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New Game Round-up: Garden Gnomes Finally Start Invading, Lang Readies More Bloodborne, and Alderac Keeps Smashing Up

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Invasion of the Garden Gnomes
Board Game: Invasion of the Garden Gnomes
Old cover and new logo
• Sometimes announced games vanish into the mists never to be seen again — and sometimes they re-emerge in unexpected places, as with the announcement by Asmadi Games that in mid-2017 it will release Reiner Knizia's Invasion of the Garden Gnomes, a reimplementation of his card game Vampire that was first released in 2000. Cambridge Games Factory had originally announced IGG in 2011, but it ended up being one of a handful of titles that disappeared following CGF's overly costly rollout of the Glory to Rome black box edition. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
The gnomes are fighting for dominance of the gardens. Gnomes from the lawn, hedge, veggie garden, orchard, flower garden, and herb garden can be recruited to build a ceramic empire.

In Invasion of the Garden Gnomes, players form melds (sets of gnomes from the same part of the garden), each representing a columns of garden gnomes armed to the teeth. The smallest set of each color will be squished and not score, and larger sets score more points. Whenever a new column is formed, a special effect is triggered (usually good). Between games, twelve different special powers are randomly allocated between the six type of gnomes, making for very different games and necessitating different tactics.

This game's core mechanisms are based on Knizia's card game Vampire. Invasion of the Garden Gnomes introduces special powers for each color and more vicious competition within each color of meld. The game includes "junior rules" that allow you to play a simpler game, more similar to Vampire, and the "full rules" are notably different from the the game's predecessor and involve deeper strategy.
Board Game: Mottainai: Wutai Mountain
• In other news from Asmadi, an expansion for Carl Chudyk's Mottainai is due out before the end of 2017. Mottainai: Wutai Mountain, which you need only one copy of regardless of the number of players, is a deck of "Om" works, and each such work can gather its own set of helpers, materials, and sales tucked underneath it, with a special ability that grants benefits based on those cards.

• Finally, Asmadi Games can now distribute its third edition of Cark Chudyk's Innovation in Europe, where previously only the IELLO edition of the game was distributed. What's more, Innovation Deluxe will also be available in Europe. Says Asmadi's Chris Cieslik, "We have a non-exclusive deal in place, so other translations and versions will be unaffected. The box set will be going to print soon, and we'll have pricing and official release date details in the coming weeks."

• Designer Eric M. Lang notes that he's working on an expansion for Bloodborne: The Card Game with Lanterns' Christopher Chung with Q4 2017 being the targeted release date.

Board Game: Smash Up: What Were We Thinking?
Board Game: Smash Up: Big in Japan
Alderac Entertainment Group has unveiled a wave of Smash Up releases in the works for 2017, starting with the addition to the game of teddy bears, rock stars, grannies, and explorers Smash Up: What Were We Thinking? in March 2017. For mid-2017, AEG has the Smash Up: All-Stars Event Kit, which is not a standalone item, but a product to help retailers hold Smash Up events and tournaments in their stores. A special "All Stars" faction is included to be handed out as prizes during these events, and the faction consists of a "mix of existing Smash Up minions and actions" now bearing a new "All Star" icon.

In Q3 2017, AEG celebrates its own "Big in Japan" line with Smash Up: Big in Japan, which features factions based on anime fighting girls, cute collectible critters that are totally not Pokémon, colorful fighters that are in no way Power Rangers, and Godzilla.

Finally, AEG is offering a free sheep faction — to be delivered in Q4 2017 — to anyone who completes a survey about Smash Up, hands over their email address and mailing information, and promises to play no other games until the end of time.

Board Game: Smash Up: Sheep
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