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New Game Round-up: A Slew of Titles from Rio Grande, a Trio from Nestorgames, a Pair from CGF & Queen Games' Edo

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Rio Grande Games has added a number of games to its website, with the following dates attached to particular games:

November 2011
-----Dominion: Hinterlands
-----Power Grid: The First Sparks
-----Power Grid: The Robots
-----Puerto Rico: Anniversary Edition
-----Stone Age: Style Is the Goal

December 2011
-----Last Will (Edit, Nov. 28: release date was November, but is now "late December" according to RGG's Jay Tummelson)

Q1 2012
-----Arctic Scavengers

Q2 2012
-----Credit Mobilier
-----Monster Factory
-----Those Pesky Garden Gnomes

-----Carcassonne: Corn Circles, Plague & Tunnels
-----Cavemen: The Quest for Fire

Steve Jackson Games is shipping the following to retail outlets: Trophy Buck, Munchkin: Axe Cop, Munchkin Dice Bag and Giant Cthulhu Dice.

• Spanish publisher nestorgames has released three titles, one being the fantastically good two-player abstract strategy game Amazons from Walter Zamkauskas, the second being the three-player tile-placement game Red from designer/publisher Néstor Romeral Andrés, and the final one also being from Andrés, Feed the ducks

Game play in Amazons is incredibly simple: On a turn, move one of your four pieces (moving any number of spaces in any direction with no captures or jumps being possible), then "fire an arrow" from that piece's new location, with the arrow moving the same as a piece. The arrow's landing spot is off-limits for everyone for the remainder of the game. The first player who can't move loses.

In RED, players take turns adding tiles to a central display, with each tile having a circle in red, white or black and a background color that differs from the color of the circle. Each player scores for either red, white or black. Five small tiles and one large tile of each color combination are available. Each played tile after the first must be adjacent to a small tile, and a large tile cannot be adjacent to another large tile. Once all the tiles have been placed, the game ends and players score the product of the largest group of tiles with a circle of their color and the largest group of tiles with a background of their color; large tiles count for two points, and small tiles for one. With two players, one color is used only for blocking.

Finally, in Feed the ducks, players take turns dropping a breadcrumb into a pond in order to have the ducks swarm around. Ducks aren't too bright, you know? The goal is to have all of your ducks form a single connected group, which requires you to keep track of how all the ducks will shift on the surface with each toss of the breadcrumb. (Note: Breadcrumb token not included, to which I say, "Boo, Néstor, boo!")

• One other upcoming title that Queen Games had on hand at BGG.CON 2011 was Edo, from the father-and-son design team of Stefan and Louis Malz. Queen aims to have this game published in time for the Nuremberg Toy Fair in February 2012. I've created a game listing for Edo, thanks to a lengthy demo from Queen's Frank Thyben, and present that description below:

In Edo, players represent daimyo in mid-second millennium Japan who are trying to serve their shogun by using their samurai to construct castles, markets and houses in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

At the start of Edo – which won "best evening-length game" in the 2010 Hippodice Game Design competition under the name Altiplano – each player has five samurai tokens, seven houses, one market and three square action cards, each of which has four possible actions on it. One card, for example, allows a player to:

* Collect rice (up to four bundles depending on the number of samurai applied to the action),
* Collect $5 (per samurai),
* Collect wood (up to four, with one samurai on the action and one in the forest for each wood you want), or
* Build (up to two buildings, with two samurai on the card and one in the desired city, along with the required resources)

Each turn, the players simultaneously choose which actions they want to take with their three cards and in which order, programming those actions on their player cards, similar to the planning phase in Dirk Henn's Wallenstein and Shogun. Players then take actions in turn order, moving samurai on the board as needed (paying $1 per space moved) in order to complete actions (to the forest for wood, the rice fields for rice, cities to build, and so on). Before a player can move samurai, however, he must use an action to place them on the game board; some actions allow free movement, and others allow a player to recruit additional samurai beyond the initial five.

One other action allows you to recruit additional action cards from an array on the side of the game board, thereby giving you four (or more) cards from which to choose for the rest of the game.

Building in cities costs resources and gives you points as well as money; as more players build in a city, the funds are split among all present, with those first in the city receiving a larger share. Players can also receive points or buy stone by dealing with a traveling merchant.

Once at least one player has twelve points, the game finishes at the end of the round, with players scoring endgame bonuses for money in hand and other things. The player with the most points wins.

Edo includes separate game boards for 2-3 players and 4-5 players.

Cambridge Games Factory has released info on two upcoming titles for 2012, both from designer Reiner Knizia and both reimplementations of earlier Knizia titles. Silver Screen is a card game version of Dream Factory / Hollywood Blockbuster with players once again trying to complete movies by collecting sets of needed elements. As noted in the game description from CGF's Rob Seater, "Silver Screen has more hidden information and more emphasis on balancing alternate paths to victory."

Invasion of the Garden Gnomes is a new version of Knizia's card game Vampire with an easy rule set that roughly recreates that game and a more advanced rule set that adds special powers for each type of gnomes to create more divergent play each game.

Oh, one other title coming from CGF in early 2012 is Obama / Nobama, a trick-taking game from Christopher Rama Rao and Rob Seater in which players choose a party secretly (which will affect how they score) while declaring another party (or possibly the same one) publicly.

• There is more – much, much more – on the Kickstarter front in terms of game projects from designers and publishers both established and new. In fact, two games listed below have not yet launched on Kickstarter, but they're newly listed in the BGG database, so I thought I'd point them out anyway. Have we reached the saturation point yet?

—Kevin G. Nunn's Schlock Mercenary: The Board Game (Living Worlds Games, KS link), a two-player tactical shooter game based on the webcomic of the same name from Howard Tayler.

—Noble Valerian's Best Spud (Legacy Unbound, KS link), which includes this eyebrow-raiser: "I need to raise $4000 to print 50 copies of my game for reviewers, game stores, contests, and giveaways." So the per-copy production price is $80?! No, not at all, but it does seem that way at first glance. (Valerian has also noted on BGG that he'll have copies for sale at BGG.CON for $20, in addition to holding endless demoes. Curious.)

—Matthew Papa's Order of Professional Sorcerors from the new publisher Goblin Army Games. The game is due to hit Kickstarter in November 2011 for release in 2012.

—Kenny Jakobsson and Shelby Cinca's Zoneplex from game publisher and electronic music record label Swedish Columbia, with the KS project launching in January 2012.
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