BoardGameGeek News

To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, contact us at
 Thumb up

Space Cowboys Resets TIME Stories, Revives Jaipur, Reveals Jodhpur, and Re-Covers Splendor

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Board Game Designer
Board Game: TIME Stories Revolution: A Midsummer Night
At the 2019 Spielwarenmesse toy fair, I spent a fair amount of time talking with François Doucet from Space Cowboys about the multiple projects coming from this French publisher in 2019.

• The biggest news is the rebooting of the T.I.M.E Stories franchise. T.I.M.E Stories: Madame, due out in Q1 2019, is the final title in the "white cycle" of T.I.M.E Stories, and it brings the current overarching storyline to a resolution of sorts. This will be succeeded by the "blue cycle", which (like the "white cycle") will consist of nine scenarios. Aside from that, however, the "blue cycle" will differ vastly from the game's initial incarnation.

First, no base game will exist for what's been re-dubbed TIME Stories Revolution. Each scenario will be a standalone item that can be played in any order relative to other titles in the "blue cycle". Says Doucet, instead of starting each scenario in the time agents' base with Bob scowling and sniping at you while giving you an info dump, you'll jump straight into the scenario. While the "white cycle" tended to focus on items — as indicated by the cover of each scenario in it — the "blue cycle" will focus on characters, and the covers of these scenarios, such as that of TIME Stories Revolution: A Midsummer Night at right, will reflect that.

What's more, each receptacle in a scenario — that is, the body of the being you'll inhabit when you move forward, backward, or sideways in time — will have its own deck of cards, with the nature of these characters having more importance during gameplay. When you meet someone in a scenario, for example, that individual will likely respond to player A differently than they will for player B. In one case, you might get information from a source; in another case, the source might run away or attack you or lie. In addition to the personality of the receptacles, the characters within a scenario — the agents represented by the 2-4 players — will have backgrounds of their own that might interact or interfere with missions in different ways.

Doucet says that in response to feedback from players and market surveys, the "blue cycle" scenarios will do away with the time track and have playing times under three hours, making them single evening events rather than something that might last multiple playing sessions as you start over and over again — and despite the scenarios being standalone titles playable in any order, Space Cowboys will also release an Experience expansion that players can run between scenarios to explore the overall story that connects everything in the "blue cycle" and provides background for what happens before a scenario begins. I'm curious to see how this all plays out, but I can imagine this working because creators have done similar things in the past. Poo-tee-weet?

For those unfamiliar with T.I.M.E Stories, Space Cowboys will release a demo scenario along the lines of 2017's Santo Tomás de Aquino so that people can test the waters in an inexpensive way, whether at a convention or in stores. A Midsummer Night from Antonin Merieux and T.I.M.E Stories creator Manuel Rozoy and The Hadal Project from Kevin and Melissa Delp will be the first two releases in the TIME Stories Revolution, with both hitting the market in Q3 2019.

Board Game: Jaipur
Sébastien Pauchon's Jaipur debuted in 2009 from GameWorks, and it's returning to print in a new edition in 2019 as the first title in a new two-player game line from Space Cowboys. First, let's present an overview of this game for those not familiar with it:
You are one of the two most powerful traders in the city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, but that's not enough for you because only the merchant with two "seals of excellence" will have the privilege of being invited to the Maharaja's court. You are therefore going to have to do better than your direct competitor by buying, exchanging, and selling at better prices, all while keeping an eye on both your camel herds.

Jaipur is a fast-paced card game, a blend of tactics, risk and luck. On your turn, you can either take or sell cards. If you take cards, you have to choose between taking all the camels, taking one card from the market, or swapping 2-5 cards between the market and your cards. If you sell cards, you get to sell only one type of good, and you receive as many chips for that good as the number of cards you sold. The chips' values decrease as the game progresses, so you'd better hurry! On the other hand, you receive increasingly high rewards for selling three, four, or five cards of the same good at a time, so you'd better wait!

You can't sell camels, but they're paramount for trading and they're also worth a little something at the end of the round, enough sometimes to secure the win, so you have to use them smartly.
From gallery of W Eric Martin

François Doucet says that the gameplay in Jaipur — straightforward and easy to learn, with non-aggressive player conflict — is the model for the company's two-player game line.

Jodhpur, which comes from the design team of Frank Crittin, Grégoire Largey, and Pauchon, is a tile-laying game in which players each create their own city, trying to collect lots of elephants, create long roads, and connect tiles of the same color together. The game includes a small board, and five tiles are placed on the center of the board.

As I recall it — and my notes are hazy here, along with my memory as I blitzed through 100+ game descriptions in a few days — on a turn, a player places two tiles on this board, either both on the opponents' side, both on your side, or split between the two. If you place a tile that doesn't match either in color or road layout (curved, straight, T, or +), then the player on whose side you placed the tile must add it to their city; if the placed tile does match one of those characteristics, then the tile remains in reserve on that player's side of the board until it's bumped out by another tile later. Whoever collects tiles on a turn must immediately place them in their city.

From gallery of Photodump
Mock-up of Jodhpur at Spielwarenmesse 2019; fingers for scale

Ankhor, by the same trio of designers, is a quick-playing resource management game in which each player on their turn either collects three types of tokens (with an ankh being a supplemental resource) or buys a tile from a marketplace and adds this tile to their structure, trying to connect tiles of the same color or bearing the same scarab while doing so. By spending an ankh, you can shift tiles in the marketplace and change the cost and type of goods needed to purchase them.

Each player's structure will have at most thirteen tiles, so don't wait too long to start building!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mock-ups of Jaipur and Ankhor at Spielwarenmesse 2019; Jodhpur had no back cover

• When I arrived at Spielwarenmesse on Wednesday, I had only a few minutes to snap pics, without getting an explanation for anything I saw. The pic below was one such image. Turns out, Doucet tells me, that the German branch of Asmodee asked for a different cover of Splendor for marketing purposes.

Board Game: Splendor

• Finally, in February 2018, I tweeted the following from the FIJ fair in Cannes:

Doucet says that this new edition of Caylus is still being developed and might be possibly be ready by SPIEL '19. As is often the case with Space Cowboys, if the game isn't ready, it won't be rushed to market. After all, plenty of other titles are already there waiting for you...
Twitter Facebook
Subscribe sub options Wed Feb 6, 2019 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}