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New Game Round-up: Imhotep Welcomes the Gods, Agra Prepares for a Birthday, and Canada Awaits Exploitation in Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• Admittedly with Gen Con 2017 being the next major convention in the offing, much of the gaming news popping up relates to that show, but SPIEL 2017 looms even larger ahead of its October 26 opening, and publishers are popping out announcements for that show as well, such as Matagot's opening teaser for Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes, a 2-4 player game from Emanuele Ornella that bears this short description:

Canada's wealth is waiting for you!

The Okanagan Valley, with its huge lakes and fertile meadows, awaits anyone willing to exploit it. Shape the land and store your wealth in the gathering and territory-building game Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes. In the game, players arrange tiles to design the landscape along with its natural resources — and it's your job to place one of the three buildings to obtain and secure these resources so that you can complete your objectives.

• A second title coming from Matagot at SPIEL 2017 is Cédric Millet's Meeple Circus, which was first announced in early 2016. The description gives you enough details to start imagining how it might play:

You have only one goal in Meeple Circus: Entertain the audience. The competition is tough, but you can create the most amazing circus by proposing incredible acts! Acrobats, horses, and many accessories are at your disposal. Be sure to undertake a good rehearsal, then with your remarkable dexterity, you can give them the show of their lifetime. Once the circus music starts, all eyes will be upon you!

In short, Meeple Circus is a dexterity game in which you do what all gamers do when setting up a game: Pile up your meeples!

• Dutch publisher Quined Games has a new title coming in Q4 2017 from Michael Keller of La Granja fame with Agra being a 90-120-minute game for 2-4 players. Quined has included a decent amount of background in its description to put the game in context:

Agra, India: The year is 1572; this year marks the 30th birthday of Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad, popularly known as Akbar the Great. Akbar is the third ruler of India's Mughal dynasty, having succeeded his father, Humayun. With the guidance of his regent, Bairam Khan, Akbar has expanded and consolidated India's Mughal domains. Using his strong personality and skill as a general, Akbar has enlarged his Empire to include nearly all of the Indian subcontinent north of the Godavari River; his presence is felt across the entire country due to the Mughals' military, political, cultural, and economic dominance.

To unify the vast Mughal state, Akbar has established a centralized system of administration; conquered rulers are conciliated through marriage and diplomacy. Akbar has preserved peace and Order throughout his empire by passing laws that have won him the support of his non-Muslim subjects. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state-identity, Akbar has striven to unite his lands. The Mughals' Persian-ized culture has afforded Akbar near-divine status.

Notables and emissaries from all over the country are on their way for Akbar's birthday celebration. As an ambitious landowner, you cannot let this pass; the festivities are a golden opportunity for you to rise in stature and wealth.

On your land in Agra, you cultivate and harvest cotton and turmeric. You possess a forest from which you produce wood, as well as a small, but very profitable sandstone quarry. By trading and processing your wares, you can obtain more luxurious goods, which you will then use to woo notables as they make their way into the capital. Of course, your rivals have the same plan; you must use your wits to outsmart them as Akbar's birthday draws near...

• Designer Phil Walker-Harding and German publisher KOSMOS have an expansion shipping in October for their Spiel des Jahres-nominated Imhotep with Imhotep: Eine neue Dynastie consisting of five new places, fourteen market cards, seven god cards, four chariots, and 56 tiles. One detail about what's new in this expansion: "God cards let players predict the progress of different buildings, with them being rewarded at the end of the game if they're correct and otherwise being punished."

Adellos is a self-published game from newcomer Till Engel that he's currently funding on German crowdfunding site Startnext for an anticipated debut at SPIEL 2017. Here's a description from the designer:

Adellos is a turn-based tactical strategy board game for 2-4 players. Each player controls a medieval nobleman, who hires various units (soldiers, riders, thugs, etc.) and tries to overcome the other players. The players have twelve different units with unique skills to choose and control. They also have to manage their gold income and the flow of action cards that each player can use on their turn for effects that influence the game. Everything takes place on a symmetric battle map. Every nobleman has a specific and unique skill that can influence the game from the start.

Turns are played in two phases. During the first phase, players gain the resources their units provide. In the second phase, players hire units, move, attack, or play action cards. Every action costs a specific number of action points. The players start with three action points and an amount of gold, depending on their position. Players can increase their action points throughout the game to build up huge turns.
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