W. Eric Martin
• Friedemann Friese's 2F-Spiele and U.S. publisher Rio Grande Games will release German and English versions, respectively, of Power Grid: Québec & Baden-Wuerttemberg in April/May 2012. This expansion for Friese's Power Grid consists of the Québec half of Filosofia's Mégawatts base game and the Baden-Württemberg half of the EnBW edition of Power Grid. Henning Kröpke of 2F-Spiele notes that "There will be only this single print run. Afterwards that expansion is gone, but numbers should be high enough to satisfy the demand." And Québec will continue to be included with Mégawatts in the future.
• Valley Games has posted a blizzard of images of D-Day Dice, the first of which (along with the million expansions and upgrade components) has arrived from the printer for inspection.
• Alliance Game Distributors lists Silvio Negri-Clementi's The Mystery of the Templars as a May 2012 release in the U.S. The game is being published by Stratelibri, has a playing time of 240 minutes, and carries a $65 MSRP. Here's a long description of the game if you're not familiar with it:
For 200 years, the Knights Templar were a powerful political and economic force, helping to shape Europe during the Middle Ages. Founded to protect pilgrims on their journeys to the Holy Land, the "poor comrades-in-arms of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" would eventually grow a network of strongholds ("Commanderies") throughout the Christian world, where novice knights were trained, and trade goods could be managed and exchanged. By 1307, the “poor comrades-in-arms” were one of the richest organizations in Europe: one that would attract the covetous eyes of the French king.
In The Mystery of the Templars, players become the masters of this secretive organization. They must assign their knights to the critical task of escorting pilgrims, but also to seek out and discover long-lost artifacts of Christian lore. Using their holdings in the Holy Land, they procure valuable trade goods, which must then be transported to the hungry markets of Europe, using the profits to expand the Order’s holdings. But along the way brigands and pirates threaten the flow of goods and wealth, and must be challenged by valorous knights to safeguard the precious caravans and trade ships. To be successful, the players must balance the needs of trade, development, and battle.
In time, the powerful enemies of the Templars will strike, beginning the Persecution which will eventually cause the destruction of the Order. In those last desperate days, the players must flee from their Commanderies with all the wealth and relics they can carry, seeking refuge in the farthest corners of the world. The player who can best manage the resources of the Order during the days of wealth, and who can rescue the most important relics from the Persecution, will be the victor in The Mystery of the Templars.
• In an effort to push awareness of his debut design – Lands Unknown – while its IndieGoGo fundraising campaign is active, designer Tautvydas Lokys has released a free print-and-play version (PDF) of the game. Possibly a model for other designers taking the fundraising route – depending on the strength of the design, of course...
• And here is today's Kickstarter item: Expedite is a route-building game in which you must build hubs between starting and ending destinations in order to score World Trade cards. Are all the hubs you need in place, but not necessarily owned by you? You can give points to opponents in order to use their hubs, but that might not be the best choice to make. (KS link)