CNN: "Hunger and anger in Shanghai's unending lockdown nightmare".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

As you might imagine, we had entrusted the production of most of Katana's materials to a Chinese company, one with its offices in Shanghai, a region that is now in complete lockdown.

Obviously, we are first and foremost devastated for the drama that our Chinese colleagues are living, colleagues who are being forced to live in fenced houses to prevent them from going out, but even though we can't compare our situation with theirs, we are also experiencing serious problems.

First, we have no clue as to when this situation is going to be over. Then, even if they reopen shortly, we can predict neither when production will return to a normal pace, nor when our games will be produced or when they will actually be shipped. (You won't be surprised to hear that Katana is not the only game in queue to be printed.)

It's not sure whether we will manage to publish it by SPIEL '22, and this is horrible news for us as we had already planned a great stand, and we now must completely change our plans.

We are sorry about this situation, and we completely understand how frustrating it is for our backers and for those who are looking forward to buying it in their favorite shop. We, as boardgame enthusiasts and as Katana's "parents" couldn't wait to play a game on which we have worked so hard and so passionately, from game development to the obsessively thorough care for the materials.

For us as entrepreneurs, this unforeseeable delay has presented a serious blow to our business, which relies a lot on this game. We can keep going thanks to a diversified strategy and many collaborations, but we must admit that we are living a time of discouragement and worry for our business.

As I mentioned in this article, games that are launched on Kickstarter are almost exclusively produced by Chinese companies. This is true for almost all boardgame publishers in the world, not only because it is more affordable, but because the companies that we work with have a highly structured business with high-tech solutions specifically for board game production, especially for the creation of miniatures.

The downside, as you probably already understand, is that we rely completely on one or two suppliers — for Katana, we have one for the miniatures and one for the rest — and when something like this happens, there's nothing you can do.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

But here's the sparkle of hope: Post Scriptum is the dream of a lifetime, and we won't let a production delay, no matter how serious, bring us down. We know that the delivery is guaranteed; the advance payments have been paid, and the funds for the balance are secured. We need only to be more patient.

That said, it is time for us to find more sustainable alternative solutions, such as new European (or, why not, American) suppliers, even for more complex materials in our games.

This is not an easy choice because the costs are higher, the technology is less advanced, and because our Chinese colleagues have proven to be extremely professional, and we have built a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

This is also part of managing a business: predicting how the wind is going to change, and unfurling the sails in the right direction to expeditiously advance towards future projects.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

We would like to ask you a question: In order to produce somewhere else, we have to use fewer plastic miniatures and more cardboard and wood. What do you expect from our games in this sense? What entices you in a game that doesn't have miniatures? Printed meeples, paper goods, many boards on the table? We would like to hear your opinion in order to create your ideal game, with the highest quality in reasonable times, so please comment here or hit us up on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Telegram) as we can't wait to hear from you.

And please subscribe to our BGG blog not to miss any of Post Scriptum's articles!
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Mon May 9, 2022 1:00 pm
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Repair Pottery, Collect Butterflies, Escape Dreams, and Explore Fliptown

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Today, I'll highlight a handful of smaller game projects being crowdfunded that might be overshadowed by larger campaigns that create their own gravity:

• Designer Steven Aramini has started his own publishing company with Write Stuff Games, and his first title — the 1-4 player game Fliptown — is looking for funding on Kickstarter through May 20, 2022.

Board Game: Fliptown

Here's an overview of the gameplay:
Quote:
Fliptown is a flip-and-write game in which you are trying to earn stars by exploring a wild west town. The game uses a standard poker deck to drive an open world-style of game play, along with dry erase boards or print-and-play sheets that serves as each player's map.

Each turn, flip over three cards, assigning one card to represent your suit, one card to represent your value, and one card to represent your poker card. The suit dictates which of four regions you activate, the value dictates which site within that region you get to circle, and the poker card goes toward a five-card poker hand that is resolved at the end of each round. Each of the four regions — Trail, Badlands, Mine, and Town — offers a different puzzle to master, while each site within a region provides a unique reward such as cash, gold, helpful items like guns, horses and tools, or bonus actions to create powerful combinations.

Board Game: Fliptown

For solo play, you can play to achieve a high score or compete against one of four "cowbot" robot opponents, each with its own motivation.

For multiplayer play, players use "community cards" in the center of play, with players resolving each turn simultaneously. Additionally, bounty cards add competitive goals that players are racing to achieve.

In addition to the standard game, you can play as one of 14 wild west characters. Each character has a unique set of starting resources and a unique special ability.
• You can tick even more boxes in Steve Finn's Butterfly Garden Duel, the second BYOP (bring your own pencil) title from his own Dr. Finn's Games brand following 2022's Mining Colony Duel. Here's the quick take on this game, which is funding on Kickstarter through May 16, 2022:
Quote:
In the game you compete with your opponent to spend time in the park collecting a variety of butterflies. You also need to make sure you have the right jars to hold them.

Board Game: Butterfly Garden Duel

Each round, players pledge to commit time to the task, and the player who commits more time has their choice of which park areas to capture butterflies from, and it usually means you can capture more — but the amount of time you spend one day may limit your time on another, so you must carefully choose when to spend the most time.
Butterfly Garden Duel also includes solitaire rules.

• UAE publisher Cation Arts has licensed the use of Andre the Giant, Macho Man Randy Savage, and other professional wrestlers for the 1-4 player card-and-dice game All Time Wrestling from Mohamed Al Qadi and Jad Yammine, which is being funded on Kickstarter through May 26, 2022. Here's an overview of the setting:
Quote:
"Clack! Zap! Boom!" A frightening roar echoes through the chambers of the arena. This is the sound of something sinister. This is a beast, grinding and twisting, bending the forces of the universe to the will of its master, a master who is obsessed with finding the definitive answer to the question of "Who is the greatest wrestler of all time?"

Now, his beast, the world's only time machine, brings forward the very best — champions of past, present and future generations. legends who seek to cement their legacy as the best of all time. This is where legends collide. This is where your destiny awaits.

Board Game: All Time Wrestling
The base game is for two players only

In All Time Wrestling, you choose your champion from the legends of past, present and future, each with their own deck of attacks, abilities, signature moves, and finishers! Play your cards to unleash devastating combos, powerbombs and piledrivers, aerial stunts and deadly submissions...but will the dice be in your favor?
• At Gen Con 2021 in September, I had played a prototype version of Patrick Rauland's Broken and Beautiful: A Game About Kintsugi from Left Justified Studio, and this 2-4 player card game in which players draft seven types of pottery and other items is now being funded on Kickstarter through May 20, 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Prototype at Gen Con 2021

Gameplay is straightforward in Broken and Beautiful. Each round, lay out a number of cards face up equal to twice the number of players, plus one. (The top card of the deck is also face up, and that matters at the end of the round.) In clockwise order from the active player, everyone drafts a card, either keeping it or selling it for the gold shown on the card, then in counterclockwise order everyone drafts a second card, again keeping or selling it.

One card remains on the table, and all unbroken pottery of the type shown on both this card and the card on top of the deck breaks. Players can use gold to repair broken pottery, and you are rewarded for the unique beauty of repaired pieces as they are more valuable than "regular" unbroken pottery that's just like every other piece of the same type. (Broken pottery is worthless, so either you don't want it to break in the first place, or you want to have enough money to fix what does break.

Board Game: Broken and Beautiful: A Game About Kintsugi

• Finally, we come to Dreamers, a two-player game from Ÿøssef Fårhi of Alone Editions. (Kickstarter link)

In each of the games five rounds, each player receives a secret identity card, and if they both happen to be dreamers, then they want to open three gates to exit the dream world and win the round. If one of them happens to be the Master of Nightmares, that player must prevent the other player from leaving the dream world while not being exposed in the process; if the dreamer either leaves or exposes the M. of N., then they win.

Board Game: Dreamers
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Sun May 8, 2022 1:00 pm
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