John Kovaleski, the original founder of Gale Force 9, has announced the formation of Monster Fight Club, a new board game and accessory company. Kovaleski has partnered with long time Gale Force 9 designer Aaron Dill (Firefly: The Game, Star Trek: Ascendancy)and “office overlord” Peter Przekop on this venture. Monster Fight Club will feature an in-house digital design studio, master class resin casting facility, as well as new board game product development. Gale Force 9 is well known for 20 years of creating quality board games from famous IPs, including Firefly, Star Trek, Homeland, and Spartacus, among others. For more information, check out the Monster Fight Club webpage and their presence on Facebook.
Little Monster That Came For Lunch And Stayed For Tea is a new game coming from Strawberry Studio, designers Robin Lees and Steve Mackenzie (Beyond Baker Street), and artist Anna Kędzior. Little Monster is a light racing game, in which 2-4 players each use cards to feed their 2 strange, hungry monsters, moving them to the end of the lunch table first. Players either draw or play cards on their turn, hoping to combo their skills and abilities. Easy to teach, Little Monster comes with 14 unique monsters, each with special skills, and plays in about 20 minutes. Read more about Little Monster on Strawberry Studio’s website, and look for the game in stores in late November 2018.
Stonemaier Games has announced a limited edition set of metal mechs for their super popular (BGG ranking #7!) board game Scythe. The set comes with one mech from each faction, packaged in a felt lined insert in a numbered, foil embossed box. The print run of the new mechs will be limited to 4000, although a special numbered run of 40 will be released in a 2018 charity auction. The metal figures will be released world wide on November 2, 2018. For more information, check out the Stonemaier announcement on their web site.
Osprey Games has announced Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Board Game of English Magick, based on the popular novel by Susanna Clarke and subsequent television series. The board game, designed by Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello (War of the Ring) with illustration by Ian O’Toole, pits 2-4 players in a battle to be the most celebrated magician of their age. Speaking about the project, Francesco said “working with Duncan Molloy and the team at Osprey has been a fantastic experience. In their hands, our design was not simply transformed from a rough prototype to a beautiful, polished product, but it has been tweaked and improved in so many subtle ways that we cannot wait to get our hands on it. Real magic!”
Not a lot of further details are out on this new game, but initial images look fantastic. Look for Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell in June of 2019.
Portal Games, Ignacy Trzewiczek‘s Polish gaming paradise, has announced a slew of new expansions for 2019 at the Essen Spiel currently going on in Germany.
51st State: Allies is the second expansion for the popular Imperial Settlers variant game 51st State (2010). In Allies, new mechanisms are introduced to ally the factions together, gaining unique bonuses and features. Additionally, this expansion adds 3 new factions to the game – The Steel Police, Uranopolis, and Sharrash! Play to unite the varied factions in the Wasteland, or take control as a lone wolf, the choice is yours.
Breakthrough is the second expansion for Alien Artifacts, the 4x card game released last year. Breakthrough includes “new threats uncovered in the famous Discovery, and new challenges for the space faring factions”. This expansion includes 20 new technology cards, 10 new ship cards, and 10 new planet cards, from the expand category. “Humanity solved the mystery behind the alien technology, and is ready to seize its powers!”
Fans of the award winning 2012 game Robinson Crusoe (#40 on BGG) may need to sit and take a deep breath. Mystery Tales, the second expansion for this thematic cooperative survival game, is coming in 2019. Mystery Tales includes a campaign game, The Lost City of Z, as well as a slew of components which can be added to the base game. This expansion includes 10 new characters, and 300 new cards, including new beasts, a new event deck, new mystery cards and new adventure decks. The game also introduces a new mechanism of SANITY, which can push any game of Robinson Crusoe into the realm of gothic horror. Also included are 5 new scenarios in the campaign, as well as 2 new general scenarios.
Stronghold: Undead is the stand-alone expansion to the acclaimed 2 player game Stronghold (2009), and just like the original, this expansion is getting the second edition treatment. Once again the Stronghold is under seige, with one player attacking and the other trying to survive the onslaught. This time though, the deadly Necromancer throws his unflinching forces against the walls, and each player has 8 turns to break through, or to repel the invaders.
L.A. Crimes is the first expansion to the new hotness, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. In Detective, players use a unique combination of web pages, internet searches, information cards and props to solve an intricately crafted detailed story of crime and greed. The expansion has 3 new cases taking place in sunny California, in the crime riddled Los Angeles of the 1980s. The expansion includes 2 new mechanisms – observation and stakeouts.
Finally Portal Games is prepping a magical Lootbox, with 6 unique mystery promos. Pre-orders for the Loot Box start on November 1. For more information on this, and all the announcements, check out Portal Games’ press release here.
Spirit Island (2017) by designer R. Eric Reuss has been one of the more interesting cooperative games in recent years, going so far as being a 2017 nominee for multiple Dice Tower Awards, and Golden Geek Awards. Greater Than Games has just started a Kickstarter Campaign for the second expansion to this great game, Jagged Earth. In Spirit Island, 1-4 players control Nature Spirits on a small island, influencing the native Dahan population to rise up and overthrow incoming invaders. And there are invaders aplenty – every round explorers show up on the coast of the island. These remaining explorers will build towns and cities if left alone, eventually creating a blight on the island, eading to the players’ demise. Each spirit type (and there are many) works in a very different way, having their own innate powers and abilities, income of energy, and power cards to instill fear in the unwanted explorers.
The new expansion, Jagged Earth, adds a number of extra features to the already challenging and thinky coop. Jagged Earth adds 8 new spirits to the mix, including Volcano Looming High and Grinning Trickster Stir Up Trouble. 2 of the new spirits come with new play mechanisms, including Badlands and Isolation. The original Spirits are given new life through “Aspects”, a way to swap in new innate powers for old ones. 5-6 players are now supported, using 2 new included island boards for a 6 piece giant board. Tokens are included for increased player count, 2 new scenarios, 2 new adversaries, 50+ new major and minor powers, 30 new events, 6 new fear cards and 6 new blight cards. For fans of Spirit Island, Jagged Earth adds more of what players love with enough new pieces to keep it interesting.
The Kickstarter Campaign for Spirit Island: Jagged Earth continues through November 16, and the expansion is expected to deliver in May 2020.
Legendary fans rejoice, for the next expansion for the classic Marvel Deck Building Game is nigh, and it is both massive and minuscule – Legendary: Ant Man. The Ant Man expansion from designer Devin Low, and Upper Deck Entertainment, brings the world of Hank Pym’s Ant Man and The Wasp to the famous deck builder with 100 new cards, including 5 new heroes, 2 masterminds, 2 villain groups and 4 schemes. Not surprisingly, the “size-changing” keyword, previously used in Legendary: Civil War and Legendary: Champions is back, modifying costs and effects of other cards. The Ant Man Expansion brings this keyword to the very extreme with “Microscopic Size-Changing”, which can stack the keyword, sometimes as many as three times. This ability can reduce a cards recruit cost into negative values, allowing the player to gain recruit points by using it. The same can happen to a villain’s fight value, and a villain with a negative fight value actually gains the player more fight power. But be careful, the Microverse can be an unpredictable place where the very laws of physics do not make sense any more.
For more information on Legendary: Ant Man, check out Upper Deck’s website here. Look for the new expansion in stores on November 7, 2018.
Atlas Games is set to release Cogs and Commissars from designer Matt Haga to your FLGS this November. Originally a Kickstarter Project from January 2018, Cogs and Commissars is a casual take-that style card drafting game, with the varied feel of a deck builder. 2-6 players each take on the role of one of the Glorious Communist Robot Leaders before the Robot Revolution, each with a unique ability, then either draft a deck of cards, or use a preset deck designed for that leader. The goal is to increase the size of your citizen army by gaining or stealing Proletariat (1 point each), Bourgeois (2 points) or Commissars (3 points) – thank you spell checker. Once a player has reached 15 points they can play their revolution card, winning the game. But be careful, powerful blitz cards can be played by anyone out of turn to interrupt actions, or send precious units to the Gulag. Each leader’s deck plays slightly different, and with 6 leaders to choose from, there is a high degree of replayability. The game comes with 192 cards, 84 cardboard tokens for citizens, and a deluxe version is available. For more details about Cogs and Commissars, and instructions on how to get promo cards at release, check out Atlas Games’ website here.
Santa Maria by designers Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby is a well regarded dice drafting and tile laying game from 2017, and now the designers along with publisher Aporta Games have started a Kickstarter Campaign for the first expansion, American Kingdoms. Briefly, in Santa Maria, 1-4 players draft dice, and slide them down or across the associated row or column on their personal board, activating every building the die moves over. However, the last building activated in this manner holds the die, effectively shutting that building down for the round. Players can also buy new tiles for their board, adding buildings, and individual buildings can be activated using money instead of dice. The game emphasizes the timing of when to draft dice, what order to activate rows, and the puzzle solving nature of designing the perfect engine. Santa Maria combines resource collection, racing down tracks for points and bonuses, end game goals with scholars and bishops, and set collection via shipping tiles.
American Kingdoms adds a couple new features, and 4 new modules that modify play. Cacao is a new resource in the game, used for new expensive shipping tiles, but mostly for modifying the dice. New scholars and bishops provide abilities and end game scoring. New 3×1 building tiles can be purchased for player boards, but come with a prohibitive 4 coin cost.
The Governor Module adds a… governor to each player’s board. The governor starts in the upper left corner of the player board, and moves one space whenever a die is used. Governors activate buildings, gaining resources when they land on buildings, but can move back off later, opening the building up again. Players lose points at game end if the governor has not moved far enough, and gain points if he makes it to the lower right of the board.
The Specialists module adds specialist tiles, which are randomly associated with dice. When the dice are drafted, the player can buy the specialist, gaining resources or buildings, but at a cost. Upgraded buildings are expensive, but players get a discount if they replace another building.
The Ambassador Module changes the dice mechanic of the game slightly. Players start with less dice, but there are 2 ambassador dice available each round, one white and one blue. These special dice can be drafted, but all players will be able to use the number when one player drafts. The drafting player is the only one able to modify the die number.
The Mayan Module is by far the most involved. With this addition, the game can play up to 5 players, with one player taking on the role of the native Mayans. The Mayan City has curving roads for each drafted die, rather than the regimented grid of the standard player boards. Mayans have several changes to their game play, and their main goal is to use resources to build multi-level pyramids. The higher the pyramid (up to 3 levels) the more points they earn. Additionally, the Mayan player has a hand of cards for trading with players, changing resources, and generally getting their monuments built. The game even changes the conquistador track, adding a back and forth of Mayans gaining gold and conquistadors stealing the gold from the Mayan player.
Finally, the Kickstarter Campaign also contains a mini-expansion for the original game, the Exploration deck. This deck provides 5 nationalities with varied starting resources for each player, and 21 achievement cards with secret player goals.
The Kickstarter Campaign for Santa Maria: American Kingdoms is set to continue through November 11, and the game should deliver in March 2019.
Fantastic news for anyone lucky enough to attend the Essen Spiel Game Convention in Germany at the end of the month – Board game publisher Pegasus Spiele is once again hosting a fantastic game night, this year taking place Thursday October 25 and Friday October 26, from 7pm – 1am. The event will include a library of over 50 games for lend, including such hits as Azul, Reef, Sagrada, and many more. Additionally, new and notable games from associated publishers Plan B Games, Eggertspiele, Frosted Games and Portal Games will be available to play, such as Blackout: Hong Kong, Camel Up 2nd edition, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, Monolith Arena, Detective, Men at Work, and several others. Guests of honor this year include 2018 Spiel des Jahres winner Michael Kiesling (Azul), Roberto Fraga (Captain Sonar, Dr. Eureka), and Yohan Lemonnier (Captain Sonar). For more information and schedule of events, check out Pegasus’ announcement here.
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