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Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on April 23-24, 2022, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated reports about this event (a day one report and four slightly more detailed game round-ups) that were written by Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo! —WEM

Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring (Day 1) took place on April 23 at Tokyo Big Sight. Osaka Game Market 2022 in March had been cancelled, so this was the first Game Market after Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn last November.

On such a warm day, with the temperature reaching as high as 27º Celsius as if it was more like early summer than spring, many board game enthusiasts gathered. According to the official announcement, the attendance was 9,500 on the first day and 6,500 on the second day, adding up to 16,000 in total.

Soon after getting off at Tokyo Big Sight Station on the Yurikamome Line, the building with inverted pyramids comes into sight. People who had purchased early entry tickets were gathered in one place and were led in groups to the plaza in front of the venue.

The reported number of COVID-19 infection cases per day continued to exceed 5,000 in Tokyo, but it was fortunate that it had not led to the level of canceling the event like in Osaka in March when the number of infection cases had spiked from a much smaller number.

However, as in the past, strict measures were taken to prevent infection. The measures included registering contacts, taking temperatures, wearing masks, leaving some shutters open, and allowing demo tables only at block booths.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Game Market venue is not in these inverted pyramids, but on the ground floor below them. The venue, the same as that used for the last Tokyo Game Market, is West Halls 1 and 2 with a combined exhibition area of 17,760 square meters.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Before the opening at 11:00, there was a line of 1,500 people who had purchased early entry tickets. Having learned from the trouble at the last Tokyo Game Market, the entry was made smooth and all of these people managed to enter the venue in only seven minutes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In the U-shape venue, the dead-end areas at the back tended to be congested. Compared to Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn, there were more people with children, but it seemed difficult for strollers to pass amid the congestion.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In a prime spot near the entrance was the Jelly Jelly Games booth. They released communication party games You-Tell and Mitaina, along with the Japanese edition of the drawing game Sherlock & Picasso.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Arclight, which had announced the release of Godzilla, had a large line of people waiting to buy its games, partly due to the pre-release of the Japanese editions of some titles. (The photo shows the display area. The shopping area was behind this area to the left.)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

There was a long line of people also at the booth of Keepdry, which released Gun and Gun W SHOUT, a new standard set for the battle card game in which players each equip their gunner character with two guns available to them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The second-hand board game store Arch Games, for the first time, released three new titles: a Japanese edition of Frank's Zoo, Storabelt, and Animanize. They had a joint booth with KANA charm, who produces custom-made board game accessories.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the special booth for commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of late Alex Randolph, there was a lecture by Takayuki Sasaki (from Hyakumachimori), who studies the works of Randolph, and a demoing of Randolph's games.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The other special booth, make.ctrl.Japan 2, was a joint booth to demo "analog digital games" that use everyday objects as unusual controllers. From left to right: a game to handle calls to multiple telephone sets, a game to reach the goal while covering yourself with a cardboard box, and a game to defeat insects with blowouts.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the GP Games booth, students from Yamagata Chuo High School presented their findings in their activity to use CATAN for community building. Having won a prize at the Japan Senior High School Design Championship, their activity is reported to have attracted attentions from the local government and shopping districts.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Susumu Kawasaki, who designed Arclight's new game Godzilla, also released the new tile placement game Connect 37 under his own Kawasaki Factory label. You can score points by connecting the number tiles on which you have placed score tokens.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Toshiki Sato, the author of Happy City (the international edition of Happiest Town), which has been well-received worldwide, released ガニメデ戦記Zero (The War Chronicles of Ganymede Zero), a two-player game in which you build robots by placing transparent part cards on top of each other and sleeving them together.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Saashi, the author of the flip-and-write game Let's Make a Bus Route, enjoys the popularity of its overseas remake Get on Board: New York & London. At the Saashi & Saashi booth, they released the Japanese edition of Get on Board: New York & London and a new card game Before the Guests Arrive.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Toryo Hojo, who has constantly released games themed on topical scandals, released two titles, namely 包装禁止 / Housou Kinshi ("Packaging Not Allowed") and 大戦争のあとしまつ / Daisensou no Atoshimatsu ("Cleaning Up the Mess After a Great War"). His games continue to fascinate us both by their satirical themes and game design with a twist.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ClaGla, who had a joint booth with Shogakukan, presented their new game Pun University, in which players as students try to pass an entrance exam by creating puns to memorize numbers, but the printed copies of the game failed to arrive in time. There were also some other groups whose games failed to arrive in time due to the lockdown in Shanghai.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Takumi Minamibata had won the Kids Creator Award for his game TAKUMI ZOO, which he had created during his summer vacation in the first grade of elementary school.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The brothers seven-year-old Rintaro and five-year-old Ken Shirasaka released the games they had designed under the label "Rinken Games".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At the ボドゲ神社 / Bodoge Jinja ("Board Game Shrine") booth, board game fortune slips and various board game good-luck charms were on sale. May the COVID-19 crisis end soon!

•••

Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring Report from Table Games in the World: Report on New Games
(Links:
https://tgiw.info/2022/04/gm2022s-games-1.html
https://tgiw.info/2022/05/gm2022s-games-2.html
https://tgiw.info/2022/05/gm2022s-games-3.html
https://tgiw.info/2022/05/gm2022s-games-4.html )

Hundreds of new board game titles are estimated to have been released at Tokyo Game Market 2022 Spring, which took place at Tokyo Big Sight on April 23 and 24. From among them, I would like to report on some titles that caught my attention.

Strategy Games

Godzilla (from Arclight)

This is the first game of the Kaiju on the Earth LEGENDS series. It is a one-against-many game in which Godzilla lands on Tokyo's Shibaura waterfront and lays the city to waste while the humans set up evacuation routes and have the residents escape as much as possible.

The Godzilla player scores points based on the evacuation routes and residents they destroy, while the human players score points based on the evacuated residents and news reports. The Godzilla player announces the route they will take and rolls the dice. By rolling same-number or consecutive dice rolls, they can take actions, such as moving and firing the heat ray. As the Godzilla grows more powerful by acquiring more dice and chances to reroll them, risk management becomes the key factor for the human players.

Game Design: Susumu Kawasaki (Kawasaki Factory) / Illustration: Yuji Kaida and Takeshi Nakamura
2-5 players / 10+ / 50-70 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Tevsphere (from Shakushi Heiki)

In this planetary exploration game, each card can be used in four different ways. Players each acquire cards by consuming time and oxygen and place them on their player board. There are four spots to place the cards. Depending on where you place them, you may gain materials or use permanent effects. Oxygen that gradually runs out must be replenished by returning to the mother ship. At the end of the game, players compete to score points based on the rarity of the cards placed on their player boards.

Game Design: Rail Amasaki / Illustration: Sania
1-4 players / 8+ / 60-90 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Connect 37 (from Kawasaki Factory)

In this tile-placement game, you score points by connecting sets of four or more numbers. On your turn, you can place either one of the two hex tiles from your hand on the board. You may also place a score token on the tile placed. At the end of the game, you score points by your score tokens placed on four or more consecutive number tiles in line. Some tiles are removed before the game, so not all number tiles may be connected. Attempts to monopolize the points are hampered by other players, so it is necessary to co-operate with other players to some degree.

Game Design: Susumu Kawasaki / Illustration: Sai Beppu
2-4 players / 8+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

解脱RTA / Gedatsu RTA ("Deliverance RTA") (from Megalomaniac Game)

In this game, players in a world of endless suffering and strife practice and accumulate virtue in order to attain deliverance from worldly attachments before anyone else. The players place vitality tokens on the "battle grounds" in snowfields and wildernesses, and when a certain number of player tokens are placed on each battle ground, the players with dominance over the area receive virtues. There are various actions depending on the order of placement, and special actions can be performed with "blessings" to change the battle situation. If you die (run out of vitality tokens) after reaching 16 virtues, you win for having attained deliverance.

Game Design: Party Taro / Illustration: Osamu Yamazaki
3-4 players / 14+ / 25-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Potion Market (from POLAR POND GAMES / analog lunchbox)

The players' actions involve playing mancala by moving six materials in their cauldron player board, extracting essence from the materials, and combining the extracts to acquire potions and familiar spirits. The familiar spirits and potions are lined up in the play area, and how the game proceeds varies depending on whether you choose to acquire familiar spirits with various special effects or potions with bonus actions.

Game Design: Masaki Suga / Illustration: Saori Shibata
2-4 players / 14+ / 20-60 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Different World Merchant (from Wablues)

The players, in a fantasy world, aim to make the mPotion Marketost profits by trading with other players while changing the values of items, such as the armor, food, magic potions, and gems. Initially, each player knows the value of only one type of item. After performing worker-placement actions that involve taking a peek at the values of other items and swapping the values, players carry out one-to-one trading between them. Finally, the values of all items are disclosed, then the players convert the items in their hands into money. You need to guess the concealed values of items from other players' actions.

Game Design: Fei / Illustration: Namiki
2-4 players / 10+ / 20-45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Fairy Factory (from DeDen)

In this game, fairies produce, transport, and sell gems. The combinations of gems that can be sold are determined by demand cards, but only the gems produced in previous turns can be transported and sold. You need to make a sales plans based on this time lag along with your opponents' progress in production.

Game Design & Illustration: DeDen
4 players / 8+ / 45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Umbradeco (from KUJIRADAMA)

This is a tile-placement game in which players place hex tiles in the way that no tiles of the same color are adjacent to each other. Meanwhile, they score points from non-adjacent same-color tiles in the same row. You can also push other tiles out or place tiles on top of each other. Points are earned through several different scoring patterns.

Game Design: Emi Kuji / Illustration: Poko
2-4 players / 8+ / 20-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Umizushi (from Umeruma Games)

This is a set-collection game in which players take turns picking the sea slugs lined up in the play area, feed them, and arrange them on the board. The higher the number (points to earn) on the sea slug you pick, the later you are in the turn order to get its food with the risk of being unable to place it. The sea slugs must be placed in specified patterns according to the numbers on them, and you score points from the sea slugs on each orthogonal row filled. The points you score are doubled if you manage to fill each row with same-color sea slugs.

Game Design: Umeruma Games / Illustration: nano
2-4 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Monslaught in Halloween (from COLON ARC)

At the start of this "deck-building game with the joy of unpacking a package in every game play", players each draw three cards from the deck, keep one of them as their hand, and play it. Using the power of the cards in your hand, you can acquire the cards in the play area to improve your deck and prepare for the battle with the final boss. The cute illustration by a popular artist is also worth noting.

Game Design: Taiga Takeura (Tareruya) / Illustration: HAL10WEEN
2-4 players / 10+ / 45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Trick-Taking Games

アメノキリフダ / Ame no Kirifuda ("Heavenly Trump") (from Mow Mow Games)

Players must follow suit of four seasons. The next season is the trump suit. Each time you win a trick, place on the board a stone in a square of the season you have played. At the end of the game, you score points for the number of stones placed times the number of stones in a row. However, only three or four stones are available, and if you win a trick when a stone is not available, it incurs the wrath of the goddess, and all the stones on the board must be removed. You need to win tricks by the target season while being careful not to win too much. It is possible to push other players' stones out of the squares and even use special cards to score points by filling the squares according to specified patterns, requiring a highly strategic game play.

Game Design: Sencha / Illustration: warmtail
3-4 players / 10+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

敗者の権利 / Haisha no Kenri ("Losers' Rights") (from Senpatsu Hyakuchu)

In this game in which you must follow suit and with no trumps, the winner of the trick chooses two of the cards from the trick they won and place them in the play area, while the losers of the trick can bid on them by placing money tokens next to the cards. The cards are eventually arranged in a 5×5 grid, and you score points from the cards won by area majority. The winner of the trick can choose the lead player of the next trick, reverse the strength of the number cards, or move one of their money tokens, so winning the trick is not always a disadvantage.

Game Design: Suzuki / Illustration: Suzu
3-5 players / 10+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

不知火 / Shiranui ("Unknown Fire") (from TanTan)

In this game in which you must follow suit, the player who has followed suit with the lowest-value card scores points equal to the difference from the next lowest-value card played in the trick. The color with the highest value in total becomes the suit to follow, so a color other than that of the lead suit may become the suit to follow. In addition to this, players each draw a gem token from the bag at the start and can place the gem token on a previously-played card of the same color to increase the value. This helps increasing both the points you score and the power of the suit, but it is hard to decide when to use it to outsmart other players.

Game Design: Zagurasu / Illustration: Studio Turbine
3-5 players / 10+ / 40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

いやどす / Iyadosu ("I Refuse") (from Mashikamaru)

In this press-your-luck trick-taking game, players each hold the cards as originally dealt, without rearranging them, and divide these cards in their hand by the insert card. Cards to the left of the insert card are the "normal" cards that must follow suit. On the other hand, cards to the right of the insert card count as "Iyadosu" ("I refuse") cards. Iyadosu cards can be played when a player can follow suit with their "normal" cards but refuses to do so. If a player runs out of "normal" cards to play, they are eliminated from the round. You can score points if you survive until the end of the round. The more "normal" cards you have, the less likely you are to be eliminated, but then you have fewer "Iyadosu" cards to spare. If you run out of "Iyadosu" cards, your score drops and you may end up with zero points.

Game Design: Mashikamaru / Illustration: Studio Turbine, Oimo3, Rabbin
3-5 players / 12+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Two Seesaws (from ORUCAgames)

In this trick-taking game in which you must follow suit, depending on the winning suit in the previous trick, the power of the values on the cards switches between ascending and descending order and the type of trick switches between "SEE trick" (in portrait orientation) and "SAW trick" (in landscape orientation). You earn 2 points for each pair of "SEE" and "SAW" tricks and lose 1 point for each of either trick not in a pair.

Game Design by: Sotogamo Nakiku / Illustration: Moyy
1-5 players / 14+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

魔女の一撃宅配便 / Majo no Ichigeki Takkyuubin ("Witch's Shot Delivery Service") (from Nekoyanagi Daikinnboshi)

In this trick-taking game with bidding, players each check the cards in their hand and announce the number of packages they can carry as their "quota". The package of your acquired tricks counts as "the package you have delivered", but if you deliver more than you can at once, you get a strained lower back, which is called "Hexenschuss" (witch's shot) in German.

Game Design: Nama Nekoyanagi / Illustration: Tasuke
3-4 players / 7+ / 20-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dice Games

Monster Colosseum (from Laugh Games)

In this survival dice action game, players roll their monster dice into the colosseum surrounded by walls and compete with their dice rolls in total. You can also roll your dice to hit your opponents' dice in order to change their dice rolls or drop them into the holes in the colosseum, making it a tough survival for them.

Game Design: Mukai / Illustration: Japan Anime & Manga College
3-4 players / 6+ / 30-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nozoku Dice (from Kanazawa Kodatsuno Games)

Players pick dice rolls from the play area and play action cards to change the dice rolls in order to form the most same-number dice rolls of higher numbers. The cards indicate the sides of the dice placed on them. Use them in good combinations to increase and match dice rolls.

Game Design: Tora Kuji / Illustration: Sai Beppu
1-4 players / 12+ / 20-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ninja Master (from itten)

The prototype of Ninja Master (Fun Brick Series 07), which will be released in mid-2022, was being demoed. It is a pattern recognition and reaction game to roll dice, count the number of ninja on the dice rolls, and race to grab the corresponding ninja or sword.

Game Design: Reiner Knizia

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Two-Player Games

Corsaire (from Fudacoma Games)

This is a two-player game from Fudacoma Games, who have produced a series of well-received pen-and-paper games. In the first half of the game, players place cards in an inverted-pyramid form to create the resource conversion route. In the second half, they collect the cards in turn to form their hands and play them to acquire areas in the style of Battle Line. The cards need to be placed with consideration to both the conversion route in the first half and the order in which they are collected in the second half of the game.

Game Design: Yusuke Sawaguchi, Illustration: Makoto Takami
2 players / 12+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Sarauabaku (from Kengo Otsuka)

This is a social deduction game between a detective and thief over treasure. The detective player knows which of the three treasure chests contains the treasure, while the thief player knows which of the six suspects is the thief. The players take turns to place a character next to a card and try to deduce whereabouts of the treasure and thief from where the characters are placed. The production team includes the character designer and scenario writer of the video game Ace Attorney series, and the game is supplied with a novel.

Game Design: Kengo Otsuka / Graphic Design: Tsutomu Dejima / Character Design: Tatsuro Iwamoto / Novel Writing: Takeshi Yamazaki
2 players / 8+ / 10-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Rhombus (from Game NOWA)

In this abstract game, players place tiles each with two triangles on them and score points for connecting an even number of same-color triangles. The tiles to place also include the triangles of your opponent's color, so players each try to form groups of an even number of triangles of their color while trying to form groups of an odd number of their opponent's color. The advanced rules involve patterns in addition to color. The game on the left in the photo is Shinigami Preschool ("Reaper Preschool"), a new trick-taking game from the same author, in which players can score points by collecting an even number of same-color cards.

Game Design and Artwork: Kenichi Kabuki
2 players / 8+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ham's Sandwich Shop (from Graphic335)

Players move the hamster chef in the style of Patchwork around the cards positioned in a loop to place toppings on their bread, and they announce when they think the sandwich is finished according to the recipe. Meanwhile, the recipe changes according to the toppings in front of the hamster token as it moves around. Each time the hamster chef jumps over a seed, you can insert your hamster tile from your hand to add secret toppings. However, some hamsters may snack on the toppings underneath them.

Game Design: Kengo Otsuka / Illustration: Graphic335
2-3 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Word Games

Poemo (B-Cafe)
After the initial phrase card is determined, players play from their hands a poetic and emotional ("po-emo") phrase card that follows it, then they vote for the best one. A poem is completed by linking four cards of such phrases. The first player to gain the specified score wins. The game contains 200 "po-emo" phrases.

Game Design: Shogo Kuroda / Illustration: Chupami
3-8 players / 12+ / 5-10 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

4コマンガ / Yonkomanga ("Four-Panel Comic") (from Shogakukan)

Players take turns to play a panel tile for one of multiple four-panel comic strips in production. After all the comic strips are complete, the reader player chooses which is "most popular" and which is the least popular one "to be cancelled". You score points for your panels in the most popular strip and lose points for your panels in the strip to be cancelled. The points to score or lose are higher for later panels.

Game Design and Graphic Design: Daipo (ClaGla) / Illustration: Kokonasu☆Rumba
3-6 players / 8+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

がんばれ!AIueo / Ganbare! AIueo (from MILLION PERCENT)

Each letter from the "topic word" is assigned in turn to a player, who composes a sentence starting with that letter. In the style of Telestrations, each player can read only the sentence written by the player before them. Without determining the winner, the game is designed to simply enjoy the presentation at the end.

Game Design: mizumizu / Illustration: Piu
3-6 players / 10+ / 15-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

エビフライエフェクト / Ebi Fry Effect (from Mugen Infinity ∞)

Players take turns being the storyteller, who plays a story card face down from their hand and tells a made-up story that connects the face-up card in the play area and the card they have just played. Other players try to guess from the story whether the card played includes the word "Ebi Fry" (Japanese fried shrimp) and race to take the supplied Ebi Fry replica in the center of the table if they think that Ebi Fry is included. The Story Teller can score points if everyone fails to take the Ebi Fry for a card containing "Ebi Fry" or if a player takes the Ebi Fry for a card not containing "Ebi Fry".

Game Design: Mugen Infinity ∞ / Illustration: Yui Metal
2-8 players / 10+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ムジュンゴ / Mujungo (Azb.Studio)

Cards are revealed one by one from the deck, and if an animal on another player's card is revealed, race to shout out the player's name before they do. Factors such as calling other players by their chosen animal names and associating multiple animals with each card by inserting it into a transparent card sleeve with different animal names make the games a quirky brain burner.

Game Design and Illustration: Azb.Studio
2-6 players / 6+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Other New Games

Planepita (from SzpiLAB)

Players flick their discs in three concentric circles and compete for majority in each area. Each disc contains a magnet. If flipped to the other side, it sticks to the board and becomes harder to be moved away. The areas closer to the center can earn you a higher score, but the competition is also higher in these areas.

Game Design: Eisuke Fujinawa and Kazunori Hori / Artwork: Mitsuki Toyama
2-4 players / 6+ / 20-30 min.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Before the Guests Arrive (from Saashi & Saashi)

Players take turns taking an orthogonal row of cards from the play area and scoring points per set of family cards and their corresponding stuff cards. Any number of same-type cards can be collected to score points at once, but collecting too many cards incurs the risk of losing many points when the game-ending card is drawn from the deck.

Game Design: Saashi / Illustration: Takako Takarai
2-4 players / 7+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dungeon in Memory (from Okabodo Seisakubu)

Tiles for connecting the dungeon path are played, but instead of placing them next to each other, they are piled on top of each other, with each player picturing the possible connected dungeon path in their head. If a player guesses that the tiles can no longer be placed to extend the path, they announce "Lost" at that point. To check whether the guess is correct, the tiles in the dungeon are connected in order at the end. The game play requires spatial perception rather than memory.

Game Design: locogame / Artwork: TOPECONHEROES Daryama
1-5 players / 10+ / 10-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Annasi! (from Puninokai)

This is a co-operative game in which players try to guess the numbers "1" to "6" assigned to each of them, using specified actions, mimicry, and comments as clues. The clues, which change from game to game, include ones such as everyone concurrently clapping their hands the number of times matching their numbers, everyone concurrently reciting the chant "Namu Amida Butsu" likewise, and talking about what they did during the month or time of their numbers.

Game Design: Mahito Mukai / Illustration: Ryoya Furukawa
1-6 players / 6+ / 15 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Judge Domino (from itten)

This is a remake of Chicken Domino, which was released from Yokke Tei at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn. Players take turns adding a domino to the line or moving a domino in the line. If you think that it is not possible to knock over all the dominoes in the line, challenge the player who has placed the last domino. The player pushes the domino at the end of the line to see whether all the dominoes can be knocked over. This is scheduled to be released in mid-2022.

Game Design: Tsukii Yosuke

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Magicalligraphy Luxury Edition (from Koguma Koubou)

This is a social deduction game in which players together try to draw the specified symbol using the feather quill connected with thin wires to the ring on each player's finger and attempt to guess which, if any, of the players were attempting to draw a different symbol than the others. Originally released at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Spring, this luxury edition was produced with the handcraft by Northgame. Only ten copies were available via preorder lottery for 12,000 yen each.

Game Design: Masakazu Takizawa / Artwork: Northgame
2-4 players / 6+ / 15-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

めぐるめぐみ / Meguru Megumi ("Nature's Blessings Circulate") (from Carrying Water Project)

In this co-operative game, players play cards to circulate water. They discuss with each other in order to prevent sewage from overflowing or running out of water, and treat the sewage so that it can be returned to nature and used again.

Game Design: Carrying Water Project+66
2-4 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

王宮の飾り絵師 / Oukyuu no Kazarieshi ("Painter in the Royal Palace") (from Saikoro Juku)

Players blind bid on the color and number of areas they want to paint. Biddings on the same color as those bid on by players who bid on fewer areas are cancelled. Otherwise, you can paint on your player sheet the color you have successfully bid on. Players compete for points by their painted areas and by meeting the requirements specified on the "Royalty's Request Card" which changes for each game.

Game Design: Kosuke Zaitsu / Illustration: Misuzu
3-6 players / 8+ / 15-20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The opening time had been moved one hour later from the last Tokyo Game Market. As a result, visitors have only five hours a day for regular entry and six hours even for early entry. On the other hand, there are 608 exhibitor booths. If you wish to visit and check all of them, you can spend only 30-40 seconds per booth by rough estimate. Once again, I visited all the booths, but there must be many items that I missed. On the TGIW website, we currently conduct a questionnaire survey on the games released at Tokyo Game Market. We would like to refer to the results of the survey and other information to catch up with the titles we have missed.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mr. Ono ricochets around Game Market
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:00 pm
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Gen Con 2022 Preview Is Now Live

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
I realize that Origins Game Fair 2022 is opening this week, but not everyone is going to Origins — heck, statistically speaking almost no one is going to Origins given that attendance in 2021 was 10,476 and Earth's population was projected to be 7,868,872,451 on January 1, 2022, making the attendance rate .00013% of humanity — so I thought I'd go ahead and publish BGG's Gen Con 2022 Preview for those who plan to attend that show.

After all, .00044% of humanity attended Gen Con 2021, so it doesn't hurt to be prepared for that far larger crowd.

Currently this convention preview lists 169 titles, and I'm sure it will grow a fair amount over the next two months as publishers get a handle on which items will make it to port in time and which releases need to be reclassified as "demo only". If you are a publisher who has yet to complete a survey on your Gen Con 2022 (or SPIEL '22) offerings, please GeekMail or email me, and I'll send you a survey link.

Thanks much to Stephen Cordell, who is helping me process publisher surveys and stay on top of this information!

For those who plan to attend, I offer this prescient image from InspiroBot that popped up for me just ahead of BGG.Spring:

From gallery of W Eric Martin
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Mon Jun 6, 2022 4:00 pm
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GAMA Expo 2022: Eric's Scrapbook

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
This post finally wraps my coverage of GAMA Expo 2022, and while much of what's included below has no relation to games, I thought it might be nice to convey elements of the con experience that most of us have been passing over the past two years.

Yes, I attended Gen Con 2021 and BGG.CON 2021, but those shows didn't feel normal — as much as any convention can feel "normal", mind you — whereas GAMA Expo 2022 felt like the traditional coming together of like-minded folks who are abuzz with excitement over what they've created and are bringing to others.

Anyway, here's my non-gaming scrapbook from GAMA Expo 2022:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

I know that hotels in the U.S. typically don't have a 13th floor, and some airlines follow this practice by not having a row #13, but what's with United Airlines' missing row #33?!

I've searched for details, and the only partial answer I can find is that when United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged in 2010, United adopted the numbering system of Continental, which left out row #33. (In the years prior, row #33 existed on at least some United flights as I found a detailed report about the happenings on United Flight 93, which mentions the rows in which people were seated.) This 2011 article from CNN details some of the oddness in United's then new numbering system, but fails to mention row #33. Here's an excerpt:
Quote:
First class will continue to start at row 1, but now every domestic airplane will have coach starting at row 7 for consistency. And the exit row will now start at row 20, regardless of what row was before it. That means in the new configuration on an A319, for example, there will be a jump from row 12 to row 20.

Consistency can make a big difference in a case like this, especially when airplanes have to be swapped at the last minute. The exit row seats are saved for the airline's most-valued customers because of the extra legroom. So, one of the most important frequent fliers may be booked in that prime exit row window seat, 12A, on one of United's A320 aircraft. But United has two seating configurations on its A320s, so what if the airline needs to change the airplane? Not only is row 12 not an exit row, but it's not even in Economy Plus anymore. That is going to be one unhappy traveler.

Going forward, if that traveler was booked in row 20 in an exit row, he will continue to be in an exit row even if the airplane is swapped. And now anyone sitting in rows 7 through 21 will be in Economy Plus, the rows that provide extra legroom for an additional cost, regardless of the airplane. This will make it a lot easier to please customers when the inevitable aircraft swap happens.
History lives on in barely noticed details.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Here's how my suitcase came off the plane, which I didn't notice until after I had blued my hands and pants. Strange, but handwipes eventually returned the suitcase to its pristine silver plastic.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

I played a prototype in the lobby from Forever Stoked Creative while waiting for the exhibit hall to open. No details since the designers are still trying to place the game, but I invite you to ponder what might be going on here...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Taking photos through glass can lead to nicely trippy images like these, with the sitting area of my room bleeding into the pool or the "Hand of God" appearing over the parking lot.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

If you want to capture the ridiculousness of Reno and Las Vegas in a single image, this might do it. Instead of providing hotel guests with one decent showerhead, the Peppermill Resort Hotel provides them with two weak showerheads. Everything in excess, even mediocrity!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

For a couple of hours on Wednesday while I wandered the exhibit hall, I kept receiving images like the ones above. I eventually decided that the sender would not realize that they were sending pics to the wrong person, so I had to let them know:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Twenty minutes later, I received all of the images again! "This is still Eric receiving the photos", I wrote. "Sorry again. I really don't know what I'm doing (senior moments)". A few minutes later: "I got it now. Thanks for your patience!"

Future GAMA Expos will henceforth be known as Joanie's birthday bash.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ceaco, parent company of publisher Gamewright, publishes jigsaw puzzles under its own name, and I could not stop goggling at this all-American oddity on display: a jigsaw puzzle of a painting of Superman fighting Doomsday from Thomas Kinkade Studios. I mean what the what?

If I ever again need to define "cheesy" for a foreign exchange student — something I've had to do in the past — I can now point to this puzzle as Exhibit A. Yes, I can literally point to it as the Ceaco representative kindly let me take this puzzle home. I'll treasure it always.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

If you are an editor, whether for game rulebooks or other written material, you can probably guess why this sign irked me. Sure, the random capital "G" is one prick, but that's not the main grammatical failure here. Let me make the problem clearer:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Whenever you create a list of actions, e.g., when you tell someone how to set up components in a game, you should use parallel construction throughout that list. Don't create a list in which eleven of the items start with an imperative — wash, apply, rub, lather, etc. — then end with a sentence in a different format. Either break from parallel construction multiple times so that you're not signaling a particular format to the reader or — and this would be the better approach — stick with the parallel construction all the way through! Say something like "Marvel at your clean hands" or "Show off your sparkling mitts" or "Get ready for hygienic high fives" or anything else, so long as it starts with an imperative. Come on!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

After the exhibit hall had closed for the final time on Thursday, Timm Metivier and I found an empty room and played two games of Innovation, splitting them and thereby positioning us for a rematch at some later convention.

Innovation remains my favorite game of all time, and I posted an overview of my evolutionary thinking about the game in this 2012 post. I often feel I'd be happy to play only Innovation, but that would make it hard to do my job, so I'll hold off on that for now.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

No trip to Reno, Nevada would be complete without Joey Gilbert greeting you at the airport. Goodbye, Joey Gilbert! See you in 2023!
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Mon Apr 18, 2022 4:00 pm
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Snatch Coins, Avoid Dinosaurs, Fight Mutants, and Use Fire for Light

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
Okay, this is the next-to-last post about GAMA Expo 2022, and as often happens with convention coverage, I'm moving back in time with my coverage, ending with what I saw first — in this case, games on display in the media room.

Fireside Games had mock-up versions of Castle Panic: Deluxe and Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests, which are (as of March 2022) expected to be produced in October 2022 for possible delivery in December 2022.

In its Kickstarter campaign for these items and the larger Castle Panic: Deluxe Collection, Fireside Games had anticipated a May 2022 delivery date, but release delays have been a running theme throughout news from GAMA Expo 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Speaking of which, Wise Wizard Games expects to release Robot Quest Arena — a deck-building game of robot combat from Paul Waite and co-publisher Perfect Day Games — in Q4 2022, whereas the Kickstarter campaign had anticipated a May 2022 delivery to backers.

Wise Wizard's edition of KAPOW! — a dice-based superhero combat game from Larry Bogucki, Douglas Hettrick, and Carl Van Ostrand that was funded on Kickstarter in December 2020 — is also expected out in Q4 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Sunlight through adjacent windows washed out many colors

A Royal Will from Marlon Fussell of MEGA MINT Games is all about quick bluffing. Each player has a hand of two cards at the start of a round, and you play one card face up for its action and another face down for the coins. All of the hidden coin cards are then revealed, and if players are collectively grabbing more than what's in the pot, the players get nothing and whoever wanted the most coins has to pay two coins to the pot; otherwise, players then receive the coins they wanted. Keep playing rounds until someone hits ten coins.

A Royal Will was released in Q1 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Darkridge Reunion, from U.S. publisher Starlux Games, is a murder mystery-style party game in which you are also apparently at risk of being the one murdered.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Goryō is a January 2022 release from Andrea Candiani and GateOnGames in which one player embodies a goryō — that is, a spirit of vengeance — that is trying to smash five objects before the other player can determine which object in which room the goryō's spirit is bound to.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Another sun-drenched image for you

Fire for Light is a campaign adventure game from Will Sobel and Greenbrier Games in which players have multiple objectives in any one particular story, objectives that might be difficult to achieve due to bandits, the weather, and available tools, among other things. You can craft new tools for various effects and find ways to withstand the weather, with all of your actions having both near-term and long-term effects on how the campaign plays out.

Greenbrier Games stopped its initial Kickstarter campaign for this title and plans to relaunch in May 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
A small sampling of mock-up components

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns from Daryl Andrews, Morgan Dontanville, and Cryptozoic Entertainment should reach retail outlets before the end of April 2022. This game for 1-2 players allows you to play through the four chapters of Frank Miller's groundbreaking comic series, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Aside from visiting the media room, I met with Adam Minton from Funko Games for a playthrough of the tutorial level on Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar, the Kickstarter campaign for which ended on April 11, 2022, so possibly I should have written about this session earlier, but here we are.

The gist of the game is that you're arriving fresh on Isla Nublar, which has nothing more than a helicopter landing pad, plans for a visitor center and a genetics lab, and four dinosaurs that are already roaming on the six regions of the island. Each player controls a character, some of which are from one of the Jurassic films and some of which have been created for this game, and during each of the five rounds you will collectively take nine actions, with your character having a bonus effect or action and supplies you discover also giving bonus actions. In our four-player game, each player had two actions, with the ninth action being available to whoever wanted it.

Board Game: Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar

Each round has an event card — sometimes fixed, sometimes random — and at the start of the round you place a random sector card on each of the board's six sectors. If a character starts in a sector or moves into it, you reveal that card, which lets you know how any dinosaurs in that region will move at round's end, and that's important because carnivores will attack humans and herbivores. (I think herbivores might step on humans, too, but I don't recall.)

Among other actions, you can heal dinosaurs, and this is essential because the death of a dinosaur, not to mention one of the humans, causes consequences, by which I mean the revelation of one or more tokens in the upper right of the board. These consequence tokens are valued 0-2, and if the sum of them ever reaches 5, you lose the game. Thus, you need to build barriers, lure herbivores away from carnivores, heal wounded dinosaurs, and otherwise keep the peace, all while also trying to figure out how you can build the visitor center and a genetics lab, then use the tools in these locations to complete some of your objectives.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

We got lucky with many things large and small in our game, such as revealing a token that allowed us to set up the genetics lab early, with the player who can move efficiently through the lab being the one who set it up. The objectives for the genetics lab and visitor center involved token manipulation, and we didn't need that many turns to put things in the right order. The dice used for dinosaur attacks weren't quite as friendly, but they could have gone worse for us, with only one dino perishing during play.

The other two players, whose names I forgot to write down, were far more into the game than I was, but I think that's mostly because I have no nostalgia for Jurassic Park, the only one of the Jurassic films that I've seen. More generally, as much as I have enjoyed something, say, Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, I have almost no interest in experiencing it in a different medium. Miller's comic series had such an impact because it took everything you knew about the character and transformed it into a one-off story that actually had a resolution. I have no interest in pretending to be Batman and taking on the mutants, especially since it's been 30+ years since I first read that story. I'm happy to let the comics be comics and the movies be movies, and play a game that's not meant to be anything other than a game.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
That's right. Turn your backs on me because I'm done with you!
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Sun Apr 17, 2022 1:00 pm
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Embrace a King, Cause Anxiety in Others, and Make Way for Japanime

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Paco Ŝako
Okay, the end of GAMA Expo 2022 coverage is in sight, with perhaps only two more posts coming to wrap up happenings in Reno, Nevada.

Felix Albers' excellent chess-variant Paco Ŝako has been picked up for distribution on the U.S. market by Sullivans Distribution and Brands, a company that I had not heard of previously, but one that appears to function along the lines of Flat River Group, with Sullivans providing assistance with marketing, production, and distribution to get self-published titles greater exposure on the market.

If you're not familiar with Paco Ŝako, the short take is that you play the game similarly to chess, except that "captured" pieces are never removed from the board. Instead capturer and captured are combined into a single piece that each player can move. Your long-term goal is to create a union between one of your pieces and the opponent's king, thereby neutralizing that piece and ending the conflict. You can chain moves together by landing a piece on a union of pieces, thereby dislodging your piece, which must make another move immediately. For more details, check out my written and video overview from 2018.

Board Game: Paco Ŝako

Sullivans is also carrying titles such as Kids Against Maturity, which is a PG-rated version of Cards Against Humanity; Joke King, which allows you to create comic strips of a sort using individual comic panel cards; and Nick Seluk's Anxiety Attack!, among other games from the creator of The Awkward Yeti. In that latter game, you're trying to move others into "Anxiety Spiral" at the center of the board, after which they will attempt to burden others with anxiety until only one player remains unafflicted.

Board Game: Anxiety Attack!

• In one of my first GAMA Expo 2022 round-ups, I mentioned that TOKYO SIDEKICK from designer Yusuke Emi had just launched on the U.S. market from Japanime Games. Here's another pic of that monster design:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Turns out that a huge backlog of releases from Japanime Games will be hitting the U.S. market throughout 2022, assuming of course that pandemic-related matters don't further thwart manufacturing and shipping. Here's an overview of all that's coming:

Sailor Moon Crystal: Imposterous, from Richard Garfield and co-publisher Dyskami Publishing Company, with this design reimplementing Hive Mind to challenge players on their knowledge of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime. (out now)
Momiji from Dario Massarenti, Francesco Testini, and co-publisher Deer Games, with players trying to collect valuable autumn leaves. (out now)
ZU Tiles: Hime Starter Set 1, a tile-placement game that Joshua Bakken previously self-published through ZU Studios and that Japanime Games will now distribute (Q2 2022)

Board Game: Sailor Moon Crystal: Imposterous
Board Game: Momiji
Board Game: ZU Tiles: Hime Starter Set 1

Heiki Strike Alternative, from Afong Lee, Jesse Li, and co-publisher Moaideas Game Design, with players deploying "princesses and anthropomorphized weapons" to occupy battlefields. (Q2 2022)
Kamigami Battles: Rise of the Old Ones, from Rich Gain, with you playing a god that must defend your realm against others. (Q2 2022)
Kamigami Battles: The Stars Are Right and Kamigami Battles: Into the Dreamlands, each of which adds six gods to a Kamigami Battles standalone game. (Q3 2022)

Board Game: Heiki Strike Alternative
Board Game: Kamigami Battles: Rise of the Old Ones
Board Game: Kamigami Battles: The Stars Are Right
Board Game: Kamigami Battles: Into the Dreamlands

Latria, a simultaneous bidding game from Y. Ohashi and co-publisher Domina Games. (Q2 2022)
Night Clan, also from Y. Ohashi and Domina Games, challenges 2-4 players to outguess who will play which cards where while trying to eliminate others. (Q2 2022)
Margot: La fée, from EINO and Domina Games, with you trying to rescue more of your faerie kin than anyone else. (Q2 2022)

Board Game: Latria
Board Game: Night Clan
Board Game: Margot: La fée

CHAINsomnia, a co-operative game from 青山奨 (Shou Aoyama), 下見幸穂 (Yukio Shimami), 田谷由壮 (Yuso Taya), and co-publisher DELiGHTWORKS in which you attempt to escape from a castle and an eternity of sleep (Q3 2022)
Tokyo Ghoul: Bloody Masquerade, a secret role game from designer Florian Grenier and co-publisher Don't Panic Games in which players pass cards to one another to gain information bit by bit. (Q3 2022)

Board Game: CHAINsomnia
Board Game: Tokyo Ghoul: Bloody Masquerade
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Thu Apr 14, 2022 1:00 pm
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Conquer Northgard, Match Up Clues to Food, and Decipher Codes with Turing Machine

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of EchoOperative
Can I finally finish off my GAMA Expo 2022 coverage in this post? No! The game pics and info were just too plentiful, and my notebook continues to spill forth for a bit longer.

Hachette Boardgames had a relatively large booth in the exhibit hall, with this being its first appearance at GAMA Expo. Some of the Hachette brands have a long-established place on the U.S. market, such as Canadian publisher Scorpion Masqué, which was previously distributed by IELLO and which was acquired by Hachette in 2021.

In February 2022, Scorpion Masqué had announced the deduction game Turing Machine from Fabien Gridel and Yoann Levet, and I was able to play a couple of sample problems. The game rules will include a relatively small number of problems for players to solve, with thousands of other problems available online.

Board Game: Turing Machine

I will paraphrase the rules while admitting that I only skimmed them because I was more interested in seeing how the system works than actually competing against others. To set up a problem, you lay out a specified number of situation cards (the exact name of which I do not recall) along with corresponding "verifier" cards; a verifier card consists of more than a hundred checks and crosses in a grid.

In a round, all players choose three numeral cards — with numerals ranging from 1-5 and with these cards being visible in a holder at the upper left of the image above — in order to create a three-digit number, say 451. Each of these numeral cards has many squarish holes on it, but when you overlay three numeral cards, only a single hole will remain. You then take the verifier card for the situation card you've chosen and place your number cards on it, thereby revealing a single check or cross. This result gives you some information about the three-digital code that is the solution to this particular problem.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Let's look at the image above for a particular example. If I choose the situation card on the left — which reads "The verifier verifies the [yellow / middle] number compared to 4" — and place the cards for 451 on that verifier card, I will see either a check or a cross. If I see a check, then because my number has 5 in the middle, then I know that the middle numeral of the answer code is also a 5; if I see a cross, then I know that middle numeral is something else.

Similarly, if I place 451 on the verifier card for the situation card reading "The verifier verifies the number of 1s in the code", then a check tells me that the code has a single 1 in it and a cross tells me that the code has zero, two, or three 1s. In effect, the verifier "reads" your input and judges it, which gives you some information. In this case, a check would not tell me the location of the 1 within the code, so I would need information from the other verifiers to determine where that 1 is and what the other numerals are.

The challenge of the game is to make smart choices over which numbers to test with which verifiers and to use a good note-taking system in order to deduce the code first. The workings of the game might be hard to understand from a description, but once the materials are in hand, you should find it easier to grasp — although not necessarily easier to solve. We sort of played one game, then I just played the second problem on my own because I was fascinated by how the system works and how it hides information in plain sight. As a fan of deduction games, I'm looking forward to playing Turing Machine for real once it's available, with SPIEL '22 being the currently anticipated debut date.

Board Game: Olé Guacamolé
• Other titles coming to the U.S. from Scorpion Masqué include Guillaume Sandance's Olé Guacamolé, which debuted in French in mid-2021. In this real-time party game, you create word chains in which the word that you say must relate to the word that the previous person said, with my word then relating to your word, and so on — except that when you start your turn, you must turn over a random letter card from the deck, and the word that you give must contain none of the letters that have been revealed. When you fail to give a word in time, you collect all of the revealed letter cards, and once all the cards have been claimed, whoever has the fewest cards wins.

Zero to 100 from Antonin Boccara is a team-based party trivia game that plays as follows:
Quote:
In Zero to 100, your challenge is not to be too far off target when answering trivia questions. Divide players into three teams and give each team six question cards at random. Each question has a numerical answer from 0 to 100 on its reverse side, but you can never look at the back of a question card until after you play it!

Board Game: Zero to 100

For the first round, place the 50 number card in the center of play. Each team chooses a question card in front of them that they think will be as close to 50 as possible. Once each team has chosen, reveal the numbers on the back of the cards. Whichever team was farthest away from 50 draws a new question card from the deck — while the other teams discard their question cards — then the number on the back of the losing team's question card becomes the new target number for the next round. Each team has three power cards, and you can play a power card with your question card to raise or lower your number by 50; raise or lower it by 20; or allow you to discard an extra question card should your answer be within 5 of the target number.

The first team to have only question card in front of them wins! If multiple teams go down to one question card at the same time, they each must guess the answer on their own question card, and whichever team is closest wins.
Both Olé Guacamolé and Zero to 100 are due out in the U.S. in September 2022.

Board Game: Suspects
Board Game: In the Palm of Your Hand
• The deduction game Suspects from Guillaume Montiage and Studio H sees release in the U.S. on April 15, 2022 following its release in France one year earlier.

In the Palm of Your Hand from Timothée Decroix and La Boîte de Jeu has taken an even longer time to reach the U.S., arriving in May 2022 after first appearing in France in November 2020. In this Dixit-style game, one player uses physical objects like a string, a coin, or a plastic ring to "draw" an image on the palm of another player who has their eyes closed. Each other player in the game sees only this "drawing", and they place a card from their hand on top of the card that the artist is trying to represent. The person drawn upon then tries to identify the correct image among the fakes.

• Another Hachette acquisition was Gigamic in 2019, and the company expects to debut Jules Messaud's tile-laying game Akropolis at Origins Game Fair 2022 in June, with the game available at retail in July.

Board Game: Akropolis

• The Hachette team had received a mock-up copy of Northgard: Uncharted Lands from Adrian Dinu and Studio H only the day prior to GAMA Expo 2022, so I'll can only quote the description on the BGG game page to give info on this Gen Con 2022 release:
Quote:
Based on the universe of the Northgard video game, Northgard: Uncharted Lands is a game of conquest and exploration set in the age of vikings. Each player controls a Viking clan, looking to achieve victory by reaping glory in various ways or controlling the most prized territories of this new continent.

The game focus is on streamlined rules and mechanisms, allowing for a fast-paced and smooth rhythm of play. Each turn, players alternate their actions to adapt their strategies to their opponents' moves and the expansion of the board. Fame (i.e., points) can be earned by exploring, fighting, and controlling and developing territories. The various corresponding actions are played through the cards that the players have in hand. At the end of each turn, they have to choose a new card to improve their personal deck as their clans develop new tactics and technologies.

Board Game: Northgard: Uncharted Lands
Playtest during FIJ 2020 (Image: Caroline Imbert)

The conquest of Northgard also requires clever management of resources to build new buildings, improve your warriors' effectiveness, better your hand of cards, and upgrade your clan's specificities. The winter phase makes this management more difficult as you have to feed your units to keep them healthy and happy.

The pace of the game is set by the players as the game ends after seven turns, but can also be cut short at any time if one of them is in control of three closed territories hosting certain types of buildings.
• Let's end where we began: party games from a Québec publisher. The Randolph Gaming Pub opened in 2012, but aside from being a place to play and eat, Randolph is also a game publisher, with the name being an homage to designer Alex Randolph. Québec has an intensely strong game-playing culture, and to some degree that culture has been cultivated by Randolph, both as a source of games and a place to play them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

One of Randolph's gaming lines debuted as "Links", then changed to "Linkto" in French and "Match Up!" in English. Games in this line are designed by Marie-Ève Lupien and Randolph co-founded Joël Gagnon, and they all work the same way:

You have fifty cards showing names and pictures from a specific category, which to date are animals, food, Earth, and travel. Lay these cards face up on the table.

Board Game: Linkto Travel

Next, take the 49 clue cards and choose a level of difficulty from 1-5. Then individually or collectively players read the clue of the appropriate level on each card and decide which picture card to cover with that clue card. One picture card will remain uncovered, and to check whether you have done everything correctly, you compare a code on the back of this card with a code corresponding to the difficulty level. You will win or lose — there's no in between!

My understanding is that while two titles in the line — Match Up! Travel (seen above) and Match Up! Food — have been released in English, they have not previously been distributed in the U.S., something Hachette plans to change in 2022.
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Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:00 pm
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Remix Fluxx, Become King of the Dice, and Sparkle in Equestria with My Little Pony

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: My Little Pony: Adventures in Equestria Deck-Building Game
I'm nearing the end of my coverage of GAMA Expo 2022, with nearly all the game pics and announcements now in this shared digital space instead of being stored less usefully on my phone and in my notebook.

• When you look over the display cases of U.S. publisher Renegade Game Studios, you might think it's become a division of Hasbro at this point thanks to titles like My Little Pony: Adventures in Equestria Deck-Building Game, a co-operative game due out in June 2022; Transformers Deck-Building Game: A Rising Darkness, a standalone expansion also due out in June 2022; Transformers Deck-Building Game: Infiltration Protocol, an expansion due out in July 2022; G.I. JOE Mission Critical, a co-operative miniatures board game due out in 2022; and at least a half-dozen new items for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, which debuted in 2019.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Why doesn't Hasbro release such games on its own? Retailer and buyer expectations. Almost any game coming from Hasbro needs to sell for $20 or less, and it must be supported by huge amounts of marketing in order for retailers to want to carry it. I say "almost" because Hasbro sold a new edition of HeroQuest directly to buyers for $100 each through its Pulse pre-order system, but that's a case of nostalgia driving sales and Hasbro risking nothing since the game already existed. For these new games, Renegade takes the risk and Hasbro earns a license fee, which is essentially found money.

Renegade has non-Hasbro titles coming as well, such as Birdwatcher, designed by Zakir Jafry and co-published with Oni Games. This 1-5 player game is due out in December 2022 and bears this short description:
Quote:
Birdwatcher is a fast, competitive game in which players are rival wildlife photographers on a hunt to snap photos of the elusive and illustrious birds of paradise.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Each player has three actions on their turn, with which they can call birds to their tree from the central clearing and jungle, snap photos of birds in their tree, or run into the jungle to flush new birds to the clearing. Players can also use their actions to set up a zoom lens to capture a bird from another player's tree, or to publish a paper. Photos and publications are assembled from left to right in a player's photo journal where they will score points at game's end.
• In May 2022, HABA will release Nils Nilsson's King of the Dice: The Board Game, which debuted in Germany in October 2021. This game uses the same dice mechanism as 2017's King of the Dice, which I previewed here, but with players now competing to win cards with dice rolls to thereby claim and steal territory on a shared game board. At game's end, you score based on the land and gems you hold, with a bonus for whoever holds the most dragonfire.

Board Game: King of the Dice: The Board Game

HABA has released three titles in The Key series of deduction games from Thomas Sing — you can check out my overview of The Key: Murder at the Oakdale Club here — and HABA national sales manager Phil Wrzesinski tells me that you'll see more of The Key in 2023, including games at the highest level of difficulty. (The first three titles have two "starter" level games and one of "medium" difficulty.)

Board Game: Olympus Fluxx
Board Game: Olympus Loonacy
• On May 5, 2022, Looney Labs will release both Olympus Fluxx and Olympus Loonacy, which seems like a good way to use Echo Chernik artwork multiple times. In Loonacy, you're trying to play all cards from your hand before anyone else does — more details in my 2014 review — and in Fluxx you're trying to satisfy whatever goal is currently in play, but that goal and the rules of the game will change constantly.

Speaking of Fluxx, on March 3, 2022 Looney Labs released Fluxx Remixx with this version of the Andy Looney design keeping all the Keepers from the current edition of Fluxx, but changing all of the Goals so that the Keeper combinations you might be familiar with are no longer winning combinations. The game also includes new rules, actions, and surprises, many of them music-themed to tie into the "Remixx" name.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Aside from those standalone games, on July 7, 2022, Looney Labs will release More Surprises, More Actions, and More Rules, with these expansion packs being suitable for use with any Fluxx game.

• Asmodee North America has picked up the card game Canvas from Jeff Chin, Andrew Nerger, and Road To Infamy Games for distribution in the U.S., with the game expected to be available by the end of Q2 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• After many delays, three titles from Belgian publisher Game BrewerHippocrates, Stroganov, and Rulebenders — are now available in U.S. stores. Game Brewer had flown in small quantities of these titles to SPIEL '21 in October to seed the market and build buzz, but then shipping complications, which every publisher has stories about these days, delayed the general release of the games.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin
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Mon Apr 11, 2022 1:00 pm
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Solve Cases like Sherlock, Prepare for a Maglev Future, and Drink the Tears of Unsuspecting Chefs

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Sherlock: Case Connection
The game pics and announcements from GAMA Expo 2022 continue. Yes, nearly a month has passed since the show ended, but all of these games are still in the future, and it's taken a long time to unpack all that I wrote and photographed.

• Polish publisher Lucky Duck Games has grown tremendously since it started business in 2016, and it featured a number of upcoming releases, including Sherlock: Case Connection from Radosław Ignatów, with this due to hit U.S. retailers in June 2022. Here's a quick take on the game:
Quote:
Sherlock: Case Connection is a competitive puzzle game of investigation and deduction that pits players against Sherlock's foes in an effort to become the greatest detective in the world. Two to four players will visit familiar locations from the show to gather evidence and reconstruct their theory of the crime.
Lucky Duck Games notes that this is the first title in a multi-game agreement with BBC Studios for games based on the Sherlock television series, and the game will be released in English, French, Italian, and Polish.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Given Lucky Duck's success with the Chronicles of Crime series, it's no surprise to see the publisher releasing more deduction-based games, such as the pocket-sized Crime Zoom series (licensed from French publisher Aurora) in late 2021 and the upcoming Pocket Detective: Series 1, which is licensed from co-publishers Jet Games Studio and Lavka Games and due out in July 2022. Presumably this design from Yury Yamshchikov is an edition of 2019's Pocket Detective, but we'll have to wait to know for sure.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Board Game: Flamecraft
Lucky Duck Games is the co-publisher for Manny Vega's Flamecraft, for which Cardboard Alchemy ran a US$2 million Kickstarter campaign in Q3 2021, and the publisher expects that title to hit retail in September 2022.

Speaking of Kickstarter, on April 12, 2022, Lucky Duck and publishing partner Van Ryder Games will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Evan Derrick's The Dark Quarter, a 1-4 player game that plays in 2-3 hours and bears this description:
Quote:
Welcome to New Orleans, Louisiana, circa 1980: a vibrant city of music, food, and magic. Neon lights flicker in dirty puddles up and down Bourbon street; the innovations of the modern world clash with ancient and terrible traditions; and murder is never simple. The Beaumont Agency, staffed with a roster of brilliant, colorful, and ultimately flawed private investigators, specializes in solving cases that no one else can crack.

Board Game: The Dark Quarter

In The Dark Quarter, a co-operative app-driven adventure game set in a dark, fantastical vision of 1980s New Orleans, players each take control of a Beaumont agent and work alongside one another to solve the worst crimes that New Orleans has to offer. It's a world full of magic, where hexing curses are sold on every street, where voodoo priestesses and creatures of the night are lurking around every corner, and where even the most mundane crimes have a tinge of the supernatural to them.

Through multi-scenario campaigns, the game tells a rich, dynamic story and invites players to make critical decisions that will not only affect their characters, but change the direction and course of the story. The characters are not simply avatars, easily replaceable from scenario to scenario; instead, they are woven into the very fabric of the story itself. Their destiny and the destiny of New Orleans are inextricably linked together.
• U.S. publisher Bézier Games was highlighting some of the expansion boards for 2021's Maglev Metro from co-owner Ted Alspach.

These expansions — London & Paris, Mechs & Monorails, and Moonbases & Mars, with the former being designed by Dale Yu — are currently in the BGG database as separate items, but Bézier is marketing them as Maglev Maps: Expansion Volume 1 in a Kickstarter project that will ideally hit the retail market in Q2 2023.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bézier showed off two other upcoming releases as well, with one of them being the co-operative card game Sync or Swim from Lucas and Divya Hedgren. This title was funded on Kickstarter in February 2022 and expected out in September 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

I've already talked about the second edition of Muneyuki Yokouchi's engrossing trick-taking game Cat in the Box, and you can find a description of this game in that earlier post, but I took another pic of the game at GAMA Expo 2022, so here it is, with cat eyes just peeking over the edge of the box.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Anoba Interactives is a new publisher that has yet to register its games in the BGG database despite my encouragement at the show, but I can share info on their two current projects and ideally add links later.

In Boiling Point, a game for 2-6 players, you play as crustaceous spirits that have come back to rescue your descendants and carry out sweet revenge on some unsuspecting chefs. You take control of crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, powering them to climb, fight, and escape the pot, fueled by the tears of their enemies!

Yes, "chef tears" are actual components in the game, with Anoba Interactives' website listing 75 of them as being included. You can only imagine what the Kickstarter stretch goals might be for this title...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The other title, Mate Munchers, features insects that kill or dismember their mate after copulation — although as Wikipedia informs me: "For primitive insects, the male deposits spermatozoa on the substrate, sometimes stored within a special structure; courtship involves inducing the female to take up the sperm package into her genital opening, but there is no actual copulation." Okay, the game description needs some work, but I'll let Anoba worry about that.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
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Sun Apr 10, 2022 1:00 pm
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Unbag Your Guardians, Build a Venn Diagram, and Pass Dinosaurs to Others

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Les Gardiens de Havresac
The GAMA Expo 2022 coverage continues will still more game pics and announcements. Amazing how I can see so much in such a short time!

• French publisher Catch Up Games had a few upcoming releases on hand to show to potential publishing partners, starting with Frédéric Guérard's Les Gardiens de Havresac, a competitive game for 1-4 players in which you each have a player board on which guardians will rebuild castles, collect fairies, open treasure chests, and defeat monsters.

In each of the five rounds, you pull guardians from your bag one by one; each guardian has their own movement and ability. The first guardian starts at the castle in the center of the board, then the next guardian starts from wherever that first one moved to, and so on. As you rebuild castles, you gain additional starting places for future rounds, which is good since monsters and fairies pop up at random locations and you can't reach everywhere from the center of your board. At the end of a round, you can acquire new guardians, who then get added to your bag to give you a larger group for the future.

Both the player boards and the guardians are double-sided to give you more variety of gameplay. Les Gardiens de Havresac debuted in France on March 25, 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Each player also their own player board in Orichalque, a design for 2-4 players by Bruno Cathala and Johannes Goupy, the team behind 2019's Queenz: To Bee or Not to Bee (which I previewed here).

Each turn, you choose an action card and a land tile from the display, with the four actions allowing you to recruit hoplites, produce orichalcum (a legendary metal from Greek mythology), construct temples that grant powerful bonuses, or fight monsters infesting your island (and preventing you from placing temples where you want).

You can win favors from titans by creating an area of their favorite landscape; each titan has a bonus ability, but more importantly it also counts as a point while you still have it. Temples occupy four spaces — one of each landscape type — and also grant a point, as do the orichalcum tokens you can forge. Whoever first has 5 points and no monsters on their island wins.

Orichalque is scheduled to debut at SPIEL '22.

Board Game: Orichalque

Fabien Tanguy's Cubosaurs seems similar to 2018's CuBirds, but aside from both of them being card games with playful graphics from Kristiaan der Nederlanden, they are not related.

In Cubosaurs, you will build up a collection of dinosaurs, each with their own scoring rules showing positive or negative points based on how many you've collected. On a turn, you have to keep the hand of cards given to you and add those cards to your collection, or you pass them along to your neighbor, but to do so you must add to that hand a card from your collection that doesn't match any of the cards already included. Maybe you'll get rid of a negative card, but will that card be positive for your opponent? Maybe you can pass them a poison hand that they can't pass on since their collection has only the cards already included in the hand?

Cubosaurs is due out in Q3 2022 in France.

Board Game: Cubosaurs

Board Game: Paper Tales
• Other titles coming from Catch Up Games include a definitive edition of Masato Uesugi's Paper Tales that includes the base game and two expansions. Yes, two! The second expansion will also be available separately for those who already own everything else for the game.

Les Trésors du Pharaon ("The Pharaoh's Treasures") is an expansion for Sobek: 2 Players from Cathala and Sébastien Pauchon, which debuted in 2021 in France and is due out on May 25, 2022 in the U.S. from Pandasaurus Games.

At the end of 2022, Catch Up Games will release a new character pack for The LOOP from Maxime Rambourg and Théo Rivière, with that pack containing its own deck of cards.

French editions of Brew and Dinosaur Island: Rawr 'n Write are due out from Catch Up Games on, respectively, May 6, 2022 and June 2022.

• I've already covered Smash Up: Disney Edition and Disney Sorcerer's Arena: Epic Alliances Core Set, two splashy IP-based games from The Op, but the company also previewed the lower-profile party game Venn that's playable by two or more people and due out in Q2 2022. My summary of the game:
Quote:
Your goal in Venn is to get your teammates to guess a secret code first. Twelve word cards will be laid out at random, and the code that the cluegivers see has three numbers on it from 1-12.

Board Game: Venn

Three large plastic circular overlays in yellow, blue, and pink are laid out on the table, with the circles overlapping to create a large Venn diagram. Each cluegiver has a hand of cards showing absurdist imagery, and they'll take turns placing cards into various sections of the Venn diagram to try to give clues to their teammates about the words indicated by the code.
I probably don't need to say this, but obviously this game could be played with Dixit cards and Dixit could probably be played with cards from this game. (Someone has created a GeekList for all such games, yes?)

Should you want even more IP-based games, The Op will oblige with Monopoly: The Dragon Prince, Monopoly: David Bowie, and Monopoly: Britney Spears, among other releases.

Board Game: Magnefix
• In addition to highlighting Uwe Rosenberg's Bohnanza: 25th Anniversary Edition, which was released in the U.S. in March 2022, AMIGO gave a few teasers for future releases, such as the English release of Roberto Fraga's Magnefix in late 2022. (AMIGO released this game in Germany in 2020.)

AMIGO plans to introduce a line of "My First AMIGO" games, presumably including My First Bohnanza, which first appeared in 2015, and it will have a new Saboteur game in which you are once again trying to collect gold, then escape from a situation.

Finally, AMIGO will have a new game from Richard Garfield that the representative described as "King of Tokyo-style" in that you're trying to directly defeat the other players.
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Sat Apr 9, 2022 1:00 pm
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Live the Life of the Mother of Frankenstein, and Relive the Siege of Vienna in Fire & Stone

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Arcane Wonders
Let's continue rolling out game pics and announcements from GAMA Expo 2022. Sure, the show might have ended weeks ago, but I've learned to spend my time at shows sleeping so that I feel like a decent human being the next day and that impedes the publication process. Thankfully I have notes to reference due to the power of WRITING, one of humanity's greatest inventions.

• U.S. publisher Arcane Wonders had a handful of upcoming releases to talk about, with Emerson Matsuuchi's city-building game Foundations of Rome demonstrating what one cubic foot of game looks like. The game started shipping to backers of the Kickstarter at the end of March 2022.

From gallery of W Eric Martin


Jon Perry's Air, Land, and Sea: Spies, Lies & Supplies is a standalone game that can also be integrated with 2019's Air, Land, and Sea, and Arcane Wonders expects to debut the new title at Origins Game Fair in June 2022.

Ivan Lashin's Mobile Markets: A Smartphone Inc. Game debuted in late 2021 for the European market, and it should hit U.S. retailers in Q3 2022.

In Dice Manor from Garrett Herdter, which should debut at SPIEL '22 in October, you use dice placement and bidding to build homes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In October 2020, designers Terry Pettigrew-Rolapp and Tommy Wallach of Hatch Escapes ran a Kickstarter campaign for Mother of Frankenstein, an escape room-style game built around letters from Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Here's how the publisher describes it:
Quote:
Mother of Frankenstein challenges you to solve a series of puzzles in order to learn the truth behind Shelley's infamous monster. While challenging enough for serious puzzlers, it also features a rich, emotional narrative composed by New York Times bestselling YA novelist Tommy Wallach, which will have you and your loved ones feeling all the feelings.

The game is divided up into three acts, each of which is presented in a separate "volume" (i.e., a hollowed-out book). Each volume contains a trove of documents and objects, all of them beautifully crafted and cunningly designed (ostensibly by Mary Shelley herself) in order to reveal a great secret she left to her only surviving child. Included in every box is also a full copy of the 1818 edition of Frankenstein (both for puzzle necessity and general enjoyment).

You'll build a three-dimensional castle, manipulate locks and secret compartments, and even harness the power of electricity!
Arcane Wonders has signed on as the retail partner for the release of this game, which should be available in Q2 2023. Owner Director of Sales/Marketing Robert Geistlinger says that the three volumes should be tackled in order as they are not independent, and each volume will take about 10-15 hours to do whatever it is you need to do.

Board Game: Unmatched: Redemption Row
Board Game: Unmatched: Hell's Kitchen
• Justin Jacobson from Restoration Games says that Unmatched: Redemption Row and Unmatched: Hell's Kitchen will be available at U.S. retail outlets starting on April 20, 2022.

• Clay Ross at Capstone Games had a tableful of stuff that is already on the market or due for release in the near future such as Ark Nova and Clinic: Deluxe Edition, but he also had teasers for two items:

— The next "Iron Rail" title will be set in South Africa.
—Capstone plans to launch a wargame line similar to the "Iron Rail" line in titles are fairly streamlined. The first release in this line will be Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna from designer Robert DeLeskie, who shared this in February 2022:

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Thu Apr 7, 2022 1:00 pm
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