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New Game Round-up: More for Machi Koro, Hamster-Driven Storytelling & Firefly Welcomes Serenity, Browncoats

W. Eric Martin
United States
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IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games have announced a promotional expansion for the July 2014 release of a new edition of Masao Suganuma's Machi Koro, and this expansion — consisting of five copies of Machi Koro: Gaming Mega Store — will be available only with "pre-ordered, first-edition copies of the game" through brick-and-mortar hobby and game stores. No details of what the card does have been released at this time, only its color — purple — which suggests that its effect will be nasty for other players. To get this card, retailers need to place preorders with their distributor by May 28, 2014.

In addition, IDW and Pandasaurus state that Machi Koro Plus, the expansion for Machi Koro currently available only in Japanese, will be released in English in October 2014.

Zvezda will release Konstantin Krivenko's World War II: Battle for Moscow, 1941 — the next standalone title in his "Art of Tactic" game series — in 2014, with Alliance Game Distributors suggesting that it will be available in April or May. A short description: "This game offers a new challenge for Soviet and German commanders on the Eastern Front: the deadly Russian winter! Fully compatible with all World War II Art of Tactic games and miniatures, this standalone starter set introduces new winter weather rules, boards, and terrain pieces, and features all-new sculpts for German and Soviet soldiers in winter uniforms and the new T-35 Soviet tank!"

Die, Romeo, Die!, due in May 2014, is a storytelling game from Chris Engle and Hamster Press along the lines of his Fairy Tale Assassin League, but with a West Side Story meets Grand Theft Auto storyline of forbidden Shakespearean love that blossoms among members of rival street gangs in the cut scenes between all the mayhem. Players want to influence these transitions to detour around the tragedy and reach a less-than-catastrophic conclusion.

• In May 2014, Engle also plans to release Fairy Tale Assassin League: City of Broken Dreams, the latest FTAL installment with the Wizard of Oz characters heading to Hollywood in search of stardom, with only one of them making it to the top.

• Finally, Engle will also release Bob's Brain, which he notes is based on "a game I've used in psychotherapy sessions for over twenty years" that he's now releasing in a commercial form. A short description:

Our hero Bob has a problem. He needs to do something — but what? And how does he deal with the fallout of what he does? In Bob's Brain, a party game and social experiment of psychological upheaval, the players are different "voices" in Bob's head, each seeking to influence his actions in problem-solving. One player presents problems that Bob faces; the other players come up with solutions, then derive the problems that might come from their answers.
FoxMind Games' Last Mouse Lost, due out in April 2013, recreates Nim-style gameplay with players taking turns to press one or more mice in a row down into their holes. Whoever presses down the final mouse loses.

Toy Vault has two expansions in the offing for Ed Bryan's Firefly: Out to the Black, both due out in April/May 2014. The Browncoat Bonus Pack adds a new mission to this co-operative card game along with more than fifteen new cards, while the Serenity Bonus Pack includes more than fifteen cards that can be played as wild or — when played by a specific character — provide a special bonus ability.

• Alliance Game Distributors lists the Olympos: Oikoumene expansion with an April 2014 release date, which is a bit odd since it was first released in late 2011. I contacted Rio Grande Games' Jay Tummelson about this, and he confirmed that the expansion has been unavailable for a while and is now back in print.
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