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New Game Round-up: Glenn Drover Returns with WarQuest, Expansions for Abyss and Five Tribes & An Overhaul for Agricola?

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: WarQuest
Glenn Drover hasn't released a game design since 2007's Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery, which was the first — and last — title from his own company Tropical Games, but 2015 will likely see the release of his WarQuest from Mr. B Games and L4 Studios. This release reunites Drover with Sean Brown (owner of Mr. B Games) and Keith Blume (owner of L4 Studios), with Brown and Blume both having worked at Eagle Games — which Drover founded — and all three having collaborated on the design, development and production of Railroad Tycoon, Conquest of the Empire, and the aforementioned Age of Empires III.

As for WarQuest, the game description doesn't tell you much now, but Brown says that a Kickstarter project for the title will go live in mid-April, so expect more details then. For now, here's what I've got:

WarQuest is a game of grand strategy, conquest, and heroic quests in the fantasy world of Myrathia. Immerse yourself in this chaotic and mystical world! Take on the role of a warlord who seeks to reunite the fractured land under your banner. Recruit wood elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs and beast-men to fill the ranks of your armies and engage in epic battles. Travel across the tormented lands in an effort to drive back chaos by completing desperate quests. Conquer and control strategic cities and regions, and if successful, declare yourself ruler of all Myrathia!
Board Game: Abyss
Board Game: Five Tribes
• In a post summarizing his response to the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France, designer Bruno Cathala gave a few details of future projects, such as an Abyss expansion (most likely debuting at Gen Con 2015 in August and co-designed with Charles Chevallier) that contains a new smugglers guild, new locations featuring wrecked vessels, multicolored allies, and black pearls (representing dirty money) that can cost you points at the end of the game.

An expansion for Cathala's Five Tribes, likely also debuting at Gen Con 2015, adds new location tiles to the game (expanding the board to 6x6), impassable mountain ranges, and a sixth(!) tribe of artisans that make valuable items and magical objects.

• As of March 2015, R&R Games is working on expansions for both Time's Up! and Spellcaster.

• Anders and Olle Tyrland have started a BGG blog of single-player scenarios for The Battle at Kemble's Cascade, which Z-Man Games released in late 2014.

Board Game: Backstab Card Game
Board Game: Agricola
• In a departure from its well-known Mystery Rummy releases, U.S. Games Systems plans to release Dave Stawar's Backstab: A Macabre Card Game in March 2015. Here's a short description:

In Backstab: A Macabre Card Game, players battle the demented, disgusting and deranged from macabre characters to diabolical traps! Using action cards, players try to beat each encounter they face. If successful, they get a coin; if not, they lose a card. Players may also confiscate coins from their opponents by attacking them with backstab moves. The first player to rack up 25 cents wins!
• In the old news department, Chris, an admin at, posted the following in December 2014:

Exciting news!

In 2016, the new published Agricola basic game will include seven 168 card decks in the box: A,B,C,D,J,K,L

Decks A,B,C = 504 cards will be previously published cards by Uwe (from E,I,K, NL, FL, WA, Bi, Cz, O, Z = 645 cards)
Deck D = 168 cards will be new cards by Uwe (I will upload them to the CAC soon. We need to play test them for Uwe)
Deck J,K = 336 cards will be previously published cards by (from G, Wm, Fr, Pi = 378 cards)
Deck L = 168 cards will be new cards by (from G4, G5 = 240 cards)
Now don't take this list as gospel! This statement doesn't match what might actually be in a supposedly revised 2016 edition of Agricola as Lookout Games' Hanno Girke noted on BGG when he explained that Agricola designer Uwe Rosenberg "is currently taking a look how to reorganize the decks. Some cards might rotate out, some from out-of-print expansions might rotate in. This is currently tested at" Girke went on to note that any new content released with a new edition of the game would also be "available for all players in some way". As for why Lookout might be contemplating changes in the first place, Girke said:

Agricola is 8 years old now. There are many cards in the original edition that are never played. Cards that sit on your hand like a lame duck and block that spot for an exiting card.

There are lots of cards that define your strategy in a negativ way, as you'll never play them. Which leads to a "real" hand size of approx 2-4 cards each.

We don't like that. Uwe wants the game to be open for all players, to reduce the luck in the card draw. Therefore, his idea is to eliminate weak cards and to replace them with power cards from expansions. We need a tournament standard that's good for the next decade.

Still, everything right now is being tested. We won't release anything that Uwe is not 100% sure of. That's why there's a 2016 tag on this. It might be 2017 if the tests take longer than expected.
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