W. Eric Martin
• Let's check out more video previews recorded at the 2018 GAMA Trade Show for titles that will be released in the near future, although I'm going to kick off with a game that's near only in the sense that it's coming out sooner than SPIEL.
Magic: The Gathering turns 25 in 2018, and to celebrate Wizards of the Coast is returning the setting of the game to its original plane of existence, Dominaria, for the set that's due out at the end of April 2018. Tied into this anniversary is the release of Magic: The Gathering – Heroes of Dominaria, a standalone board game for 2-4 players from WizKids that will debut in August 2018 in a standard edition and in September 2018 in a premium edition with painted figures. At GAMA, WizKids gave us a sneak peek at this design in a very unfinished state:
• In addition to showing off the new game Space Base, designer John D. Clair talked to us about Mystic Vale: Conclave, which releases from Alderac Entertainment Group in April 2018. This expansion for Mystic Vale includes enough base game components to allow up to six players in a game at once, then it adds a night-and-day system that puts two markets on the table so that two people take their turns at the same time, thereby not adding any downtime despite having more people at the table. That's the idea anyway, and the night-and-day system can be used in games with fewer players as well.
The expansion includes other new items, too, while being packaged in a huge box that will accommodate all things Mystic Vale in a single package — at least until the year 2026, should AEG continue making expansions until then.
• Time to collect rubies once again in Istanbul, but this time in Rüdiger Dorn's Istanbul: The Dice Game, which AEG plans to release in April 2018 following the game's debut from Pegasus Spiele at SPIEL '17. This game is not a "roll straights, roll full houses" type of dice game, but instead a design that mimics the feel of the original game, with you needing to collect and trade in resources, trying to pip others at all of the locations where rubies are available since the first person to a location gets the best deal.
• Jeff Mechlinski of Strange Machine Games has several Robotech-based games in the offing, with the most straightforward of them being Robotech: Ace Pilot, which is due out in June 2018. In the game, you roll dice to gain access to crew powers that you then try to combine to take out the waves of enemies approaching you in a tight 3x3 formation.
• We'll close with another Gen Con 2018 release to round out this colon-intensive collection of game previews. Scott Caputo's Whistle Stop: Rocky Mountains Expansion from Bézier Games drops a mountain range in the middle of the game board, then challenges players to go around or over it, with the promise of special rewards once they do so.