Corey Thompson

521 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
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.

Tasty Minstrel Games has announced an absolute metric tonne of games slated for release in the following months: some new, some reprints, and some just plain interesting. So without further ado, here is the list…

“Planet Earth is overpopulated, but recent technological developments open new possibilities – whole cities hovering high in the skies.”

Dilluvia Project, a game declared “awesome” by our own Jason Levine, is a heavy euro game from designer Alexandre Garcia, originally published by Spielworxx in 2015. Dilluvia is a glorious amalgamation of mechanisms, all coming together into a resource collection, cube management, area control festival where 2-4 players try to best manage a utopian flying city. Players jockey for position around a 4×4 grid of tiles, trying to secure the best resources by pointing to rows and columns. Cube collection leads to control of prime real estate in the city, in which buildings can be placed for points. Even the score mechanisms are unique, with “prestige points” giving the player more opportunity to earn true victory points in this deliciously crunchy mechanism salad. Look for Dilluvia Project to be reprinted this August.

“The journey out west was daunting and fraught with peril, but you made it!”

Old West Empresario from designer Stan Kordonskiy (Dice Hospital) is a tile drafting and placement game for 2-4 players. Tiles can give the player actions each turn, or can score points at the end of the game. Like other tile placement games, everyone is trying to create a prosperous town, where neighboring buildings feed off of each other, generating more points. Look for Old West Empresario to hit stores at the end of August.

Homesteaders is a fast auction game from designer Alex Rockwell, which has garnered understandable love since its release in 2009. TMG has announced a new 10th anniversary edition of this classic, including a new expansion, New Beginnings. In Homesteaders, 2-4 players auction for buildings to place in their burgeoning western frontier town, managing precious resources (9 different types!). Buildings give the player new abilities, income, and point generation, however some buildings require workers to fully function. After 10 rounds, the player with the most points is declared victor, and gets to name their city. The new Homesteaders comes with metal coins and victory point tokens, 53 building tiles, 30 auction tiles, 25 worker meeples, 74 wooden resources, and even a metal start player token.

The new expansion adds a 5th player, more buildings, auctions and components. Look for Homesteaders 10th Anniversary and the New Beginnings expansion in late September.

“Cats all over the world look forward to the Festival!”

Festival of a Thousand Cats from designer Fukutarou is a trick taking card game originally from Japan, which is sought after but difficult to obtain in the west. Tasty Minstrel has gotten the rights to reprint this quirky game, and it should hit western shores in late September. Cards have ranging number values, come in 4 different suits/seasons, and can score positive or negative points. 2 cards to be fought over are placed in the center of the play area, and these cards may have crows (negative points), fish, or milké (an intoxicating mixture of catnip and milk). Be careful – winning too much milké makes the cats sick and both fish and milké points are lost. Players each play one card from their hand, but cannot play the same suits as the scoring cards, unless there is no other option. After all players put in a card, the highest card played wins the higher of the 2 scoring cards, and the lowest wins the lower of the scoring cards. Add to this formula a varying distribution of numbers in each suit, and you end up with a very quirky, interesting take on trick taking.

“Stake your claim, build a mining empire, and keep one step ahead of the competition!”

Rolled West from designer Daniel Newman is the new inevitable roll-and-write version of TMG’s popular Gold West (2015) from J. Alex Kevern. In Rolled West, 2-4 players roll dice to collect resources, in order to make settlements and score majorities for the various terrain types. Players can bank resources on opponent’s turns, fulfill contracts, make sales, or invest in futures. The game comes with 4 custom dice, 4 dry erase player boards, a dry erase score board, and markers.

“Deep beneath the surface of the earth lie gems, artifacts, and other valuable things.”

Big Dig by Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington is a similar 2-4 player flip-and-write, dry erase game, where players flip over cards that dictate what shape of grid squares to cross off (dig) on their board. Digging out areas must proceed from the top or from already cleared areas, and certain areas cannot be excavated, except maybe by blowing them up! Players try to achieve the 3 random goals set on cards, and the first to do so wins. Lots of goals and double sided player boards lend variety to this new roll and write. Look for both Rolled West and Big Dig to come to stores in October 2019.

“Your prehistoric clan needs a little guidance. Hunt, gather, figure out new techniques for doing things and make a little art along the way!”

Dawn of Mankind is coming from designer Marco Pranzo (Historia) and acclaimed artist Kwanchai Moriya. Not a lot of details are known about this title, except that players create the journey of their tribe, involving generations of families. Other players may inadvertently help you along if they proceed along the same story path. At the end of the game, the “story” left by your family translates into points. Dawn of Mankind is due to hit stores in Q4 2019.

Curtiss Patrick and Danger Games have started a Kickstarter Campaign for Rainbow: The Trick Taking Poker Game. In Rainbow, 2-5 players use an 80 card deck consisting of values from 10 to Ace, in 5 colors, plus wild cards. Players each receive a hand of 15 cards, which they need to organize into poker hand “tricks” of 2, 3, 4, and 5 cards, culminating in a final single card play. Tricks can be the classic flush, straight, full house, three- and four-of-a-kind, etc., but most must consist of a single color, with color acting as a final trump in ties. Players bid on how many tricks they feel they will win, then play out their hand, with the first player to 11 points winning to game.

“It’s a great game for poker players to learn trick-taking, a wonderful design for trick-taking fans to get an introduction to poker, fantastic for fans of both poker and trick-taking games, and an easy-to-start game for players who have never played poker or trick-taking games”

Rainbow is a fast, easy to learn family trick taking game, and the Kickstarter is set to continue through August 16, 2019. The final game is expected to deliver in January 2020.

“The next evolution in board gaming…”

Cool Mini or Not in cooperation with XPlored have just announced the new digital board game console, Teburu (lit. Japanese for table). Teburu is truly a multisensory system for tabletop board games, one which “seamlessly integrates the physical and digital worlds.” Games will be orchestrated from a central tablet or PC running a Gamemaster App, with Teburu handling all of the communication between console, players, and pieces: hi-tech dice report when they are rolled, components “know” where they are on the board and when they are moved, and everything updates within the App. Teburu also communicates with players’ personal cell phones, adding player screens and personal messages to each game. All of this technology adds up to a one-of-a-kind experience with character tracking, narrative story-telling, and continued campaign scenarios, yet handling all the fiddly resources, enemy AI, and rules management invisibly in the background.

“Groundbreaking technology senses where figures representing heroes, monsters and other gameplay elements are anywhere on the board. This information is transmitted seamlessly to any compatible tablet or computer running the Gamemaster App – no more hunting around in the rulebook. Make your move and the Gamemaster tells you what happens next.”

The first game for Teburu will be Zombicide: Evolution – Las Vegas, a campaign driven next step for CMoN’s exceedingly popular IP. The Teburu game system is scheduled to hit Kickstarter in 2020, but for delicious teasers and videos now, check out the CMoN web page for Teburu here. Additionally, attendees to GenCon this August can be among the first to see the ground breaking Teburu system in action.

“These expansions put devastating new options for your starfighter squadrons at your fingertips, letting you conduct deadly electronic warfare and unleash barrages of powerful turbolaser or ion cannon fire as you bring the full weight of the largest X-Wing ship class to bear against your opponents. ”

Star Wars fans rejoice, for Fantasy Flight Games has announced more support for those incredible, huge ships that players of Star Wars: X-Wing were never quite sure what to do with. The company has just announced the Huge Ship Conversion Kit for X-Wing second edition, allowing players more options for their gorgeous 2014 Tantive IV model, likely sitting on pristine display since Second Edition X-Wing launched in 2018. The new kit comes with tons of updated components, including ship cards, tokens, and maneuver dials. The Tantive can now be flown by either the Rebels or the Alliance, while the other supported huge ships (Raider, C-ROC, and Gozanti), likewise are allied with 2 of the 7 factions each. The Huge Ship Kit also includes a special Maneuver Tool, Range Ruler, Resource Trackers and Damage Deck, all scaled up for these giant models.

And fear not if you are new to the X-Wing miniatures world, because those glorious, giant models will once again be reprinted, already packed with second edition goodness. The new Tantive IV Expansion Pack and C-ROC Cruiser Expansion Pack contain not only their impressive foot-long models, but also all the above components needed to integrate them into many a space battle.  

“The chaos of battle surrounds you as enemy fighters dart between massive warships. It will take more than just fancy flying to lead your squadron to victory in battles like this. Step up to the largest X-Wing battles yet with the Epic Battles Multiplayer Expansion! ”

A perfect match for those gigantic cruisers, Fantasy Flight has also announced the Epic Battles Multiplayer Expansion for X-Wing Second Edition. Epic Battles allows massive 2-8 player conflicts, invoking the largest, craziest space battles from the movies. This expansion adds 11 cinematic scenarios, including a chaotic 8-player free for all, and team based intel collection. New Wings add squad based mechanics, allowing players to move formations of 3-6 fighters with a single maneuver dial, and under one leader. Finally, it goes without saying that the new Epic modes will allow the construction of enormous 500-point or 20-threat armies.

The Huge Ship Conversion Kit, Tantive IV Expansion Pack and C-ROC Cruiser Expansion Pack, as well as the Epic Battles Multiplayer Expansion should be available for purchase at your FLGS during 4th quarter 2019. For more details, check out Fantasy Flight’s official press releases for Huge Ships and Epic Battles.

Oink Games from Japan is known for small card games which pack a big punch. Past hits from Oink have been the excellent games A Fake Artist Goes to New York, Insider and Deep Sea Adventure. Oink has just announced their next 2 games coming to western shores – Mr. Face by Jun Sasaki and Tricks and the Phantom by Takashi Saito.

Mr. Face is a social guessing game, where players play cards with leading phrases, such as “The clouds look so nice”, or “What is that smell?” One player attempts to build a facial expression on the board with supplied components, representing their phrase card. Afterwards, all players place phrases into the middle. Players then try to guess which odd phrase was the one which inspired the face. Mr. Face can also be played by taking selfies for the facial expressions.

Tricks and the Phantom is a deduction trick-taking game with a tiny deck of only 10 cards. The values and colors of the cards in the deck are known to all, reminiscent of Seiji Kanai‘s megahit microgame Love Letter. Each player plays one of their two cards face down to the middle, but denotes the color of the card by placing a token on the back. Players then try to guess which card is the “culprit” – the highest card. Cards are revealed, and successful guesses earn points, but be careful, several of the cards have special abilities, and the Phantom, the lowest card, can not only pretend to be any color, but also earns points for each other player tricked into incorrectly picking it.

Mr. Face and Tricks and the Phantom should be available in stores in the beginning of August. For more information, check out the Oink Games website here.


During the recent Dice Tower Con 2019 festivities, I was given the rare opportunity to help playtest an early version of Restoration Game’s upcoming title Return to Dark Tower. The original Dark Tower game (1981) was a vivid Christmas memory for me, occupying my every dream when it released in my 13-year old world. The large, foreboding, rotating black tower, electronic buttons and lights, and fantasy story told a story of battle and conquest, admittedly with 8-bit beeps and boops. Plus it ate D cell batteries like a manic golf cart.

Return to Dark Tower (2020) by designers Justin Jacobson, Noah Cohen, legacy game deity Rob Daviau, and Gloomhaven creator Isaac Childres, is now a story driven cooperative game where heroes work to gain resources, strengthen their armies, and wage war on the powers within the tower. The board is reminiscent of the original 4 regions, each containing a player’s buildings. And in the center of the board will be the namesake tower.

The tower will be a marvel of engineering, a robotic cube tower with multiple rotating rings, designed by the team behind the exceptional Beasts of Balance. The game uses an app, which can communicate with the tower, turning rings to target players and regions. Each turn the tower rotates and changes, raining devastation upon the board.

The game I played went magnificently, and we quested throughout the land, eventually breaching the tower walls. The guardians within were no match for our group and we emerged victorious. From this early play test, I am personally excited to see how this game turns out in 2020, hopefully rekindling my 13-year old obsession with the Dark Tower.

“EXTINCTION is a card game that’s been destroying friendships since the dinosaurs.”

The River Dwellers are bringing dinosaurs back in Extinction: A Dinosaur Survival Card Game, a new dinosaur themed take-that game from designer Benjamin Chong. In Extinction, 2-5 players try to guard their 6 eggs from the other opponents, avoiding inevitable extinction before the famous meteor strike takes players down. Players start with an herbivore habitat to shelter their growing dinos, but of course everyone aspires to obtain a famed carnivore habitat.  Card play involves growing your hatchling beasts into full-fledged terrors, attacking the other player, defending against attacks, stealing other players dinos, and drawing as many cards as possible. The winner is the player who can successfully guard their clutch of eggs and avoid extinction. The Kickstarter campaign for Extinction continues through August 8, and the game is expected to deliver in October 2019.

“Our space colony has been infiltrated by murderous androids who look just like us. We are gradually being replaced by look-alikes! The only way to find out for sure if someone is a robot is by shooting them with your laser pistol. Our only hope is to destroy the robots one by one!”

Looney Labs, grand masters of all things Fluxx, have announced a new microgame, Are You a Robot? by designer Andrew Looney. This 4 card game boils down the essence of a social deduction game to its simplest form. 2-3 players each secretly receive a card stating whether they are one of 2 humans, or the robot. Purely by questioning each other, they then need to decide who is who. The game ends when one player either shoots the other or shakes hands. If a human shoots a human, they both lose. If a human shoots a robot, the human wins. And finally, if a robot shakes hands with a human, the robot wins, since it’s menacing metal hands never release. The game can be played with 2 players, or with multiple decks, expanding the complexity. For more information, check out the Looney Labs webpage here, and look for Are You a Robot? on store shelves this August.

The Isle of Cats is a new Kickstarter project from designer extraordinaire Frank West, best known for the excellent Kickstarter game The City of Kings (2018). In The Isle of Cats, 1-4 players embody citizens of Squall’s End, trying to rescue friendly felines from the eponymous Isle before the evil Lord Vesh arrives. Players collect polyomino cat tiles in one of 5 family colors. Pieces need to fit on the player’s unique boat, optimally with members of the same family touching each other. Fish are a common resource used to purchase both the polyomino cats and useful drafted player cards. Lesson cards give each players unique goals and bonuses for filling their boats, whereas anytime cards gain resources, and can play off each other, creating interesting combos. Treasure and Oshax cards give players access to these special tiles, which can fill gaps in the ship for bonus points. Oshax cats specifically are very friendly, and can act as wildcards, matching with any family color.

“You will need to manage resources as you draft cards to explore the island, rescue cats, find treasures, befriend Oshax and read ancient lessons. Each lesson you collect will give you another personal way of scoring points, in addition to filling your boat and keeping cat families together!”

The Isle of Cats comes with 30 cat meeples, 85 unique cat tiles, 6 Oshax tiles, 64 treasure tiles, 36 lesson cards, 60 rescue cards, 21 treasure and Oshax cards, 31 anytime cards, boats, board and tokens. The game supports Solo and Family play modes, and also available is a 5-6 player expansion with all the necessary extra boards, tokens, tiles and cards. The campaign for The Isle of Cats continues through July 25, and is expected to deliver in March 2020.

Arcane Wonders has announced 2 new games coming out this September, the tile laying game Architectura by designer Pavel Atamanchuk and the loot-and-scoot dungeon crawl Dragonscales by the eminent designer Richard Launius (Arkham Horror).

“Fight, steal, run, and maybe betray! Only one villain can emerge the victor!”

In DragonScales, 3-5 players each take on the role of fantasy villains looking to defeat the three headed dragon within his lair. Each villain comes with its own unique deck of action and action and tactic cards. The cunning scoundrels aim to loot and pillage the lair, collecting treasures and precious dragonscales, and most importantly escape alive. And if you can claim the three heads of the great dragon as trophies, all the better. DragonScales is no slouch with regard to components, coming with 5 player miniatures, 44 custom dice, 25 plastic dragonscales, 136 cards, 109 cubes, markers, screens and board. The game plays in 60 minutes, and inspected to hit stores September 18.

Architectura is a tile laying, city building game for 2-4 players which plays in a reasonable 30-45 minutes. Players take turns laying down tiles, creating a grid of buildings, each of which may enhance or destroy neighboring structures. Additionally, Cards can be rotated for actions and bonuses.
Architectura can also be played in an advanced mode, where each player has a unique deck of buildings to work with.

“Let’s say you’ve just built a magnificent temple. A vulgar market around the corner doesn’t belong there anymore and has to be shut down right away, but a park near the temple’s entrance will definitely be a good match and will even profit from the divine proximity.”

Look for Architectura at your FLGS on September 18, 2019.