Isle of Skye, Kennerspiel des Jahres 2016, is about to have another expansion. Isle of Skye – Druids will bring only minor rules changes, unlike the Wanderer expansion from last year that changed the game quite a bit. In Druids you’ll be able to buy one more landscape tile per round. This tile comes from a shared board, not from other players, and can have stone tablets with special effects for their owner.
Imagine you’re a witch coming home from your yearly assembly only to find your Gingerbread House partially eaten. You’d be understandably vexed and might harbor some unkind feelings against the fairy tale creatures who snacked on your shelter. Gingerbread House by Phil Walker-Harding is a game about building and revenge. With Dominoes-like tiles you rebuild your house on a 3×3 grid. When you start building upwards and cover up gingerbread icons you gain that gingerbread and may use it to bait those pesky creatures and catch them. The witch that takes the most revenge wins.
Agricola is one of those games that keep on giving. In October we’ll get the new Bubulcus deck, a new deck with 60 occupations and 60 minor improvements.
Most expansions make the base game wider in some way. Only making the game longer is unusual. That’s what Caverna: Cave vs Cave – Era II: The Iron Age does. Just like the title the game itself will be about twice as long, with four new rounds that follow right after the base game. In those new rounds the players can mine iron ore to turn into iron bars and then into weapons. The weapons are just to score points, you won’t attack your opponent. Adding eras to the base game is an interesting way to expand it. I wonder if Cave vs Cave will keep growing in that direction.
It always turned out really well when Uwe Rosenberg created a new deck of cards to go with one of his games. Just look at Agricola, those new decks did their part to keep the game fresh. I’m sure they’ll do the same for Nusfjord. The Schollen Deck (translated: Plaice Deck) will have 44 new buildings and one new Elder for the council. It won’t be the last deck for Nusfjord. After all, there are a lot of fish in the sea.
The news from Lookout Games just don’t stop this year. Uwe Rosenberg’s Caverna, surprisingly, didn’t have any expansions yet. That will change with Forgotten Folk, a collection of new species and races by Alex Wilber. No longer will you be restricted to playing dwarf vs. dwarf vs. dwarf, now Caverna can have elves, trolls, goblins and more. With the eight species everyone in a full seven player game can be special, because each species has their own rules. Some may ignore rules from the base game. You’ll have to rethink your whole strategy for this one. Each species also adds four furnishings to the game that anyone can build, so some things change for you depending on your opponents, too.
Plaid Hat Games
We’ve heard details about the fighting heroes and villains in Guardians, and about the locations they fight over. The latest preview goes more basic and talks about what you actually do on your turn. In short, you have three actions you can use to move a hero, attack, draw a card or play a card. The last one is the most significant since playing cards is how you get things done. Three actions per turn sure doesn’t sound like much…
There are many games where one player describes something and the others have to guess what it is. It can’t be easy to come up with a new idea for one, but that’s what Pantone looks like. All you have to describe the character everyone else should guess are swatch cards in 15 different colors. All you can do is arrange them and hope someone guesses them. Sounds like a fun party game. My one concern is how long 132 character cards are going to last before you know them all.
In the unpleasant future of 2471 everything is scarce, and scarcest of all is kero. Kerosene. Fuel. That’s what it’s all about in Kero, a real time dice game by Hurrican Games. The two players compete for the same territories and resources, but the resource to really watch out for is time. Both players have a sand timer, and one player may only reset their timer while the other player’s timer is running. The faster your opponent plays the less time you will have for your next turn. Talk about frantic…
Fantasy Flight Games
This interview with creator Richard Garfield about KeyForge: Call of the Archons has some interesting tidbits about the hows and whys of the Unique Deck Game. It addresses one of our most burning questions, too: If you get a unique deck, and you’re supposed to play with it exactly as is, won’t some decks be plain stronger than others? The answer is yes, they will be. There is a handicap system in place to address that. Players will have to agree on a handicap, though. That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Discussing who’s deck is stronger is much less fun than actually playing. We’ll have to see. Another question in the meantime, though. What’s going to stop me from taking cards from multiple decks and make a new, better deck?
For a thousand years there was uneasy peace between the people of the Hidden Lands. Dwarfs, Elves, Humans, Halflings and Mages were not exactly at war, but not friends, either. Divided, they didn’t stand a chance when the Goblins invaded. Some of them escaped to a a new world: Pandoria. There they can rebuild their civlization, not exactly at war, but … you know the rest. Pandoria is tile and worker placement game by Jeffrey Allers and Bernd Eisenstein. When a tile is completely surrounded by other tiles it produces its resources for all workers around that tile, no matter which race they are. Players work together to harvest those resources, but they all want to score the most points with buildings and spells they buy.
Hans im Glück
Bernd Brunnhofer’s worker placement game Stone Age is one of the classics of modern boardgames, and it’s ten years old this year. A good time for Stone Age Anniversary Edition. It has a pretty, wintry box cover, a reworked game board, rules and components. That will make Stone Age fans happy already, but even better is the announcement that more news around the game are coming soon. Let’s see what else we’ll get.
gamescom, the huge video game event currently going on in Cologne, is not the place I think about for finding new boardgames. Neither is Square Enix a company I expected a boardgame announcement wrong. But announce they did, and at gamescom, too. Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game will feature four incarnations of Lara Croft, who shouldn’t need an introduction at this point, and a round, possibly modular game board with locations to raid. The photo on Twitter also shows what looks like action cards, maybe hinting at simultaneous action selection, and a deck of cards that might have equipment. I hope we find out more soon.
Moaideas’s Essen release for this year goes for a rare theme: classical music. Players don’t make music in Symphony No. 9, however. They sponsor it. To be precise, they sponsor a number of classical composers, and the most generous sponsors gain a composition from the beneficiary of their patronage. With those compositions the players arrange a concert, but they have to pay for it. The sum of their hidden bids decides the size of the concert, but if they bid too little (or too much) the concert will fail and the player who donated least (or most) is punished. At the end of the game the compositions you collected score points in different ways, depending on the artist they came from. Symphony No. 9 is not a super complex game, but the sum of its parts will make for tricky decisions.
Very few scientists in history have reached the same level of fame, or contributed as much to modern science, as Isaac Newton. It makes a lot of sense to give his name to a game about traveling through 18th century Europe in search of knowledge from universities and less public sources: Newton. Experiment on different technologies to gain science fame, but to finance your travels you’ll have to do more regular work.
This week’s featured photo comes from the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. It was taken and kindly shared by Russ Bowling. Thanks a lot for sharing, Russ! (Puebla, Mexico, Russ Bowling, CC-BY, resized and cropped)