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W. Eric Martin
• Games cycle on and off the market quickly these days, with many games then returning to the market in a new form. One example of this phoenix-like rebirth is Chimera & More, a new version of Ralph H. Anderson's Chimera, which was published by Z-Man Games in 2014.
Chimera is a shedding card game along the lines of Tichu, but for precisely three players, and in each round players will bid for the right to be chimera, with the other two players then teaming up to try to keep the chimera from exiting the round first. The game has lots of possible card combinations — pairs, triples, sequences of pairs or triples, triples with one attached card, etc. —and for more details, I refer to this preview I wrote in April 2014.
Chimera & More includes the basic Chimera game for three players, but it adds two additional suits of cards so that the game is also playable with exactly five players. Players bid to be chimera as before, but then the chimera will choose a partner, and this pair of players then competes against the remaining three, with the goal again being for the chimera to exit the round first or to keep this player from doing so. In the five-player game, each non-chimera player additionally receives a Q — a messenger bird — and once during the round a player can play their Q to throw the lead to any other player; alternatively, the Q can be played as any ranked card from 0 to 12.
Chimera & More will be co-published by Eagle-Gryphon Games and Anderson's own Flightless Goat Workshop, with the game hitting Kickstarter for funding on April 18, 2017.
Prototype components and box, showing some of the new cards
• In early April 2017, Rio Grande Games released Jeff and Carla Horger's Orient Express, which was announced in early 2016. Scott Tepper of RGG says that Joshua Gerald Balvin's Oktoberfest, Kris Burm's LYNGK, and Donald X. Vaccarino's Temporum: Alternate Realities should also hit the retail market before the end of April 2017, along with a restocking of Mac Gerdts' Concordia.
Adds Tepper, "We are (slowly) working through the Dominion expansions to update them to go along with the second edition base game and second edition Intrigue. This has meant rewriting the rule books, and we're also updating the copy on all the cards to unify the text. We have already updated Hinterlands and Prosperity. The next one in the queue to be updated is Seaside, which we should get in late May."
• A Ravensburger representative in Germany tells me that an English-language edition of Reiner Knizia's deck-building/exploration game El Dorado will be released in the U.S. No word on a release date yet, but the German version was released in early April 2017 should you care to dive into the game now rather than later.
• On its website, Mayfair Games has posted "The Imperial Post", a solitaire scenario for Tim Puls's The Colonists focusing on the Envoy Colony. In more detail: "Your goal is to establish relations with it and fully develop the relationship over the course of four eras, while also completing specific objectives in each Era."
• I've already shared a video overview of Codenames Duet, a cooperative version of Vlaada Chvátil's hit party game that will debut at Gen Con 2017 in August, but Czech Games Edition has a number of other titles in the works as well.
That's a Question, which is not the final title, is another party game from Chvátil, and the game takes the familiar format of challenging others with questions, then voting on what they'll say. In more detail, each player has a hand of hexagonal cards, with words or phrases in three color blocks on the card. On a turn, you choose a player that has a token in front of them, take that token, then present them with a question by choosing one of the three question prompts (which are all color-coded), then choosing two cards from your hand and adding the properly-colored section of those cards to the question. In the pic below, for example, the player has been presented with this question: "What would you miss more if it ceases to exist: Facebook or doors?" That player secretly votes on A or B, while everyone else but the questioner secretly votes A or B depending on how they think the person will answer; a voter can optionally add their 3x scoring token to their vote.
Once everyone votes, you reveal the tiles. Everyone who voted correctly moves ahead one or three spaces on the scoring track, and the questioner moves ahead one space for each person who voted incorrectly. If you pass a certain space on the scoring track, you retrieve your 3x token (if you've used it). Since you can ask a question only of those with a token in front of them, everyone is asked roughly the same number of questions, and whoever has the most points after a certain number of rounds wins.
Other titles in the works from CGE include:
—A science-fiction Eurogame tentatively titled Pleiades that features an "interesting dice mechanism".
—An expansion for Adrenaline that adds components for a sixth player, character-specific weapons, and rules for team play to the game.
—More leaders and wonders for Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization.
—A new player deck for Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends based on time travel.
That's a Question, with prototype components and name — an easy question in this case