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New Game Round-up: Going Deep with Leder Games, Gardening in Japan, and Moving Brass to New Cities

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of Samuel Bailey
• U.S. publisher Leder Games has announced what might be considered a spiritual successor to 2016's Vast: The Crystal Caverns, a cave-crawling adventure for 1-5 players in which each player had unique attributes and goals. Now you get to try something similar in the stars in Samuel Bailey's Deep: Enemy Frontier:

For a thousand years the Empire of Humanity has grown, conquered, and ruled with strength and order, but now resources grow scarce and unrest mutters under the thin veneer of tranquility. Out in the distant void, ancient enemies sense weakness and band together to bring down those who defeated them and sent them running. Humanity's only hope is to reach once more for the furthest stars, discover new worlds rich with resources, and build an new Empire that can survive for another thousand years.

Deep: Enemy Frontier is a highly asymmetric sci-fi strategy game for 2-4 players. Each player takes a unique role during a period of intense conflict in our quadrant of the galaxy. The Empire seeks to shore up its weaknesses and once more establish itself as the dominant force in the galaxy. The Usurper threatens to bring the Empire down from within and establish a free and open society ruled by the people rather than a dictator. The Rival sweeps in from the remote edges of the galaxy, a coalition of aliens burning with revenge against an Empire that conquered and harried them over the past hundreds of years. The Captain throws himself out into the stars, to explore and have grand adventures, his exploits broadcast to the entire Empire; perhaps his fame will lead him one day to sit upon the throne of all humanity...
From gallery of Photodump
Osprey Games has been doing a fantastic job with their revamped editions of older games — Odin's Ravens, The King Is Dead, Escape from Colditz, The Ravens of Thri Sahashri, and more — and Samurai Gardener is the latest example, this being a new edition of Hisashi Hayashi's Edo Yashiki, first released by his own OKAZU Brand in 2013. Okay, all we have so far is a cover, but it's impressive. As for the gameplay, here's a summary:

Samurai Gardener is a tile-laying game with an historical Japanese theme in which players try to construct as impressive gardens as possible.

Each card consists of six sections of several types of areas (pond, floor, garden, etc.). Players lay the cards side by side or overlapping in order to create long rows of the same area type. Each round, rows/columns of the same area type are awarded points, and the player with the most points when all building cards are depleted wins.
If you want to see the gameplay in practice, here's an overview video of the original game that I recorded in 2014:

Board Game: Brass: Lancashire
• In January 2016, Gavan Brown of Roxley Games announced that it had signed a deal with Martin Wallace to release a new version of his 2007 design Brass. What's more, Roxley was developing a new map with Wallace that would essentially create a second game from the Brass game system.

Roxley has now revealed some details of both games, along with two of the most eye-catching covers of the modern day — which each cover working beautifully on its own while pairing to make something bigger. Brass has been renamed Brass: Lancashire, and aside from new artwork and components, Roxley has made these small-ish changes to the rules:

—The virtual link rules between Birkenhead have been removed.
—The three-player experience has been brought closer to the ideal experience of four players by shortening each half of the game by one round and tuning the deck slightly to ensure a consistent experience.
—Two-player rules have been created and are playable without the need for an alternate board.
—The level 1 cotton mill is now worth 5 VP to make it slightly less terrible.

"Slightly less terrible" — that phrase always look great in marketing copy!

Brass: Birmingham adds a new action to the game (Scout) and three new industry types (brewery, manufactured goods, pottery), while requiring beer for certain things to happen in town: "Brewing has become a fundamental part of the culture in Birmingham. You must now sell your product through traders located around the edges of the board. Each of these traders is looking for a specific type of good each game. To sell cotton, pottery, or manufactured goods to these traders, you must also "grease the wheels of industry" by consuming beer. For example, a level 1 cotton mill requires one beer to flip. As an incentive to sell early, the first player to sell to a trader receives free beer."

Roxley plans to launch a Kickstarter funding campaign for both titles on April 17, 2017.

Board Game: Brass: Lancashire

Board Game: Brass: Birmingham
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