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AMIGO Welcomes 2018 with Monster Attacks, Cat Stacks, Bean Tracks, and Color Attacks

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The year 2018 has just begun, and German publisher AMIGO Spiel has already announced its new titles for the first half of the year. What's more, it says that these games will be available in stores within a week or two! Yes, 2017 is dead and gone, and we're ready to dive in detail into new games, starting with Steffen Benndorf's Verflucht!

Benndorf makes quick-playing games with simple rules and is best known for Qwixx and The Game, both Spiel des Jahres nominees in Germany. Verflucht! mirrors The Game in that it's a cooperative card game for 1-5 players in which communications between those players is limited. An overview:

Quote:
On the estate of Lord Sommerset, nasty creatures are up to mischief, with ghosts, werewolves, and headless horsemen lurking and looking for the perfect moment to attack. Monster defense is difficult because you must find protective objects and the right weapon isn't always available. You'll need to find defense somehow, though, as you don't have enough seals to last the entire night...

In Verflucht!, players work cooperatively to battle monsters drawn from a central pile of cards, trying to achieve the best score possible.

The deck consists of red cards with creatures on them and green cards with items valued from 1 to 40. These cards are mixed face down on the table, while a set of seal cards are placed in a stack. On a turn, the active player draws a card from the center of the table and looks at it. If it shows an item, they take the card on the hand without revealing its value. If the drawn card is a creature, they must place the card face up in the display. The player now has the chance to expel one of the red creatures with one (or more) green cards, and the collective value ​​of the items played must be at least as high as the value of the creature. Players need to somehow decide among themselves who should drive away which creature or else valuable items will be spent fruitlessly!

The creatures don't lie dormant on display. When the sixth creature is placed in the display, the most powerful creature present attack; the same thing happens when creatures form a group (i.e., when their values are in a numerical order). The players must expel these monsters immediately, and if they can't, they must use a seal to expel all the monsters; when this happens, the monsters are re-shuffled with the remaining face-down cards. When all face-down cards have been drawn and all attacks successfully defeated, the players win. To determine their score, placee all unused seals on the remaining creatures in the display. The collective value of the remaining creatures equals the players' score. How low can you go?

As a huge fan of The Game, I can't wait to get the full details of Verflucht! when we visit the Spielwarenmesse trade fair to record game overview videos. One month to go!

• Let's move from face-down monsters to face-down critters of a more docile nature: house cats. In The Cat, from Brad Ross, Don Ullman, and Jack Ullman, players need to serve as cat psychiatrists of a sort in order to get their cats acting consistently all the time:

Quote:
Cats are unpredictable: one moment enthusiastic, the next bored, then playful again. In The Cat, players try to fix the moods of their cats quickly via simultaneous card play. Each player receives three or four stacks of four cards, depending on the number of players. On the cards, you can see cats in thirteen different moods: sometimes winking, sometimes friendly, sometimes grinning widely. Your goal is to have only cards of a single mood in each stack.

Once a round begins, all players simultaneously exchange exactly one card from one of their stacks with a card from the center of the table; exchanging cards from one stack to another is forbidden. As soon as a player has collected four identical cards in each of their stacks, they shout, "Stop!" to end the current round. Everyone then reveals their stacks, and for each stack with four identical cards, the owner of that stack scores 1 point. The player who ended the round scores 1 bonus point as long as they didn't make a mistake; if they did, they score 0 points for the round. The game ends as soon as a player has reached 20 points, and whoever has the most points wins!

• Putting things in order is also important in Katja Stremmel's Krass Kariert, but at the start of the game you have to go with the order of what you're given. Ideally you can make the right plays to set yourself up with better strength as the game progresses:

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In Krass Kariert, you don't necessarily win by going out first, but at least you don't lose the game.

To start, each player receives three life tokens and two reserve cards at random, which they place face up in front of themselves. They then receive a hand of cards, the order of which they cannot change. The start player for a round leads by playing a combination of up to three cards, and these cards must be next to one another in that player's hand. A player can lay down a single card, a pair, a triple, or a run of two or three consecutive cards. Each player in turn must beat the combination, with a pair being beaten by a higher pair or a triple. If you cannot or will not play, you instead pick up one of your reserve cards, placing it where you choose within your hand. If you have no more reserve cards, then you must discard a life token.

Once each player has played or passed, whoever played the highest combination wins that round and begins the next round. If a player must discard a life token but has none, this player loses the game and everyone else wins.

• Speaking of losing, you want to do a lot of it in Mark Major's Texas Showdown, a trick-taking game that was originally released as Strife via The Game Crafter. Here are details on how to play:

Quote:
In the trick-taking game Texas Showdown, you want to avoid taking tricks as skillfully as you can, but playing off-suit might not keep you safe as the suit can change during the trick, possibly stinging you in the end.

Before play, all the cards are distributed evenly among the players. Once a player leads a single card for the first trick, all other players must play a card of the same suit, if possible. If a player can't play on suit, they can play a card of any color — but after they do this, all subsequent players can play a card of either matching color (or possibly a third color if they have neither of the first two).

Once all players have played to the trick, you see which color has been played most frequently in the trick. Whoever played the highest card of this color wins the trick. If two or more colors are tied, then the color with the highest sum counts as the winner.

You play several rounds until someone reaches the target number of tricks taken. At that point, whoever has captured the fewest tricks wins!

• Other titles coming from AMIGO in January 2018 are Marco Bohno, a new version of Uwe Rosenberg's Bohnröschen that has you walking along the Great Wall of China attempting to fulfill challenges while still cultivating your crops as in the Bohnanza base game. You need either that game or Ladybohn: Manche mögen's heiss! in order to use this expansion, which also includes rules for two-player games and a solitaire variant.

All You Can Eat is the same game as Food Chain, a Kevin G. Nunn design that Mayfair Games announced in mid-2017, but which hasn't yet appeared in stores. In the game, you try to outguess what others will play so that you can eat their cards instead of being eaten yourself.

Alex Randolph's Hol's der Geier turns thirty years old in 2018, so AMIGO is bringing out a new edition of the game, which it last released in 2011. This game is a classic, a pure distillation of simultaneous card play that always creates tension and endless second- (and third-) guessing.
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Wed Jan 3, 2018 1:00 pm
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Game Preview: Dragon Castle, or Tiling Your New Home for Fun and Profit

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As Lorenzo Silva explained in his designer diary for Dragon Castle, the game originated when Luca Ricci approached him with the idea of transforming solitaire mahjong into a multiplayer game.

The final result, co-designed with Hjalmar Hach and first released by Horrible Games at SPIEL '17, does just that, with intuitive gameplay that anyone can grasp in a couple of minutes and chunky tiles that one would expect to populate such a game. When you put a title like this or Azul on the table, you can expect questions from passersby — should you be playing in a public space, that is — because the bits themselves inspire curiosity. They have that toy-like quality of HABA games that attracts people to them, and become akin to an interactive sculpture during play. Given the massive number of new games on the market, components like these elevate a game above others aimed at the same market. You need to get eyeballs on your game in one way or another if you want it to sell, and having fancy components in pictures that people will share and share again is one way to do that.

As for the game itself, Silva explained that it took them a while to come to the simplicity present in the final design. The end result is akin to Bruno Cathala's Kingdomino in that you're playing with something familiar yet new. In both games, the players take components from a shared pool to create their own thing. In your first games or if you're a more casual player, you'll mostly be looking at your castle as expands turn by turn; if you get a bit more intense, you'll keep one eye on the shared castle of tiles that you're disassembling in order to plan ahead for the next turn or two. What might be available next? How can you build in three or more colors at once so that this level can be built atop the next, allowing you to build shrines that will stand above everything else, netting you the most points in the end.


One of many possible set-ups to start the game


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Tue Jan 2, 2018 4:16 pm
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Scythe Comes to an End with The Rise of Fenris

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Stonemaier Games has announced the final expansion for Jamey Stegmaier's well-loved and highly regarded Scythe: Scythe: The Rise of Fenris, which is co-designed with Ryan Lopez DeVinaspre and due out in Q3 2018.

Here's an overview of what awaits when Fenris does indeed rise:

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Empires have risen and fallen in the aftermath of the Great War, and Europa stands on the precipice of a new era. The economy is robust, morale is high, and defenses are strong. There are reports from the countryside of strange soldiers with glowing eyes, but they seem distant and harmless.

Scythe: The Rise of Fenris, the conclusion to the Scythe expansion trilogy, enables two different options for any player count (1-5 if you have Scythe; 1-7 players if you have Invaders from Afar):

• Campaign (8 games): The story of Scythe continues and concludes with an eight-episode campaign. While the campaign includes surprises, unlocks, and persistent elements, it is fully resettable and replayable.

• Modular (11 modules): Instead of—or after—the campaign, the new modules in The Rise of Fenris can be used in various combinations to cater to player preferences. These modules are fully compatible with all Scythe expansions.

While the exact nature of the episodes and modules will remain a mystery (some of these components are in secret tuckboxes), the components in this expansion include a detailed episodic guidebook, 13 plastic miniatures, 62 wooden tokens, 2 custom dice, 5 tiles, and 100+ cardboard tokens.
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Mon Jan 1, 2018 3:18 pm
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Early 2018 Convention Coverage from BoardGameGeek: Spielwarenmesse/NY Toy Fair/FIJ/GAMA

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The year 2018 is only a few hours old, but BGG has already been planning our convention coverage in the first quarter of the year.

To start, we will once again be at the Spielwarenmesse trade fair in Nürnberg, Germany in early February for three days to record a hundred or so game overview videos. I'll be joined on camera by our new Director of Media Lincoln Damerst, who has been talking with me about a funky two-camera, one-monopod set-up that I'm curious to see in action. I just need to ask questions and look pretty, though, so I'll still have the easy part of the job.

I'll hit NY Toy Fair for a day-and-a-half in mid-February 2018 to snap pics and take notes on what's being shown on the U.S. market. That trade show tends to be light on hobby games — and I'll already have seen some of them in Nürnberg from international companies like KOSMOS, Ravensburger, IELLO, and Asmodee — but I love having a chance to see what's being shown to U.S. mainstream retailers in terms of current games.

I attended the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France for the first time in 2017, and now we will have a booth at FIJ in late February 2018 to do a mini-version of the livestream broadcast that we already do annually at the GAMA Trade Show, Origins, Gen Con, and SPIEL. As in Nürnberg, Lincoln and I are making this trip on our own. Consider this a scouting run for future years as we have no idea how well this set-up will work at this show.

To check out the games that we'll be previewing at these shows, head to BGG's Spielwarenmesse/NY Toy Fair/FIJ 2018 Preview, which I've just published. We have only 24 titles listed in the preview right now, but since most German publishers start announcing their early 2018 line-ups in January, expect that preview to swell soon, with news from French, U.S., and other publishers to follow.

Finally in Q1 2018, BGG will once again be livestreaming game demonstrations from the GAMA Trade Show, which as of 2018 has moved to Reno, Nevada. I have no idea whether the set-up will differ significantly from what was done in Las Vegas, but we'll find out — and looking back at our GAMA 2017 playlist on YouTube, I see that we recorded 112 videos over two days, which seems like madness. Can we repeat that madness in 2018?!
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Mon Jan 1, 2018 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: Draw Sunflowers, Steal Eggs, Then Race for a Crown

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• Without looking at the publisher's logo, you could probably know right away that Eric Claverie's Kingdom Run is being released by French publisher Ankama. Look at that chibi artwork! Here's an overview of this game, which is due out in Q1 2018:

Quote:
Every hundred years, the King organizes a race between the different clans living in the Kingdom of Ewala. The reward for the winners? The throne! The winner's clan will rule the country for a whole century!

In Kingdom Run, four athletes from each clan are ready to use their legs and…your brain! Strangely enough, the faster you are, the faster your opponent can be. More specifically, each step forward that you take means two steps forward for them…unless the gap between you is too big. Who will be smart enough to become the next king of Ewala?

In more detail, on their turn, a player rolls four dice that give actions they can do. (One reroll is possible for some of the dice.) You can chose to move your athletes forward, but you can also decide to move the other athletes instead so that you can go farther yourself! When a cell contains four people, it is full and the athletes that should have ended there will go one cell farther. That would be a convenient way to avoid the lake, wouldn't it, by placing only opposing athletes in the water...?

• Other titles coming from Ankama include Boufbowl, a two-player game in which each player uses teams of five Krosmaster-compatible miniatures and supplemental cards to score touchdowns and beat on the opposing players.

That game is due out in March 2018, as is Henhouse Havoc, which Ankama's Eric Reasoner describes as akin to Battleship: "Each player uses 'farmaments' to blow away the opponents' artillery and buildings and try to steal their eggs."

Finally, the next wave of Krosmaster figures — Wild Realms — should hit retail shelves in January 2018.

• In 2018, ThunderGryph Games will release Spirits of the Forest, a new version of Michael Schacht's excellent two-player Richelieu that will now accommodate 1-4 players. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

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Once an age, a mythic wind lifts the veil between the spirit world and ours. Whimsical seraphs, drawn to the vigor of an ancient forest, descend through clouds to once again take up their centennial game. You are one of these seraphs – a being of great power and curiosity. The life of the forest fascinates you, and you eagerly gather plant, animal, and sprite alike to add to your mystical menagerie. But beware, for you are not alone. Other beings just like yourself contest to collect the life of the forest as well!

In Spirits of the Forest, players represent the four elements that nourish the forces of nature. Up to four players compete to acquire the most (of nine different) spirit symbols which are bound to a different element of nature. Each turn, a player drafts up to two spirit tiles from the forest (a common pool of 48 spirit tiles), collects favor tokens and moves, places, or recovers gemstones. Players continue taking turns until all tiles have been collected from the forest. At the end of the game, players score nature points for each spirit (augmented by favor tokens) of which they have a majority. Whoever has the most nature points at the end of the game wins.

• I sent a note to myself in July 2017 about the roll-and-write game Sunflower Valley, and while sometimes my notes become irrelevant because a game is now known everywhere, sometimes they don't, which is the case here since Sunflower Valley from designer Wouter van Strien and Dutch publisher Fully Analog has likely been seen only by roll-and-write fiends who can't get enough of the stuff. This game exists in a limited edition of five hundred signed and numbered copies, which feels decidedly old-school, and gameplay works like this:

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In Sunflower Valley, you draw your own mountain valley based on the tactical use of a shared pool of dice. Spread your villages throughout the valley and connect them with railways to earn points. Meanwhile, gain extra rewards for cheering up your villagers by cleverly planting sunflowers around the mountains. Remember that your villagers need enough sheep, too! And there are other players out there competing for the most valuable dice, so grab a pen and start drawing your valley in this creative strategy game!

Score points by drawing icons in the colored regions on your drawing map by cleverly using the dice. The game ends when no free spots remain on any player's drawing map. The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins!


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Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:00 pm
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Links: Chinatown, Dungeon Masters, Atomic Empire, and a Roll-and-Move Proposal

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• In October 2017, Karsten Hartwig's Chinatown got a swooning write-up on the Foundation for Economic Education by Garrett M. Petersen in an article titled "Forget Monopoly: This Board Game Really Simulates Capitalism". An excerpt:

Quote:
Chinatown is far from the only excellent economic board game on the market. Power Grid, Food Chain Magnate, Brass, and hundreds more economic games explore themes of trade and commerce. But Chinatown stands out as a particularly elegant example of the genre.

From an economics perspective, the great thing about the market dynamics of Chinatown is that they emerge organically from players' decisions. In many games, the economics of the game come from the mechanics created by the game designer. These are often clever and inventive, and in many cases, they reflect interesting observations about markets. But nothing quite beats the way Chinatown sets up the most simple of rules and lets the players discover the benefits of trade for themselves.

• Anyone want to spend $2,500 on Global Board Games Market 2017-2021, a Dec. 2016 market research report from TechNavio that forecasts "the global board games market to grow at a CAGR of 29.15% during the period 2017-2021"? No? How about $3,500 on Global Board Games Market - Strategic Assessment and Forecast 2017-2022, an April 2017 report from the same organization? Yeah, me neither.

• In November 2017, WIRED profiled Timm Woods in an article that names him "one of New York's best professional D&D dungeon masters". An excerpt:

Quote:
Woods discovered the world of role-playing games, or RPGs, when he was about 10 years old, after finding a free Dungeons & Dragons demo game online. He cast himself as the DM, even though he wasn't entirely sure what that entailed. He soon realized that the DM could function as a sort of semi-benevolent story-deity —
the one who ignites the adventures, emcees the action, and ultimately oversees a fantasy world where new thrills or terrors can be unearthed with a roll of the die. After a few rounds, "I realized, 'Oh, shit. You can do anything with this,'" Woods says.

He was hardly the first to have that realization. First introduced in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons soon become standard-issue equipment for geeks everywhere — not that they had a monopoly on the game. In its Reagan-era heyday, D&D was like convenience-store Schnapps or Jim Morrison lyrics: Everyone indulged at least once, usually late on a weekend night, and either become an instant devotee or spent the rest of their lives denying it ever happened.

• When I want to head to a game store to try out new titles with folks I don't know, the place to go is Atomic Empire in Durham, North Carolina, which hosts board game nights on Mondays while having plenty of space for all types of gaming throughout the week. In July 2017, Sayaka Matsuoka profiled the store under a "play local" hook for Indy Week, featuring local game designer Daniel Solis along the way.

• Old news that I missed many months ago: Since CMON Limited is now traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's Growth Enterprise Market, as noted in Dec. 2016, the company now files public statements of its sales activity (PDF). In March 2017, CMON filed a summary of its 2016 activity, reporting nearly $21 million in revenue in 2016 (compared to $17.2 million the previous year), with a gross profit of $10.7 million and a final profit after all expenses of just over $1 million.

• In July 2017, Architectural Digest profiled Indian filmmaker Gayatri Kodikal, who has been developing a game called The Travelling Hand since 2015 that "allows players to excavate historical evidence and uncover the legend of Ketevan — the martyred queen of Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia". An excerpt:

Quote:
At first, Gayatri decided to tell Queen Ketevan's story as a film, but quickly realised that the medium didn't quite do justice to her process. "This story has a lot of multiple narratives that criss-crossed at different points and I realized that the optimal experience of the story wasn't in the form of a film," she explains.

Gayatri's aim was to simulate the process of an actual excavation — each time you play, you discover a new piece of evidence and get to speculate on what might be true and what might be partially untrue. "What I felt while telling the story was people would be more interested in how I found something, rather than the actual narrative itself. And that kind of clicked with me," muses Gayatri.

• Drip is a Patreon-like funding service for recording artists and labels that was founded in 2012, then became part of Kickstarter in 2016 just before it was going to shut down. In November 2017, Kickstarter announced that it would launch a new version of Drip, with the idea being that while KS lets you support particular projects, Drip will let you support the creators of these projects directly. Right now, Drip is only inviting creators to join, but I imagine once the service opens up to the public, you'll see a number of game creators using it in all sorts of ways — just like Kickstarter itself.

• Analog Games contains a charming story of a wedding proposal delivered through an original game created for the event.

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Put Demons to Work, Manipulate Markets, and Float Like a Dandelion

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I'm a fan of Japanese games, and I send myself dozens of notes throughout the year of JP games that I see — usually on Twitter as Japanese designers are very active there — for investigation at a later time. Sometimes the games pop up later at SPIEL, as with Miyabi Games' Prank of the Fox, which makes it easy to find out more about them since Japon Brand will post rules on BGG and elsewhere. Sometimes they're licensed to other publishers, as with the first example below, which again makes it easier to find out more about them.

At other times, though, I'm left with Google Translate and only a vague idea of what some tantalizing thing might be. In these cases, I grasp what I can, then hope that the game doesn't fall under the waves forever, which all too often it does.

Shogo Kuroda's Demon Worker first appeared in 2016 from cosaic and Group SNE, and now Japanime Games has licensed the title for release in English and other languages, most likely in early 2018 (as Japanime previously said the game would be out in 2017, but that year is almost over). What kind of game is this? The answer is right in the name:

Quote:
Who will become the next demon king? In Demon Worker, you send demons with special abilities to the human world, weapons factory, and other locations to collect resources efficiently, with both humans and weapons being examples of those resources.

With these resources, you can summon new demons and create impulse points — and whoever ends up with the most impulse points will claim the demon throne.




• Hundreds of new titles debuted at Tokyo Game Market in early December 2017, with one of those being Tadashi Ohtani's Match Me!: What color is this? from COLON ARC, a quick-playing cooperative game for 2-6 players that works like this:

Quote:
All players co-operate, trying to put down cards of the same color in the same order. When the lead player says a word from a subject card, what color do you think matches that? Everyone has their own ideas, so things might get confused — and the color cards are placed face-down, so who knows what to think? When all the players have placed five of their cards face-down, the cards are turned up and checked. If the cards all have the same color in the same order, all players win!

The game can be played at different skill levels, and as you play, the game gets harder.

• Another TGM release in December was 相場操縦 (Market Manipulation), which was designed, illustrated, and published by よっぱ (Yoshihisa). Here's my translation of the game rules as I understand them:

Quote:
In 相場操縦 (Market Manipulation), each player secretly represents a company, with as many companies in the game as the number of players. Each company in the game has a deck of eight tiles, with point values on the back of these tiles.

The start player in a round draws one tile from each company, looks at the point values for each of them, discards one from play, then places the others in a column with some of them above the break-even line (a thick string) and others below. Each other player in turn either moves one tile from the top of the column to the bottom (or vice versa) while keeping the column in the same position relative to the break-even line or moves the column up or down by one level. The starting player for the round does this action last, then this position rotates clockwise, and the next starting player begins another round.

After eight rounds, the game ends and the point values of all tiles above the break-even line are revealed. The player who owns the company with the highest collective value wins!




• Given my love of R-Eco and of card games in general, I perked up when I heard of Animale Tattica, a new release at TGM from Susumu Kawasaki through Kawasaki Factory. Here's a summary of the gameplay:

Quote:
In Animale Tattica, players race to empty their hand first.

Each player has a different deck of sixteen cards. Usually you have to play cards with a higher rank than those played by the previous player, but if you've collected cards of the same rank and the total of that rank equals the total of the rank that previous player played, you can play those cards instead.

Mitsuo Yamamoto of Logy Games has created a range of abstract strategy games, often with ceramic pieces, and he debuted his newest title at TGM: Megateh, a game he created after being challenged to design something that could be played by sighted and non-sighted players on equal footing. The game consists of a board with holes in a 4x4 grid, and a bunch of round tokens: some being a single layer without a hole, some a single layer with a hole, and some a double layer with a hole on one side and no hole on the other.

On a turn, a player chooses a disc and places it in an empty hole or a hole with a single layer disc in it. (Two layers of discs are the same height as the top of the game board.) A player wins the game if they create a row of three discs that are of height 1, 2, and 3 or a row of four discs at the same height or a row of four discs that are all either holed or not-holed.




• Not every game at TGM in December was new. タンポポ (Dandelion) from 高井 九 (Ko Takai) and ひとりじゃ、生きられない。(I Cannot Live By Myself) was making a return appearance from its debut in May 2017, with a slightly revised rulebook from that release, which often happens with returning TGM titles. Here's what I gathered from the game description:

Quote:
In タンポポ (Dandelion), you are a lone dandelion growing on a solitary island surrounded by the sea. You must blossom from a seed until you're ready to spread seeds of your own, trying to wrest control of the weather from other players so that you can blow on the wind and reach the promised land — and victory — before anyone else.


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Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: More Victims for Mr. Jack, and The X-Files Returns...Again

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• In November 2017, Swiss publisher Hurrican posted the image below on Facebook, asking, "Have you ever noticed the beautiful rainbow of characters in Mr. Jack? Looks like it's missing colors, right? In 2018, we'll add some colors to this panorama!"

Hurrican will be one of dozens of publishers that BGG will visit at the Spielwarenmesse fair in Nürnberg, Germany in early February, so we'll find out more details then.




• Other titles coming from Hurrican in 2018 include Prospero Hall's Kero, a two-player game in which you try to survive better than the other guy in a post-apocalyptic landscape that has you scrounging for kerosene and other supplies. BGG recorded a game overview at Spielwarenmesse in 2017 with placeholder art.

The finished cover from Pierô is at left, and the near-final version of Kero's sand timers is shown below. Note that the sand timers have only one flat end because they effectively run in one direction, with the sand disappearing inside the vehicle. You take actions with both hands while the sand is running, and you recover sand only when the opponent is doing things, i.e., when your hands are free to hold the timer upside-down.

• In mid-2018, Hurrican will also publish a two-player game by Bruno Cathala and Theo Riviere that currently bears the code name "Kalima".





Overturn: Rising Sands from Canadian first-time publisher Foxtales Studios seems like one of the games for which Kickstarter is well known, and indeed this game is headed to crowdfunding down the road. An overview:

Quote:
Overturn: Rising Sands is tactical combat-based RPG board game with co-op elements to it. It uses the rich Middle Eastern folklore as a backdrop to tell its story, which is ingrained with supernatural elements, legends, and conspiracies.

The game uses a multiboard system to depict major scenarios with each major scenario ultimately ending after defeating its boss. The objective to win is simple: defeat all the bosses to reach the final boss and win the game. This can be done all on its own but it's the coop element that makes Overturn unique. Each board or primary mission can be completed with multiple heroes and players, yet each player has the option to pursue their own version of the story on the board and the choice to assist other players or not.

The combat is turn-based with the enemies having their own unique AI that makes them formidable as well as unpredictable. Players grow their levels by defeating enemies and learning new skills and increasing their power. This applies to enemies, too, who grow tougher as the player grows bolder.

• As a teaser for 2018, IDW Games posted this pic on Facebook, and while most of the 2018 releases shown on the top shelf have already been talked about in this space or are in the database, one new title is visible as well: The X-Files: Conspiracy Theory – Everything Is Connected, the second title in the "Everything Is Connected" series by Matt Fantastic after Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Everything is Connected:


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Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: Try Your Hand as a Pulp Detective, and Don't Get Overwhelmed by Hate

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• Designers Nate Chatellier and Manny Trembley ran a Kickstarter in early 2017 under their Mind Bottling Games for the dice-based combat game Dice Throne. Copies are being sent to KS backers now, and the game has a North American retail release date of January 24, 2018, with Roxley now having come on board as co-publisher of the game. An overview of what's coming now, while noting that two more Dice Throne sets are already in the works:

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Dice Throne is a game of intriguing dice, tactical card play, powerful heroes, and unique abilities.

It's a fast-paced 2-6 player combat game (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 2v2v2, or free-for-all). Select from a variety of heroes that play and feel completely distinct from one another. Attack opponents and activate abilities by rolling your hero's unique set of five dice. Accumulate combat points and spend them on cards that have a large range of effects, such as granting permanent hero upgrades, applying status effects, and manipulating dice directly (yours, your teammate's, or even your opponent's).

• I've tweeted pics of Eric M. Lang's HATE from Gen Con, but not posted about it in this space. Strange. This large miniature-heavy design will be produced by the Blood Rage team of Lang, artist Adrian Smith, and publishers CMON Limited and Guillotine Games, and as is the case with many mini games from CMON, it will be funded on Kickstarter, with the campaign launching January 16, 2018.

What's less usual about this KS is that CMON is stating that the game will be available exclusively through Kickstarter. That's not entirely true as CMON states that it will also sell the game at conventions and the game will also be available to retailers who belong to the "CMON Play" promotional program, but aside from those sources, you won't find the game in regular retail stores. Why? As CMON explains in its press release: "Our ultimate goal with HATE is to offer a game that remains as true as possible to the source material: Adrian Smith's Chronicles of HATE graphic novels. As you might guess from the name, the world of HATE is not a happy or peaceful one and includes a lot of mature content. We know not everyone will find this type of experience pleasant, so instead of stripping out the atmosphere, we are going direct to those who will want this type of gaming experience, including our retailers through CMON Play." As for the gameplay, here's a short take on that:

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HATE is a highly kinetic, endlessly brutal campaign game of post-apocalyptic survival. Up to six players battle through a multi-game Chronicle where they use their unique clan to savagely plunder, mutilate, and demoralize their opponents. Death is permanent for clan members; once they die, they are out of the game. The player who most expertly uses savagery (gained by doing unspeakable violence upon their foes) to upgrade their warriors and resources (gained by plundering the land) to unlock powerful new abilities from their village will win the game, but only the player with the most hate will become the Tyrant and rule over the rest!

• From that avalanche in the making, let's swing to the other side of Kickstarter, with a tiny project from Alban Viard Game Studios Plus: Pulp Detective by designer and artist Todd Sanders, which launches on KS on February 1, 2018.

In this one-player card-plus-dice game, you need to locate four clues and confront the criminal before you exhaust either your time or your stamina. Sanders created a two-player variant for the game after Viard signed the title in which rival detectives compete to solve the crime first, although as in life, both of them can fail with the criminal still escaping.

As always, Sanders kills it with his graphic design, with the art being licensed from pulp purveyors Steeger Properties:




Arkon is the debut title from designers Casey Hill and Martin de Diego Sádaba and publisher Hill Gaming Company, with the game hitting Kickstarter in early 2018 ahead of a planned-for release later that year. Here's an overview of this card game:

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Arkon is a 2-4 player strategy card game in which players seek to bring four different clan cards, or four of the same clan card, into play to win. Each turn, players must decide whether they use their cards as actions, to further their board position, as counters or responses, to defend themselves, or as influence to win bids to move them closer to winning the game.
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Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Eclipse, Atlantis Rising, and Finca to Return in 2018

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• With one week remaining in 2017, I'm clearing out the inbox in order to start the new year — and welcome the flood of announcements ahead of the early year conventions — afresh, and I can't believe what I'm finding in there. Did you already know, for example, that a second edition of Touko Tahkokallio's Eclipse will be released in 2018 from publisher Lautapelit.fi? I tweeted about the announcement when it showed up in late October, but with my eyes on SPIEL '17, I never posted about that space game in this space. Dang.

Lautapelit.fi promises new graphic design for the game that maintains the symbology of the first edition; a full line of Ship Pack 1 miniatures; new miniatures for ancients, GCDS, orbitals, and more; custom combat dice and plastic inlays; fiction from "award-winning science fiction novelist Johanna Sinisalo" to build the setting of the game's world; and "Fine tuned game play".

Onimaru is a cooperative dice-placement game in the works from Stephen Avery and Big Kid Games in which you're invited to "experience Eastern mythology as you protect the villages from terrible Oni and their hoardlings".

Windup War from Jessica Chu, Katie Khau, and Bellwether Games is a game of quick combat in which 2-6 players simultaneously program one of six cute toy-based factions in the hope of scoring three points before anyone else or being the last one with toys still moving.




• In November 2017, Wizards of the Coast released Magic: The Gathering – Explorers of Ixalan, which appears to be an free-for-all game using four decks that focus on the four factions in the Ixalan release for the Magic: The Gathering CCG, but with an island of map tiles that players explore during the game, with each tile giving its discoverer a bonus to use or quest to fulfill while trying to wipe out everyone else. Interesting way to bleed Magic into the world of board games that keeps the focus on the regular MTG cards and gameplay.

Galen Ciscell's Atlantis Rising, first published in 2012 by Z-Man Games, will be released in a revised edition in 2018 by Elf Creek Games with art by Vincent Dutrait.

• Another reprint candidate for 2018 is Wolfgang Sentker and Ralf zur Linde's Finca, with franjos Spieleverlag's Franz-Josef Herbst promising that this new version will keep the original art and design, with the wooden pieces from the original 2009 production by Hans im Glück. Herbst plans to include the Finca: El Razul expansion in this edition, with rules in at least German, English, and French. In July 2017, Herbst was in talks with a U.S. distribution partner about release of the game in the U.S., and I'm sure that distribution will happen one way or another given how awesome and desirable that game is.

Let's see what else I find in the inbox in the next few days...
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