W. Eric Martin
• In December 2015, Eagle-Gryphon Games cut ties with Martin Wallace's Brass. In early January 2016, Gavan Brown of Roxley Games announced that Wallace had signed with Roxley for a new version of Brass that includes the original game board, a two-player map, and a new map (with that map possibly providing the two-player experience). To quote Roxley: "[W]e are currently assisting Martin Wallace with the development of a new map. This map is themed around the area of Birmingham. While nothing about this new map is finalized, so far it features two new industries, including breweries. It also features a few new mechanisms and rules. So far, it feels like Brass, but it feels very fresh, and provides a feeling different enough from the original to absolutely justify its existence." At this time Brown anticipates running a Kickstarter campaign for Brass in mid-2016, but he notes that the new map is still under development, so plans could change.
• In related news, since EGG is no longer involved with Brass, I reached out to Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games to see whether Age of Reason might be joining its release schedule once again. (In a June 22, 2015 note on the Treefrog Games website, Wallace stated that Stronghold had cancelled Age of Reason due to EGG's claims on Brass and related designs; Wallace later removed this remark from the website, but it remains part of a post on Facebook.) Buonocore responded with a "how's your weather"-type of non-response, so we'll have to wait until later to know for sure.
• Developer Uli Blennemann has dropped news of a title he's working on for ADC Blackfire Entertainment: West of Africa from designer Martin Schlegel. BGG will record a game overview at Spielwarenmesse in late January 2016, so for now you'll have to make do with this description:
In the late Middle Ages, the Canary Islands had faded into obscurity from a European point of view. There was neither gold nor silver, and the islands did not play a role as a trading post because the north-south trade of that time went through the Sahara.
In 1312, the Genoese merchant and seafarer Lancelotto Malocello effectively "rediscovered" the Canary Islands. During the 15th century, the archipelago was conquered by the Spanish. Spanish masters pushed agriculture, cultivating sugar cane, wine and grain, which quickly gave the islands a certain economic value and importance.
In West of Africa, the players cultivate goods, try to sell them profitably, and build settlements. Each player has their own deck of cards. Each turn the players select cards from their decks to conduct successful actions, always keeping the actions of the other players in mind.
• With 2016 upon us, I've started putting together a convention preview for the toy fairs that take place in Nürnberg and New York City in January and February 2016. The Nürnberg/New York 2016 Preview lists only 34 titles as of the publication of this post, and many of the listings are brief. We know that Schmidt Spiele will release Qwirkle Erweiterung 2 from Susan McKinley Ross, for example, but beyond the "six small expansions in a single box" summary, we don't have much to go on yet.
That said, throughout January 2016 the list will grow, images will be added, and descriptions puffed with details of what one actually does in the games in question. As noted above, BGG will be at Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg to record game overviews, so watch for those videos in February 2016.