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New Game Round-up: Steal Paintings, Loot the City, and Convert Your Wealth into Coins

W. Eric Martin
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Apex
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• Sometimes a particular feature about a game strikes you in an odd way, and you think, "Wait, really?" I recently ran across the BGG game page for Bruno Faidutti's Stolen Paintings, due out in 2020 from Eagle-Gryphon Games, and the 2-8 player count caught my eye.

Of course, Camel Up has that same player count, and the game works well at all numbers, although the experience changes vastly when you're playing with two compared to eight (not to mention how specific players can sour or sweeten the game experience no matter what the player count), and I'm curious to see more details of the gameplay to learn how this game might change or not change in similar ways.

For now, though, I have only this brief description:
Quote:
In Stolen Paintings, players take turns playing as a thief attempting to steal and auction off paintings from a museum display. The other players are detectives who attempt to spot the paintings stolen before they are auctioned. The thief earns points for each painting they sneak by the detectives, and the detectives earn points for paintings they correctly identify as stolen. Whoever earns the most points as both a thief and as a detective wins.
• Another Eagle-Gryphon Games title due out in 2020 with a slightly odd player count is Gangster's Dilemma, an Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews design for 3-7 players. Check out that cover from Kwanchai Moriya!

As for the gameplay, here's the short take:
Quote:
In Gangster's Dilemma, players control a group of gangsters eager to please the mob boss. Each round, players send a gangster to loot one of the locations within the city, in hopes of satisfying the Boss's changing demands.

However, each round the cops are also on patrol and could arrest any gangsters they come across. Players need to bribe their way out trouble or rat out the other gangsters as they compete to fulfill the Boss's demands first.
Moriya had been posting images from this game on Facebook and Twitter for weeks prior to it being announced, and my main thought when seeing them was not wondering what the game was, but whether he sold prints of his artwork. If not, I'm sure he'll have an assistant someday who can make that happen.

For now, though, here's another example of his dynamic work on this game:

Lions of Lydia is a new design from Jonny Pac Cantin, who caught players' attention in 2019 with Coloma and Sierra West, and publisher Bellwether Games. Here's an overview of this 2-4 player game due out sometime in 2020:
Quote:
The ancient world is changing. King Croesus of the historic kingdom of Lydia has minted the world's first coin from the legendary gold and silver of the river Pactolus. Traditional bartering and trading will soon be supplanted by currency as the dominant form of exchange throughout civilization.

Lions of Lydia is a bag-management and engine-building game about the dawn of currency in the ancient world. As a wealthy aristocrat at the turn of the era, you will hire merchants to barter at the city gates for goods you can use to grow your landholdings. When Lydian merchants arrive from the capital, you will gain access to the versatile Lydian Lion coins they bear, which are needed to establish valuable retail property for the first time in history.

To achieve victory, you must effectively manage the merchants you hire, keeping the best assortment in your bag, while leveraging the unique abilities of each when it is drawn. Traditional merchants will help you specialize in basic resources, but if you fail to convert your surplus into bullion, you may not be able to buy the most useful properties in the city. Lydian merchants, in contrast, are especially suited to help you transition to the new monetary system.

Will you be able to maintain the right balance of merchants to maximize your goals every turn? Will you gain the most valuable and prestigious properties before your rivals? Future generations may hear of your economic triumph or defeat. After a significant number of properties have been purchased and developed, the game will end, and a winner will be declared!
Everything I know about Croesus and coin-minting, I learned from Don Rosa's "The Treasury of Croesus", a 1995 story in which Uncle Scrooge hunted for that first coin. (Don Rosa is a comics master, and I highly recommend the Fantagraphics Books collections of his duck stories.)
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