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New Game Round-up: Build Up the Yangtze in Yínzi, Explore as a Legend Raider, and Prepare for a New Carnival of Monsters

W. Eric Martin
United States
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• Don't expect the cover shown at right to survive to the published game as it represents the past and not the future. In Q4 2017, German publisher AMIGO Spiele ran a Kickstarter campaign for Richard Garfield's Carnival of Monsters, a drafting card game that had a marketing hook of reuniting Garfield with famed artists from Magic: The Gathering, such as Mark Tedin, Nene Thomas, and Jesper Myrfors. That hook did not work out, with the KS project reaching only one-fifth of its (unrealistically high) goal of $250K.

As of October 2018, AMIGO has reconfigured the project, with the game now featuring artists familiar to the German market — such as Franz Vohwinkel, Dennis Louhausen, and Michael Menzel — and with a new anticipated release date of Q4 2019.

• Uli Blennemann of Spielworxx has posted an overview of that publisher's release calendar for 2019:

—March: Yínzi: The Shining Ming Dynasty (formerly called "Yangtze") from Luis Costa and José Carlos Santos (a.k.a. Rôla)
—May: Die Macher from Karl-Heinz Schmiel, "with quite a bit of changes", according to Blennemann
—July: Auf der Walz from Jimmy Maas
—October: Throne of Allegoria from Robin Lees and Steve Mackenzie

...with a "heavily revamped" version of Schmiel's Lieber bairisch sterben having previously been announced as a 2020 Spielworxx release. Here's an overview of Yínzi, the only title for which we have details at the moment:

China experienced the greatest economic expansion in its history during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). The silver trade between the Americas and Europe and onward to China had a profound effect on the world economy – it may be considered the beginning of a global economy.

In China, social mobility led to the growing of cities, especially in the lower Yangtze area, which was at that time responsible for the main production of wheat for the whole country. In addition to wheat and rice, other crops like tea, fruits, and sugarcane were grown on a large scale. Immigrating peasants changed their profession to become merchants and artisans. Many people from the countryside were employed in private or state run factories, producing commodities like paper, porcelain, refined sugar, or silk textiles.

Trade and commerce thrived in this liberalized economy and was aided by the construction of canals, roads, and bridges by the Ming government. Ming China saw the rise of several merchant clans, who owned large amounts of wealth.

In Yínzi: The Shining Ming Dynasty — "yínzi" meaning "silver" — the players represent merchant clans developing parts of China in the late Ming period in the early 17th century along the last 200 km of the Yangtze river before it reaches the China Sea.

The players plant crops, sell goods to the rural or urban markets, develop raw materials, build and upgrade factories, and sell their goods to ships already waiting in the port. In order to reach the port, the players need to improve their river transport capabilities along the Yangtze.

• Italian publisher Post Scriptum has already dropped info on the 2019 release Legend Raiders from designers Dario Massarenti and Francesco Testini, with some familiar-yet-not-entirely-specific characters populating the box cover. Here's an overview of this 2-4 player game:

In Legend Raiders, each player represents an adventurer who wants to collect as many ancient coins (a.k.a., victory points or VPs) as possible, searching for legendary treasures and mythical places. In every round on the main board are four different missions, each composed of a discovery to be performed and two random tools (ropes, shovels, compasses and maps) supplied by the bureau. The explorer who gains the most points wins.

On their turn, a player chooses between two actions: (1) Take a discovery and place it on the personal board together with the two randomly related tools, or (2) Perform one or more discoveries with the tools already on the personal board.

To be discovered, each treasure requires a specific combination of tools. Places require more tools than artifacts, but will give more VPs in the following expeditions. When a player uses their favorite tool, they gain more VPs; the torch can be used as a joker by turning it off, but only if it's on!

Discovering new treasures gives the player VPs based on number of ancient coins visible on the personal board, uncovered by the ongoing missions. Solving one mission at a time allows the player to have more visible ancient coins and thus to score more VPs, but having more missions on the board and solving more of them in a single turn gives the player a benefit in terms of time. Each time one or more legendary treasures are discovered, the player also gains a expedition card from the four available at the bureau; expedition cards show goals that grant VPs at the end of the game if achieved.
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