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New Game Round-up: Cardinal Richelieu Still Causing Trouble, Schacht Releases a Handful & Game Release/Delay Updates

W. Eric Martin
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• Dutch publisher White Goblin Games has announced Olivier Lamontagne's Richelieu for release in June 2012. Here's a description from the publisher of Richelieu, which won the annual Plateau d'or award in 2009 from Journées ludique de Québec:

Paris, XVIIth century. Cardinal Richelieu is centralizing power in the name of King Louis XIII and defends France against those he considers its enemies: the English, the protestants, the Habsburgs and French nobles scheming against him and the crown. Will you side with the cardinal, or will you be seduced by the promise of wealth and power from the queen and foreign nations? Be warned that the cardinal will hinder too ambitious intrigants. Become an influent noble in the court by accumulating prestige and favors. The player most helpful to each faction is also rewarded at the end of the game.

Richelieu is a tactical game with a lot of bluff and interaction, with intrigue everywhere. Every instance of intrigue will pit Cardinal Richelieu against his enemies. The players are nobles taking sides in these intrigues by placing agents with secret values and thus influencing the intrigues. Will you choose to side with Richelieu or the conspirators – or perhaps even help both? You can keep your support secret or make it directly known to others when placing your agents at the intrigues. It costs money to place agents, but the winning faction gives higher rewards for the players that helped them the most.

The Cardinal's mood is influenced by his success or failures, and he will become intolerant against too influential nobles (i.e. the players), who will have one fewer action to spend during a turn as a result.

There are many possibilities and opportunities to score points for the player who foresees and thwarts the plans of other players. During the game, you will constantly have to choose your side: Will you side with the Cardinal, or will you be seduced by the promise of wealth and power from the Queen and from foreign nations?

From White Goblin's press release announcing the game: "The spark for Richelieu happened in 2008", says Lamontagne. "Me and two other testers were playtesting an early version of the game Québec for the designer Pierre Poissant-Marquis. As usual, random ideas about gaming in general were discussed. At some point, I had the idea of a game where you lose all your points if you pass the zero on the scoring track, instead of receiving some kind of +X marker. Pierre suggested me that this could actually be made into a more serious game. I considered his advice and the idea soon evolved into an interactive pawn on a score track that would hinder the characters with too much prestige. I immediately thought this could only be the unique Cardinal Richelieu." (Québec, by the way, won the 2007 Plateau d'or.)

Samurai Battles is "expected to arrive at the warehouse by May 4" 2012, according to William Niebling, who is apparently doing public relations work for Russian publisher Zvezda.

• In his May 2012 newsletter, designer Michael Schacht announced a number of forthcoming releases and rereleases of his designs, noting that for "2012 my new releases are spread over the whole year, so there is the chance between the big fairs to talk about new games." To which I say, if you have this many games published, I think you're assured of having stuff to talk about all year long! The games in question are:

-----Call to Glory, from White Goblin Games in July/August 2012, is a "ninja-themed card game" with illustrations by Drew Baker.
-----Quietville, from Kanga Games, is a rethemed version of Bull in a China Shop.
-----Unravel, from SimplyFun, is a family game in which players try to figure out who is holding the string of the kite depicted on the die that turn.
-----Dino Minis, from Ravensburger, is a new version of Schacht's Mampf, but he notes that the game is "hard to find because in the minis series you can't see what game is inside the box". Yikes! Randomized games and toys!
-----Wort & Fort, which Schacht describes as "a game released by the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the big newspaper of the Cologne region", is due out in June 2012.

• In the forum of German publisher alea, developer Stefan Brück answers a question about the release date of Saint Malo – which he had announced as delayed in late March 2012 due to problems with the erasable pens – as follows: "We're still 'fighting' with the ink of the pencils, but we're getting closer to a solution ... slowly... So the release date of Saint Malo will be probably not before next September."

• On a Kickstarter update for Omen: A Reign of War, designer John Clowdus notes that "1,400 pounds of Omen cards are on a truck heading our way", which means that games will be packaged and shipped roughly mid-May and in stores sometime after that.

• Designer Frank Branham notes of his Battled Beyond Space: "Pinged Zev for an update. The game is in the middle of production, and the current release target estimate is looking like late July, assuming no major production or transport issues." And we all know that games never have major production or transportation issues, so July it is!
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