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To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com.

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New Game Round-up: Beware False Parents in Coraline, and Book Animals in Stampede

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• If someone had Coraline in the "which media property will next be licensed for a board game" pool, you can now collect as WizKids has announced a December 2019 release date for Coraline: Beware the Other Mother, a co-operative game for 1-4 players from Andrew Parks that bears this description:

Quote:
Coraline tells the haunting tale of a young girl's journey to an alternate version of her life, and her heroic return to reality. Now, you can bring this iconic story to your tabletop!

In Coraline: Beware the Other Mother, players assume the roles of the Ghost Children who were captured by the Beldam (the Other Mother). Now they are trying to free Coraline and her parents from the Beldam's evil clutches. They will confront Mr. Bobinsky and his jumping mouse circus, fend off the Other Father on his mantis tractor, wrestle the pearl ring from Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, and steal the Skeleton Key and Snow Globe to ultimately set Coraline free. The players all win or lose the game together as a team! But be careful! The Beldam will thwart your plans at every turn. And be quick! When the button shadow eclipses the moon, the Beldam has won the game and Coraline is trapped in the Other World forever!


• A bit farther out from WizKids is Stampede, a 2-6 player card game from Jeroen Geenen that will be released in March 2020. An overview:

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Stamp collectors: The most dangerous game. They're polite on the surface, but truly cunning strategists underneath.

Featuring colorful art and simple symbology, Stampede plays quickly and elegantly as players plan efficient moves to complete their stamp collection. You must fill your album with new stamps, search for the best trades at the exchange, and swap stamps with your opponents at just the right moment to complete your collection. Your goal is to collect five of the same animal or nine distinct animals to stamp out the competition!



• Continuing in the vein of lighter games, in 2020 Fisher Heaton Games plans to add two new titles to its line of "Analog Apps", quick-playing, single-mechanism games designed to feel like you're playing a phone app, with its 2017 title Intelle being retconned as the first title in the series.

Christopher Yoder's TANGL is a 1-6 player game in which players are given a mismatched set of heptamino and hexamino pieces, then race to build a rectangle-like shape with as few corners as possible. In David Abelson's WAYK, 1-2 players move robots through the stasis rooms on a spaceship to awaken as many passengers as possible and get them into escape pods before the ship is destroyed.

• In addition to releasing Underwater Cities: New Discoveries and Monster Baby Rescue! in English, as noted recently, Rio Grande Games has picked up two other SPIEL '19 titles for release in English: Uwe Rosenberg's Robin of Locksley, which is coming from new German publisher Wyrmgold GmbH, and Queenz from Bruno Cathala, Johannes Goupy, and Mandoo Games. (I recorded an overview video of Queenz in August 2019 should you want to know more about the game.)

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Winners Announced for Deutscher SpielePreis and The American Tabletop Awards

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• On Monday, Sept. 16, SPIEL organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag announced the results of the 2019 Deutscher SpielePreis, an annual award in which gamers vote on the titles they've most liked over the preceding twelve months. Voting takes place in the middle of the year, with titles released between July of the previous year and June of the current year being eligible.

Based on the votes tallied, the winner of the 2019 DSP is Elizabeth Hargrave's Wingspan from Stonemaier Games and (in Germany) Feuerland Spiele. (Yes, Wingspan appears in a second BGG News post today.) Here are the other vote-getters in the top ten, with their originating publisher listed instead of their German-specific one:

2. The Taverns of Tiefenthal, by Wolfgang Warsch (Schmidt Spiele)
3. Teotihuacan: City of Gods, by Daniele Tascini and Dávid Turczi (Board&Dice)
4. Spirit Island, by R. Eric Reuss (Greater Than Games)
5. Architects of the West Kingdom, by Shem Phillips and S.J. Macdonald (Garphill Games)
6. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, by Ignacy Trzewiczek, Przemysław Rymer, and Jakub Łapot (Portal Games)
7. Underwater Cities, by Vladimír Suchý (Delicious Games)
8. Newton, by Nestore Mangone and Simone Luciani (Cranio Creations)
9. Just One, by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter (Repos Production)
10. Gloomhaven, by Isaac Childres (Cephalophair Games)

Concept Kids from Gaëtan Beaujannot, Alain Rivollet, and Repos Production won the 2019 Deutscher KinderspielePreis.

• That same day saw the debut of The American Tabletop Awards (ATTA), a new annual award founded by a committee of ten — Brittanie Boe, Nicole Brady, Amber Cook, Ruel Gaviola, Jonathan Liu, Becca Scott, Suzanne Sheldon, Theo Strempel, Annette Villa, and Eric Yurko — with all the committee members being based in the United States and being involved in the gaming industry in various ways.

The ATTAs will name winners in four categories — early gamers, casual games, strategy games, and complex games — with winners being announced in June in future years, but in September for 2019 to kick things off now rather than waiting another nine months. Each category will have a winning title, two recommended titles, and two nominated titles. (The format seems to be that the top five titles in a category are nominated, with committee members then voting on those to determine the winning and recommended titles.)

For 2019, the ATTA winners are:

• Early gamers: Catch the Moon, by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez (Studio Bombyx)
• Casual games: The Quacks of Quedlinburg, by Wolfgang Warsch (Schmidt Spiele)
• Strategy games: Chronicles of Crime, by David Cicurel (Lucky Duck Games)
• Complex games: Root, by Cole Wehrle (Leder Games)

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Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:03 pm
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New Game Round-up: Sail to New Islands in Concordia, Then Attempt to Return Tiles in No Return

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• I'm sure that you've been eager to hear more about what I'm looking forward to at SPIEL '19, and if that is indeed the case, here's an overview of the second title on my "must have" list: Marco Teubner's No Return: Es gibt kein Zurück! from German publisher moses. Verlag

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No Return: Es gibt kein Zurück! ("There's No Turning Back!") is played in two phases, with players collecting tiles in phase one, then scoring their tiles in phase two. People move into phase two at their own pace, and once you go in, you're there for the rest of the game — which might not be long!

The game includes 132 tiles, specifically two sets of tiles in six colors, with the tiles being numbered 1-11 in each color. Each player starts with eight tiles in hand, and you can discard and redraw once before the game begins. On a turn, you either (1) discard up to four tiles in the your hand from the game, then draw that many tiles from the bag or (2) play one or more tiles from your hand to a color on your board, then draw that many tiles. You can play tiles of only one color, and all the tiles played must be equal to or less than any tiles of that color you already have in play. You place these tiles in descending order, and you can build at most six rows during the game, one of each color.

Whenever you want, you can switch to phase two. Once you do this, on a turn you either (1) discard up to four tiles in the your hand from the game, then draw that many tiles from the bag or (2) clear tiles from your play area to score them. To do this, choose one or more tiles in your play area of only a single color, starting with the lowest valued tile (or tiles), then sum the tiles you want to score. You must then "pay" to score these tiles by discarding tiles of one color from your hand that sum to this same amount or higher. The tiles you discard from your hand don't have to be the same color as the color of the tiles you're scoring. Remove the tiles you paid from the game, and place the tiles you've cleared face down in a score pile. Refill your hand to eight tiles at the end of your turn.

As soon as someone draws the final tile from the bag, you complete the round so that everyone has had the same number of turns, then the game ends. A player's score equals the sum of the tiles that they've cleared minus the sum of the tiles they still have in play. (Tiles in a player's hand are discarded.) Whoever has the highest score wins!
Chunky tiles + simple rules + somewhat controllable randomness + press-your-luck elements + a shared pool of resources that will likely lead to drastically different styles of play with different player counts = a "must have" title for me. We'll see whether my expectations hold up once it's actually on the table!




• In 2018, German publisher PD-Verlag released Concordia: Venus as both a standalone game and an expansion, with one of the maps differing depending on what you purchased. PD-Verlag had promised that in 2019 buyers would be able to acquire the map they didn't get, and now it's making good on that promise with the release of Concordia: Balearica / Cyprus (for those who purchased the Venus expansion) and Concordia: Balearica / Italia (for those who purchased the Venus base game).

This expansion features the Balearic Islands off the coast of eastern Spain, with players starting the game with no capital city and two ships at sea. It also includes a fish market that can be used as a variant with any other Concordia map. An explanation:

Quote:
As a new commodity, fish replaces the ordinary bonus units you usually collect when playing your Prefect. The bonus is doubled up to two fish in provinces that have failed to produce in the last round. Sell your fish on a separate fish market where you can get either goods, cash, or special actions in return. The fish market offers an extra layer of planning ahead, and new challenges for the experienced Concordia player.

Designer Mac Gerdts shows off Balearica at the Modena game fair


• French publisher Matagot has informed me that it will have the French (and English) versions of Stonemaier Games' Tapestry for sale at SPIEL '19, whereas German publisher Feuerland Spiele — which has been Stonemaier's partner on German versions of Wingspan, Scythe, and other titles — won't have the German edition of Tapestry available until July 2020.

Why the difference? Blame Wingspan, which won Kennerspiel des Jahres in July 2019. In a Sept. 12, 2019 Facebook post, Feuerland notes that (in my translation) "Due to the success of Wingspan, we currently have high investments in production, which will be paid off only in the Christmas season." As a result, Feuerland Spiele has launched a preorder campaign for Tapestry since production for that game needs to take place prior to Christmas. Those who preorder will receive a discount on the price and are promised the game six weeks ahead of its arrival at retail.

In other Feuerland Spiele news, Frank Heeren was interviewed by Würfelmagier.de in September 2019, and he revealed that Feuerland will release a German version of Barrage in 2020. Heeren also mentions that details on what's in the Wingspan expansion will be revealed on October 2, 2019, and if production and shipping goes as planned, he hopes to have a small Wingspan promo item at SPIEL '19. Oh, and another mini-expansion for A Feast for Odin featuring a new island. Details on the SPIEL '19 news starts about 21:00 minutes into the video. (H/T: Christoph Post of Brettspielbox)
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Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:00 pm
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Game Preview: Wayfinders, or Connect the Island Dots

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My SPIEL '19 previews continue, this time with a look at Wayfinders, a 2-4 player from Thomas Dagenais-Lespérance and Pandasaurus Games.

Wayfinders will likely remind you of pick-up-and-deliver games with which you are familiar or possibly collect-resources-then-build-stuff games that you know as it blends those two game genres into one tiki-fuelled, island-hopping environment.

On most turns of the game, you'll place one of your five workers in the one of the resource hangars, possibly segregated from your fellow players as in the image below and possibly in the same ones. Resources come in five colors, with those colors matching the five colors of islands. How convenient that all is! It's almost like you're playing a game instead of actually managing an inventory of resources ahead of a Polynesian excursion...


On the right, two turntables and a microphone pair of headphones


On your non-worker placement turns, you collect goods from the hangars equal to the number of your workers in that hangar, specifically the good (or goods) closest to the exit, no matter your place in line. You slide those goods out into your collection of stuff on the table, then you move your plane around the islands — orthogonally only, mind you, due to airspace restrictions — with you needing to pay a resource matching the color of the island if no one has established an airstrip there. (If anyone has established an airstrip on an island, which is indicated by a player's hangar being present, then all players can move onto this island at no cost.)

If you want to place one of your hangars on an island, you must pay the 1-4 resources depicted at the bottom of the tile, after which you place a hangar in the lowest empty slot. If you establish a hangar after someone else did earlier, you pay these resources to them because you're a follower who must pay tribute to trendsetters; if you're the first to establish a hangar, then you pay the bank and hope that someone else will follow in your path.


The dark green player color is somewhat absorbed by the surroundings


Some islands give an immediate bonus of 1-3 random resources from the bag, some provide a permanent bonus, e.g., using green resources as whichever color you wish, and some grant you a special way to score points at game's end — and these are the ones you need to focus on should you want to win the game instead of simply moving a tiny airplane across cardboard squares for 20-30 minutes.

Those first two types of islands earn points, but they're worth 1-5 points with a fixed value; the latter type of island scores based on how well you meet the condition on it, such as placing your hangars in a horizontal line or on blue islands or on islands surrounding this island. They're limited in value only based on the random layout of the tiles and how well you can abuse them over the course of the game. If this game has only two blue islands, you might want to skip that blue-multiplier to focus on something else; if six blue islands are present, well, how close are they and what does it cost to establish hangars on them and are those goods available.


Place tiles adjacent to one another only if you want to make gameplay difficult


You can always use two matching goods as a joker for a missing color, but anyone who does that consistently is simply moving a tiny airplane across cardboard squares for 20-30 minutes instead of trying to win.

I've played Wayfinders three times on an advance production copy from Pandasaurus Games, one with two players and twice with three, and I quickly learned that my typical approach to game-playing is less than optimal for this design. You can't simply wing it and see what happens, but instead need to figure out from the get-go which islands might provide the most points and what path you might follow to place hangars on them and which permanent bonuses might help you along the way and where you might place hangars instead should you not want to hand over four resources to an opponent who will then use them to fuel their own growth in the future.

The resource market isn't huge, so you can't plan long-term there, but instead need to have an overall island-hopping plan that you then adjust on the fly based on what other players take and what gets dropped into the troughs as replacement resources. The final round of the game begins as soon as someone places their eighth hangar on the board, so you don't have a long time in which to make things happen, so get moving!


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Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Rebuild Rome, Revisit Boomtown, and Ready Yourself for The 7th Citadel

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• At Gen Con 2019, designer Dávid Turczi spent hours at the event tables teaching people how to play Rome & Roll, a co-design with Nick Shaw that UK publisher PSC Games plans to Kickstart in October 2019 ahead of a 2020 release. Here's a summary of the game:

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Rome & Roll is a heavy roll-and-write board game in which 1-4 players compete to craft an empire. Draft from a pool of custom dice to collect resources, construct the town, and organize armies. Political alliances, the colonies, and even the Gods all have a part to play. Imperii Gloria!

—Draft the dice to match your needs: roll, draw, and win!
—Play one of seven unique character classes, ranging from merchants to military leaders, with a wealth of different strategies to deploy.
—Take advantage of four possible scoring avenues: construct buildings, trade resources, conquer unruly colonies, and renovate the Roman road network.
—Make political alliances and call on the Gods.
—Raise armies and invade settlements as far afield as Egypt and Spain.
—Build roads and manage unruly provinces.
I spoke with Turczi about the game at Gen Con 2019, and he said that the "roll-and-write" description might be deceptive because although players do indeed roll dice and write on their personal player board (as well as on the shared Rome board), the game is more of a combo-driven, engine-building game, with players starting slow, then ramping up quickly as they gain bonuses and use other players' dice.



Co-designer Dávid Turczi (on left) listens to a question at Gen Con 2019


Looney Labs notes that Doctor Who Fluxx: 13th Doctor Expansion, originally announced for mid-2019, is on hold for now: "Many of you have been asking when our 13th Doctor Expansion Pack will be coming out. We wish we could tell you, but we still don't have approvals from the BBC. But we CAN tell you that there was a chance it wasn't going to happen at all because we were going to lose the Doctor Who license altogether. And we CAN tell you that, thankfully, that is not happening! Doctor Who Fluxx will live on until at least summer 2021, which means we will definitely be making the expansion pack at some point. We just don't know when."

• On Facebook, designer Bruno Cathala teased a new edition of Boomtown, a.k.a. La Fièvre de l'Or, a co-design with Bruno Faidutti that first appeared in 2004 before being re-released in a pirate-themed Polish edition in 2012.

Cathala notes that they're reworking the game for a new edition in 2020 from French publisher Lumberjack Studio.

Non-final imagery from Jonathan Aucomte


• In February 2020, Alderac Entertainment Group will release Tiny Towns: Fortune, an expansion for Peter McPherson's Tiny Towns co-designed with Josh Wood that brings something new to this world:

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The smaller creatures of the forest have created a civilization free of predators, and they look to you as mayor to guide their growing and thriving town. However, the area is small, and resources are scarce. The clever use of limited resources will determine the most successful tiny town.

In the expansion Tiny Towns: Fortune, the creatures of the forest have found a way to trick each other into thinking shiny bits of metal have arbitrary value. It's very useful — so much so that you can use this thing called "money" to get other creatures to give you almost anything in return for the right number of shiny bits. If only earning money weren't so difficult!



• This post has focused on titles due out in 2020, but here's one that probably won't see release until 2021: The 7th Citadel, this being a sequel of sorts to The 7th Continent from designers Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter and publisher Serious Poulp. Here's an overview of what we know about this game at the moment:

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The 7th Citadel will take place in a new unique "Dark Fantasy" world whose gameplay will be significantly enhanced compared to that of The 7th Continent.

In The 7th Citadel, a solo or co-operative "choose-your-own-adventure" exploration board game, you choose a character and begin your adventure on your own or with a team of other explorers. Inspired by the ''Fighting Fantasy'' book series, you will discover the extent of this wild new land through a variety of terrain and event cards. In a land fraught with danger and wonders, you have to use every ounce of wit and cunning to survive, crafting tools, weapons, and shelter to ensure your survival.

As with its predecessor, ''The 7th Citadel'' features an easy saving system so that you can stop playing at any time and resume your adventure later on, just like in a video game!

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Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:00 pm
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New (Old) Game Round-up: Terraforming Dice, Joining the Mob, and Starting a Mutiny

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Despite my efforts to survey everything I can about upcoming game releases, I know that I miss lots of game announcements. Here are a few such titles that I didn't notice when they first came to light, but which aren't yet released. They're still newsworthy!

• In May 2019, Reddit user timbonicus posted an overview of a Terraforming Mars dice game that they played with designer Jacob Fryxelius of FryxGames at Sthlm Tabletop Expo in Stockholm. Fryx hasn't mentioned this design in its SPIEL '19 info, so don't look for it in Essen!


Image from imgur


• Italian publisher Pendragon Game Studio lists 15 Men from designers Emanuele Briano and Alessandro Ciceri as an August 2019 release, yet the game doesn't yet seem to be on the market. Here's an overview of this 3-5 player game:

Quote:
In 15 Men (on a dead man's chest), a group of dangerous old sea dogs will dispute control of a sea vessel and its precious treasury. Who will win out in the end? The brave captain and his faithful companion, or the mutineers?

15 Men is an intrigue game in which the players carry out their roles in secret, while the captain tries to keep control of the vessel with the help of his guards and faithful sailors. During the game, each player tries to corrupt the sailors who have not yet taken a side, and each sailor has a unique ability that the one who corrupts them can use to change the cards on the table.

Once all the doubloons have been spent, some pirates might be killed in a gunfight, then the team with more victory points takes control of the vessel, sending everyone else to the plank and the sharks waiting in the water below...

• In a July 2019 Facebook post, CMON Limited announced a partnership with IDW Games to release a Dragon Ball Z tabletop game in 2020. From the announcement:

Quote:
Leveraging IDW's creative partnership with Toei Animation and CMON's masterful work in game design and miniature production, Dragon Ball Z Miniature Mayhem will be a fast-paced, dice-driven, battle royale.

Players will get to create their dream "what if" showdowns as many of the iconic heroes and villains will face off against each other in an effort to determine who's the strongest fighter in the universe.



• In August 2019, designer Andreas Steding tweeted the following, noting that Hansa Teutonica is being redesigned as a game about Chicago mobsters:

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Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Climb Blocks and Mountains, and Avoid Falling Through Space

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• Yes, I'm still catching up on games announced during Gen Con 2019. Publishers, please share info with me in advance and slap an embargo date on that press release! Then I can prepare posts in advance and not be doing this six weeks later.

In any case, during Gen Con 2019 Deep Water Games announced that it had picked up 7 Summits from designers Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews, a title that had originally been announced from Mayday Games. An overview of the setting and gameplay:

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In 7 Summits, players take on the roles of a team of world class mountain climbers. By the effective management and use of drafted dice, players upgrade their equipment, advance in skill, and ascend the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

At the beginning of each round, the first player rolls the dice, then each player selects dice to use to either climb a mountain or improve their equipment, i.e., unlock abilities to aid your way up the mountains. Mountain climbing can be dangerous, so try to make it to plateaus before bad weather hits! Each round, a new weather card is drawn, with the weather affecting one mountain — or possibly all of them!

Once the final weather card has been drawn, the game ends and whoever has the most points wins.
Love the Kwanchai Moriya cover that amps up the vertigo and heightens the feeling of hypoxia. Blarg!

• Somewhat along the same lines, at least thematically, is The Climbers: Family Edition from Holger Lanz and Simply Complex, with this version of The Climbers coming with fewer components for a faster playing time and a $40 MSRP, which is important since this item will be exclusive to the U.S. retail chain Barnes & Noble. Publisher Clay Ross notes that this edition of the game includes a special two-player variant.

• I've already posted about Tony Boydell's Lux Aeterna — a 6- to 12-minute real-time solitaire game of not falling into a black hole that will debut at SPIEL '19 from co-publishers Surprised Stare Games and Frosted Games — but the cover image wasn't complete at that time, so I'm showing it off now. You can find a soundtrack for the game here.

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Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Digging Up More Root, and Expanding The Big Book of Madness

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• In its April 2019 Kickstarter campaign for Root: The Underworld Expansion (KS link), which adds two new factions to the Root base game, publisher Leder Games offered an add-on item titled "new automated factions". Those factions have now been upgraded to a complete product — Root: The Clockwork Expansion from Benjamin Schmauss and Cole Wehrle — which bears a Q4 2019 release date and this description:

Quote:
Root: The Clockwork Expansion allows players to square off against four fiendishly automated factions. Insert a faction to round out a low-player count game or team up for co-operative play! Compete against the:

—Mechanical Marquise 2.0 - Dodge her marauding patrols as you try to stop her from completing her building tracks.
—Electric Eyrie: Shore up the Woodland's defenses against this fearsome invader. If they go unchallenged, the Woodland will soon be flooded with their forces.
—Automated Alliance - Police these radicals and raze their bases before a little uprising turns into a massive rebellion.
—Vagabot - Hunt the dastardly Vagabot across the many clearings of the game or attempt to court him with items.

• Another expansion sort of along the same lines is One Night Ultimate: Bonus Roles, which collects all of the extra characters created for the various One Night Ultimate titles from Bézier Games and puts them in a single box that will debut at SPIEL '19 in October.

IELLO has announced that The Big Book of Madness: The Vth Element, the long awaited expansion for Maxime Rambourg's 2015 release The Big Book of Madness, will debut in February 2020. This expansion includes two modules that can be used independently or combined, with "phobia cards" being madness cards that include a permanent constraint on the holder while the "Dark Matter" module adds the "Vth Element" along with the Dark Book, Dark Curses, Dark Monsters, and new magicians.


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Ticket to Ride Heads to Japan and Italy in New Map Collection

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For the fifteenth anniversary of Alan R. Moon's Ticket to Ride, publisher Days of Wonder has already released Ticket to Ride: 15th Anniversary Special Edition (a new edition of the base game with translucent trains) and Ticket to Ride: London, and now it's announced Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 7 – Japan & Italy. Here's an overview of this new expansion:

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Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 7 – Japan & Italy includes a double-sided game board — the longest yet in the Map Collection series — that features Japan on one side and Italy on the other.

In the Japan half of the expansion, some routes are reserved for the Bullet Train network, and once such a route is claimed, it can be used by all players to complete destination tickets. To claim such a route, discard a number of cards equal to the length of the route with all the card being the same color, then mark the route with a single Bullet Train miniature; instead of scoring points for such a route, advance your marker on the separate Bullet Train track as many spaces as the length of this route. At the end of the game, whoever has contributed the most to this shared project receives the largest bonus, with the player who contributes least being penalized.

This game board also has a small inlay for the Tokyo subway system, so players are effectively working on two networks at once. You might have a ticket that lists a city outside Tokyo and a station with Tokyo, and you need to complete a route from that other city to Tokyo, then from the central Tokyo station to that particular subway station.




Quote:
In Italy, the game board is divided into regions, and players score bonus points based on how many regions they connect in their network, with three regions — Sardegna, Sicilia, and Puglia — counting as two regions in your tally. If you have separate networks, then you score each one separately.

The board also introduces a new type of ferry route. On this game board, all gray routes are ferry routes, with these routes having 1-4 spaces marked with a wave symbol. To cover a wave symbol, you must play a locomotive or a ferry card from your hand (in addition to the other cards needed to claim this route); a ferry card is a special type of card that can be drafted on its own on your turn, and it contains two wave symbols, so it can be used on its own to cover two symbols on a route.

The player trains and game cards from Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe are needed to play this expansion.



Rules for both game boards are live on the Days of Wonder website. In a press release announcing this expansion, Moon says, "With this expansion, players will discover two very big maps. However, while Italy does really play big, Japan feels very fast and small because of the Bullet train variation. I hope that means it has something for everyone!"

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 7 – Japan & Italy will debut at SPIEL '19 in October ahead of a retail release in Europe in November 2019 and in the North America in January 2020. This expansion retails for US$40/€40, and the Italian market will have a special edition of the game in which the countries highlighted on the box are flipped. Smart idea!


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Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:33 pm
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Game Preview: Dim Sum Jam, or Fast Food

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
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SPIEL has always been my favorite game convention because of the vast range of titles available. Convention organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag notes that SPIEL '19 will have more than 1,200 exhibitors from 53 countries, and while other conventions I attend — particularly Gen Con — have been expanding their international presence, none of them come close to SPIEL.

The benefit of this variety is that you find things that you might not ever see on retail shelves at game stores, with one example of this being Dim Sum Jam, from designer Liu Xiao and Hong Kong publisher Broadway Toys. I met with Broadway's Michael Lau at Gen Con 2019, and he gave me quick overviews of this title and the company's version of Guess Club, both of which will be for sale at SPIEL '19 along with their new versions of 10 Days in the USA and 10 Days in Europe.

At Gen Con 2019, Lau met with publishers to see whether anyone would be interested in licensing these games, but he worried that Dim Sum Jam might be too culturally specific. For me, though, the look and setting of the game is part of the appeal. Part of the reason I play games is to experience new things, things that are not part of my existing life, so I appreciate Dim Sum Jam for being something aimed at an audience that's not me, while simultaneously being a design that I can enjoy no matter where I grew up.




In terms of gameplay, Dim Sum Jam is a real-time co-operative game in which players try to deliver food dishes to customers with the overarching goal of feeding the VIPs since they could destroy your reputation should they badmouth you online. Every other customer you serve is secondary, although you'd never state that in public.

Your restaurant serves seven dishes, and you have seven tables, with each dish having tokens numbered 1-7. Each table starts with regular customers who want four dishes. The starting player places a dish on any order card, but the number on the dish token that they play determines the table where the next player must play, with that player's token then determining where the subsequent player must play, and so on. You're racing against time, with you being able to flip the sand timer only after supplying all four desired dishes to a table. Instead of flipping the timer, you could acquire a tea token, which serves as a joker item that can get you out of a jam if someone directs you to a table where you don't have a matching dish.

Once the VIP card comes out, your goal is to finish serving them before you run out of "regular" order cards — because the VIPs quail at the thought of being served after everyone else, I guess — and before you receive three complaint tokens for either running out of time or not having a desired dish for a specific table.

I've played Dim Sum Jam six times on a review copy from Broadway Toys, and I have more to say about the game in the video below:


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Mon Sep 9, 2019 10:18 pm
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