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Prepare to Unknot Worms, Flip Houses, and Escape from Black Holes at SPIEL '19

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• I had previously mentioned Magic Maze: Mars as a SPIEL '19 release, but now Belgian publisher Sit Down! has revealed more of its SPIEL '19 line-up, with Wormlord from Jonathan Bittner and Andrew Cedotal perhaps appealing to the same type of player as Magic Maze given that it accommodates 2-8 players and bears a playing time of 5-10 minutes. An overview:

It has long been thought that earthworms were slow creatures with no ambition. It is not so. They dream of conquering the world but suffer from internal conflicts that prevent their great project from taking shape: the reds are convinced that it is up to them to lead the troops. Same for the blues. And the greens. Not to mention the yellows. It was therefore inevitable that they come to blows. Wormlord tells their story.

Wormlord is a game that is played simultaneously, without a turn, and consists of conquering spaces by placing knots. It is possible to repel his opponents by undoing their ropes and returning them to them. The victory condition varies from one tray setup to another, but usually it's about conquering a number of objective spaces.

Cover draft
• Bittner and Cedotal apparently fit the Sit Down! brand perfectly as the publisher plans to release three titles from the design duo at SPIEL '19, with the 2-4 player House Flippers also being a real-time game experience. In the game, each sand timer represents a property generating periodic income, with players investing in decrepit properties to renovate them, sell them, then reinvest the profit. The game has four possible actions, with everyone playing simultaneously: cash in a rental, buy and renovate a new property, hire an expert in lucrative real estate, and grow your savings.

• The other Bittner/Cedotal/Sit Down! production for SPIEL '19 is Palm Reader, a party game for 4-12 players. A summary:

Palm Reader is divided into several rounds, and in each round the active player draws a card and randomly chooses one of five symbols on it. This player then draws that symbol on the palm of the person sitting to their left, while that person has their eyes closed. Go around the circle of players, receiving and tracing on palms (like Telephone). After the final player has received the tracing, reveal the card, then have all players vote on what they believe the starting symbol was. You receive as many victory points as the number of players in a row who successfully guess the symbol.

Once everybody has been the active player once, the player scoring the most VPs wins.

• Designer Tony Boydell of Surprised Stare Games has announced a fascinating-sounding (and -looking) release for SPIEL '19 in partnership with Frosted Games, with this game also providing a real-time playing experience. Three games in one post makes this a trend, right?

Here's a rundown of the solitaire game Lux Aeterna, which bears a playing time of 6-12 minutes:

Your ship has sustained massive damage, is falling apart around you, and is drifting toward the ultimate catastrophe, a black hole. You are alone.

Your challenge in Lux Aeterna is to draw and play all of the cards in the main deck, one turn after another, without the spaceship collapsing completely or falling into the black hole. Cards have multiple functions; you will assign drawn cards to one each of these functions each turn:

—As damage to a system (with six systems available to you);
—As an action to help stay alive/fix the ship; or,
—As movement toward the black hole.

If a ship's system collapses, the game will get harder for you; if you should repair a system, then you just might avoid the ultimate doom.

Events (called "glitches") can be seeded into the main deck to make things even more difficult, as will reducing the real time that you have to play: 12 minutes -> 10 minutes -> 8 minutes, etc.

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