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".

Wizkids announces K’uh Nah, a quick-playing, push your luck card game where players attempt to efficiently build a Mayan temple that will withstand the test of time. On a player’s turn, two cards are available for selection.  Each card represents a pyramid block and contains two colorful animal Mayan icons and a number. The number indicates the weight of a block.  Lighter blocks must be placed on top of heavier blocks unless the animal symbols on upper block is matched.  To avoid adding an unsuitable block to their pyramid, players may pass on the two choices available by placing one of their pieces of jade on the card. If they run out of jade, then they have to select a card and place it in their pyramid.  At the endo the game, a player’s score is the total value of all cards not supporting other cards minus the number of jade token. The player with the lowest score is the winner.

K’uh Nah plays 2-6 players, ages 14+, in about 20 minutes.  The game contains 50 cards, 48 tokens, and a rules sheet.  It is available for pre-order in mid-December and will be released in March 2019.

The Asmodee Group has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire ADC Blackfire Entertainment. Blackfire, founded in 1999, has been a longtime partner with Asmodee and has operations in the Czech Republic, Romania, and Germany.  The partnership will greatly improve the supply of games, from the Asmodee Group studios and from all Asmodee partners, and offer an even better service to vendors and customers all over Europe.

Stéphane Carville, CEO of Asmodee Group, had this to say of the acquisition:

“We are delighted to welcome Blackfire to the Asmodee Group. We have been working with them as partners for many years. We have always shared the same passion to provide our audiences with great games and entertainment experiences. Today the combination of Asmodee’s and Blackfire’s highly seasoned and professional teams will enable us to strengthen our operations and presence in Europe. Our key objective is to continuously offer the best products and services to our communities, consumers and retail partners.”

The CEOs of all three Blackfire operations had great things to say about the merger:

 “We have been successfully building Blackfire for almost 20 years and a good part of this path has been with Asmodee as a great partner. We are now happy to announce the next step in our relationship, a merger which I have no doubt saying will create an awesome synergy of experience, brands and products. Our ultimate goal and vision to deliver the best entertainment to kids, families and fans of games is going to be much easier to fulfill. We are looking forward to write the next great chapter of our story.” — Martin Polak, CEO of Blackfire Czech Republic.

 “Over the years both companies have become key players in their segments of the games industry – and now we are taking the next step forward to grow best in class, combining a comprehensive assortment of distributed titles and owned intellectual properties with state-of-the-art logistics and customer service. I am sure this will create game-changing synergies from which customers will benefit greatly.” — Alexander Dubynski, CEO of Blackfire Germany

 “I am thrilled that over just a couple of years Blackfire Romania, our youngest branch, has become one of the biggest distributors of toys and games in Romania and the preferred partner for major manufacturers and licensors. This merger will yield great synergies and benefits in the years ahead .“ — Loredana Orzață (Dobraniș), CEO of Blackfire Romania

 

 

Digidiced, the company that has brought many board game classics to digital platform, now brings us Indian Summer.  You may be familiar with the many Uwe Rosenberg games Digidiced already has in their inventory: Le Havre, Patchwork, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, Cottage Garden,  and Bohnanza: The Duel.   The digital version allows players to play in solo mode against three different computer opponents, against friends in local multiplayer, or any player in online mode.  It also includes an asynchronous mode that provides notifications when it is your turn.  The interactive tutorial easily teaches new players how to play the game.  The game is available now on both the Apple App Store and in Google Play.  A Steam version is soon to be released.  Visit Digidiced to learn more about the digital version of Indian Summer.

Concept is a popular party where players try to guess a word or phrase using a series of icons to represent icons.  Now Repos Production has developed a new version especially designed for children who do not know how to read yet. Concept Kids: Animals is a cooperative game for children ages 4 and up where players attempt to guess the name of an animal being described by the icons on the board. The child friendly board groups the icons in recognizable characteristics of animals:  where it lives, what color it is, how it travels, physical features, what it eats, and if it is a day or night time creature.  It is an excellent way for young children to learn how to describe various animals.  The game contains 110 colorful illustrations of animals to be guessed. Players will attempt to guess 12 animals each game, attempting to earn the highest score possible as a group: Legendary Lions!  Go to Repos Production website to learn more about Concept Kids: Animals.

Z-Man Games announces a fresh new take on the classic Carcassonne game: Carcassonne: Safari.    Instead of building the French countryside surrounding Carcassonne, players will build the wilderness of Africa with savannahs, bush, animal paths, baobab trees, and watering holes, all teaming with wildlife.  The wildlife is key to scoring in Carcassonne: Safari.  Unlike traditional Carcassonne, scored points are not based on size or length of a controlled area.  Instead, scored points are based on the number of different animals in the scoring area. A safari is certainly more interesting with a larger variety of animals.  Bonus points are scored for each bird in a scored area.  Boabab trees, like the cloisters in the original Carcassonne game, need to be surrounded before being completed. However, boabab trees do not score any points.  Instead, they provide the player controlling the baobab tree animal tokens when placed and additional animal tokens when completed.  Players can use the animal tokens to increase the scoring of bushes and paths by discarding a token to increase the number of animal types scored in the area by one.  Animal tokens can also be used to create watering holes.  Every player can contribute to any watering hole by adding their animal token to the watering hole as long as it contains a different animal than one already there. Scoring encourages the completion of watering hole because each new tile placed to expand the watering hole scores an increasing number of points. Lastly, this game features two ranger vehicles that reside just adjacent to the safari tiles.  Players may move the ranger vehicles as part of their move.  Placing a tile beneath a ranger vehicle scores additional bonus points.  Carcassonne: Safari is the fourth game in the Carcassonne Around the World series which already features Carcassonne: Amazonas, Carcassonne: Gold Rush, and Carcassonne: South Seas.  Carcassonne: Safari is available for pre-order now and will be released in late 2018.  Go to Z-Man Games to learn more about Carcassonne: Safari.

 

Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef, from Druid City Games, funded on the first day of its Kickstarter campaign.  Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef is the first game set in a new world designed by Lina Cossette and David Forest, also known collectively as Mr. Cuddington. You may have seen their beautiful artwork in Brass: Lancashire, Santorini, Brass: Birmingham, Charterstone, Steampunk Rally, Super Motherload, Unfair, and The Grimm Forest.

In Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef, players are citizens of an island realm, gathering in the City of Naviri, competing to earn the title of Tidal Blade, an elite guardian of the Islands.  The tournament takes place over the course of five days.  During the day, contestants spend energy to take actions that allow them to gather resources, travel to locations to earn bonuses, and compete in challenges. During the night, contestants defend the city against a monster invasion, then upgrade their characters and prepare for the next day of contests.

Players will play one of four unique characters, each with their own special powers. Each player also has a dice pool, and the dice can be upgraded to more powerful and consistent results depending one which power they want to focus on. Dice are rolled and spent to complete challenges and defeat monsters. Some monsters will require the efforts of all players to defeat.

At the end of five days, the player with the most points is the winner, but this will not be the last you hear of these heroes because they will also be featured in the second part of this game world: Tidal Blades: The Rise of the Unfolders, that will shortly follow the release of this game.

Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef plays 1-4 (solo mode recently added), ages 14+ in 60-90 minutes. Contents include 4 player boards, 5 standees, 32 character cards, 16 energy discs,  54 custom dice, 3 danger dice, 40 fruit tokens, 40 shell tokens, 21 stunt cards, 5 location boards, 24 market cards, 54 challenge cards, a boat token, a round tracker, a first player token, 6 monster cards, a monster die, and 64 hit tokens.  The Kickstarter campaign offers a Deluxe Edition which includes a custom dice tray arena, highly details character miniatures, and more.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through 9 November with an expected deliver in October 2019.  Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stronghold Games has begun taking pre-orders on more than a handful of games due out in the next couple of months.

Two of the new games available for pre-order now, AuZtralia and Terraforming Mars: Colonies, were reported in Dice Tower News recently. Bryan Drake also sat down with AuZtralia’s designer, Martin Wallace, to learn more about the game. Stronghold Games has proudly added AuZtralia to its Great Designer Series. Terraforming Mars: Colonies is the fourth expansion to the hugely popular, Terraforming Mars. Only 500 copies of Terraforming Mars: Colonies will be available for pre-order, so act fast.

Also available for pre-order are two Friedmann Friese games, Fortune and Fool!

Fool! is a card-shedding and trick-taking game where player attempt to get rid of their cards without playing the lowest card.  The player who plays the lowest card has to sit out the next trick, losing the opportunity to get rid of a card. Players score negative points for cards left in their hand, and positive points if they got rid of all the cards in their hand, unless they play the lowest card in the last hand which earns them nothing. Fool! plays 4-8 players, ages 8+, in about 15 minutes.

Fortune is the forth game in the Fast Forward Series and uses the Fable Game system.  These games do not require an understanding of the rules beforehand.  Instead, the cards are pre-sorted and the rules of the game are explained on the cards as they are played. In Fortune, the player with the highest score wins the game, but gaining the highest numbers may not be enough. The trick is to get the right bonuses for the big payoff. Fortune plays 3-5 players, ages 10+, in about 15 minutes.

Calimala was originally published last year Blackfire Entertainment in both German and English editions, but it may have been difficult to find here in North America.  Stronghold is republishing the English only edition this year. In Calimala, players are members of the guild of cloth finishers and merchants in Republic of Florence during the Late Middle Ages.  Players assign their employees to produce and trade cloth and gain prestige by delivering their good, contributing to the construction of buildings, and sponsoring artwork.  The player with the most prestige at the end of the game wins. Calimala plays 3-5 players in 45-75 minutes.

Lastly, Stronghold Games is republished Kanban: Automotive Revolution as a Limited Edition Kanban: Driver’s Edition. Stronghold has also included Kanban, designed by renowned designer Vital Lacerda of Vinhos, The Gallerist, and Lisboa fame, in their Great Designer Series.  In Kanban, players are managers in an automotive factory seeking to impress the factory manager by establishing the most efficient assembly line.  With each promotions come more capabilities to be more efficient. The players with the higher productivity points, demonstrating the most effective use of workhours, at the end of the game is the winner. Kanban plays 2-4 players, ages 12+, in 90-120 minutes. Stronghold does not plan to reprint this game again in the future!

 

Children of the Empire, Fantasy Flight’s latest expansion for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, is a massive expansion featuring 234 cards (three copies of each of 76 cards and one copy of six cards). Unlike previous expansions that focused on a single clan or a cycle of events, this expansion does not begin any new cycle nor cater to any one clan, making this expansion the perfect compliment to the core set.  Instead, this expansion focuses on new mechanics and themes.

The first new mechanic is Composure.  Composure is considered to be maintained as long as your honor bid is lower than your opponent.  Each clan has new cards that have different effects that can be activated only if they have maintained their composure. For the Scorpion Clan, who rely on high-honor bids, maintaining composure will be difficult, but their Courtier can switch honor dials with their opponent to regain composure and causing your opponent to lose his.

This expansion places a heavy emphasis on duels.  Every clan will have a new character type called a duelist to add to their ranks.  Each duelist makes use of the rewritten template “Initiate a duel” which provides clearer language than that previously provided on cards like Policy Debate.   Each clan’s duelist is unique and reflects the values and strengths of their clan.  Moreover, some events will trigger a duel, and some attachments are more powerful when used in a duel.

Children of the Empire does a good job reflecting the living aspect of a living card game.  Several event cards in this expansion reflects the events that have been described in short stories and novels set in Rokugan.  For example, “In Defense of Rokugan” recreates the sacrifice made by Tomonatsu describe in the short story “Dark Hands of Heaven” by Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda.

Lastly, Children of the Empire includes multiple neutral cards, including a new version of Akodo Toturi, who was originally a Lion Clan Champion seen in the core set.  In this expansion, he serves the emperor and can activate special powers as long as he maintains Imperial Favor. In addition to this champion, the Imperial ranks include courtiers, magistrates, and even duelists.

Children of the Empire is certainly worthy of being called a premium expansion. Go to Fantasy Flight Games to learn more about Children of the Empire.

Horrors return anew at Arkham.  Fantasy Flight announces The Circle Undone, the fourth deluxe expansion for Arkham Horror: The Card Game.  In this campaign, investigators will dig into Arkham’s past, uncovering its history to learn more about the motives of those behind the current mysteries.  Like all deluxe expansions, The Circle Undone comes with two new scenarios and new investigator and players cards. What makes this expansion different is the inclusion of the prologue scenario “Disappearance at the Twilight Estate.”  Instead of beginning the campaign by taking your investigator straight to the first scenario, players will play as one of four people invited to an ill-fated charity event at an estate in French Hill. Each of these characters have their own unique abilities and skills, but they are not investigators and do not have a deck of additional cards. Players will have to work together in order to survive the night’s chaos and learn the secrets behind what has happened.

Featured in The Circle Undone is the new investigator Diana Stanley, a redeemed cultist who knows much about the prestigious order of the Silver Twilight Lodge, perhaps too much. Having recognized the twisted nature of the order and convinced that dark forces are in play, she works dismantled the order and frustrate their plans from the inside.  As a former cult member, Diana’s willpower is extremely weak, but her knowledge of the order protects her, allowing her to ignore or cancel many card effects.  With each successfully cancelled or ignored card, Diana grows bolder and her willpower increases to the point she can turn the Order’s attacks against itself.  Unfortunately, she carries a Terrible Secret that if ever revealed, she either forfeits her cards or suffers unspeakable horrors for each card she keeps.

Stay tuned to Fantasy Flight to learn more about The Circle Undone.

 

Cryptozoic has designed a new fast-paced, easy-to-learn card game engine that will be used in several new games in the near future.  With the GRYPHON card game engine, two to four players have a deck of 10 cards from which they will draw a hand of three cards.  Each round, players will select one card from their hand to play simultaneously with the others win the round.

Two games are currently announced to use the GRYPHON card game engine.  The first is Rick and Morty: The Look Who’s Purging Now Card Game, where players can play as Rick, Morty and others from the classic episode “The Festival” and rack up kills during the annual festival on an alien planet.   Players may play various weapon cards as either found items or Rick’s inventions to change the outcome of the round.  In addition to the four 10-card players decks, the game comes with 32 festival cards and 10 weakness cards to challenge the players.

The second game is Challenge of the Superfriends, where players can play as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Aquaman from the classic cartoon series Superfriends and capture villains from the Legion of Doom.  Players can call forth allies and super powers to change the outcome of the round.  In addition to the four 10-card players decks, the game comes with 32 objective cards and 10 challenge cards to thwart the players.

Each game plays 2-4 players, ages 10+, in about 25 minutes, and contains 82 cards.  Both Rick and Morty: The Look Who’s Purging Now Card Game and Challenge of the Superfriends are available for pre-order now.  Look for them in your friendly local game store in March 2019.  Stay tuned to Cryptozoic for more news about each game and the GRYPHON card game engine.