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New Game Round-up: Sailing and Coloring the Seas and Skies

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Traders of the Air
Traders of the Air is a new version of Michael Schacht's Hansa that Compass Games is Kickstarting (link) through early October 2019 ahead of a Q2 2020 release.

In Traders of the Air, 2-4 players take turns moving a steamship from city to city to purchase goods, set up guild contracts, and sell goods. Moving and buying cost money, with funds being tight.

In slightly more detail, you receive 3 money each turn. For 1 money, you can refill empty markets on the board with random goods. You then move the ship from city to city, paying for each leg of the journey, and in each city you can take at most one action. You need to set up guild contracts in cities as (1) if you have the most such contracts in a city, you can take one good for free instead of paying and (2) to sell goods, you must be in a city where you can remove one of your guild markets, thereby reducing your influence in that city. This is important since you might no longer get free goods; on top of that, if you have the most guild markers in a city, when another player buys a good, they pay you that 1 money instead of the bank. At the end of your turn, you must discard to 3 money and 3 goods.

I love Hansa, although like many older games, it hasn't hit my table in years. Here's my comment on it:
Quote:
A prime example of a game in which the player to your right will affect your ability to succeed in the game. With an inexperienced player in that position, you'll often find lots of [goods] on a full board with the boat in an ideal spot; with a seasoned hand in that position, rotsa ruck.

As such, I prefer playing with only two, or with players of equal ability. If you're teaching someone new, go easy on them the first game or else you're likely to quadruple their score and have them veto the game in the future.
Good to see this design coming back on the market, although I'm curious what the reaction to it will be given that the audience for games has changed a lot in the past sixteen years...

Board Game: Marchands du Nord
• Or maybe the market hasn't changed as Marchands du Nord ("Merchants of the North") from Loïc Lamy and La Haute Roche hit the French market on September 20, 2019, and the setting and activity in this game is similar to what Hansa featured in 2004:
Quote:
In Marchands du Nord, you want to build commercial lines with your three ships and deliver goods to various cities, earning money based on the goods delivered and improving the cities to provide additional bonuses in the future.
BGG recorded an overview of the game at FIJ 2019 should you care to see it in action:



Board Game: Combo Color
• Also out on the French market is Combo Color from designers Charles Chevallier and Laurent Escoffier and publisher Asmodee, with this game apparently being an evolution of CAPcolor: Les Pyramides d'Émeraude and CAP10, two book/game releases from ilinx éditions. Here's a summary of the new release:
Quote:
Combo Color is a competitive coloring game. On each turn, players color in one space on the board. Symbols in the spaces determine the scoring: some items are summed together, some are multiplied, some require connections, some score negative. When all spaces are colored, the player with the most points wins.
And here's Chevallier and Escoffier talking about CAPcolor and CAP10 in an overview recorded at FIJ 2018 and not published until...Sunday, September 22, 2019. My apologies to the designers for not publishing this earlier. Thankfully the BGG staff is now larger, and I'm not overseeing the publication of these convention overview videos these days as I'd often get behind and "lose" things along the way:

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