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New Looks for Carcassonne and Qwirkle, and a New Location for Pandemic: Hot Zone

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe
Board Game: Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America
Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe is the follow-up to 2020's Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America that you knew was coming. I'd be surprised only by the announcement of Pandemic: Hot Zone – Antarctica as that seems unlikely to happen unless all of the action takes place in McMurdo Station or some other base.

Z-Man Games announced Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe, designed by Matt Leacock and Tom Lehmann, on the Spielwarenmesse 2021 website, and details about the game are brief for now:
Pandemic: Hot Zone – Europe features the same nail-biting co-operative experience of Pandemic in which players win or lose together, but in a smaller form that you can take anywhere and play in a shorter amount of time. As members of an elite team, you use your character's unique abilities to treat cases, stop outbreaks, and research the cures. Discover all three cures in time to win! Add extra challenges with new mutation cards!
Board Game: Carcassonne: 20th Anniversary Edition
• To follow up on this mid-January 2021 post, in May 2021 German publisher Hans im Glück will release a 20th anniversary edition of Carcassonne — 20th because Carcassonne won the Spiel des Jahres in 2001, while the game debuted in 2000.

This special edition includes the tiles from the Carcassonne base game, "The River" mini-expansion (with five new river tiles), "The Abbot" mini-expansion, and a new 15-tile "anniversary" mini-expansion. All tiles are adorned with UV-print, with many detailed easter eggs being hidden in the art. Costume stickers are included in case you wish to "dress" your meeples.

Board Game: Carcassonne: 20th Anniversary Edition

Board Game: Carcassonne: 20th Anniversary Edition

• Speaking of Spiel des Jahres-inspired anniversary editions, at the end of 2020 U.S. publisher MindWare released Qwirkle Collector's Edition, a version of Susan McKinley Ross' 2011 SdJ-winning Qwirkle that has acrylic tiles instead of wooden ones. I would guess the idea behind this edition is that the wooden tiles can sometimes have flaws that over time you can recognize by their backs — and if I know you have, say, a green circle, then I can use that knowledge to my advantage.

Board Game: Qwirkle

German publisher Schmidt Spiele plans to introduce this edition of Qwirkle to the German market under the name Qwirkle: Limited Edition in the second half of 2021 as a tenth anniversary edition since Qwirkle won the Spiel des Jahres award in 2011. (Qwirkle first hit the U.S. market in 2006, but it didn't appear in Germany until 2010, as I explained in this 2011 BGGN post.)

• By the by, did you know that in the mid-2010s, MindWare released a "limited edition" Berkshire Hathaway version of Qwirkle that features Warren Buffett and five brands owned by BH? Such an odd tie-in and one that's still available for purchase for the financial wizard in your family.

Board Game: Qwirkle

Update: I learned just before this post went live why this game exists. Here's an excerpt from the "Company Information" page on the Oriental Trading Company website:
In 2012, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway saw tremendous value and growth opportunity in Oriental Trading and made the decision to purchase our company. Shortly after, Oriental Trading acquired two companies that aligned with our mission: MindWare, a manufacturer, wholesaler and direct retailer of "brainy toys for kids of all ages;" and SmileMakers, a leading brand specializing in patient giveaways and promotion products for dental and healthcare markets.
Corporate non-secrets — revealed!

Board Game: Paradox
Elf Creek Games plans to release an updated edition of Brian Suhre's Paradox, which first appeared in 2016 from Split Second Games, under the name Paradox Initiative. (Elf Creek Games is already publishing Suhre's Merchants of the Dark Road, which was Kickstarted in mid-2020 and is currently due out in mid-2021.)

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