W. Eric MartinUnited States
Rio Grande Games will have the new releases Butterfly, Queenz, and The Way of the Bear for sale through retail partners, while demoing upcoming titles Nevada City, Monster Baby Rescue, Underwater Cities: New Discoveries, and the just announced Musical Chairs from Kelly North Adams. Here's an overview of that latter title, which is due out at the end of February 2020:Quote:Musical Chairs is a whimsical card game that simulates a game of musical chairs but with cards instead of music.A butt battle, eh? Seems like a good way to grab the Instagram and TikTok audience to expand Rio Grande's potential player pool.
Each round, players start with a hand of eight cards to play. The starting player must play their lowest card to begin the round. Cards are played in ascending order until either no one has a legal move or everyone chooses to stop playing. In either case, the music now stops, and everyone has to take a seat.
After every played card, players moves their pawn around a circular board. Choosing where to stop is critical because the color of the chair you end up on determines which cards you score — both from your hand and from the cards already played. If two or more players end the round on the same chair, a "butt battle" must take place, with players having the option to play cards from their hands in order to claim the chair.
Players can also claim special cards and special power tokens during the game.
Butterfly, this late October 2019 release from Stephen Glenn has a simple set-up and straightforward gameplay. You first lay out tiles at random in a 6x6 to 9x9 grid, depending on the player count, then the player to the right of the starting player places a hedgehog token on one tile. On a turn, you can turn the hedgehog left or right or keep it looking forward, then you move it as far as you want to collect the tile on which it lands. If you pass over a butterfly net printed on the board (from which a tile was removed previously), you can choose to draw a tile from the bag and keep it.
Once a player can't move, the game ends, with players scoring points for butterflies (possibly doubled if they collected a doubler of the appropriate color), their highest-valued dragonfly, their lowest-valued lightning bug, their most recent grasshopper, their bee/honeycomb sets, and the squared value of their flowers, with points being lost for wasps. A player must capture a tile, if possible, so you might not get the chance to collect what you want...
Queenz was a SPIEL '19 release from Bruno Cathala, Johannes Goupy, and Mandoo Games, and I posted both written and video overviews in August 2019. The Way of the Bear is the new name of 2018 release Wangdo from Frank Crittin, Grégoire Largey, Sébastien Pauchon, and Mandoo Games, and we recorded a short overview of the game at SPIEL '18. Rio Grande's Ken Hill notes that some of the power cards in The Way of the Bear have been revised to better balance the game.
Both of these titles should be available through retailers by the end of November 2019, along with Uwe Rosenberg's Robin of Locksley (another SPIEL '19 release courtesy of Wyrmgold GmbH) and Friedemann Friese's Power Grid: Middle East/South Africa (ditto, but through 2F-Spiele).
Underwater Cities: New Discoveries and Monster Baby Rescue — both SPIEL '19 releases from Delicious Games — should have their Rio Grande Games versions on the U.S. market by the end of 2019. Joining them will be the RGG versions of Concordia: Balearica / Cyprus and Concordia: Balearica / Italia (two more SPIEL '19 releases), along with "a massive reprint of Concordia and Concordia Venus", according to Ken Hill.
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