W. Eric Martin
• In its quest to keep up with Renegade Game Studios' release schedule (see here), U.S. publisher WizKids has announced a new title for release in October 2019, and while comparable to Stone Age in terms of setting and gameplay, Johannes Krenner's Age of Dirt: A Game of Uncivilization has an interesting twist on it, with the solid and predictable stoniness of that former game's worker placement giving way to the crumbly unpredictability of soil, which often ends up in unexpected places. An explanation:
In Age of Dirt: A Game of Uncivilization, you control a small tribe at the dawn of civilization, sending out your workers in the hopes of collecting the resources you need to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, they won't always listen. Before collecting resources, you have to drop all the workers in that resource's space through "The Passage", a three-dimensional, mountain shaped tower where they will tumble and get stuck, leaving only a few to get out and actually collect that resource. The rest will have to wait to be knocked loose on a future turn.
So if you send a worker to the forest to collect wood and berries, they might end up in the mountains collecting herbs, on the plains hunting for fur, or in the "Love Tent" making...your population larger. They might also bring some predators out of The Passage with them — or not come back at all.
Players use the resources their workers end up with to arm their workers with spears and drums, to build a larger cave, or to create an invention, which earns victory points for their tribe. The first player to have 10 victory points wins!
• Not to be outdone by WizKids, Alderac Entertainment Group has announced two more titles in its 2019 line-up, with Atelier: The Painter's Studio hitting the U.S. market in mid-July 2019. In this 2-4 player game, players roll dice, manage assistants, collect paint, and complete works of art. In more detail:
Atelier: The Painter's Studio is played in rounds. During each round, players take turns using one or more of their dice to accomplish tasks. Turns proceed clockwise around the table until all players have used all four of their dice. Once the round is over, all players recover their dice, pass the starting player token clockwise, and start the next round. Players use their dice to collect students, paint colors, and ultimately complete paintings. The completed paintings contribute to their studio's reputation, which will in turn open up additional actions that can be taken.
When any player has completed their third painting with the masterpiece symbol, the game enters the final round. Players then total the victory points from their paintings, patrons, and "First Master" token to determine the winner.
• The second title newly announced by AEG is Curios, which is also the third title in its "Big Night" package for Gen Con 2019, with the other two games being Point Salad and Walking in Burano. Here's an overview:
You are a rogue archaeologist, traveling the world for history’s lost artifacts. But the market for artifacts can shift like the rains of Africa: One minute, treasures from a lost pharaoh’s pyramid are all the rage with collectors, and the next minute religious artifacts discovered in a remote temple are what’s in demand.
In Curios, players acquire artifacts from various treasure sites without knowing their worth. Using the cards in your hand and those revealed by others, you can deduce the possible value of your artifacts, allowing you to focus your efforts on the more profitable ventures.
Curios is a game of worker placement, deduction, and bluffing like no other. This simple and intuitive game is quick to learn and even quicker to play!
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