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New Game Round-up: Lots of Laska, Limited Lectio, Laukat Looks Forward & Concept Emerges

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game: Laska
• Emanuel Lasker's abstract strategy game Laska has had two new editions released within two days in late August 2013, with one (pictured at upper right) coming from The Game Crafter by way of Catamount Games and the other (pictured below) coming from Spanish publisher nestorgames. Something in the air, I suppose. Here's a rundown of the game, which dates to 1911:

The game board and play of Laska resembles that of Checkers, but captured pieces remain on the board and can possibly be freed later in the game.

Each player starts the game on the 7x7 board with eleven soldiers. On a turn, a player moves one soldier diagonally forward one space. If a capture is available, then the player must make that capture, trapping the captured piece underneath the capturing one; if the newly captured piece had previously had one or more pieces underneath it, then those pieces are now free to move in future turns. If a soldier reaches the opponent's back row, it's flipped and promoted to an officer, which can move diagonally in all directions. The game continues until either a player can't move or a player has no pieces remaining on the board. In both cases, this player loses the game.
Board Game: Laska

Board Game: Concept
• Belgian publisher Repos Production has released English, French and German rules for its 2013 release Concept from designers Alain Rivollet and Gaëtan Beaujannot. Here's an overview of this thinky party game, if that's not too much of a contradiction in terms:

In Concept, your goal is to guess words through the association of icons. A team of two players – neighbors at the table – choose a word or phrase that the other players need to guess. Acting together, this team places pieces judiciously on the available icons on the game board.

To get others to guess "milk", for example, the team might place the question mark icon (which signifies the main concept) on the liquid icon, then cubes of this color on the icons for "food/drink" and "white". For a more complicated concept, such as "Leonardo DiCaprio", the team can use the main concept and its matching cubes to clue players into the hidden phrase being an actor or director, while then using sub-concept icons and their matching cubes to gives clues to particular movies in which DiCaprio starred, such as Titanic or Inception.

The first player to discover the word or phrase receives 2 victory points, the team receives points as well, and the player who ends up with the most points wins.
• Repos also posted English, French and German rules for Rampage from designers Antoine Bauza and Ludovic Maublanc, and links to the rules for both Concept and Rampage are posted on the respective BGG pages. (Disclosure: Repos Production hired me to edit the English versions of both rulebooks.)

Board Game: Lectio
• While not new, Thomas H. Jung's Lectio (formerly known as Lexio) is still squarely in the category "extremely difficult to come by", so I thought I'd pass this information along just because. As he did in 2012, Jung plans to bring copies of Lectio to Spiel in 2013 for sale at the convention. I asked whether he plans to have the white tile version (as in 2012), the black tile version, or both, and Jung answered: "Hopefully I will bring the black version, too, but I'm not sure if our factory can make it before Essen."

• Designer/publisher Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games has posted information on the next standalone game he expects to release. Here's an overview of The Ancient World, which he anticipates releasing in Q2 2014:

In an ancient, faraway world forgotten by time, five tribes leave behind old traditions as they flock to growing city-states. The cities boast the latest in art, culture, and advancement, and with the strength of the combined tribes, each competes to be the most powerful and influential in the world.

The Ancient World combines the depth and tactics of a worker-placement game with the variety and easy set-up of a card game. Players compete to grow the largest and most influential city-state by managing the population, treasury, and military. Players take turns sending workers to take special actions or construct building cards from a pool available to all players. Building cards give players more workers, money, and abilities. Players also play military cards to claim and hold important regions in the surrounding lands. After eight rounds, the player with the most influential city-state wins.
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