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Kramer, Kiesling, and Ravensburger Prepare a Boxed Lunch in Jubako

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Jubako
• German publisher Ravensburger releases a few dozen games each year, with lots of "mitbringspiele" — small travel games mostly for youngsters — amongst a few larger designs aimed at players of all ages.

The only large game unique to the German branch of Ravensburger in early 2020 seems to be Jubako, a tile-laying game from Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling for 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, that's due out in March 2020. Here's an overview:
Quote:
"Jubako" boxes are nicely decorated boxes, typically made of fine woods, in which Japanese food is served, particularly on special occasions such as New Year's. Some jubako boxes even have multiple levels in which to stack the treats.

In Jubako, players try their hand at treat-stacking, trying to fill their own box as skillfully as possible with rice, fish, and various vegetables. The domino-style tokens each show two delicacies and must be placed carefully and stacked even more carefully.
Board Game: Jubako

Board Game: Spring in eine Pfütze!: Das Brettspiel
• Another new title from Ravensburger highlights an aspect of German culture with which I was previously unfamiliar:
Quote:
In 2020, Viktoria and Sarina are the hosts of a YouTube channel with more than 1.6 million followers, and they're the authors of the book series "Spring in eine Pfütze!" ("Jump in a Puddle!")

Spring in eine Pfütze! – Das Brettspiel gives readers a chance to jump in the world of these books, competing in four different task categories — "Gift", "Friend Battle", "Imagine", and "Friend Assessment" — to see who knows their friends well and will use that knowledge to increase their odds of winning.
Spring in eine Pfütze! – Das Brettspiel is designed by Janet Kneisel, co-developed by ViktoriaSarina (to use their professional handle), and due out in February 2020. Now you too can strive to be one of the cool girls.

• Other titles coming from Ravensburger are German-language editions of games previously released in English, with Prospero Hall's Disney Villainous: Böse bis ins Mark (Wicked to the Core) and Ted Alspach's Silver Amulett due out in January 2020, PUSH in February 2020, and Der weiße Hai — the latter two both being from P. Hall — in March 2020.

Board Game: Silver
Board Game: Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core
Board Game: PUSH
Board Game: Jaws

• You know what wasn't included in the info I received from Ravensburger? News of what's coming from alea in 2020 following the relaunching of the line in 2019 with Las Vegas Royale and an expanded The Castles of Burgundy. I'll be visiting the Ravensburger asap at Spielwarenmesse 2020 to see what's being shown in the booth that might not have been included in press material...
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Eggertspiele Announces Alma Mater; Former Eggertspielers (and Others) Announce Deep Print Games

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Board Game Publisher: eggertspiele
• The publisher eggertspiele typically releases only a couple of titles each year, and we already have news of two such titles on its release schedule, with the standalone game Alma Mater coming from the Acchittocca design team of Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, Stefano Luperto, and Antonio Tinto, the team responsible for Egizia, Leonardo da Vinci, and (most recently) Terramara.

So far we have only a brief description from eggertspiele of this Gen Con 2020 release:
Quote:
Alma Mater has players serving as a headmaster of one of the independent universities in the 15th century. Players seek to strengthen their school's reputation and standing. To achieve these goals, players need to recruit the best staff and students, exchange knowledge with other schools, and become experts in the school's four disciplines!
Board Game: Alma Mater

Board Game: Alma Mater

Board Game: Era: Medieval Age
Board Game: Era: Medieval Age Expansion
• The second eggertspiele title is Era: Medieval Age Expansion, which as the name suggests is an expansion for Matt Leacock's Era: Medieval Age.

This expansion, which is also scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2020, contains roads and rivers to connect domains to the outside world; new structures that will require new strategies; a new disaster to inspire curses directed at Leacock; and four scenarios to help you become familiar with the new gameplay mechanisms.

Board Game: Era: Medieval Age Expansion

• When Plan B Games acquired eggertspiele in 2017, Spielbox noted that "Eggertspiele founder Peter Eggert intends to actively contribute to the development and distribution of new games for three more years."

Those three years have expired, and now Eggert — along with former eggertspielers Philipp El Alaoui and Viktor Kobilke — have joined with Matthias Nagy of Frosted Games (where Kobilke works as a developer) and Karsten Esser and Andreas Finkernagel of Pegasus Spiele to form a new games publisher: Deep Print Games, which will be located in Berlin, Germany. Deep Print's first release will be Renature, an area-control game with dominoes from Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling that will debut at SPIEL '20 in October.

Here's a bit about the company from the publisher's website:
Quote:
[For] Deep Print Games, Pegasus Spiele CEOs Karsten Esser and Andreas Finkernagel assume rather a supporting role: "Matthias, Peter, Philipp, and Viktor bring a blend of outstanding board game experience and expertise. We leave the core business and the editorial work to them, but support our partners with our help and advice whenever needed. We are looking forward to this new project and the amazing board games to come." ...

The focus will be on impressive games, as Viktor Kobilke explains: "We don't want to limit ourselves by categories, but rather, through dedicated editing, realize great game ideas from well-known and new designers in such a way that they offer unique game experiences and leave a lasting impression."
In addition to Renature, Deep Print Games "is already working on gamer's games, including the redesign of a classic".

Board Game Publisher: Deep Print Games
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Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:00 pm
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Game Overview: Pictures, or Sticks and Stones Will Depict the Unknowns

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Pictures
Each year at SPIEL, more than a thousand games are introduced to the market, and in all likelihood you will not play 95% of those games. You'll have a list of titles that catch your eye, friends will ask you to play something that caught their eye...then many months will pass and we'll be into the next wave of game announcements. Hello, Spielwarenmesse 2020! See you soon!

At BGG.CON each year, I walk the ballroom to check out what folks are playing, trying to see what I missed and what I might want to play myself. One title that stood out was Pictures, a party game by Christian and Daniela Stöhr from PD-Verlag, which is better known for releasing titles from Mac Gerdts.

In Pictures, sixteen images are laid out in a 4x4 grid, and each of the 3-5 players receives a set of components — two shoelaces, a set of blocks, four sticks and four stones, etc. — and a token that features grid coordinates, e.g., B3. You use those components to recreate the image as best you can, then write down your guess as to what everyone else has created.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Two representations to guess

Each set of coordinates appears in the draw bag three times, so you can't rule out an image that someone else has created previously, and part of the enjoyment of the game comes from seeing how someone has translated an image into a 3x3 pixellated image, then how someone else has interpreted it in 2-5 icon cards. Every so often, two people will recreate the same image in their own components in the same round, and you have this "A ha!" moment of recognition similar to when you first start catching phrases in other languages and understanding them without having to think about them.

Scoring is basic: Earn a point for each image you guess correctly and for each time someone guesses your image correctly. Scoring is also beside the point, so to speak. As with many party games, you're not playing to win as much as playing to play. Let's do this odd, but neat thing together!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Another structure created to represent an image above

This game is all about the physical components, about you working to make something that resembles something else — yet the images on the table are on tiny cards that sometimes obscure the details of what you're trying to recreate, but you can't pick up the card that you're trying to recreate because then everyone will know what you're trying to do! In some ways, I want a digital layout of the cards so that I can zoom in on each image on my phone in secret to better see what I'm recreating; more practically, I wish the image cards were twice as large.

I've played Pictures three times on a copy borrowed from the BGG Library, with PD-Verlag having donated that copy, and I give more examples of artistic creation — if you want to call it that — on the video below. Rio Grande Games has licensed this design and will release it on the North American market sometime in 2020. An expansion pack will contain a bag of dirt to which you'll add water to sculpt matching images, and a second pack will contain facial tissues that you must crumple artistically, and neither of these expansion packs will actually exist unless you make them on your own, which of course you are free to do.

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Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:00 pm
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Portal Games Expands Detective, Robinson Crusoe, Imperial Settlers; Offers a New Vienna Connection

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Board Game: Vienna Connection
Polish publisher Portal Games hosted its annual Portalcon event the weekend of January 25, 2020 during which designer Ignacy Trzewiczek presented an overview of the company's 2020 release schedule.

We've already heard about a few of these titles — Detective: Season One and Stronghold: Undead, both covered in a Nov. 2019 BGG News post, and Empires of the North – Roman Banners, covered in a Dec. 2019 post — but Portal Games has much more in the works, such as Trzewiczek's Vienna Connection, a standalone game inspired by the game mechanisms of Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game:
Quote:
In this game, players take on the roles of CIA agents sent to Europe in 1977 during the Cold War to investigate the mysterious death of James Werner, an American citizen murdered in Vienna. The international plot involves various secret agencies, and players will travel around Europe visiting a dozen destinations and discovering secrets.

Vienna Connection, although inspired by Detective, is a standalone game with new rules and game mechanisms that bring the spy theme to life. Players will manage resources (such as informants, bribes, and pieces of information), decode reports (including secret messages, codes, and wiretapped conversations), and will have to outsmart enemy spy agencies.
Board Game: Detective: Signature Series – Dig Deeper
Detective will also see the release of Dig Deeper, the first case in the Detective: Signature Series from Portal, with this case being written by Rob Daviau. From the publisher: "The story transports players into an American town in the 1970s where their goal will be to solve the mystery of the death of a local politician."

Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: The Book of Adventures
• Trzewiczek's Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island will receive an expansion, co-created by Joanna Kijanka, in Robinson Crusoe: The Book of Adventures, an almanac that consists of new scenarios ranked by their level of difficulty, complexity, and theme, with scenarios suited for every potential audience — from playing with children, to creating a fun family experience, to suffering really heavy scenarios as experienced players.

Board Game: Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North – Barbarian Hordes
Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North will receive a second expansion, designed by Kijanka, in the form of Barbarian Hordes, with each of the two new barbarian clans having their own unique card decks. One clan consists of pirates who sail the sea on their abundant rafts, while the other clan is full of robbers who sabotage other clans and demand ransom.

The original Imperial Settlers game will also receive an expansion from Kijanka, specifically a meta-expansion titled Rise of the Empire that introduces an open-world campaign setting. Here's an overview:
Quote:
From game to game, players' empires will advance, reaching new eras, goals, technologies, discoveries, and provinces. (You don't need to play the campaign in a set group of co-players as each empire can develop at its own pace and represent different stages of advancement.)

This meta-expansion includes 220 new cards divided into three types: Provinces, Goals & Achievements, and Technologies & Discoveries. In addition Rise of the Empire shortens gameplay from five to four rounds.
Board Game: Imperial Settlers: Rise of the Empire
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Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:00 pm
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Japanese Game Round-up: Walk Corgis, Set Trends, and Rebuild the New World

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Board Game: トレンド (TREND)
Let me start this round-up of Japanese games with a shout-out to Jon Power (username: EYE of NiGHT), who since 2015 has been overseeing a Japanese-language game-submission form to encourage JP designers and publishers to submit their titles to the BGG database. We made him a BGG admin so that he could add those submissions and their associated images more easily, and he's added several hundred titles to the database over the years, publicizing those additions on Twitter to encourage further submissions. Many thanks, Jon!

• One of Jon's database admissions in 2019 was on trend with his love of JP games — "JP" conveniently meaning both "Japanese" and "Jon Power" — with that game being トレンド (TREND) from designers Hiroshi Mizouchi and Shigeru Mizouchi and publisher STUDIO U×F. This 2-5 player card game features the same subject matter as Reiner Knizia's 2-5 player card game Trendy from 2000, but it plays out far differently:
Quote:
In TREND, players are on staff at an apparel shop, importing and selling outfits, while trying to predict or make ever-changing trends.

Players take turns playing a garment card into a 3x3 grid. The card must be placed adjacent to a card that shares at least one attribute. When three cards of the same attribute make a line, a trend is made, such as red clothing or denim. Whoever played the card receives a big bonus, while other players have a chance to score a little.

Large-sized cards show off beautifully coordinated garments, and the game attracts fashion-conscious people, with a variant for those who are new to board games.
Board Game: トレンド (TREND)
Mysterious other games in the background; get on those, Jon!

Board Game: いやいやコーギーと、あるきたい! (No, No, I Want to Walk With Corgi!)
• Another Jon Power addition to the BGG database is いやいやコーギーと、あるきたい! (No, No, I Want to Walk With Corgi!, or perhaps more literally "I want to take a walk with a Corgi who is not willing to"), which is a 1-6 player card game from designer Yoshi and publisher よしの企画 (Yoshino Kikaku). An overview:
Quote:
On a 5x5 grid, players take turns controlling a single corgi by playing an action card such as "advance one space" and "turn left". First, players should co-operate to make the corgi meet four friends who are at the four corners of the board. Each time the corgi meets a friend or clears a hazard in the town, the active player increases their hand capacity.

After meeting all the friends, the players must return the corgi home at the center of the town. When the corgi is returned home, the active player wins.
• Believe it or not, this designer/publisher pair released a second corgi-themed card game in 2019: ねむねむコーギーを、さわりたい! (I Want to Touch the Sleepy Corgi!), and you do just that, but in card form:
Quote:
Players are toying with a dog, taking turns playing a card to touch the sleeping corgi. In response, the corgi moves along the line of squares as indicated on the card. You lose the game if you are forced to play a card that makes the corgi fall off the end of the line or be caught in a trap. The game ends when a single player loses by waking the corgi.
Board Game: ねむねむコーギーを、さわりたい! (I Want to Touch the Sleepy Corgi!)

Board Game Publisher: A.I.Lab.遊
• The 2019 release The Era of Traveling Merchant, a.k.a. 行商の時代 from publisher A.I.Lab.遊 sounds like a somewhat traditional Eurogame:
Quote:
To set up the game, nine city tiles are arranged in one of the suggested ways, with each tile being divided into colored zones to match the player colors. Six order cards are dealt from a deck, which show various demands from these nine cities.

Players get two actions on a turn from a move action, a cargo action, or a shipping action. Players can move to cities; can pick up cargo from a city and place the goods in their wagon (but not goods they dropped previously); or ship goods to their storehouse in the city with the demand. By fulfilling demands, players collect order cards, gaining victory points. By taking the most prominent order cards, players receive jewel bonuses. By building up sets of order cards, players can increase the capacity of their wagons and build trading houses in cities; trading houses give the player a third action each round, which gives the player an advantage and is one of the endgame conditions.

Board Game: The Era of Traveling Merchant

The game ends either when the decks are exhausted, the special cards (difficult orders) are lost, or when a player has four trading houses. Players then tally their points from order cards, from jewels, and from getting the last wagon card.
Board Game: Complete the Atlas
• I'll end with a game that Jon is kicking himself over for missing when he attended the 2018 Osaka Game Market. (It's hard to know what you're missing until you start looking, but looking does have the side effect of making you realize what you're missing!) I'm not trying to kick him when he's down, though, but rather to help publicize an interesting-looking game that might find a licensee for another edition down the road.

The game in question is Complete the Atlas, which bears the Japanese title ブランクワールド, which means "Blank World". This design from CRAZYRAT and publisher 一石ラボ (Isseki Labo) is a 2-4 player game that plays in 45-90 minutes and that features subject matter far more expected from a European designer or publisher:
Quote:
Set in Portugal in the late 15th century, King Afonso V enters into a trade agreement with Lisbon's great merchant Ferdinand Gomez. Instead of granting subsidies to explore, the agreement entitles Gomez to exclusive trade in the specialty products obtained from the voyages. Players become one of the admirals employed by Ferdinand Gomez, pioneering the wilderness, discovering unknown creatures and natural wonders, building harbors and trading posts, trading, and preaching Christianity. Players want to increase their fame and become the world's best admiral.

Board Game: Complete the Atlas

Proving that the world is round, a new world map similar to — but not identical to — the real world will be created. Initially the game board shows a large map of the world known to Europeans in the 15th century, with all of Europe being depicted along with parts of Asia and Africa. The rest of the board is blank, and players place land tiles as they travel across the seas. In this way, they literally complete a new atlas (rather than trying to mimic the actual globe), and the game will play out differently each session.

As players draw tiles and discover new lands, they also close off potential sea routes. Balancing the need to discover and the need to trade is one of the game's challenges. Building a church and propagating Christianity to a greater extent also increases a player's fame.
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Inhabit Zen Gardens and Take Another Shot at Fresco, Thanks to Queen Games

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Board Game Publisher: Queen Games
• With the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair opening in less than a week, let's check out the upcoming titles from another publisher we'll visit during that show, specifically Queen Games, which has announced a very Queen Games line-up so far, starting with Mike Georgiou's Zen Garden, this being a 2-4 player tile-laying game:
Quote:
An Emperor's life is stressful and full of tough decisions. He absolutely needs a place of solace where he can relax and recover. A beautiful garden filled with paths, statues, and flora is just what he needs.

In Zen Garden, the players assume the role of architects working to build the most beautiful garden for the Emperor. To do this, they need to pay careful attention to the Emperor's preferences, while trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Board Game: Zen Garden

A turn in Zen Garden is simple: The first player selects one tile from the selection board, pays its cost, then adds it to their garden adjacent to a previously placed tile. Each player does this, then the board is refilled and a new starting player begins the next turn.

The game comes with five preference boards that determine which features of the garden score in that game. The boards selected (and their number) will greatly change the objectives players will strive for in that game.
I played a mock-up of Zen Garden at the Origins Game Fair in 2019, and it fit the Queen Games model to a T, with each player building their own garden and competing with one another indirectly for the tiles that fit best. In the image below, you see the tiles available on the selection board, with the bottom ones being free, the middle ones costing 1 coin, and the upper ones 2 coins. The tiles have six types of landscaping, three types of paths, and five types of sculpture, and you try to place like things together, creating paths of the same type, large matching landscapes, and sculptures from the same corner of the Home Goods store.

Board Game: Zen Garden

Board Game: Fresco
• Other titles known to be coming from Queen in 2020 were Kickstarted in 2019, so they will possibly be a surprise to anyone who doesn't follow Kickstarter, which includes me.

Fresco: MegaBox is an über-Queen release as it packs everything related to that game into a single box, then adds even more on top of that (KS link). As a starting point, this contains Fresco: Big Box, which itself contained the Fresco base game from designers Marco Ruskowski and Marcel Süßelbeck and expansions #1-10, the base game having included expansions #1-3, mind you.

In addition to the Big Box, the MegaBox contains expansions #11-14 (which will be sold separately as Fresco: Expansion Modules 11-14 with artwork to match the older base game), Fresco: The Card Game (first mentioned in 2013), and Fresco: The Dice Game (the latter two being sold on their own in one package called Fresco: The Card & Dice Game).

Fresco: MegaBox is due out in Q4 2020, and it will exist in both a Gold Edition and a Diamond Edition, with the latter featuring acrylic tiles instead of cardboard ones.

Board Game: Fresco: MegaBox

Board Game: Rune Stones: Enchanted Forest
• I had included teaser info about a second Rune Stones expansion in a mid-December 2019 post without realizing that a Kickstarter for that expansion was under way at that time. (KS link)

I'm not sure whether we can chalk that up to my cluelessness or Queen's lack of press releases, but in any case I can say that Rüdiger Dorn's Rune Stones: Enchanted Forest, due out in mid-2020, includes three copies each of eight new rune stones as well as familiars that you can move on a forest board by forgoing the power on a played card. By doing so, you can earn bonuses, gain toadstool tiles with special powers, and endgame points.
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Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:00 pm
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Meow at the Maharaja as You Leave the Mystery House to Create Golems

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Board Game Publisher: Cranio Creations
Let's check out the 2020 offerings of Cranio Creations, another publisher we'll be looking at in more detail when we attend the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair, which takes place Jan. 29-Feb. 2.

• We'll begin with MEKHANE, a 3-8 player game from Roberto Grasso that plays in 30 minutes and that will likely benefit from a video overview that demonstrates in more detail what's being described insufficiently in words below:
Quote:
In MEKHANE, fate and gods tell a story involving the available characters, using the tale cards. The story is divided in rounds called chapters, and at the end of each chapter, fate decides which character will die based on how the story has developed — and that story develops through destiny cards that tell each god (player) which characters should survive (with the numbers on the destiny card referring to the position of the character cards).

Board Game: MEKHANE

At the end of the game, one of the gods wins the game if their favorite character has survived.
Hmm, more details needed, which is what the video overview is for...

Board Game: MEOW
MEOW is a 2-6 player card game from Reiner Knizia that doesn't sound like it has much going on — which reminds me of Knizia's LAMA, which also sounds like nothing but which was indeed something. Here's what we know about the game for now:
Quote:
MEOW is a card game in which smart cats fight for food. A player must be wise and try to collect the best bowls, avoiding fishbones while trying not to break vases!

Each game is divided into three rounds, and each round is divided into nine turns. On a turn, each player plays one cat card, then the player who played the most valuable card wins one award token. Keep in mind that not all awards are positive! At the end of the game, the player who collected the most points wins.
Board Game: MEOW

Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India
• At Spielwarenmesse 2019, BGG recorded a teaser video with Cranio Creations about a new edition of Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling's 2004 game Maharaja. This edition is now moving toward publication in 2020, with new graphics, new components, and other changes:
Quote:
In Maharaja, you build statues of your God of choice to please the Maharaja during their visit and score victory points at the end of the game depending on the majority you reach.

During the game, players take the role of priests who travel to different cities in India, building statues and shrines dedicated to their favorite Gods to expand their worship. To do so, they are assisted by several characters with different abilities. Every year, the Maharaja, the great king of India, will change his residence and players will receive rewards according to their Gods' worship value. At the beginning of each year, players plan their actions in a secret phase to be played simultaneously.

At the end of the seventh year or when a player builds their seventh statue, the game ends, then the player with most prestige wins.

Aside from the new graphics and components and from players now building statues instead of palaces, this new edition of Maharaja includes new characters to use during the turn that change turn order, additional ways to earn victory points, an additional bonus each time you score a city after the Maharaja's visit depending on the assistant you chose, and additional modular rules that can be added during the game and in the final scoring.
Board Game: Maharaja

Board Game: Mystery House: Adventures in a Box – Back to Tombstone
• The 2019 title Mystery House: Adventures in a Box from designer Antonio Tinto will receive an expansion in 2020 with Back to Tombstone:
Quote:
A fearless and furious Indian tribe, fast and smoking guns, a gloomy mystery under the Western hot sun — all of this awaits in Back to Tombstone, a Western-themed adventure for Mystery House. Solve all the riddles, and escape alive from the wild wild west.
• As with Maharaja, at Spielwarenmesse 2019 we recorded an overview of the real-time, sliding-puzzle game Pakal from Luca Bellini and Luca Borsa.

• Other titles coming from Cranio Creations in 2020 include Machination, a design from Matthew Dunstan and Phil Walker-Harding in which you occupy a vehicle-dismantling depot and need to chose the right cars to pile up in your warehouse. Try to be the fastest player to fulfill common objectives to receive the best bonuses, while respecting your stock requirement.

• Finally, we come to Golem from Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, and Simone Luciani, with the publisher noting that Gigli and Luciani's Grand Austria Hotel inspired some of the mechanisms in Golem. Here's a quick take on it:
Quote:
The game is based on the 16th-century legend of the Golem, an anthropomorphic creature that rabbi Loew animated starting from a clay statue to protect his people. In the game, players take the role of rabbis who create and grow these powerful and magical creatures — but if a golem becomes too powerful, it will destroy everything it encounters on its way!
Board Game: Golem
Yes, the publisher knows that the forehead text needs correcting...
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Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:00 pm
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Revisit Clash of Cultures in a New Monumental Edition

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Board Game: Clash of Cultures
Board Game: Clash of Cultures: Civilizations
In the mid-2010s, U.S. publisher Z-Man Games went through a period of releasing expansions in print runs that seemed to be swallowed up by their audience immediately, then removed from the catalog and never mentioned again.

One particularly hot commodity was Clash of Cultures: Civilizations, a 2014 expansion for Christian Marcussen's 2012 large-scale civ game Clash of Cultures. If you look at the sales history of this item on the BGG marketplace, you'll see that it regularly sells for at least US$100, with dozens of sales over US$200. Some folks swear that this expansion is essential for the game experience, yet copies are relatively hard to find.

A solution for this situation will arrive in November 2020 with the publication of Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition by WizKids, with this new edition of the design including the original base game, the Civilizations expansion, and the Aztecs expansion, while featuring new cover art, new graphic design, and miniatures for the Seven Wonders. Here's a brief description of the game:
Quote:
Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition brings back the classic game of exploration, expansion, and development. Grow your civilization, advance your culture and tech, and leave your mark by building wonders.

Board Game: Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition

In Clash of Cultures, each player leads a civilization from a single settlement to a mighty empire. Players must explore their surroundings, build large cities, research advances and conquer those who stand in the way. The game features a modular board for players to explore, 48 distinct advances, seven mighty wonders, and loads of miniatures and cards. The winner will create a culture that will be remembered and admired for millennia.
Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition carries a US$140 MSRP.
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Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:55 pm
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Next Move Welcomes Killer Beez

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Board Game: Beez
Not killer bees, mind you, because that would be weird and self-destructive and bad for publicity.

No, instead Canadian publisher Next Move Games is welcoming a new game titled Beez to its catalog, with this Dan Halstad design having a killer look thanks to the ever reliable Chris Quilliams. (I shared a logo- and title-free version of the cover with BGG personnel at our recent planning retreat, and all of them identified the publisher correctly. That's strong branding for you!)

As for gameplay, well, Next Move has released only this short description for now:
Quote:
Prepare yourself to take flight as a bee!

In Beez, players compete to optimize their flight plans to secure nectar for their hive. Be careful of the other bees as you will compete with them over a set of public and private scoring goals. The challenge in planning and storing the nectar will make your brain buzz!
Mike Young at Next Move notes that your movement dial also controls how you store nectar and affects how you score points. BGG will get a first-hand look at Beez at the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair at the beginning of February, and I'll post more about the game then. Beez is scheduled to debut at Origins Game Fair 2020. In conclusion, insert bee pun here.

Board Game: Beez

Board Game: Beez
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Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:22 pm
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AEG in 2020: Race Dice, Arrange Chocolates, Treat Cats, and Split Your Time Between Atlantis and Santa Monica

Candice Harris
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Board Game Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
In early January 2020, Eric shared the news of Elizabeth Hargrave's upcoming release, Mariposas, and I'm sure fans of Wingspan are thrilled. Fortunately, even more enticing games and expansions are coming our way from Alderac Entertainment Group in 2020. AEG's Todd Rowland has graciously uploaded pics of a few of these new releases to give us a sneak peek.

Truffle Shuffle is a card-drafting, set-collection game designed by Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich, the team behind 2019's Point Salad from AEG. Glancing at the cover art below, I'm realizing I have a killer craving for chocolate all of a sudden...and this is definitely not a Goonies-themed game as I initially suspected. (We were all thinking it!)

Board Game: Truffle Shuffle

Here's a brief description of the gameplay from the publisher:
Quote:
In the quick-playing, card-drafting game Truffle Shuffle, players take turns selecting truffles from a shared box of overlapping cards in order to make their own arrangements of chocolates to sell. Players can complete a variety of sets, using special modifiers and action cards. With so many different chocolate truffles to unwrap and different ways to combine them, every game of Truffle Shuffle is unique!
Board Game: Truffle Shuffle

Board Game: Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a new card-drafting, set collection game from Josh Wood, the designer of Cat Lady. Here's a summary of the setting with a touch of gameplay:
Quote:
In Santa Monica, you are trying to create the most appealing neighborhood in southern California. Will you choose to create a calm, quiet beach focused on nature, a bustling beach full of tourists, or something in-between to appeal to the locals?

Each turn, you draft a feature card from the display to build up either your beach or your street. These features work together to score you victory points. The player with the most points wins!
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Santa Monica prototype pic from the AEG Larkstone playtest house

Board Game: Cat Lady
Board Game: Cat Lady: Box of Treats
• Speaking of Cat Lady, AEG will also be releasing Box of Treats, Wood's first expansion for that game. Box of Treats includes more cats, new items, boxes, and cat treats! In addition, the expansion allows Cat Lady to be played with up to six players.

John D. Clair's Cubitos is a dice-rolling, press- your-luck game in which players compete to become the Cubitos Champion. In slightly more detail:
Quote:
In Cubitos, players take on the role of participants in the annual Cube Cup, a race of strategy and luck to determine the Cubitos Champion. Each player has a runner on the racetrack and a support team, which is represented by all the dice you roll. Each turn, you roll dice and use their results to move along the racetrack, buy new dice, and use abilities — but you must be careful not to push your luck rolling too much or you could bust!
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Cubitos prototype pic from Larkstone


Board Game: Mystic Vale
Board Game: Mystic Vale: Nemesis
• Like Wood, Clair also has an expansion for a well-received AEG title, with Mystic Vale: Nemesis adding new advancement and vale cards for even more combo options. Nemesis also includes titan leader cards that grant abilities with the potential to become more powerful when upgraded as well as a new variant for solo gameplay.

Jani & Tero Moliis' Lost Atlantis was first mentioned in this space in December 2017 with this brief description: a "3X game under the sea". The release date for this title is now sometime in 2020 instead of Q4 2018, but we still don't have a longer description at this point. Even so, between that description and the prototype photo below, my curiosity is piqued!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Another Larkstone prototype pic, this time showing Lost Atlantis

Board Game: Lost Atlantis
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22 Comments
Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:00 pm
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