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SPIEL '19 III: IELLO in 2020 — Claim Land, Break Codes, Defuse Bombs, and Launch Goblins

W. Eric Martin
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During SPIEL '19, I met with several publishers and took many notes and photos. Let's see how many I can highlight in the next couple of weeks before even newer announcements overwhelm me.

Today following up on King of Tokyo: Dark Edition (discussed here), I get to check IELLO from the list, starting with the SPIEL '20 release Kitara from Eric B. Vogel, with art by Miguel Coimbra:
Quote:
Restore the greatness of the Kitara Empire, enlarging your territories through savannahs and antic ruins!

Kitara is a strategy game that mixes conquest, movement, and battle. Manage your cards to plan your actions: the more territories you control, the more options you get! Strengthen your army of hunters, cheetah-centaurs, and heroes! Protect livestock and crops, move your troops, and go to war...
Based on what little I know of the game, the most direct comparison to Kitara might be Small World. Players want to occupy territories on a shared map, and you can move into occupied areas to remove the current residents or send them running. You want to battle since you receive war tokens (with points) as a reward; the more that you fight, the more tokens you receive, with you keeping one of the tokens seen.

You want to occupy the ruins (the green areas on the board) as you receive points at the end of each turn, but you also want to occupy the savannahs because you can keep cards in your display only equal to the number of savannahs you occupy — and those cards determine how many cards you draw, how far you can move or withdraw, whether you score points automatically, and how many troops you add to the board.

That's title #2 on BGG's SPIEL '20 Preview, following The Mountain from Granna...


• As I noted in August 2019, IELLO will release Ryohei Kurahashi's logical deduction game TAGIRON as Break the Code. The French version of the game was released in September 2019, and the English version is due out in Q1 2020.

To start the game, you take four or five number tiles (depending on the player count), then arrange them behind your screen from low to high. Six question cards are laid out, and on a turn, you choose one of them to ask to gain information about tiles held by others.

In a two-player game, you're trying to be the first to identify your opponent's tiles; in a three- and four-player game, you're trying to be the first to identify the tiles set aside that aren't behind an opponent's screen — and to do that, you must first identify what is behind all those opposing screens. In a three-player game, both opponents must answer the question you choose to ask, whereas in a four-player game all players, including you, must answer the question.


• If you've tired of shooting kiwis through the air, you can move on to a launching game that has a bit more to it than simply getting four birds in a row.

Flyin' Goblin, a Q1 2020 release for 2-4 players from Corentin Lebrat and Théo Rivière, challenges you to collect gold and diamonds by catapulting your goblins into the right rooms of the castle. Diamonds are your long-term goal for victory, with gold allowing you to purchase more goblin soldiers, a goblin captain, and goblin looters that can steal from others should they land in the same bin.

Knock the king from the central tower, and you'll receive bonus diamonds until someone steals the crown from you. Land in the right box, and you can rotate the castle — which will possibly allow you to provide protection for the totem your can build piece by piece. Should your complete totem survive intact until the end of the round, you win the game immediately!


• In 2016, IELLO released a version of Yusuke Sato's 2014 hidden role game TimeBomb titled Timebomb: Sherlock vs. Moriarty, with the modern-day SWAT and terrorists of the original game replaced by figures from our literary past.

IELLO passed on releasing its own version of Sato's TimeBomb II, but it has picked up his TimeBomb Evolution for release in Q1 2020, with artist Biboun offering another steampunk take on Sherlock and Moriarty.

I wrote a lot about TimeBomb Evolution ahead of that game's availability at SPIEL '17, but here's a summary of the new (space added) Time Bomb Evolution from IELLO and how it relates to the original game: In Time Bomb, your challenge as one of the good guys was to find all of the success cards before time ran out and without you revealing the one bomb card in play.

In Time Bomb Evolution, bad guys have planted bombs all over the place, with bombs coming in six colors that have different effects on the game when revealed. Now in addition to worrying about the clock, with the game ending after four rounds with a victory for Moriarty if all success cards haven't been found, you have to worry about revealing bombs of a certain color; reveal four bombs of any one color, and you lose — but you have to cut the wires somewhere each turn, so how will you decide who to trust?


• IELLO also previewed two titles coming from its LOKI brand that's aimed at younger gamers. SuperFly from Anja Dreier-Brückner and Thomas Brückner is for 3-5 players ages 6+ who love to hit things. My description:

Quote:
To win SuperFly, you need to make a smashing success, squashing all the right bugs along the way.

At the start of each turn, a number of cards are laid out, then someone counts "1, 2, 3!" at which point everyone smashes their die-filled flyswatter onto their chosen card. If you're the only one to swat a card, you claim it; if multiple people swat a card, then whoever "rolled" the highest number with the die in their flyswatter wins the card. The only exception: If you rolled a number that matches the number on the card, then the bug is killed and removed from play!

You continue taking turns until someone has collected five cards, then you see who has the largest collection of cards all in the same color, all with the same number, or with none of the cards having the same number or color. Whoever has this largest collection wins the round and collects a fly-hunter token. You then shuffle all the cards to begin a new round, and whoever first collects three fly-hunter tokens wins!

• The second LOKI title is from Antoine Bauza and his son Esteban — yes, the one who debuted in the game industry as a 7 Wonders: Leaders promo — and Kraken Attack! is a co-operative game for 1-4 players. The short take:
Quote:
Beware! The tentacles of a terrible kraken just burst through the waves! Everyone on deck, grab your swords, guns, and cannons!

In Kraken Attack!, you use pirate skills, repair damage to the ship, and choose the best weapons possible to stay afloat and keep the kraken at bay!
In slightly more detail, players each control a token in the ship, which has four spaces and eight side walls; each of those walls is next to a lane in which a tentacle will approach the ship. On a turn, players roll dice to determine which tentacles advance, e.g., blue tentacle in the "eye" lane or red tentacle in the "fish" lane. The kraken itself might advance on the path, freeing up more dice, which will make things escalate as the game proceeds. Players will have cards that feature "pirate skills", with swords attacking the space immediately in front of you, guns hitting the second space out, and cannons reaching tentacles at a distance.

You can't win the game until the kraken enters the main board, so until then you need to prevent damage to your ship and to each other so that you'll have a chance to take out the big guy once it slimes into the arena.


• Let's close with a shot of King of Tokyo monsters to entice and frustrate collectors, specifically monsters reserved for prizes in organized play and country-specific monsters that (as I understand it) are used as promotional items only in certain areas. The U.S. branch of IELLO sells some KoT promo items on its website, but most of these are unavailable there at this time.


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