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".

One might not be able to tell from the consistent popularity of Scythe that it was ever in need of anything new, but Stonemaier Games has made it a habit of offering new gameplay experiences to Scythe fans. First it was Invaders from Afar, which gave fans two new factions. Then it was The Wind Gambit, which gave fans Airships and the Resolution module. The Rise of Fenris brought fans an 8-game replayable campaign and 11 interchangeable modules.  The latest addition to the popular game is a Modular Board.  This is not the first time Stonemaier has offered a different gameboard experience.  The original gameboard is two sided, one side with the full game board map and the other side consisting of a portion of an enlarged gameboard that could be completed with a gameboard extension for a 70% larger gameboard. The enlarged gameboard did not change gameplay though.  The new modular board for Scythe, on the other hand, does.  The Scythe modular board adds a new level of variability to Scythe.  The map is different on both sides and has spaces for 4 big double-sided tiles that change the landscape each game.  Even the faction home base locations can change each game. No longer must the Nordic faction start in the north, or the Saxony faction start in the corner without easy access to the wheat fields that both neighboring factions have. Faction location and landscape can vary every game. No longer can faction strategy count on the consistent landscape around their home base.  Additionally, the modular board adds a drafting element to setup, along with a variant for a tighter map at low player counts.

The Scythe Modular Board comes with 1 double-sided board (624x818mm, same size as the standard Scythe board), 4 double-sided tiles (7 hexes per tile), 8 home base tiles, 8 structure bonus tiles, 1 rulebook (11 languages), and Automa rules for solo play.  Pre-orders from Stonemaier open on May 29, or look for the Scythe Modular Board at your friendly local game store late this summer.

Ulisses Spiele is running a successful Kickstarter campaign for the second edition and new expansions for the Aventuria: Adventure Card Game based on the fantastic setting of The Dark EyeThe Dark Eye, also known as Das Schwarze Auge, has been a successful role-playing game in Germany for over 30 years.  Aventuria: Adventure Card Game is a fast-paced card game where each player takes the role of a hero from Adventuria.  There are two modes of play: Duel Mode, where heroes fight against each other, and Adventure Mode, where heroes join together to adventure and defeat terrifying foes. The game can also be played in solo mode.

The Kickstarter Campaign offers a second edition of the Aventuria card game as well as two new expansions: Inn of the Black Boar and Return to the Inn of the Black Boar.  Second Edition incorporates all rules clarifications and errata from both English and German editions of the First Edition. It also includes the new Life Point Cards and the adventure “The Non-Gambling Kind,” previously available only as a promo, and numerous other new cards and features. The Inn of the Black Boar includes four new heroes and a new exploratory dungeon crawl that uses random Dungeon Cards and 20 different random combat encounters for maximum replayability. The Return to the Inn of the Black Boar mini-expansion adds enough specialty cards to allow up to 6 players.  It also includes cards and combat scenarios for two new factions (the Black Mages and the Undead Circus) you can encounter in the dungeon under the Black Boar, making the mini-expansion useful even for smaller groups and solo play.

The Kickstarter Campaign has several pledges to accommodate backers with varying experience with Aventuria. Backers can pledge for the second edition alone or with the two expansions.  Current owners of Aventuria can pledge for an upgrade package to convert their copy to second edition with the two expansions.

There are a number of add-on and upgraded components available through the Kickstarter also. All five previous expansions can be purchased as add-ons. Wooden boxes with four different decorated in Aventurian themes are available as a unique storage solution for all your cards and components, such as the full color acrylic tokens available as an add-on. Finally, all seven heroes have a special play mat and five exclusive cards that can be purchased as an add-on. There is even a special play mat for the adventure mode available.

The Kickstarter campaign for Aventuria, 2nd Edition, and the Inn of the Black Boar expansions end May 14.  Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

Seasons of Inis, the soon to be released expansion by Matagot, has a lot to offer to fans of Inis.  Seasons of Inis is an expansion comprised of five very different modules that fans can add to Inis, customizing the game as they see fit. The first module is the addition of an extra player, including action cards and complementary pieces. With a fifth player, competition for leadership will be intent and the battles will be epic. The second module, called We Want a King, shortens the game by avoiding multiple ties for victory if the Brenn is not involved.  This module is ideal for 5-player games but it may also be used in 3- or 4-player games. The third module, The Seasons of Inis, introduces seasonal festivals and climate conditions.  As the seasons change, different climatic conditions affect player actions. Everything tends to slow down in winter while spring issues a renewal phase. Players will need to adapt their strategies to the cycle of the seasons. The fourth module, Sea Travel, introduces a new type of territory: the island.  Players can build harbors on a territory, enabling them to travel on the sea to any other territory with a harbor, including other harbors on the main land. Lastly, the fifth module includes 15 new Epic Tale cards to add to the Epic Tale deck.  

Seasons of Inis is available for pre-order now and is expected to be released soon.  Contents include Season board, Season marker, 5 Season reference cards, 2 updated Action cards (replacing those from the base game), 4 new Action cards (5th player), 1 Pretender token (5th player), 12 clan figures (5th player), 15 new Epic Tale cards, 6 new territories & 1 updated territory tile, 6 new corresponding Advantage cards, 9 Harbor tiles, 1 Deed tokens, 1 Macha’s Curse token, 1 Fili token, 5 Banshee tokens, and 1 King tile.

Plaid Hat Games has announced Battlelands, a fast and furious card game for 3-5 players designed by Jerry Hawthorne (Mice & Mystics) and Andrea Mezzotero (Crystal Clans).  In Battlelands, players send fighters to seize key locations, collect resources, or recruit more fighters.  There are five factions to play – Junkers, Scaled Ones, Bighted, Hoodies, and the Nocturne – each with their own special abilities.  The player who secures enough resources is the winner.  Like Mice and Mystics, Battlelands features factions made up of mice, rats, lizards and moles, but the game is set in a modern world in which the human beings have vanished. This will be the same world used in another game by Jerry Hawthorn coming out later this year, Aftermath.   Little is known about Aftermath at this time other than it will be an Adventure Book game like Mice and Mystics but set in a modern post-human world.

Look for Battlelands at your friendly local game store in July, 2019.

Stronghold Games has launched the biggest and most strategic expansion to Terraforming Mars on Kickstarter: Terraforming Mars: Turmoil.  This expansion is not for the faint of heart.  It is considered an Expert expansion delving introducing the struggle for political control of Martian society.

Players will have delegates they can assign to the various political parties. The party with the most delegates becomes the ruling party in the next generation, establishing its own policies for the generation and granting the first player in the party a Terraform Rating. Each party confers a ruling bonus to the party leader and the ruling policy effects everyone.  Meanwhile, global events impact Mars, the terraforming corporations, and political parties. These global events can be forecasted, so players can plan ahead to influence the next rising political party to deal with the event. Politics can be brutal: despite the bonuses players may receive in the ruling party, everyone loses 1 Terraform Rating each generation.

Contents include 5 Corporation Cards, 16 Projects Cards, 31 Global Event Cards, 2 Reference Cards, a new Terraformer Milestone Tile, 6 Policies, a Global Events Boards, a Terraforming Committee Board, 35 Player Delegates (7 in each color), 14 Neutral Delegates, 1 Dominance Marker, and rule book.

The Kickstarter comes with a number of Promo contents as funding milestones are reached.  The first promo content, 5 Dual Layer Player Board, may be of special interest to those who have not purchased upgrades to their game yet. Additional promo projects and corporation card have already been announced. 

The Kickstarter campaign for Terraforming Mars: Turmoil runs through May 2 with a delivery in November 2019.  To learn more, check out the Kickstarter campaign.

Red Raven Games announces Roam, a new game sharing the same world as Near and Far, Islebound, and Above and Below.  Roam is set in the land of Arzium and features characters seen in the other games in the shared world.  In Roam, players seek out lost adventurers scattered across the land, rescue them and add them to their party, increasing their ability to find more lost adventurers faster. The area being searched is made up of six land cards in the center of the table, and each character has a unique search pattern players can use to search the lands.  Each land card is divided into six squares to be searched, some of which have coins that players can use to purchase upgrades and tools to aid in their search.  When a land card has been completely searched, the player who did the most searching adds the adventurer to their party.  Each new adventurer also adds a new search pattern the player can use.  Both tools and found adventurers are worth points. When one player has ten adventurers in their party, the game ends, and the player with the most points wins.

Roam plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in about 30 minutes. A release date has not been announced yet.  More details will be available when the Kickstart launches soon.

North Star Games has launched Oceans, the latest game in the Evolution series, on Kickstarter, and it funded on the first day of the campaign.  Oceans is a strategy game that recreates the building of a marine ecosystem through millions of years of evolution. Like the other games in the Evolution series, players create and evolve species in a growing ecosystem in an effort to survive and thrive. Species will be defined by one or more of the 12 traits found among sea life.  At first, the only food source is plankton and predating species will be limited to few traits, but as life (and food) become more abundant, more complex creatures can evolve. But the ocean is a complex ecosystem and the deeper one goes in the ocean the stranger the ocean world becomes.  Oceans includes this mysterious world with The Deep, where 50 unique traits create powerful and strange creatures of the deep ocean.  Oceans features the same art style by naturalist Catherine Hamilton found in the other Evolution games.

Oceans plays 2-6 players, ages 12+, between 45-100 minutes.  Contents for the standard game include 1 Rulebook, 1 Reference Guide, 2 Player aids, 1 Reef board, 3 Ocean boards (2 small, 1 large), 120 Surface cards (10 of each type), 50-80 Deep cards (1 of each type), 25 Scenario cards, 35 Species boards, 215 cardboard fish (96 Light Blue, 42 Salmon, 30 Yellow, 18 Blue, 6 Midnight, and 23 White tokens), 6 Player screens, and 6 Bonus Score tokens.  The Deluxe Edition ugrades the fish to acrylic fish tokens, custom printed bags for storing points instead of player screen, and 220 custom Ocean card sleeves for both the core trait cards and The Deep trait cards. The Kickstarter campaign runs through April 26 with an expected delivery date of September 2019.  Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

Fans of Lorenzo Il Magnifico will soon have a new way to play their favorite game: via Steam.  While it is becoming increasingly common for popular boardgames to receive a digital treatment for play on computer and mobile devises, it is no surprise that the Kickstarter campaign for the digital edition of Lorenzo Il Magnifico was funded in a mere 22 minutes!  Lorenzo Il Magnifico received the Seal of Excellence from The Dice Tower and it remains one of the top-rated games on Board Game Geek.

Backers have already unlocked numerous exclusive cards for the digital edition, but more have yet to be unlocked.   Backers will also receive access to the game two months prior to its official release.  The Pazzi Conspiracy, a new expansion for the physical copies of Lorenzo Il Magnifico, can also be supported through this Kickstarter.  One of the unique touched to the pledge levels is the opportunity to have a custom-painted avatar in the final digital edition of the game.  Backers who select this pledge level will also receive a high-resolution wallpaper with their portrait as part of the package.  Sample custom portrait artwork features Dice Tower’s Tom Vasel and Eric Summerer in Renaissance clothing.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through April 13 with an expected delivery date of Jun 2019. Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

Indie Boards & Cards has three new releases this summer. First is Conflicting Legends, which Indie Boards & Cards has picked up to publish a second English edition. Conflicting Legends is a fast-paced strategic card game based on rock-paper-scissors.  The artwork on the cards depict a variety of historical science, culture, and military personalities. Each card has a unique ability. Conflicting Legends plays 3-6 players, ages 14+, in about 30-45 minutes, and will be released on May 15.

 Next is Among Thieves, a game of deception and greed. Players are criminals and blackmailers working together to steal from the Dystopian Universe mega-corporations. Each round, one player is the Heistmaster who chooses which other players to take on the heist.  Each player negotiates to get in on the action and partake in the loot.  However, no agreement is binding and players may choose to be dishonorable and take a larger share. Players win by having the most money but risk elimination if they lose too much honor. Among Thieves plays 3-8 players, ages 14+, in about 30-45 minutes, and will be released on June 26.

Lastly, Finger Guns at High Noon is sure to be a fast-paced and hilarious game of a western shootout. Its everybody against everybody unless players can convince others to join in or they lasso up an ally Actions are played simultaneously by counting down to draw finger guns. Different hand gestures show everyone’s actions and targets. Use pistols, dynamite, and power shots to eliminate other players, heal yourself at the saloon, organize a posse, or lasso up an ally. Once eliminated, players are still in the game as ghosts who have fewer actions but can thwart the plans of the living players.  Last player standing is the winner—unless the ghosts eliminate everyone.  Finger Guns at High Noon plays 3-8 players, ages 14+, in about 20 minutes, and will be released on June 26.

Tomb Raider Legends gets a board game treatment, challenging players to navigate dangerous and exotic locals to acquire the artifact.  Over a dozen different areas can explores in different combinations as the players make their way to the artifact. This competitive game pits 3-4 players in an exploration race to the artifact while each player attempts to avoid the constant threat of wounds, delays, and misdirection caused by other players and creatures. 

Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game plays 3-4 players, ages 13+, in about 40 minutes.  Contents include 4 Lara miniatures, 1 main board, 4 player boards, 28 action cards, 41 raid cards, 1 starting player marker, 8 threat/experience markers, and 4 injury markers.  The game is available for pre-order now and expected to be released between Q2-Q3, 2019.