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Dinosaurs Are Coming! New Mindclash Games on the Horizon...

Candice Harris
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Board Game Publisher: Mindclash Games
Mindclash Games has a reputation for releasing deep, heavy games with the theme and mechanisms melded together seamlessly, creating immersive gaming experiences. I can recall the first time I played Trickerion. My brain burned a bit...quite a bit...but I also felt like I was playing in a world similar to the movie The Prestige as I struggled to become a more impressive magician than my opponents. I am always curious to see what Mindclash will produce next.

It's looking like the publisher's big new release for 2020 will be Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles, a narrative-driven, city-building, dice-worker-placement, area-majority game with a survivor theme — and DINOSAURS! Mindclash describes it as "a Euro-style game with the feeling of adventure" and credits designers Richard Amann, Thomas Vande Ginste, Anthony Howgego, Viktor Peter, Wolf Plancke, and Dávid Turczi. Turczi planted the initial seed for this design according to Mindclash's first designer diary blog post for Perseverance. Here's an overview of the storyline behind the game:
Quote:
Caught by an eldritch storm in the Devil's Triangle, a luxury ocean liner gets stranded on a mysterious island. The first survivors to set foot ashore watch in awe as mighty dinosaurs emerge from the extraordinary vegetation...

At first, you are a castaway, struggling for mere survival. As days turn to months, and months to years, you persevere. You raise walls, build a city, and form a new society, slowly understanding this strange land — your new home. Through great sacrifice and tenacity, the menacing beasts inhabiting these lands slowly become your companions. Riding the dinosaurs that once kept you in fear, you know you are ready to claim the island, and start writing the history of a new civilization.


Board Game: Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles

Perseverance: Castaway Chronicles is a series of Euro-style dice-drafting / dice-placement games. The saga consists of four episodes that tell the story of a group of survivors becoming a mighty civilization on a hostile island. The theme unfolds through narrative elements, as well as evolving game mechanisms. The episodes are playable as standalone games with various lengths and complexities, but also as a continuous story. The outcome of each episode influences the next, but the game has no legacy elements and no hidden rules; the whole storyline is infinitely replayable.
Looking a bit deeper into the future, Richard Amann and Viktor Peter's Transhumanity is another Mindclash game in the works for a potential 2021 release. Transhumanity is a co-operative sci-fi exploration game based on an award-winning novel by Brandon Hackett that I believe is titled Isten gépei. The BGG description below gives me an Anachrony vibe thematically at a high level, but seems to be a completely different world with fresh gameplay and mechanisms:
Quote:
The event called the "Leap" happened in the blink of an eye, but changed mankind's future forever. Earth was mysteriously torn from its orbit by an unknown force; the Sun disappeared from the sky, and a scarlet dwarf star took its place. No one knows how or why the Leap happened, but one thing seems certain: It was an act of a superior intelligence with an unknown origin and intention.

The mystery is up to your group of explorers to unfold through a series of plays. Discover multiple variants of the post-Leap Earth in an age when technology is spiraling out of control and becoming both a blessing and a curse. Evolve into a powerful Transhuman on your journey to discover the truth behind the Leap — but hold on to your humanity or face the consequences.

Board Game: Transhumanity

Transhumanity is a story-driven co-operative campaign game in which players use point-to-point movement to explore multiple post-Leap Earths. Each game is based on an open card-drafting mechanism in which players may use the drafted cards to either influence the current Earth's fate or build their own deck to customize and improve their character for the long run. The campaign will gradually unveil the truth behind the Leap and lead to an epic conclusion.
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Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:00 pm
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Blue Orange Games in 2020: Create Rose Bouquets, Shake Maracas, Draw on Dice, Slap Hands, and Explore Dungeons

Candice Harris
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Board Game Publisher: Blue Orange (EU)
The European branch of Blue Orange Games — which sometimes releases the same titles as the U.S.-based Blue Orange Games and sometimes doesn't — has unveiled a 2020 "1st semester" catalogue with a variety of new children's games and party games, and a healthy amount of fun, fast-playing, family games...that's right, the triple "F" threat.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza by Dave Campbell is a card game for 2-8 players that will keep you on your toes and (spoiler alert!) is not actually a new game. It was originally released by Dolphin Hat Games in 2018 and is now coming from Blue Orange (EU) in 2020. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza has a "pay attention and think fast" feel similar to Jungle Speed, if you've ever played that. Here's the gist of it:
Quote:
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza! Keep these five crazy words in mind.

Each player places a card from their hand face up into a community pile while saying taco/cat/goat/cheese/pizza in player sequence. When the card matches the mantra — boom! — everyone slaps their hand on the deck, with the last one to slap picking up the cards. Whoever rids themselves of cards first wins!

For extra fun, special action cards – the gorilla, narwhal, and groundhog — force players to make certain gestures before racing to slap the deck!
Board Game: Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Knock! Knock! Dungeon! is a real-time, co-operative game in which 1-6 players must explore a dungeon with various dangers and creatures in order to find and defeat the Black Knight — but you have only ten minutes before the curse of the dungeon hits you!

Board Game: Droll
Draw'n'Roll is Antonin Boccara's unique clue-guessing game for 2-6 "dice-tectives" that plays exactly as its name describes. Players draw clues on erasable dice (neat!) for a specific theme, then roll them onto the table for others to interpret while you are likewise interpreting your opponents' themes with the goal of scoring the most points. The trick is, you can't touch the dice after they're rolled, so you have to physically move around the table to decipher clues drawn from all angles.

Board Game: Rose Ceremony
Valentine's Day is a press-your-luck, set-collection game for 3-6 players designed by Ken Gruhl. Blue Orange sets the mood and briefly summarizes the gameplay below:
Quote:
Love is in the air...or not!

Set your heart on a player of your choice and offer them a rose. Will they accept? Create bouquets of roses in Valentine's Day to win points, but the task isn't that simple as too many thorny roses will spoil the bouquet! Sometimes, it's important to know when to say "no".
Maracas is a new Bruno Faidutti game in which 3-8 players shake maracas to try to guess the correct number of gems inside. Listen carefully and shake it 'til you make it!

Board Game: Maracas
Faidutti at SPIEL '19
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Sat Feb 1, 2020 1:00 pm
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AEG in 2020: Race Dice, Arrange Chocolates, Treat Cats, and Split Your Time Between Atlantis and Santa Monica

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Board Game Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
In early January 2020, Eric shared the news of Elizabeth Hargrave's upcoming release, Mariposas, and I'm sure fans of Wingspan are thrilled. Fortunately, even more enticing games and expansions are coming our way from Alderac Entertainment Group in 2020. AEG's Todd Rowland has graciously uploaded pics of a few of these new releases to give us a sneak peek.

Truffle Shuffle is a card-drafting, set-collection game designed by Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin and Shawn Stankewich, the team behind 2019's Point Salad from AEG. Glancing at the cover art below, I'm realizing I have a killer craving for chocolate all of a sudden...and this is definitely not a Goonies-themed game as I initially suspected. (We were all thinking it!)

Board Game: Truffle Shuffle

Here's a brief description of the gameplay from the publisher:
Quote:
In the quick-playing, card-drafting game Truffle Shuffle, players take turns selecting truffles from a shared box of overlapping cards in order to make their own arrangements of chocolates to sell. Players can complete a variety of sets, using special modifiers and action cards. With so many different chocolate truffles to unwrap and different ways to combine them, every game of Truffle Shuffle is unique!
Board Game: Truffle Shuffle

Board Game: Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a new card-drafting, set collection game from Josh Wood, the designer of Cat Lady. Here's a summary of the setting with a touch of gameplay:
Quote:
In Santa Monica, you are trying to create the most appealing neighborhood in southern California. Will you choose to create a calm, quiet beach focused on nature, a bustling beach full of tourists, or something in-between to appeal to the locals?

Each turn, you draft a feature card from the display to build up either your beach or your street. These features work together to score you victory points. The player with the most points wins!
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Santa Monica prototype pic from the AEG Larkstone playtest house

Board Game: Cat Lady
Board Game: Cat Lady: Box of Treats
• Speaking of Cat Lady, AEG will also be releasing Box of Treats, Wood's first expansion for that game. Box of Treats includes more cats, new items, boxes, and cat treats! In addition, the expansion allows Cat Lady to be played with up to six players.

John D. Clair's Cubitos is a dice-rolling, press- your-luck game in which players compete to become the Cubitos Champion. In slightly more detail:
Quote:
In Cubitos, players take on the role of participants in the annual Cube Cup, a race of strategy and luck to determine the Cubitos Champion. Each player has a runner on the racetrack and a support team, which is represented by all the dice you roll. Each turn, you roll dice and use their results to move along the racetrack, buy new dice, and use abilities — but you must be careful not to push your luck rolling too much or you could bust!
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Cubitos prototype pic from Larkstone


Board Game: Mystic Vale
Board Game: Mystic Vale: Nemesis
• Like Wood, Clair also has an expansion for a well-received AEG title, with Mystic Vale: Nemesis adding new advancement and vale cards for even more combo options. Nemesis also includes titan leader cards that grant abilities with the potential to become more powerful when upgraded as well as a new variant for solo gameplay.

Jani & Tero Moliis' Lost Atlantis was first mentioned in this space in December 2017 with this brief description: a "3X game under the sea". The release date for this title is now sometime in 2020 instead of Q4 2018, but we still don't have a longer description at this point. Even so, between that description and the prototype photo below, my curiosity is piqued!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Another Larkstone prototype pic, this time showing Lost Atlantis

Board Game: Lost Atlantis
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Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:00 pm
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Create Panoramic Gardens, Collect Fruit, and Examine Monster Teeth in 2020 Thanks to Korea Boardgames

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Board Game Publisher: Korea Boardgames co., Ltd.
Korea Boardgames has revealed three titles for early 2020 release that feature a variety of themes and that all play in 45 minutes or less.

Four Gardens is an Asian-themed set collection game for 2-4 players from Martin Doležal:
Quote:
Long ago, in a beautiful Eastern kingdom, a queen and her people pleased their Gods by building a mystical pagoda. The pagoda housed the four Gods and towered strong over the magnificent kingdom.

As time passed, the queen fell ill, and she summoned her people to compete for her crown. The crown would be passed on to the person who could build the most pristine garden around the pagoda. The heir would be chosen by the four Gods themselves.
Board Game: Four Gardens

In Four Gardens, players compete to score the most points by pleasing the gods with beautiful panoramic views of gardens called (as you might expect) "panoramas". In order to create panoramas, players first need to lay groundwork cards that each have specific resource requirements. Players must then gain the necessary resources to complete their groundwork cards by turning a 3D pagoda. (We'll be recording an overview video of this at Spielwarenmesse 2020, but for now you must imagine what "turning a 3D pagoda" entails.) Once a groundwork card's requirements are satisfied, it becomes a landscape card, and multiple landscape cards placed in the correct order form completed panoramas to score points.

Board Game: Fruit Picking
Jun-ichi Shinde's Fruit Picking first appeared in 2014 as a co-production by ChagaChaga Games and Shinde's Uzumaki Switch, and at the end of January 2020 Korea Boardgames will release a new edition of the game — still bearing the Fruit Picking name — that features new artwork, game boards, and rules for solo play.

Here's a quick summary from the publisher:
Quote:
In Fruit Picking, the players become fruit farmers who plant and pick fruit and trade them with Market Island. The goal is to collect a set of all market cards from one of the four districts of Market Island.
On a given turn, players use a mancala mechanism to take all seeds from one space on their fruit island board, then distribute them clockwise to establish their "pick" farm for this turn. Then they can optionally choose to either add more seeds to their "pick" farm or pay seeds from their "pick" farm to trade and receive the corresponding Market Island fruit card. The game ends as soon as a player collects all cards from one of the four sets of market cards.

Board Game: Fruit Picking

Board Game: Fruit Picking

Luca Bellini and Luca Borsa's Monster Dentist is a fast-paced, pattern recognition game in which players simultaneously use "mouth mirrors" — those small round mirrors on plastic handles that you find almost exclusively at a dentist's office — to examine monster mouths, then place tooth tokens on their player boards with the goal of matching the game's problem cards faster than their opponents.

A round ends when the first player to complete their board shouts "Diagnosis!", and if their player board matches the problem card, they keep the card. The game ends as soon as a player collects their third problem card.

Board Game: Monster Dentist

[Editor's note: I was hired by Korea Boardgames to edit the rules for Monster Dentist, so I asked Candice to write up this post about the company's offerings instead of me doing it myself. —WEM]
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Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:00 pm
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Oath: Another Banger from Root Designer Cole Wehrle?!

Candice Harris
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Board Game: Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile
[Editor's note: Given that the number of games being released isn't slowing anytime soon, I've been looking for folks who are interested in writing about upcoming games for BGG News. Candice Harris, who has appeared in multiple GameNight! videos, makes her debut here, and as she alludes to in her opening lines, her game tastes swing heavier than mine, which is great since she can cover certain titles in more depth than I ever would. —WEM]

With the new year comes new games, and I'm happy stepping up to write about games that put Eric into a fog. One I'm particularly amped about is Cole Wehrle's Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile. After playing Pax Pamir (Second Edition) in 2019 and literally falling in love, followed by Root, which I played for the first time shortly after, I quickly became a big fan of Cole Wehrle. I'm fascinated with his thought process and the depth that he pours into his game designs.

When I started hearing teasers about Oath, I immediately subscribed to its BGG game page and started drooling whenever I read Cole's designer diary posts. I knew, after his first post in October 2019, that I had to have this game in my life. From what I've read and seen so far, Oath seems truly unique with its adaptive gameplay that evolves game after game, but doesn't lock you into playing with the same group. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear Leder Games announce that Oath will be launched on Kickstarter on January 14, 2020. Mark your calendars!

So what is Oath all about? Here's an overview from the publisher:
Quote:
In Oath, one to five players guide the course of history in an ancient land. Players might take the role of agents bolstering the old order or scheme to bring the kingdom to ruin. The consequences of one game will ripple through those that follow, changing what resources and actions future players may have at their disposal and even altering the game's core victory condition.

If a player seizes control by courting anarchy and distrust, future players will have to contend with a land overrun by thieves and petty warlords. In a later game, a warlord might attempt to found a dynasty, creating a line of rulers that might last generations or be crushed by the rise of a terrible, arcane cult.

Oath has no fancy production tricks, app-assisted mechanisms, or production gimmicks. The game can be reset at any time and doesn't require the same play group from one game to the next. A player might use the fully-featured solo mode to play several generations during the week, then use that same copy of the game for Saturday game night with friends. There are no scripted narratives or predetermined end points. The history embedded in each copy of Oath will grow to be as unique as the players who helped build it.
Board Game: Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile
Prototype components

Cole Wehrle has spent several years on deep thought and prototyping, taking inspiration from a wealth of books and games that have impacted his vision for Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile. Oath plays with 1-5 players in 60-90 minutes and supposedly even plays very well with two, which is fantastic. The fact that set-up and tear-down are both clocking in at about five minutes or less is also impressive. As always, I'm sure that will all vary depending on who's playing, but it sounds promising, especially for those weeknight gaming sessions. I also find it interesting that the game changes after each session, but you don't need to continuously play it with the same group like most legacy-style games. As Wehrle mentions in his fourth designer diary for Oath:
Quote:
Oath essentially remembers three things. First, it remembers a portion of the game's map, which also holds the various rules modifications in play. Second, the game remembers many of the characters, enterprises, and ideas of the previous game in the form of the game deck. This deck will also change from game to game based on how the previous game was played. Finally, the game remembers how it ended, and will adapt the victory condition for the next game in response to this victory condition.
Oath has asymmetrical aspects that I tend to find interesting when pulled off well. One player will play as the Chancellor, while the other players are Exiles. Players start the game in equality for the most part, then over the course of the game and future sessions this situation evolves depending on how the players play the game. Sounds like no shortage of player interaction to me!

Board Game: Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile

Oath is a shared tableau builder featuring multi-use cards and a refreshing map system that I'm still wrapping my head around. As Wehrle notes:
Quote:
The map is made up of a number of sites which can each host a number of cards. The cards represent the many characters and institutions that populate this world (and change the nature of the game). Essentially the game's map is a shared tableau, which all of the players help build and tear down.
Not to mention Kyle Ferrin's fantastic artwork to further immerse us into the world of Oath. Root fans will find it familiar, yet it stands out as a part of its own world. Wehrle and Ferrin have proven to make a fierce duo when it comes to melding artwork and game design.

Oath sounds like it's going to provide quite a unique gaming experience which I'm really looking forward to. Whether you're a fan of Root or any of Wehrle's previous releases or not, Oath appears to be a completely different animal that is definitely worth checking out. You can do so in depth by watching this playthrough on a prototype that was streamed on Twitch in late December 2019. Cheers!

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Wed Jan 8, 2020 1:34 pm
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