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Italian Game Round-up: Rebuild Buenos Aires, Avoid Disaster in Easter Island, and Race for Safety in Last Aurora

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• Despite spending 3.5 days at the Spielwarenmesse fair in February 2019, I still missed seeing all the new games that were being shown there, and I know that only because I've just found out about Volcanic Isle, a 2-4 player design from Andrea Mainini and Luciano Sopranzetti that is being co-published by Pendragon Game Studio and Arcane Wonders, with the English version of the game due out in July 2019 and debuting at the 2019 Origins Game Fair. Here's a quick take on the design:

Long ago, Easter Island was a vast continent ravaged by constant volcanic activity. The settlers of this land raised Moai, gigantic monolithic statues to appease the gods and mend the wounds of the land. Unfortunately, instead of healing the land, the very act of sealing off craters and geysers caused an even greater disaster to unfold...

Players in Volcanic Isle are tasked with building villages and raising Moai across the continent. However, with each Moai raised, the possibility of a volcanic eruption increases! Eruptions devastate settlements and cause whole sections of the board to sink into the sea and be removed!
• Another title coming from Pendragon in 2019 — with no U.S. partner announced as of yet — is Last Aurora from Mauro Chiabotto, who details the originating spark of the game in this BGG post: "This chase scene [in Mad Max: Fury Road] scene triggered my mind and I started to develop game concepts: 'people have to drive a truck'… 'they have to escape from a disaster'… 'they have to fight to survive'… 'they have to find fuel to move vehicles'… 'they have to have different spaces in the truck for people, resources, or weapons'." As for what the final game is:

The radioactive dust of the Last War has frozen the northern countries. In the ice desert, the few survivors live in an icy hell as the resources of the "old world" are now exhausted, and travel to the south is too long and dangerous. But a radio message is rekindling hope: The last icebreaker ship, the Aurora, is cruising along the coast, looking for survivors. The winter is coming, and in a few days, those who cannot get on board will be doomed by the ice. It will be a race against time to arrive at the ship or surrender to despair: there's still the light of hope on the horizon, a light to grab before it's too late...

Last Aurora is a post-apocalyptic game for 2-4 players set in a frozen, desolate land. Each player has to manage their crew to gather resources, recruit survivors, improve their vehicle, and fight their enemies as they race to reach the ship before it's too late!
• Italian designer Michele Quondam released Río de la Plata through his own in 2010, and for 2019 he's releasing a new version of the game called Trinidad that features a new game system, new iconography, new mechanisms, a shorter playing time, a two-player modality, and 3D miniatures instead of cardboard tokens. He talks about these changes in more detail in this BGG thread, while highlighting a trip to Buenos Aires to learn more about the setting of this game in this thread. As for what the game's about, here's a summary:

In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza founded the city of Nuestra Senora Santa Maria del Buen Ayre along the river Rio de la Plata. After five years, the colonists were forced to leave the city, exhausted by the difficulties and by the resistance of the indigenous Querandies.

Almost fifty years later, Juan de Garay lead a new expedition and founded a new city in the same place with the name of Ciudad de Trinidad. This city has become the modern Buenos Aires. Just like the first time, resources are low and the natives are ready to defend their territories! What's more, now the Corsairs paid by the English Crown threaten the new Spanish settlement!

Trinidad is a strategy game based on player actions and worker placement mechanisms. Players represent the chiefs of the families of Spanish settlers of Buenos Aires. They must work together to defend and develop the city, but also look to gain sufficient prestige for themselves so that they can take the most important political offices. In the end, only one will be the new Governor! Will it be you?

The game covers several aspects of 16th century city development, from resource management and building constructions to commerce, character recruiting and improving, etc. There is also a tactical game part that allows players to manage the wars with Indios and Corsairs. The game comes full of miniatures for historical buildings, player workers, conquistadores, and Indio warriors.

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