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Vintage Designs In New Bottles: Big City, Luna, and Ruse & Bruise

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Big City: 20th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!
Board Game: Big City: 20th Anniversary Jumbo Edition – Urban Upgrade
• In March 2018, I posted a few details about the "20th Anniversary Jumbo Edition" of Franz-Benno Delonge's Big City that Mercury Games planned to release in Q4 2018. That project was delayed a bit, but now Mercury has gone live with a Kickstarter project to fund this game (KS link) ahead of an August 2019 release, and this version indeed matches the "jumbo" description in its name, with buildings one-third larger than those in the initial Goldsieber edition of the game from 1999.

The heart of the game remains the same as the original release — players acquire cards in eight different neighborhoods, then use them to lay out buildings either one, two, or three spaces large, with those buildings scoring a certain amount of points, with possible bonuses based on surrounding buildings — but Mercury has updated the game to include a redevelopment phase each round in which players must add one or two cards to a draft, thereby allowing for more interactivity and fewer player stand-offs.

The KS also includes an Urban Upgrade expansion that allows for play with up to five players and that adds four new types of buildings to gameplay. (Mercury claims that Delonge, who died in 2007, thought the original upper player count of five was too much, so the revised base game now allows for 2-4 players, with the fifth player coming to the table only thanks to the expansion that allows more room to grow for everyone.)

Mercury Games stresses that this edition of the game will probably not be reprinted due to the cost of materials, similar to how it's said that it won't reprint Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition!, so this project is another example of the one-and-done nature of many large-scale crowdfunding projects, such as those for Claustrophobia 1643 and Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, which are not going into distribution but instead being delivered solely to project backers.

Board Game: Luna
Board Game: Gambit Royale
Tasty Minstrel Games will release a "Deluxified" version of Stefan Feld's Luna in September 2019, and while the Kickstarter campaign for this title (KS link) mentions "BRAND NEW content, created by [editor] Ralph Bruhn and Stefan Feld, specifically made for this NEW, Deluxified™ version", I see only metal coins and silkscreened meeples being added to the game, not content in the way that I would think of content, that is, something meaningful to gameplay. Either I'm missing something, or TMG defines "content" differently than I do.

• At SPIEL '18, new German publisher LuPri released a new version of Lutz Stepponat's 2006 card game Ruse & Bruise under the name Kabale und Hiebe: Setzt dem Ganzen die Krone auf. Now Rio Grande Games, which released an English version of the original game, has stated that it will release this new version under the title Gambit Royale. Gameplay is the same as in the original game, except for the inclusion of five new cards and some modifications to existing cards. Here's an overview of how to play:

Quote:
Magicians and dragons, kings and princesses populate the land and want only one thing: the greatest fame. The players try to use their royal household to cause problems for their opponents and trick them with underhanded chess moves.

In more detail, the game lasts six rounds, and at the start of each round, each player reveals a random goal card worth 1-5 victory points (VPs), each with one of six symbols printed on it. Each player has a deck of influence cards and starts with a hand of three cards. On a turn, a player plays a card face down in front of a goal card, then draws a replacement card; if a face-down card is already present at this goal, the player reveals in and executes the action on it, if any. As soon as all goals have as many cards below them as their VP value, the round ends. Reveal the face-down cards without executing their actions, then carry out the actions of any mercenaries, wizards, witches, and princes/squires in play. Whichever player then has the most influence on a goal (as determined by the values on their played cards) claims that goal, with ties being broken in favor of whichever tied player played on that goal first.

After six rounds, players tally their goal cards to determine their final score; alternatively, if they have a set of six goal symbols, they can sum those six cards, double that value, then subtract 1 VP from that total for each goal card they have that's not part of that set. Whoever has the most points wins!
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