MESAboardgames / Stronghold Games
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal opening, MESAboardgames and Stronghold Games will publish Panamax, an economic game set around the canal. Players will be responsible for their companies, moving containers onto ships to go through the canal, but also working the stock market and hiring employees for their companies. Players will also have direct control of the canal’s locks, and one challenge will be to efficiently move your own ships through without helping your opponents. The game will use a dice-based action selection system to control what you can do. Fun fact on the side: a panamax is a ship of the maximum size that can traverse the Panama Canal and apparently a common standard size for cargo ships. The things you learn from boardgames…
The small Swedish publisher is not revealing much about their coming game yet, but they have tipped their cards that it will involve battling starships in this art preview.
Small Box Games
I’m always happy to show the newest Smash Up preview cards, and this one is no exception. The Cyberback, leader of the new Cyber Ape faction in Smash Up: Science Fiction Double Feature is certain to always be well buffed, with all those actions from your discard pile that you can play on him.
The partner card game Tichu is still one of the most beloved games around the Meeple Cave, although we don’t get to play nearly as much as we’d like. Z-Man’s Chimera being described as “Chimera will transport you into the world of Tichu, but for three players” obviously aroused not only our curiosity but also our attention. I’m especially curious what the mysterious chimera that can ruin your plans will turn out to be.
Also from Z-Man Games this year, there will be a new release of the solo/coop game Onirim that now comes in a bigger box. But not just a bigger box for its own sake, it will now contain seven expansions for the base game instead of the original three. Set in the same universe of dreams and nightmares are two more games by designer Shadi Torbey. Sylvion is a tower-defense sort of game where you must defend against waves upon waves of enemies with your deck of cards, Castellion a tile-laying game about building castle defenses against attacking monsters. Both games are for one or two players, so chances are they will have the same solo/coop gameplay as Onirim.
Stone Blade Entertainment
Stone Blade Entertainment will continue their fantasy deck-building series Ascension with a new stand-alone game (which can be combined with other Ascension games, however). The big new things in Ascension: Realms Unraveled include new cards that reward playing multiple heroes of the same faction on your turn and the new Transform cards that can upgrade cards into more powerful versions. (via ICv2)
This is a very early announcement as the game in question will only be published in 2015. Spielworxx will publish Haitabu (working title), a viking trading game for 2-5 players by first time designers Wolfgang Heidenheim and Andreas Molter. No further information is available at this point, but it is still a long time to go, too.
The Tuscany expansion for worker-placement wine making game Viticulture brings just about everything you can think of to expand the game, in one convenient box. The nine separate expansions range from simple things like new Visitor cards and variable starting resources all the way to big, game-changing expansions like a new game board that lets you place workers in all four seasons, not just summer and winter. You’ll even get to plant tomatoes and make cheese. And best of all, from where I’m standing: the new specialized workers add different types of meeples! Tuscany is currently breaking funding records on Kickstarter.
Red Raven Games / Schwerkraft Verlag
The publishers of the English and German editions of Ryan Laukat’s minimalist strategy game Eight-Minute Empire , Red Raven Games and Schwerkraft Verlag, will both publish two new games by the same author this year. Eight-Minute Empire: Legends will be a fantasy variant of the basic Eight-Minute Empire, a review of which we’ll publish very soon. The Ancient World, also set in a fantasy world, is probably going to be a longer game. In this worker-placement game, the players each rule a tribe of people that have been on the run from the mythical Titans for centuries. Now they have all decided that it’s time to stop running and start fighting, and the player who can unite the most people under his banner will rule this beautiful, new world.
In the category weird game of the week, we have Game Salute’s newest Kickstarter project Area 1851. Players are tinkerers – I would call them mad scientists, actually – in the Old West, creating new, exciting and utterly puzzling gadgets like the Colorshifting Pony Made of Cast Iron. I guess that one is at least better than the Pony That Causes Pregnancy, which would also be a valid card combination. I’m having a hard time figuring out how deep this game will be in the end, but with trading hands after each round, assistants to employ and special events to consider, it’s certainly not at the shallowest spot in the pool.
This week’s photo, taken by Doug Kerr and shared as CC-BY-SA, was taken in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA. It shows one of the impressive cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people who lived in the area from 6th to 12th century. I wouldn’t want to live with that amount of rock above me… . Thank you for sharing this photo, Doug!