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New Game Round-up: Whistling to the West Coast, Shopping for Accuracy, and Reliving the Wars of the Roses

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Whistle Stop
• While at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, I noticed a second new title for 2017 from Bézier Games (aside from the recently announced The Palace of Mad King Ludwig), but we had no slots in our broadcast schedule, so I took a pic and made a note to look into it later — only to find out that Bézier's Ted Aslpach had sent me a press release weeks ago. Ha ha, so much for my tidy inbox!

In any case, Scott Caputo's tile-laying game Whistle Stop is set to debut from Bézier at Gen Con 2017 in August. Here's a rundown of the setting and gameplay:

With the driving of the golden spike in 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed in the United States — but really it was only the beginning of a rapid expansion of railways that would crisscross the entire country.

In Whistle Stop, you make your way west across the country, using your fledgling railroad company to build routes, pick up valuable cargo, and deliver needed goods to growing towns, creating a network of whistle stops that you and your competitors can leverage as you continue to expand your networks. Along the way, you gain shares in other railroads and watch your reputation soar with each successful delivery before making a final push to complete long hauls to the boom towns of the West.

This design is a new twist on pick-up-and-deliver games. As players move their trains west and pick up goods, they can deliver those goods to small towns to gain shares in railroads, or hold on to them for a bigger payout when they reach the west coast. At the same time, they try to optimize their actions (and gain extra ones), lay down new track tiles, block the other players, gather and use valuable whistles for special moves and abilities, and carefully manage their coal resources.
Board Game: Shop 'N Time
• Another title that's been lurking in my inbox is Shop 'N Time from Daryl Andrews and Mercury Games, with this design featuring an app that allows for a The Price Is Right-style "guess the price of this stuff without going over" game that avoids any calculation. Here's an overview of the gameplay:

How about some nice aftershave from 1949? Or maybe you're looking for a fancy fly swatter from 2014? You just found a magical store that has all of these products and more! All it takes is a good eye and a fast hand, and these bargains can be yours!

Shop 'N Time is a real-time, app-assisted card game with simple rules. In the basic game mode, "Price Target", each player is given the same budget, then dealt a hand of seven cards. You pick one to purchase, pass the rest, possibly pick another, then pass, etc., and you keep going until you have at least three cards but think the price of those items is still within your budget. Once everyone passes, each player scans the items they've purchased to see who's come closest to spending the budget without going over.

Shop 'N Time includes four different games to play with two different playing modes: real-time and strategic.
• UK publisher Surprised Stare Games has announced a new release for the 2017 UK Games Expo, which opens June 2, with The Cousins' War from David J. Mortimer being a two-player game on a big topic that clocks in at thirty minutes. Klemenz Franz supplies the artwork.

The Wars of the Roses were fought between the Houses of York and Lancaster for over three decades during the 15th century in England. The houses were both branches of the royal family, therefore the Wars were originally known as "The Cousins' War". Each player represents one of the houses as they fight battles and gain influence to control England.

The Cousins' War is played over a maximum of five rounds, with each round representing between five and ten years of the conflict. Each round involves gaining influence across England and preparing for a climactic battle.

In each round, the players decide where the current battlefield will be, playing action cards to deploy troops to the battlefield, while also increasing or decreasing their influence in the regions, after which they fight. Players resolve the battle by engaging in bluff and counter-bluff, using three dice, until only one side has troops remaining on the field. Winning the battle helps to consolidate your house's influence on the board.

You win The Cousins' War either by dominating all the regions of England or by controlling the most regions at the end of the fifth round.
Board Game: The Cousins' War

Board Game: Star Realms
White Wizard Games has something new in the works for its well-loved card game Star Realms. Star Realms: Scenarios is a pack of twenty scenario cards, with each card changing one or more rules — or introducing new rules — for that particular game. WWG has posted an overview of different ways you can put the scenario cards into play should you not want to opt for the simple option of shuffling the deck and revealing the top card. We talked with Star Realms co-designer Rob Dougherty about the scenarios pack at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show.

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