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".

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.

River Horse has launched its latest Kickstarter for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – The Board Game. In this strategic game, two to four players vie for control of the 14 districts in Panem.  Each district has a special ability, depending on who controls the district.  The rebellion only has six turns to bring eight of the districts into uprising and win the game.  The Capital begins with the upper hand, controlling all the districts at the beginning of the game.  They can quell uprising with their Peacekeeper forces, but there are not enough Peacekeepers to quells uprisings everywhere.  Players can play mission cards to change how the district can be won.  Players can commit leader characters with special abilities to further tilt the odds for control over a district.

The game comes with a collection of miniatures to represent the resistance fighters and peacekeepers as well as hovercrafts.  The leader characters are larger 28mm miniatures representing Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, but the Kickstarter stretch goals include leader characters for other personalities from the Hunger Games novels: Gale Hawthorne, Peeta Mellark, and Haymitch Abernathy.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through 21 October with an expected delivery of November 2019.  See the Kickstarter campaign for more details.

 

Everything about 8Bit Box hearkens back to the golden age of video game consoles.  8Bit Box is not just a game, it is a game system.  Included in 8Bit Box are six Controllers, or player action boards where players will select their movement and action choices in secret. A bag of generic universal components come with the Controller box and they are used in all the other games. Like a video game console, 8Bit Box comes with three games (Pixoid, Outspeed, and Stadium) that can be played using the player controllers and universal components.  Each game provides its own game board and additional components needed for the game.  In Pixoid, one player is Pixoid navigating a maze to collect cubes while the other players are bugs seeking to capture Pixoid. In Outspeed, players are futuristic cars racing to the finish line.  Each part of the course has special rules that affect player movement along the track.  The first racer to reach the finish, or the last surviving racer, is the winner.  In Stadium, players compete in teams in a variety of track and field events.  Teams determine which player to compete in each event to gain the most points. Each event does exhaust the player’s energy, so teams need to work together to ensure they do not exhaust their athletes before the events conclude.  The team with the highest score wins. While Iello has provided three games with 8Bit Box, there is room in the box for one more game and there is certainly room in the game console system for many more games.  8Bit Box players 3-6 players, ages 6+.  Game length varies from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on which game within the console is being played.  8Bit Box is available for pre-order now.  Look for 8Bit Box in stores near you on 25 October.

Breaking Games announces The Stars Align, a two-player strategy game where players take turns placing their stars in the sky to set off a shooting star.  Players use constellation cards to place stars on a playing board which doubles as the carrying bag.  Once a player has placed a complete row of stars in one color, the stars are removed from the board as a shooting star for the player.  If the playing board is filled with stars, then all the stars flip to their reverse color and play continues.  The first stargazer to catch five shooting stars is the winner!  The game plays 2 players, ages 6+, in about 20-30 minutes.  The game includes the carry bag/game cloth, constellation cards, 49 wooden star meeples, and 10 shooting star points (5 in white and 5 in black).  Look for The Stars Align at a friendly local game store near you this November.

Within days of launching the Kickstarter, Broken Mill achieved funding for Heroes of Tenefyr, a cooperative deck-building game for 1-4 players. In Heroes of Tenefyr, players are one of four adventurers (bard, barbarian, thief, or cleric) armed with a set of basic action cards and their special class skill card.  Faced with ten dungeons surrounding the Village of Tenefyr, the players attempt to clear out the dungeons, defeating monsters and taking their loot which players can add to their player decks and strengthen their chances against more difficult monsters in more challenging dungeons.  The more monsters they defeat, the stronger their character and their decks become.  Players need to manage their decks carefully because running out of cards means exhaustion, which requires rest to restore the deck with spent cards.  However, resting draws the enemy Boss closer. Defeating the dungeon (clearing out all the monsters) not only earns the players loot from defeated monsters but also earns a reward for each of the players.  The end of the game is triggered when the enemy Boss attacks. Unlike the other dungeons, the players cannot leave until they have defeated the Boss and all the cards in its deck. Defeat the Boss and win.

Heroes of Tenefyr plays 1-4 players, ages 14+ in about an hour. Contents include 4 Hero Cards, 4 Skill Cards, 48 basic Cards, 70 Dungeon Cards, 16 Boss Cards, 15 Reward Cards, Boss Token, Boss Track, a Starting Player Token, and a Current Dungeon Token.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through 24 October with an expected delivery of May 2019.  Go to the Kickstarter campaign to learn more about Heroes of Tenefyr.