W. Eric Martin
• People have been asking for months, if not years, when Alexander Pfister's Port Royal will be released in the U.S., and for nearly as long German publisher Pegasus Spiele has answered that someone had licensed the game and any announcements are in the hands of that licensor.
Now Steve Jackson Games has revealed itself as that licensor and announced an August 2017 release date for its edition of the game, and while I can understand a publisher wanting to put its own spin on a game — doing something to make sure the game fits in their catalog — I'm baffled as to why SJG has gone with that cover art while keeping the Klemens Franz artwork inside the hood. Seems like a mismatch, but I haven't been in business publishing games for nearly forty years, so maybe I'm overlooking something that SJG knows better.
• Want to playtest a Caverna expansion? Alex Wilber, who in August 2016 uploaded files on BGG containing fourteen (!) new races for use in Caverna other than the default dwarves, says that he's now working with Lookout Games on an expansion tentatively planned for release in the first half of 2018. For details on how to get involved, head to this post on BGG; for details on the expansion itself, you must wait.
• Along similar lines, Cheapass Games has posted a rough version of Rochi, a gambling game from James Ernest and Sonia Lyris that will be featured in Lyris' next fantasy novel. Here's a short description from Cheapass: "Rochi is a gambling game for 2-8 players, played with a Tarot-style deck with six suits of different sizes. It's a new deck design for us, and it's a whole new way to think about how gambling games should work. There is no betting, very little bluffing, and six different pots!"
The window to provide playtesting feedback closed on March 31, 2017, but if you want to download the current rules and components, you can still try the game ahead of its release later in 2017.
• In mid-2017, Atlas Games will release Craig Stockwell's Witches of the Revolution, a 1-4 player cooperative deck-building game in which the player witches must play a decisive role in aiding the colonies during the American Revolution. We recorded an overview of the game during the 2017 GAMA Trade Show if you want to see it in action:
• Near the end of 2017, Level 99 Games plans to release Automata NOIR, a new version of D. Brad Talton, Jr.'s NOIR that features the world and characters from the Automata comic created by Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. The game will still be based on hidden identities and deduction, with updated versions of the "Killer vs. Inspector", "Hitman vs. Sleuth", and "Spy Tag" game modes, along with two new game modes: "Buddy Cop" and "Dragnet".