W. Eric MartinUnited States
Gen Con 2023 Preview is now live, listing dozens of new games that will be sold or demoed at that convention.
Publishers, you have until July 28, 2023 to submit info to this preview, and Stephen Cordell and I will keep updating it as time allows to account for last-minute surprises, which can be both good — an embargoed game is revealed! — and bad — our container got stopped at customs!
BGG will once again be running a Hot Games Room at the Hyatt in the Regency Ballroom during Gen Con 2023, with the HGR open from 10:00 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. All games will then be shipped to Dallas so that they can appear in the BGG Library for BGG.CON 2023 in November.
GeekUp bits and other items from the BGG Store will be sold by Meeple Source (booth #2909) at Gen Con 2023. I don't know which items will be available as Beth Heile will make that determination closer to the event.Some of the titles scheduled to be at Gen Con 2023
To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gen Con 2023 Preview Now Live
05 Jun 2023
Mon Jun 5, 2023 5:13 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
BGG.Spring Report II: Kards with Ken — Perfect Numbers, ReCURRRing, Robotrick, and Bag of Chips
05 Jun 2023
my first report from BGG.Spring 2023 with several games that I did enjoy, starting with Perfect Numbers, a card game from Lars Jansen and Jolly Dutch Productions that I've heard no one talk about since its release at SPIEL '22, where my friend Ken Shoda talked it up.
By chance, Ken was at BGG.Spring, and Perfect Numbers was one of four card games that he had brought with him from Japan, so apparently he thought highly of it! We played once with three players, then again with two, and I can understand why he likes it so much.
The deck consists of cards numbered 2-7 in five colors, along with one joker of each value and special action cards. Start a round by dealing a row of three cards, two rows of two cards, and a row of one card. The first player drafts a row, then everyone else does in turn, with players getting more than one row in a game with two or three players...something you don't necessarily want!
When you take cards, if you get cards of a color you already have, you must add them to your existing rows, starting with the low numbers first. If the number you add matches the number of cards in your personal row — the perfect number! — you may score that row, with each card being worth 1 point. If the number is larger than the number of cards, you just add; if it's smaller, you must discard cards from that row equal to the number, so placing a green 3 on my pile above would force me to discard everything but the green 2.
If you get a color you don't have, you can start a row with it, but you can have at most four rows. If all your rows are occupied, you can ditch a color to start a new row or give away that new color to another player who already has this color — and if you would place the perfect number on their row, you score those points instead of them! Similarly, if you place a low number, they have to discard cards, but you score them!
So Perfect Numbers is a "take that", set-collection card game in which you have to consider (almost) every choice you make to determine whether an opponent can hurt you later with the card you leave behind, especially in the two-player game when you each take two rows. We discarded way more cards in our 2p game!
I'm glossing over a few elements above, such as you scoring additional cards from the deck if your perfect number is 5-7, which gives you an incentive not to score a perfect number of 2-4. Ideally you can count cards to know what's not left in the deck, but I don't think that's essential.
ReCURRRing, a shedding card game from Saien that I covered in writing and in video in 2017. ReCURRRing is, to a degree, SCOUT three years prior to SCOUT, and it's a shame that ReCURRRing has never been licensed outside of Japan.
The game lasts three rounds, and your goal is to score the most points. The deck is modified based on player count (3-5), with the five-player game having one 1, two 2s, etc. up to nine 9s and either ten or fifteen Rs, with R being higher than a 9.
Deal the deck, then whoever has the 1 starts by leading any single card. The next player can pass and exit the round, or play a single better card — with lower values being better — or any pair; if they beat the initial play, they take that card into their hand...and that's where things get tricky.My starting hand
If the lead player plays a 6 and you're next, do you want that 6? If you play a 5 to beat the 6, but you have no 6s, then you've worsened your hand (exchanging a better card for a worse one), but you're still in the round. If you do have 6s, then you now have a larger group of 6s...which is not always a good thing because you can overplay someone by at most one card. If I need to beat a pair of 4s, I can play a pair of 2s or 3s or any three-of-a-kind, whether Rs or better, but I can't play four 6s. I would have to break up the 6s, stranding one of them.
And if you pass, then you're out of the round and can't change your hand, whereas other players might be overplaying and molding their hand into larger groups.
Cards exit the game only after all players but one have passed. The person who played those cards places them face up on the table before them, then leads any single card to start the new round. When someone empties their hand, they place the cards they beat face down in front of themselves, and if their cards hold, they place those cards in front of themselves; otherwise, the player who last plays scores their cards.
At round's end, every card in front of you is worth 1 point, except for Rs, which are worth 0 points — unless you were the first to empty your hand, in which case Rs are also worth 1 point each.A great third round, landing me in second place
Like SCOUT and to some degree Abluxxen, ReCURRRing is all about crafting your hand into something better than what you started, ideally earning points through smart plays. If possible, you want to track who is picking up which cards so that you know who can play over you and when to strike with a large set since you (sort of) worsen your hand with every play that doesn't hold. The Rs are numerous, but they're worthless unless you go out first, so their power is somewhat balanced, although a large R set can let you grab a slightly less large non-R set, which you can perhaps score later.
You can tell from the wear on the box how much Ken loves ReCURRRing. Perhaps some day it will be widely available outside of Japan for others to discover...
Robotrick, a three-player-only trick-taking game from designer Domi (ドミッチ) and publisher The Game Gallery Works.
Every trick-taking game needs a twist, and Robotrick's twist is two-fold: A robot is the fourth player in the game. It sits between two players, is dealt a face-up hand of twelve cards just like the people, and plays cards according to a randomly dealt directive, such as these:Four of the ten directives
The robot leads the first trick, so if it were controlled by the directive in the upper left, it would play its highest card, with ties being broken in favor of the short suit, with card color being the second tie-breaker: A > B > C > D. If on a later trick you lead blue, the robot will follow with its lowest blue; lacking blue, it will play its lowest card from its longest suit.
The second twist comes from the scoring. If the robot wins the trick, each player keeps their card face down as negative points, with cards being worth 1-15 points. (The deck is a standard four-color deck from 1-13. One card is revealed as trump, and three cards remain hidden out of play.) If you win a trick, you keep the robot's card as positive points — except that any card you win after the third is flipped face down as negative points.Starting hand, and the robot has five red, which is trump...oh, boy
So you want to win tricks, but not too much, and you don't want opponents to win tricks, but if they're not and you're not, then the robot is, which will hurt you.
I did horribly, playing the wrong card (which I found out only later), winning the wrong tricks, and messing up in thinking about what the robot will play next, although since the robot has to follow suit, sometimes you're thinking that the robot will lead X, but by the time it does lead, its rules now force it to play Y. After only one game's experience, I'm still clueless about how to play well, even when it comes to passing two cards before the round starts, as demonstrated in the image below:After the pass I have the four highest trump and six total; I'm going to eat so many cards!
Anyway, I'm glad to have played, and Ken gave me the copy to take home, so I'll get to try again on two new unsuspecting players.
Bag of Chips, a game from Mathieu Aubert, Théo Rivière, and Mixlore, I knew it was an ideal choice: small, card-based, and not available in Japan. (Whoops, that last detail was incorrect. See image at right.)
Each round in Bag of Chips, you start with a hand of six cards, draw five colored chips from the bag, discard two cards, draw four more chips, discard another card, draw three chips, then allocate your cards, with two of them scoring you positive points if their condition is met and the third scoring you negative points. To end the round, draw a chip, then draw one last chip, then see what you score. The two highest scorers win tokens, and whoever first collects four tokens wins the game.
The game has a great press-your-luck element, with you weighing the odds of which cards might score based on the chips revealed — 14 total out of 25 in the bag — while knowing that one of those cards could count against you. Maybe you have the card that's worth 180 points if six onion chips are drawn. With early onions, you'll probably want to hold it — but you might also want to hold it if no onions come out since it wouldn't cost you any points as a negative card if the condition isn't met.
I covered Bag of Chips in detail in 2021, and the game remains a winner.BGG admin Stephen Cordell, who works on the library and convention previews, and Ken
Mon Jun 5, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
BGG.Spring Report I: Visiting the Charity Sale, Playing Spiel des Jahres, and Being the Boss
02 Jun 2023
BGG.Spring took place on May 26-29, 2023, and with that show in the books, I thought I'd talk about games played and other happenings from the show.
To start, each year at BGG.Spring we have a charity sale with proceeds going to Café Momentum, an organization that has locations in Dallas, Nashville, and Pittsburgh. An overview:Quote:Café Momentum is a nationally-recognized non-profit restaurant and training program that provides a paid internship for justice-involved youth. The internship includes 12-months of curriculum programming.Horus Heresy from 2010? $10! Coimbra from 2018? $10!
The interns work their way through all areas of the restaurant, learning legal employment, social skills, and life skills. Case management works to round out the ecosystem of support including financial education, parenting classes, educational assistance, and career exploration.
Case managers help the interns work through issues such as anger management, trauma recovery, fatherlessness, and abandonment. After the 12 months of curriculum, successful interns are able to graduate from the program and are placed in a job with one of our community partners. These young people, who the juvenile justice system has referred to as "throw-aways" are now employed, tax-paying, wholly contributing members of society.
BGG owner Scott Alden also usually sells a few items from his personal collection, with these being priced individually. This year included Full Metal Planète for $100, Allerley Spielerey for $150 (bought by my friend and fellow Knizia addict Ken Shoda), and Catena for $40, bought by yours truly. In fact, you might recognize a theme among some of my acquisitions from BGG.Spring...
Anyway, the sale runs for two hours on Saturday, then two hours on Sunday, with prices dropping until everything goes. Here's the sale just before opening, then freshly underway:
The sale raised $7,801 for Café Momentum, and Tracey Hull, Director of Development, told us that will cover the cost of DART bus passes for all program participants in Dallas, which will make it easier for them to get to the program, but also anywhere else they want or need to go in Dallas. (Hull said that 90% of the jobs in Dallas are on the north side of the city, while 60% of the residents live on the south side — which means they need the ability to travel to find more and better job opportunities.)
three 2023 Spiel des Jahres candidates. I've already played and covered Kasper Lapp's Fun Facts from Repos Production in December 2022, but I gave it another go with folks who hadn't played...and the result was the same as before.
In each of the game's eight rounds, you're presented with a question that has a numerical answer (e.g., "From 0 to 100, how much do you like horror movies?"), then you're challenged to place those answers in order from low to high without seeing what people wrote.
In our game, a couple of questions gave you something interesting to answer that could become a topic of conversation; a larger number of questions were uninteresting; and one question ("How many intimate relationships have you had that lasted longer than a year?") drew an immediate "Nope!" from one of the players — and that reaction, even without an answer, made everyone uncomfortable, which is not what you want from a party game (unless that's the goal of the game, of course). From this question and others, I think the game is aimed at a European audience that would (in general) be more comfortable sharing such details of their life, but even so a lot of the questions fell flat, giving us no incentive to play again.
Next Station: London from Matthew Dunstan and Blue Orange Games is a flip-and-write game, part of the *-and-write genre that largely exploded into being following the success of 2018's Ganz schön clever.
In the game, each player has grid of stations on their board, as well as one of four different colored markers. Someone flips the top card of the deck, and you draw a straight line from the station that matches your marker to a station showing the symbol on the revealed card. Sometimes you can connect to any station you want, and occasionally you can branch the line. Once five pink cards have been revealed, you score that line — number of sectors entered multiplied by largest number of stations in a single sector, plus twice the number of times you've crossed the river — then shuffle the deck, get a marker you haven't yet used, and start a new round.
After four rounds, you score bonuses for stations that have been reached by two or more lines as well as the number of starred stations you've reached.
As with many *-and-write games, Next Station: London is effectively a solitaire game. Our only interaction as players in the same game is to see how one another is scoring after a round, then...what? Make riskier moves for a bigger payout? Not really. You're all getting the same cards in the same order. I imagine that you can plan better when deciding which station to add to a line, but in many cases I had only one option — although perhaps that was due to earlier poor planning.
I never felt like I was doing something clever — only incrementally gaining points bit by bit, then seeing who stacked them up better. The game had no arc, no rising tension, but felt flat from beginning to end. Keep in mind that I've played only once, but I'm indifferent as to whether I play again.
The game includes two expansions: one that provides scoring objectives that all players can achieve, and the other gives a special power to each marker, such as using a flipped card twice or branching an extra time. Those powers would give you a little more to do, being one element that's unique to you (at least for the current round).
Dorfromantik: The Board Game, a design by Michael Palm, Lukas Zach, and Pegasus Spiele that adopts the Dorfromantik video game for tabletop play.
The game consists of hexagonal task tiles and landscape tiles, along with task tokens valued 4, 5, and 6 and boxes of stuff that you will unlock over the course of many playings. To start, a player draws three task tiles one at a time, placing them into the tableau. Rivers and railroads must abut matching tiles, but a village or forest or wheat field can be cut off by something else — and often you want to do that because each time you reveal a task tile, you draw a task token of the matching type and place it on that tile.
A forest task gets a forest token, for example, and to complete that task, that forest needs to be as many tiles as the number on the token. If this happens, place the token aside for points, then draw a new task tile next turn. As long as you have three task tiles in play, you draw a landscape tile on your turn, and if you need to draw a landscape and can't, the game ends — which means your challenge is to complete as many tasks as possible so that (1) you score more points and (2) you keep bringing more tiles into play, which probably helps you complete even more tasks.BGG's Candice Harris
At game's end, you add up all the completed task tiles, score 1 point per tile for your longest river and longest railroad, and score 1 point per tile for closed areas that contain a flag. (Think cities in Carcassonne, which score as soon as they're surrounded by walls.)
I played with my BGG News compatriot Candice Harris and a couple of other people, and we all wondered why we would want to play again. Dorfromantik: The Board Game is co-operative, but you have no hidden information or personal goal or unique powers, so the design is really a solitaire game with the actions divvied up among however many people are at the table. You can advise one another on where best to play a tile, but unless I have the tile deck memorized — and three landscape tiles are removed at random each game — your choices are probably just as good as mine, so why am I at this table?
As with Next Station: London, Dorfromantik: The Board Game felt like it had no arc. I guess the idea is that the task tiles sort of have a lottery feel, and you ideally flip one over, place it where you can immediately score it, then flip another task tile, thereby racking up points quickly — but we didn't actually feel that during play.
At game's end, you sum the points, then mark a certain number of spaces to advance up a branching path, unlocking boxes of new content when reach certain locations or achieve specific point totals. As you add new tiles, your scores will (probably) go higher, allowing you to hit new targets.BGG's Lincoln Damerst and Scott Alden
BGG owner Scott Alden really likes Dorfromantik: The Board Game and invited me to play again, sure that we had done something wrong in my first game. We had not.
I've never been a video game player, and I think Dorfromantik: The Board Game has more appeal to someone with that background, such as Scott, who worked in video game development before starting BGG. In this game and in many other games that can be played solitaire, you're challenged to hit a certain score to level up, unlock new powers, then take on bigger challenges — and I have no interest in that. I almost never play solitaire games, and when I do, I rediscover why I almost never play solitaire games.
For a co-operative game, I want us all bringing something unique to the table, perhaps thanks to hidden info or player powers, so that together we can do something that wouldn't be possible on our own.
as was the case with Cascadia in 2022, I usually dig the other two, but not this year.
To end on a positive note, let's talk about a game I played that I love — and no, not Mind Up! because I've already covered that game. Let's instead talk about Big Boss, Wolfgang Kramer's 1994 take on Acquire that Funko Games is reprinting in a somewhat modified form in 2023.
Your goal in the game is to end up with more money than anyone else. Collectively you're establishing and growing businesses on a linear track numbered 1-72. Each time you start or add to a business, you earn money equal to the current share price, money that you often immediately plow into buying 1-2 shares of active companies on the board. If you have enough money, you can place a tower in the company HQ that counts as three shares of that company's stock.
When a block is placed that connects two companies, the larger one consumes the smaller one. Anyone owning shares in the smaller company is paid out, then the value of that company is added to the larger one.Only three companies survived at game's end
Thus, the two ways you earn money are (1) adding to a company and (2) having the value of your shares increase. Everyone starts with ten cards in hand from a deck that contains numbers 1-72, and you can buy more cards during play, whether face up from the market or face down from the deck.
As people play cards and buy shares, you get a sense of who expects which businesses to grow and where — although sometimes you can see this more explicitly thanks to the purchase of face-up cards. (This is a change from the original game in which all purchased cards came from the top of the deck, although you can play that way if you wish.) Sometimes you're dealt a card or two that lies between two businesses, giving you a lever in deciding which one will survive — or whether a merger will never take place should you own shares in the smaller company. Your own share purchases will hint at what you're hoping to do, so ideally you can time a tower purchase or merger at just the right time to profit best.
But even if you don't own shares in a giant business, you can make up to $50 million just by placing a block in it, and since the share price can never rise over $50 million, you can sometimes make out better than those who do own shares.
I played Big Boss twice at BGG.Spring 2023 and loved it both times. I've played the original game ten times, and this new version is much the same, while being a little more forgiving in various ways. I plan to post a more detailed overview later, but in short I love how the game requires you to read others, make plans, gamble on the future, and react to changing fortunes. Everyone matters in determining the flow of the game and your actions shape what happens to everyone else, a trait I value in games.
Fri Jun 2, 2023 1:00 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Cephalofair Games announced Gloomhaven: Role Playing Game, with the goal of designing it "to be cross-compatible with all of our previous board game releases". The press release included an April 2023 launch date on BackerKit for the RPG and a line of miniatures for use with all Cephalofair products, a launch date that has slid to June 20, 2023.
But on top of the RPG and miniatures, Cephalofair Games' BackerKit crowdfunding project will also include Gloomhaven: Second Edition, a revised and updated version of Isaac Childres' 2017 blockbuster Gloomhaven.
Cephalofair notes that the world, story, and gameplay remain the same in this edition of the game, but it will feature "rebalanced and redesigned mercenary classes, items, and scenarios, as well as brand new artwork, newly written narrative and events, updated miniatures, a new faction-based reputation system, and more".
The project leads on this new edition are Drew Penn and Dennis Vögele, with the latter saying this in a press release from Cephalofair: "Drew and I have spent the last six years reading the community's feedback on all of the Gloomhaven games, so we knew exactly what we wanted to achieve with this project. We hope you enjoy playing Gloomhaven: Second Edition as much as we enjoyed working on it."
All of the components, tiles, encounters, and whatnot in Gloomhaven: Second Edition will be compatible with Gloomhaven: Role Playing Game, as will the first edition of the game, so if you get a second copy of the game, you can play through it again to discover what's new, then use all the bits in the RPG. Of course, you might have no room in your home to play anything at that point, what with Frosthaven occupying half the bed and all, but I'm sure you'll make do.
Cephalofair Games plans to produce Gloomhaven: Second Edition in early 2024 for release later that year. Given the extent of the changes across numerous components, an upgrade kit for Gloomhaven will not be sold separately.
Thu Jun 1, 2023 6:00 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Challengers! was nominated for the 2023 Kennerspiel des Jahres, publishers 1 More Time Games and Z-Man Games have announced a standalone sequel that has clearly been in the works for far more than a week.
Challengers! 2 from designers Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck features the same basic game play as Challengers!. Players start with a fixed team in a "capture the flag" competition, then play a game that lasts seven rounds, drafting new members onto their team each round, ditching any team members they feel no longer fit, then compete to keep hold of the flag before your team runs out or you have no room on the bench for defeated team members.
Challengers! 2 includes seven sets of cards, such as beach club, rainbow, and game designer, and you use only five sets in a game, shuffling these cards together to form A, B, and C decks, with C containing the most powerful cards.
You can play Challengers! 2 on its own, or you can pick sets from Challengers! and the new release to create more combinations. You can also use both sets to create a tournament game that allows for up to sixteen players.
Challengers! 2 also includes a 16-card "Trainers" expansion that gives each player a unique power. Some give you bonuses when defending, some when you're on the offensive, and others can extend your bench or even let you rearrange your deck.
The publishers plan to debut Challengers! 2 at SPIEL '23 in October.
Wed May 31, 2023 3:10 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Dress for Battle in Conquest Princess, Scale Giants in Leviathan Wilds, and Get Stacked for a Party in the Back
30 May 2023
Carson City: Big Box from Xavier Georges and Quined Games is being republished, with this edition including new solo rules and a fancy-shmancy insert. (Gamefound link)
• Let's jump genres from cowboys to pirates with SlackJack, a game from Thomas Robert Beatman, Joel Colombo, Travis Magrum, Ian Moss, Jim Schoch, and Jellybean Games in which players try to convince the captain to make them part of the treasure-search team. Each player has a hidden role, including a scofflaw who will make off with all the gold should they part of the captain's team — assuming that team even gets the gold as that will be awarded to one side or another depending on the strength of each team. (Kickstarter link)
Pavlov's House: The Battle of Stalingrad, Castle Itter: The Strangest Battle of WWII, and Lanzerath Ridge: Battle of the Bulge is a trio of solitaire games from David Thompson and Dan Verssen Games that are not new, but I suppose a Gamefound campaign will bring them to the attention of new players.
All three titles are part of Thompson and DVG's "Valiant Defense" series, which also includes 2021's Soldiers in Postmen's Uniforms.
• Conquest Princess: Fashion Is Power is a co-operative game from Peter Yang, Seppy Yoon, and Fight in a Box in which you are a member of the Temporal Intergalactic Armed Response Agency (TIARA) who dresses for battle, then faces off against "the worst classic space problems: Invaders from Space, Giant Mecha-Monsters, and the dreaded Fashion Tyrant Mu-gahgah". (GF link)
Loam from Cardboard Revolution, you are a plant that wants to build healthy soils. Writes designer Max Helmberger, who is also a soil ecologist and biology lecturer at Boston University, "You have a lot more power and agency over your environment than humans often give you credit for. Use chemical inputs to sculpt the soil's weird and wonderful biodiversity to assemble vibrant ecological communities." (GF link)
• 9th Circle seems like a radical departure from R&R Games' usual fare, with this design from Rebecca Bleau and Nicholas Cravotta putting you in the role of a demon lord who uses minions to gain control of various parts of the eighth circle so that you can use those powers to gain favor with Malacoda, that is, a bad ending. (KS link)
Leviathan Wilds from Justin Kemppainen and Moon Crab Games challenges 1-4 players to scale gigantic creatures that are depicted on a two-fold spread in a spiral-bound notebook to remove the crystals that bind them.
Each player has a unique deck of multi-use cards, and they also represent your ability to hold on to the leviathan; run out of cards and you fall to a rest point, which resets your deck. The bound leviathans resist your efforts to free them with a deck of effect cards that gain strength over the course of play. (KS link)
• In Asteroid Dice from Camden Games, players play cards to compete for the giant squishy die of their choice, then roll them on the table — or smash them against already rolled dice — to try to get the high number. (KS link)
• We'll close with a non-game project from BGG's own Chad Krizan and his wife Caylyn, who run the company Puzzle Bomb and are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for a trilogy of all-wood jigsaw puzzles titled "Party in the Back".
All three puzzles have multiple layers to them, with many different thematic images in the parts of the puzzle that will be buried once it's fully assembled. The images below give a taste of what these puzzles are like, with the KS campaign featuring animated GIFs that feature all the levels...should you wish to have them spoiled in advance.
- Carson City: Big Box
- Castle Itter: The Strangest Battle of WWII
- Pavlov's House
- Lanzerath Ridge
- Leviathan Wilds
- Asteroid Dice
- Conquest Princess: Fashion Is Power
- 9th Circle
- Xavier Georges
- Nicholas Cravotta
- Rebecca Bleau
- David Thompson (I)
- Justin Kemppainen
- Seppy Yoon
- Travis Magrum
- James Schoch
- Ian Moss
- Joel Colombo
- Peter Yang
- Max Helmberger
- R&R Games
- Dan Verssen Games (DVG)
- Quined Games
- Fight in a Box
- Cardboard Revolution
- Moon Crab Games
- Camden Games
- Jellybean Games
Tue May 30, 2023 10:00 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Cross the United States in Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West
30 May 2023
Roughly a week after publisher Days of Wonder teased a Ticket to Ride legacy game, it's now officially announced Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West, a game for 2-5 players from Alan R. Moon, Rob Daviau, and Matt Leacock.
Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:Quote:In Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West, players embark on twelve journeys across North America as 19th century pioneers. The campaign begins on the East Coast, with players working their way to the West from one adventure to the next, meeting challenges along the way. As in Ticket to Ride, completing your tickets will remain your primary goal, but you will need to develop other skills if you hope to overcome the unexpected events and your resourceful rivals. Game after game, route after route, you will continuously fill your vault with earnings. As the story progresses, you will open frontier boxes that unlock new rules, content, and many more surprises.For hints of what's inside the box, the components list includes 13 frontier game boards, 7 event cards, 6 newspaper cards, 77 postcards, a story deck, and a conductor's toolbox.Frontier boxes
In the Legacy style, Legends of the West is a unique experience molded by player choices. Each player has their own role to play, allowing them to change the way the story unfolds around them. Combined with evolving mechanisms that change as the game progresses, players will have a new experience every time they gather around the board.Sample tickets
At the end of the twelve games in this legacy campaign, you will have transformed your game into a unique copy that you can continue playing for a lifetime.
Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West will be demonstrated at Gen Con 2023 in August and released in fourteen language editions on November 3, 2023, bearing a US$120 MSRP.
Tue May 30, 2023 6:06 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
In that spirit, I thought I'd talk about my hit of the show for BGG.Spring 2023, which ran May 26-29. That game is Mind Up!, a card game from Maxime Rambourg and Catch Up Games that I played eight times on a review copy with all player counts from three to six. I wrote about Mind Up! in February 2023, noting that it has "a simple premise and lots of interactivity", while adding "Sounds like a recipe for what I want to see on the table!" — and that expectation was resoundingly met.
For reference, let's look at a six-player game that's one turn into a round:
To win, you want points. Over the course of a round, you collect seven cards. My first collected card above is pink; if I get more pink, those cards will go in the same pile, and if I collect a new color, it gets placed in the next column over. At the end of a round, each card is worth points based on where it's placed — in this case, 3-4-1-5-2 points per card — with bonuses and minuses affecting the sum.
On a turn, you all play a card from your hand simultaneously, then you arrange those cards in order from low to high underneath the cards already on the table, then you collect the card above the card you played. The played cards become the targets for the next turn. After six turns, you place the last card in your hand into your collection. Score those cards, then pick them up because those seven cards form your hand for the next round! After three rounds, whoever has the most points wins.
Everything about this design clicks for me:
• You can explain the game in a couple of minutes.
• You interact with others directly by competing for items in a common pool.
• You generally know what others want — if they have green on the 5 card, they want more green! — giving everyone clarity about other players' goals...which informs your own decision.
• You feel the impact of having more or fewer players at the table, so player count is meaningful rather than merely being an indication of how many components are in the box.Playing with three gives you more control, but fewer card options
• Your action matters twice, determining which card you collect now while creating a target for next time, whether one to avoid or pursue.
• You start in a fog that disperses over the course of play; no new cards enter the game, so while initially you know only that the deck contains cards numbered 1-60, after the first round you've seen all the cards, you know which colors are plentiful and which are short, and (in theory) you know all the numbers in play. (**Correction below)
• You don't really know all the numbers unless your memory is far better than mine, so you're forced to act from intuition rather than calculating the perfect move.
• You are repeatedly surprised, both positively (which makes you feel good about your choice for that turn — "I'm smart!") and negatively (which you shake off because the "luck" of who played what just didn't fall your way — "Maybe next time!").
• You build toward that final card play, ideally ending on a high note. (Again, "I'm smart!")
• You shuffle the scoring cards each round — for example, this round they're 5-4-2-1-3, then they're 1-5-2-3-4, then 3-1-2-4-5 — which affects how you play your hand and heightens the lottery feel of the game.
• You end at just the right time, late enough that you get to use knowledge learned during play, but not so long that you feel like you're repeating yourself.
6 nimmt!, Wolfgang Kramer's classic card game from 1994 in which players each play a card from their hand simultaneously on a turn, after which the cards are lined up, with players hoping that their card doesn't land in the wrong spot.
What was interesting is that some players said they liked 6 nimmt! and enjoyed Mind Up! just as much, if not more, and some players said they hated 6 nimmt!, but enjoyed Mind Up! despite the similarities. I think those latter feelings come from two elements. First, in 6 nimmt!, scoring is all negative. The best you can hope for on a turn is playing a card and having nothing happen to you. It's a game of avoidance and (ideally) schadenfreude, whereas in Mind Up! you collect a card each turn that (almost always) adds to your score. Sure, you might have wanted the blue for 5 points, but you got an orange for 3 points that bears a +1 bonus, so that's almost as good.My best round of the show: 39 points
Second, the cards cycle in Mind Up!, giving you additional reasons for deciding what to play when. Perhaps only two purple cards are present in a three-player game, and you have one in hand that you can play now, then likely collect next time to fill your 1 slot. That increases the chances of the other cards you collect landing in more valuable spots. Of course that plan might not work, but you can still make such plans, especially if you can also track some of the numbers in players' hands. I could recall the three or four lowest and highest cards so that helped a bit in terms of assessing whether I might get sniped or when it was safe to play a particular card to grab something on the end of the row.
I mentioned a lottery earlier, and Mind Up! very much feels like you're gambling. You play the odds that your card will end up in the position you want, akin to playing a slot machine and hoping for three cherries. Sometimes you play the 21 in a six-player game, and it is unexpectedly the highest card played — which creates a nice "How did that happen?!" moment — and sometimes you hit perfectly, prompting a clenched fist "Yes!" before you grab your treasure.Three-way tie, which Michelle won by having the largest score in the final round
Scores in a round have ranged from a low of 18 to a high of 41, but they're often relatively close, giving you the feeling that one big score in the final round can still propel you to victory.
I was slightly misleading earlier when I said everything about this design clicks for me. I've yet to play with the optional objective cards. The game includes 14 such cards, and you can lay out a new one at random each round or leave out multiple ones for the entire game. I understand that variability is a selling point for publishers, but so far I feel like I'm getting all the variability I need from the base game and don't want to add unneeded distractions.
Here's a sampling of the objective cards from the English rulebook:You don't use objective cards bearing the same letter
Note that despite the existence of an English rulebook from the publisher, currently only a French edition exists, having been released by Catch Up Games in mid-May 2023. Many titles from this publisher have been licensed for release elsewhere in the world, so perhaps it will show up in different editions down the road.
I brought only a few games with me to play at BGG.Spring 2023 — after all, we have a library on site with several thousand games that attendees can borrow — and I'm grateful that Mind Up! was one of them as I got to share it with many people and (I hope) helped them have a good time.•••
Additionally, he pointed out something I missed in the slim rulebook: "Players are actually supposed to draw a new card at the beginning of round 2 and 3. It hampers the players who could really count all cards, though I feel it doesn't negate your point that you do have a clear idea of which colors are numerous or not in play. I totally see how the variant of not drawing a card is interesting to give a bit more control."
Inadvertently, for Mind Up! I have replicated a variant for 6 nimmt! in which you use only cards numbered from 1 to 10x+4, with x being the number of players. This gives you complete information about the cards in the game, allowing you to track everything that's been played if that's your jam.
I'm fine with surprises and playing the odds, so as much as I already like the game, playing with all of the rules will probably be better, both for the spice that comes from swiping a card that an opponent didn't think could be swiped and for potentially higher scores in each round, giving players more hope for a comeback and greater odds of reaching the end of the line in a 3-1-2-4-5 layout.
Mon May 29, 2023 7:00 am
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Revisit Black Friday, Play Seasons in Holly Oak, and Flip for Freaky Frogs From Outaspace
27 May 2023
written about Faiyum: Privileges, but it turns out that designer Friedemann Friese of 2F-Spiele has at least three other items that will be released by SPIEL '23 in October.
Black Friday is a revised edition of Friese's 2010 stock market game of the same name...or named Schwarzer Freitag if you have the German edition. In this game, 2-5 players try to gain as much gold as possible by dealing in shares before the huge stock market crash. Ideally you can earn cash by cleverly buying and selling shares, thereby manipulating the market development and share prices, then spend it on gold to lock in your wealth.
Black Friday includes an independently acting opponent, the M.I.B.S. (minimally intelligent broker service), that you can use or not depending on the number of players in the game.
• Friese has released a few solitaire games over the years — Friday, Finished!, and 5x15 — and now he's releasing a new one: Freaky Frogs From Outaspace, a card game that simulates a pinball machine. An intro:Quote:Try to keep playing as long as possible, relying both on skill and luck. If everything runs perfectly, you will start the nerve-wracking Multiball, or you gain an Extra Ball to play an additional round.Rio Grande Games plans to release all three of the titles above in North America.
This game can be unfair, exactly like a real pinball machine. Sometimes you lose a ball very quickly without having any opportunities to aim at the targets: Bad luck!
Do not give up if you initially score only 1,000 points. From game to game you will get better. Score Bumpers, hit the Ramps, and possibly activate the Multiball...and you will get to scores of 100,000+ points, just like with a real pinball machine.
Fancy Feathers will see an expansion — It is getting colorful! — that features six new types of animal cards. You play by choosing any six types of cards in the game, so you can add these to the mix, giving you 18 types from which to choose.
Like the base game, the expansion is for two players, but additional copies can used to accommodate up to six players.
• To expand on Rio Grande Games' offerings, the publisher plans to release Prussian Rails, a new edition of John Bohrer's German Railways, which originally debuted in 2008 as Preußische Ostbahn in the second half of 2023.
• In that same time period, Rio Grande plans to release Holly Oak, a seasonal trick-taking game Tom Lehmann in which 3-5 revelers mark the passing of the seasons, seeking the favor of the Oak and Holly kings. In game terms, trump rotates with the seasons as spring becomes summer, then summer becomes fall or autumn (depending on where you live).
Sat May 27, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
IDW Games announced Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game from Emerson Matsuuchi, stating that the game was "Coming 2019". Here's an overview of this 1-4 player game:Quote:Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game is a fully co-operative, miniatures board game. Following the story of the first Metal Gear Solid video game, players take on the roles of Solid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, Dr. Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, and Gray Fox the Cyborg Ninja and need to use their unique skill sets to avoid detection as they complete objectives across multiple campaign scenarios. Featuring a highly dynamic A.I. system and sandbox gameplay, missions can be completed in multiple ways and always play out differently.Then more than two years passed.
In February 2021 Matsuuchi announced that IDW Games would not be releasing the design:Quote:The rights to the design were finally given back to me a few weeks ago. So I have reached out and enlisted the help of a friend that is a bonafide expert in licensing and has connections with Konami. We're working to keep this project alive and exploring possible options. While there are no guarantees that our efforts will bear fruit, I'm still optimistic that we will be able to get the MGS game to market, to the patient fans that have been kept waiting.If you are one of those patient fans, your patience is now being rewarded ...sort of, as you still have to wait at least one more year.
CMON has announced that it plans to release Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game in May 2024, with a pre-order open now for the "Integral Edition" of the game that includes a graphic novel that illustrates each mission, as well as a 13 cm tall "Metal Gear REX" miniature.
CMON notes that the game's 14-mission campaign will be the same in both the retail edition of the game and the "Integral Edition". Additionally, it clarifies that "all exclusive promos are exclusive to this Pre-Order (or crowdfunding platforms), with remaining stock available through conventions and special promotions only", so maybe "exclusive" isn't quite the right word.
For more on the game, you can check out this interview with Matsuuchi (and IDW's Spencer Reeve) at Gen Con 2019:
Thu May 25, 2023 5:00 pm
- [+] Dice rolls