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Step Between Greek and Norse Gods in Divinus, and Discover Dueling Masters of the Universe

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• Publisher Lucky Duck Games merged an app with a board game in its 2018 release Chronicles of Crime from designer David Cicurel, and it plans to do something similar — but on an even grander scale – for Filip Miłuński's Divinus, which will be crowdfunded in 2021 for release in 2022. Here's an overview:
Quote:
Divinus is a competitive, legacy, tile-laying, digital hybrid game in which you play as a demigod seeking to gain the favor of the Gods and ascend to a new pantheon. Players embark on a twelve-scenario campaign that will see them exploring lands, completing quests, interacting with Gods, and impacting the outcome of the epic clash between Greek and Norse pantheons.

Board Game: Divinus
Non-final cover

At the beginning of each campaign scenario, players open a sealed box of new quests, components, stickers, Gods, gameplay mechanisms, and more. The Divinus app provides a narrative for players and sets the stakes for what is to come. Each turn, players spend dice from their pool to explore new tiles from the world board. Laying tiles into their demigod map, they must place tiles adjacent to one another and with matching features while working towards overall quest and God goals.

Throughout the campaign, players make permanent changes to their demigods by collecting powerful artifacts, forging their dice by altering their faces, and earning titles for the feats they achieve. Players will also permanently change the game world by altering tiles and placing new locations, heroes, and monsters onto the map tiles. When players complete quests or other significant goals, they can make pivotal decisions through the app.

Players will decide the outcome of dilemmas such as choosing which side is victorious in battle, building or destroying a holy site, and choosing whether a God lives or dies. Whichever outcome the player chooses, the game components may be changed and the app will remember and present contextual options in the future that are impacted by the decision. Returning to a fort that you helped the Norse Gods build could see you praised, while demigods favored by the Greek pantheon could be shunned.

The Divinus campaign is ideally played over several game sessions due to the persistent and changing world. The rulebook grows with each scenario as new rules and content are unlocked. Once the campaign is complete, players can replay their unique copy of Divinus with a post-campaign Infinite Replayability mode.
• Speaking of Cicurel and board games combined with apps, in Q4 2021 Lucky Duck Games will release his game Kids' Chronicles: Quest for the Moon Stones, which is for 1-4 players aged 7 and up, with this title serving as the first in the publisher's line of children's games.

Here's how it works:
Quote:
Kids' Chronicles: Quest for the Moon Stones is a family, co-operative game of adventure and mystery investigation, mixing a board game and app.

Board Game: Kids' Chronicles: Quest for the Moon Stones

As magicians' apprentices, players dive into the fairy tale lands of the Kingdom of Summer and the Winter Empire. Accompanied by the faithful familiar, Nills The Moon Cat, they embark on a quest to find four magical Moon Stones. To achieve their goal, young magicians have to solve numerous mysteries and help inhabitants of both Kingdoms overcome their problems.

Using the Scan&Play technology, each component — locations, characters, items, etc. — has a unique QR code, which depending on the scenario selected will activate and trigger different clues and stories. Experiencing the 3D scenes requires only a mobile phone or a tablet. Players simply hold their mobile device in front of their eyes to immerse themselves in the game's universe and search for clues in a virtual world.

The game comes with one tutorial and five unique stories. Each game session lasts around 30 to 45 minutes.
• In June 2020, CMON Limited announced that it planned to Kickstart Masters of the Universe: The Board Game in 2021 for release in North America, South America, and Asia.

Turns out that a second game based on the same IP will be crowdfunded at roughly the same time, with Archon Studio planning to bring Jakub S. Olekszyk and Dave Ketch's Masters of The Universe: Fields of Eternia – The Board Game to market via Gamefound (preview link), with this title being available only in the UK and Europe.

Board Game: Masters of The Universe: Fields of Eternia The Board Game
Promotional image on Gamefound
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Crowdfunding Game Round-up: Make Robots Fight, Line Up Animals, and Cash Out Thanks to Peak Oil

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Board Game: Robot Quest Arena
• Let's survey a few games on crowdfunding sites right now, starting with Robot Quest Arena, a design from Paul Waite being published by Perfect Day Games and Wise Wizard Games that BGG got a sneak peek at during GAMA Expo 2020 before life ground to a halt in the United States. (KS link)

WWG is pitching the game as "Star Realms-style deck-building combined with battling miniatures", and this longer description hits those same notes a tad more detail:
Quote:
Your battery cards give you the energy to move, power your weapons, and buy powerful new cards for your deck. Navigate around the hazards of the arena, and blast your opponents to score points. Destroyed bots respawn each round, so you're never out of the action! Alliances are made and broken! The robot pilot with the most points at the end of the game wins!
Honestly, this miniature is going to be the selling point for many people:

Board Game: Robot Quest Arena

Board Game: Keystone: North America
• I first covered Keystone: North America from Jeffrey Joyce, Isaac Vega, and Rose Gauntlet Entertainment in January 2021, and now that title is nearing the end of its Kickstarter campaign.

The short take: Over the course of the game, you develop a personal 4x4 player board with a variety of species that ideally share habitats with their neighbors, with a species having up to four habitats. On a turn, you either introduce a new species to your player board by drafting it (and paying for those species you skip), use the power of a face-up skill card, or use the powers of all face-down skill cards, after which you turn them face up, then advance the game's timer.

At the end of the game, you score based on how well you met your secret objective and how many ecosystems you created, with those being composed of adjacent species in the same habitat in ascending or descending numerical order, with keystone species and research tokens giving the ability to boost those points. The game includes a story-driven campaign with twenty challenges for solo play.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
"Take me home with you..."

Thera looks like an old-school design from Zach Hoekstra and publishing veterans L4 Studios and Mr. B Games, with this Kickstarter project delivering in Q3 2022. Here's the rundown of the why and how of the game:
Quote:
In 1646 BC, the island of Thera (present day Santorini) was the site of a volcanic eruption one hundred times more powerful than Pompeii. This eruption coincided with the decline of the Minoan civilization and the rise of the Mycenaean civilization. Due to Thera's strategic location, the Mycanaean wanax (king) has decided that it is time to rebuild Thera and has tasked you, one of his koreters (governors) with this responsibility. The koreter who best rebuilds Thera to its prior glory will be victorious.

Board Game: Thera

In the role-selection and resource-management game Thera, each player has a map of the island where they will engage in trade, clear ash, generate resources, move those resources to building sites across the island, and construct economic and luxury buildings. On a player's turn, they select one of five roles from the rondel. Every player can benefit from this role, and the one who chose it gets benefits that scale with the amount of favor on the role. Favor accumulates on roles over the course of the game and is redistributed every time a role is chosen. Here's an overview of the five roles:

—The Priestess prays for rain, bringing the life-giving resource to the island.
—The Worker consumes that water and produces resources.
—The Planner moves those resources around Thera so that they can be used for construction or trade.
—The Builder uses those resources to construct buildings on undeveloped sites across the island.
—The Trader buys and sells resources at the port.

Players earn points by constructing buildings. You must get the needed resources to the desired building site, then acquire the building plans (which are available to all from a common building tableau). Should you build another quarry (a resource-generating building), or are you worried one of your competitors will take that temple (a luxury building) that aligns with your strategy? Time is of the essence in Thera, so efficient planning and resource management are important in winning the day.
• Spanish publisher 2Tomatoes Games has launched a Kickstarter (link) for Peak Oil Profiteer, a standalone board game by designers Tobias Gohrbandt and Heiko Günther that's set in its Peak Oil universe.

In this 1-5 player game, you're trying to wreck everyone at the table in a game that simulates everyone getting wrecked:
Quote:
As the top executive of an oil corporation, you are sent to a war-torn nation that's got a lot of oil — and no one who can help sell it! That's where you come in: Your task is to make the most cash before corruption ruins the land.

Board Game: Peak Oil Profiteer

This card-driven tactical game features area control, simultaneous action selection, and a healthy dose of player interaction. Progressing in rounds, players improve their workforce by investing in powerful consultants and vie for influence over the nation's three warring factions. As control of the oil fields passes between the hands of the so-called "government", the "National Liberation Front", and the noble "Guerilla Militia" you have to ensure you're in the right place at the right time with the right faction leader in your pocket.

Double guess your competitors, blackmail politicians, and sell weapons to whoever needs them to ensure you keep the oil — and money — flowing in your direction. Remember, your sole goal is to make the most profit before corruption destroys this sorry region.
Amazingly enough, we recorded a preview of the game (under a slightly different name) at SPIEL '19. I'm not sure how much has changed in the design from what we saw nearly two years ago, but maybe this will serve as a on-target peek:

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Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:00 pm
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2021 Con Previews for Gen Con, Origins, and SPIEL Now Live

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From gallery of W Eric Martin
After online-only events for most of 2020, in-person game conventions will take place in the U.S. and Germany in the second half of 2021, with Gen Con 2021 being held on September 16-19 (instead of in early August), Origins Game Fair 2021 from September 30 to October 3, SPIEL '21 on October 14-17, and (admitted self-interest here) BGG.CON 2021 on November 17-21.

I've started assembling game previews for the first three of these shows, and while they're sparse at the moment, many publishers are uncertain which shipments will arrive when due to all the difficulties related to international transport. In any case, we're three months out from Gen Con, so I have lots of time to add to these lists. Here's what I have now:

Gen Con 2021 Preview
Origins Game Fair 2021 Preview
SPIEL '21 Preview

You can view all convention previews, along with the bimonthly game release catalogs here. I'm currently updating lists for May-June 2021, July-August 2021, and September-October 2021.

Publishers, please contact me for a link to my RFI survey if you haven't received it. You're welcome to complete the survey whenever you feel you're ready to share info, and you can complete the survey multiple times, say, now for games due out in June and July, then in two months for games due out at Gen Con or SPIEL.
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Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:30 pm
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Game Overview: TRAILS, or Pacing the Land for Points

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Board Game: TRAILS
On June 20, 2021, Henry Audubon's TRAILS from Keymaster Games will debut at the U.S. retail chain Target, with TRAILS being a standalone sequel to the 2019 game PARKS from the same designer/publisher team. (Keymaster has noted that the game will have wider availability later in 2021.)

TRAILS is a relatively straightforward design: On a turn, advance one or two spaces in the direction you face, then take the action shown on that space: collecting one of three resources, swapping one resource for others, or taking a photo. If you land on the space where the bear is located, the bear rips your face off moves to the location you roll on the bear die, then gives you the action of that space in addition to the action of the space where you moved.

When you reach the trail's end, you turn around, receive a sun bonus, move the sun toward the trailhead, then use the resources you've collected to claim merit badges. By expending your canteen, you can move any number of spaces, but you refill that canteen only at the trailhead, so at minimum you need four actions to complete a round trip, with the maximum being twelve actions.

When the sun moves off the trailhead, each player takes a final turn, then you count points from badges and photos to see who wins.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Chase that bear for extra action

More abstractly, TRAILS is a game of getting resources, then converting them to points. To get resources, you land on a space, swap for what you need (since you gain one resource with each swap), get lucky with the bear, or (possibly) use a badge as claimed badges sometimes reward you with resources or a swap in addition to points.

Resources will rain upon you steadily as you criss-cross the trail, and they may or may not be relevant for the badges available. You have one badge in hand and two at each end of the trail, giving you a mix of public and private targets to work toward. Sometimes an opponent will snipe a badge that you were hoping to claim, but the replacement badge revealed at the end of that player's turn has nearly the same cost, so whatever; at other times, you'll be left with a pocketful of useless acorns. Maybe you should have used that canteen to hop to trail's end, but perhaps doing so would have left you one acorn short because you needed to stop in the forest first. Hmm...

From gallery of W Eric Martin
My holdings at the end of a three-player game

As you add more players to TRAILS, that badge you hold in your hand becomes more important since only you have access to it, giving you something to work toward that can't be claimed by another. The randomness of the badge flips adds a luck element to the game that you have to live with. You can try to squat on resources so that you can acquire a badge no matter what turns up, but you have a resource limit of eight, so when you have a badge that costs five acorns or three rocks+two leaves, you don't have room in your pouch for much else, which can lead to you feeling like you're trudging for multiple turns just to finish the thing so that you can move on to something else.

In addition to the badge in hand, the photos provide another mystery element to gameplay. When you take a photo action, you draw two cards from the deck, keep one, and discard the other; alternatively, you can claim the top card of the discard stack, but that's another person's trash, so why not take your chances on drawing two cards and keeping one since you will (almost) inevitably get something at least as good as the trash? Besides which, if you draw, then the card you collect is secret. Points from photos are revealed at game end, and whoever has seen the most birds — which are present on both photos and badges — receives a bonus 4 points.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

These hidden elements — the birds and photos — keep you from calculating everything, but the pace of the game is determined by player movement, and aside from photos you have to move to the end of the trail to score, so you have only limited control over how long the game lasts. The same can be said for the bonus bear actions. If you jump ahead of others so that you can land next to the bear and roll the die, you might luck out and move the bear behind opponents so that they can't bear on their turn, or the bear might end up in the perfect spot for them to use. More generally, you can try to take actions to hinder others — swiping badges ahead of them, moving the bear out of their path — but the luck of the die and card flips might make your efforts meaningless.

The pace of badge acquisition escalates over time as the game board tiles flip when the sun moves away from them, with a space now providing two rocks, leaves, or acorns instead of only one. This allows you to move those more expensive badges to your collection, but everyone else is collecting more resources, too, which increases the difficulty of planning to collect certain badges at trail's end since they're likely to be claimed by someone else first.

For more of my thoughts on TRAILS, which I've played seven times on a review copy from Keymaster Games, check out this overview video:

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Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:48 pm
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Orléans Picked Up by Capstone Games

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U.S. publisher Capstone Games has acquired the English-language license to Orléans from originating publisher dlp games, which is owned by the game's designer, Reiner Stockhausen.

The Capstone version of Orléans will include components that allow for play with up to five players, whereas the game originally had a player count of 2-4, and the Orléans base game — along with the Orléans: Invasion expansion from 2015 and the Orléans: Trade & Intrigue expansion from 2016 — are scheduled for release on the U.S. market on September 16, 2021.

Board Game: Orléans
Board Game: Orléans: Invasion
Board Game: Orléans: Trade & Intrigue

For those not familiar with the game, here's an overview:

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Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:00 pm
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Battlestar Galactica Becomes Unfathomable

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U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new game in its Arkham Horror universe, one that has its roots in the (distant) past.

Board Game: Unfathomable

Unfathomable is a 3-6 player game that plays in 2-4 hours from Tony Fanchi with a "Based on design by Corey Konieczka" credit to acknowledge that this title is a new version of his 2008 Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game.

Here's an overview of this September 2021 release:
Quote:
The year is 1913. The steamship SS Atlantica is two days out from port on its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Its unsuspecting passengers fully anticipated a calm journey to Boston, Massachusetts, with nothing out of the ordinary to look forward to. However, strange nightmares plague the minds of the people aboard the ship every night; rumors circulate of dark shapes following closely behind the ship just beneath the waves; and tensions rise when a body is discovered in the ship's chapel, signs of a strange ritual littered around the corpse.

Lurking within the depths of the Atlantic Ocean are a swarm of vicious, unspeakable horrors: the Deep Ones, led by Mother Hydra and Father Dagon. For reasons unknown, they have set their sights on the Atlantica, and their minions, taking the form of human-Deep One hybrids, have infiltrated the steamship to help sink it from within. Each game of Unfathomable has one or more players assuming the role of one of these hybrids, and how well they can secretly sabotage the efforts of the other players might mean the difference between a successful voyage and a sunken ship.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

If you're a human, you need to fend off Deep Ones, prevent the Atlantica from taking too much damage, and carefully manage the ship's four crucial resources if you want any hope of making it to Boston, all while trying to figure out which of your fellow players are friends and which are foes. Everyone shares the same resource pool, but humans will try to preserve them while traitors will strive to subtly deplete them. Being able to tell when someone is purposefully draining the group's resources is harder than you think, especially when you take crises into account!

At the end of each player's turn, that player must draw a mythos card. Each of these cards represents a crisis that the whole group must try to resolve together. Some of these crises, such as "Food Rationing", call for a choice that could potentially put the ship's passengers or resources at risk, while others, such as "Hull Leak", call for a skill test in which failure could have disastrous consequences.

Board Game: Unfathomable

During a skill test, each player contributes skill cards from their hand to a face-down pile shared by the group. Once everyone has contributed (or chosen not to), the cards are shuffled, then revealed. If enough of the correct skills were contributed, then the group passes the test! But if the wrong skills were contributed, they can actually hinder the results, leading to failure. Thus, skill tests are dangerous opportunities for traitors to sabotage the humans' efforts, so you have to stay on your toes at all times.
In its announcement, FFG includes lots of "We'll talk more about this in the future" statements, and one of those future times is Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 2:00 EDT (UTC-4), when the publisher will conduct a live unboxing and Q&A session on its YouTube channel.

Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Pegasus Expansion
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Exodus Expansion
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Daybreak Expansion
The past becomes the present...again
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Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:53 pm
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Use Dice to Deliver Pizza, Avoiding a Jinx as You Create a Winning 4Mation

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• I've already covered a few of the early 2021 releases from Austrian publisher Piatnik — Reiner Knizia's Family Inc. here, Andrea Mezzotero's Day & Night here, and Pencil Nose! here — but I've yet to cover what is possibly the most brilliantly (or awfully) named title of its line-up: Mozzaroller, from designer Jeffrey D. Allers.

Here's an overview of this 1-4 player game:
Quote:
The newly opened pizzeria "Angelo" cannot save itself from orders. As a scooter-driving pizza deliverer, it is your job to deliver these pizzas to as many customers as possible — but first the pizzas have to be topped with the right ingredients! Can you establish yourself as the customers' favorite deliverator?

Board Game: Mozzaroller

Your goal in Mozzaroller is to place dice on customer cards to complete as many orders as possible and to secure the most valuable deliverer tiles. On a turn, you roll the eight ingredient dice, then place at least one die on a matching ingredient on any customer card; if you place more than one die, you must place all dice after the first on the same customer or on adjacent ones. Next, you decide whether to:

—Re-roll with all unplaced dice
—Pass

You can re-roll as often as you want, but after each roll you must be able to place at least one ingredient on an already started customer card or a customer card adjacent to a card that already has a die on it. Fail to do this, and you must pass, losing all customers that have not had their orders fulfilled.

Board Game: Mozzaroller
Image: @Start2game

You collect all finished customers, and if you now have the most customers of one color in front of you, you take the corresponding deliverer tile and add it to your order cards. Players continue to take turns until the draw pile is emptied, after which players tally their points.
• Yet another Piatnik title is the card-and-die game Jinx from Klaus Altenburger that players with 2-4 people and that works as follows:
Quote:
Jinx is played over three rounds. At the start of each round, draw 16 cards and place them face-up; cards come in eight colors, and each color has cards numbered 1-6. On a turn, you roll the die, then optionally roll it again. After your first or second roll, you collect a card from the table that matches the number on the die. If you can't collect a card, the round ends and if the color of a card in front of you is present among the face-up cards, then you lose that card. You might lose everything depending on how jinxed you are!

Board Game: Jinx

Players who lost a card receive a random bonus card for any remaining rounds. These cards have different powers such as adding or subtracting 1 from the die roll, rolling a third time, and choosing a card numbered 4-6 instead of rolling the die.

Cards that are safe in one round might be lost in a subsequent round, so ideally you can roll well or use the bonus cards to clear out troublesome colors. At the end of three rounds, players sum the cards in front of them, and whoever has the highest score wins.
• Let's continue with another 2021 Piatnik release: Melanie Haumer's 4Mation, a two-player game in which you're trying to be the first player to get four of your pieces in a row. Haven't we seen this a hundred times? Is there a new way to do this?!

Board Game: 4Mation

That seems to be the case given this description: Players take turns placing cubes of their own color in an empty space in the 7x7 grid — but you must place orthogonally or diagonally adjacent to the block most recently placed by the opponent. If no one creates a four-in-a-row, the game ends in a draw.

That's it! Seems brilliantly simple and easy to try at home should you have, well, almost anything suitable at hand.
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Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:00 pm
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Zip Back and Forth in TRAILS, and Hunt Humans to Satisfy The Hunger

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Board Game: TRAILS
• U.S. publisher Keymaster Games has announced a new title from Henry Audubon, designer of its 2019 hit game PARKS, with this new release having a similar look and feel thanks to artwork from the Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series, but being a standalone game for 2-4 players.

Here's a quick overview of TRAILS, which will debut on June 20, 2021 at the U.S. retail chain Target:
Quote:
In TRAILS, players hike back and forth along the trail, collecting rocks, acorns and leaves; taking pictures; and encountering wildlife to gain bonuses. At trailhead and trail end, you can turn in resources to earn badges, after which you start back in the other direction.

As players visit the trail end, the sun sets over the trail. As night falls, trail sites grant more powerful actions, but they won't last forever. When the sun leaves the trail, the last round of play takes place, then the player with the most points from collected badges, photos taken, and bird sightings wins.
In more detail, each player starts the game with one of each resource (acorn, rock, leaf) and one badge card in hand that they can fulfill; two badges are visible at each end of the trail. On a turn, you move one or two spaces forward, then take the action of the space on which you land. If you land on the bear space, you roll the die, then move the bear and get the action of that space. Who doesn't want to cozy up to a bear for extra action? In this game, no one!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

You have a canteen that you can drink to move any number of spaces, but no matter what, you must stop at the end of the trail, at which point you can spend resources to collect any of the three available badges (two visible, one in hand), after which you replace those badges. Badges often give you extra resources or actions in addition to points.

As the sun moves across the trail, the tiles flip over to reveal more powerful actions — collect two acorns instead of one, take a photo action for free instead of paying one resource — so the badge collecting tends to escalate. You have an eight-resource hand limit, so you can't always get everything, and other players will get in your way, claiming the badge you were sure was yours.

I'll post a complete overview of TRAILS on Monday, June 14, 2021.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Gotta catch that bear!

• French publisher Origames and U.S. publisher Renegade Game Studios are partnering for The Hunger, a new Richard Garfield design in which 2-6 players race across the land to feed on humans. No, they're not cannibals because that would be disgusting; instead they are vampires, which somehow makes them cool. I'm not sure how that works, but here we are.

In any case, here's an overview of this September 2021 release:
Quote:
The Hunger is a race in which each vampiric player must optimize their card deck, hunt humans to gain victory points, fulfill secret missions, and eventually acquire a rose and return to the castle before sunrise. The more you hunt, the slower both you and your deck become, which will make it harder and harder to get back before daybreak. Can you become the most notorious vampire without burning to ashes at sunrise?

Board Game: The Hunger

During the game, players spend "speed" to move their vampires around the map, hunt humans worth victory points, and add new cards to their deck.

The game ends at dawn, after which the surviving player with the most victory points on their cards wins!
Board Game: The Hunger
Sample cards and missions
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Tue Jun 8, 2021 3:23 pm
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Game Preview: So Clover!, or Not Just One Clue Giver

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Where in this grid would you place four of these five cards so that the written clues "match" the printed words on the adjacent cards?

Board Game: So Clover!
Cover and design not final

That one sentence describes the essence of So Clover!, a party game from first-time designer François Romain and non-first-time publisher Repos Production that is due out June 26, 2021 in Europe and July 16, 2021 in the United States.

Do I need to write more so that you understand how the game works? Or can you decipher pretty much all of it from the image above?

So Clover! is essentially a successor to Just One, a 2018 design by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter for which Repos Production won the 2019 Spiel des Jahres. The details of gameplay aren't the same in the two designs, but they're both co-operative party games in which you need to give clever — but not too clever — clues so that someone can figure out what you're trying to get them to guess. (More thoughts on Just One here.)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The game lasts only a single round. Each player has a secret clover board, and they place four cards at random in the center spaces. They look at the two keywords next to each a blank space, then write a single word — whether a common word, a proper noun, a number, an acronym, or a compound word — in each blank space. Remove the four cards, placing them face down and shuffling them with a random fifth card from the deck.

Once everyone has prepared their boards, someone reveals their board and five cards, then keeps a blank face while everyone else argues and deduces which cards go where. If they guess everything correctly on the first try, the team earns 6 points; if not, the clue giver removes incorrect cards from the board, and the team takes another shot, earning 0-4 points depending on how many cards they place correctly. The maximum score for a game is six times the number of players.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In all likelihood, you will not care about the final score, another similarity with Just One, as well as with Repos' 2013 party game Concept. I've now played eight times on a mock-up preview copy from Repos with all player counts, and I have no idea how we've scored in those games — but I do know that I've had a blast trying to generate clever clues and figure out the cleverness of others.

So Clover! is one of those games that I want to play with people who I'm meeting for the first time so that I can find out what they're like. In that way, the design is much like Vlaada Chvátil's Codenames, but now with all players having the opportunity to both give and guess clues in the same game.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Another similarity to Codenames is that each time you play, you're confronted with a combination of cards that you might never see again, a situation that pushes your mind to be creative because you can't rely on what you've done the previous times you've played — and as in Codenames, your clue choices are audience dependent. You need to imagine yourself in their position to consider whether they could possibly make the backwards connection.

Similarly, when you're the one guessing which cards go where, you can sometimes reverse engineer your choices by trying to imagine whether given the two printed words next to a written clue, you would have written that same clue — or you at least understand why someone else would have done so.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

So Clover! is somewhat harder for young players to participate, with one preteen giving a clue of "IDK" in one game and not great clues another time. In Just One and Codenames, you're not in the spotlight with your clues — or you're just part of the guessing team — so you don't face the stress of giving bum clues and feeling like you've let everyone down. When teaching So Clover!, you might consider telling players that if nothing seems like a great clue for the pair of words, give a great clue for just one of the words and hope your other clues can carry the day.

I give more examples of gameplay in this video, giving you yet another set of cards to place in a grid while solving a grid that my wife created before I started recording. See whether you think I made the right placements:

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Mon Jun 7, 2021 1:00 pm
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Reconstruct Robotech, Revisit Transatlantic, and Ready Yourself for Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Robotech: Reconstruction
I see lots of stray announcements or near announcements while looking for game news, so let me round up some of them in this post:

Robotech: Reconstruction is the next Robotech title from publisher Strange Machine Games, following Robotech: Ace Pilot, Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1, Robotech: Brace for Impact, and Robotech: Cyclone Run.

In this 3-4 player game from designer Dr. Wictz, you have a half-ally, a half-enemy, and a full enemy, and you need to achieve the goals of your faction before anyone else in order to win.

Board Game: Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe
• I wrote about Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe in January 2021 when news of the title appeared during the online Spielwarenmesse trade fair, and in mid-May 2021 publisher Z-Man Games officially announced this Matt Leacock and Tom Lehmann title.

What was new in that announcement is that Hot Zone – Europe is the second in a series of six titles — I will stand by my prediction that Antarctica will be excluded — with each game in the series having its own characters and events. Writes Leacock: "You can play with a mix of characters and events on any board and add whatever mix of challenges you like for additional variety or difficulty." More from Leacock:
Quote:
For what's new, Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe features Mutation cards that gradually make each disease behave in a new way until it is cured. Diseases can become harder to treat when they reach a critical mass, can appear more intensely, or cause more Infection cards to be drawn. And, if you also own Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America, you can either use these Mutation cards instead of the Crisis cards, or you can combine both the Crisis cards and the Mutation cards into the same game for even more variety and challenge. While each challenge makes the game harder, both integrate directly into the Player deck, so including them also gives players a few extra turns to eke out the win.
What's more, Leacock and Lehmann plan to include a different way to combine games with each new title in the series. Hot Zone – Europe will include rules for "Hemispheres" a two-player variant in which each player starts with a team of three characters on one of the game boards (Europe and North America). You can take charter flights to the other game board to exchange cards and take other actions, and you both share one set of cubes, with you losing the game should any color run out. To win, you need to cure all six diseases on the two game boards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Z-Man Games has posted a print-and-play (PDF) version of Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe should you want to read the rules and start playing now.

Board Game: Transatlantic
• Now that Mac Gerdts has finished designing Concordia Solitaria, an expansion that allows you to play the Concordia base game or any expansion on your own (and covered in more detail here), he has moved on to Transatlantic II, which is probably not the final name of this title — which might be an expansion for the 2017 release Transatlantic and which might be a standalone title.

Gerdts notes that the game has been thoroughly tested with two players, but testing with up to four players has been on hold due to COVID-related lockdowns in Germany.

• In December 2020, Pegasus Spiele announced that it would release Port Royal: Big Box in 2021, an item that would contain all things Port Royal from Alexander Pfister: the original base game, the expansions Just One More Contract... and The Adventure Begins..., the Gambler promo card, and the separate standalone game Port Royal: Unterwegs!

Pegasus Spiele has now revealed the look of this item, which features new art and graphic design.

Board Game: Port Royal: Big Box
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Sun Jun 6, 2021 1:00 pm
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