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Eight Releases over Two Years: Spielworxx Plans for 2020 and 2021

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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At SPIEL '19, Spielworxx's owner and game developer Uli Blennemann released "Yearbook 2019", a pamphlet detailing the history of the company, its four releases of 2019 — Yinzi, Auf der Walz, Throne of Allegoria, and a new edition of Karl-Heinz Schmiel's Die Macher — and its planned releases for 2020 and 2021. Yes, we're already looking that far in the future!

March 2020 will see the 2-4 player game The Grand Trunk Journey from Claude Sirois, which bears this basic description for now:
In The Grand Trunk Journey, players represent managers of various railway companies, delivering goods to four ports and twelve cities in eastern Canadian and the U.S.

To do this, they use cards that consist of rail equipment and locations to move their train between those locations to pick up and deliver the goods in supply and demand. This movement of their trains is recorded on the "time track", which indicates how many day players are spending for actions. Efficiency is important, as is the ability to deliver specific goods just in time to certain destinations.

Who will manage their railway most successfully?
This relatively light title is to be followed in June 2020 by Armando Canales' The Cost, which Blennemann describes as "a serious game" for 2-4 players for reasons that should be evident when reading this description:
The Cost is a challenging economic board game that places players in the role of a company whose interest is in the asbestos industry around the world. Players compete to make their fortune by concentrating or diversifying in the various aspects of the industry such as mining, refining, and shipping. Whoever ends the game with the most money wins.

The game is played over four rounds, but it might end early due to health and safety regulations that shut down the industry by eliminating all areas in which they can act. In each round, players begin their turns by selecting a country in which to execute their actions. This selection triggers an event within it, in addition to having an effect on its economy.

Players then use a unique system to draft three actions at once for the round. These actions can be a mix of building mines, building refineries, gaining government subsidies, establishing railroads, and establishing ports. Once all players have executed their actions, they may convert their money (i.e., victory points) into specific country resources, with each country having its own conversion rate.

A player's industry then goes into motion with mines producing raw asbestos, refineries refining that asbestos, and railroads and ports transporting these goods around the world. Players may also have a chance to invest in their own companies to gain an edge. When players mine or refine asbestos, they must choose to either maximize profits for short-term gains or sacrifice their hard-won money to minimize deaths, thus sustaining the industry.
• In the yearbook, Blennemann notes that his new version of Die Macher is the first of several "Kalle games" that Spielworxx will bring to market — "Kalle" being Karl-Heinz Schmiel's nickname — and the second title in that series will be an updated edition of Tribune: Primus Inter Pares, which Heidelberger Spieleverlag and Fantasy Flight Games had released in 2007. For those not familiar with the game, here's an overview:
In ancient Rome, tribunes were highly esteemed individuals elected by the people to represent them politically and militarily. In Tribune, players take on the role of a powerful and ambitious patrician family. By applying influence and manipulating controls over the various factions, they attempt to pave their way to victory in order to attain the high office of the tribune.

In more detail, Tribune is a combination of worker placement and set collection. Each round, players take turns positioning their followers on the board to collect cards, achieve objectives, and attempt to take over factions. To gain control of a faction and use its benefits, you must play a set of at least two cards from that specific group. You remain in command of that faction until an opponent plays another set of this faction that either contains more cards or has a higher sum of values.

As soon as a player meets the required number of objectives on the victory condition card selected at the start of the game (with that card being dependent on the number of players), that player wins the game. Alternatively, you can forgo the use of a condition card and play with a point-value option; in this variant, the game ends when a player has collected a certain number of faction markers, and whoever has the most points at this time — based on the completion of various achievements — wins.
This new edition of Tribune will include the Tribune Expansion and feature new artwork as well as new mechanisms and elements from Schmiel. Blennemann notes that this game will probably be Kickstarted, with an expected release date of August 2020. (Prophecy points go to Michael K. who in July 2019 guessed that a new version of Tribute would follow Die Macher.)

• The final Spielworxx release in 2020 will be Crescent City Cargo, the second title in Jason Dinger's "Cajun trilogy" following 2018's Captains of the Gulf. An overview of this October 2020 release:
New Orleans, affectionately known as "the Crescent City", is an important hub of commerce on the Mississippi River. The Port of New Orleans is a key conduit of imports and exports that are critical to the interconnected international economy.

In Crescent City Cargo, players take on the roll of competing logistics companies vying to fulfill lucrative contracts with domestic railways, foreign cargo ships, and future speculated trade opportunities through shipping containers waiting to be loaded at the dock. Players receive goods from warehouses and use them to improve the state of their company or earn valuable capital that will serve to establish their dominance in the local trade market.

Logistics can be a cutthroat tactical environment as others vie to grab the best contracts before you can. Will you be able to manipulate the market, complete your goals, and in the end stand atop the competition as the most profitable company?
• Spielworxx will launch its 2021 line-up in March with Squaring Circleville, a 2-4 player game from Matt Wolfe.
Established in 1810, Circleville, Ohio derives its name from the circular portion of a large Hopewell earthwork upon which it was built. The Circleville earthworks, as described in 1772, was comprised of an 1,100-foot diameter circle connected to a 900-foot square. Town director Daniel Dresbach plotted the town directly atop the earthworks, integrating the town plan into the landscape. An octagonal courthouse stood directly in the center of the circular road system in the center of town.

To the dismay of Dresbach, however, the people of Centerville hated the circular roads. People complained that the round roads forced everyone to build on oddly-shaped lots and caused confusion. By the mid-1830s, enough dissatisfaction arose with Circleville's unique radial concentric road layout that the townsfolk petitioned the State Assembly to change it.

The Circleville Squaring Company, authorized in 1837, undertook a project to convert the "peculiar" town plan into a more conventional grid. Circleville occupies a unique place in the history of American town planning as one of the earliest examples of urban redevelopment in the United States.

In Squaring Circleville, you work for the Circleville Squaring Company to manage the process of deconstructing and reconstructing the town of Circleville. You will move around the courthouse rondel getting permits to perform work, such as deconstructing and constructing roads and demolishing and building structures.

As the game proceeds, you become more experienced and are able to do an amazing amount of work in the same amount of time. In the end, only one player will be recognized as the best at "squaring the circle" and wins.
Bernd Scholz's Tharos, due out in June 2021, strikes a different note from most Spielworxx titles, with the description being far shorter than others for one thing:
Tharos is the name of a planet in the Dilluvia universe.

In this dice-bag building game that lasts four rounds, the players represent guilds and attempt to discover resources and do mining, ideally winning enough influence to take over as leader of their guild. Additionally, each player has a deck of cards that could substantially help them achieve their goals.
• Spielworxx continues its "Kalle" series of games in August 2021 with a new edition of Lieber bairisch sterben, which was Schmiel's first published design in 1988 and which Spielworxx originally announced as a 2020 release. An overview:
Lieber bairisch sterben ("Better to die Bavarian") covers the Bavarian Peasant Revolt of the early 18th century in which three sides fought for power: the Imperial Austrian Army, the Prince-Elector's forces, and the rebellious peasants.

Players don't represent a particular faction, but instead must court the factions' leadership each turn, acquiring counters of the corresponding color. The main shareholder is awarded the leadership for that turn, and in the course of a game, the leader of a side can change multiple times.

Through their faction, a player tries to gain points, earning them for the capture of the most important towns: Munich, Regensburg, Passau, Straubing, Landshut, and Burghausen. To do so, you must to occupy these with a unit. Occupying a town brings money into the bank, with which you can pay for the cost of the troops. Battles are dealt with via a unique card mechanism.
Blennemann has promised that the 2021version of Lieber bairisch sterben will be a "heavily revamped" version of the original design, one "completely redone to bring the game to modern standards".

• The fourth Spielworxx release in 2021 is planned to be 18SX Saxony, with this 3-7 player game from Wolfram Janich being a "heavily reworked" version of 2003's 18SX courtesy of both Janich and the publisher's development team. Blennemann notes that this October 2021 release will be Spielworxx's first ''18XX'' design:
18SX Saxony contains thirteen corporations, with up to ten of them being put into play over the course of the game, with "concessions" being made to determine who may start which companies distributed in a start-packet system.

The game has a unique track system in which directors have to choose between single and double track, with those choices having an effect on route length.

The original...
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