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New Game Round-up: Become Part of the Deep State, Grab a Carriage in Paris, and Head to the Pacific

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Publisher: CrowD Games
Board Game: Deep State: New World Order
• A publisher contacted me after the Spielwarenmesse/NY Toy Fair 2020 Preview went live to let me know that one of their games wasn't on the list. I was not surprised given that I didn't know this publisher existed. Turns out that the publisher, Maxim Istomin, had been involved with the founding of Russian publisher Hobby World in 2010, sold that company in 2013, then founded this new company — CrowD Games — in 2015.

Other than 2017's Space Explorers, which was co-published with Moroz Publishing, CrowD Games has released only Russian-language versions of games from other publishers, but in 2019 it released the original game Deep State: New World Order from designer Konstantin Seleznev, with the English-language version of this title due out in 2020. Istomin said that he'll have this title and four other new releases that he hopes to license at Spielwarenmesse 2020, so here's an overview of these releases:

—In Deep State: New World Order, you use agents to infiltrate political, financial, and research institutions represented by objective cards; advance toward World Domination projects that give you advantages during the game; carry out covert operations that provide a lot of influence while requiring the sacrifice of agents; and make treaties with organizations both secret and overt.

Board Game: Winter Queen
Board Game: Ganesha

—In Yuri Zhuravljov's Winter Queen, you create magical ornaments from enchanted crystals, with a turn consisting of you either placing a new crystal on the board or using already placed crystals to score victory points depending on the spell books you and your opponents have.

Ganesha, by Maxim Istomin, feels similar to the game above: Either place cubes on the mandala to score points or to save them in order to score even more points in the future. Video overviews should be useful in finding out what, if anything, makes these designs unique!

Board Game: Enigma: Beyond Code
Board Game: Windmill: Cozy Stories

—In the deduction game Enigma: Beyond Code by Sergey Pritula, each player is a cryptology expert stuck in a mansion, but only one of you is actually trying to break the Enigma code. Each player has a unique secret mission, and in turn you look at a card that represents a room or an object inside the mansion, telling others what you see, but possibly lying about. Lying is a risk, while telling the truth may allow others to win before you by completing their mission first.

—In Windmill: Cozy Stories, another Istomin design, one player tells a story each round based on odd fantasy cards, with the other players trying to guess which card inspired the story and the storyteller scoring more points as long as people keep guessing incorrectly — at the risk of scoring no points if no one guesses. We've seen games along these lines before, so more details might let us know how it compares to others. All in good time...

Board Game: Windmill: Cozy Stories

Board Game: Pacific Rails Inc.
• The description of Pacific Rails Inc., a Dean Morris design that Vesuvius Media is Kickstarting through late January 2020 (KS link), suffers from the affliction that I described in a links round-up in mid-January: I get a sense of what the game is about, but not how it differs from lots of other games that could be described in the same minimalist way.

Maybe this type of description is meant only to say, "Do you like this type of thing? Then look closer...", but it seems like a lost opportunity to grab the passerby who isn't sure whether this is their type of thing or not. Here's what I'm talking about:
In Pacific Rails Inc., players are the presidents of their own railway company with a contract to build a railroad from one side of the board to the other.

To succeed, your workers need to gather resources, lobby Congress for funding, and hire specialists to help manufacture tracks. You then lay them on the map, placing bridges, tunnels, and rails to travel through the harsh terrain. You also need to build train stations and telegraph posts to connect remote cities.

Your railway adventure begins now!
Board Game: Throne of Allegoria
The original
• In an update on its cancelled crowdfunding campaign for a new edition of Throne of Allegoria, Belgian publisher Game Brewer laid out its publishing plans for the next 18 months or so:

Paris, by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling: Kickstarter launch on March 16.
—A surprise card game, on Kickstarter in June 2020.
Rulebender, by Tom De Vandeweyer, on Kickstarter in autumn 2020.
Hippocrates, by Alain Orban on Kickstarter in winter 2020-2021.
Stroganov, by Andreas Steding, on Kickstarter in spring 2021.

Flip the seasons if you live the southern hemisphere. (Someday publishers will realize that using seasons for important dates doesn't work for everyone, but we're not there yet.)

Aside from these titles, Game Brewer plans to launch a new family line of games under the brand AMUZA: "We will organize pre-order campaigns for those games, but these games will not hit Kickstarter. Our first family game will be called Pizza and will be released in June 2020. Other titles that are coming up later this year are Bugz, Babylon, Starlit, and Circus."

So many games!

Board Game: Paris
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