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".

Are you ready Space Cowboy?  One of the best anime series has finally come to boardgames in the Cowboy Bebop Boardgame Boogie from Jasco Games.  In Cowboy Bebop Boardgame Boogie, players assume the roll of one of four misfit bounty hunters aboard the spaceship Bebop.  Each player has a session, a series of tasks drawn from the original anime series, that must be completed in order to win.  Completing the sessions requires woolong (money) and fuel to travel, make contacts, and pay for goods and services.  The struggling bounty hunters also need food!  This is a cooperative game, so despite how capable each of the bounty hunters are, they need help from the others to complete their sessions. Meanwhile, villains and challenging events can appear to throw the bounty hunters off their session. Players win when they complete their session. The game features stories, artwork and characters from the beloved anime classic.

Cowboy Bebop Boardgame Boogie plays 1-4 players, ages 14+, in about 60-90 minutes.  Contents include gameboard, 5 planet boards, 4 character boards, 7 standees, 1 Bebop token, 23 tokens, and 165 cards. The game is expected to release in August 2019, and it is available for pre-order now.

Season 3 of the Exceed Fighting System brings us Streetfighter!  The Exceed Fighting System is a fast-paced two-player card game that brings the head-to-head arcade fighting games to your game table. Previous seasons feature the heroes and villains of Red Horizon and Seventh Cross.  Exceed: Street Fighter comes in three stand-alone boxes. The first is the Ryu Box, which contains the fighters Ryu, Sagat, Akuma, and Zangrief. The M. Bison Box contains the fighters Cammy, M. Bison, Ken, and Guile. Lastly, the Chun-Li Box contains Vega, C. Viper, Chun-Li, and Dan.   Each of the player characters can be played with all other releases of Exceed.  Each box contains 141 cards and rulebook.  The Ryu Box is first to be released in April 2019, followed by the M. Bison Box in June and the Chun-Li Box in July.  All three are available for pre-order now.

The collectible card game series Universal Fighter System is adding Soulcalibur VI to its system.   

The Soulcalibur VI CCG will consist of 108 different cards representing twelve characters from Soulcalibur VI: Groh, Ivy, Kilik, Maxi, Mitsurguri, Nightmare, Siegfried, Sophitia, Taki, Xianghua, Yoshimitsu, and Zasalamel.  Each 10-card booster pack contains 6 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare or ultra rare card. There are 32 commons, 28 uncommons, 29 rare and 19 ultra rare cards in the set. Booster boxes of 24 booster packs are available for pre-order now, or look for them at your friendly local game store on April 5, 2019.

Fans of Street Fighter can expand their Universal Fighter System collection with two new Special Edition Tins: the C. Viper & Juri Tin and the Ryu Tin.  Both tins contain a Tin-exclusive Street Fighter foil card, 3 Street Fighter booster packs, 1 Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers booster pack, 1 Mega Man: Battle for Power booster pack, and 1 Capcom Platinum Series booster pack.  The Ryu Tin releases in April 2019, and the C. Viper & Juri Tin released in June 2019.


 

Renegade Game Studios partners with Frosted Games to publish its first roll-and-write game, Hex Roller.  Designed by Rustan Håkansson (Nations and Nations: The Dice Game), Hex Roller features a score pad with a hexagonal groupings of hexagons to record die rolls.  Over the course of seven rounds, players will roll the dice, selecting two grouping of numbers to record on their scoresheet.  There are numerous scoring opportunities on the scoresheet, so players need to think strategically when selecting and recording their rolls.  Hex groupings are only scored when they are completed, and they are worth the predominate value recorded in the grouping.  Each scoresheet does start the players out with some pre-filled numbers in each of the hex groupings.  Connecting those numbers scores points also. The unique six-sided dice, numbered 3-8, help in providing higher scores, but the game also rewards filling the hexes with the largest array of values so long as it starts with 3, the lowest number. The simple rules and game play will appeal new gamers while the various scoring strategies will appeal experienced gamers.  

Hex Roller plays 1-8 players, ages 8+, in about 15-20 minutes.  Contents include 8 dice, pad of game sheets and the rulebook.  Hex Roller is available for pre-order now or look for it in your friendly local game store in May.

Though Forbes Magazine is not normally associated with board games reporting, it has published the occasional article on the hobby over the past couple of years.  In the intersection of lifestyle, innovation, technology, and family life, Forbes has invested some time in getting to know the board game hobby better.  Recently, it paid a visit to this year’s New York Toy Fair and discovered 30 new board games they felt should not be missed. Included in their report is a 50-minute video of the 30 games explained by the game presenters at the New York Toy Fair.  Some of the games in the video were just announced at the toy fair and provides some of the first looks at the game.  A few were older games that have been out for a number of years or were recently re-released.  Of course, Villainous, which took Toy of the Year award to the New York Toy Fair, tops the list.  Other great games such as Photosynthesis, Planet, Stuffed Fables, and Bunny Kingdom can be found on the Forbes list.  Check out the Forbes article to see their full list and their video report from the 2019 New York Toy Fair.  

Brain Games ran a contest from October 1st, 2018 to January 15th, 2019 where contestants could submit a trickshot video for ICECOOL to win a two-person trip to visit real penguins in Antarctica.  The contest received 262 entries from 27 territories, with South Korea submitting the most entries with 86 followed by USA with 65 entries.  Serving on the global judge’s panel was Dice Tower’s own Tom Vasel, Joachim Ulbrich (Amigo Spiele CEO), and Egils Grasmanis (Brain Games CEO).  There were some amazing submissions and each region had their own assortment of prizes.  The grand prize-winning contestant submitted a skillful and creative musical trickshot. Check out the winning video and all the other submissions at https://www.icecoolantarctica.com/ .

IDW Games gives players a chance to play their favorite villain in Gotham City in Batman The Animated Series: Rogues Gallery. Each player then goes on crime sprees, steal powerful upgrades and recruit nefarious accomplices to accomplish their master plan and be the first to defeat Batman.

Designed  by Sen-Foong Lim (Belfort and Junk Art) and Jessey Wright, Batman The Animated Series: Rogues Gallery is a push your luck game, which is certainly the case anytime you go up against the Batman.  Artwork by comic artists Chris Fenoglio, Jack Lawrence, Dario Brizuela, and Marcelo Ferreira will delight fans of the original Batman The Animated Series cartoon.

Batman The Animated Series: Rogues Gallery plays 3-5 players, ages 12+, in 30-45 minutes.  Contents include a Bat Signal board, 11 Villain player sheets, 7 Common dice, 4 Power dice, 3 Batman cards, 8 Advanced Hero cards, 16 Basic Hero cards, 29 Upgrade cards, 37 Accomplice cards, 35 Scheme tokens, 18 Lucky Coin tokens, 5 Power tokens, a Bat Signal token, and Rulebook. Pre-orders are not available until the end of March.  Look for Batman The Animated Series: Rogues Gallery in stores on 5 June 2019.

WizKids has announced a new social deduction game set on the place of Ravnica in the Magic: The Gathering universe. In Ravnica: Inquisition, players take on the role of a representative of a Ravnican guild that is either loyal to the Gatewatch or an Agent of Bolas.  The Gatewatch loyalists are tasked with discovering who the Agents of Bolas are, while the Agents simply need to survive in order to further the schemes of Nicol Bolas.  During the game, the players will elect leaders for each of the 5 colors. Each color leader has a special power they can use to further their goals, so it is important to gain those positions and keep the opposition from gaining control.  Once all the color leaders have been elected, a vote is held to eliminate 1 player. Once the dust has settled, players will reveal their roles, and if the Agents of Bolas were eliminated, the Gatewatch wins!

Ravnica: Inquisition plays 5-10 players, ages 14+, in 15-30 minutes.  Contents includes 10 role cards, 10 guild cards, 5 color leader cards, 5 targeting cards, ablaze marker, ultimate price marker, notepad, pencil, and a rulebook. Look for Ravnica: Inquisition at your friendly local game store in June 2019.

Now on Kickstarter is Mechanica, a unique engine building strategy board game.  In Mechanica, players operate a factory to produce robots, basic robots at first but eventually upgrading to the deluxe robots as they improve their factories.  Players can purchase factory improvements to produce better robots faster and ship more robots at a time to earn greater income to continue upgrading their factories. Players may also build specialize robot on a blueprint to add to the total value of their factory.

The factory floor player board starts out as a simple conveyor belt system.  Each factory improvement is a puzzle piece that fits neatly onto the factory floor and interlocks with the factory and other pieces, creating a unique engine of robot production.  Another unique feature of the game is the rotating shop board where the various improvements are available for purchase. New improvements are more expensive, but as shop rotates, the improvements become cheaper until the improvement hits the end of the shop line and become recycled (removed from play).  The game comes in a ready-to-play tray that enables players to begin playing the game almost immediately upon opening the box, reducing set-up time and facilitating easy and organized storage of game components.

While the artwork is not finalized, a trio of new artists have created a delightful 1950’s retro future look to the game.

Mechanica plays 1-4 players, ages 12+, in about 60 minutes. Contents include 34 factory boards, 54 improvement pieces, 72 tidybot figures (24 of three different colors), 15 blueprint cards, 1 ARMAND-O card, 90 money tokens, 4 vault cards, 4 reminder cards, instruction book, single player chip, a rotating shop board, and a play-in-the-box tray. To learn more, check out the Kickstarter campaign which runs thru 3 March.  Mechanica is expected to be delivered in November this year.

Z-Man announces Hadara, a civilization building game with an innovative card selection system.  In Hadara, players attempt to build the most prestigious civilization over the course of three epochs.  In order to grow their civilization, players will recruit people from different cultures who will bring in their knowledge and skills to build your commerce, military, arts, agriculture, and technologies. The card selection system is based on a rotating wheel depicting the five player civilizations. Surrounding the civilization wheel are the five decks of specialties to improve civilizations. Players may recruit from the specialty closest to their civilization symbol of the rotation wheel.  Players need to carefully consider who they will and will not recruit.  As the wheel is rotated, new opportunities are presented, including those people left unrecruited by others. With each epoch, merchants, artisans, philosophers, warriors, and architects are more skilled and bring greater benefits to civilizations but at a great cost.  Hadara is designed by Benjamin Schwer (Crown of Emara) and features artwork by Dominik Mayer (Concordia and Transatlantic).  Hadara plays 2-5 players, ages 10+, in 45-60 minutes. It is available for pre-order now, or look for it in your friendly local game store this spring.

Gamewright has been in the business of making family games for 25 years. To celebrate this milestone, Gamewright is releasing a bunch of new games at the Toy Fair held in New York City, February 16-19. Here is a quick look at the titles to be released.

Guju Guju will receive it first English release from Gamewright.  In Guju Guju, a number of fruit cards are placed face up on the table and the rest is divided amongst the players.  Players take turns guesses which fruit is on the card they flip over from their deck.  When one guesses correctly, everyone races to discard their cards onto the matching fruit cards in the center of the table.  The first player who discard all his cards first wins.  Guju Guju plays 2-5 players, 6+, in 5-10 minutes. It comes with 120 cards.

Rat-a-Tat Roll is a follow up to Rat-a-Tat Cat.  In Rat-a-Tat Roll, player moved around the board trying to collect low cards (cats) while avoiding high cards (rats). Players choose how many dice they roll (one, two or three) for the best chance to land on the best spots. The player with the lowest score at the end wins. Rat-a-Tat Roll plays 2-5 players, 6+, in about 15 minutes. Contents include 45 cards, 15 tokens, 4 dice, 1 figurine, gameboard, and rules.

Twin It! also gets its first English release from Gamewright.  In Twin It! players quickly reveal card the cards on the table and seek to find matches before the others.  Over a hundred cards with colorful designs by Tom Vuarchex (Skull) look deceptively similar to other cards, so players have to be perceptive as well as quick. Twin It! plays 2-6 players, 6+, in 5-10 minutes. It comes with 135 cards and a sand timer.

Sushi Roll is a dice version of the ever popular Sushi Go! Instead of drafting cards, players draft dice from their conveyor belt and roll to place on their tray.  Menu tokens allow players to re-roll a dice and chopsticks allow players to swap dice with another player. Sushi Roll plays 2-5 players, 8+, in 20 minutes.  Contents include 30 dice, 40 scoring tokens, 20 pudding tokens, 18 menu tokens, 12 chopsticks tokens, 5 conveyor belts, 5 trays, dice bag, and rules.

Bloom is roll and write game where players roll colorful dice and circle the corresponding groups of flowers in matching color in the flower field (their score pad). Players need to make the most of their field as they decide how best to collect the flowers for their bouquets for scoring.  Bloom plays 2-5 players, 8+, in 20 minutes, and includes 6 dice, scorepad, and rules.

Punto is an abstract strategy game where players attempt to connect four of their cards in a row.  Players play cards next to each other to make or block connections.  Additionally, players can also place higher value cards on top of lower value cards, so card value during placement is very important.  Punto plays 2-4 players, 8+, in about 20 minutes, and includes 72 cards.

This Game Goes to Eleven is a clever hand management game named after a joke in the film This Is Spinal Tap.  Player play cards from their hand into a pile seeking to raise the pile sum to 11. If they reach exactly 11, they pass the pile to another player.  If they cause sum to exceed 11, they take the pile.  The first player to discard all their cards is the winner.  This Game Goes to Eleven plays 2-5 players, 8+, in about 20 minutes, and includes 72 cards.

 Whozit? Is a cooperative party game where player secretly pick a character from a lineup and tip off teammates by rating how well a pair of clues applies to your choice. Your team can only win by eliminating all of the unlikely suspects and correctly guessing your identity.  Whozit? plays 2+ players, ages 10+, in about 20 minutes.  Contents include 100 character cards, 50 clue cards, 10 number tokens, 10 number cards, a score board, clue meter, pawn, and rules.

Hello My Name Is is the latest party game from Gamewright. Each card looks like the well-known name tag but instead lists a trait.  Players play a trait and race to name someone who fits the description.  The player with the most trait cards at the end is the winner. Hello My Name Is plays 3-8 players, ages 12+, in about 15 minutes.

Over the next several months, AEG is releasing additional material for their popular games.

First up is World Tour: International Incident, which add four new factions from four corners of the world to Smash Up: Luchadores from Mexico, Musketeers from France, Mounties from Canada, and Sumo Wrestlers from Japan. This expansion kicks off the World Tour 2019, which offers event kits for stores this summer where players can find an exclusive Penguin faction and have a chance to win Smash Up card sleeves.  Look for World Tour: International Incident in stores on 22 March 2019.

Next is Mystic Vale: Harmony, which not only adds new advancements and vales but also powerful leaders and amulets.  Amulets grant you mana tokens new abilities.  When you spoil, your amulet can be “evoked” for its special power.  Look for Mystic Vale: Harmony in stores on 3 May 2019.

Final, the next episode of The Captain is Dead arrives in a stand-alone game: The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet.  In The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet, the crew has escaped the alien prison in Lockdown and have landed on an abandoned alien planet inhabited by giant bugs.  The crew must explore the tunnel system in search of alien relics that might serve as the key to peace between the aliens and Spacefleet.  Meanwhile, the crew must hold off the onslaught of bugs and keep their shuttle safe.  The Dangerous Planet tunnel system is modular to create easier or harder challenges.  Look for The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet in stores on 12 July 2019.