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New Game Round-up: Bruges and More from Z-Man Games, Another Visit to The Red Dragon Inn & Bitter Euphoria

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• U.S. publisher Z-Man Games has announced that it will have a limited number of copies of Stefan Feld's Bruges for sale at Origins Game Fair in mid-June 2013 ahead of the game's general release in late July or early August.

• Z-Man and its parent company Filosofia Édition are soliciting gamers via Facebook as to whether it should move forward with a new, smaller-boxed English/French version of Karsten Hartwig's Chinatown – but since a Z-Man representative has created a version for this game in the BGG database, I think this is merely a clever way to market a forthcoming edition. I could be wrong, yes, but I don't think so.

• Z-Man Games is furthermore – whoa, it seems like Z-Man has recovered from a relatively slow 2012 and is announcing stuff left and right these days. In any case, Z-Man has revealed details of the Pandemic and Pandemic: On the Brink compatibility packs that were announced early in 2013 at the same time as the new edition of these items. Here's the info:

Deck #1 contains all of the cards from the new edition of Pandemic: 48 City cards, 48 Infection cards, 7 Role cards (including the two new roles: Contingency Planner and Quarantine Specialist), 6 Epidemic Cards, 5 Event cards, 4 Reference cards. It will be available to purchase when the new edition of On the Brink is released in late June/early July. It will be sold ONLY on the Z-Man Games website and will cost $10 + shipping.

Deck #2 contains all of the cards from the new edition of Pandemic: On the Brink: 8 Event cards, 8 Virulent Strain Epidemic cards, 7 Role cards, 4 blank cards, 3 Mutation Event cards, 2 Mutation Cards, 1 Epidemic Card, 1 Reference card. It will be available to purchase when Pandemic: In The Lab is released in August 2013. It will be sold ONLY on the Z-Man Games website and will cost $5 + shipping.

• Finally (for now) Z-Man Games has also announced a new English/French version of Naoki Homma's card game Parade for Q3 2013 and the cover is a stunner:

Seriously, this is a fantastic upgrade from the first edition from Z-Man and I only hope the cards inside the box have been redesigned with a similar look. Quite a change from the "old" days of Z-Man in which graphic design sometimes seemed like an afterthought at best.

• Okay, other publishers aside from Z-Man have news about new games, right? Right! Such as SlugFest Games which has announced The Red Dragon Inn 4 while simultaneously launching that game on Kickstarter. (KS link) I've poked SlugFest's Cliff Bohm about submitting a game page in the BGG database, but the gist of the game is the same as other titles in The Red Dragon Inn series: Players each represent a fantasy character – a nautically-themed character, this time around – that's done a fair amount of looting and is now celebrating at the inn. Others will try to get you drunk and steal your gold, so you probably want to do the same to them first as the last conscious player with gold still in hand wins. The four new characters can be mixed with those in any RDI game.

• U.S. publisher Stonemaier Games expects to deliver its first release – Viticulture, funded on Kickstarter in October 2012 – to backers in May 2013, with the game hitting retail stores in mid-June, but designers Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone have already been hard at work on their sophomore release: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia. Gotta love that subtitle as it's unclear whether a "better" dystopia would be one that improves the lot of its citizens or one that pushes them down further in the muck to make things even more dystopian. Maybe the game description will clear things up for us:

You find yourself in a dystopian cityscape with a few workers at your disposal to make your mark on the world. Like most people in dystopian fiction, your workers are oblivious to their situation. This world is all they've ever known, and you may use them at your whim.

The world as we know it has ended, and in its place the city of Euphoria has risen. Believing that a new world order is necessary to prevent another apocalypse, the Euphorian elite not only erect physical walls around the city, but also metaphysical walls around the minds of the citizens. Gone are personal freedoms; gone is knowledge of the past. All that matters is the future – but for every Euphorian, there is a citizen who fled underground when the old world ended. These are the Subterrans, who have patched together a second layer to the city of pipes and sewers, of steam and gears, of hidden passages and secret stairways, of duct tape and gumption.

Those who dare to venture outside of the city walls will find themselves among the Wastelanders, those who experienced the apocalypse firsthand and have the memories, scars, and mutations to prove it. Above them hovers Icarus, their zeppelin syndicate blocking out the sun. No one knows from where the Icarites came, but the more they infiltrate the hearts and minds of men with their addictive bliss, the less anyone questions their presence.

In Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, you lead a team of workers (dice) and recruits (cards) to claim ownership of the dystopian world. You will generate commodities, dig tunnels to infiltrate opposing areas, construct markets, collect artifacts, strengthen allegiances, and fulfill secret agendas.

Euphoria is a worker-placement game in which dice are your workers. The number on each die represents a worker's knowledge – that is, his level of awareness that he's in a dystopia. Worker knowledge enables various bonuses and impacts player interaction. If the collective knowledge of all of your workers gets too high, one of them might desert you. You also have two elite recruit cards at your disposal; one has pledged allegiance to you, but the other needs some convincing. You can reveal and use the reticent recruit by reaching certain milestones in the game...or by letting other players unwittingly reach those milestones for you.

Your path to victory is paved with the sweat of your workers, the strength of your allegiances, and the tunnels you dig to infiltrate other areas of the world, but the destination is a land grab in the form of area control. You accomplish this by constructing markets that impose harsh restrictions of personal freedoms upon other players, changing the face of the game and opening new paths to victory. You can also focus on gathering artifacts from the old world, objects of leisure that are extremely rare in this utilitarian society. The dystopian elite covet these artifacts – especially matching pairs – and are willing to give you tracts of land in exchange for them.

What are you willing to sacrifice to make the future better than the past? Will you plan ahead or try to optimize every short-term opportunity? Will the city you develop be a utopia...or a dystopia?

Okay, question not answered. Stonemaier Games plans to head to Kickstarter once again for funding of this release, which will include fun-sounding locations such as the Plaza of Immortal Humility, The Theater of Revelatory Propaganda, and (pictured below) The Cafeteria of Nameless Meat. Mmmmm, nameless meat...

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