Days of Wonder
A new map pack expansion for Ticket to Ride will be available from Days of Wonder in Essen and in stores afterwards. Like previous map packs, Ticket to Ride United Kingdom brings two new game boards, one obviously being the UK and the other Pennsylvania. Both maps come with their own, new expansion rules. In the UK, players will invent new technologies that increase their technology level and allow them to claim longer routes. Pennsylvania adds a new majority component to the final scoring, for every route they claim players will be able to take stock from one of the rail companies and holding the stock majority of one company is worth bonus points when the game ends.
Guns & Steel, a light civilization building card game that successfully debuted at the Tokyo Game Market this April, is now on Kickstarter in an English edition from Grail Games. It’s a pure card game where each card can be used for the development with special action on the front or for the resource on the back. Resources are needed to buy more cards from a central display, but the right combination of development cards is required to get the valuable Wonder cards. Guns & Steel would be a deck-building game, except that you never have to rely on the luck of the draw because you always hold all the cards you haven’t used yet on your hand. That’s why they call it a hand-building game.
Polish publisher Galakta will bring two new games to Essen, both interesting in their own way. In the first one, Andromeda, players are scientists from different alien races and explore the wreck of an ancient spaceship together. But while they have to work together, they don’t really cooperate. Andromeda will employ an action selection system based on the “I split, you choose” idea of distributing cake to kids. Sounds like a fun interaction for a game.
The second Galakta game is Zombie Terror, a four-way asymmetrical game where each player has a different goal. Zombies want to eat brains, that’s it. Citizens want to get away from the Zombies. The Convict hiding in the mall wants to use the general chaos to evade capture. And the Mad Scientist, who released the Zombies in the first place, wants to take blood samples from the Citizens before he escapes to his hideout. I might be getting a tad tired of zombies at this point, but a four-way asymmetrical game does sound fun.
Plaid Hat Games
A strategy game with ground and air forces will be the next game in the Mice & Mystics universe. You read that right, the mice have an Air Force, and it even gives the game its name: Tail Feathers. All your troops are important, of course, you need the mice on the ground to complete missions, but the birds and their heroic pilots take center stage in this skirmish game, they even appear as miniatures that tilt in different directions to indicate where they are going to move. The first preview only gives us a rough outline how the game will be played, but the coming weeks will reveal more details.
Hans im Glück
Carcassone is one of the most successful boardgames ever, not only in number of copies sold but also in number of expansions and spin-off games created. The latest of those, a new standalone game, is Carcassone: Über Stock und Stein. (My guess at an English title when it comes would be Over Hill and Dale.) It takes the classic tile-laying idea into the countryside, players will take care of fruit trees, sunflowers and strawberry fields as well as raise livestock to score their points. Matching that idyllic theme, the recommended age for Über Stock und Stein starts at seven, a year younger that original Carcassone.
Corporate headquarters are one thing expansion Corporate Lords will add to FryxGames’s Fleets: The Pleiad Conflict. But new, unique escort ships will have an even bigger impact on the game, especially because they give the corporations more identity. It will make a big difference whether you have Poseidon’s battleship Hulk on your side or Teractor-Olympiac’s Diplomatic Shuttle, but all the new ships will give a big boost to their owners.
We already established last week that being called the village crone is, for some reason, desirable in Fireside Games’s The Village Crone. The new preview post deals with how to get there. What weird schemes must a witch get up to to deserve that title? As it turns out, those schemes involve an unnatural amount of making people fall in love and then turning them into frogs. Witches have odd preferences.
The German translation of another game we’re anxiously waiting for is making its way through the Spieleschmiede: Matt Leacock’s Thunderbirds. The cooperative game based on a 60’s superhero puppet TV series will be available in English in Essen, but with the crowdfunding project you could also get the German edition early next year.
With Dark Matter Gen-X Games are bringing a very interactive science fiction game to Essen. It’s about 3,000 years in the future, and humanity is all over the galaxy. The strongest opposition they have encountered so far, as usual, are other factions of humanity. And so they happily terraform planets, gather resources and attack enemy planets to prove that their faction is the better faction. The reason I call this game very interactive are the command cards. Each player has only three of them, each card is divided into four sections (top/bottom, front/back). Cards can be used by all players, no matter who they belong to, but depending on who uses a card it is either flipped or turned afterwards, so after each action the options available to a card’s owner and to everyone else change.
John Yianni, creator of, among others, the excellent two player strategy game Hive, is back. His newest game, which will be available early next year, is Tatsu, another two player abstract. In this one, instead of insects, you control three different types of dragons. Those dragons will fight out their differences around a circular board, and when encountering another dragon they’ll interact with it based on their type, either entangling the other dragon, removing it from the board or from the game entirely. Tatsu sounds lighter than Hive, but not so light that it would be boring, and the game pieces look just as good as Hive‘s, if not better.
Another game for everyone still awaiting their Hogwarts letter: Potion Explosion, Horrible Games’s newest game, will let you take magic potion classes. To brew a potion, you’ll have to collect the right ingredients from the ingredient dispenser, a nefarious device that holds glass marbles of different colors. If taking that one marble makes other marbles of the same color collide in the dispenser, then you may take those as well, completing your potions that much faster. Potions, in turn, can be used for special effects, creating bigger chain reactions, taking more ingredients and brewing more potions. Winner is the player who brews the most valuable potions.
While Potion Explosion will be available in Essen, another new Horrible Game will only be around for testing and released next year. Alone is an inversion of classic dungeon crawling games where one dungeon master opposes a team of heroic players. Here, it is the single hero fighting against up to three dungeon masters making his life difficult. And as if that wasn’t enough, he can only see his immediate surroundings, other parts of the dungeons are removed from the table, even after he had explored them already. Without knowing anything else about the game, it sounds exciting.
Building your family’s legacy will get much more interesting with Five Families, an expansion to Michiel Hendrik’s Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and Michal Walzcak. As a new option to build your family tree, you can now trade for special family members with the other players, paying in a new currency called Favor. Favor, in turn, is used to buy new, powerful actions. You’ll have to decide when a trade is worth it.
Bardagi, a game by young Scandinavian publisher Gamia Games, is about vikings discovering new lands. When resources run low near their home, they set out to discover the Landia island group where players compete to collect the most resources before the game ends. Mechanically, it’s a card-driven area management game. You use the cards to command your berserker, priest, merchant and dragon boat while you upgrade all of them in your village.
Another title by Gamia Games has an unusual and fresh setting. In Ancient Aliens players take the roles of powerful aliens traveling the universe as they come across Earth and decide to kickstart civilization here. Using your quasi-divine powers, you can change culture and genetics of your chosen people and guide them to build great works like the Pyramids, which will help you win in the end.
This week’s photo, taken by Carole Raddato and kindly shared with a CC-BY-SA license, shows the episcopal complex of the Euphrasian basilica in Pore?, Croatia, one of the most complete surviving complexes of early Christianity. Thank you for sharing this photo, Carole.