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AMIGO Heads to the U.S.; Gamewright Yells Zoinx at Trash Pandas

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
RPG Publisher: AMIGO
• German publisher AMIGO Spiel has long had a presence on the U.S. gaming market, but only through games licensed by others. In 2018, though, AMIGO is finally opening a U.S. gaming division of its own: AMIGO Games, which is headquartered near Austin, Texas, and which was founded in December 2017 ahead of the closing of AMIGO's frequent U.S. publishing partner Mayfair Games, a closing detailed here.

AMIGO Games will launch in 2018 with twenty titles(!) in the U.S., all of which have been released previously in Europe and many of which have had prior release in the U.S., but senior product manager Ashley Ross tells me that the company is going for a different look with much of its line-up compared to what's released in Germany. The strategy games in the line-up — Tom Lehmann's Ciúb, Johannes Schmidauer-König's Portal of Heroes, and Fréderic Moyersoen's Saboteur, Saboteur 2, and Saboteur: The Duel, all of which are due out in Q2 2018 — will keep their familiar look because they're aimed at an audience that's already "in the know" about such games.

(Adds Ross, "we bought back all the product Mayfair had in stock. Until that sells out, the English version in stores will have the Mayfair logo. On our next production run, the boxes will have the Amigo logo as shown in the images.")

Board Game: Ciúb
Board Game: Portal of Heroes
Board Game: Saboteur
Board Game: Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions)
Board Game: Saboteur: The Duel

By contrast, AMIGO's family line-up of games — which includes Rudi Hoffmann's Café International, Wolfgang Kramer's Escape from the Hidden Castle (a.k.a. Midnight Party) and Heimlich & Co., Haim Shafir's Eye Sea (first released in 2016 as Brain Storm), Heinz Meister's Déjà Vu, Thomas Pauli's Double Down (a.k.a. Lobo 77), and Thorsten Gimmler's No Thanks!, all of which are scheduled for release in August 2018 — have a retro look that recalls the U.S. game industry of the 1960s.

Board Game: Café International
Board Game: Escape from the Hidden Castle
Board Game: Heimlich & Co.
Board Game: Eye Sea
Board Game: Déjà Vu
Board Game: Double Down
From gallery of Photodump

Board Game: Take 5 & Take A Number
Of particular interest to BGGers might be Take Five & Take A Number, which combines Wolfgang Kramer's 6 nimmt! and Kramer and Reinhard Staupe's X nimmt! in a single package. Why not since they have so much overlap in their components?

The rest of AMIGO's line-up is children's games, or perhaps a more descriptive term would be "games by Haim Shafir", since he's responsible for designing or co-designing most of them, including CLACK!, Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Connect the Thoughts (a.k.a. Huddelmuddel), and Fruit Punch, which is what AMIGO is now calling Halli Galli in the U.S. This latter box bears the tagline "Spot five and bop the banana!" because the box contains a squeaky banana instead of the traditional bell. Sacrilege!

Another title in the children's line is Bob Lindner's Engine, Engine No. 9, which debuted in 2010 in Germany as Voll in Fahrt.

Board Game: CLACK!
Board Game: Ring-A-Ding-Ding
Board Game: Connect the Thoughts
Board Game: Halli Galli
Board Game: Engine, Engine No. 9

Board Game: Zoinx!
Board Game: Trash Pandas
• U.S. publisher Gamewright has released a list of the game it plans to release in 2018, but right now the description of each item is brief, which doesn't give much in the way of flavor, and the images are teensy as well. Matt Leacock's Forbidden Sky — already teased in this late January 2018 post — is the highlight of the bunch for gamers, but folks might also want to check out Zoinx!, a dice game in which you bet on what you think others will roll, with those players being able to press their luck at the risk of failing and rewarding your instead.

• Gamewright has also picked up Michael and Lisa Eskue's Trash Pandas for publication in Q3 2018, with this title having first appeared through the Eskues' own Red Rook Games with funding via Indiegogo. In the game, player raccoons dig through trash cans (via a die roll) to score food and shiny objects, but you need to balance your greed for more each round against the risk of crashing and coming away with empty paws.

Board Game: Cahoots
Board Game: Long Cow
• Another Gamewright title possibly of interest to gamers is Cahoots, a cooperative game due out Q2 2018 in which players need to play cards onto 1-4 piles by matching color or number to complete a series of goals without communicating what they hold in hand. Asks the publisher: "Can you make all piles purple or green? Every card lower than four? All cards add up to ten?" Answers the writer: I do not know. More details, please.

• Gamewright's Long Cow falls into the familiar family game genre that requires you to manipulate farm animals. In more detail:
Build cows by collecting heads, tails, and middles from the deck. The longer the cow, the more points you score. Bolster your barn with holy cows, robot cows, and even a cross-bred Franken-cow — but make hay before your herd is hit by a tornado, or worse, an alien abduction! Round up the biggest bovines and party like the cows came home!
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