French publisher Blackrock Editions is taking preorders for their two Essen releases. The first, Prohis, is a bluffing card game set in the American Prohibition where players try to smuggle illegal goods into their warehouses. One player plays four cards to transport, the other players get a chance to inspect those goods playing Controller cards. If they find illegal goods, they seize them and put them into their own warehouse. Legal goods, however, pass inspection and go to the owner’s warehouse. If the transport intself contains a controller card, the inspection is averted. Simple, but entertaining.
The second, Haru Ichiban, is a beautiful two-player game in which two gardeners arrange lily pads on a pond and place flowers on them. Their goal is to create lines or squares with flowers of their own color to score points. Another light game, but requires strategy to play, and with the lilypads and flowers on the Japanese looking pond look great.
In October, Ravensburger will release a new Reiner Knizia game. Orongo is an auction game on the Easter Islands, players bid shells for the best building sites and resources to erect the giant moai stone heads. That’s all we know at the moment, but going by the age recommendation of 10 and up it’s going to be a semi-heavy game, a bit above the average family fare.
Saar Shai, successful creator of The Agents, has a new project on Kickstarter. He describes King Down as “the prequel to chess”, and there are many parallels to the classic game of kings: you move your pieces on a grid where each type of piece follows its own movement rules, and your goal is to kill the enemy king – or kings, as the case may be, because King Down works with up to four players. Also very different from chess, you assemble your own army from a selection of figures that where never on a classic chess board, and then you bolster that army with spells. Where The Agents was a card game and thus naturally on the low end of production costs, King Down is at the other end of the cost spectrum. With some very fancy plastic miniatures, this will be one good-looking game.
La Mame Games
With only four turns and 15-20 minutes of game time, Melee by La Mame Games may be the shortest war game ever made. Players recruit four different types of units at the start of the game, then each turn they simultaneously decide to levy taxes, recruit new units or move and attack. Attacks are performed by moving into occupied territory and spending a secret amount of money to motivate your troops. If your opponent fails to guess the amount you spent, you win the battle, but money is a very right resource in this game, so you don’t have all that many options if you want to have money left for the next turn. Winner is the first player to capture an opposing castle, or whoever has the most land and money after the four turns are up.
I always said Tokaido was one of the prettiest games I knew. The picture from the Matsuri expansion that Antoine Bauza shared on his blog only confirms that – and makes me want the expansion.
The rules for FryxGames’ Fleets – The Pleiad Conflict have been available for a while, but just like they say in this news post about the game, the rules are only one part of the story in a card-driven game. And so we get to see a total of 15 cards, and they do indeed give a bit of insight how Fleets will be played.
Fantasy Flight Games
In a new preview of DungeonQuest Revised Edition, Fantasy Flight Games gives details about how the game is faster and more streamlined than the original. I don’t know what the original combat rules were, but the new ones use a quick Rock-Paper-Scissors system where the hero player and another player taking the role of the monster pick Melee, Ranged or Magic Attack and deal wounds too each other according to their choices. Also contained is some information about the Catacombs under the Dungeon.
It’s not a secret that I’m sceptical about boardgames coupled with phone apps to make them work. So this preview for XCOM: The Board Game is something I have been waiting for, it explains what the mobile app will do for the game. And as it turns out, it’s a lot. There is a full phase of the game that is played in real time with information and warnings that the app spits out when it feels like it, forcing the players to react. The app not only controls the UFO movement, it also extends into such basic things as turn sequence. If you don’t maintain your satellite network, for instance, then you may suddenly find that you have to deploy your units before you get the information where an attack will occur. I’m actually really not sure about the concept still. It could be very cool, but it sounds more like a computer game played on a board than a board game. I guess this one I’ll have to try to form an opinion.
Agricola fans will be happy to learn that designer Uwe Rosenberg has created a new deck of cards for their game. The German edition of Agricola: The France Deck will be available from Lookout Games in October, other language editions will probably follow.
Yet another theme I never thought would be made into a game: quilting. In Patchwork, a new game by Uwe Rosenberg and Lookout Games, two players compete in making a quilt. Yes, competitive quilt making. Unexpected, but there you have it. The game uses an interesting turn taking mechanic in that players don’t “take turns”. Instead, each action takes an amount of time, and the player that used less time so far always takes the next turn. Actions are buying patches, putting patches into your quilt or catching up with the other player on the timeline and taking one button, the currency in the game, for each square thus advanced. Winner is the player with the most buttons, but each missing patch in your quilt costs you two,
Peter Hawes Royals, an Essen release from Abacusspiele, is a game about political influence in 17th century Europe. Using country cards, you collect titles in the European countries of the time, paying more cards the higher the title is. Titles are worth victory points at the end of the game, but being the most influential in one of the countries scores points in the three scorings while the game is going on. Intrigue cards can be used to take titles away from other players.
The beautiful church interior in this week’s featured photo is from the missionary church of San Xavier, one of the missionary churches of Chiquitos in Bolivia. I’m not in favor of the mission, but you really can’t argue with their architecture in this case. The photo was taken by Carlos Reusser Monsalvez and kindly shared with a CC-BY license.