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New Game Round-up: Collect Stefan Feld's Cities, Play Pandemic More Quickly, and Check in on Gaming Friends

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game Publisher: Queen Games
• On Twitter, Queen Games has started teasing a series of games from designer Stefan Feld — the "Stefan Feld City Collection".

Queen has revealed to me that this series will encompass games both old and new, and in a June 18, 2020 tweet, it notes that "When placed next to each other, the sides of the 'Stefan Feld City Collection' will form a skyline of famous buildings from all the locations. Here is a silhouette of the first building. Can you guess which city it represents?"

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hamburg, which is the home of the Speicherstadt, that is, the warehouse district in the port of Hamburg, which was built up in the late 19th and early 20th century and which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Die Speicherstadt is a Stefan Feld design first released in 2010 by eggertspiele, then re-released with a Viking setting in 2016 as Jórvík.
In the end, those games will form an interesting alternate Earth skyline of a city that never existed...

Board Game: Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America
Z-Man Games has released a print-and-play version of Matt Leacock's Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America in twelve languages on the Asmodee website. Click on the flag in the upper-right corner to choose the language best for you.

As Leacock notes in a comment on BGG, "I began working on this game in May 2018 (nearly two years ago) after having a conversation with Z-Man about doing a smaller, regional version of Pandemic that could be demoed in game stores. The game worked so well that later that month we decided to turn it into a full product, and we put together a plan for release in 2020. The existence of the game leaked in February 2020 but we held off on formally announcing it as COVID-19 began to appear and spread, out of consideration to those affected. To be clear: the game was not designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic." Leacock notes that other regional versions of the game might be released in future years depending on the feedback from this title.

Z-Man's owner, Asmodee, has started to release titles once again in North America, and the current release date for Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America is July 31, 2020.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
• In the category of game-like accessory, I present Gil Hova's "Check-In Cards", a tool that people can use to check in with one another before playing or between games. Here's his explanation on how you can use them:
Everyone gets 4 cards. The top half of each card shows an Energy level from "empty" to "full"; the bottom half of each cared shows an Intensity level from 1 to 4.

Everyone rotates their cards to the Energy side and chooses a card that indicates how much energy they are feeling at this moment. Everyone reveals their cards simultaneously. If someone is low-energy, the table checks in on that person to see if they need a break.

If energy levels are okay, then everyone rotates their cards to the Intensity side and chooses a card that indicates how intensely they want to play the next game. A 1 indicates that a player doesn't really care if they win, and/or they want to play a game with low emotional intensity. A 4 indicates that a player cares about winning exclusively, and/or they want to play a game with high emotional intensity. If players have a difference of 2 or more between the cards they played, they discuss what intensity they would like to adjust to.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Check-In Cards is designed to surface issues that may affect the next game you play. It alone will not solve these issues; it may provoke a discussion. But the end result should be that you will start a game with players who are in good shape to play a game, and are all in agreement on exactly how they should play.
Check-In Cards is available in North America from DriveThruCards and in the UK and Europe from Ivory.
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