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".

HABA USA is looking to add a new game to its lineup is hosting its 2nd Annual Game Design Contest from now till July 20th.  Submitted games must be family weight games, allow for 2-5 players, play between 15-45 minutes, and fit into the HABA line of games. Also, submitted games must use at least three items from the HABA design kit, which contains random and unique pieces from discontinued and/or current HABA games.  Game design kits can be purchased directly from HABA online.  Any remaining available kits can also be purchased at HABA’s booth at the Origins Game Fair and the Dice Tower Con.   Only 200 kits are available and there is a limit of one kit per designer.  While there is no guarantee that the game will be published, the top 3-5 games will be presented to HABA for consideration and winning designers will receive a HABA games bundle.  Can you design a family game for HABA? See contest rules and details here.

Fantasy Flight keeps rolling out expansions to grow armies for Star Wars: Legion.  Earlier this spring, Fantasy Flight announced the release of fan favorite Han Solo along with a squad of Rebel Commandos.  It was only a matter of time before Han’s arch nemesis, Boba Fett would be released into the fray.

The Boba Fett Operative Expansion introduces a new unit type to the game: the operative.  Each army can have up to two operatives which are paired with one or two unit commanders.  Commanders not only have command of Boba Fett but they also have access to an assortment of armaments carried by the resourceful bounty hunter. Armed with both an E-3 Carbine and wrist rockets, Boba Fett has plenty of gadgets up his sleeve, such as spiked boots and his Whipcord Launcher that not only pins the enemy down but also grants him an opportunity to quickly move across the battlefield.  Boba Fett is a dangerous and highly mobile force on the battlefield and can quickly expose weaknesses in the Rebel forces.

The Imperial Force’s elite unit, the Scout Troopers, adds even more versatility to the Empire.   The Scout Troopers Unit Expansion provides the Imperial Force seven Scout Troopers that can be deployed in two-man strike teams or as a standard squad armed with specialized weapons.  Mobile and stealthy, the Scout Troopers carry a lethal mix of firepower.

Both the Scout Troopers Unit Expansion and the Boba Fett Operative Expansion are expected to be released in third quarter of 2018.  Rebel Forces have only until then before the Empire’s elite units arrive on the battlefield.  Visit Fantasy Flight’s website to learn more about these expansions and future Star Wars: Legion announcements.

Elzra Games is most noted for their Catacombs series of titles, a unique line of dexterity-based tabletop fantasy games where players flick wooden discs representing heroes, monsters, fireballs, and more. The latest in the series, Catacombs Conquest, funded on Kickstarter last year is available at retailers now.

Next in line from Elzra Games is Catacombs Cubes, designed by Ken Valles.  Unlike the other games in the Catacombs saga, players in Catacombs Cubes will build the town of Stormtryne with wooden shapes instead of flicking discs.  Not much more has released about the game at this time.  Visit Elzra Games to learn more and keep up to date on Catacombs Cubes.

Calling Dr. Frankenstein. Do you have an idea for a monster? A giant monster capable of being the King of Tokyo? Then head over to Board Game Geek where IELLO is running a contest right now for fans to create the next new monster for King of Tokyo.  Eight finalists will be selected to compete in a head-to-head three round bracket of voting to determine the winning monster.  The winner will be published as a promotional monster.

See contest rules for details, but hurry, the contest end May 22nd.

If you missed the Kickstarter for Wendake last summer, you are in luck because it will now be available this fall.

Wendake, designed by Danilo Sabia and illustrated by Alan D’Amico and Paolo Vallerga, is an action selection, area control, and resource management game.  Set in the Great Lakes Region during the Seven Years War between the French and the English (1756-1763), the war is but one obstacle to the Native American tribes of the Huron Nation striving for prosperity. In Wendake, players are chiefs of a Native American tribe managing all of the most important aspects of tribal life. Each tribe has their own special abilities their chiefs can use throughout the game.

The core of the game is the action selection mechanism.  Actions are taken on a grid of tiles where players activate a row, column, or diagonal, taking all the actions in that line.  Afterward, those action tiles are flipped over to reveal new actions to choose from.  The available actions are constantly cycling, and over the course of the game new actions to add to the grid become available allowing better choices.   Tribal prosperity is scored on the economic, military, ritual, and mask tracks that are paired.  Players only score on the lowest of each paired track, so a balanced approach is necessary for victory.  The player with the highest total score is the winner.

Wendake plays 1-4 players, ages 14+, in 1-2 hours, and it is available for pre-order now.  Pre-orders from Renegade Game Studios can be picked up at Gen Con, August 2-5th, 2018, while pre-orders from your Friendly Local Game Store will be available this fall.

The Omen series of games are stand-alone, two-player card games where players are demi-gods vying for control of the three cities between them.  Each game features two distinct game modes: standard, where players draw from a collective deck, and draft, where each player drafts from his or her own deck.

A Reign of War, the first in the series and originally published in 2011, is the largest of the games and includes additional rules to the original release such as feats.  Edge of the Aegean, published in 2016, featured streamlined play, new unit types, and new ways for players to earn victory points. Both games carried a Greek Mythology theme.

With the latest Kickstarter campaign, Kolossal Games introduces Fires in the East to the trilogy, adding new mechanics, new rewards, and new units with a Ancient Persian and Babylonian theme. The Kickstarter campaign also includes the first expansion for the Omen series, Tales of the Ancients is an expansion specifically designed for Fires in the East adding 12 feat cards and 24 reward cards.

A Reign of War, Edge of the Aegean, and Fires in the East are all standalone games, but they can also be combined in numerous ways. Kolossal Games has updated the art design of both A Reign of War and Edge of the Aegean to ensure a consistent art design across the series.

T0 learn more about each game in the Omen series, check out their Kickstarter campaign which runs through May 20th and is expected to deliver in October 2018.

Queen Games has collaborated with nine celebrated game designers to create a new Limited Designers’ Edition of Alhambra that can only be purchased through their Kickstarter campaign going on right now.

The Alhambra Designers’ Edition has all new art for the box cover, the game board, the tiles, and the cards. The new addition also includes a tile dispenser tower in matching artwork.

There are nine expansions available with the Alhambra Designers’ Edition.  Different pledge levels in the Kickstarter campaign offer supporters an increasing number of expansions with their base game.

You may have heard of a few of the designers who have contributed to the Alhambra Designers’ Edition: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (Carcassonne); Stefan Feld (The Castles of Burgundy); Emanuele Ornella (Oltre Mare); Michael Schacht (Zooloretto); Mike Elliott (Thunderstone); Rüdiger Dorn (Istanbul); Marco Ruskowski & Marcel Süßelbeck (Fresco); Dirk Henn (Shogun); Michael Rieneck (The Pillars of the Earth). The list of famous designers contributing expansions for the Alhambra Designers’ Edition is an embarrassment of riches.

For those who already own Alhambra and are not interested in purchasing another base game, the Kickstarter campaign does include an option to just purchase the expansions created by these designers.

For those who want an ultimate version, there is the Mega Box edition which includes all nine designer expansions with the new designer base game as well as all previously published expansions and bigger tiles.

Like all Kickstarter campaigns, there are stretch goals. For the Designers’ Edition, the stretch goals appropriately include fan designed expansions.  Fans can submit expansion ideas, up to three of which will be developed and produced as part of the Alhambra Designers’ Edition.  Ideas for the submission can be sent to fanexpansion@palast-von-alhambra.de.

To learn more about the Alhambra Designers’ Edition and the specific expansions designed by each of the designers, see the Alhambra Designers’ Edition Kickstarter Campaign which runs until May 25, 2018 and is expected to deliver in March 2019.

Pandasaurus Games is offering retailers a legacy-like promo event kit for Wasteland Express Delivery Service games to be played in stores.  The Scrappening features missions by designers Jonathan Gilmour, Matt Riddle, and Ben Pinchback and all new art by Riccardo Burchielli.

Retailers who order four copies of Wasteland Express Delivery Service qualify for The Scrappening event kit.

Wasteland Express Delivery Service: The Scrappening will be released in stores on May 16, 2018.

Kingdomino: Age of Giants! is the first expansion for both Kingdomino and Queendomino, but it is actually several expansions in one.

First, there are the Giants! Certain dominoes cause a giant to appear on your kingdom.  Those giants stand on crowns in your kingdom and prevent you from scoring them at the end of the game.  Other dominoes allow you to get rid of the giant in your kingdom and send it over to an opponent’s kingdom.

Second, there are Quest that can be played with The Middle Kingdom rule.  Quests allow your middle kingdom to score additional points if the surrounding squares or the four corners of your middle kingdom fulfills the quest conditions. This expansion is played separate from the Giants.

Lastly, Kingdomino: Age of Giants! adds a fifth player.

A nice addition with the expansion is the distribution tower to hold all the dominoes.

Contents of the expansion include 3D castle, 1 distribution tower, 2 brown wooden kings, 1 starting tile, 29 dominoes (12 Giant dominoes, 17 Quest tiles), 6 “Giant” meeples, and a score pad.

Learn more about Kingdomino: Age of Giants!  from Blue Orange GamesKingdomino: Age of Giants! is available for pre-orders now and will be in stores in August 2018.

The latest expansion for the wildly popular Carcassonne adds bridges, castles and bazaars, providing players with creative solutions to earn more points.

Many players know the frustration of broken roadways and roads to nowhere. Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars, provides players wooden bridge tokens to connect broken roadways and around obstacles.

The new castle tile enables player to turn even the smallest city into valuable real estate.  Cities with a castle score additional points from completed neighboring features.

Lastly, the new bazaar tile triggers an auction for choice tiles that players may bid their current points to try and claim the most advantageous tile for themselves.

Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars contains 12 Land Tiles, 12 Castle Tiles, and 12 Wooden Bridges and is available for pre-order now.