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New Game Round-up: Lookout's Line-up for 2014, Twenty Years of Busted Fingers & Playing for Love

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Publisher: Lookout Games
• German publisher Lookout Games has presented an overview of its release plans for 2014, and while I have only the barest of details about most of the games, I still thought it best to share those details with you, my beloved peers. In brief, here's what you can expect to see:

Agricola: France, a new country-based expansion for Uwe Rosenberg's Agricola following stops in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany's Bielefeld. (€12)

Trambahn, a two-player game from Russian Railroads co-designer Helmut Ohley in which players build streetcar lines, using cards for money, passengers, stations and train cars. (30 minutes, ages 10+, €18)

Zoolook, a two-player, puzzle-style game with a time track from Uwe Rosenberg, the title of which is only a working title for now. (30 minutes, ages 10+, €18)

Johari, a family game for 2-4 from OddVille designer Carlo Lavezzi in which players buy and sell jewels by placing cards on an action track (45 minutes, ages 12+, €29)

Hostaria, a family game for 2-4 players from Tzolk'in co-designer Simone Luciani and Egizia co-designer Virginio Gigli set in medieval times in which players try to enlarge Italian taverns via a dice-based mechanism and person cards. (60 minutes, €39)

1844/54, which consists of two games in one package, specifically Leonhard Orgler's Austria-based 1854 and Peter Minder and Helmut Ohley's Switzerland-based 1844 (240 minutes, €59)

Opal, a two-player game from Stephan Herminghaus that plays in 15 minutes and the only title for which I have an extended description, courtesy of Hilko Drude who has — holy smokes! — 114 recorded plays for the game over the past eighteen months. I guess he likes it.

Opal consists of 36 square tiles that are laid out in a 6x6 grid in the course of the game. The tiles contain two colors: one in the corners and one on the sides. An opal sits in the center of each tile, which is one of two colors. Placed together, the tiles form a mine maze.

During the game, players take turns drawing a tile and adding it to the grid in almost any location; the one restriction is that a player cannot extend the grid in the direction of the opponent. When the grid is complete, players score one point for each opal that is connected to more exits on their side of the grid than on the opponent's side, and whoever has the highest score wins.
(HT: Kees for passing along the info)

From gallery of W Eric Martin
• Did you know that Vuarchex and Yakovenko's Jungle Speed will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2014? Me neither, perhaps because the first publication date listed on the BGG game page is 1997. Guess we need to fix something somewhere — or perhaps that was indeed the date of first publication, but the game originated in a dorm room filled with grabby drunks three years earlier. In any case, the game's primary publisher Asmodee plans to celebrate with a special edition of the game titled Jungle Speed: 20 Years, which is due out in Europe and the U.S. at the end of 2014. An overview of what's in the box:

Gameplay remains the same as always: Shuffle the cards and deal them out as evenly as possible among all players. Set the totem in the middle of the playing area. Players take turns flipping one card at a time from their personal deck onto a personal discard deck. If two face-up cards show the same symbol, the players of those cards race to grab the totem, with the first grabber giving his stack of face-up cards to the slowpoke. Special cards mix up who should be grabbing what when to keep players on their toes. Whoever runs out of cards first wins!

Jungle Speed: 20 Years comes packaged in a special golden case with a golden-backed version of the original card deck as well as a new card deck and a wooden totem.
Just in time for the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France, Asmodee has launched a "find the golden totem" contest with €20k going to the winner. French is required for participation, unless you like filling in boxes at random.

Board Game: ...and then, we held hands.
• I love the sound of David Chircop and Yannick Massa's ...and then we held hands..., a two-player co-operative game in which a couple needs to heal their failing relationship by shifting their perspectives (a.k.a. splaying their cards) in order to resolve their current conundrum and move closer to one another, ideally meeting at the central heart node of the game board before one player blocks the other or gets too far out of balance for the other player to deal with. Winner of the 2014 Global Game Jam, which was held in Malta at the Institute of Digital Games, ...and then we held hands... is available for download (ZIP) from that website.

• U.S. publisher Stronghold Games plans to release Space Cadets: Dice Duel – Die Fighter, an expansion for Geoff and Sydney Engelstein's Space Cadets: Dice Duel, in August 2014, presumably with the game being on hand for Gen Con 2014. The expansion adds single-player fighters to this team vs. team game, with three scenarios being included for use of the fighters. Experimental equipment upgrades are also available for capital ships, with teams drafting equipment to customize a strategy for themselves.
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