Reiner Knizia’s Medici is spawning a new offshot: Medici: The Dice Game. It’s still all about loading goods on your ships, and since that is the hot genre at the moment it’s going to be a roll-and-write game. You’ll fill three ships over the game. What you fill them with doesn’t matter, only how full they are. The type of goods you load – the color of dice you pick – is only important for the monopolies. They are secondary scoring tracks that, unlike your ships, do not reset each round. Problem is, the best dice for your ship are the worst for the monopolies. You end up with a light game that nevertheless has some interesting decisions to make.
The Great Wall of China is not, contrary to popular belief, visible from space. Nevertheless it’s one of the greatest construction projects ever undertaken by a pre-industrial culture, and now it will join the list of monuments you can build in a worker placement game. In Awaken Realms’ The Great Wall you have eleven locations to send your workers, and that’s only the start of it. Together with your workers you may play Command Cards that will have additional effects. Also, a location doesn’t activate from just one worker. You only gain the benefits when all slots are filled, and doing so all by yourself will often reap you a penalty. Now, remember that you’re building the wall not just because it’s pretty. You build the wall to keep the Mongols out, and they will not let you finish its construction unopposed. When they attack your spearmen, archers and cavaliers have to keep them out. For all your responsibilities you can hire advisors who offer different bonuses, giving you tons of opportunities to adjust your engine. I get a delicious headache just thinking about all the options.
Fantasy Flight Games
I so did not see this coming. Barkham Horror was a Fantasy Flight Games April Fools joke, a Arkham Horror: The Card Game scenario where the investigators are dogs. No one expected the joke to be this popular with fans and and designers alike, but it was. And now it is here. The joke got real. Barkham Horror: The Meddling of Meowlathotep is a stand-alone, 78 card scenario pack that lets a band of good boys investigate the cat conspiracy and protect the unsuspecting humans from Meowlathotep. I’m a huge cat lover and would usually be annoyed at cats being cast in the villain role, but this scenario is way too hilarious to be angry. Just woof…. I mean…. just wow.
Kosmos have announced a new two-player strategy game for next year. In Aqualin the players will each try to create the biggest swarm of animals on the coral reef. Doing so is rather simple, too. On their turn a player will move one stone already on the board, changing the swarms already there, and then place a new stone. The player who creates the largest swarm wins the game.
Reiner Knizia jumps on the Legacy train. His new game My City will be a competitive family game in eight chapters. Each chapter has three games and an envelope with new rules and components. Through the resulting twenty-four games each player will build and develop a city on their personal game board, from the founding of the colony, through a gold rush, until the railroad reaches the city. The Legacy experience is a one time thing, but when you’re through with a story you’ll still be able to play a static version of My City.
Ask anyone who lived in Europe, North Africa or the Middle East around 2.000 years ago and they’ll all confirm one thing: nowhere is safe from the Romans. That’s why, even though the enterprising proto-Italians are not strictly speaking northmen, they’ll invade the Empires of the North in the next expansion Roman Banners. Just like the Japanese Islands expansion Roman Banners will have two new player decks, new island cards, and all new game mechanisms exclusive to the Romans.
Alexandr Ushan can’t let go of the espionage genre. After two Spyfall games his newest game Spycon will be a different game, but the goal is still to identify a spy. The problem: everyone is at a spy convention and in outrageous disguise. The spy each round draws an identity card that only they know and a keyword card they share with their team. Then they start talking about then character and the first team to guess their identity scores. To give their own team an advantage the spy should refer to the keyword, which is unknown to the opposing team. Good luck with that when the character is Confucius and the keyword is Spacesuit, but everyone will have a great time watching the spy squirm.
Knowledge and wealth await in Coralia, a new dice placement game by Michael Rieneck. Two to four scientists use remotely operated diving drones to explore coral reefs. Fish, starfish, and turtles await discovery to advance your knowledge about the reefs’ ecosystem. Pearls and treasure chests are less valuable from a scientific point of view, but their monetary worth will probably make up for it. In the end, it’s all victory points, anyway. The game mechanism is simple, when it’s your turn you pick one of the four dice you rolled, place it on the reef matching its color and take the action indicated by its symbol. There’s more to it, though. By picking one dice you also decide the color of three dice the next player will get, the fourth they pick from the supply. Most of the actions you take are not simple “place dice, get points” affairs. You collect sets, get extra actions as rewards, and collect turtles that let you save a die before you have to reroll.
Nürnberger Spielkarten Verlag
Steffen Benndorf’s The Game is anything but complicated. Two piles of cards, values on one may only go up, the other only down, all players win when they put all the cards in the two piles. The only thing to keep in mind is that you can go against a pile’s direction if the new card is exactly ten points higher or lower than the previous one, but that’s it. When a new game comes along with the name The Game – Quick and Easy then you know it must be very quick and very easy. And that it really is. The ten point step to go in the wrong direction is gone. Instead, the cards now have a color and if your card’s color matches the card below it then you can simply ignore the numbers. That will make it a lot easier to go backwards and make space for fresh cards.
Another new, cooperative game Steffen Benndorf cooked up is Contact. In this game an extra-terrestrial intelligence is feeling lonely and invites humanity over for tea. Unfortunately, the alien is not a great communicator. All the information it can give about its whereabouts is how long each hop from planet to planet will take until the Earthlings get to its planet – in game, the alien player lifts their hand from the table and slaps it down after the approximate time it will take the meeple rocket to get to the next planet. With a few different knocks the other players can hopefully identify where they are supposed to go. Contact feels similar to The Mind in some ways, but with more actual game around the core idea.
This week’s featured photo shows the Turabeg Khanym Mausoleum in Kunya-Urgench, Turkmenistan. The photo was taken and kindly shared by Dan Lundberg. Thanks a lot for sharing, Dan! (20140926_Turkmenistan_0244 Konye-Urgench, Dan Lundberg , CC-BY-SA)