Corey Thompson

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A retired veterinarian and ex-cell biologist, Corey spends his time with board games, computer history, banjo music and general useless frivolity. Corey can be found as doccabet on BGG.

Fantasy Flight Games has just announced a new Star Wars board game from acclaimed designer-jedi Corey Konieczka (Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Star Wars: Rebellion) and Tony Fanchi, Star Wars: Outer Rim. In this grand adventure for 1-4, players take on the role of budding bounty hunters in the no mans land of the infamous outer rim. Players win by gathering 10 fame smuggling cargo, fulfilling missions, or completing personal goals. To achieve this end, heroes need resources for good ships, such as a modified YT-1300 light freighter (some type of “falcon“) and worthy crew, such as Lando Calrissian or Han Solo. Pilots need to avoid investigation from nuisances such as the Hutts, the Imperials or even the Rebels as they jump across hyperspace. Outer Rim looks like another epic “star wars in a box” adventure game, this time focusing on the seedier side of becoming the most (in)famous outlaw in the galaxy. Look for Outer Rim in Q2 2019, and read more about it in the official press release here.

  

Love it or hate it, the board game Talisman is an important part of modern dungeon-crawl board game history. First produced in 1983 by Games Workshop and designer Robert Harris, Talisman is a roll and move game with multitudes of characters to play, items to find, monsters to slay, and expansions galore. The game has seen versions migrate through various companies, most notably the 4th edition published by Fantasy Flight Games jointly with Games Workshop. After the split between those two companies in 2017, the future of the game franchise was unknown, but a recent press release has revealed that the newest publisher to jointly produce the “Magical Quest Game” will be USAopoly. Details are few, but it does appear to be the nostalgic game back again from the dead, rather than the offshoot game recently released from Pegasus Spiele. However, the press release discusses “two new licensed editions”, which could mean Harry Potter, Disney, or even James Bond, all of which have been put into games by USAopoly in the past. For more details, check out the official press release from the New York Toy Fair.

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (2013) was one of the early award winners to come from Stonemaier Games, and the studio has just announced the first expansion, Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss. In the original Euphoria, players used dice as workers to manipulate the three factions in the Euphoria world: the Euphorians, the Subterrans and the Wastelanders. The numbers on the dice represent the intelligence of your workers: higher numbers allow them stronger actions, but in this world, you want dumb workers, because the smart ones run away. In Ignorance is Bliss, by designers Morten Monrad Pedersen and automata-masters Nick Shaw and David Studley, the once lofty Icarites, who lived among the clouds selling bliss, have now descended to the peons, imposing a new way of life. For more information, keep an eye on the Stonemaier website here, where they will continue to provide more information on this expansion all February long.

Bunny Kingdom (2017) is a well regarded (BGG #456) card drafting and area control game from the magical designer Richard Garfield. In Bunny Kingdom, players draft cards to place resources, bunnies and buildings on the board, trying to create fiefs with the most influence. Iello has just announced In the Sky, the first expansion to Bunny Kingdom. In the Sky adds a new Sky board to the game with ways to link fiefs to the main board. Additionally, this expansion adds a new larger 5-tower building, the Carrothedral, supplies for a 5th player, and some new mechanisms to the base game. Bunny Kingdom: In the Sky is due to hit stores in April 2019, perchance timed to a certain rabbit themed holiday…

Petersen Games and designer Sandy Petersen (Cthulhu Wars) have a new asymmetric 4X space game on Kickstarter, Hyperspace. Hyperspace is designed to be a fast moving (1-2 hours), 2-4 player space epic with little downtime, selling itself as having no upkeep phase, keeping everything continuous actions until the end of the game. Players have 3 actions on their turn, choosing from move, build, battle, produce and research. The base game comes with 4 very unique aliens, each with its own weakness, bonus super ability, super tech, super unit, and a victory ability just for that species. The board is comprised of hex tiles, each of which is unique. All of the mechanisms are simple, elegant versions what you expect in a space game. The outposts, which produce resources, have slots to place cardboard tokens, denoting which resource they produce – Metal, Atomics, Organic, or Hyper. Battles are swift and decisive – ships attack with a specific die type (d6, d8, d10), and defend with a single value. Of note is that attackers decide who they are shooting, picking from any of the defenders units. Movement uses an action, but a single action can move ships as far as you like through player owned territory, as long as you have the Atomics to fuel it. Like most Petersen games, the components are a thing of beauty – Hyperspace comes with 100+ gorgeous plastic miniatures, 42 planets, 122 cards, and more than 300 cardboard tokens, rings and dice. 22 more expansion species are available as extra buys, making the variability and replayability extraordinary. The Kickstarter Campaign for Hyperspace continues through February 21, and the game is expected to ship in August 2020.

Ares Games has announced that they are revising and publishing the second edition of Quartermaster General: WW2 by designer Ian Brody, originally put out by Griggling Games, Inc. Quartermaster General is a 2-6 player board game focusing on the supply chain during the war, with points earned by keeping  your armies and navies fighting. Players take control of countries in either the Axis or Allies, and each major power in the game has its own unique deck of cards.  After 20 turns, the player with the most points is declared the winner. Area has stated they are making careful revisions, “improving its ease of play, clarity, play balance, and more”. For more details, check out the press release on Ares Games’ website.

Splotter Games, the undisputed masters of all things economic, heavy and euro, have just announced an expansion to their hit game Food Chain Magnate (BGG #29), called The Ketchup Mechanism. In Food Chain Magnate, by designers Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga, 2-5 players collect employees for their growing fast food company, then use each employee to cook food, set up advertising, hire and promote employees, build restaurants, etc. Automated customers then see advertising, get hungry, and drive to the closest/cheapest location where they can buy what they want. The first players to achieve certain milestones in the game gain permanent bonuses, but money determines the winner of this heavy, no luck involved, economic wonder. The Ketchup Mechanism is a modular expansion, adding a number of small changes to the game. The company states that the expansion is still developing, but we can expect a sixth player, new milestones, coffee shops and baristas which customers visit on the way to a restaurant, new buildings, new food types, new employees, and… ketchup. I have to comment on the brilliance and humor behind the expansion name – when people critique Food Chain, or Splotter Games in general, their first comment is about runaway leaders and the lack of … Ketchup. Splotter Games is taking pre-orders for The Ketchup Mechanism, and are aiming for a late 2019 release. For more details, check out the Splotter web page here.

Pandasaurus Games has a new project on Kickstarter, Dead Man’s Cabal, by designer Daniel Newman. In Dead Man’s Cabal, 2-4 players take on the role of lonely necromancers who want to throw a gala bash, but have no friends willing to come. So when life gives you lemons, make your own friends for your party. Players use a “variable phase” mechanism reminiscent of Puerto Rico to pick actions. Players start a turn by collecting colored skulls from the Ossuary, with each color representing an action space on the board. Players can spend a skull to do 1 private action, then the skulls left on the Ossuary determine a public action which all players can perform. Gold skulls allow players to collect new ritual cards from the Athenaeum. Red skulls allow access to the Sepulchre to collect more skulls. White skulls earn players rune tokens from the Scriptorum, amplifying points on rituals. The final location, the Sanctum, has a complex set of spaces connected by paths, and players can place skulls on the spaces trying to create an uninterrupted line of specific colors dictated by the ritual cards they are trying to complete. Bone “currency” assists actions all along the way, with mechanisms in place to gain more with weaker actions, or spend more for more and stronger actions. The Kickstarter Campaign for Dead Man’s Cabal continues through February 15, and the game is expected to deliver in June of 2019.

Portal Games recently hosted PortalCon 11 in Gliwice, Poland, where they celebrated 20 years of the Board Games that tell stories. At the celebration, owner and Portal head honcho Ignacy Trzewiczek announced several new games and expansions coming from this amazing company in 2019. There are a ton of new announcements, all of which can be read in the press release from Portal, or seen live in the Keynote Address given at PortalCon.

Several new games set in the Imperial Settlers (BGG #145) universe were announced. First on the list is Empires of the North, a standalone card game designed by Ignacy, featuring Scotsman, Inuit and Vikings. Each faction comes with 2 unique card decks allowing a variety of game play styles. 2-4 players can each try to lead their faction to victory by dominating the opposition, developing their economy or defending their land. Also from the big man is Imperial Settlers Roll and Write. Just as the name implies, this new roll and write game takes place in the empire building world of Imperial Settlers, and focuses heavily on engine building, with each big move giving bonuses towards the next. The game includes two modes, one a traditional 2-4 player competitive point scoring challenge, while the second is a new adventure mode. This single player game comes with a pad of 48 unique challenge sheets to complete, each with its own starting points and goals. And just to round out the Imperial Settlers fervor, Portal Games has announced the Imperial Settlers Big Box, a 5 year anniversary of this award winning game, complete with all of the factions and expansions. The Big Box will be exclusively available direct from Portal Games, and includes a plastic insert to hold everything, new commemorative anniversary cards, as well as oft requested single piece faction boards for the Amazons, Aztecs and Atlanteans.

Also coming from the President of Polish Play is a reprint of Prêt-à-Porter, the 2-4 player surprisingly brutal fashion industry board game. Players take turns hiring new employees, gaining managers, designers and models, all in an effort to destroy the competition. This third edition is coming to Kickstarter in 2019, and features new art from acclaimed illustrator Kwanchai Moriya (Dinosaur Island, Catacombs).

Portal also announced new armies for their arena combat board games Neuroshima Hex and Monolith Arena, both from designer Michał Oracz. The Sand Runners are the latest army to dominate the world of Neuroshima Hex, and are a “specialized army of veteran warriors who clashed with the Moloch in the early days of the war”. The Sand Runners feature a double sided HQ tile for versatility, and come with a new Sand Storm tile type. The new army for Monolith Arena are the Academics, focusing on runes, upgrades, and the ability to dramatically weaken their enemy – in fact, their banner directly slows enemy tiles. The Academics armies are few in number, but devastating in ability.

One of the biggest hits Portal and Ignacy had in the past year was the web-integrated Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, and the first campaign expansion, Detective: L.A. Crimes, is coming soon. Detective is one of the most engrossing, slowly enfolding, experiential crime story games made, and L.A. Crimes promises to bring more real life sleuthing, this time in the drug infused world of 1980’s Los Angeles. L.A. Crimes is due to be in stores March 2019, with the new mechanics of Stakeouts and Observation, 5 new characters, and 3 new cases. Also announced was Detective: Alexa Edition, wherein players can complete the 6th case in Detective, all narrated and run by the Amazon Alexa. Portal games has stated the Alexa edition is “part of an effort to bring board games to new players”, making the experience akin to an interactive radio drama. Finally, the world of Detective will be expanded even further by the Detective Signature Series. Portal Games has invited celebrated designers to use the framework of the Detective board game to create their own narratives. The first two master designers picked to frolic in the gritty world of suburban crime are Rob Daviau (Pandemic: Legacy, Betrayal at House on the Hill) and Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Lords of Vegas, Betrayal at House on the Hill), both masters of story telling in their own rights.

Board & Dice, who recently merged with NSKN Games, made several expansion and reprint announcements recently. One of the company’s recent hot games (BGG #223) is Teotihuacan: City of Gods, an impossible to pronounce, but critically acclaimed rondel-driven worker placement game in the Aztec Empire by designers Daniele Tascini and Dávid Turczi (Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar). Just announced is Teotihuacan: Late Preclassic Period, a modular expansion coming at GenCon 2019. This expansion adds asymmetric player powers, a 4th temple which unlocks powerful abilities, seasonal effects before eclipses, and new variants of some of the rondel boards.

Dice Settlers, the recent dice driven civilization building game by designer Dávid Turczi, is also getting a modular expansion – Dice Settlers: Western Sea. This expansion adds 17 new custom dice, envoys, enclosures and advisors to the game. The advisors are particularly interesting, as each one adds its own unique die and special ability. As the name implies, Western Sea also allows players to sail and fish along the shores. Look for this expansion at Essen 2019.

Finally, Board and Dice are coming out with Exodus Chronicles by designers Rainer Ahlfors and Andrei Novac, a reimplementation of their popular space opera game Exodus: Proxima Centauri (2012). Proxima Centauri is a 4X game complete with all that entails – hidden movement, bidding, tech trees, politics, and engine building both literal and figurative. Exodus Chronicles promises to be a new streamlined design, not simply a reprint, yet still including the two expansions Edge of Extinction (2015) and Event Horizon (2017). Look for Exodus Chronicles later in 2019.