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W. Eric Martin
• In what comes as a further blow for those who were sure that their Dominion storage solution would be sufficient following the unexpected announcement of Dominion: Adventures, Rio Grande Games has announced that the Dominion empire will expand yet again with the release of, well, Dominion: Empires from designer Donald X. Vaccarino. Here's a thematic overview of what's featured in this set, along with a few gameplay hints:
The world is big and your kingdom gigantic. It's no longer a kingdom really; it's an empire — which makes you the emperor. This entitles you to a better chair, plus you can name a salad after yourself.
It's not easy being emperor. The day starts early, when you light the sacred flame; then it's hours of committee meetings, trying to establish exactly why the sacred flame keeps going out. Sometimes your armies take over a continent and you just have no idea where to put it. And there's the risk of assassination; you have a food taster, who tastes anything before you eat it, and a dagger tester, who gets stabbed by anything before it stabs you. You've taken to staying at home whenever it's the Ides of anything. Still, overall it's a great job. You wouldn't trade it for the world — especially given how much of the world you already have.
Dominion: Empires, the tenth addition to the game of Dominion, contains 96 metal tokens and 300 cards, with cards you can buy now and pay for later, piles with two different cards, and Landmarks that add new ways to score. VP tokens and Events return from previous sets.
RGG owner Jay Tummelson notes that the release date for Dominion: Empires is May 18, 2016.
• Other titles forthcoming from Rio Grande Games include Tiffin in Q2/Q3 2016 from Rael Dornfest and Jonathan Hager, the description of which relays much in the way of inspiration and little in the way of gameplay:
Every day in Mumbai, the bustling financial capital of India, hot lunches are hand-delivered to employees in workplaces across the city. These home-cooked meals, packed in tins called tiffins or dabbas, are picked up and whisked off by bicycle to the train station to be sorted, loaded onto a train car, unloaded, routed, and delivered (again, by bicycle) to recipients at work. Tiffins are carried by multiple dabbawallas, each of whom earns a share of the delivery fee. Out of the over 100,000 lunches delivered every day, only a few tiffins are misplaced every year.
Tiffin is a game based on this experience.
• Yet another Rio Grande title on the horizon is Kane M. Click's Coal Country, which bears a similar release date and this description:
Coal Country is rife with corruption, with the many mine foremen "influencing" various aspects of the mining industry in a number of ways. As the boss of your mining company, it's your job to sit at your desk and plot where to send your most influential foremen. By successfully influencing the price of coal, permits, utilities, and construction, your company can expand and boost the profitability of its operations. Your job as boss is made all the more difficult by the ever-shifting nature of the markets, from turn to turn, round to round, and game to game. It is your responsibility to determine when — and how — to act in order to capitalize on a potentially beneficial marketplace. If your mine is not built wisely and safely, a share of your company's profits will be lost after the end-of-year visit from the mine inspector. The mining company that has the most money at the end of the year wins.
• Other titles coming from Rio Grande Games in Q1 2016, according to its most recent newsletter in Dec. 2015, are Dave Mansell's For Crown & Kingdom, Matt Calkins' Tin Goose, and Alan's Adventureland from Alan D. Ernstein.
• Also in the Q2/Q3 2016 timeframe, RGG expects to release Martyn F's Epoch: Early Inventors (which was originally going to be self-published. German publisher HUCH! & friends is releasing new editions of Kris Burm's GIPF and YINSH in the first half of 2016, and Rio Grande will distribute these titles (and future GIPF Project releases) in North America. Santa's Workshop and Joshua Gerald Balvin's Oktoberfest are both due out Q4 2016.