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W. Eric Martin
A game news round-up to kick off your weekend, starting with a surprising award winner that hits the market the same day it took home the prize:
• The winners of L'As d'Or 2011 – the game of the year awards given out at the annual Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France – have been announced. According to Jedisjeux, Hervé Marly's Skull & Roses won the l'As d'Or – despite the game not being available for sale until the opening of this year's Festival! Clearly this game has something special going on if it's already attracted this much love. S.O.S. Octopus won in the children's category, and 7 Wonders took home the jury prize.
• Richard van Vugt at Gamepack.nl has posted his Nürnberg 2011 report, which includes overviews of upcoming releases from twenty publishers. Richard always takes nice shots at conventions, and he has additional details about Hans im Glück's Pantheon along with the awesomely bizarre cover of Queen's Paris Connection. Lots of good stuff here.
• Tric Trac has posted 125 images from the 2011 NY Toy Fair, kicking off with an unusually pensive shot of Roberto Fraga and ending with Ken crying out to the public to convince Barbie to take the stiff back as a boyfriend.
• As reported on TricTrac, French publisher Ystari Games will release a magazine focusing on its line of games, with the first issue on display at the Cannes game festival at the end of February 2011 and available in stores and via the Ystari website in April 2011.
• Valley Games reports that the new printing of Ignacy Trzewiczek's Stronghold is shipping to retailers.
• GMT Games will start shipping reprints of both Dominant Species and Battle Line the week of Feb. 28, 2011.
• Gaming site FatherGeek.com is giving away three copies of Tasty Minstrel's party game Train of Thought. Deadline for entry is March 7, 2011.
• Online gaming site Brettspielwelt will add 7 Wonders to its offerings as of February 27, 2011, according to Spielbox.
• Pearl Games is apparently distributing four new cards for its debut release Troyes at the Cannes games festival. Those who can't make the show can download an English version of the cards (PDF) and start cutting.
• Daniel Solis is trying to inspire designers to think long-term by presenting them with The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge. Here's a summary of the challenge: "The game can be of any theme or genre you desire, but there is one restriction: You're creating a 'new classic', like Chess, Tag or card games. So, create a game to be enjoyed by generations of players for a thousand years." Deadline for entry is July 31, 2011.
• Abacusspiele is holding a contest for three copies of Michael Schacht's new card game Gold! To have a chance of winning, you need to figure out the best plays to make in a game situation presented by Abacus' Matthias Wagner. As an additional prize, one participant who answers correctly will receive 50 GeekGold.
• No link for this item, but Chris Comeaux passed along the following note: "This month Wired has a one pager featuring, wait for it... Dominant Species, Race for the Galaxy, and Twilight Struggle. This is noteworthy to me if only because of the games covered."
• Perhaps this is old news to y'all, but Gamification.org has a nice PDF of The Gamer Brain, a chart showing "seven types of reward centers" in the brain and how those centers related to gaming and a gamer's personality. Rob Beeson gets the credit.
Ralf zur Linde
TIS DA PIMP
People have always been enchanted by mnemonics as they help us memorize things that might otherwise be forgotten. If you look closely at what mnemonics are, you realize that they are often nothing more than short stories – and the more outrageous, funny or bizarre these stores are, the better we can remember them. Some stories will never be forgotten and will be carried with us for a lifetime.
Game designers tend to monitor their environment for things that can be turned into board games, and sometime in 2007 the idea came to me to capture the essence of mnemonics – that is, mini-stories – in something exciting and fun for the game table. The aim was to have players invent in the first stage of the game their own mini-stories, preferably in an exciting way so that other players would be able to remember the stories in the second stage, with some time passing between the two stages. What could more challenging than to take everyday objects that at first have nothing to do with one another, then wrap them together in mini-stories!
And so I started drawing images that I then pasted onto small cardboard tiles. The resulting 120 image tiles would be placed face-down at the edge of the table. On a player's turn, he would reveal two image tiles, then tell a mini-story about the two objects that would ideally allow players to recall the two images as a cohesive unit later in the game. If, for example, the player revealed tiles showing "stool" and "beer bottle", he might invent the following mini-story:
In my youth, we had an infamous dare in which we'd challenge someone to hold a beer bottle steady in one hand for ten minutes while standing on a stool balanced on only one leg. Few survived that dare as they'd drink the beer first, then could hardly stand on the stool using both legs.
The two tiles "stool" and "beer bottle" would then be placed face-down in separate stacks in the middle of the table. After 20-30 tiles were placed into each of these stacks, the first part of the game would end and no more stories would be added to the players' bulging memories. Now would begin the resolution stage of the game. On a turn, a player would reveal a tile from either of the two stacks, then would have to name the second matching tile still hidden in the other stack. So if you revealed "stool", you'd have to say "beer bottle", earning a victory point chip if you did and losing one if you goofed.
The basic concept of the game was already quite apparent, but somehow it felt too light and trivial. All the players who tested the game found the resolution stage incredibly easy as the previously told story had anchored "stool" and "beer bottle" firmly in their memories. It's hard for a player to forgot a mnemonic, and weeks or even months later we were able to recall mnemonics created during a game. For this reason, the game idea disappeared into the drawer.
More than a year later, now in 2009, I dug out the prototype and showed it to my friend Stefan Dorra, with whom I had once again begun to develop games. Stefan was as excited by the mnemonic/mini-story foundation as I was, so we decided to work on the game more. Stefan also quickly realized that the way players resolved the two stacks in the second half of the game was much too simple. While I had never considered anything other than players revealing two tiles at once, Stefan thought that players should instead reveal three tiles. I was skeptical of the idea and had doubts that players would be able to remember everything, but I learned a lesson. While the difficulty of the game did increase, players were still able to name the missing tiles in most cases – but not always, and that's the way it should be. The right mix of fun and challenge seemed to be in place.
But Stefan then realized another problem, namely the lack of interaction. This problem was solved in a major breakthrough due to one additional mechanism, namely the common resolution of the mnemonics. Now all players other than the one who created the mnemonic would have to resolve it!
To make this happen, the storyteller would distribute the three tiles to the other players in clockwise order, with each player receiving one tile and keeping it secret from others. The players, some of whom had a piece of information about the story, would have to name a tile held by another player. Thanks to this breakthrough, we shifted from one player resolving a story to everyone doing it. This new system was wonderfully interactive because the distribution of tiles across the table had the effect of creating partnerships among the players. Getting other players to work together in a joint effort to recreate a tale placed a lot of responsibility on the storyteller, so to reward the successful remembering of a story, we decided the storyteller would receive an additional victory point chip.
The last major problem to be solved on the way to a finished game involved the rigidity of play. The game still had a strict separation between the two halves of play, with mnemonics being created in the first half, then resolved in the second half. Then the game ended. Thus, it was imperative that the two halves merge with one another in some way. This cross-penetration was achieved by overlapping the two actions – creating and resolving – starting in the third round of play. Starting in this round, a player would do two things on his turn: 1) Build a new mnemonic and 2) Resolve the oldest mnemonic he had created. Using this structure, we determined that the playing time should be seven rounds, with rounds 1 and 2 being devoted to mnemonic creation (building the "three-stack" of tiles), rounds 3-5 involving both creation and resolution, and rounds 6 and 7 resolving the final two series of mnemonics. Since we kept noticing that players still resolved the mnemonics all too easily, we decided to raise the stakes. Thus, while the first two rounds would still involve the creation of three-tile mnemonics, in the next two rounds players had to create stories with four images and in the final round with five images.
To track the seven rounds and the actions in each of them, we used a round marker set on a game board in the center of the table. Then we realized that the scoring system we had been using, one that tracked the successes and failures of players during mnemonic resolution, could be incorporated into this round tracker as the victory point chips were of little practical use. Now every player was represented by a pawn on a linear scoring track, a track that was an ugly scrawl to begin with but quickly beautified. Whoever was able to resolve a mnemonic would move his pawn ahead two spaces, while the one who had told the story would advance one space. Whoever got the story wrong would fall back one space.
It was now Autumn 2009, and after numerous tests we were extremely pleased with our game, so we brought Eselsbrücke – that being the German word for "mnemonics", the literal translation of which is "donkey bridge" – to Spiel 2009 in Essen, Germany to show to Thorsten Gimmler from Schmidt Spiele. Thorsten liked the basic idea of the game, and we were delighted when a few weeks later he offered a licensing agreement for the game.
Nevertheless, the game at that time had not reached its final form. Many other tests had shown that all too often players forgot to advance and move back their pawns on the scoring track. This was due to the enormous amount of emotion coming from players due to wacky stories and the thrilling moments when a mnemonic was resolved. It was clear that the scoring had to braided into the game play so that it would happen without players even noticing.
So we did further editorial work on the game and devised a new and much more practical scoring system. As a result, the game board and pawns disappeared and the image tiles themselves become the score indicator. This new scoring mechanism is far more clever: When a player names an image tile held by an opponent, that opponent hands over the tile and the player adds that tile to his stack of VPs on the table. Anyone who messes up a story resolution has to discard one or more tiles. To reward the storyteller, a newly introduced image tile is placed on his stack whenever a story is resolved correctly by the other players.
This additional tile represents a victory point for the storyteller, but it also serves a second function. If a player has to give up chips due to an incorrect guess – with the penalty for mistakes rising from one tile to seven as the game progresses – he can now stop handing in chips after discarding a Stop Tile from his stack. (If he must lose five tiles, for example, and a Stop Tile is the third tile down in his stack, then he loses only three tiles.) Thanks to this bonus, Stop Tiles are extremely popular in the final game, and they inspire players to create really inventive mnemonics so that others can remember them with ease. To make it easy for players to stack their tiles between rounds and help them recall which stack is for which mnemonic and how many tiles must be paid for a false memory, we introduced a new player board to track all this information.
The final version of the player board, showing stacks of tiles from completed stories to be distributed on future turns
In the many other tests that followed, the only changes to the rules came from special cases that occasionally occur, such as a player needing to name the last tile in a mnemonic while holding that tile in hand. Thus, our main focus for the final phase in 2010 was the graphical implementation for the game, and thankfully Schmidt was able to get Michael Menzel to handle the design and artwork. Schmidt had also decided to include 180 tiles in the game – 50% more than were in the prototype – so there was much to do, but eventually we did have 180 images with no duplication.
Over the summer of 2010, we received about a half-dozen new images each week for review, and once again we realized how excellent Michael is, for not only are the pictures clear and meaningful, but they also play a part in the creation of a mini-story. The tile for "Autumn", for example, shows not only the brown leaves you'd expect, but also a walker whose leashed dog is being carried away by the wind; the tile for "gap-toothed" shows a victorious boxer who would be better off wearing a mouth guard in future fights. These "primed" illustrations help players to create mnemonics more spontaneously.
In closing, I'd like to offer special thanks not only to Thorsten Gimmler for his outstanding editorial work, but also to Michael Menzel for the particularly accomplished drawings.
Ralf zur Linde
(This diary was translated from the German by BGG News editor W. Eric Martin, with assistance from my conveniently German exchange student, Bahar Mahzari. I take responsibility for any mistakes added to the diary. Any improvements, too. —WEM)
W. Eric Martin
When you talk about a release schedule for publisher/distributor Asmodee, you have to be clear which part of the world is being discussed as Asmodee has outposts across the globe. Spain, France, Germany, Canada – Asmodee is akin to SPECTRE or KAOS in its reach and penetration of the game industry, but it's delivering games and not attempts at world domination or nude bombs, so an international presence is nothing to fear.
Now without further ado, here's the current North American release schedule for Asmodee. Note that more titles will likely be added to the list as the year progresses. I've noted the original publisher of a title when possible if Asmodee is serving as distributor.
• 7 Wonders – restock from a new printing of this Antoine Bauza/Repos Production hotness.
• Dixit – restock of this Spiel des Jahres winner from Libellud.
• Bugs & Co – a new Libellud title from Bruno Faidutti and the designers behind Jungle Speed.
• Identik expansions #1 & 2 – presumably Identik expansions Bleu and Rouge (released in Europe in 2010) with new names for a new market.
• 7 Wonders – yet another restock from yet another printing.
• Gosu – restock of this Moonster Games release.
• Cyclades expansion – for details on this item, take a listen to co-designer Bruno Cathala in this video from Asmodee.
• Felinia – a new Michael Schacht design from Matagot that appeared in extremely small numbers at Spiel 2010 due to production issues.
• Galapa Go! – a new title from MJ Games, a publisher which never responds to my requests for more info. Bummer.
• Gosu: Kamakor – an expansion for Kim Satô's fantastic card game, introducing five new goblin clans.
• PIX – a game from Swiss publisher GameWorks in which players emulate old school video games by trying to render images with as few pixels as possible.
• Sultans – another new title from MJ Games.
• Vizia – still another new title from MJ Games.
• Dice Town expansion – the Cathala interview linked to under Cyclades has info on this title, too.
• Dixit 2 – restock
• Dixit Odyssey – a new expansion/stand-alone game from Jean-Louis Roubira and Libellud.
• Fame Us – a party game from designer Christophe Hermier and Moonster Games.
• 7 Wonders: Leaders – undoubtedly only the first expansion for this addictive title from Antoine Bauza.
• Claustrophobia expansion – Croc's short description of the expansion: "Lots of scenarios and a bit of everything: tiles, cards, minis for both humans and demons."
• Dr. Shark – a new title from Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala being produced by Hurrican; for a, um, highly evocative (but not very informative) take on the game, check out this video on Jeux sur un Plateau, recorded at Nürnberg 2011.
• Evo – as mentioned in this BGG News post, Asmodee has ressurected the Descartes brand, and a new edition of Philippe Keyaerts' Evo will be the first release in the new line.
• Timeline: Inventions – the Frédéric Henry design released as Timeline by Hazgaard Editions in late 2010.
• Ghost Stories: Black Secret – as noted in this BGG News post; nothing more than a title from this Repos Production release at the moment.
• Texas Zombies – a new version of Ryo Kawakami's Cat & Chocolate from Moonster Games, with zombies replacing the spirits and haunted house elements of the Japanese production.
• Timeline: Discoveries – a sequel/expansion to the first Timeline game, which is due out May 2011 in France.
For comparison, you might be interested in checking out the 2011 releases from Asmodee Ibérica – the Spanish wing of Asmodee – as reported on JugamosTod@s. Some of the titles on that list might still show up in North America, whether from Asmodee or other publishers.
W. Eric Martin
The French gaming sites are loaded with info about titles that will be released or shown at Festival International des Jeux de Cannes – an annual game festival in Cannes, France taking place February 25-27 in 2011. Here is a sampling of the titles being shown there, along with other game announcements and updates on forthcoming titles:
• According to designer Antoine Bauza, Belgian publisher Repos Production will be showing off both the Leaders expansion for 7 Wonders and the second expansion for Ghost Stories known as Black Secret. Both items are still in prototype for now, with nothing more than a name for Black Secret, but woot!
• As reported on Jeux sur un Plateau, the first game from the newly revived Jeux Descartes will be a new edition of Philippe Keyaerts' Evo with a complete graphics overhaul to replace the cartoony dinosaurs with weighty, realistic beasts. Advance (and non-final) images are posted on the Asmodee website.
• The bluffing card game Skull & Roses from Hervé Marly – not yet released but still in the running for this year's l'As d'Or, a French game of the year award – now has its own website, with rules in German, French, Dutch and Spanish. The game is scheduled to debut at Cannes in February 2011.
• Tric Trac reports that Christophe Boelinger will be at Cannes with his company Ludically to show off projects currently in the works, including a two-player card game Castle, an abstract game for 2-4 players called Sarena, a party game called Rimes et Rap that comes with its own CD of music, and the next expansion for Dungeon Twister, one featuring lots of traps.
• Jedisjeux reports that Libellud will not only release Bugs & Co. at Cannes and show off the previously announced Dixit Odyssey, but it will also have a third new game: Et Toque! Nothing more than the names of the designers – Barbara Turquier and Emmanuelle Piard – and a tiny cover showing chefs is available for now.
• Alderac Entertainment Group has announced Thunderstone: Thornwood Siege, with a release date of June 2011. Here's the short description: "This expansion to Thunderstone introduces new monsters such as the Raiders and Siege Engines which bring the battle to you! These monsters can destroy cards in the village, kill heroes not yet hired, and even hurt you on turns when you are avoiding the dungeon!"
• Sands of Time Games is releasing a small card-based expansion for Catacombs titled Dark Passageways.
• Spanish publisher nestorgames has released Javier García's Mecca. Rules posted in English on the Mecca page on the nestorgames website.
• Purple Pawn has posted an overview of Battleship Galaxies, which is due out from Hasbro in Q2/Q3 2011.
• Fantasy Flight Games has posted rules (PDF) for Mansions of Madness.
• Designer Michael Schacht has posted an image of the extra cards for his card game Coloretto that were included in a recent Abacusspiele catalog – "Katalog-Edition 11". Time to download and cut!
• Pegasus Spiele has posted a new German-language scenario called "Die Gruft" (The Tomb) for Quest: Zeit der Helden.
W. Eric Martin
A guy takes a couple of days off, and the games spring up everywhere. Let's get to them...
• APE Games has launched a Kickstarter funding program for Kevin G. Nunn's Rolling Freight. Said APE's Kevin Brusky when announcing this program: "I've been working for well over a year on APE Games' most ambitious game yet... This will be by far [our] most expensive game to date, and that's why I'm asking for your help." APE Games is hoping to raise $18,000, or the equivalent of 300 preorders. Head to the Kickstarter page for a video from Brusky giving an overview of the game. The (non-final) rulebook is available on APE's Rolling Freight page.
• In other news from APE Games, Order of the Stick Adventure Game: The Shortening – an expansion announced at least as far back as 2009 – is headed to the printer with an expected release date of Q3 2011. The Shortening will be sold on its own, in addition to being packaged in the forthcoming Order of the Stick: Deluxe Edition, also due out Q3 2011.
• Canadian publisher Le Scorpion Masqué is launching its largest game project to date: the release of Québec from Philippe Beaudoin and Pierre Poissant-Marquis at Spiel 2011 in October. Here's a brief description from the publisher:
Québec puts players in charge of rich families, whose goal is to brand history with their name by being active participants in the construction of the city throughout its four centuries.
Québec is a true representation of its people: strong European roots and a very American personality. With Québec, players will discover a game rich with European mechanisms as well as strong player interactions and theme, some of the key aspects of American games.
The players' goal is to gain prestige by building 44 historical buildings found in the city of Québec, including the Royal Battery, the Parliement, the Notre-Dame Basilica and of course, the famous Château Frontenac. The players will also want to be recognized as influencial figures in the various zones of power: religion, politics, commerce and culture. Any contribution to the Citadelle will also be well regarded. Québec introduces a brilliant new game mechanism called "cascade"; at the end of each century, the majority player in a zone of power will be able to cascade half of his workers in the next zone, allowing him to score more points and eventually, obtain even more majorities.
• Fantasy Flight Games has announced a "new" game from Wilko Manz called Black Gold. I say "new" as the game appears to be the same as the 1999 release Gigaten from Kosmos, with tweaks and variants and a player count of 2-5 instead of 3-4. (Since it's not clear how distinct the two games are, for now BGG will list them separately, merging them in the future should they turn out to be cousins or closer.)
• Fantasy Flight has also announced another expansion for Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror, which includes components that can be mixed with all of the previous expansions, in addition to being playable with only the base game.
• Steve Jackson Games is shipping two items to stores: the new edition of Give Me the Brain from James Ernest and the Munchkinomicon booster pack, which can be added to any of the many Munchkin games from SJG.
• French site Jeux sur un Plateau has published a video demonstration of Kramer and Kiesling's King Arthur, coming from alea in Q2 2011, that was filmed at Nürnberg 2011. Of note to alea fans is the presence of German, English and French text on the game box and cards. Clearly alea is trying to avoid the lag time between release in Europe and the U.S., which was around six months for both Macao and Glen More, by putting three languages in one box. Bravo!
Paolo Vallerga has released a number of games through his own company Scribabs that pay as much attention to the graphics and art as they do to the game design, Star System or Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas being two such examples.
The next release from Scribabs – due out in October 2011 at Spiel, with rules in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch – will feature another blending of art and design: 011 from Marco Valtriani. Here's an overview of the game: "011 is a study of 1800s esotericism in a steampunk setting that involves the Swedish symphonic metal band Therion." And in case that summary only whets your appetite, here's a longer write-up:
011 is set in a ucronic time, during an undefined "year 011". The world can be described as an alternate version of the 19th century. Science is deeply bound with esotericism, as many religions and creeds coexist with philosophies and convictions in a cauldron of cultures and ideals that is both challenging and frightening at the same time.
Events take place in Turin. Turin, everyone knows, is a magical town. To be precise, Turin has the highest concentration of mystical energies on the whole planet, as it's the only city belonging to both the black magic triangle – with London and San Francisco – and the white magic triangle, with Prague and Lyon.
A cold and long winter is raging: Three years ago the snow started to fall and never stopped. The Fimbulvetr of the Norse legends is ending and so Ragnarök is coming. Eight brilliant scientists discover the lost tome of the "Edda", which explains that the only way to stop Ragnarök is to discover a man whose future is completely obscure, a man called the Chosen One. The Chosen One must play a Mystical Song with the magical Pipe Organ hidden somewhere in the city, or the world as we know it will end.
But Ragnarök can also be a new beginning for the righteous ones! One of the investigators opens his soul to Fenrir's spirit, and from that moment he works in the name of the Wolf God to discover the Chosen One. Killing him will let Ragnarök start and will grant to this man an eternal life in the Gimlé!
How does Therion tie into the game? The members of the band, including founder Christofer Johnsson, play the part of protagonists in the game, and they're so involved that in June 2011 they will create a video – written by Paolo Vallerga and made by Silos Production – in which the band performs as their alter egos in the game.
You can read a longer game preview in Italian on Gioconomicon.net.
W. Eric Martin
Time to follow-up on this Feb. 15, 2011 post in which I laid out the release schedule for Mayfair Games and its new FunFair brand for much of 2011. I've now received the 2011 Mayfair Games catalog, which includes descriptions for all of the games listed in that post, so I've created game entries for the following titles:
From Mayfair, due out in the second half of 2011:
• First Bull Run: A Test of Fire
• Five Points: The Politics of New York
• Giza: The Great Pyramid
• Rivals for Catan Expansion Deck
• Steam Map Expansion #1
• Urbania (working title)
And from FunFair:
• Badger! Badger!
• Double Double Dominoes
• Rocket Jockey
For now most of these game pages contain only a publisher's description of the game, which skews toward the thematic and hyperbolic while avoiding any description of the actual mechanisms of game play. (That's not what catalogs are for, so no surprise there.)
That said, me adding these game pages to BGG doesn't represent a change in policy toward what constitutes an acceptable game submission. Part of my job as BGG News editor is to get games into the database more quickly so that users can ask questions, report on prototype play sessions, add details to the listing, and so on – while also tracking these games in the future in order to update their descriptions once more information is available. When a BGG user submits a game for addition to the BGG database, both theme and the mechanisms of play need to be included as in many cases the game description will not be updated to include more details. I'm updating game descriptions as I can when I run across skimpy write-ups – mostly on 2011 releases – but there's a limit to how much I can do, which is why in general we'll aim for more comprehensive descriptions. Thanks!
W. Eric Martin
Lots of info about new games in this round-up, some items referencing material already talked about on BGG and some not:
• Designer Tom Lehmann gives an overview of Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts, the next story arc in his RftG universe. More comments from Lehmann about the expansion's setting and other details in this BGG thread.
• Colby Dauch of Plaid Hat Games has posted info on BGG about Summoner Wars: Master Set, which contains six new factions, and two new reinforcement packs, all of which is due out June 2011.
• Claude Leroy's Gyges is being released in a new edition from French publisher Gigamic, matching the style of Quoridor, Quarto and the other abstract classics in that game line. Due date is June/July 2011.
• Two Age of Steam expansions from Eagle Games/FRED Distribution should be available in U.S. stores before the end of February. The first, Age of Steam: Mexico & China, pairs half of one Steam Brothers expansion with half of another, with the maps being hard-mounted instead of sealed in plastic. The second, Age of Steam: Time Traveler, is a new expansion from Charlie Bink and Sean Brown in which players travel from one "era" (i.e., game board) to another through portals on the edges of each board.
Brown notes that the Mexico & China expansion is slightly too big for the AoS box, akin to what happened with the 2010 release of AoS: Germany & France, but both maps fit in the Time Traveler box, a box added to present gamers with a solution for this problem. What's more, the next Age of Steam expansion from Eagle – AoS: Moon/Berlin Wall, pairing two of Alban Viard's previous creations and due out Q3 2011 – will be packaged in a similar box.
• Fantasy Flight Games has posted rules for Tide of Iron: Fury of the Bear (PDF), BattleLore: Code of Chivalry (PDF) and Anima: Twilight of the Gods (PDF).
• Alderac Entertainment Group has posted rules for Nightfall (PDF).
• French publisher Gigamic is releasing Die Sieben Siegel, aka Wizard Extreme, under the title Les 7 Sceaux.
• White Goblin Games has announced a March 12, 2011 release date for Get Nuts (Man, I cannot wait for Gone Cardboard to be functional once again...)
• Dutch publisher 999 Games has picked up 1655: Habemus Papam, which debuted at Spiel 2010 from DDD Verlag. The Dutch edition is due out Q2 2011.
• Designer Andrea Meyer posted the following on a Facebook update in Feb. 2011: "In Essen 2011 and Nürnberg 2012 two of my games will be published with bigger companies. Wait to be surprised!"
• Frederic Moyersoen teases a new card game for 2-4 players due out April 2011.
• Toy Vault has released final images of Richard Berg's Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars, due out in Q2 2011. Here's a shot of all the bits and pieces, including buildings ready to be taken down by the big guy himself:
• Old news, but better to publish than delete from my files, I think. Repos Production has released "The Cursed Children", a scenario for Ghost Stories: White Moon, on its website in English, French and German. In this scenario, the children of the villagers are most at risk of being killed by the forces of Wu-Feng; if one does fall, instead of being placed in the cemetery, the token occupies a ghost space on a monk's board. The only way to bring peace to the child's troubled soul – not to mention free up the space so that Wu-Feng doesn't overrun you – is to visit the cemetery tile. Visit one of the three pages to download the game board and rules for this scenario.
• In the category of "designer/publisher most likely to receive a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer", I present Ferris Bueller's Day Off Board Game.
• Finally, games recently added to the BGG database that might merit a look or two include Québec (which has been kicking around from publisher to publisher for years and is now at Le Scorpion Masqué), Pamplona (Ghenos Games), Conquest of Nerath (Wizards of the Coast), Guards! Guards! (Z-Man Games), Princes of the Dragon Throne (Clever Mojo Games) and Atlantis Rising (Z-Man Games), with designer Galen Ciscell writing a designer diary on the game page.
W. Eric Martin
Lots of posts from hither, thither and yon – mostly yon:
• Herb Levy's Gamers Alliance has a NY Toy Fair 2011 report that covers all the games that I've written about in my Toy Fair reports – with 100% less sassmouth – and many more games beside.
• Ystari Games is overhauling the graphics for Caylus: the cover, the game board and the tiles.
• Justin Gary's Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer will be released as an iOS app in May 2011, as noted on the Ascension website.
• Fantasy Flight Games is holding a deck-building contest for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.
• As noted on ICv2, Games Workshop has acquired "exclusive worldwide rights to produce tabletop games based on" The Hobbit, which builds on the publisher's six-year agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products. (HT: vandemonium)
• German publisher Hans im Glück has posted a short video of its experience during the Nürnberg 2011 Toy Fair, complete with a soundtrack straight out of Ocean's 11 and a shot of an enormous Carcassonne 10th anniversary cake. If only all trade fairs could be so hip...
• If you're looking for more video explanations of board games, 5 Minutos por Jeugo has a fun approach, with lots of music and graphic effects in their creations – all of which are available in Spanish and some of which are available in English and French. Not an approach for everyone, but for me more interesting than "Hi there! This is a game..." presentations.
• Designer David Whitcher has passed along an update on the Protospiel Card Game Design contest, details of which can be found on Whitcher's PyroMyth Games website.
The first round of judging is complete with the following ten advancing to the semi-finals:Al-KimiaCard FarmDinner with Sir Edward LindseyMission ControlMow MoneyOracleSafe HouseVenesiaVaudevilleWacky Stacks
These entries will be judged for Enjoyment (0-10 pts), Easy of play (0-5 pts) & Originality (0-5 pts). The four top scoring games will go to Protospiel 2011
(July 8, 9 and 10 Ann Arbor, Michigan) for final judging.
Thanks again to our sponsors: Alliance Game Distributors, Delano Services, and ElfinWerks
• Finally, passes to Gen Con 2011 were part of a prize package on long-running daytime game show The Price Is Right. Details of this odd and misplaced promotion on LivingDice.com.
W. Eric Martin
Canadian publisher Filosofia – which publishes games in French and licenses editions in English, German and other languages – has released a publishing schedule for 2011. The titles are a mix of new and new-to-French. Here's the breakdown, with info on the new titles when possible:
• Le Secret de Monte Cristo – coming in German from eggertspiele and in English from Z-Man Games.
• Spring Fever, from Friedemann Friese – here's a summary of the game play as described on TricTrac: The game consists of a deck of cards with flowers (valued at 3) and snails (valued -1 to -10). The first player draws four cards, keeps what he claims is the lowest valued card, then passes the cards to the left. This player draws a card, keeps the lowest (wink wink) card, then passes the rest. If a player believes his neighbor cheated, he calls him out; if correct, the liar gets all the snails in the card going around, while losing his best card to the accuser. Most points wins. (3-6 players, 8+, 20 minutes)
• Carcassonne: Comte, roi et brigand (extension #6)
• Carcassonne: Édition 10e anniversaire
• Fortunes de Mer (aka, Merchants & Marauders)
• Les Princes de Catane (aka, The Rivals for Catan)
• Dominion: Abondance (aka, Cornucopia)
• Mégawatts: Extension Russie/Japon (aka, the new Power Grid expansion)
• Bratva – described as follows in the Filosofia catalog: "Take control of neighborhoods in Moscow in fights without mercy or without a care for where your shots fall. Secret agents, car bombs, internal crises – lying is your best weapon." (3-6 players, 8+, 30 minutes)
• El Grande: La Totale – a French version of Rio Grande's "Decennial Edition" that contains all the expansions to date.
Games without dates
• Equilibrion – described as follows in the catalog: "In this game full of poetry, you must find the best balance possible in the different quarters of an imaginary city – but beware of the impending chaos that could turn everything upside-down." (1-2 players, 12+, 90 minutes)
• Les Piliers de la Terre: Le Jeu de Cartes
• Panthéon – the new Bernd Brunnhofer design from Hans im Glück (2-5 players, 12+, 90 minutes)
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