Life in Frisia is completely unthinkable without tea. Believe me, I’ve been there, tea comes right after oxygen in the list of needs. That was an omission in Uwe Rosenberg’s Fields of Arle where the inhabitants of Arle lived and worked for years without a single cup. Unthinkable! The Tea & Trade expansion to fix that was a necessity. And it does exactly what the title promises. Tea (and the special Frisian Tea) is a new resource that players can use to perform an action more efficiently than they could without tea, or even to take an action twice in one turn. Don’t you love caffeine? The Trade part lets you now build small and large ships to go and do trade in faraway places. What the title doesn’t reveal is that there is another upgrade in the expansion box: If you’re playing with Tea & Trade you can play Fields of Arle with three players, that’s a full 50% more than ever before! You can preorder the German edition of Tea & Trade together with the other new Feuerland Spiele releases here.
Cooperative tower defense game Bastion is not an all new Z-Man Games release, but for players in the US and Europe it might as well be. Russian games, like the first edition by Hobby World, are awfully hard to find here. Players in Bastion must defend their citadel against monsters approaching from the six sides of the game board. Fighting off those monsters requires mana in the monster’s color, and collecting that mana efficiently is one of Bastion‘s big challenges. This preview post by Z-Man Games explains how you get mana and how you use it – with a promise of more complexity to follow.
Days of Wonder
No matter how large Small World grows, it will always be too small for its inhabitants. More proof of that arrives with Sky Islands, a new expansion that adds a lot of real estate high above the ground. And still, everyone is fighting for space. I’ll admit, getting to the new land isn’t as easy as moving to the next province over, you have to find ways to get up there. And together with the new space there are new races fighting over it. What could possibly go wrong with fighting against Storm Giants on floating islands in the sky?
I can’t resist anything with cats. Those critters are my big weakness. So I guess I’ll have to try Cat Lady, a new drafting card game by Alderac. During the short fifteen minute game you’ll draft cats, toys, costumes – cats love costumes! – and food to score the most points at the end. Watch out especially for that food, having hungry cats at the end of the game is not good at all.
Fantasy Flight Games
Taking over the galaxy is not all war and violence. Bending the galactic legislative to your will is just as important. That’s especially true in Twilight Imperium, where the players get to vote on laws to be passed by the Galactic Council. Those laws can be profitable but not dangerous, like giving a victory point to one player. But they can be game changing when it’s something like making the blueprints for the powerful War Sun ships available to all players. Hope you’re in control of some influential planets when those laws come up.
With the number of new games published every year finding a theme that hasn’t been used a hundred times already can be a challenge. It’s safe to say that Mindclash Games have found such a theme for Cerebria – The Inside World, an area control game set inside someone’s mind. The players are spirits representing emotions and their goal is to push the person’s identity towards Bliss or Gloom. With only two sides to go, you can guess that Cerebria with more players is going to be a team game. The whimsical setting is matched by Cerebria’s looks, a beautiful, colorful fantasy world. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a light game to relax! Mindclash Games are the same people who brought is Trickerion and Anachrony, two fantastic strategy games that make your brain hurt. The estimated play time of two hours and minimum age of 15 years make it clear that Cerebria is for the same audience – an audience including boardgame news writers who have technically already exceeded their Kickstarter budget.
Cranio Creations go back to the Italian Renaissance with an expansion to their worker placement game Lorenzo Il Magnifico. Faithful to the title Houses of Renaissance this expansion makes each player the leader of an influential house – yeah, okay, they did that before, but now they get leader cards with individual special abilities, too. Also in the box are new development cards to buy and everything you need for a fifth player.
Even with terraforming it will take a long, long time before anyone can leave on the surface of Venus. Much longer than Mars for sure. So if we were to establish a colony there having it float far above the surface is an idea that has been around for a while. Floating colonies are also part of the Venus project in Terraforming Mars: Venus Next. The floaters required to keep everything up are a new resource in this expansion, and many new cards use them in some way.
Preparation is fundamental when you’re on your way to a new planet. You can’t just turn around and go back because you forgot something. To include that important step in Reworld the game is split into two chapters. In chapter one your cargo ships are in Earth orbit and you’re doing your best to prepare the expedition in the short time you have. In chapter two your ships have arrived in the new world: Eurybia. This is where you find out if your preparations were sufficient.
Plaid Hat Games
Adorable and heroic are not mutually exclusive attributes. Plaid Hat Games show as much with the first character preview for Stuffed Fables: Theadora the Bear. Thea is incredibly supportive of the other stuffies: With her special abilities she can let them reroll dice or draw new dice from the dice bag. A great bear to have around.
When we talked about the new releases by 2F-Spiele recently we missed one: A new expansion for Friedemann Friese’s greatest hit Power Grid. Like most of the other new releases this expansion uses the Fast Forward mechanism first introduced with Fabled Fruit last year. In Power Grid: Fabled Expansion it will be used to create two campaigns, each with a narrative spanning three games of Power Grid on one of the base games’ boards. Power Grid: Fables Expansion is an unexpected expansion to be sure, and I’m very excited to find out what happens in the campaign.
The charming sea lion in this week’s photo was found swimming in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The photo was taken by Paul Krawczuk. Thank you for sharing, Paul! (Sea Lion swimming, Galápagos, Paul Krawczuk, CC-BY, resized and cropped)