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New Game Round-up: Terraforming Other Parts of Mars, and Heading Back Underwater with Captain Sonar

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game: Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium
• Word is out about Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium, the first of four expansions scheduled to be released for Terraforming Mars over the next two years. Publisher Stronghold Games tells me the U.S. street date is June 2017, while publisher Schwerkraft-Verlag expects to release this item in Germany in July 2017. Here's an overview of this expansion from Jacob Fryxelius, which consists solely of a double-sided game board that presents two new areas of Mars:

• Elysium takes players almost to the opposite side of Mars' equator, with vast lowlands for oceans in the north and a dry, mineral-rich south. Place a tile on Olympus Mons, the highest peak in the solar system, to gain three free cards!

• Hellas, the southern wild, includes Mars' south pole and the enormous seven-hex Hellas crater that just begs to become a giant lake. Building around the pole gives you new placement bonuses in the form of heat and possibly even water.

Each of these maps consists of new sets of milestones and awards with relevance for that particular map. Place three tiles around the south pole to be a Polar Explorer, for example, or race to have the most estates beside water on Elysium!
Board Game: Dr. Microbe
Board Game: Go Go Gelato!
• In a Facebook post about the new games of his that will be released in 2017, Roberto Fraga mentions two already in the BGG database, two more I've just added, and several for young players from French book publisher Auzou for which I can't find any details.

In the first category above, we have two titles from Blue Orange Games that fit the same model as his 2015 release Dr. Eureka. (Frantic Fraga?) In Dr. Microbe, you use tweezer to place colorful microbes in your petri dish, but you must first use logic to determine which microbes are missing from the challenge card so that you can grab the right ones — and the superbug must always differ in shape and color from the other three microbes in your dish.

Go Go Gelato!, a more direct cousin to Dr. Eureka, combines four scoops, three cones, two hands and one challenge card, with you passing scoops from cone to cone in order to match the order shown on the card.

More enticingly, we have what Fraga dubs "la première super méga extension" for Captain Sonar, a game co-designed with Yohan Lemonnier and published by Matagot. I don't know what's in Captain Sonar: Upgrade 1, as the Matagot rep has declined to share info for now, but I'll be at the game fair in Cannes in late Febuary 2017, so I'll surely learn something by then, I hope.

Board Game: Captain Sonar: Upgrade One

Finally, Fraga and Matagot will release Princess Jing, a game of bluffing for two players or two groups of players with artwork by Naïade.

In an interview on Tric Trac from November 2016, Fraga says, "Over the years, I have learned to be more and more obstinate and persevering. Playful creations are 50% originality and imagination and 50% perseverance." He gives this game as an example, mentioning that it originated in 1998 as "Akhenaton", was recommended in the 1999 Hippodice design contest, won the "Gobelet d'Or" in the junior category of the 2000 Boulogne-Billancourt design competition, and was consistently well-received during by the public during game festivals — yet was still not signed by any of the dozens of publishers to which it was presented.

Now thanks to Matagot, the game will finally see print eighteen years after its creation!

Board Game: Princess Jing
Something to do with Princess Jing

From gallery of W Eric Martin
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