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New Game Round-up: After Centuries, A Golem Emerges Through the Desert

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• With Gen Con 50 opening in just over a week, publishers are flooding out game announcements — or teasers of game announcements — ahead of that show. Plan B Games, for example, has revealed that it will sell Emerson Matsuuchi's Century: Golem Edition at that show, with the first fifty people who show up at the Plan B Games booth on Thursday and say, "I came for the golems!" getting a copy for free. (Everyone who says, "I came for the golems!" after that will receive only a funny look and a request for $40.)

Mike Young from Plan B Games has stated that currently this edition is planned as a one-off, so don't expect to see all three titles of the Century trilogy in this golem-filled universe. (At Spielwarenmesse in early 2017, Plan B's Sophie Gravel had told me that all the artwork for the golem edition of what was originally Caravan had been completed, which makes this edition relatively easy to produce. Creating all new artwork for two additional games would be another matter.) Plan B Games has also stated that Century: Golem Edition and a matching playmat for the game would be sold only via its webstore and at conventions.

• In March 2016, Fantasy Flight Games announced the debut of Windrider Games, an internal studio that would publish non-FFG-style games to which FFG held the rights. Windrider Games released new versions of Ra and Citadels in 2016, then FFG owner Asmodee bought Z-Man Games and Windrider Games became redundant since the Z-Man Games brand has been around for more than a decade and already publishes titles similar to those released by Windrider.

Thus, it should not be a surprise that when a reprint of Reiner Knizia's Through the Desert was (finally!) announced after being out of print for years, the announcement came from Z-Man Games, which has adopted the "Euro Classics" brand from FFG and Windrider.

Through the Desert is an exceptional game, one in which 2-5 players take turns placing two camels on the board to extend their caravans, with caravan lines never crossing and with lines of the same color never even touching since no one would be able to tell who owns which camels. You want to claim watering holes, reach oases, and create a camel fence to claim land for yourself. This new version of Through the Desert has a double-sided game board with the Niger River running across the Sahara on the new side; players naturally want to cross the river to claim water, but there isn't room for everyone. New gameplay variants are also included in this version.

As for a release date, Z-Man Games writes only "arriving soon", so perhaps this game will show up at Gen Con without announcement, just as FFG's new version of the "Euro Classic" Samurai (also from Knizia) did at Gen Con 2015.

Days of Wonder will have copies of Alan R. Moon's Ticket to Ride: Germany on sale at Gen Con 50 ahead of the game's scheduled U.S. release date of September 2017. (BGG will have Moon in its booth on Friday, Aug. 18 at 17:45 EDT (GMT-4) to chat about game design on camera. I plan to publish our Gen Con 50 broadcast schedule on Wed., Aug. 9 since it's now mostly complete.)

Days of Wonder will also have copies of Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan and Quadropolis: Public Services for sale.

Vice Games will have published copies of Bruno Faidutti's Kamasutra, which was previously available only as a print-and-play game. In the game, teammates reproduce positions in the Kama Sutra while trying to pop a balloon placed between themselves. I don't expect to see this game demoed much during exhibit hall hours, but in the evening...absolutely. Vice Games will be located in the back of the Japanime Games booth, presumably behind a black velvet curtain.

• In late July 2017, I shared this teaser image from Pandasaurus Games, an image related to a game due out at SPIEL '17 that will be demoed at Gen Con 50:

That game is named Coaster Park, with Scott Almes being the designer and Kwanchai Moriya and Peter Wocken supplying the art and graphic design. The only description we have right now is that "Coaster Park is a board game", but if you look at the image and put two and two together, you might guess that in the game you'll put two and two together.
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