W. Eric Martin
• Dutch publisher Quined Games has announced the 20th title in its Master Print Edition series: Angelo de Maio's 2-4 player miniatures game Halloween, which will have a Kickstarter funding campaign ahead of its expected October 2017 release date. Here's a short description:
It's Halloween — time to haunt poor unfortunate humans who think the holisday is all fun and games, but wait until you unleash ghosts upon this little town. Use your knowledge and wit to summon ghosts, move them around town, scare people, and even fight other ghosts because only one demon lord can boast of being the scariest demon lord of them all.
Halloween is a tactical game for 2 to 4 players in which you take on the role of a demon lord that controls the many ghosts on the board. Carefully plan your actions through a unique mechanism that allows you to manage multiple ghosts to try to outwit your opponents. Summon ghosts, move them round the board, fight other ghosts, or use one of the numerous action cards that can give you great tactical advantage.
• We missed out on featuring Upper Deck Entertainment in our 2017 GAMA Trade Show coverage as we never heard back following our request for news of upcoming titles — it's hard to feature what you don't know! — but UDE has a number of titles in the works for 2017, including Dungeon Draft, a card-drafting game from Ascension designer Justin Gary. The description is meager so far, but it's enough to set the table for the game: "Over the course of multiple rounds, players draft heroes and weapons, then use them to defeat monsters and complete quests in an effort to earn the most victory points. As with any good drafting game, the choice between helping yourself or hindering an opponent is always in play..."
Dread Draw, from Ryan Miller, is a strategy card game of "press-your-luck competitive fortune-telling" for 2-5 players due out in July 2017 that bears this short description: "The game pits players against each other trying to summon cards. As play escalates, players run the risk of elimination. Will you be the last one standing? Will fortune smile on you?"
Miller is also the designer of Pack of Lies, a noir fantasy originally announced at Gen Con 2015 for release in 2016 and now bumped to a 2017 release. Two other original titles announced in 2016 and due out in 2017 are Mike Elliott's RPS-style The Dingo Ate The Baby and Richard Launius and Pete Shirey's Shark Island, for which BGG shot an overview video at Origins 2016.
Quest for the Antidote is a 2-6 player game bearing this description and no other details:
You and the other players have been poisoned by the mad king! Armed with only your wits and a list of antidote ingredients, you must battle the wilds, monsters, and your fellow players to be the first to return to the apothecary with the items you need.
Each turn in Quest for the Antidote, players roll dice to move their pawns around the board in search for the specific ingredients that are scattered across the land. Monsters of varying difficulty block your path, but each victorious die roll may yield powerful items.
Do not dally as time is of the essence. Every move and roll of the dice will deplete your fading life in your quest for the antidote!
In terms of its licensed games, in addition to the previously announced Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, due for release at Gen Con 2017, and the already released Legendary: Noir, Upper Deck will release Legendary: X-Men in June 2017, with this being a large set featuring nothing but X-Men-related heroes.
• Mayfair Games has announced a trio of games with a June 30, 2017 U.S. release date: a new edition of Uwe Rosenberg's Glass Road (with minor tweaks, I believe, to prevent the infinite cycling that could rarely happen in the original release); a new edition of Darwin Bromley and Tom Wham's Iron Dragon, this being a fantasy-based take on Empire Builder's pick-up-and-deliver game system; and Phil Walker-Harding's Bärenpark, a tile-laying game that, yes, will have the same German name on both the German and U.S. editions of the game. Consider this an experiment from Mayfair Games.
The latter two games will debut at the 2017 Origins Game Fair ahead of their retail release, while Glass Road will be available only for demo games at that show, not for purchase.
I played Bärenpark at PAX East 2017 and thought that I had written something about it, but a search of the archives shows that my mind has tricked itself once again. Clever, that mind — just not in the right way!
In the game, players each run their own bear park, and they want to build it up from scratch to be as point-rich as possible. To do so, you want to have the first tile of the various types — forests, tunnels, icy pools, etc. — since audiences are easily jaded, and the more that they've seen something, the fewer points you'll score. If you group certain tiles together, you'll score bonus points for creating something so awesome that newspapers far and wide will include your park in their annual destination guides.
Four turns into Bärenpark on a prototype at PAX East 2017
In terms of the actual gameplay, each player starts with a 4x4 tile that has a few construction symbols on it — a wheelbarrow, a cement mixer, a manhole, and men at work — along with a single tile. On a turn, you place a tile from your reserve somewhere on your board, then take one tile from the common reserve for each symbol you cover; covering a wheelbarrow nets you a small common tile (covering 1-3 spaces) worth no points, while covering a cement mixer gets you one of the four basic types (covering 4 spaces) worth a few points. Cover an excavator, and you get one of the sweet pentomino tiles. Cover the workers, and you're rewarded with a new 4x4 board, with each player taking at most three such boards.
As soon as you cover all but the manhole cover, you cap that tile with a manhole worth 16 points minus however many other manholes have already been covered. Yes, park visitors even tire of admiring manhole covers, the louts.
Once someone has finished covering their fourth board, players collect bonus points based on how well they met the randomly chosen scoring categories, similar to the Lookout Games title Isle of Skye. Then everyone tallies their points and gives the winner a bear hug.
My final park in Bärenpark