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New Game Round-up: Feld Summons Merlin, Atlas Holds Court, and Carcassonne Gets Big Boxed...Again

W. Eric Martin
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• In mid-June 2017, Queen Games posted an announcement on French gaming site Tric Trac that it was returning to the French market, with Atalia and Oya serving as distributors of their games for that market. Kingdom Builder and Alhambra would be the first titles available, given that they're both Spiel des Jahres winners and well-known, to be followed by French versions of the newer titles Treasure Hunter, Captain Silver, Glüx, and two new big games: Immortals and Merlin.

We've already covered Immortals somewhat — for example, posting a game overview recorded at the 2017 Origins Game Fair with co-designer Mike Elliott — but Merlin wasn't on my radar previously, which is a shame since this will be a large game from Stefan Feld. Beyond largeness, however, nothing else was noted about the game — until Friday, June 7, that is, when Queen's Ulrich Fonrobert tweeted the following:

Okay, still not much to go on for now, but could this game look any Feldier?! People will be able to find out more at Gen Con 2017 in August, where this game will be demoed ahead of its release at SPIEL 2017.

In a separate tweet, Fonrobert mentions that Queen Games will also have an Emanuele Ornella design at SPIEL 2017, which is funny since this will be the second new Ornella title on the market this year — Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes from Matagot being the other — after an absence of five years. The Tric Trac article mentions another upcoming title — Pioneers, a "strategy game about the conquest of the Far West" — but Ornella's name isn't attached to it.

• In October 2017, Atlas Games will release Cursed Court from Andrew Hanson, a 2-6 player game in which you need to watch others to determine what you should do. In more detail:

The intrigues and scandals of the realm's greater nobility are a subject of fixation, and even obsession, for the entire kingdom. Most especially for the minor nobility, whose fortunes can be elevated — or shattered — by what happens at court.

In Cursed Court, you must consider both public and hidden information, some of the latter shared among different pairs of players, when wagering your limited influence in each season of the year. As the machinations of the nine key nobles are progressively revealed, your fortunes rise and fall. After three years, a winner is crowned.

MAGE Company has picked up the 2-6 player dice-roller Goblin Dice from Russian publisher GaGa Games for re-release in English in Q2 2018. Your goal in the game is to reach the finish line first or avoid the giant rolling stone that will crush slow players, ideally leaving you as the lone player still fit to move.

• The sixth edition of Carcassonne Big Box hits stores in September 2017 — at least in Germany and the Czech Republic as the game has been announced in those locations so far — and this version of the game includes the Carcassonne base game, the Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders expansions, the mini-expansions The River and The Abbot now included with the base game, and the six mini-expansions from 2012: The Flying Machines, The Messengers, The Ferries, The Gold Mines, Mage & Witch, and The Robbers (which collectively include the tiles for the Corn Circles II mini-expansion).

Hans im Glück also plans to release Carcassonne für 2 in September 2017, this being a small-sized version of the famed tile-laying game with only 48 tiles and 12 tokens in a travel tin.

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