Patrick Zoch

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 as "pdzoch".

Ten years ago, Queen Games published one of its most popular games, Fresco. In the years that followed it, Queen Games would support Fresco fans with 10 expansion modules to add new dimensions to the game. Queen Games would eventually publish the Fresco: Big Box Edition providing new fans the game with all its expansions in one box.

Last year, Queen Games treated Alhambra to a Designer’s Edition Mega Box through Kickstarter. For Fresco’s 10th Anniversary, Queen Games is giving Fresco its own Limited Designer’s Edition Mega Box.

The Kickstarter for the Fresco: Mega Box is a celebration of everything Fresco.

First, Fresco is getting 4 new expansion modules bundled in Expansion 3: The Church Pews, The Dome, The Damsels, and The Catacombs. If backers already own the Fresco: Big Box Edition, Expansion 3 will complete the expansion collection for Fresco. The Church Pews module adds a chapel board to the game and enables players to build pews for the church and collect extra points. The Dome module adds an extra feature that can be painted but only after the main fresco has been finished and only if the players have the right paint remaining. The Damsel module gives players an extra player board that allows for special actions to affect the main board such as exchanging colors in the workshop or switching tiles in the market. Lastly, the Catacombs module adds catacomb tiles that can be accessed for coins or points with the aid of cartographers who will point out which fresco tiles need to be painted to reveal the entrance to the catacombs. Fresco: Expansion 3 contains the same style artwork as the original game.

Next, two smaller games are being included in the Mega Box: Fresco: The Card Game and Fresco: The Dice Game. Fresco: The Card Game distills Fresco into a smaller faster playing game.  Players draw color cards from either the market or workshop into to collect the proper mix of colors to paint the available fresco sections to earn points.  Fresco: The Card Game comes with 42 market cards, 42 workshop cards, 24 fresco cards, 20 mood tiles, and 12 bonus tiles. Fresco: The Dice Game use colored dice to represent the paint needed to complete frescoes.  Players have their own player board on which they will need to collect five portions of a fresco.  Fresco tiles require specific numbers to be rolled in order to collect the tile. Color dice will increase the chance of getting the right numbers need for the fresco tiles. Portraits are always an option when the dice fails to meet the needed fresco number. Fresco: The Dice Game comes with 20 fresco tiles, 12 portrait tiles, a game board, 4 player boards, 6 colored dice, 2 color dice, 12 betting tiles, a first player marker and a +/-1 Chip.

Fresco: Mega Box has undergone an artistic makeover. The artwork has been revised for all components and the colors are more vibrant and color-blind friendly. The wooden paint tokens have been replaced by tiles depicting the various colors in unique shaped containers for easier visibility.  Those same icons are presented on the fresco tiles and market tiles also.  The new artwork is consistent across all the modules, including to new expansion. The Mega Box also includes the two smaller games: Fresco: The Card Game and Fresco: The Dice Game. This is a lot to fit in one box, so the new box comes with two new inlays to keep all the components organized. All this in the Gold Edition.

For the Diamond Edition, fresco tiles and paint colors are upgraded to clear acrylic printed with the same beautiful full color artwork.  Many of the stretch goals include upgrading other components to acrylic for the Diamond Edition.

To learn more, check out the Kickstarter Campaign that runs though November 5 with an expected delivery in September 2020.

Sit Down! Games has five new games and an expansion to be released at Internationale Spieltage SPIEL 2019. All products are available for pre-order now for pick-up at Essen.

Hidden Roles is a small expansion for Magic Maze that increases interaction and makes the games a semi-cooperative. Each player receives a secret role, possibly becoming a traitor, or getting a secret mission, or following their own special rules. Like Magic Maze, this expansion is divided into five difficulty levels so you can learn the game gradually. Unlike Magic Maze, a minimum of three players is needed to play this expansion. Hidden Roles comes with 53 Role Cards, 1 “I’ve got my eye on you” card, and 2 Warning Cards.

Magic Maze on Mars is a stand-alone game that takes the Magic Maze gameplay to Mars. Like Magic Maze, Magic Maze on Mars is a real-time, cooperative game where each player is in charge of a specific action, and may be the only player who can perform that action, so communication, which only occurs in very specific and short periods of the game, is key to coordinate efforts.  In a race against time, players gather the resources necessary to build the station complex, including locations for domes to house Mars colonists.  Building good routes from the landing pad to the domes and keeping pathways clear is important.  Resources can be spent to extend the time to build the station, but once colonists arrive, time can no longer be extended.  The players win when one of the colonists moves into a dome before the time expires.

House Flippers is a simultaneous action selection game where income is managed by a collection of sand timers that represent the time to generate income.  When the sand timer runs out, players collect their income.  With the income, they can renovate property which they can resell at a higher cost.  Or players can buy a rental property which will give them another sand timer that also generates income. Or player can hire an interior decorator to double the income from a sand timer.  Players continue to flip properties (and sand timers) until the have enough income to reach a golden retirement, which provides an objective condition to end the game.  The first one to accomplish their retirement objective wins. House Flippers is a fast pace game for 2-4 players, ages 7+, and plays in 10 minutes.

Palm Reader is a cooperative game in which one player, who has chosen a symbol from a card, must get everyone else to guess it. By using your index finger, you draw this symbol in your left neighbor’s palm, who draws it in their neighbor’s palm, and so on… but no one ever sees what is drawn.  After the final player has received the tracing, reveal the card, then have all players vote on what they believe the starting symbol was. You receive as many victory points as the number of players in a row who successfully guess the symbol. Palm Reader comes with 108 double-sided cards, each with five choices of symbols for the active player.

Space Bowl is a pattern recognition game where players are looking for a habitable constellation in the galaxy based on the report from the computer.  The galaxy is made up a 5×5 grid of constellation cards, each with a selection of planets.  The Ships Computer board reveals a 3×3 sector of space with specific planets in each sector.  Players race to identify which sector of space meets the computer specification. Points are scored and lost based on how successful players are in finding a matching constellation.  The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. The 56 constellation cards in the deck will ensure that space will always look different. Space Bowl plays 2-8 players, ages 8+ in 30 minutes.

Lastly, Wormlord is fast paced simultaneous action game where players command an army of worms to conquer objectives on the battlefield.  Worms are represented by strings, and they are deployed on the battlefield by tying them in a lose knot and placed in a square.  Worms are conquered by picking up an adjacent enemy worm, untying it and returning it to the owner’s pile.  Only one string can be in a player’s hands at a time.  The first player to conquer three objectives on the battlefield wins. The game include 60 earthworm strings (15 in four different colors). Wormlord plays 2-4 players (or up to 8 in teams), ages 6+ (as long as they can tie a knot), in 5-10 minutes.

Visit Sit Down! Games to learn more or see them at their Essen booth 3-0120.

The War for Cybertron enters the second stage of its trilogy in the Transformers Trading Card Game by Wizards of the Coast.  While the Autobots may have an upper hand in the first wave, the Decepticons are pulling out all the stops to release their most dangerous weapon…the mighty Titan, Trypticon.

Each War for Cybertron: Siege II booster pack contains one large character card, 1 small character card, and six battle cards. The booster display comes with a single Trypticon pack, which contains one Titan-sized Trypticon Character Card and three large character cards as his minions: Brunt, Full-Tilt, and Wipe-Out!

If you haven’t played Transformers: TCG yet, check out your friendly local game store for the organized play to learn the game.  War for Cybertron: Siege II is available for pre-order now and will release on November 8.

One thing cats are known for is laying down in the middle of one’s projects.  While slumbering felines may be an impediment to craftwork, they are a good thing in Calico from Flatout Games.

In Calico, players compete to sew the coziest quilt. The gameplay is real simple: place a patch tile from your hand onto your quilt board, draw a new patch tile from the market, refill the market.  Patches come in different designs and colors but are all the same shape so you never have to worry about a patch fitting in the quilt.  Quilts score points by meeting design goals AND appealing to the cats in the quilt room.  Design goals can be met in two different way and more points are scored is both ways are met at the same time.  Each cat has its own design preference, and the more finicky the cat, the more points that can be scored.  Cats have preferred patch patterns, and some cats have preferred arrangements for those patterns. Once a pattern on a quilt meets the design preference of a cat, it comes and sits on the quilt, earning the player points for the cat. Bonus points can also be earn by sewing buttons on the quilt when three patches of the same color are placed together on the quilt.  Each quilt board has patches already formed on the border to give each player a head start on meeting design goals.

Beautiful artwork is provided by Beth Sobel (Wingspan, Viticulture, Arboretum, Between Two Cities, and many more).

Calico plays 1-4 players, ages 13+, in 30-45 minutes.  Contents include 4 double-layers quilt boards, 108 patch tiles, 52 button tokens, 60 cat tokens, 6 double-sided cat tiles, 24 goal tiles, and 6 colorless patch tiles. Kickstart backers will also receive a double-sided promo cat time plus four more cat tokens. The Kickstarter campaign runs through November 7 with an expected delivery in October 2020.  To learn more, check out the Kickstarter campaign.

Reiner Knizia returns to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates in Babylonia, published by Ludonova. In Babylonia, players seek to increase the prosperity of their clan by claiming placing nobles and farmers in strategic regions of the ancient Mesopotamian land to crop fields, influence cities, and gain benefits form Ziggurats.  

Gameplay is simple: play clan tokens from the player stand, score surrounded cities and Ziggurats, refill the player stand.  The more nobles near to a city, the more points that can be scored, but some cities only score certain types of nobles.  Points for cropping fields with farmers vary, sometimes depending on the number of cities near clan members. Surrounding a Ziggurat grants the player with the most tokens next to it a Ziggurat card, which grants a unique bonus in the game available only to the player who holds the card.

Play continues until a player runs out of clan tokens or only one city remains on the board. The player with the most points wins.

Babylonia plays 2-4 players, ages 14+ in 60 minutes. Contents include a gameboard, 32 location tiles, 9 Ziggurat cards, 120 clan tokens (30 in each color), 4 scoring markers, 4 stands, 5 Ziggurats, and rulebook. Look for the game now available at your friendly local game store.

Designer Tristan Hall follows up 1066, Tears To Many Mothers with 1565, St Elmo’s Pay on Kickstarter.  1465, St Elmo’s Pay is a strategic card game about the Siege of Malta in 1565.  The game comes with two asymmetric decks based on the historical figures at the battle: Lala Mustafa Pasha, the campaign commander for the Ottoman Empire, and Jean Parisot de Valette, the Grand Master of the Knights of St John.  Players play cards to build their armies with units, attachments, leaders, and special tactics, but they will also have to accomplish other historical objectives unique to each leader on their way to Malta, adding a narrative aspect to the wargame.

Like all of Hall Or Nothing productions, this two player game is also supports a solo mode, supported by an AI mode with variable difficulty.  Some of the cards have solo specific effects!

The armies in both 1565, St Elmo’s Pay and its predecessor 1066, Tears To Many Mothers are interchangeable, allowing players to pit the Ottoman Turks against the Duke William’s Normans or the Knight of St John against Harold Godwinson’s Saxons. Future plans for the company include additional games in the series featuring all new theaters of conflict that will not only provide players a new stand-alone game, but also two new armies to challenge the other armies in the series in a duel for the best army in history.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through November 1 with expected delivery in September 2020.  Backers can support 1565, St Elmo’s Pay, and pick up 1066, Tears To Many Mothers as well.  Each game also has beautiful neoprene playmats depicting the battle that can also be added to a pledge.

1565, St Elmo’s Pay plays 1-2 players, ages 10+, in 30-40 minutes.  The game includes 154 cards, 80 wooden health tokens, 20 boost tokens, a first player token, and two rulebooks (one for solo play).

Last Year, Root won the 2018 Dice Tower Game of the Year award. There was a lot to like about the game, but the theme that pull the variable faction powers and the area controls together is what made this game sing.  The fantasy world where factions comprised of various woodland creatures vie for control of a woodland steeped in a rich political and cultural history brought this engaging wargame to life.

Now, players can step into the world of Root and play as one of the woodland creatures in Root: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game.  In Root: the TTRPG, players can play any woodland creature as a vagabond, denizens of the Woodland who have been cast out of “civilized” society, and venture throughout the woodland world fulfilling jobs and tipping the scales in the conflict between the factions.

Vagabonds have five stats: Charm, Cunning, Finesse, Luck, and Might.  Vagabonds have playbooks that define the roles and actions they perform in the world. Players can choose from the Arbiter, the Ranger, the Scoundrel, the Thief, the Tinker, and the Vagrant from the core rulebook.  Additionally, the core rule book defines three of the woodland factions: Marquisate, the Eyrie Dynasties, and the Woodland Alliance. Vagabonds will develop reputations with each faction depending on their actions which will influence their future interactions and prospects.

An expansion, Root: Travelers & Outsiders, offers six more vagabond playbooks – the Adventurer, the Champion, the Chronicler, the Envoy, the Harrier, and the Raider – and four new factions – the Riverfolk Company, the Lizard Cult, the Grand Duchy, and the Corvid Conspiracy – in addition to new optional rules and more details about the Woodland.

The Woodlands in Root: the TTRPG is an open world environment designed by the game master, though sample maps are provided, including the original Root board game map.  Fans of the artwork in Root will be pleased to finds that Kyle Ferrin, original artist for the board game and expansions, also provides the artwork for Root: the TTRPG, which includes many new illustrations.

Root: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game is now on Kickstarter.  Several options exist for Kickstarter backers from PDFs of just the core rulebook to Special Deluxe editions of both the core rulebook and expansion in a slipcover and the Vagabond Satchel.  A free Quickstart edition of the game is available to give players everything they need to start playing, which is a great starting point for players making their first leap from board games to role playing games.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through October 20th with an expected delivery in September 2020.

Play both sides of sanity in Gates of Delirium

Renegade Game Studios announces Gates of Delirium, a new 19th century horror-inspired game. Designed by the husband/wife game design duo Jordan and Mandy Goddard (Lotus), Gates of Delirium is not your typical Lovecraftian horror game.  While the arrival of the monstrosities may be inevitable, players in this game will shift between sanity and insanity, alternating the types of actions they can do and the points they can score.  Each action card has two types of actions: one for a sane person, one for an insane person. Each round, one player will decide if it is a sane round or an insane round.  During a sane round, players will search for maps and lost pages to a secret tome while assigning investigators to help them in their cause.  During an insane round, players collect ancient runes and work to build Gates to release the monstrosities.  In the end, the monstrosities will arrive, and the player with the most victory points when the last monstrosity is released is the winner.

Gates of Delirium plays 2-4 players, ages 14+, in about 45 minutes.  Contents include 1 double-sided game map, 80 action cards, 90 gates cards, 40 Investigators (10 per player), 4 Player Journals, 4 Score Markers, 24 Desperation Tokens, 7 Scroll Cards, 6 Monstrosity Discs, 1 Sanity Disc (double-sided) and rulebook. Gates of Delirium is available for pre-order now, or look for the game at your friendly local game store this fall.

WizKids will partner with Sweet Games to publish their hit game Seeders from Sereis: Exodus in English. In Seeders from Sereis: Exodus, playersare Seeders building arks – giant colony ships – to escape their dying civilization.  Players compete to design the best ark for production. Each turn, cards which can be used to build the player’s ark or converted into resources are laid out on the board. Each card represents a different component of the ark – locations, items, personnel – and may have unique synergies between cards as well as a player’s unique power.  Players strategically place negotiator chips between the cards they want, using their alignment and position to determine who has the most influence over a desired card.  The player with the most influence over a card wins the card and adds it to their player board.

Seeders from Sereis: Exodus features immersive sci-fi art tells a deep, engrossing story. This is the first game set in the Seeders from Sereis universe, created by Serge Macasdar and Charbel Fourel.  Expect to see more game set in the Sereis universe, continuing the story of the Seeders and their search for a new destiny among the stars.

The Trapper Keeper Game from Big G Creative turns back time to school days in the ‘80s and 90’s when the Trapper Keeper was king of school supplies.

Nostalgia scores big with the game box and components.  The Trapper Keeper Game comes in an authentic Trapper Keeper and will feature one of three art designs from the 80s: rainbow unicorn, palm tree sunset and psychedelic outer space!  Each player will have their own miniature Trapper Keeper folder to collect their school papers, the backs of the school paper cards are school lockers, and the Bell cards (round tracker for the game) is a school clock.

In the Trapper Keeper Game, players are students who are collecting papers from the lockers and placing them in their folders.  The papers are divided into nine stacks and arranged in several rows and columns face down to create a set of lockers. The top card is turned over to reveal the paper inside the locker. The Bell cards keep track of the rounds in the game but also provide additional rules for school paper selection unique to each round.  There are seven types of school paper cards: Quizzes, Homework, Secret Notes, Detentions Notices, Parental Signatures, Report Cards, and Field Trip Slips.  Each of the papers is scored differently: for example, the Quizzes score the points printed on them, while Parental Signatures are worth nothing but are needed to activate the scores from Report Cards and Field Trip Slips.  Some papers have doodles on them, in either red or blue in on either the left or right side.  Which side of their folder the players store their papers determines which doodles will score points later. At the end of the last round, points are scored for players with the largest doodle collections of each type and for their school papers.  The player with the most points wins.

The Trapper Keeper Game is designed by Prospero Hall (Disney Villainous), who knows a thing or two about designing nostalgic pop culture games, bringing us Bob Ross: Art of the Chill Game, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, and Jaws.

The Trapper Keeper Game plays 2-5 players, ages 8+, in about 25 minutes.  Contents include 81 school paper cards, 11 bell cards, five mini Trapper Keeper folders, a teacher’s pet marker, score pad and pencil. Look for this game exclusively at a Target near you.