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New Game Round-up: Beautiful German Wood, Games to Libya & More

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Zaunkönig
And the games keep on coming. Here's the latest report on what's coming when:

• German publisher intellego holzspiele has released yet another fabulous-looking coffee-table game, this one titled Zaunkönig ("wren"). Players take turns placing rings on the game board; if a player creates a tower four piece high, he distributes the rings orthogonally, possibly creating more four-high towers. For each tower created, he scores a point. To end a turn, a player blocks a tower with a marble, which means he automatically captures any ring that would be placed on this space.

Richard Denning of Medusa Games will be showing a prototype of The Great Museum at UK Games Expo in June 2011. Here's a game overview from the Medusa website:

Players take on the roles of the owners of the world's great museums. They vie with each other to build the best museums in the world by collecting artefacts – jewellery, statues, sarcophagi, inscriptions, weapons and pottery. These are collected in the regional Halls of the museum: one for each of the continents.

You also build special global collections such as weapons from round the world and regional collections such as pottery from Asia. You also will be able to collect one main attraction for your museum – an artefact of global significance such as the Complete Works of Shakespeare or the sword of Julius Caesar.

Finally each museum will be aiming to complete their own unique display dictated by their benefactor. All of these activities brings your museum prestige to set it above the rest. The best managed museum will win the game.
According to publisher Hans van Tol, Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler's Fortuna will be out in September 2011 from The Game Master.

• In a March 1 press release, NG International says that Letters from Whitechapel and Dakota should be available in U.S. game stores on March 16, 2011, with Magestorm going on sale before the end of March. In Europe, Dakota is already on sale, Magestorm is headed to distribution, and Letters – well, Letters is stuck in an unusual situation: "[T]he container ship which was delivering the game to Italy has been sequestered by the Chinese government on a humanitarian mission to bring Chinese citizens out of Libya, and is currently in Bengasi. Now NG International is following how this situation develops to know when the game will be finally available in Europe and will publish the information updating here."

Board Game: Letters from Whitechapel
• Flavio Jandorno and Antonio Marcelo's Galáxia S.A. – called Cosmic Mogul when I talked with Antonio about the prototype in 2008 – has found a publisher in Portugal's Runadrake, which expects to release the game in 2011 in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Here's a brief game description:

Galáxia S.A. is an exciting game where player will build an intergalactic economical empire! The players will dispute every single piece of the galaxy by acquiring the right to explore planets that produce several goods. These are to be sold at the intergalactic market. But the galaxy is a dangerous place and your opponents will use cunning and intrigue to make your journey harder. Come aboard this adventure and become the most successful cosmic tycoon!
Disputing every single piece of the galaxy sounds like it would take eons, but the playing time is only sixty minutes. Guess some people dispute more quickly than I do...

• U.S. publisher Z-Man Games expects to release an English-language version of Junta: Viva el Presidente! by April 2011. (Pegasus Spiele first released the game in German in late 2010.)

This game will be followed by three games due out by May 2011: Andreas Steding's Firenze (released by Pegasus in German in late 2010), Michael Schacht's Mondo (due out in German from Pegasus in March 2011) and Alan D. Ernstein's Palenque, which isn't currently scheduled for a release by anyone else.

• Several years ago, Italian publisher Stratelibri had an interesting-sounding game in Ventura, which was demoed at both the PLAY and Gen Con game conventions in 2008. I received an overview of the game from co-designer Silvio Negri-Clementi at Spiel 2008 (or perhaps Spiel 2009 – details are hazy this far removed), and the game sounded like a winner, with lots of action and interaction packed into an hour-long strategy game.

Then the game vanished from everyone's radar.

Until the 2011 Nürnberg Toy Fair, that is, when Italian site Gioconomicon snapped several pics of the game, including one bearing both the Stratelibri and Fantasy Flight Games logos. Thus, there's still hope for the game's release some year...

Board Game: Strike of the Eagle
Mayfair Games has announced a May 26, 2011 street date for Robert Żak's Strike of the Eagle, the first title in Academy Games' "Fog of War" series of games. Here's an overview of the title from Mayfair, which distributes games for Academy:

The year is 1920. WWI has ended, but the battle for Europe has just begun. Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin plan to spread the workers' revolution by blasting through Poland in order to support the growing communist movements in Germany, France and Britain. Only the armies of Poland stand in the way of the Bolshevik tide.

Strike of the Eagle is a strategy game that simulates the tenseness of the Polish-Soviet War of 1920. This war featured a return of sweeping cavalry attacks combined with new weaponry innovations such as planes, tanks and armored cars. Gone was the static trench warfare of WWI where front line changes were measured in yards. Instead, the gains of this war's campaigns were measured in hundreds of miles from Kiev and beyond Minsk in the east, to Warsaw and the German border in the west.
• Fantasy Flight Games has attached May 2011 release dates to these previously announced items:

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - Called by the Conclave
A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - Queen of Dragons
Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion
Battles of Westeros: Tribes of the Vale
Black Gold
Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game - The Gleaming Spiral
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - The Hunt for Gollum
Warhammer: Invasion - Signs in the Stars
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