Candice HarrisUnited States
Scharz, that I had to stop and ask about. Scharz is a hybrid area control game for 2-4 players from designer Jakub Kunčík, which blends the economics found in eurogames with the conflict and historical settings found in wargames. As Kunčík described it to me at SPIEL while I gazed at the map and slew of unique components, I was intrigued and I couldn't help but get Feudum vibes. At the same time, it also seemed like it was inspired by mix of Agricola, civilization-building games, and wargames, which sounded really cool.
Scharz is a three-part series of games, and when combined you can play an epic game with up to 12 players. Kunčík is crowdfunding Scharz: Part I on Kickstarter (KS link) through March 30, 2023. Scharz: Part I comes with 2 maps and features a mix of combat with logistics, with sandbox-style gameplay inspired by history. You'll construct buildings, manage your agriculture, and fight in battles, all with the goal of establishing yourself as a nation with either military or economic force since there are multiple victory conditions.
Here's a high-level description of Scharz from the designer, but you can also learn more on its Kickstarter page:Quote:Symmetrical War-Euro, a game about balance and efficiency. Playable in any number of players without waiting (simultaneous play). No cards. Sober planning and maneuvering. Controllable element of luck. Multiple ways to win. A feel-good classic computer RTS on the cycle of the seasons as the board game (gain the upper hand within five years in the area of power fragmentation). Complex, but not complicated.La Famiglia: The Great Mafia War from Maximilian Maria Thiel, Feuerland Spiele, and Capstone Games is available at retailers. Eric originally mentioned La Famiglia in a SPIEL '22 preview post. La Famiglia plays in 2-3 hours with exactly 4 players in 2 teams of 2 players each. Each player represents a head of a mafia family vying for control over Sicily.
In this area control game, the player must master the management of their own empire, its development and conflict with other players. Time in each year, resources and human capacity are limited. Expanding the economic base, building more footholds, improving them, buying better livestock and soldiers, developing trade and fleets - all this is possible and beneficial, but it also requires expensive military protection. Because even those who feed their large army on the snowball principle from the resources of others can win.
Game time 15 - 40 minutes per player, recommended for ages 10 and up.
Here's a little more about how it works from the publisher:Quote:In the 1980s, a merciless battle raged in Sicily that would later go down in history as "The Great Mafia War". Different mob families fought with and against each other for supremacy in southern Italy.Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East is a new standalone civilization game for 1-6 players from GMT Games, designed by Mark McLaughlin (The Napoleonic Wars, War and Peace) and Chris Vorder Bruegge, the designer-duo behind the 2019 release Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea.
In La Famiglia: The Great Mafia War, you play against each other in teams (2 vs. 2) to take control of Sicily. Six different mafia families, each with special abilities, are at your disposal. The game rounds are divided into two phases: In the planning phase, you develop your abilities and bring fighters as well as secret orders to the board. In the combat phase, these orders are revealed and executed. Here, you use your fighters and bombs to dominate as many regions as possible. The combat system is both simple and innovative, making every fight an exciting psychological duel. The team that best combines and coordinates its abilities will finally dominate Sicily.
La Famiglia is an extraordinary team game that provides lasting excitement through asymmetric abilities and a variable game set-up.
Here's the lowdown from the publisher on what you'll experience in this, big, yet accessible civilization game:Quote:Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East (ACME) is brought to you by the same team that created Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea — designers Christopher Vorder Bruegge and Mark McLaughlin with developer Fred Schachter. ACME is not a sequel nor an expansion but a standalone game using the same multiplayer and solitaire systems as its predecessor with many new and exciting features to intrigue its players.• SPARTA!: Struggle for Greece is an upcoming asymmetric historical area control game on the Greek Wars for 1-2 players from Kris Van Beurden (Europe in Turmoil, Barbarians at the Gates), and publishers Plague Island Games (English edition) and Draco Ideas (Spanish edition). SPARTA! plays in 2-3 hours, was successfully funded on Kickstarter (KS link) in October 2022, and is open for late pledges.
ACME is a game of the chaos-inducing wrath of gods & men—a chaos each player does their utmost to manage, survive, and guide their civilization through to triumphant victory. Spanning the ancient world from the Hellespont to the Indus, from the Caspian to the Red Sea, and from the early Bronze Age to the Hellenic Age, Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East allows you to command not just 10 but 17, SEVENTEEN CIVILIZATIONS!
A War Game Only If And When You Want It To Be
If you want a War Game, you got it. If you want a friendly game, this is it too! As in Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea, Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East can be all about war, but it doesn't have to be. It can be a friendly game of exploration, city building, trade, and faith. Players (solitaire, a group of up to six, or even a mix of live players with a system-driven civilization of two or more) can make of ACME what they wish or imagine. Competition can be martial or cultural, warlike or friendly, or a combination of both—how the game unfolds depends entirely on how the players want it to play. The duration of the game is also up to the players: from a multi-hour odyssey of all four Epochs to a pre-arranged shorter contest of an hour or two or to an agreed Sudden Death Victory Point threshold.
For Those Who Want A War Game, There Is Plenty Of War To Be Gamed
Historical War Game Scenarios are just that—fun and entertaining scenarios that recreate wars from the dawn of civilization to the conquests of Alexander the Great (and more!). Take on the role of Agamemnon as he sacks Troy, Solomon as he builds the Temple, or Ramses as he leads his chariots on the plains of Kadesh. Become the great law-giver, Hammurabi, the inspiring Persian empire-builder, Cyrus, or the legendary hero, Rostam (and more!). There are even double-sized (twice the usual number of disks) civilization options for those who want to conquer the world of Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East and become—as Assyrian kings Akkad and Sumer claimed—the king of the four corners of the world.
Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East is suitable for players of all ages, offers great family fun, and is easily and quickly teachable. It can serve as a kind of gateway to the more complex games our wonderful hobby has to offer.
Here's the publisher's description of what you can expect as you battle in Ancient Greece:Quote:In SPARTA! command Athenians or Spartans in a battle to rule the Greek world. Achieve dominance and control valuable regions that grant unique benefits - be it the wealth of Sicily, the fleets of Corinth, or alliances with larger cities like Thebes or Syracuse to provide fresh recruits for battle. You might even rally the Persians and Macedonians to your side.
Command The Conflict!
March armies and sortie fleets to raid enemy territories. Siege valuable cities, and engage your foes in fierce battles. Steel your nerves when you enter the fray of battle, as it is bloody and swiftly resolved using an elegant card-based system.
Who Will Head Your Efforts?
Lead your forces with legendary characters such as Pericles and Cleon. Each leader has a unique ability, be it combat prowess or cunning diplomacy.
Characters may become experienced— flipping the leader to their upgraded form with a more powerful ability.
Meet your foes on the bloody battlefield
Balance diplomacy, economy, and military might in this card-driven game of historic conflict!
The Splendour Of Greece Is Yours For The Taking!
SPARTA! is for 1-2 players (SOLO bot is included) & plays in 2-3 hours.
Includes all of these historical scenarios:
- First Peloponnesian War
- Second Peloponnesian War
- Theban/Spartan War
- Cleomenian War
To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Balance Your Military and Economics, Vie for Control of Sicily or Ancient Greece, and Lead Your Civilization in the Middle East
24 Mar 2023
- Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea
- Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East
- Scharz: Part I
- SPARTA!: Struggle for Greece
- La Famiglia: The Great Mafia War
- Mark McLaughlin
- Chris Vorder Bruegge
- Kris Van Beurden
- Jakub Kunčík
- Maximilian Maria Thiel
- GMT Games
- Feuerland Spiele
- Draco Ideas
- Capstone Games
- Plague Island Games
Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
• Distilled is the debut title from Dave Beck of Paverson Games, and it's just started to reach backers following a Kickstarter campaign in mid-2021.
Here's an overview of this 1-5 player game:Quote:Distilled is a highly thematic strategy card game about crafting spirits in a distillery, with resource management and push-your-luck elements. In the game, you have inherited a distillery and are hoping to someday achieve the title of master distiller through purchasing goods, building up your distillery, and creating the world's most renowned spirits.• With the release of Distilled now rolling out, Beck plans to demo his next title — Luthier — at Origins, UK Games Expo, and Gen Con in 2023. In this 1-5 player game, you're once again crafting something, but in a far different environment:
Use cards to purchase new ingredients and invest in upgrades to your distillery, all while eventually distilling the spirit and sending it to the warehouse. Once in the warehouse, age your spirit to enhance its flavor and bottle it to sell it for major profits!
Achieve the title of master distiller by having the most victory points at the end of the game. Points are obtained by distilling and selling spirits.Quote:Luthier transports players to the height of classical music in Western Europe, when the art of the instrument was upheld equally by skilled craftspeople, noble patrons, virtuoso performers, and famous composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.• What else can we craft? How about robots, as in the game Raising Robots from Brett Sobol, Seth Van Orden, and Nauvoo Games, for which a crowdfunding campaign will take place in 2023:Promotional image
Using a new, unique combination of hidden bidding and worker placement, players manage resources to craft various musical instruments in their workshop, while also courting actual historic patrons through an ever-changing personal tableau of actions and bonuses. Each player chooses how to balance improving skills across multiple tracks, unlocking specialized worker abilities and other bonuses. The choice to concentrate on varying gameplay strategies and goals, such as musical performances, instrument building and repairs, apprentice training and workshop expansion, and overall reputation as an instrument maker, provide multiple paths to victory.Quote:In Raising Robots, a competitive, simultaneously played, engine-building game for 1-6 players, you are a famous inventor seeking to assemble the greatest collection of robots. Each round, you simultaneously choose and perform two or more actions: upgrade, assemble, design, fabricate, recycle. Every action will be performed with a variable amount of power to make the action better or worse. However, the most powerful actions will also help your opponents.I only hope the game includes a "Beep Boop" card to ensure 100% authenticity.
Whoever has the most points after eight rounds wins.
• I don't normally feature RPGs in this space, but an upcoming project from Banana Chan caught my eye and fits with the "crafting" theme, so here it goes: Forgery is a solitaire, horror-based RPG in which you take the role of an art forger who is commissioned to recreate a demonic painting, a painting that you will create during play in a paint-by-numbers manner. Here's the setting:Quote:It's 2023 in New York City. You graduated from art school with dead prospects and too much talent. Nobody wants to hire a painter who doesn't have extraordinarily rich parents. The art gallery scene in New York City only takes the wealthiest, most well-connected people.For more details, check out Chan's Indiegogo crowdfunding project, which runs through the middle of April 2023.
Unfortunately, you're a nobody. Sure, you aced all your classes, and you have a great eye, but it's hard to make it into Art Forum magazine. Instead, you've found contract work in replicating famous paintings and selling them online, which is actually legal as long as you specify it's a reproduction. The pay hasn't been great...until you receive your latest commission.
Forgery is a story of a down-on-her-luck art forger named Tempest, who receives a new commission to recreate a painting that they discover is cursed over time. It is a solo tabletop role-playing game in which the player (you) will be coloring in a paint-by-numbers image. The colors that you choose determine the outcome to the story.
The game comes in a ~125-150 page book that has 26 chapters that you will go through in a choose-your-own-path style of play. As you choose from the options provided, you will fill in noted parts of the picture with colors of your choice.
If you feel conflicted over some of the options provided, you may roll 1D6 to determine which option you go with.
Thu Mar 23, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
Demonstrate Your Educational Merits in Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa
22 Mar 2023
In late 2023, UK publisher Osprey Games will release Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa, a game for 1-4 players from designers Mandela Fernandez-Grandon and Fabio Lopiano.
The game plays in 150-180 minutes and features the following setting:Quote:In Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa, a dynamic, interactive, mid-weight Eurogame, players manage the prestigious University of Sankoré in 14th-century Timbuktu, tasked by the emperor Mansa Musa with spreading knowledge throughout West Africa, even as the great university is raised around them.It's unclear from the description whether the design shares anything with Merv: The Heart of the Silk Road, a 2020 Lopiano design from Osprey Games, but the graphics in both titles by Ian O'Toole are striking and invite speculation, both for this title and future ones.
By enrolling and graduating your pupils, teaching classes, adding to your curriculum, and filling the great library with books, you will advance knowledge in four main disciplines: theology, law, mathematics, and astronomy. Once construction of the university is complete, the value that the empire places on each discipline will dramatically affect how you score the knowledge you have passed on.
In a dedicated solo mode, you compete against the "Distinguished Scholar", a passionate and ambitious academic controlled by an elegant automated system. They may not be as nimble as you, but they are focused and driven and will strive to produce the best possible students.
Can you navigate the corridors of academic competition and bring renown to Mansa Musa's prized university?
Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:00 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Prepare for Xeno Counterstrike, Take Part in a Blob Party, and Return to Florence
22 Mar 2023
Rio Grande Games mentions that its 2023 line-up includes New Frontiers: Starry Rift (which BGG had recorded a preview of at Gen Con 2019), Dice Realms: Trade Expansion, and Xeno Counterstrike, an expansion for Race for the Galaxy that designer Tom Lehmann described as follows in a BGG thread:Quote:Xeno Counterstrike is the sequel to Xeno Invasion, together forming the 3rd arc of RFTG expansions.• Other titles coming from Rio Grande Games not covered in previous posts include two other titles from Tom Lehmann — Holly Oak and the two-player game Winter Court (which Lehmann described in 2015 here) — and two titles from Donald X. Vaccarino: Moon Colony Bloodbath and Zoobreak.
It expands Race for the Galaxy into the starry rift frontier and border zone that lies between the galactic empires and the Xeno hive worlds, with more than 40 frontier worlds (in separate decks) and a different risk/reward method of settling them.
The resulting greater empire sizes extends the game end conditions to 15+ tableau cards and 15 VPs/player in the common pool. This makes Xeno Counterstrike the version for those players who have wanted RFTG to be just a bit longer (typically, 1-2 rounds more), as the lead now frequently changes near the end as those final large frontier worlds are settled, the larger economic engines hit their stride, and the last 6-devs hit the table.
Xeno Counterstrike can be played by itself with just the base game, though its fifth player and optional counterstrike game require Xeno Invasion.
The counterstrike game begins as a Xeno invasion which, once the Xenos are repulsed, turns the tables as the galactic empires then strike back at the Xeno home systems across the starry rift frontier and border zone.
In this version, tableau size no longer ends the game: the counterstrike game continues until either an economic victory (VP chips in the pool of 30 VPs/player run out) or a military victory over the Xenos occurs. This is the epic conquest version of Race for the Galaxy; final tableau sizes of 25 cards are not uncommon. Enjoy!
WizKids has licensed the new version of Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich's The Princes of Florence from Korea Boardgames for release in the U.S. in July 2023.
This version features new art from Lukas Siegmon, solitaire rules, and two expansions: The Muse and the Princess and Cooperative Building.
• Another title on the WizKids line-up for July 2023 is Blob Party, a co-operative game from Pam Walls for 4-8 players:Quote:In Blob Party, players start as individuals and try to become one big blob by giving all the same answers! This description isn't just metaphorical. Each player starts with a small blob of dough and a googly eye. As you match with more and more other players, you merge blobs, growing larger and adding more googly eyes!To borrow a tagline from The Mind, which is never far from my mind, let's become one...
Let's say the group starts with the category of "Music" and the word is "Lightning". All players write an answer on a dry erase card matching their googly eye, maybe "Bohemian Rhapsody", "David Bowie", or "Grease". Everyone reveals their answer, and anyone who wrote the same thing becomes a blob and works together for the rest of the game!
A new category and word are revealed each round, with players and blobs again coming up with answers that ideally match with others. As the game continues, blobs and individuals merge until (hopefully!) everyone gives the same answer, becoming a Mega Blob and winning the game!
• WizKids has a far different type of game due out in August 2023: Dan Manfredini's Americana, a 2-4 player game that takes 90-120 minutes to play:Quote:Pack your bag and grab your journal — it's time to trek through 1930s American wilderness! Wander the rural landscape and discover opportunities and threats unknown: friend and foe, cute and dangerous wildlife, and the mysteries of unexplored terrain, ominous abandoned buildings, and even the supernatural. You'll look back at these experiences and grow from them, gaining new skills, as well as inspiration from the lands you've visited. You'll record these memories in your journal as a testament to your grand adventure, until next time!
In Americana, you travel to new locations, collecting stories and constructing havens along the way. A hungry cougar, a lost lumberjack, an ancient burial ground, a foggy swamp – there are many things in the wilderness, and you decide how to interact with them. Use memories and inspiration to record story cards in your journal to document your adventures and score points.
The object of Americana is to collect the most points by establishing havens across the land and writing about your travels. Will you have the most exciting story to tell after your adventures?
Wed Mar 22, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
How to Fit 4 Expansions in 7 Wonders
21 Mar 2023
7 Wonders: Edifice in February 2023, I thought I'd re-visit my storage solution for 7 Wonders (Second Edition) to see whether I could improve upon it.
What is that storage solution, you ask? Here's a screen grab from the video below:
Step 1 was to toss the insert from the base game. I find inserts mostly useless because they take up space that could otherwise be occupied by game. In the image above, you can see that all of the rules, wonders, and armada boards from the base game and the Leaders, Cities, and Armada expansions are stacked on the right, with the scorepads and coins on top.
On the left, I used the insert trays from the Leaders and Cities expansions to hold cards from the base game and all of the expansions, as well as the ships and tokens from Armada. Everything is bagged because whenever I bring out a game with expansions, I inevitably have someone new at the table, so I would teach only the base game. (This is the number one argument against expansions, in my opinion.) And even if everyone is experienced, we wouldn't necessarily play the game with everything. Everything bagels — yes! Everything 7 Wonders — enh, not so much.
Now here's that same box after adding the components of Edifice to it:
You can hardly tell the difference! Two new wonders have been tucked at the bottom of the stack, penalty tokens sit in the tray with the diplomacy and armada thingies, and the other components fit in the upper-right corner.
Can I pack all of this material in an even more compact way? Yes, by returning to step one: Throw out the inserts. I cut up the expansion boxes to make smaller card holders (which allowed me to get rid of their bags), and now I have room for expansion #5 and possibly even expansion #6 — should they be forthcoming.
I don't need all of the scorepads, but they fit, so I left them in place. Additional wonders would require a second bag for coins since they're pushing up against the box lid, but tossing scorepads would make room for two thinner bags of coins and military tokens.
After posting this video on YouTube, some people expressed surprise that I didn't just sweep everything into the box "like an animal", but that's because they missed the point of my previous storage videos. I'm not applying a single heuristic to every game; I'm considering what set-up entails and how components are used in the game, then creating a storage solution based upon those details — like a rational animal.How it started vs. how it's going
I realize, of course, that others might not like my storage solution, but I will not be breaking into their home to impose my solution on their games, so they don't need to worry.
Someone commented that I "macheted all the boxes in the ugliest fashion possible", and while I agree that some of the boxes are janky, they are serving the purpose that I want, and that's what is most important to me. I never want to spend money on a storage solution when I can instead spend time and create my own. (The other alternative is to do nothing and store things in their original boxes. Spending money on a storage solution is not on the list of possibilities at all.)
In any case, perhaps this post will inspire you to consider how you store your games and their expansions. If you have tips for crafting smaller boxes, feel free to let me know. I've been doing this for a while, but I'm much more of an impulsive do-er than a planner, so sometimes I make choices that are less than ideal and realize it only after the fact. For example, I made the box for the base game cards slightly wider than the other boxes so that I could store the original scorepad inside — then later realized that was pointless since I'd still need the wonders and token bag to play, so I might as well bring the whole box out. So be it...
Tue Mar 21, 2023 8:00 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Lost Ruins of Arnak from designers Elwen and Mín and publisher Czech Games Edition has been a hit with gamers worldwide since its debut in 2020. (You can learn more about the game's world, language, and art in this October 2020 designer diary.)
The world of Arnak expanded in 2021 with Expedition Leaders, which gave players unique starting decks and powers, and it will expand again in the second half of 2023 with Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition.
Here's what awaits in this expansion, which can be played with the base game alone or together with the Expedition Leaders expansion:Quote:Follow a trail to learn the fate of Professor Kutil and other missing explorers in Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition.CGE plans to have Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition available for purchase at Gen Con 2023 in August ahead of the expansion's worldwide release later in Q3 2023. The expansion retails for US$30/€30.
In this expansion, you can test the strategies offered by two new leaders (mechanic and journalist), explore new paths to knowledge on two new research tracks, and build your expedition team with new artifacts, items, and assistants.
This expansion can simply be added to the Lost Ruins of Arnak base game, or it can be discovered as part of a solo or two-player co-operative campaign that consists of six chapters, each with a different set of rules, goals, and achievements.
Tue Mar 21, 2023 4:05 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Great Western Trail: New Zealand, or Sheep, Ships, and Gold, Oh My!
20 Mar 2023
Candice HarrisUnited States
Great Western Trail: Argentina was an exciting release for many, including myself, in 2022. It introduced some really cool, fresh new twists to Alexander Pfister's fan favorite Great Western Trail, which I covered in detail in a SPIEL '22 Preview post. Playing and loving Argentina had me beyond excited and very curious about what to expect with Great Western Trail: New Zealand, the final release in Pfister's Great Western Trail trilogy, which Eric originally announced in February 2021.
In February 2023, my face lit up with a big smile when I read that Plan B Games (eggertspiele) "shared a smidge of detail" about Great Western Trail: New Zealand in one of Eric's posts. I was on vacation at the time, but as soon as I returned, I jumped at the opportunity to chat with Isabelle from Plan B Games to get a rundown of what to expect in Great Western Trail: New Zealand, one of my most anticipated releases of 2023.
Coming in at a similar complexity level to GWT: Argentina, GWT: New Zealand adds even more new twists than we saw in Argentina, but still retains the essence of Great Western Trail. In GWT: New Zealand, you and up to three other players take on the role of runholders (owners of sheep stations) on the South Island of New Zealand. You'll move your runholder along a trail up to the top of the board to Wellington. Along the way, you'll perform actions that give you various ways to earn victory points. Each time your runholder reaches Wellington, you deliver sheep to a local or foreign trading post, which may also be worth victory points. Then your runholder continues movement back at the start of the trail at the bottom of the board. At the end of the game, you’ll score victory points from a variety of components you acquired during the game and any points marked with your color on the game board and the sea routes board. The player with the most victory points wins the game. If you’re already familiar with GWT, all of this should sound very familiar, aside from the sheep and lack of cattle, so allow me to highlight some of the new elements you’ll experience in GWT: New Zealand.
Great Western Trail: New Zealand has four types of workers you can hire in the game. You have shepherds to help you acquire better sheep cards, craftsmen to help you build those glorious private buildings, sailors to move your ship on the sea routes board, and sheep shearers which help you shear your sheep and earn money based on their wool value. This is basically a second delivery option you’ll have since the sheep cards not only have a breeding value, but they also have a wool value. Now you’re probably wondering where the engineer is in all this. Surprise! There are no engineers, trains, or train stations in GWT: New Zealand. I'll let that sink in for a minute...
Rails to the North expansion. Now you can sail your ship around on the sea routes board with the help of your sailors. Along the routes, there are several harbours, each of which either allows you to place a storehouse or one of your player discs if your ship is on its associated water space. As always, when you place one of your discs, you unlock some cool treat. Storehouses are also on your player board and can be unlocked in any order, but you only unlock storehouse bonuses when you’ve removed two storehouses next to each other on your player board.
Delivery in Wellington seems to be more streamlined in GWT: New Zealand compared to Kansas City and Buenos Aires. As usual, you'll gain income and place one of your discs onto a trading post based on the breeding value of your unique types of sheep cards, but when it’s time to choose tiles from the foresight area, things are a little different. There are only four foresight tiles: two "A" tiles which will either be workers or hazards (rockfalls or floods), and two "B" tiles, which are new bonus tiles.
Speaking of bonus tiles, another big change in GWT: New Zealand is the way the game ends. It's no longer triggered by the worker market filling up. Instead, the end of the game is triggered when you place a bonus tile onto the last space of the bonus tiles market during a delivery in Wellington.
Another interesting new twist is that mid-way through each game, you'll flip half of the neutral building tiles over and they'll have a different action/effect. Plus, there's a new pathfinder track you can work your way up to unlock beneficial bonus abilities. For example, you can increase your movement one step, which is helpful because you'll only be able to unlock one additional step of movement on your player board in this version. Also, if you hit a certain level on the pathfinder track, you ignore paying black/green hand fees on hazard tiles and your opponent’s private buildings.
These are just some of the exciting new changes you can expect in Great Western Trail: New Zealand, in addition to the adorable sheep cards, and lush green game board. I haven't played it yet, so I can't comment on how it feels and plays out, but I am loving the sound of all of these changes and I can’t wait to play it!
Mon Mar 20, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
Ravensburger debuted Puerto Rico 1897, its new version of Andreas Seyfarth's game Puerto Rico, which debuted in 2002. In July 2022, I interviewed cultural consultant Jason Perez, who detailed the new setting of the game and how it incorporated elements from the history of Puerto Rico.
While the new setting has been welcomed by players, the production of the game has been marred with problems. When the game debuted in Essen at SPIEL '22, people discovered that their copies included 16 fruit tiles instead of 12 and only 4 coffee tiles instead of 8. Copies that arrived in retail stores in Europe in late 2022 had the same error, and copies released in the U.S. in February 2023 also had this problem — which is not surprising given that Ravensburger released a dual-language English and French edition, so the copies in the U.S. were the same as those released in France. What is surprising is that Ravensburger still released those copies in the U.S. despite the production error.
Aside from the tile misprint, for Puerto Rico 1897 Ravensburger had mirrored the graphic design of its 2020 version of Puerto Rico, which had removed all of the text from building tiles other than the building's name. As a result, to know what a building does, you need to look at the overview on the back of the rulebook — and this overview contains errors (e.g., the School providing an extra worker during the planting phase when it should be the building phase) and vague wording (e.g., the Harbor gives "Bonus VP at the time of shipping" and the Assembly Hall similarly gives "Bonus VP for shipping") that forces you to dig into the rulebook for the details.
And sometimes those details seem off. The back of the rulebook notes that the Distillery gives "Bonus coins for production", and if you then turn to the complete Distillery description a few pages earlier, you find this:Quote:The occupied Distillery works under the same rules as the Factory, except the owner earns bonus coins based on the number of barrels of 1 type of Good they produce. They choose the type of Good for which they produced the most barrels (any type except Corn) and earn 1 coin less than that number. For example, if Alex produced 6 Sugar, they would earn 4 coins in addition to the regular Production income.Wait, what? Do I need to look at the Factory description as a reference? Turns out that no, you don't since the Factory bonus is based on the number of types of goods you produce and it's not strictly "1 coin less than that number", so why mention the Factory at all? The Distillery has a "no Corn" restriction that you'll have to remember during play — even though you absolutely can distill corn — and the example doesn't make sense because 6 - 1 ≠ 4. Where's the error? Did Alex produce 5 Sugar, did he earn 5 coins, or do you earn 2 coins fewer than the number produced?New tile, who dis?
The U.S. branch of Ravensburger has provided me an update on the availability of Puerto Rico 1897 and how it plans to address some of these issues:Quote:With Puerto Rico 1897, Ravensburger took a best-selling, classic "Euro" game and reimagined it into a more welcoming and inclusive gaming experience for today's player. When the game hit store shelves in February, it came to our attention there were missing tiles and rule book errors. We apologize and have taken steps to ensure these issues are corrected as quickly as possible.I'll note that Ravensburger has been supplying four replacement coffee tiles since October 2022, so this is not a new fix. Even so, removing the game from retail outlets until all copies have been fixed is a much better solution.
We have stopped production of the game to guarantee that all copies of Puerto Rico 1897 moving forward will have the correct number of tiles and an updated rule book to support an ideal gaming experience. Those who have already purchased Puerto Rico 1897 and have missing "coffee" estate tiles can request the correct pieces to be shipped to them at no additional cost through this website: https://ravensburger.us/service/replacement-parts/index.html. Once the rule book has been updated, it will be available for replacement or to download digitally. At Ravensburger, it is our mission to create quality games with the highest craftsmanship that deliver timeless entertainment and shared moments of fun. It is our expectation that, with the corrections made, Puerto Rico 1897 will meet our players' high standards of excellence.
I've asked a follow-up question regarding the graphic design of the building tiles and whether they will be changed to include a short description of what the building does, something that existed in editions of Puerto Rico prior to the 2020 re-design. If I receive an additional response from Ravensburger or learn when Puerto Rico 1897 will again be available on the market, I'll post an update.Building comparison between PR 1897 and the 2011 edition of PR (image: Brian Phipps)
Thu Mar 16, 2023 5:27 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
We're Sinking! is the debut title from designer Joseph Frederick of Ludamus Games, and it features a situation with which we are undoubtedly all familiar: Scooping up treasure while trying to defeat a threat that will kill us.
Here's an overview of this 3-6 player game:Quote:Players take on the role of pirates on a ship under siege. As the ship takes damage, the crew must work together to repair the ship and defeat one of the threats — kraken, skeleton pirates, megalodon, or sirens — while keeping the ship from sinking.• New publisher Fabled Games also planned to launch with a pirate game: Back O' Beyond: Tales of Blood & Salt from Nick Niotis and Argyris Poungouras, designers of Darkest Dungeon: The Board Game.
Each turn, players choose one of four actions: Bucket decreases the current water level; Patch fixes breaches and busted cannon; Fire allows you to fire cannons at the enemy; and Plunder allows you to steal revealed loot cards. Players discuss and possibly bluff about which actions they should take, then they secretly choose their actions on hidden compass dials, place them face down, then reveal them simultaneously.
Will you or your fellow crew instead choose to selfishly pocket treasure as precious time runs out? If you can manage to take out the threat, the game ends, and you win if you have the largest treasure score. If the ship sinks before taking out the threat, you win by having the fewest cards in hand.
While the Kickstarter campaign to fund the game has been cancelled for now, the game will likely sail again in the future, so here's what you will find:Quote:Back O' Beyond is a highly thematic mid-weight 2-4 player euro game that takes around 30 minutes per player to complete. In the game, you take the role of a pirate captain, and your goal is to become the most renowned pirate, that is, the one with the most prestige points.• Maybe there's something in the water as UK publisher Steamforged Games has also announced a pirate game — Sea of Thieves: Voyage of Legends, with this Q3 2023 release being an adaption of the 2018 Sea of Thieves video game by Rare Ltd.
The game is played over five rounds, and each round consists of three phases. To start, new contracts that pirates compete over are revealed, the tavern is filled with potential crew, ships that can be captured arrive, and players repair or upgrade their ships...and possibly sabotage others. Next, by using a dice-based combat system, players attempt to plunder trading ships to gather precious loot and raise their dread, morale, reputation, and (most importantly) infamy. To end the round, players decide who to keep or dismiss from their crew through the power of food, morale, and rum.
Only the barest description of this 2-4 player game has been released for now:Quote:From fulfilling bounties and following treasure maps to boarding the ships of fellow players and stealing their loot, in Sea of Thieves: Voyage of Legends players can live a pirate life of their own choosing as they compete for the title of Pirate Legend by completing various quests and objectives to gain reputation. Along the way, they must confront skeletal enemies crewing hostile ships, foreboding forts that wait on the horizon, and behemoths like the kraken and megalodon lurking in the deep which are capable of capsizing a ship in moments.
Thu Mar 16, 2023 7:00 am
- [+] Dice rolls
• Jean-Louis Roubira's party game Dixit has been hugely successful since its debut in 2008, winning the As d'Or in 2009 and Spiel des Jahres in 2010 among many other awards. Nine expansions have been released, along with several spin-off games and a line of puzzles.
Now publisher Libellud has announced the first licensed version of the game, with Dixit: Disney Edition due for release in the second half of 2023.
Like all Dixit titles and expansions, Dixit: Disney Edition contains 84 cards, and in this release each card represents one of 84 films in the Disney or Pixar catalog from Steamboat Willie to Turning Red. Here's an example of the work from artist Natalie Dombois, with Libellud noting that the artwork "took two years from conception to completion", which isn't surprising given how meticulous Disney can be when it comes to licensing.
• Speaking of Disney, The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923, so Funko Games — which has previously released many Disney-related titles — has several games in the offing that bear a 100th anniversary tag, with the most celebratory of these designs probably being Disney Animated, a co-operative game for 2-4 players:Quote:Work together in Disney Animated like the team at the famous Walt Disney Animation Studios to create movie magic!The game includes fifteen transparent cards to represent the cel animation used in those films. Disney Animated is due out in Q2 2023.
In the game, you need to produce five classic Disney films using detailed background art, vibrant paint colors, and lively sound to bring cherished stories to life on the screen — but the villains from these feature films will rush your deadlines and create all the calamity they can. As a team, you must use the strengths of the animation studio — heart, focus, inspiration, grit, and teamwork — to vanquish the villains and finish your films in time.
• Just after this post went live, I got info on Spot it! Disney 100 Years of Wonder, which hits the U.S. market on April 7, 2023 from Zygomatic.
Gameplay is familiar if you've played other Spot it! games, but apparently cards in this edition feature nine characters/icons instead of eight, giving you more to look at. This edition features 90 cards and five mini-games, including a new game — Star Match — specific to this edition.Trademark exploding Spot it! can
Wed Mar 15, 2023 4:06 pm
- [+] Dice rolls