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New Game Round-up: Traumfabrik Returns as Hollywood Golden Age, and Batman Must Protect Gotham Under Siege

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Dream Factory
Reiner Knizia's classic auction game Traumfabrik, a.k.a. Dream Factory, returns in a new edition in 2018 from Spanish publisher Ludonova, with Hollywood Golden Age scheduled to appear in Spanish in mid-2018 and in French before the end of the year.

Hollywood Golden Age features actual actors and directors similar to the original Traumfabrik, unlike the two U.S. reprints of this design that have included parody characters. While no English-language version of this edition is in the works, Ludonova does plan to sell the game at the SPIEL '18 fair in October.

For those not familiar with the design, the gist of the game is that each player starts with three screenplays that require certain tiles in order to be completed. You need a director, actors, music, special effects, and so on. Some screenplays specify everything and others have open slots that you can fill with what you wish, although a movie can never have more than one director. (Sorry, Wachowskis!)

The game lasts four complete rounds, and at the start of each round, you place 1-3 tiles in certain locations on a path that includes two party spaces. Each player starts the game with a certain amount of money, and each time you visit aa location, you have an auction for the tiles located there. Whoever wins the auction distributes the money spent among all the other players, and this closed auction system provides much of the tension in the game because once you buy something, you're usually out of the running for the next auction or two. You need to time well when to bid because if miss a director now, you might not get another chance for a few turns — but if you pay too much, then you might miss other opportunities.

When you reach a party space, you pull tiles from the bag equal to the number of players, then players draft them in order based on the number of actors they have in screenplays, which makes actors highly sought after in the early rounds.

Once you complete a screenplay, you total the stars on it, take a point token, then take a new screenplay from the limited supply. You win Oscars, i.e. points, for being the first to complete a film in one of the three categories, for having the best film in a category, for having the best directors, and for having the worst film. Only completed screenplays are worth points, so as the final round begins, people start getting desperate to complete something, which seems like a good analogy for real-life Hollywood.

Board Game: Dream Factory

Board Game: Dream Factory

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Batman: The Animated Series ran for only three years in the early 1990s, yet the series is much beloved and continues to pop up on new titles in the game world, with Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game appearing from Steve Jackson Games and Cryptozoic in 2016, Batman: The Animated Series – Almost Got 'Im Card Game from Cryptozoic in 2017, and now Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham Under Siege in 2018, with this latter title coming from designers Richard Launius and Michael Guigliano and publisher IDW Games.

This cooperative design for 1-5 players will be previewed at the 2018 Origins Game Fair ahead of its debut at Gen Con 2018 in August. The current game description is brief: Players take on the role of the caped crusader and his allies, using dice allocation and threat management to defend Gotham from henchman and bosses and keep the city from being destroyed. What we know beyond this is that Gotham Under Siege is the first title in a series of games based on this cartoon franchise. Notes IDW: "Subsequent releases in the series will capture and celebrate the Batman Animated universe, packed with heroes and villains, featuring them in settings new and still familiar to fans and gamers."
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