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Settle the Stone Age Again in CATAN: Dawn of Humankind

W. Eric Martin
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• Catan is both an island and the entirety of the universe throughout time. The latest example of this all-encompassing game design is CATAN: Dawn of Humankind, a game for 3-4 players from Klaus and Benjamin Teuber that KOSMOS and Catan Studio will release in Q3 2022 in both English and German.

Board Game: CATAN: Dawn of Humankind

Here's the pithy description from the publishers:
Quote:
Guide the first humans on their journey as they migrate throughout the world while developing their technology and culture.

CATAN: Dawn of Humankind is a reboot of The Settlers of the Stone Age, with gameplay rooted in the original CATAN, while featuring new elements, strategies, and adventures to discover.
It's not clear what has changed from The Settlers of the Stone Age to this upcoming title as the game boards for both titles seem nearly identical, but I'm sure more details will emerge in the months ahead.

Board Game: CATAN: Dawn of Humankind

• KOSMOS and Catan Studio are following the 2021 release of CATAN: 3D Edition with the expansion that you would pretty much expect them to release given the history of the CATAN franchise — CATAN: 3D Expansions – Seafarers + Cities & Knights.

Board Game: CATAN: 3D Expansions – Seafarers + Cities & Knights

This expansion is due out in Q4 2022, and now you can increase your time spent in Catan while simultaneously spreading Catan to new Catans both near and Catan.

Board Game: CATAN: 3D Expansions – Seafarers + Cities & Knights

Board Game: CATAN: 3D Expansions – Seafarers + Cities & Knights
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Explore Strange New Worlds in Starship Captains

W. Eric Martin
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Publisher Czech Games Edition has unveiled a new title that it plans to debut at SPIEL '22: Starship Captains from first-time designer Peter B. Hoffgaard, with the game's general release in Europe and North America coming a bit later in Q4 2022.

Board Game: Starship Captains

Here's an overview of this 2-4 player game that will retail for US$60/€60:
Quote:
Welcome aboard and congrats on the promotion! Your "new" starship is ready to embark on its first big voyage. Just scrape off some of the rust, and she'll do fine. And that crew? Might look a little green around the edges, but they're your crew now. Make us proud. The stars are calling...and adventure awaits!

As newly promoted Starship Captains, players are in command of their first starship and hungry to prove themselves in a galaxy full of space pirates, grumpy old androids, ancient artifacts, and interplanetary adventures.

In this game, which mixes action selection and engine building, you'll manage a diverse crew of cadets, ensigns, androids, and officers — each with different special roles and capabilities. By earning medals, you can promote and train your crew for even greater effectiveness. Similarly, you can upgrade your ship with powerful engine building technology for maximum synergy.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

What will you do with this enhanced crew and ship? Explore an ever-shifting galaxy full of dangerous pirates and interplanetary missions in order to boost your reputation with three distinct galactic factions for bountiful rewards.

Do you have what it takes to deftly command your crew and become the best captain in the cosmos? We'll see. Now go — boldly!
Board Game Publisher: Czech Games Edition
That closing line in the publisher's description is no accident, as is clear in this excerpt from a profile of the designer by CGE:
Quote:
[J]ust in case anyone was still wondering, there's absolutely no denying where a lot of the game's thematic influences are drawn from. "I am a big Star Trek fan," says Peter. "I never wanted to make a Star Trek game, as such, but I wanted to make a Star Trek-inspired game."

Growing up a huge sci-fi fan in the 1990s, Star Trek: The Next Generation in particular is his favorite go-to TV series of the storied franchise. "The Next Generation has this very idealistic and bright view for the future of mankind in general," he adds, noting it was important to find ways to incorporate this theme and also celebrate diversity among the game's characters.

The message in Starship Captains is that it isn't all about material possessions. You won't find any monetary resources or currency in the game, which is intentional. Instead, the game's lens and mechanics revolve around the captains, their crew, and their relationships with the game's distinct intergalactic factions.

"It is a very important thing for me to have the theme and setting of the game convey that we all, as humankind, can stand together and be better than we are if we see beyond gender, religion, and economy, even," he says. "That's why I fell in love with Star Trek, and that's also what I want to try and convey in the game."
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Mon May 23, 2022 6:00 am
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Mount Damasks, Resist General Franco, and Lie to Friends about Christmas Gifts

W. Eric Martin
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After highlighting a few high-profile crowdfunding projects earlier this week, let me shine the spotlight on several projects from smaller publishers:

Resist! is a solitaire design from Trevor Benjamin, Roger Tankersley, David Thompson, and Spanish publisher Salt & Pepper Games due out before the end of 2022. (Gamefound)

Board Game: Resist!

This description covers the setting in detail while touching on the dilemmas you'll face while playing:
Quote:
Spain, 1936: General Franco and his troops advance through the territories of Spain, giving way to a long period of civil war and repression. After the Spanish Civil War, a group of loyalists to the Republic continued the armed struggle, forming resistance groups better known as "Maquis". Hidden in the mountains, these men and women risked their lives to defend the ideals of democracy and freedom.

Fighting against them were the Army of Franco, the Civil Guard, and the Armed Police, but the Maquis perfected their guerilla warfare in France during the second World War and were determined to take back their homeland. In the head of each Maquis resonated the echo of the desire of many compatriots: Resist!

Resist! is a fast-playing, card-driven solitaire game in which you take on the role of the Spanish Maquis, fighting against the Francoist regime. Over a series of rounds, you undertake increasingly difficult missions, and completing missions earns you the points needed to win. Failing to defeat missions and enemies may cause you to lose. At the end of each round, you must choose whether to end the resistance or risk it and take on another mission.

Board Game: Resist!
Image: zillablitz

At the beginning of the game, you assemble a team of twelve Maquis, which are represented by a deck of cards. At the heart of the game is the tension between keeping your Maquis concealed from Franco or revealing them to unlock their full potential. Unfortunately, revealed Maquis are removed from your deck, and you likely won't be able to use them for the rest of the game. While Resist! does have some minor deck-building elements, it is primarily a "deck-destruction" game in which you have to manage your deck, balancing the decision of defeating the immediate threat with trying to move on to the next mission.
Board Game: Bah Humbug: A Twelve Days of Christmas Bluffing Game
Bah Humbug: A Twelve Days of Christmas Bluffing Game from Emily Willix and Small Furry Games kind of lays it all out in the title. The setting is Christmas, and you're giving gifts to your true love...although possibly not what you say you're giving. (Kickstarter)

The game includes a pyramid deck (one 1, two 2s, up to twelve 12s), and in player order you take turns laying down cards from your hand next to the numbers 12-1, saying "Twelve drummers drumming", "Eleven pipers piping", and so on. If you think someone is lying, call them out, with a holly berry going to whoever is correct, then reveal all the other played cards; anyone who successfully got away with at least one "incorrect" play earns one coal. Keep playing rounds until someone has collected five coal or three holly berries to win.

Board Game: Pilgrim
Board Game: Fableland
• I covered Nick Case's Pilgrim from Spielworxx in August 2021, and now this game is being funded on Spieleschmiede ahead of a planned November 2022 release. (Spielworxx also ran a c.f. campaign on Gamefound.)

This design is a perfect information game that lasts 26 rounds, with players using a mancala-style movement mechanism to elevate serfs to acolytes, give alms to the poor, build pilgrimage routes, and more.

Another title on Spieleschmiede is Fabelland from Moritz Schuster and Mirakulus, with this being another amusement park-themed game, but with a somewhat different palette from its 2021-2022 brethren.

• Let's close with Damask, a 1-4 player game from Barbara Burfoot and Radical 8 Games with strong graphic appeal that mirrors the subject matter. (Gamefound)

Here's an overview of the setting and detailed summary of gameplay:
Quote:
From the great trading center of Damascus, via the Silk Road, ancient weaving techniques and motifs made their way to the famous textile houses of Venice. Master weavers used draw looms to create richly woven fabrics that became known as damasks. For centuries, these luxurious silks lavished the wardrobes and halls of mansions and palaces across Europe.

Board Game: Damask

In Damask, players play the roles of these master weavers, trying to make the most money, while also gaining the favor of the Weavers' Guild. In more detail, the game includes 72 damask cards, with the damasks being two of six colors and one of four patterns; place 26 cubes (which come in six colors) at random on the spinning wheel, lay out a pattern and color card at random for each "season" that the game will be played (two in a short game, three in a normal one), then lay out six damask cards at random. Each player drafts a damask card, then you refill the display.

On a turn, either you take a damask card and place it in front of you, or you draft cubes from the spinning wheel by choosing a cube, then going clockwise or counter-clockwise until you hit the second cube of any color. Collect all of those cubes, placing them on damask cards as you wish and keeping the remainder in your overstock. Each damask card requires three cubes of one color and two of another to complete. After the required action, you can take one of two optional actions: Take all cubes of one color from an opponent's overstock (with them receiving a guild favor in compensation), or mount a damask by returning the five cubes on it and standing it in your personal holder. You earn 1 coin when mounting a damask and 1 additional coin for each color or pattern it has that matches the previous damask you mounted, i.e., at most 4 coins.

Board Game: Damask

If a mounted damask also matches the season's color or pattern, you gain guild favors. Each guild favor has a color or pattern on it, and you can use them to mount damasks in place of missing cubes, replace damask cards available in the display, mount an additional damask, or avoid paying taxes for extraneous cubes left in your supply at the end of a season. Three guild favors are worth 1 coin at game's end, and in addition to coins earned during the game, you receive bonus coins at game's end for having all six colors or all four patterns among your mounted damasks. Whoever earns the most coins wins.
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Sun May 22, 2022 1:00 pm
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Tile the Amygdala, Leave the Church in the Village, and Welcome the Return of the Rats

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Board Game: Amygdala
• It's often difficult to provide a hook for abstract strategy games, but designers Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer and publisher Game Brewer might have found a winner in Amygdala, which the publisher plans to demo at various conventions such as Gen Con 2022 and SPIEL '22 ahead of its release in 2023.

Here's an overview of this 2-4 player game:
Quote:
Life is full of emotion, and the region of the brain primarily associated with processing these emotions is the amygdala.

In the abstract strategy game Amygdala, players vie for control of different regions, each associated with an emotion. They must collect and store emotional resources in their memory bank which they will use to unlock emotions from their mind, then place these emotion tiles on the main game board.

Board Game: Amygdala

Emotion tiles can be connected in networks of like emotions to score points. The player with the most emotions in each region can score big points at the end of the game, but only if they manage to unlock and place a claim tile belonging to the region they wish to score.
Kramer and Kiesling had two domino-laying games published in 2020 — Renature, which I found intriguing, and Jubako, which I liked but didn't play enough to cover — so I'm curious to see what this design does differently.

Board Game: Lass die Kirche im Dorf!
• For a different take on theme in an abstract strategy game, let's look at Lass die Kirche im Dorf! ("Leave the Church in the Village!") from Dieter Stein, which German publisher Clemens Gerhards released in 2021.

Well, Clemens Gerhards first released this game in 2016. Stein told me that Gerhards was asked to develop a game for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, and Gerhards in turn invited Stein to design something. The requirements: The game should be called "Lass die Kirche im Dorf!", and it should include a priest figure. The game was originally available exclusively through the evangelical online outlet chrismonshop, but now Gerhards can sell it anywhere. As for how it plays:
Quote:
The challenge of Lass die Kirche im Dorf! is to complete your town before the other player does. Don't hesitate to call on the clergyman for help as needed!

To set up on the 7x7 game board, place the clergyman in the central space, then each player places the church steeple and nave of their color in opposite corners of the board, with the ridge of the roof pointed in the direction of their choice. Players then take turns placing their seven houses on the game board; each house must be placed in an empty space that's not orthogonally adjacent to any of your other pieces.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

On a turn, move one of your pieces in a straight line in the direction of the roof ridge as many spaces as you wish. You cannot cross over occupied spaces. To end the move, rotate the piece 90º. Alternatively, you can call on the clergyman for help. If a piece's movement is blocked on both sides, whether by the edge of the board or other pieces, you can swap the locations of this piece and the clergyman; to end your turn, rotate the piece 90º.

To win, you must have all of your pieces connected orthogonally; additionally, your steeple must be orthogonally adjacent to your nave. Finally, neither the steeple nor the nave can stand on a perimeter space on the game board. As soon as your pieces have met all of these conditions, you win.
Stein notes that aside from the literal interpretation of the name, "Lass die Kirche im Dorf!" also means "Don't get carried away." He adds, "It's an often used idiom in German".

Board Game: Rattus
Rattus, which debuted in 2010 from designers Åse and Henrik Berg and publisher White Goblin Games, was sometimes accused of being an abstract game, but very important parts of the gameplay involve hidden information, so it was not really abstract at all.

White Goblin Games is bringing the game back to market in mid-2022 in the form of Rattus: Big Box, which consists of the Rattus base game, the Pied Piper, Africanus, and Academicus expansions, promo role cards such as The Judge, The Jester, and Boccaccio, and previously unpublished materials, modules, and bonus cards, such as the new "Guilds & Inns" and "Bonus" modules.

Z-Man Games has announced an October 2022 release date for the game in English.

Board Game: Rattus: Big Box

Not familiar with Rattus? Here's an overview I wrote in January 2010 following my first game:
Quote:
In case you didn't guess from the name and the furry faces on the box cover, Rattus is themed around the Black Death, with player cubes dying off again and again as the plague travels throughout Eurasia.

One face-down rat token starts on each region of the board. On a turn, a player adds one or more cubes to one region, with the upper limit of new arrivals being the number of rats in the area; optionally takes one of the six special characters; optionally uses the powers of any characters they hold; then moves the plague figure to a new region of the board, most likely spreading more rats along the way.

If the plague figure — being the personification of death — stands on a region that contains both rat tokens and player cubes, the rat tokens are revealed one by one. Each rat token has a limit value showing the number of cubes (1-6) that trigger an outbreak and symbols that show who dies in the event of an outbreak. Those symbols are M (meaning the player who has the most cubes), A (meaning all players), and the six symbols that represent the special characters; if you hold the special character shown on the token — or have the most cubes in the event of an M, or exist at all with an A — you lose one cube for each matching symbol. If rats and cubes remain in the same area, you keep revealing rat tokens until one group or the other dies off. Whoever has the most people on board at game's end wins and gets to bury the dead.

Since the rat tokens are placed face-down, you're playing in the Dark Ages for much of the game, running the odds mentally for how many dudes you might potentially lose — but not really knowing because you didn't memorize all the rat tokens prior to the game anyway.

Board Game: Rattus: Big Box
Mock-up image of board and bits in Rattus: Big Box

Rattus presents you with the dilemma of taking characters in order to gain powers while simultaneously setting yourself up for future death. If you have no characters, after all, you die only when facing M or A on the rats. I've played only a single two-player game, and my "awesome" strategy consisted of piling three dudes a turn into a single region while holding only one character. I was gambling on not losing too many guys when that region was ratted at the end of the game, and my opponent let me do it because he had no idea whether that would work either. He beat me by one, but given the turn of the rats either of us could have won.

One game of Rattus played by stupid players doing obvious, semi-random actions means I can't say anything conclusive about the game. I've seen enough people dismiss Qwirkle as an obvious game with no room for strategy or thoughtful plays to know that I should keep my mouth shut at this point, so I will — except to say that I'm charmed by the rules referring to a player's pieces as "cubes", instead of people or tribes or any other such descriptive word. Probably best not to think of the dying oozing pus and blood. Don't think about it, I said!
I've now played Rattus a half-dozen times, with the Pied Piper expansion also hitting the table three times, and I recall it being a lot of fun, despite all the death. As you can see in the mock-up image above, the cubes have been replaced by vaguely human-shaped pieces, so...I'm not sure what to think of that.
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Sat May 21, 2022 1:00 pm
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Bid for Land on Mars, Quest More for Thunderstones, and Revisit Middle-earth Again

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Board Game: Zillionaires on Mars
Board Game: Zillionaires on Mars
Let's follow up a recent post about spinoffs and sequels with another set of titles seeing new life:

• Designer Mark Corsey's auction-based The Game of 49 has been reborn as Zillionaires on Mars thanks to UK publisher Big Potato.

Here's a quick overview for those unfamiliar with this 2014 release:
Quote:
Starting with $49 apiece, players in The Game of 49 bid to buy spaces on the 49-square (7-by-7) game board. Randomly drawn number cards are auctioned one at a time, with the highest bidder placing a chip on the matching board space. Wild/Payoff cards give players a choice of where to place their chip and also award cash to all players for their chips on the board: $7 per chip, with a maximum payoff of $49.

The first player to claim four spaces in a row, in any direction, wins.

Zillionaires on Mars keeps the same gameplay as in the game's original release, but with dollar values now in the zillions as players bid for lots on Mars.
Board Game: Cleocatra
• Designer Ta-Te Wu released the tile-laying game Cleocatra through his own Sunrise Tornado Game Studio in 2020, and now U.S. publisher Chronicle Books has released the game in a new edition.

Here's an overview of how to play this 2-4 player game:
Quote:
Each player has a team of three cat rescuers. To set up, the starting player flips a pyramid tile at random, then places a rescuer on it. Each other player in turn draws and places a tile, then adds a rescuer to it.

On a turn, either take a tile action (add a tile or move a tile), then a rescuer action, or take two rescuer actions. Rescuer actions allow you to place a rescuer on the tile you just moved or placed, place a rescuer next to one of your rescuers (so long as not more than two rescuers are on a tile), or rescue cats to score, earning one point for each different colored tile in the area around your rescuer, along with a bonus point for each of your rescuers in the area; you then remove your rescuers from the board and add an inspector to the central tile you scored, marking that tile as off limits until the inspector is pulled elsewhere.

Board Game: Cleocatra

Once a player hits 23 points, you complete the round, then see who has the most points. The tiles also contain bonus powers, and you can choose to use those to add more challenges to gameplay.
• I've seen mentions of War of the Ring: The Card Game for many months, with this 2-4 player game being the work of designer Ian Brody and publisher Ares Games and carrying this brief description:
Quote:
War of the Ring: The Card Game is team-based and asymmetric. Each player controls one or more of the factions in War of the Ring, either on the side of the Free Peoples or of the Shadow Armies, using a unique deck, reproducing the strengths and weaknesses of their specific factions.
Board Game: War of the Ring: The Card Game

Ares Games has announced that it will demo this design at UK Games Expo 2022 on Saturday, June 4 at 14:30, with the game due out in late 2022. For more details, check out this preview article on Dicebreaker from December 2021.

Board Game: Thunderstone Quest
• U.S. publisher Alderac Entertainment Group re-launched the Mike Elliott deck-building game Thunderstone as Thunderstone Quest in 2018, and the line is being re-worked again in 2022.

On May 17, 2022, AEG launched a Kickstarter campaign for what it's calling "Deepwood Defenders", with this offering fans of the game two new quests: Nature's Wrath as quest #12 and Rotten Roots as quest #13. Additionally, AEG is repackaging the base game as Thunderstone Quest: Starter Set, with quest #1 being included in this box and with quests #2-11 being re-packaged into their own individual boxes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In a comment on BGG, AEG's Ryan Dancey notes that "we are not going to be continuing retail sales of any Thunderstone product after this year's Kickstarter (although stores who buy directly from us via our Alpha Store program will have access to these products for their stores)", which is an interesting approach to take, similar to what Plaid Hat Games is doing with Ashes Reborn as described in this August 2020 post.

In a separate comment, Dancey added, "[W]e will keep doing an annual Kickstarter as long as there's customer support..."
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Thu May 19, 2022 1:00 pm
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Bring Sweets to the Table with Azul: Master Chocolatier and The Great British Baking Show Game

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• Publishers unveiled two sweet-looking games on May 17, with Next Move Games announcing Azul: Master Chocolatier for release in late 2022, with a debut at SPIEL '22.

Board Game: Azul: Master Chocolatier

What's new in this release? Azul: Master Chocolatier includes double-sided factory boards. One side of the factories is blank, and when using this side the game plays exactly like Michael Kiesling's classic Azul. The other side of each factory tile has a special effect on it that modifies play in one way or another, putting a twist on the normal game.

Additionally, the tiles are modeled to look like chocolates and other treats, despite remaining as inedible as the tiles in the original game.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

It's not clear from this brief explanation how much these factory tile effects will change gameplay, but I posted about this title on Twitter, and tons of folks seem excited for the new look, if nothing else. Perhaps Azul: Starburst will follow in a few years, with Azul: Ritter Sport coming after that.

• Continuing its trend of releasing licensed games, Ravensburger has announced an August 2022 release date for The Great British Baking Show Game from designer Frederica Scott Vollrath.

Board Game: The Great British Baking Show Game

The game description is somewhat minimal, but this appears to be a real-time design that would nicely mimic the frantic nature of The Great British Bake Off, a.k.a., The Great British Baking Show. Ideally you have to carry your card creations from one table to another to introduce the possibility that the whole thing will tip over, but we'll have to wait to know for sure. Here's a short take on the game:
Quote:
In The Great British Baking Show Game, players take the role of bakers on the show and race each other to recreate the configuration of baking cards shown on the recipe cards. Players need to choose whether to move quickly at all costs, or whether to take more time to select the best flavors for their bake and avoid the dreaded "soggy" cards.

Board Game: The Great British Baking Show Game

To capture the sportsmanship demonstrated when bakers step in to assist others, players can use "Help!" cards to select wild cards from the center of the table. A "Bin" token allows players to throw out elements of their bake once per round.
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Wed May 18, 2022 4:00 pm
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New Life for Dominion: Prosperity, and More Expansions for Cartographers and Age of Steam Deluxe

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Board Game: Dominion: Prosperity (Second Edition)
• Following on the heels of a second edition of Dominion: Seaside, in June 2022 publisher Rio Grande Games will release a second edition of Dominion: Prosperity from designer Donald X. Vaccarino, with this set (like Seaside) containing nine new types of Kingdom cards. As with previous Dominion second editions, these new cards will be released on their own as an update pack for those who own the first edition of Dominion: Prosperity.

A few cards will receive minor errata, but these will not appear in the update pack.

Board Game: Age of Steam
• If you are wildly devoted to Age of Steam, then you might find interest in Eagle-Gryphon Games' Kickstarter for Age of Steam Deluxe: Expansion Volume II and Volume III, which collectively offer thirteen expansion maps for the game system. Most of the expansions are for 3-6 players, but they also include a two-player-only map for Scotland and the 1-3 player Seattle map. (Kickstarter)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Thunderworks Games is expanding Cartographers and Cartographers Heroes yet again with three new map packs from designers Jordy Adan and John Brieger:

Map Pack 4: Frozen Expanse – Realm of Frost Giants in June 2022 features scouted locations that need to be filled with particular types of terrain and a giant frozen lake that grants a reward when the perimeter is fully mapped
Map Pack 5: Kethra's Steppe – Redtooth & Goldbelly in July 2022 has three "beacon" scoring cards, one of which will serve as a fifth scoring card in the game and trigger off your ability to surround beacon spaces
Map Pack 6: Hornhelm – Wasteland Market in August 2022 introduces merchant cards with items you can purchase for ongoing effects

Board Game: Cartographers Map Pack 4: Frozen Expanse – Realm of Frost Giants
Board Game: Cartographers Map Pack 5: Kethra's Steppe – Redtooth & Goldbelly
Board Game: Cartographers Map Pack 6: Hornhelm – Wasteland Market
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Wed May 18, 2022 1:00 pm
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Everything Old Is New Again with Legends of Andor, Tokaido, and Royal Dilemmas

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• Artist/designer Michael Menzel wrapped his Legends of Andor series in 2017 with Legends of Andor: The Last Hope, with other designers then building on his creation with additional heroes or legends, such as 2021's Die Legenden von Andor: Magische Helden, and spinoff titles, such as 2019's The Liberation of Rietburg and 2020's Andor: The Family Fantasy Game.

Board Game: Die Legenden von Andor: Die Ewige Kälte

In late 2022, however, Menzel will return to Andor with Die Legenden von Andor: Die Ewige Kälte, which German publisher KOSMOS describes as a standalone game consisting of four legends in which "a team of 2-4 heroes embarks on an exciting journey to a strange land beyond the mountains. On a new, double-sided game board, you'll find loyal allies and face unexpected dangers. Together you will find out who is behind the magical threat of the eternal cold!"

• In September 2022, KOSMOS also plans to release Die Legenden von Andor: Big Box, which will contain the Legends of Andor base game, the New Heroes expansion, and other items.

Board Game: Die Legenden von Andor: Big Box

• On Facebook, French publisher Funforge teased the announcement of Tokaido Duo, showing first an image of Tokaido designer Antoine Bauza playing an early prototype of the design...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

...then the game's cover:

Board Game: Tokaido Duo

Board Game: The King's Dilemma
• Italian publisher Horrible Guild plans to run a Kickstarter campaign in 2022 for The Queen's Dilemma, with this design from Hjalmar Hach and Lorenzo Silva being a standalone sequel to the Kennerspiel des Jahres-nominated The King's Dilemma from 2019.

Here's an overview of the design from the publisher:
Quote:
The Queen's Dilemma is an interactive narrative legacy game that uses the same Dilemma Card System as in The King's Dilemma to bring players into another adventure set in the Kingdom of Ankist.

Much of the gameplay will be focused on a big map of the kingdom. Players will take control of different regions and manage them. There will be several resources to gather, with different uses, and players will be able to exchange them to construct buildings and other personal improvements.

Board Game: The Queen's Dilemma

The tense voting sessions and tough decisions that made The King's Dilemma such a huge success will still be there, right at the center of the experience, but their outcomes will involve more than resource tracks going up and down this time. Event cards will have more varied effects, too, having an impact on specific regions.
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Tue May 17, 2022 4:00 pm
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Cast Spells, Make Crop Circles, Save Species, and Face Tough Calls with Fractal Juegos

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board Game: Tough Calls: Dystopia
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Sun May 15, 2022 1:00 pm
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Stellarion Joins the Oniverse — Which Has a New Home at inPatience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board Game Publisher: inPatience

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board Game: Nautilion
Board Game: Aerion

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

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

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Fri May 13, 2022 5:32 pm
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