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New Game Round-up: Deus in Africa, Tricks and Tweets, and Old-School Quests, The Tiny Epic Way

W. Eric Martin
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• The tiny epicness of Scott Almes and Gamelyn Games will continue in 2017 with the anticipated release of Tiny Epic Quest, with 7 Wonders artist Miguel Coimbra illustrating the design. Gamelyn's Michael Coe says, "The illustrations for the game should be wrapped up around the end of October [2016], and we're planning for a possible November Kickstarter." As for what the game's about, here's an overview:

Quote:
A world of peace has been torn asunder by the opening of a vile portal from the goblin kingdom. Nasty goblins now pour into the peaceful groves and villages of the elf world, setting the realm ablaze. Now you, the heroes, must quest in order to right this wrong. There are two paths to victory: closing the portal or slaying all the goblins. Which one will you choose? Either way, your quests will be aided by the help of the surviving, and sacred, mushroom folk — and by the epic items that have been lost in the realm's deep dungeons. The world is ending quickly, so you must act fast to save it, but you also need to know when your luck will run out...

In Tiny Epic Quest, players embark on a sandbox adventure nostalgic of old Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. Each player controls a band of three elf heroes questing to save the world and the sacred mushroom folk from the intruding goblins.

Each round is broken into two phases: day and night. During the day, players travel far and wide, visiting villages to acquire quests, monuments to learn powerful spells, mushroom groves to seek guidance, and treacherous locations in search of artifacts! Acquiring artifacts empower the heroes with unique abilities; this may improve a heroes' movement or combat, or their ability to learn spells or mitigate harmful dice rolls.

Heroes must travel by foot, by horse, by raft, by boat, and by gryphon to get to all the places they need to go to satisfy their quests — or to position themselves for what night brings. Each type of movement is different, and limited, players need to take careful consideration when traveling, and how they travel, if they wish to accomplish all of their goals.

During the night, players must face the challenges of their quests, and decisions, by rolling dice, hoping for fortune, and knowing when to quit. Will you press on? Or is it time to save your progress and rest? Tomorrow is another day.

The game ends once the portal is closed or all the goblins have been eradicated. The player who has acquired the most victory points by slaying goblins, learning spells, and completing quests is crowned the winner!
• Designer Bryan Johnson's Island Fortress fell into a publishing quagmire multiple times on its way to print in 2013, so for his next two releases, Johnson has gone the route of self-publication via The Game Crafter. Aviary debuted in February 2016, with this trick-taking game presenting players with ten birds in the aviary along with assignments from their teacher reqarding which birds they should see from where in order to score points.

• In Johnson's two-player game Death Pit Duels, players first draft fighters via an I-cut-you-choose method, after which they compete head-to-head for coins to enrich their master.

• I first mentioned an expansion for Sébastien Dujardin's Deus being in the works in October 2015, and now an overview of Deus: Egypt — which Dujardin's Pearl Games expects to release at Spiel 2016 in October — is available, with players traveling to another land (or not):

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In Deus: Egypt, you are now the head of an extraordinary ancient civilization: Egypt. Can you lead this dynasty to expand and impose itself upon the surrounding lands?

This first expansion for Deus adds 96 building cards: 16 for each area of development. Players can use this deck in place of the one in the base game, or swap in one or more groups of 16 cards for those in the base game. Each group of 16 cards delivers a new set of rules and strategies.
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