We already talked briefly about the upcoming expansion for Alcatraz: The Scapegoat, now we know at least a small detail about the content: it will allow a fifth player. Alcatraz: The Scapegoat has also been licensed to international publishers and should soon be more easily available everyhwere. The same goes for the party game Top-A-Top that will be available worldwide through IELLO and also receive an expansion soon. Even more exciting, the masterminds behind Alcatraz and Kingpin – Rafal Cywicki, Krzysztof Cywicki and Krzysztof Hanusz – will have a new game ready in time for Essen 2012.
The next expansion for Antoine Bauza’s 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders: Cities is scheduled for release in May. Cities will bring rules to play in teams with up to 8 players, new guilds, new wonders, new leaders and a completely new card type representing the remains of even more ancient cities than yours. It’s time we go play some Leaders here in the Meeple Cave, just to be prepared for the next one.
Catan Histories: Merchants of Europe has a 99% chance to be the translation of Die Siedler von Catan: Aufbruch der Händler, which in turn is based on the mechanics of Settlers of America: Trails to Rails. Both games share some mechanics, but are quite distinct from one another, so as an anglophone Catan completionist, you can own both without feeling wasteful.
Urbania (Simone Luciani) is a game about urban renewal where your goal is to profit as much as you can from the new city center you’re building on the almost-ruins of the old one.
Sands of Time Games
Catacombs has been a huge success since it was first published, being the first game to combine dungeon crawling with dexterity mechanics – in this case, disk flicking. Your heroes are big wooden discs that you flip across the board at the wooden monster discs, or let them shoot arrows and throw fireballs. It sounds silly. It is silly. But a lot of fun. If you didn’t get Catacombs yet, the game is in store again and is accompanied by its third expansion Catacombs: Horde of Vermin. Because everyone who ever played role playing games knows how much fun it is when your hero that can defeat dragons succumbs to the diseases spread by a swarm of rats.
Fantasy Flight Games
As predicted, as soon as one batch of games is published, a new batch is taking its place. Sky Traders (Gioacchino Prestigiacomo) pushes all the right buttons for me with its setting: you’re the captain of a merchant sky ship (that look more like a hot air balloon tied to a real ship than a zeppelin, but I can’t have everything) evading wind pirates and working on your intrigues in the Sky Guild. Mechanically, Sky Traders is a trading game with the ability to manipulate commodity prices and bad things happening to everyone.
Small Box Games
They don’t even reveal the name yet, just the picture of one card. There is absolutely nothing they could do wrong from this point forward. They have Native American Dinosaurs with really nice art, so I’m sold. I’m guessing it will be a deck-building game by the card effect.
Ignacy Trzewiczek is at it again. The author of Stronghold and Pret-a-Porter will bring a cooperative game to Essen this year. As survivors of a shipwreck, the players find themselves on a deserted island in Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island. They won’t survive for long if they don’t manage to build shelter, find food, create tools and explore the island – which itself can hold all sorts of surprises ranging from pirate treasure through cursed temples to volcanoes. Ignacy wants to eliminate a problem that plagues all coops with Robinson Crusoe: one player taking over the game while the others merely execute his plan is supposed to be a problem of the past. I’m very, very curious about this solution. And excited about a new cooperative game.
Also by Ignacy and also scheduled for Essen this year is Convoy. Convoy is a two player card game set in the post-apocalyptic world of Neuroshima. The game is asymmetric, one player’s goal is to destroy New York while the other player tries to stop him.
The smart and adorable creatures at the top – or unbearable pests, depending who you ask, but I say smart and adorable – are raccoons an where photographed by Brendan Lally and shared as CC-BY. Thanks, Brendan!