Patrick Zoch

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A retired military veteran, father of five, and an avid wargamer, boardgamer, video gamer, and role play gamer. Now that his world traveling days are over, he spends his days working on training and education policy. In his free time (which is every other minute he is not working on the "Honey, Do" list), he draws his family, friends, and co-workers into the boardgame hobby. He can be readily found on BoardGameGeek.com as "pdzoch".

An invasion of barbarian tribes can certainly feel like pandemic to the Roman world.  Matt Leacock and Paolo Mori have teamed up to bring the Pandemic gameplay to Ancient Rome.  In Pandemic: Fall of Rome, players are members of Roman society employing Roman legions to defend against invading tribes.  Plays may also convert members of a tribe into Roman soldiers. Rome survives to continue its long history is they can defeat all the barbarian tribes, whether by absorption or eradication. Rome has five barbarian tribes threatening its borders: Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and Anglo-Saxons and Franks.  Each invading tribe follows their migration pattern that eventual leads to Rome. Pandemic: Fall of Rome will also feature a Solo Play mode and a challenge mode for season Pandemic players.  The tribes are represented by wooden cubes like all pandemic games, but the Roman legion tokens are legionnaire shaped meeples.  The game will include custom dice for resolving battles with the invading hordes.  Pandemic: Fall of Rome is available for pre-order now with a projected release in Q4. Go to Z-man Games to learn more about Pandemic: Fall of Rome.

Mike Fitzgerald follows up his successful Baseball Highlights: 2045 game with Football Highlights 2052.  Like Baseball Highlights: 2045, each player will play cards from their hand to make plays.  In Football Highlights 2052, the game of football did not see the infusion of robots to the extent that happened in baseball.  However, the game did become fast pace with a continuously running clock which required football players to play both offense and defense.  Football Highlights 2052 easily captures the theme and strategy of managing football players who perform both offense and defense duties.  Each player will have a deck of cards representing his or her team.  Players will draw only 10 cards from the deck of available plays each half.  From their selection of cards in their hands, players will play cards to defend against their opponent’s offensive play, then turn the card around to execute that cards offensive capability to the opponent to defense against.  Players repeat this process, attempting to drive the ball to the goal line in four plays or be forced to reset back at the 45 yard line to begin the drive anew.  Halftime offers each player a chance to make adjustments to their team by drafting 5 new players and discarding down to the team size of 15 cards. After playing the second half, the team with the highest score wins.  Of course, if there is a tie, the game goes into sudden death overtime.

Each card features a team athlete who leads the offensive and defensive play.  Each team deck of play features not only a mix of run and pass plays, but also a new play style called a “Maul” consisting of aggressive person-on-person defensive coverage countered with offensive stunt, gadget, and trick plays.  Four teams are included in the game as well as a special 25 card solitaire play deck.  While the game is designed for head to head play, four player boards and two scoreboards are included so that two games can be played at the same time.

Football Highlights 2052 is on Kickstarter now and has already reached its funding goal.  If you missed Baseball Highlights: 2045 or any of its numerous expansions, you can pick those up in the Kickstarter also.

Football Highlights 2052 plays 1,2 or 4 players, ages 9+, in 45-60 minutes.  Contents include 4 15-card team decks (which includes a 5-card star player deck for each team), a 35-card play deck, 30-card action deck, 25-card solitaire deck, 4 play mats, 2 scoreboards (plus 32 team pennants), and 4 wooden markers.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through 21 September with an expected delivery in July 2019.  Go to Kickstarter campaign learn more about Football Highlights 2052.

The most successful game based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe was Martin Wallace’s Discworld: Ankh-Morpork.  Despite the popularity of the game, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork fell out of print and became hard to find. The game was an obvious favorite for many Discworld fans, but even gamers unfamiliar with Discworld admired the game’s masterful mechanics, simple game play, and high replayability in a strategic game. While fans of Discworld may be saddened that Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is not returning, fans of the game will be pleased that the game is returning under a new theme.

Martin Wallace has reimplemented Discworld: Ankh-Morpork in Nanty Narking. Nanty Narking is set in Victorian London and features characters from literary works of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Player personalities include Monsieur De Sidonia, Fagin, Lord Bellinger, Lord Holdhurst, Lord Balmoral, Professor Moriarty, and Sherlock Holmes. Each has his own victory condition, and the game ends when either the player achieves the victory condition, or if the ‘Riot’ Random Event card is drawn and its conditions are met, or when the draw pile runs out.  Placing followers and buildings on the map establishes control over certain areas of the city, not only advancing players closer to their victory condition but also providing them additional abilities afforded by the control of the city area.

Nanty Narking features many upgraded components: a beautifully illustrated gameboard map of Victorian London, all new card artwork matching the new theme and featuring other literary characters of Dickens and Doyle, highly detailed plastic miniatures, and metal coins (included for Kickstarters).

Nanty Narking plays 2-4 players, ages 14+, in about 60 minutes. Contents include game board, 91 plastic miniatures (4 gentlemen, 24 hotels, 4 horse guards, 12 trouble makers, and 3 new citizens), 132 cards (101 action cards, 12 event cards, 12 city area cards, and 7 personality cards), rulebook, 4 player aids, 1 d12 die, and 50 cardboard counters (metal coins for Kickstarter backers).

The Kickstarter campaign runs through 20 September with an expected delivery in October 2019.  Go to Kickstarter campaign learn more about Nanty Narking.

Several years ago, Martin Wallace brought us A Study in Emerald, a game based on the story by Neil Gaiman about the secret war by the Restorationists to free mankind from forces of the Olds Ones. It was a game that blended the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft set in 1882 Europe.  Now that the Old One have been banished from the northern hemisphere, where did they go?

Fifty years later, the Old Ones are awakening in the Outback of Australia! In AuZtralia, players are adventurers and explorers uncovering the riches and resources and colonizing in an 1930’s alternate reality Australian Outback.  Players build ports, construct railways, mine and farm for food.  Every action costs time, and at some point in time during the game, the Old Ones are awaken and become a player in the game attacking the players’ settlements. Players will need to recruit military forces to protect the settlements, and they might need to work together to defeat the most dangerous Old Ones.  Players earn victory points from their farms, defeating Old Ones, and from their personalities.  Old Ones also score victory points by blighting farms and how many are left at the end of the game.  When all the time points are spent (or a player port is destroyed), the game ends and the player (or Old One) with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

AuZtralia is a military/economic/adventure game for 1-4 players, ages 13+, and take about 30 minutes per person to play.

 

Also coming in October is the latest expansion to Terraforming MarsTerraforming Mars: Colonies expands the game playing world by adding new places to build colonies.  While those places may not be suitable for terraforming, they can produce much needed resources and income. Build colonies on distant moons (even in the clouds of Jupiter) and send your trade fleets to them to build your resources to support your terraforming operations on Mars.

Terraforming Mars: Colonies requires the base game to be played but can be played with any of the expansions.  Contents include 49 project cards, 5 corporation cards, 11 colony tiles, a reference tiles, trade fleets tiles, 8 markers, and 8 trade fleets.

The folks over at Extra Credits have been producing entertaining education videos on a variety of topics since 2010.  Their latest series, Extra Politics, delved into the similarities of game mechanics and how politics work to further ideological goals.  The Partisans: An Extra Politics Board Game brings the concepts discussed in the Extra Politics series to the board game community.

The Partisans, designed by Luke Peterschmidt and published by Fun to 11, is not your typical political game involving political parties or politicians.  Instead, ideologies of the people serve as the factions in the game. Players take turns as committee chair and work together to craft bills from amendment cards.  Each amendment card indicates whether the amendment advances an idea from a faction or hinders it. Often multiple factions are affected but not always in the same way, and some factions are completely unaffected by the amendment. Factions will need to form coalitions to either pass or defeat a bill. Faction can leverage political action cards or lobbies to tip the vote in their favor.  At the end of the game, the factions whose ideas are closest to being matched by the government is the winner.

The Partisans players 4-6 players, ages 13+, in 60-90 minutes.  Contents include 6 faction cards, 70 amendment cards, 48 political action cards, 18 lobby cards, 10 event cards, and more than 90 tokens representing political capital, issues, leadership and more.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through 21 September with an expected delivery of July 2019.

Since 2000, the International Gamers Awards have recognized outstanding games and their designers and publishers.  Each year, an international collection of committee members votes to determine the best general strategy game in two categories: Best Multi-player Game, and Best 2-Player Game. Game released from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 are eligible for consideration.  Below are the finalists for the 2018 International Gamers Award.

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – Multi Player category

Agra

Designer:  Michael Keller

Publisher:  Quined Games

Altiplano

Designer:  Reiner Stockhausen

Publisher:  dlp Games

Azul

Designer:  Michael Kiesling

Publisher:  Plan B Games

Clans of Caledonia

Designer:  Juma Al-Jou Jou

Publisher:  Karma Games

Decrypto

Designer:  Thomas Dagenais-Lespérance

Publisher:  Le Scorpion Masqué

Gaia Project

Designer:  Jens Drögemüller & Helge Ostertag

Publisher:  Feuerland Spiele


Gentes

Designer:  Stefan Risthaus

Publisher:  Spielworxx

Heaven & Ale

Designer:  Michael Kiesling & Andreas Schmidt

Publisher:  eggertspiele

Nusfjord

Designer:  Uwe Rosenberg

Publisher:  Lookout Games

Pulsar 2849

Designer:  Vladimir Suchy

Publisher:  Czech Games Edition


Rajas of the Ganges

Designer:  Inka & Markus Brand

Publisher:  Huch!

Santa Maria

Designer:  Eilif Svensson & Kristian Amundsen Ostby

Publisher:  Aporta Games

TransAtlantic

Designer:  Mac Gerdts

Publisher:  PD-Verlag

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – 2 Player category

Codenames Duet

Designer:  Vlaada Chvatil & Scot Eaton

Publisher:  Czech Games Edition

The Fox in the Forest

Designer:  Joshua Buergel

Publisher:  Foxtrot Games

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Designer:  Asger Harding Granerud & Daniel Skjold Pederson

Publisher:  Jolly Roger Games

Claim

Designer:  Scott Almes

Publisher:  White Goblin Games

Colonial Twilight

Designer:  Brian Train

Publisher:  GMT Games

Fog of Love

Designer:  Jacob Jaskov

Publisher:  Hush Hush Projects

Shadows in Kyoto

Designer:  Wei-Min Ling

Publisher:  EmperorS4

 

 

Lookout Games announces NEOM, a city building game designed by Paul Sottosanti.  In NEOM, players are city planners who build the city in stages, one generation at a time.  Players must plan with an eye for the future when they plan their city.  NEOM is a tile drafting, tile placement, and simultaneous play game. Players will begin their planning with a starting city tile and an empty tableau to build their future city.  Each city will also begin with three anchor buildings that provide many benefits to the city. Each generation, players will draft tiles to place in their city, providing power, resources, services, industries, and other features every growing city needs.  Once all the tiles are drafted, player plan and place their drafted city features.  Once placed, the tile can not be moved, so the road system and feature location must be carefully considered.  Each generation, more powerful buildings and feature are available IF players have provided their city the means to build and use them.  Misfortune also awaits in the tiles, especially for those cities whose city planners did not provide sufficient emergency services.  After three generations, city planning is complete and the cities are scored.  The player with the highest score is the winner.

NEOM plays 1-5 players, ages 10+ in about 45 minutes.  Contents include 6 city boards, 150 tiles, 85 good tokens, 65 coin tokens, 1 scoring pad, and a rulebook.  The European release of NEOM is expected in October of 2018 and in North America shortly afterwards.

Tabletop Tycoon has added game publisher Victory Point Games as a publishing imprint retaining their VPG brand and logo.

Victory Point Games is a small format, indie board game publisher currently based in Irvine, California. Originally the company focused on developing quick playing historical war games like the Napoleonic 20 series, States of Siege series, and BATTLESSON series.  They have since expanded their product range to include strategy, card, family, and casual board games like Nemo’s War, Darkest Night, Renegade, and Dawn of the Zeds. Alan Emrich, States of Siege series designer, sums up what the alignment means:

 We are very happy to be working with the entire team at Tabletop Tycoon. By allowing us to focus on what we do best, developing and creating amazing gameplay experiences, it means more great games and expanding game universes for our popular series are closer on the horizon.

Tabletop Tycoon will leverage its game industry expertise and its various game publishing capabilities, from logistics to wholesale and retail sales, to support Victory Point Games.  Through Game Salute, Tabletop Tycoon publishes popular games such as  Everdell, Black Orchestra, Alien Frontiers, and Nothing Personal. Having worked with Victory Point Games team for ten years, President and CEO Dan Yarrington is pleased with the addition:

We have worked very well with the team from Victory Point Games for a long time. We are pleased to have their team joining our staff to continue to expand opportunities for the fans of their games.

The domain of the mountain may have once belonged to the Dwarves in Caverna, but no longer.  New races are moving into the caverns with Caverna: The Forgotten Folk.  This expansion from Lookout Games introduces eight new races to the game: Trolls, Mountain Dwarves, Humans, Elves, Dark Elves, Goblins, Pale Ones, and Silicoids (a creature that eats rocks).  Each of these races have their own special abilities and sometimes special rules that require changes in strategy.  For example, the Pale Ones are humans that have lived so long in the caves that they can grow all their food in the caves.  Mountain Dwarves can build their caves over the edge of the player tableau.  Elf do not need pastures or fields and can keep animals and crops in the forest, but they have to pay workers rubies to work in the caves.  Luckily, they can grow jewels like fruit.  Keep an eye out for the Halflings which are only available in a promo.  Each of the new races also comes with four unique furnishings but any race can use.  Caverna: The Forgotten Folk will be available in Germany at the end of October and before Christmas in North America.

Queen Games has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for all their Essen releases.  The Kickstarter campaign supports Bastille, Skylands, and Franchise.  Like all their Kickstarter campaigns, “Queenies”, or expansion modules, are included with each game, and the pledge levels include the option to support one, all, or any combination of the games.

Skylands is a tile laying game where the players build the Skylands kingdom, a kingdom composed of mystical floating islands. On each turn, a player will select one of four actions: Explore, Harvest, Build, or Collect Energy.  Reminiscent of Puerto Rico,  all the players get to take the action, but the player who selected the action gets an advantage.  Players build the kingdom on their tableau, placing forests, mountains, crystals, and cities. Harvesting resources allow for the creation of more islands, power cities, and build special buildings.  The game continues until a player has completely field his or her tableau or until all the tiles have been placed.  The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

Skylands plays 2-4 players, ages 8+ in about 30 minutes.  Contents include 4 action boards, 4 double-sided player boards, 1 supply board, 4 starting islands, 4 wooden player tokens, 4 player markers, 88 island tokens, 32 special island tiles, 60 wooden inhabitants, 1 scoring pad, and 24 victory point markers.  The Kickstarter campaign supporters will also receive 5 Queenie expansions for the game.

In Franchise, players are business owners in the 1960’s expanding their business by establishing franchises across America. While each new franchise adds wealth to the business, it costs money to establish a new franchise, and not all franchise locations are equal.  The cost to add a franchise varies from location to location and the revenue earned, likewise, varies from location to location. Meanwhile, competitors cut into the revenue available from a location when they move into the same city.  Designed by Christwart Conrad, Franchise is a revised edition of his earlier game Medieval Merchant, with updated artwork by Ian O’Toole, whose artwork has been featured in The Gallerist, Lisboa, and Vinhos Deluxe Edition.

Franchise plays 2-5 players, ages 14+, in about 90 minutes. Contents include one gameboard, 5 player boards, 10 income charts, 25 city tiles, 10 region tiles, 20 bonus tiles, 55 dollar cards, 200 wooden franchises, 6 expansion markers, and 5 influence markers. The Kickstarter campaign supporters will also receive 3 Queenie expansions for the game.

Bastille is a bidding game where players are leaders of revolutionary factions in France seeking to strengthen their faction before the revolution begins.  Each player has three influence tokens which they can place in one of seven buildings around Paris. Each building provides a different benefit ranging from money, recruits, allies, missions, or other means to advance closer to the revolution and increase influence.  The player with the most influence in a location receives the benefit of that location. Victory points are earned each round based on the random mission requirements for the revolution.  After eight rounds, the revolution begins and the player with the most victory points is the winner and leader of the Revolution!

Bastille plays 3-4 plays, ages 12+, in about an hour.  Content breakout has not been provided yet, but stay tuned to the Kickstarter campaign for updates. The Kickstarter campaign supporters will also receive 3 Queenie expansions for the game.

The Kickstarter campaign for all three games runs through September 14 with an expected delivery in November 2018. Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.