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New Game Round-up: Students Make Calls in Zendo and Bricks Make Walls in Amun-Re While Night Falls in Dominion: Nocturne

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• U.S. publisher Looney Labs has been working on a new version of Kory Heath's well-loved and long out of print Zendo, and now the company has finally spilled the beans on the new edition. What's more, it's already going into production, with a mold for the pieces having been approved and the finished item expected to appear on retail shelves in late 2017 or early 2018.

Wait, a mold? Doesn't Zendo use the familiar pyramid pieces that you can now find in abundance in Pyramid Arcade and other Looney releases? Yes and no — the pyramids are one of three shapes of pieces to be included in Zendo, with the other two being a rectangular prism and a triangular prism.

What is Zendo anyway? A tool for teaching the scientific method, according to designer Nick Bentley, in addition to being a game in its own right. One player, the Master, creates a rule, then presents all of the Students with one arrangement of pieces that follows this rule and another arrangement that doesn't. The Students must create arrangements of their own, which the Master then labels as following the rule or not. If a Student attempts to guess the rule, the Master can build a counterexample that demonstrates why that guessed rule is not correct or congratulate the Student on winning.

I believe that Looney Labs will be demoing this new version of Zendo at Gen Con 50 in late August 2017. The publisher is also asking interested parties to complete a survey about this new version of Zendo should you care to share your opinion.

Donald X. Vaccarino and Rio Grande Games have sprung another addition to the Dominion empire on gamers: Dominion: Nocturne, which RGG expects to release in October 2017. As usual, Donald X. kills it on the exposition:

You've always been a night person; lately you've even considered becoming a vampire. There are a lot of advantages: you don't age; you don't have to see yourself in mirrors anymore; if someone asks you to do something, you can just turn into a bat, and then say, sorry, I'm a bat. There are probably some downsides though. You always think of the statue in the town square that came to life and now works as the tavern barmaid. The pedestal came to life, too, so she has to hop around. The village blacksmith turns into a wolf whenever there's a full moon; when there's a crescent moon, he turns into a chihuahua. That's how this stuff goes sometimes. Still, when you breathe in the night air, you feel ready for anything.

Dominion: Nocturne, the 11th expansion to Dominion, has 500 cards, with 33 new Kingdom cards. There are Night cards, which are played after the Buy phase; Heirlooms that replace starting Coppers; Fate and Doom cards that give out Boons and Hexes; and a variety of extra cards that other cards can provide.

• At SPIEL '17 in October, French publisher Super Meeple — which released a new version of Reiner Knizia's Amun-Re in 2016 — will debut Amun-Re: The Card Game, about which I know nothing more than these facts for now. Look, a picture!

• Other pictures of forthcoming releases include these shots of Pioneers, an Emanuele Ornella title coming from Queen Games at SPIEL '17 about which I also know nothing:

• And there's this beauty shot of another Queen Games title for SPIEL '17: Merlin, designed by Stefan Feld and Michael Rieneck:

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