• With the pace of the game market being what it is, new titles coming and going with every breath you take, I'm not surprised to see games getting rebooted into new editions sooner than they might have in the past. Doing so is a fine way to get attention for a game that might otherwise be overlooked as past its prime, while also drawing in people who might have been on the fence about it. Tokaido saw a new edition for its fifth anniversary in 2017, for example, and Suburbia is getting a souped-up, everything-in-one-box edition for 2019 on its seventh anniversary.
Take on the role of Egyptian nobles at the time of the pharaohs, preparing for death and burial in the Valley of the Kings. Players want to fill their tombs with food, canopic jars, statues, amulets and other treasures, and to do so they acquire cards that are laid out in the shape of a pyramid; purchase cards at the base of the pyramid, and it "crumbles" to bring cards higher in the pyramid to the base where they can be bought. The pyramid resets each round with new offerings.
You score only for cards that you remove from your deck and stash in your tomb, so if you keep using valuable cards for their effects and don't entomb them before the game ends, you could lose out on big points! Whoever collects the most valuable artifacts in their tomb wins.
Valley of the Kings: Premium Edition includes all the cards from the three previously released games (Valley of the Kings, Afterlife, Last Rites), plus the components needed to play with a fifth and sixth player. It also includes rules for solo play, dividers for all the cards, and new pharaoh cards that give their holder unique abilities. The components are upgraded to 300+ tarot-sized cards.
In Exodus Chronicles, you take on the role of one of six human factions, fighting for survival and dominance in an empire-building saga of epic proportions! Choose the primary path of your faction and elect the leader you believe is most capable of guiding your faction towards victory. Along the way, you must make clever decisions at every turn as you explore the sectors surrounding your home planet, expand the reach of your budding empire, exploit newly discovered worlds for their resources, and exterminate enemies that stand in your way.
Exodus Chronicles is a modern reimplementation and streamlined redesign of critically acclaimed Exodus: Proxima Centauri and its two expansions Edge of Extinction and Event Horizon. The game features six asymmetrical factions, each offering multiple choices of starting home worlds and faction leaders.
While the loved and praised game experience remains true to its predecessor, Exodus Chronicles is not merely a reprint of Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Each game mechanism has been thoroughly revisited and redesigned with the purpose of improving, enhancing, and streamlining game play.
• Some new editions take longer than others, though, with Reiner Knizia's New Tactical Games with Dice and Cards from Blue Terrier Press being the first English-language release of a book that originally appeared only in German in 1990 from Hugendubel Verlag. Twenty-nine years between first and second editions, with that period of time practically spanning Knizia's entire game-designing career.
As the title suggests, this book is a collection of game designs that you can play with a deck of cards, dice, and a few other components. Dan Laursen has posted a helpful overview of the book on BGG.
• Spanish publisher Do It Games was founded in 2018, and it's already released more than a half-dozen titles, including a new edition of Hammer of the Scots from Tom Dalgliesh and Jerry Taylor. Notes Do It's Artur Zanón, "This version has some differences from the Columbia one: mounted map 2,3mm., new card size and illustrations, rounded wooden blocks, a thick game box, two black cloth bags in which to keep the wooden blocks, and a new rules layout."
War of the Worlds: The New Wave is an asymmetrical deck-building game with a playing board for two players. The game events unfold several years after the original "War of the Worlds" story by H.G. Wells.
The extraterrestrial invasion is occurring once again, but this time the Martians have arrived on a giant spaceship that lands in one of the backwater districts in Scotland. During the game, one player commands the alien forces, and the other one leads the UK self-defense units. The main objective of the invaders is to completely annihilate the population of Great Britain, while the opposite side needs to deal enough damage to the Martian army.
The game is played with two asymmetrical decks of cards, a playing board, tokens, and miniatures.
It's so easy to miss game announcements these days, even when I'm doing almost nothing but that every work day. Sheesh!
• Portuguese publisher MEBO Games unveiled its next release at the LeiriaCon event that took place in mid-March 2019, with that September 2019 release being Porto by Orlando Sá. Here's an overview of the game:
Porto is a fast-playing, competitive tile-laying game driven by card play. On your turn, you either draw cards or build floors. If you draw cards, the total value of the drawn cards cannot exceed 3. (Cards have values between 1 and 3.)
If you build floors, you MUST play two cards from your hand. The number of one of the cards determines exactly how many floors you will build, and the color of the other card determines the color of those same floors. Thus, with only three cards in hand, you have six different possibilities for building; with more cards, your options increase even more! Building gives you the possibility of scoring points but also opens new possibilities for your opponents because buildings do not belong to any player.
Build floors, gain bonus points by completing houses or by constructing in the most crucial spaces, fulfill public contracts by building at crucial moments and by chaining combos to make a very profitable turn, shape the city so that it complies with your private contracts in order to maximize them at the end of the game, but above all, capitalize on opportunities opened by your opponents on the board. That said, in Porto any missed opportunity will lead to a new array of possibilities.
The game end is triggered at the end of the round in which a certain number of buildings have been completed. The player with the most points wins.
Sà adds this additional detail about the gameplay of this 1-4 player design: At the beginning of the game, you receive five private contract cards and keep three. These cards give you additional points at game's end if their conditions are met. During the game, you can attempt to entice others to complete these contracts for you because when you build a ground floor, you collect and score the points of the token sitting there, then you place that token in an empty roof space. "If you want to guarantee that that blue house you have just started is finished by the end of the game, maybe you should place that 4-point token that you collected on the empty roof of that house and let the others do the job", says Sà, "because you won't have time to build everything you want to build."
I don't have many details for now, but Génésia, due out Q3 2019, is described as a quick-playing, card-drafting civilization game that has won prizes in prototype form at the Brussels Game Festival in 2017 and at the Paris Est Ludique game fair in 2018 under the name "Ancestor". Super Meeple's Charles Amir Perret describes Tajuto, due out at SPIEL '19, as a game of risk-taking, tactile recognition, and action point management that's a demonstration of the immense creativity of Knizia.
• I've started publishing game overview videos that we recorded at GAMA Trade Show 2019 on our BGG Express channel — only seven in the playlist so far! — and one of the titles that stood out to me was Tonari from the unexpected designer combination of Alex Randolph and Bruno Faidutti. The combo was unexpected mostly because Randolph died in 2004, and it seemed unlikely that they had worked on a design back then and sold it only fifteen years later.
Turns out that Faidutti had essentially taken Randolph's game Gute Nachbarn, modified it in various ways, then received an agreement from Randolph's agent to license this new design under both their names. IDW Games plans to debut Tonari at Gen Con 2019 ahead of a mid-August 2019 retail release, and I'll publish a designer's diary from Faidutti in July.
Ahead of that, here's the gist of the game: You fill the spaces of the game board with colored fish, which score in various ways (and which probably have special powers, knowing Faidutti). A single trawler starts the game in the center of the board. Players take turns moving this trawler and collecting fish from the board. In the two-player game, whoever has the highest score wins. In the three- and four-player game, your final score is equal to the sum of the fish you collect as well as the score of your left-hand neighbor, so throughout the game you want to set that player up to score well while somehow keeping them from setting up their left-hand neighbor!
Should you prefer a visual explanation, here's the one we recorded at GTS 2019:
• I have seen so many bits of game news during all my recent convention traveling that I can't keep track of it all. Did you know, for example, that in the second half of 2019 German publisher KOSMOS will release a standalone game set in the world of Legends of Andor titled Die Befreiung der Rietburg (The Liberation of Rietburg)?
I know nothing more about this game other than what I wrote above, but apparently I took the picture at right while at Spielwarenmesse 2019 and created the placeholder listing in the BGG database linked to above, then forgot about all of it until I was searching through new KOSMOS titles in 2019 to tag Ubongo 3-D Family as being released. I used to feel that I had a decent handle on everything already released and forthcoming, but nowadays I think that I forget more than I retain because it's impossible to track it all in your head. I'm sure that more new titles await discovery in my photo directory or stacks of press materials from Nürnberg, Cannes, and NYC...
• Following up on an old note to myself: In 2019, German publisher Feuerland Spiele will release a worker placement game from newcomer Carsten Lauber titled Crystal Palace. German site Brettspielbox wrote up an overview of the sprawling game in 2017 when the prototype, then known as "London 1851", appeared at the Ratinger Spieletage event in April 2017.
• In an August 2018 interview on Wuerfelmagier.de, Feuerland's Frank Heeren also mentions that 2019 will bring a "special" game from Maximilian Thiel about a mafia war in Sicily in the 1980s. Says Heeren, "This is a very exciting mixture of a strategy game and a conflict game and is a bit different than what we've done so far."
• Benjamin Schwer's Crown of Emara, which was released by Pegasus Spiele at SPIEL '18 and which seemed to sink beneath the waves almost immediately despite good initial feedback from early adopters, will be released in the U.S. in July 2019 according to editor/developer Ralph Bruhn. Perhaps the game will catch a second wave at the time, especially since Bruhn will be at Gen Con 2019 in August to help introduce it to others.
Bruhn has been editing games since at least 2009, when he launched Hall Games with At the Gates of Loyang. He has also edited Aquasphere, Istanbul, Luna, and The Oracle of Delphi among other titles, so if you're a fan of his work and plan to be at Gen Con 2019, maybe you can bring him a special "Welcome to the U.S." treat in the Pegasus booth as this will be his first trip to the United States!
• Speaking of Gen Con, each year Alderac Entertainment Group hosts its Big Game Night event, a multi-hour game fest in which hundreds of people discover new games all at the same time, with those games sometimes hitting the retail market later and sometimes never appearing in print again.
One of the new titles that AEG will have at Big Game Night 2019 is Point Salad from designers Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich. In this 2-6 player game, you draft double-sided cards that show a veggie on one side and one of more than a hundred scoring combinations on the other. Once the draft ends, you score for all the scoring combos that you collected based on the veggies in your salad.
Point Salad has a U.S. retail release of Sept. 6, 2019 — one month after Gen Con 2019 — and to find out more about the game, you can watch this overview that BGG recorded at GAMA Trade Show 2019 just one week ago:
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Osaka on March 10, 2019, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated a report about this event that was written by Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo! —WEM
On March 10 (Sun), Osaka Game Market 2019 was held at Intex Osaka in cold rainy weather. It was the eighth Game Market in the Kansai region since it started taking place there in 2012. With steady growth of the show, 395 booths exhibited in the hall covering an area of 6729 m², and the attendance was 6,900 according to the official announcement by the Game Market Management Office.
While the venue has become larger by 30%, long queues and congestion were still witnessed in front of popular booths.
Osaka's daytime temperature was approximately 14° C on this day. At Intex Osaka, the facilities other than the halls are located outside, so the outside air kept flowing in and brought chilliness into the hall. This chilliness must have been felt quite severely especially by the people who began queuing two hours before the opening to buy the limited copies of some board games. Nonetheless, as the crowd of people queuing surged in at the opening, I felt as if the temperature in the venue rose by 1-2° C.
I encountered a meeple cosplayer again this year
Mattel, a company that sells games such as Blokus and UNO throughout Japan, had their booth. It was their first time participating as an exhibitor in a Game Market, including both Tokyo and Osaka. Their main target is the mass market. A move by such a company to participate in Game Market suggests the growth of this event. Mattel says that their person in charge decided to participate after seeing a Tokyo Game Market in 2018. Many people stopped by their booth, and their games sold well.
A sample of the Mobile Suit Gundam co-operative game, which has gathered many fans' attention, was on display prior to its release at the end of March 2019. The growth of the market opens the way to the release of licensed board games, which used to be quite difficult in the past.
Mobile Suit Gundam co-operative game
I would never have thought I could play a prototype of a game from overseas at Game Market, but even before the launching of the Kickstarter project to release Glen More II: Chronicles, its prototype was being displayed and demoed by Engames. Visitors could play the prototype with how-to-play instructions. Engames plans to release its Japanese edition jointly with the original publisher near the end of 2019.
Prototype of Glen More II: Chronicles
The number of newly-released board games from Japan at this year's Osaka Game Market was approximately 164 titles. If you add to this the number of board games from overseas, TRPG, TCG, escape game books, traditional games, and puzzle games, the number would easily exceed 200 titles.
Pentaland is a medium-weight board game produced by Neugier, a student group from Kyoto University. Select a cell from the pentagonal action space and perform the action using the workers indicated there. While you are required to collect resources and construct buildings, the limited workers and spaces to place the resources call for management skills. The effects of some buildings may help your management, while some may impose restrictions in exchange for high scoring points.
KOBE (from luck movies) is a game about making profits by loading various trading items onto your ships. You can make higher profits by collecting fewer types of items, so try to minimize the types of items you have through means such as adjusting your hand and buying items from other players. The rule that allows you to buy items from other players facilitates a tactical gameplay.
Language-independent KOBE with beautiful illustration
Fuji 99 (from sangenya) is a race game to descend to the 99th basement floor of Mt. Fuji by drawing cubes from your bag and advancing your player pieces. Depending on the color of the cubes you have drawn, you may use some cards' special abilities or you may end up overdrawing. The game comes with story books (with multiple endings), and only the winner can read a backstory explaining why they were heading to the basement floor of Mt. Fuji.
Fuji 99 with a bizarre mystery
Colorful Pyramid (from Kocchiya) is a card placement game to tap the stones forming your pyramid in order to acquire more stones and stack them by placing those with matching colors and values on top of each other. You may also use divine special abilities to handle trouble.
A placed stone must match the color or value of the two stones directly below
Mr. Face is a new game from Oink Games, which has regularly participated in Game Market with a block booth. It is a game of conveying the situation stated on the chosen card to other players by placing and arranging facial parts on a blank face, like Fukuwarai (or "Lucky Laugh", a traditional Japanese game played around the Lunar New Year).
Surprisingly expressive with so few parts
"TAGPLAN" is a tool to facilitate the counting of children's activities, such as homework and household chores, by weekly calendar and sticky notes.
Just before this Game Market, nine board game cafés in the local Kansai region announced the "Board Game Selection". New and recently-released games sent for the selection were played at these cafes, and the most recommendable and best games were announced.
The selected games, such as Era of Hunting, which received the Best Game Award, were on display along with the trophy and leaflets at the venue. I hope that this event will be held again next year.
Lastly, I would like to mention some notable accessories. Pieces that may be used for TRPG and board games (from Suekichi Koubou) were being displayed on the Agricola board.
These wood-burned tags have messages such as "I'm off to the loo", "You're welcome at this table", and "Help me reduce my unplayed games", and they would be useful for situations frequented at board game gatherings.
The next events will be Game Market 2019 Spring (May 25 [Sat] - 26 [Sun]), Game Market 2019 Autumn (November 23 [Sat] - 24 [Sun]), and Osaka Game Market 2020 (March 8 [Sun]).
I've been focusing on publishing the game overview videos that we recorded at FIJ 2019 in Cannes, France — all 110 of them have now been published in this playlist! — and at GAMA Trade Show 2019 in Reno, Nevada — here are three to start us off! — so the regular BGG News posts have taken a back seat for the past few days. To tide you over for now, here are a tetrad of teasers for future releases:
• Belgian publisher Pearl Games has posted another teaser image for Troyes Dice, coming later in 2019. (Here's the first image from Dec. 2018.) You can almost hear all the characters saying, "Join us inside this box. Become one with us..." No?
• Since 2013, French publisher Purple Brain Creations has released nine titles in its "Tales & Games" series of children's games based on classic fables and fairy tales. In 2016 it started a parallel "Purple Brain Classics" line of games based on classic literature that's aimed at slightly older players than the "Tales & Games" line. Around the World in 80 Days was the first title in the series, followed by Oliver Twist in 2017, and now PBC has revealed the third title in this series on Facebook, this being a gilded new edition of Alberto Corral's Michael Strogoff, which Spanish publisher Devir Games released in 2017.
On our new BGG Express YouTube channel, a channel devoted to publication of lightly edited convention coverage videos, I pushed out thirty game overview videos yesterday, with nearly all of those videos highlighting a new or upcoming game that we saw at the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes in February 2019. So many videos!
We used to worry about flooding the regular BGG YouTube channel with these videos, overwhelming subscribers with dozens of links all at once, but that led to me spreading out their publication to such a degree that I'd still be publishing SPIEL videos in January of the following year. Now our goal is to publish quickly, link all of the videos to their respective game/designer/publisher page, then let people discover things as they will. You might not even be aware that such-and-such a game is due out in September 2019, but ideally once it does interest you, you'll find an overview video waiting for you.
Namiji features gameplay familiar to that in Tokaido: Players are traveling along a path that gives them the opportunity to stop and do something, and whoever is at the back of the pack takes the next turn. In that overarching description, the two games are identical. The details are what differ, though, and that's what Claude lays out in this overview video.
I'm sure that some people will say that they don't need more of the same, yet that's not usually an argument people make against something like Dominion, possibly because all of the sets have components that can be mixed together, making the boxed sets feel like one game sold in multiple packages, whereas this will be two separate games (similar to Ganz schön clever and Doppelt so clever, not to mention many Carcassonne titles).
• Bauza visited the BGG booth separately to talk a bit about Last Hope, the working title for a new edition of Ghost Stories coming from him and Repos Production. The prototype for this game was in about as basic a form as you could get — text on black and white cards — and Repos didn't want to show the game on camera, but the designer could talk about what's changing in the game, so he did. The game will have a medieval fantasy setting to differentiate it from the world of Ghost Stories, and the rules have been streamlined to remove multiple pages of details and exceptions that would trip up new players, ideally allowing you to focus solely on your impending defeat.
• Tom Lehmann's Res Arcana from Sand Castle Games debuted at FIJ 2019 and has now been released in retail outlets in France, while the U.S. release should take place in March 2019. At FIJ 2019, Lehmann and publisher Cyrille Daujean played two rounds of the game with me on camera to highlight how it plays and emphasize how I will never defeat them in this game.
I had played Res Arcana twice in pre-production form at BGG.CON 2018, previewing the game afterward, so I had already encountered what it feels like to be thrashed by experienced players. Daujean repeated the experience on camera at FIJ, setting up a combo from the first turn while I was still trying to figure out what my cards did. We'll all get more experience with this game soon enough, though, so perhaps some day I'll be able to come in third...
• At FIJ, we had a somewhat more open schedule than we do at shows like GAMA Trade Show, Gen Con, and SPIEL. I had scheduled more time per game to account for language issues (more on that later), and even doing that I had filled only half the schedule prior to the fair opening. Thus, I spent a lot of my time off camera visiting publisher booths to see who was interested in showing off games that we hadn't previously seen, which led to us showing dozens of prototypes of designs that won't appear in print until SPIEL '19 or even FIJ 2020. Apparently French designers and publishers love to publicly playtest games for months and months, and we got to benefit from that, although it's also caused me to create janky BGG game pages that have next to no info so that I can link the videos to them.
Anyway, one of the benefits of having so much open time is that we didn't have to focus solely on gameplay presentation. Thus, I scheduled time with artist Julien Delval to highlight the art that he created for Res Arcana, while also talking about some of the other work he's done over the past twenty years. In retrospect, I should have been better prepared and lined up questions in advance, but that's a lesson for the next time that I have such an opportunity.
• Thomas Planete's pick-up-and-deliver game Turbulences, co-designed with Samy Maronnier, was something I spotted while walking the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, and given the elaborate nature of the prototype, I knew we wanted to put it on camera as a still photo wouldn't do it justice. Planete creates many interesting dice as well as other all-wood gaming bits, and I was glad to feature a look at this unusual game that will be heading to Kickstarter sometime in 2019.
• One of the highlights of FIJ 2019 for me was getting to host designer Claude Leroy, creator of the fantastic abstract strategy game Gygès, to talk about the new Cosmoludo publishing line that is re-releasing some of his older titles while also bringing new games to market — or perhaps all of the titles have been previously released and we just don't have all of them in the BGG database as French-only abstract strategy games possibly don't have a huge fanbase on this site. We recorded overviews of three specific Cosmoludo titles as well, and those are among the 22 FIJ 2019 videos that remain to be published on BGG Express.
I greatly appreciate Leroy coming on the BGG livestream to demonstrate the games. Every time we post videos that feature non-native English speakers, we see a few comments from folks offended that the companies didn't have someone "competent" in English on hand to present their game, but I am incredibly thankful for all the effort that designers and publishers make to present their games on camera. They're passionate about what they do, and often they want to be the ones who present the games. I'm happy to trade some amount of fluency for passion because while you can generally find fluency anywhere, it's hard to replicate the passion that creators have for their work, and I'm glad that we can showcase it in the convention coverage that we do.
Following the revelation of not one, but two forthcoming licensed versions of Talisman in the past few weeks, U.S. publisher The OP (née USAopoly) has now revealed that it has yet another license coming to tabletops in the near future thanks to the scheduled Q2 2019 release of Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game.
This game is based on the original Die Hard movie from 1988, and as you might expect, it's a one-vs-many design for 2-4 players in which John McClane faces off against a group of armed individuals in a skyscraper. A summary of the gameplay from the publisher:
Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game uses one-versus-many, asymmetric gameplay to pit protagonist John McClane against others acting as thieves who are co-operating to foil the hero's plan, which is to save the hostages in the iconic Nakatomi Plaza high-rise. Movie buffs and hobby game enthusiasts will appreciate the game's distinct homage to the 1988 film, which packs rules and gameplay to the air vents with callbacks to Die Hard's most memorable scenes, characters, and events.
The game follows a three-act structure similar to the movie itself, and we'll publish an overview video of the gameplay that we recorded at GAMA Trade Show 2019 once the embargo on that item ends. For now, I'll leave you with this example from the press release of why movie executives aren't necessarily the best people to quote when trying to get players excited about a game announcement:
Federico San Martin, Vice President of Global Toys and Hardlines, 20th Century Fox Consumer Products added: "The Die Hard board game from USAopoly provides an engaging touch point for fans seeking a nostalgic trip back to Nakatomi Tower and, three decades after the film's release, allows a new generation of fans to play a unique game experience showcasing this incredible property."
Update, March 19: Player count adjusted to 2-4 instead of 3-8 following a correction from the publisher; the box image now shows a playing time of 60-90 minutes instead of 20 minutes.
GAMA Trade Show 2019 ran from March 11-15. For those who don't know, GTS is a trade-only event in which game retailers attend seminars for business advice and news of upcoming game releases, while also getting a hands-on look at what's being released thanks to an exhibit hall filled with publisher and distributor booths and multiple game nights in which they actually play things. One of the best ways for a publisher's game to find an audience is for retailers to champion that game to their customers, and GTS aims to make that happen by exposing retailers to hundreds of new and upcoming games.
BoardGameGeek was at GTS 2019, and we did our part to expose those new and upcoming games to players by livestreaming demonstrations for about twenty hours over three days. Videos of those demonstrations are included below, and you can see an approximate rundown of who presented which games at which time in this broadcast schedule that I posted ahead of GTS 2019. (We added in other publishers when we got ahead of schedule, and some folks showed up early as their phones autoshifted appointments due to time zone changes.)
In the weeks to come, we will chop these videos into individual segments and post them on the respective game and publisher pages in the BGG database as well as on our BGG Express YouTube channel, our new home for all the convention coverage we do.
I missed out on day three of our coverage as a virus hit me hard, leaving me driving the porcelain bus for hours until I pretty much collapsed due to weakness and dehydration, which led to a trip to the emergency room courtesy of Jon Cox. Many thanks to all for covering in my absence, and I'm almost back to normal as that virus stuck around just long enough to make Thursday, March 14, 2019 the worst Thursday that I've encountered in my life. Fingers crossed that record will stand until my death...
• UK publisher Osprey Games typically has a literature tie-in with its game releases, but that's not always the case, as with Undaunted: Normandy, a two-player card-based wargame from designers Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson that's due out August 2019. Here's a summary of the setting and gameplay:
June, 1944: Through the D-Day landings, the Allies have seized a foothold on the beaches of Normandy. Now you must lead your troops forward as you push deeper into France and drive the German forces back. You will face intense resistance, machine gun fire, and mortar bombardment, but a great commander can turn the situation to their advantage!
Undaunted: Normandy is a deck-building game that places you and your opponent in command of American or German forces, fighting through a series of missions critical to the outcome of World War II. Use your cards to seize the initiative, bolster your forces, or control your troops on the battlefield. Strong leadership can turn the tide of battle in your favor, but reckless decisions could prove catastrophic as every casualty you take removes a card from your deck. Take charge amidst the chaos of battle, hold fast in the face of opposition, and remain undaunted.
• While I was away at multiple cons in February, Green Couch Games revealed its next release, with this being a bigger box than what they normally release. Here's an overview of the 2-4 player game Darwinauts from designer Chris Bryan, with the game hitting Kickstarter in Q2 2019 ahead of a planned Q4 2019 release:
Congratulations! After decades of hard work, scientists have opened a portal to another dimension filled with alien life. You are one of the few brave enough to venture into this exciting but dangerous new land to research and record new species. The world watches to see the discoveries that will be uncovered. The media has dubbed you and your comrades "The Darwinauts" for daring to go beyond to record the new origins of species. You must work quickly to bring back records of the most exotic lifeforms to secure your place in history, but be careful, the portal is unstable and won't remain open for long... The Rift is coming!
During the course of Darwinauts, a player takes two actions on their turn, selecting from five possible actions: place an explorer, place a tile, replenish tiles and remove explorers, discover a species, and record a species. When recording a species, a player immediately takes one of five possible bonus actions that allow the player to set themselves up for future turns or alter the landscape. Players continue to take turns until The Rift tile is revealed, making the portal to the new world unstable. Once The Rift begins, players add an additional phase to their turns, taking part in dismantling the landscape they have opened up for exploration. The game comes to a close as they race to complete their tasks and return home. When the game ends, players receive prestige points for their recorded species and bonuses are earned for specializing in specific sets of species.
Terramara is the name of the villages founded around 1500 B.C., mid- to late Bronze Age, in Northern Italy. People lived, travelled, and traded between the Alps mountain range and the river Po. The main occupations of the Terramara people were hunting, farming and metallurgy, casting bronze tools like axe heads in stone molds. The houses in the villages were built on piles, meaning each house is built above the ground, supported by wooden stakes.
In Terramara, you play as the chief of a clan living in one of these villages. Your goal is to develop your clan, exploring lands farther away to trade with other villages, and reach sacred places. You improve your battle strength and discover new technologies to create useful artefacts. The player who develops the best clan by gaining more development points becomes leader of all of Terramara and wins the game!
In this co-operative game for 2-6 players, everyone plays simultaneously, attempting to deliver as many goods as possible, with the color of a goods cube indicating its destination city. Players control one or more cities, and goods can be moved to neighboring cities only on trains run by personnel. To do this, you pick up and physically hand the train to your neighbor, ideally not dropping anything in the process. Personnel can't move more than one stop from their city, so the receiving player needs to swap in their personnel or move goods to a train in their city.
Everything happens in real time, and you have a lot to track all over the place. Game time is ten minutes total after set-up.
• German publisher Frosted Games is stepping up the number of titles it's releasing in 2019, with Andreas Odendahl's Cooper Island being targeted for a SPIEL '19 release. Here's an overview of this 1-4 player game:
In the age of exploration, the players arrive at a new home far away from their homeland. They try to colonize the big island, and each player tries to explore one part of it by placing landscape tiles. Landscape tiles grant resources and those are used to erect buildings with special abilities. Barriers on the island have to be removed in order to explore the island even further. Players build valuable statues and supply ships get them the supplies from the old world they need to be a successful settler on Cooper Island.
The special thing about Cooper Island is the way the players mark their victory points. They take small ship markers around the island to show their progress. On their way around the island, they find smaller islands on shore that grant valuable benefits. After six rounds, a game of Cooper Island ends and the player who developed the best and went on furthest with their ships will win.
• In the category of "games I missed months ago", we have Chad Jensen's Dominant Species: Marine from GMT Games, which is a standalone game similar in nature to the 2010 Dominant Species, but with the action taking place in the water as players use their chosen trait card to try to take control of their surroundings. The easiest and longest way to see what's going on in this design is to watch this two-hour tutorial and playthrough video from Paul Grogan. You don't have anything else to do right now anyway, do you?
Italy, late Middle Ages: The fabric merchants need to write down their contracts in a language that everyone can understand, and the literates are looking for an alternative to the elite of the traditional Latin language, so the Volgare, the language spoken by the common people, taken from the dialects spoken in the various Italian regions, starts to gain relevance. During this period, Francesco D'Assisi writes his famous Canticle of the Sun and Dante writes the Divine Comedy, both written in Volgare.
In De Vulgari Eloquentia, players have to do their part in the creation of this new language! But who will provide them the proper knowledge to understand the manuscripts in the different dialects? Who will successfully uncover the secrets of the books inside the Papal Library? Who will embrace the religious life, and who will remain a merchant? Some of the players can become a famous banker, someone else can climb the church's hierarchy to be the next Pope! But in the end, who will be the most appreciated and respected for their status and culture?
The aim of the game is to obtain more Volgare points. The players gain VP from reading manuscripts and looking for important documents like the Canticle of the Sun or "The Riddle from Verona". Players can also gain VP by improving their social status, for example, if the merchant becomes a banker or the Friar becomes a Benedictine Monk or the Cardinal becomes Camerlengo or Pope. Moreover, VP can be gotten with money and with the support of Politicians, Noblemen, Abbesses, and the Amanuensis.