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Bring Spiders, Werewolves, and a Coyote to Your Table

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Bézier Games
• On September 23-24, 2020, BGG will host another game demonstration livestream — broadcast schedule here — and U.S. publisher Bézier Games is one of the publishers taking part, with Whistle Mountain from Scott Caputo and Luke Laurie — originally covered here — being demoed on Sept. 24 and with Ted Alspach's Silver Dagger, the fourth title in the publisher's Silver series — being demoed on Sept. 23.

Here's an overview of this 2-4 player game, which bears an October 28, 2020 release date:
Quote:
In Silver Dagger, as in the other Silver card games, everyone starts the game with five face-down cards, with everyone being able to see two cards of their choice. Cards are numbered 0-13, with the number showing how many werewolves the character on that card attracts, and each character (number) has a different special power.

On a turn, you draw the top card of the deck or discard pile, then either discard it to use the power of the card (but only if it came from the deck), discard it without using the power (ditto), or replace one or more of your face-down cards with this card; you can replace multiple cards only if they bear the same number, and you must reveal the cards to prove this, being penalized if you're wrong.

Board Game: Silver Dagger

Silver Dagger contains 14 new roles and abilities not seen in the previous titles, some of which allow you to strategically switch the direction of gameplay, the #4 zombie in particular! As might be expected, zombies are tough to get rid of; in game terms, you can't place them on top of the discard pile, and they need to be face up in order to pass them to the previous player. The game also includes helpful roles such as the debt collector, which subtracts a point for each card held by your opponents, and the halfling, who has the power to divide your entire score for the round in half.

As in other Silver games, call for a vote when you think you have the fewest werewolves circling your village. Your opponents will then have only one more chance to save themselves — or to sabotage you!
You can combine cards from Silver Amulet, Silver Bullet, Silver Coin, and this title as you like to create your own custom deck as long as you have cards in each of the slots from 0 to 13.

Board Game Publisher: HeidelBÄR Games
From gallery of W Eric Martin
• Looking ahead to other conventions, German publisher HeidelBÄR Games is taking part in Castle TriCon, an online game demonstration event run with Horrible Guild and Czech Games Edition that's open to the public on Sept. 26-27, 2020. (HeidelBÄR Games will also take part in SPIEL.digital 2020, and BGG will also livestream during that event. Schedule currently in the works!)

Anyway, one of two releases coming from HeidelBÄR Games is Anansi, a trick-taking card game from Cyril Blondel and Jim Dratwa for 3-5 players that's a somewhat changed version of 2016's Eternity from the same designers. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:
Quote:
Some say Anansi is a trickster, but he is a spider for sure and sometimes even a man. Let me tell you why he is also known as the "Keeper of Stories": One day, Anansi decided to gather all stories and become the wisest of all. After many years, he finally had all the stories in the world, but poor Anansi did not feel any wiser. Eventually he realized that true wisdom is not achieved by keeping knowledge to yourself, so he decided to share his stories and inspire people with them — and believe it or not, that was how this game was made!

Board Game: Anansi

In Anansi, you have to be smart about which tricks you are trying to get. Each trick represents a story, but stories untold are worth only a little. If you can acquire followers — by playing a card not to the trick, but for its indicated number of followers — you can match up your followers with stories to inspire them, and inspiring all your followers should always be your goal because this grants you the trickster's favor and sweet bonus points.

Note that cards played to gain followers can affect the trump suit, which means that the trump can change several times in a game. It is up to you to adapt to the new situation!

Board Game: Anansi

Anansi is in the same game line as Spicy, with the game box and card backs being decorated with a special metallic print in purple. For such a rich and cultural theme, publisher HeidelBÄR Games paired up with Nigerian artist Dayo Baiyegunhi and South African artist Emmanuel Mdlalose to create a unique and colorful look for the story world of Anansi.
• The other title due out from HeidelBÄR Games is a new edition of Spartaco Albertarelli's Coyote, first released in 2003, with this game also having some changes from earlier versions. Here's the story behind the game:
Quote:
One day Coyote crossed the river with his friends, but he was carrying too many things and almost drowned before Bear pulled him out of the water. Poor Coyote had lost everything.

They sat down by a fire to dry off and rest. Coyote became jealous of the other animals because they still had all their things, so he challenged them to a bluffing game to win their belongings. The other animals agreed to the challenge as they thought Coyote would never win. After all, he is known to never tell the truth — but in this game everybody has to lie because no one knows the truth...

Board Game: Coyote

In the bluffing game Coyote, you always see the cards of the other players, but never your own. When it's your turn, you must announce a number that is less than the total of all the cards in the game, yet higher than the previous number given. Alternatively, you can challenge the number previously announced. Finally, when all the cards are revealed, you'll see who has the cunning Coyote on their side.
As with Spicy and Anansi, for Coyote HeidelBÄR Games has hired an artist from the community in which the game's story is set, specifically Zona Evon Shroyer, with the publisher describing her as a Yupik Alaskan native and a master of traditional Northwest Coastal art. All three of the artists for these HeidelBÄR titles, as well as Jimin Kim on Spicy, have previously done no game artwork, and I think HeidelBÄR deserves a lot of credit for bringing new "voices" into the industry.

Board Game: Coyote

Board Game: Coyote
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Supercharge Potatoes, and Use Triangles to Rebuild Nature

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: The Dietz Foundation
• In July 2019, I wrote about The Dietz Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Jim Dietz of Jolly Roger Games and Ultra PRO "to produce games which enhance critical thinking, the use of math, and historical knowledge with the goal of generating revenue to endow scholarships for budding teachers and current teachers seeking to bring creative new means of education to the classroom".

The organization's first release was Jason Little's 3 Years of War, and it's on Kickstarter with its second title until September 24, 2020: Supercharged from designers Mike Clifford and Mike Siggins, with this design being a reworking of their Grand Prix Manager from 1992 (KS link). Here's an overview:
Quote:
Supercharged is a game about motor racing in the 1930s for 1-5 players. The system allows for a full grid of cars — not just the players', but also privateers that ran alongside, and usually hindered, the factory teams.

Each player controls two racing teams: one in the top category and another slower team unlikely to win, but capable of reaching the podium and ending in the money. That is important since the game's winner is based on money earned. Winning, though, is adjusted based on the level of cars a player selects, so taking the "best" cars may not be the optimal strategy for victory when the car ability bonus is applied.

Board Game: Supercharged

Gameplay is handled with a randomized team draw that determines player order in addition to generating random events; these events emphasize the dangerous and unreliable nature of 1920s and 1930s driving, courses, and early race technology. On a player's turn, cars move a certain number of spaces with the option of slipstreaming, "charging" (which permits multiple bonus spaces if clear track is ahead), and blocking (which can force trailing cars to spin out).

The game takes 45-60 minutes to play a race, and games can be combined into a multi-race contest or even a full season if the players wish.
Board Game Publisher: Origame
• I'm writing about this title just a bit after the end of the Kickstarter campaign (link), but better late than never, I suppose.

Plantopia: The Card Game is a 2-5 player game from Daryl Chow, co-designer of The Artemis Project and Remember Our Trip and head designer of the Singaporean publisher Origame. Plantopia is based on the Instagram comic series Life of a Potato, and it plays as follows:
Quote:
In the game, players harness their gardening abilities to contend for the coveted title of Plantopia's "Champion Gardener". Manage the plants in your hand and in your tableau, and plant the best combos to earn the most magical leaves. But pay attention to all of your fellow gardeners, as whoever can predict the weather can make their plants grow!

Board Game: Plantopia: The Card Game

Capitalize upon the immediate powers of the baby plants while harnessing the scoring combos of the Treevolved plants. Will you go for the fast-growing flowers, the card-drawing cacti, or the weather-controlling trees? Or a combination of all of the above?
• Illustrated playing card decks have a lot of fans on Kickstarter, but I've never paid much attention to them. One that recently caught my eye, though, is a set from Sunish Chabba in which he combined details from several Hieronymus Bosch paintings to create an original work of sorts, with the 54 cards in that deck recreating that image when you assemble them in the right way. (KS link)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The background images of the Bosch art interact with the card symbols in various ways, creating a deeper image that blurs the planes in which everything exists — which seems appropriate for a design inspired by Bosch.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• And I might as well highlight another non-game item now that I've started down that path. In February 2020, I wrote about a new 3D-building system from Stéphane Villain called CARAPACES in a round-up of items seen during the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair.

Publisher Romain-Guirec Piotte has now launched a funding campaign on Ulule (link) through the end of October 2020 in which you can acquire 100, 200, or 300 triangles in white, pink, or black (or a combination of colors), with each pack of one hundred triangles including ten copies of ten differently sized triangles.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Prophetic sculpture from January 2020
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Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:00 pm
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Game Alone (or Not) with Florence, Gate, and Votes for Women

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Votes for Women
Draft cover
• In June 2020, I wrote about Tory Brown's Votes for Women, which is being published by Fort Circle Games. That title is being Kickstarted (link) through September 24, 2020 ahead of a scheduled release in Q2 2021, and as a refresher, here's an overview of this 1-4 player game:
Quote:
Votes for Women is a card-driven game covering the American women's suffrage movement from 1848-1920, culminating with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The game provides competitive, co-operative and solitaire play. Players can play cards for their events, discard cards to campaign in states, or discard cards to organize for suffrage.

The game plays out over six turns: two turns in 1848-1890, two turns in 1890-1919, and two turns in 1919-1920 (during the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment). The Support player must get 36 U.S. states (out of 48) to ratify the Amendment before the Opposition player (or the Oppo-bot in the solitaire game) gets 13 states to reject the Nineteenth Amendment. Two players may also play co-operatively against the Oppo-bot.
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Gate is a solitaire, tower defense game from Jason Glover and Grey Gnome Games in which you must protect your small medieval town from a swarm of vile creatures. In more detail:
Quote:
You have to manage the health of your town's gate, the tower, and the local farm. In addition, this attack is causing fear levels to rise. If you cannot keep your gate standing or if the fear of the townspeople gets too high, you lose the game. If, however, you can hold off the swarm of enemies long enough, you will be victorious!

Board Game: Gate

Gate uses deck-building as the driving mechanism in the game. You start with three starting cards, but as the game progresses you can recruit new people from your town to help your cause. Each character has unique abilities, and some even have special powers. The enemies in the game get increasingly more difficult with each new wave, so you have to make good choices as to when to spend resources on fighting off your foes, upgrading your command, and repairing your town.
Board Game: Ragusa
Board Game: Venice
• Following Ragusa in 2019 and Venice in 2020, UK publisher Braincrack Games is closing out its "Eurocity" trilogy with Florence, a 1-5 player game from Dean Morris (with a solo mode from Dávid Turczi) that will be Kickstarted ahead of a 2021 retail release.

Here's an overview of the game:
Quote:
Set in the titular city, Florence tasks players with elevating the status of their family and navigating the city on the night of a grand Carnevale to set up meetings with the ruling Medici figureheads: Cosimo, Giovanni, and Contessina.

Florence is a Euro-style area control game in which the regions you want to hold change each round as the Medici move around the city attending various functions. Over nine rounds, each player dispatches family members to attend parties, give gifts, brag about their achievements, engage in spurious gossip, and muscle their way through crowds to get some valuable face-time with the Medici. The chief resource in Florence is time: As the Carnevale moves into full swing and the streets fill with revelers, they will become harder to navigate, and you will need to be cautious of which actions you ask your various scions to complete.

Board Game: Florence

But by ensuring that your family is at the front of each queue and the most talked about (by meeting conditions of various "brag" cards), you gain valuable points to elevate your family's status. Each Medici is impressed only by a specific approach, and as the night goes on, they become harder to impress — which scores you more points for increasingly harder objectives should you do so.
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Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:00 pm
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Lava Flows in Tobago, Complicating Your Search for Treasure

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Tobago
• German publisher Zoch Verlag has announced its releases for the second half of 2020, with a highly unexpected title leading the billing — Tobago: Volcano, this being an expansion for Bruce Allen's 2009 release Tobago.

In the original game, players move around an island trying to discover treasure, and they hold pieces of treasure maps that — unlike normal maps — determine where the treasure might be. You might initially know, for example, that this particular treasure (one of four) is not next to a palm tree, then someone lays down a card that shows this treasure is on the beach, and another player's card identifies it as being within one space of a mountain.

Eventually these cards will pinpoint this treasure's location in a particular hex, and whoever first moves to that hex collects the treasure, after which another treasure will be available on the island...somewhere. (If you've played the 2018 game Cryptid from Osprey Games, then you might recognize the feeling of possible targets being winnowed over the course of the game.)

Here's what is going on with the expansion, which is due out in October 2020:
Quote:
Tobago: Volcano, playable only with the Tobago base game, complicates your search for hidden treasure.

In the original game, treasure awaited under palm trees, next to huts, in forests, and in the mountains. Thanks to a volcano that takes up seven of the board's hexes and now towers high above the game board, lava comes into play. During set-up, each player places a triangular tile of three hexes near the island's perimeter, with one of these hexes being covered with lava; the player's ATV starts on another of these hexes.

Board Game: Tobago: Volcano

During the game, you can violate the normal rules of card playing by laying down an illegal card, e.g., "not in the mountains" when an "in the mountains" card was played earlier for this treasure, after which you immediately cover this card with one of the four new volcanic clue cards included in this expansion: next to/not next to the volcano and next to/not next to lava. Once this treasure is claimed, the volcanic card is returned to the side of the playing area for subsequent use.

Whenever a player collects an amulet, they add another hex of lava to the game board, whether adjacent to the volcano or lava already in play. This means that the island will transform dynamically throughout the game, possibly moving treasures to locations where no one suspected them previously. After all, the largest forest might not stay the largest if overrun by lava, and the forests themselves might even disappear completely!

Board Game: Tobago: Volcano

During a turn, an ATV can travel over lava — but not stop in lava — if the player spends an amulet or (if they have no amulets) discards their largest treasure card. Don't let your travel routes get cut off by the lava flow...
Board Game: Tasso
Kurz vor Knapp from Helmut Punke and Tobias Punke seems reminiscent of Philippe Proux's Tasso — which I covered in 2019 — so I'm curious to try this game given that you have a few simple differences in how it works, specifically (1) wooden sticks of various lengths, (2) the ability to steal another player's turn by building higher, and (3) pillars that you place in the building area, which means you get to designate the possible building sites.

In any case, here's an overview of the game:
Quote:
Assess, connect, build higher!

In Kurz vor Knapp, you set up the playing area by placing the string in a circle, placing ten cylinders within this circle, then laying the wood beams out at random in a spiral around this circle. Each player starts the game with a number of cylinders based on the player count.

On a turn, you look at the wood beam on the end of the spiral — without touching it or measuring it — then identify which two cylinders you want to place this beam on. You want to place the beam so that its endpoints are contained (and not hanging over) the faces of these cylinders, and each cylinder can have at most two beams resting on it. After you identify these cylinders, each other player has a chance to steal your turn by identifying cylinders on a higher level where this beam could be placed.

Board Game: Kurz vor Knapp

If you — or the turn stealer — have correctly estimated the length of the beam and can make the connection, you then place one or more cylinders from your supply onto the playing area, with one cylinder on the newly placed beam and additional cylinders on beams at lower levels. The higher the beam, the more cylinders you can place! If you can't place the beam, then you return it to the end of the line, and if you had tried to steal someone's turn, they get to hand over the number of cylinders they would have placed.

Whoever first places all of their own cylinders wins.
Board Game: Silencio
Board Game: Eureka!
• Given my love of The Mind, I am eager to try César Gómez Bernardino's Silencio, a card game that seems to require a similar merging of spirits. Here's an overview of how it plays:
Quote:
In Silencio, all players form a team together, a team that cannot speak to one another.

You each start with a hand of cards from four suits, and your goal as a team is to discard as many cards as possible — but each card played must have a higher value than the previously played card of the same suit. If a newly played card is the direct successor of the card last played of that color, then you orient the card to show its dark side and suffer the penalty from that card, with the green penalty, for example, forcing the next card played to be green while the blue penalty requires you to give another player one of the face-up cards available from the Oracle.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

If a newly played card is not the direct successor of the card last played of that color, then you place the card with the light side face up, taking the bonus depicted on that half of the card if you desire, such as ignoring the next penalty or placing a card from your hand face up in front of you so that anyone could play it.

Five shrines are play — one multicolor shrine and one of each color — and before or after your card play for the turn, you can choose to flip a shrine face down to use the bonus of that color.

If you can't play or have no cards in hand, you must pass, and if all players pass in turn, then the game ends. Your score is based on the number of cards in all players' hands, with 0 being the best score possible. If you find the game difficult, you can include the tavern card that a few times each game allows a player to give limited information about their hand; if the game is too easy, you can remove some or all of the shrines to eliminate those "extra" bonuses.
Silencio is a revised version of Bernardino's Eureka!, which was released in 2017 from Spanish publisher 2D10. Gameplay is mostly the same, albeit with shrines being added to the new design and small changes to other details.

• Finally in Zoch's quartet of new titles is Die Seher von Santiiba, a.k.a. "The Seers of Santiiba", a 2-4 player game from Leo Colovini and Teodoro Mitidieri that also has me wanting to see the rules after this short description:
Quote:
In the far reaches of Santiiba, the Valley of the Hopeful, seers ply their occult trades.

Each turn in Die Seher von Santiiba, one player rolls the five dice, which correspond with five kinds of cards. The dice have 1-3 stars on three of the sides and the numbers 4-6 on the other three sides. Each other player then secretly selects a color, whether the color they think you'll choose or the color they themselves are interested in. You then name one of the colors, and if anyone else has selected that color, they reveal this information. If the matching die shows stars, they move their seer figure on the scoring track this many spaces, and if it shows a number, they take a card of this color. You either take the die (if it shows stars) or the card, placing this object in your "area of uncertainty". You then continue your turn by naming another color or end your turn.

Board Game: Die Seher von Santiiba

If no one choose your named color, then you pick either the die or card of this color, placing the object in your area of uncertainty. If you took a card when the die showed stars or took a die with a number, then you must continue your turn; otherwise, you can choose to continue or end your turn.

If all other players have revealed their color choices, then you lose everything in your area of uncertainty, receiving only a bowl card as consolation. If you end your turn — whether voluntarily or after successfully choosing four of the five colors — then you move all the cards to your oracle board and advance your seer a number of spaces equal to the sum of all the dice.

Board Game: Die Seher von Santiiba

Players take turns in this manner until the first player reaches 30 VPs. Only then are the victory points on the cards counted as well — but the player who has collected the fewest cards of any particular sort won't get to count the neighboring kind of cards at all. If you have the fewest herbs, for example, then your amulets are worth nothing. Ties are broken in favor of whoever has the most bowl cards. Once you've determined which cards (if any) you must lose, you sum the value of your remaining cards and advance your seer. All players who reach the Cloud Castle of Wisdom on space 75 win; otherwise, whoever has advanced the farthest wins.
Die Seher von Santiiba, like the other titles listed in this post, will debut in Europe in October 2020.
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The Crew Wins the 2020 Deutscher Spielepreis

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From gallery of W Eric Martin
The co-operative trick-taking game The Crew from Thomas Sing and KOSMOS has won yet another award — the 2020 Deutscher Spielepreis.

The DSP is determined by the votes of gamers, who rate their top five games from the previous year, in addition to naming their favorite children's game. Those votes are then tabulated, and here's the list of games that received the most votes:

1. The Crew, from Sing and KOSMOS
2. Cartographers, Jordy Adan and Thunderworks Games
3. Maracaibo, from Alexander Pfister and Game's Up
4. Barrage, from Tommaso Battista, Simone Luciani and Cranio Creations
5. Cooper Island, from Andreas Odendahl and Frosted Games
6. Glen More II: Chronicles, from Matthias Cramer and Funtails
7. Crystal Palace, from Carsten Lauber and Feuerland
8. PARKS, from Henry Audubon and Keymaster Games
9. Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan, from Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini, and Hans im Glück
10. Paladins of the West Kingdom, from Shem Phillips and Garphill Games

Andor Junior from Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and KOSMOS was voted best children's game by DSP respondents.

Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Board Game: Andor Junior
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Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:00 pm
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Traverse Sumatra with Reiner Knizia as Your Guide

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Ludonova
Board Game: Polynesia
In May 2020, I posted an overview of Peer Sylvester's Polynesia, an October 2020 release from Spanish publisher Ludonova, and in August 2020, Sylvester posted a designer diary about the creation of that game.

Ludonova has another title due out in late 2020 that's set a few thousand miles west of Polynesia: Reiner Knizia's Sumatra, a set-collection game for 2-5 players. Here's a detailed overview of the setting and gameplay:
Quote:
Join this expedition, and you will have the unforgettable opportunity to explore Sumatra, from the top of its majestic volcanoes to the depths of its tropical rainforest. Find the most exotic animals and the most exuberant flowers, and discover the endless variety of cultures that coexist on the largest island in Indonesia. Your expedition sets out with the mission of writing a travel notebook that will help raise awareness of one of the richest ecosystems in the world. Whoever makes the best contribution to this exciting mission will win.

Board Game: Sumatra

In Sumatra, players move around the island to explore its multiple landscapes. On a turn, your possible actions depend on where you're located in relation to the travel notebook token that starts the game in base camp with all the players:

• If you're one space behind the token, you move to the notebook's space and end your turn.
• If you're on the same location as the token, either you move ahead one space or you stay put, take a tile from the pool of "available information" tiles, and add it to your personal notebook.
• If you're one space ahead of the token, you move the token to your space, move all the "available information" tiles to the "known information" pool, draw tiles from the bag equal to the number shown at your location, add those tiles to the pool of "available information", then take one of these new tiles and add it to your notebook.

Board Game: Sumatra

Thus, you're catching up with the group, researching with the group to add info to your notebook, moving ahead, or digging into new tiles ahead of everyone else.

Tiles score and have effects in various ways, for example, with players gaining or losing points for meeting the most or fewest inhabitants. Flora and fauna tiles score only if you have a pair in a column, but only the highest-valued of this pair scores. Villages score only if you have more pairs of reception and GPS tiles than the number of villages, while the reception and GPS pairs net you no points, but allow you to get a tile from the pool of "known information". Equipment makes it safe to explore volcanoes on the island, and if you don't have enough equipment, you might lose other tiles you've collected.

Board Game: Sumatra

Sumatra also includes badges that players can collect. Be the first to collect, say, three flora tiles or a combination of two inhabitant and two craft tiles, and you can claim the badge for this, which is worth 3 points at game's end. You can also claim one diversity badge for having at least one tile in at least six rows of your notebook. The more rows you have a presence in, the higher the value of the diversity badge, but you can claim at most one during the game — and if someone else claims the six-row badge, then you'll need to have a tile in at least seven rows for the next one...
Based on a reading of the rules, Sumatra seems like a typical rules-light Knizia design in which player interaction drives everything in a quiet way.

On a turn, you either take a tile or move without taking a tile. When you move ahead of the token, you guarantee yourself first pick at the next spot, and if no one else moves, then you'll have the first two picks; additionally, by moving ahead, you guarantee that everyone else can take at most one more tile from the current location because they'll be forced to move forward on the next turn.

As for the tiles, you're trying to navigate a web of scoring conditions that isn't point salad-y since many of the conditions relate to one another. For the most part, you fill the tile rows of your notebook from left to right, and if you don't collect enough equipment of different colors, then you'll lop off the rightmost columns before you tally the endgame score. If you collect three equipment of the same color, that's worth 5 points; if you also have the volcano of that color, you collect another 5 points, whereas a volcano without sufficient equipment is worth -5 points. Villages are worth 5 points each, but only if you have enough of both GPS and reception to "cover" those villages; otherwise you score nothing for them.

Sumatra is due out in November 2020.

Board Game: Sumatra
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Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:00 pm
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Avalon Hill Teases the Return of HeroQuest

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: HeroQuest
At 12:00 EDT (UTC-4) on September 22, 2020, something will happen regarding HeroQuest courtesy of U.S. publisher Avalon Hill, which is a brand of Hasbro, which owns the Milton Bradley brand under which HeroQuest was first published in 1989.

What will that something be? It's a mystery right now as this new page on the Avalon Hill website has only a counter and a single image:

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Paging Donnie Darko...

When HeroQuest was originally published, the title "HeroQuest" was a trademark owned by Games Workshop and HeroQuest was labeled as having been "Developed with Games Workshop". GW is not mentioned on the current HeroQuest web page.

In July 2020, U.S. publisher Restoration Games filed a trademark application for the term "HeroQuest Legacies" for use in the categories:
Quote:
Board games; Card games; Dice games; Playing pieces in the nature of miniature action figures and toy model vehicles for use with table top hobby battle games in the nature of battle, war and skirmish games, and fantasy games; Tabletop games; Tabletop hobby battle games in the nature of battle, war and skirmish games, and fantasy games, and playing equipment sold as a unit therewith
No action has been taken on this application so far, but Restoration Games also has outstanding trademark applications for the older games The Omega Virus and Keys to the Kingdom, and Restoration's Justin Jacobson has said that such applications are just one of many steps the company takes while investigating whether it could release a game.

RPG Item: HeroQuest Core Rules Book
As far as I know, the most recent owner of the "HeroQuest" trademark was RPG designer Greg Stafford, who acquired the trademark after it originally lapsed and who licensed the trademark to Moon Design Publications for publication of the HeroQuest RPG system, with this trademark ownership being at least one of the causes (via a DMCA takedown) of a failed Kickstarter for GameZone Miniatures' HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Edition — but Stafford died in 2018, so who knows where that trademark has traveled to at this point...

Board Game Publisher: Avalon Hill Games, Inc.
One additional news hook for this story is that prior to September 2020, the Avalon Hill brand was controlled by Wizards of the Coast, which oversees the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and which is itself owned by Hasbro. Robert Hutchins at ToyNews reports that management of Avalon Hill will now be overseen by Hasbro itself, possibly in an effort to broaden its reach among gamers. In Hutchins' words:
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While the board gaming market has witnessed a surge in popularity over the last six months, hobbyist retailers have suggested that sales have predominantly arisen from the mid-tier category of games within the £20 to £30 bracket, over the larger, big box £100 and upwards items which are more and more finding their audiences on online platforms and crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, over the brick and mortar retailer.

Hasbro's move to bring Avalon Hill within its own gaming fold may be a move to broaden its more mainstream offering and tap into the growing market.
Finally, a HeroQuest Twitter account was created in August 2020 to highlight this "board game of high adventure in a world of magic". No tweets yet — only anticipation from those who follow...

From gallery of W Eric Martin
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Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:08 pm
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Make Your Peepers Pop in MicroMacro: Crime City

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: MicroMacro: Crime City
German publisher Edition Spielwiese has an unusual offering coming out on October 12, 2020 — MicroMacro: Crime City from designer/artist Johannes Sich.

At first glance, MicroMacro: Crime City looks like Where's Waldo? in a game box. The components of the game are minimal: 120 case cards that are divided into 16 envelopes, a magnifying glass, and an incredibly detailed black-and-white city map that measures 75x110 cm² (roughly 30"x43").

Here's a tiny sampling of the map:

Board Game: MicroMacro: Crime City

And the entire thing with people included for scale:

Board Game: MicroMacro: Crime City
Lollipops not included

To start a case, one player — the lead investigator — reveals the top card from that case's envelope:

Board Game: MicroMacro: Crime City

Then reads the back of the card and shows it to everyone:

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Thereby revealing the top of the next card and your initial task:

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Once you discover where you think the pub is, you identify its location — using the grid coordinates on the perimeter of the map — then the lead investigator looks at the back of the card to confirm this detail. If correct, the lead investigator will read and reveal that card, then you'll be off to find something else. The introductory case doesn't have a difficulty level, but the other fifteen cases — such as "Leo Moustache", "Death From Above", and "The Masked Avenger" — are rated from 1 to 5 stars in difficulty.

If you want to get a taste of MicroMacro: Crime City, you can play a sample case — "Hot Chips" — on an excerpt of the map on this dedicated website. Happy sleuthing!

Board Game: MicroMacro: Crime City
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Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:27 pm
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Lead the Inca, Build a Capitalist Empire, and Try Not to Inflict Too Much Damage on Planet Earth

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Deep Print Games
Board Game: Renature
• German publisher Deep Print Games plans to debut in 2020 with two new designs: Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling's domino-based majorities game Renature, which I previewed in depth here, and Kyoto from Sabine Harrer and Johannes Krenner.

As far as I can tell, Kyoto is Sabine Harrer's first published board game, but she's hardly new to games. Harrer has "created experimental games and performative play experiences" since 2014 as a member of the Copenhagen Game Collective, has taught game design at the University for Art and Design (BTK) in Berlin, has served as a lecturer in media and game studies at the University of Vienna and the IT University of Copenhagen, and has authored the 2019 book "Games and Bereavement: How Video Games Represent Attachment, Loss, and Grief". Lots of interesting stuff in her résumé!

Harrer also co-ran a game jam at the 2019 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference held in Kyoto, Japan. Kyoto, of course, might be best known these days thanks to the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 agreement (that was ratified in 2005) that commits developed countries to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The subject of that agreement is also the subject of this 3-6 player game:
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Kyoto takes players straight into one of the burning issues of our time: climate change — and not with a wagging finger, but by putting them into the shoes of the decision makers.

Board Game: Kyoto

As delegates from different countries, players face a few quick rounds of negotiation at a climate conference. Together, they try to hit reduction targets and provide the needed funding, knowing that each round they fail to do so they inflict severe damage on the planet. But bent on preserving their own country's wealth and following their secret agendas, none of them may be eager to give more than absolutely necessary. After all, the winner will be whoever best preserves their wealth...unless the impending damage to earth becomes too severe, in which case the conference fails immediately and the greediest player can't win.
Kyoto is due out in mid-October 2020 in Germany and in mid-December 2020 in the United States.

Board Game: Tahuantinsuyu
Board Game: Inca Empire
• Before Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire — due out in October 2020 from Board&Dice — was Alan D. Ernstein's Tahuantinsuyu, self-published in 2004 through his Hangman Games brand. This involved route-building game was re-released in 2010 by White Goblin Games as Inca Empire, and now in 2020 U.S. publisher DPH Games will release Inca Empire: The Card Game, which is based on the world and concepts of those earlier games.

Here's an overview of this 2-5 player design, which was Kickstarted (link) in mid-2020:
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Become one of the Inca's regional leaders in Inca Empire: The Card Game! Expand the empire by extending your road system, build cities to house your people, and construct temples to please the gods.

Board Game: Inca Empire: The Card Game

In the game, players take on the role of an "Apu", a regional leader, and construct cities and colcas (storehouses that contain fish, corn, and potatoes) between the cities. These are all connected by a road system that players build out from the capital city of Cusco. The improvements to regions are for the benefit of the empire. Players additionally stock storage huts, create terraces for additional power in future rounds, make trade agreements with other players, construct temples, and use extra workforce cards to take special actions.

In the end, Sapa, "the Only One", will favor only the leader who does the best over the empire's four eras.
Board Game Publisher: Hobby World
• Russian publisher Hobby World has released initial information and rules for Furnace, a 2-4 player auction-based card game from Ivan Lashin that it plans to release widely in 2021, following an advance run that will be available during SPIEL.digital 2020.

Here's an overview of this 30-60 minute game:
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Furnace is an engine-building Eurogame in which players take on the roles of 19th-century capitalists building their industrial corporations and aspiring to make as much money as they can by purchasing companies, extracting resources, and processing them in the best combinations possible.

Board Game: Furnace

Each player starts the game with a random start-up card, the resources depicted at the top of that card, and four colored discs valued 1-4.

The game is played over four rounds, and each round consists of two phases: Auction and Production. During the auction, 6-8 company cards are laid out with their basic sides face up. Players take turns placing one of their discs on one of these cards, but you cannot place a disc on a card if a disc of the same value or color is already present. Thus, you'll place discs on four cards.

Once all the discs are placed, the cards are resolved from left to right. Whoever placed the highest-valued disc will claim this card, but first anyone with a lower-valued disc on this card will gain compensation, either the resources depicted multiplied by the value of their disc or a processing ability (exchange X for Y) up to as many times as the value of their disc.

Board Game: Furnace
Gameplay summary

Once all the cards have been claimed or discarded, players enter the production phase, using their cards in the order of their choice. Each company card has one action — either production or processing — on its basic side and two actions on its upgraded side. During the production phase, you can use each of your cards once to gain resources, process those resources into other resources or money, and upgrade your cards.

At the end of four rounds, whoever has the most money wins.

Furnace also includes capitalist cards that contain unique effects, and if you want, you can choose to deal one out to each player at the start of the game. For an additional challenge, you can require players to create a "production chain", with each newly acquired company card being placed somewhere in that chain and locked in position for the remainder of the game.
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:00 pm
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Roll Dice to Fight Monsters, Explore Dungeons, and Possibly Escape in Rush Out! and Dungeon Fighter

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Rush Out!
• Following the success of Magic Maze in 2017, Belgian publisher Sit Down! has had a particular fascination for real-time games, with Magic Maze: Hidden Roles and Magic Maze Kids appearing in 2018 and House Flippers, Wormlord, and Magic Maze on Mars being released in 2019.

For 2020, Sit Down! will expand its real-time résumé with Thomas Dupont's Rush Out!, which pits one player in the role of sorcerer against everyone else. Here's a summary of this October 2020 release:
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It was far too easy to progress into this dark dungeon, far too easy...but you progressed anyway, and when you reached its very last level, you had the bad idea to wake up the sorcerer — the big boss — and now the only way you can survive is to rush out the exit.

In Rush Out!, everybody plays simultaneously, with each "team" rolling and re-rolling dice (three per hero, and five for the sorcerer) in order to complete cards. Each player can place dice on only one of their cards at a time, and each ordeal card on the heroes' side can be completed by at most two people. As soon as a card has all of its symbols covered, you carry out its effect (in the case of the sorcerer), then draw a new card. The first "team" to draw the final card of their deck wins.

Board Game: Rush Out!

The game is divided into trainings first, followed by scenarios. Each time you progress in the rules, you are invited to play game before going further, so step by step, you learn the following rules (which often add new cards to decks):

—When the sorcerer completes specific cards, they can remove one or all of the heroes' dice from a card they are trying to complete.

Board Game: Rush Out!
Sample ordeal cards for the heroes

—By completing dracology spells, the sorcerer can move a dragon pawn onto a card on the heroes' side of the board. Heroes cannot remove this card from play, but can play on and remove other cards; by using wilds on their dice, the heroes can push the dragon back. If the dragon moves all the way onto the heroes' deck, the sorcerer wins the game.
—By completing specific spell cards, the sorcerer can forbid a hero from using a specific symbol, although this restriction can be cancelled by the hero under certain circumstances.
—By completing cards, heroes can experience, and they can use this experience to make their wild symbols more effective. (For each hero, normally a rolled joker on a die is equal to a specific symbol, but this experience gives you options).

Board Game: Rush Out!
Summoning cards for the sorcerer, which place a new ordeal on the hero deck

—The sorcerer can damage heroes, requiring them to heal themselves — possibly with the help of their friends — before they can attempt to complete ordeal cards.

Rush Out! includes a half-dozen scenarios beyond the training games, and each scenario is played as a best-of-three series of games.
Board Game: Dungeon Fighter
• Let's pair the overview above with coverage of another wacky dungeon-themed game — or rather a pair of such games. In September 2020, Italian publisher Horrible Guild will launch a Kickstarter project for a new edition of the Dungeon Fighter line of games.

This line launched in 2011 from publisher Cranio Creations with the Dungeon Fighter base game from Aureliano Buonfino, Lorenzo Silva, and Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino, and folloed that with the Fire at Will expansion in 2013. In 2014, Silva left Cranio to co-found Horrible Games, which changed its name to Horrible Guild in 2019, and Horrible subsequently released the expansions The Big Wave, Stormy Winds, and Rock and Roll in 2014 and 2015.

Board Game: Dungeon Fighter in the Labyrinth of Sinister Storms

To celebrate the game's tenth anniversary in 2021, Horrible Guild is relaunching the line with two standalone games: Dungeon Fighter in the Labyrinth of Sinister Storms and Dungeon Fighter in the Chambers of Malevolent Magma.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Each game again features the art of Giulia Ghigini — and I'm tickled each time I see those spindly monster fingers waving in fright — and each game includes everything needs to play with 1-6 players: different dice, heroes, weapons, monsters, bosses, rooms, and a unique target game board with its own gameplay elements.

If you get both games, you can mix and match the elements as you like to create your own dungeon, and I would imagine that more sets will be released should people still enjoy throwing dice in wacky ways to hit targets, defeat monsters, and look foolish.

Horrible Guild has a preview page for the Kickstarter that includes lots of details about the settings of the new games, as well as what's changed from the original releases.

Board Game: Dungeon Fighter in the Chambers of Malevolent Magma
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Wed Sep 9, 2020 1:00 pm
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