Z-Man Games has announced The Great City of Rome, designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert. The game is for 2-4 players, ages 10+ where players compete to design and build the greatest city in the world.

The game requires players to make meticulous plans, dedicate their workers and gather sturdy materials. First, travel to the Emperor’s court to gain blueprints and materials and use emissaries to earn the Emperor’s favor. However, use the emissaries wisely. The more time spent sweet-talking the Emperor, the less time there is to gather resources and materials

During each round, players reveal a set of building cards, each with their own attributes, as well as flip one of the six unique action strips. Using their emissaries, players claim spaces on the action strip, carefully choosing the placement to earn the right to claim the best building cards or maximize the number of actions they can take. After the emissaries have been placed, players draft building cards, resolve actions and construct buildings in order from closest to farthest from the golden Emperor pawn.

Now that you have your blueprints, workers and materials, it’s time to build the city! City planning requires the careful arrangement of housing, utilities and amenities to make the city’s residents happy.

After drafting a building card, you can place the building into your play area, creating a maximum of a 4×4 grid of buildings. Carefully arrange your residential areas with nearby public buildings and add in aqueducts and temples to make a civilized, balanced city and score the most points to win.

Game contents: 86 Cards, 39 Coins, 33 Influence Tokens, 18 Point Tokens, 6 Brick Tokens, 6 Action Strips, 8 Wooden Pawns, 1 Scoring Pad, 1 Rulebook, 1 Summary Sheet

You can pre-order your copy of The Great City of Rome today. It will be released in early 2019.

Renegade Games takes your Honshu journey to the next level with Hokkaido. The Lords and Ladies having acquired all the land in Honshu are moving on to the mountainous regions of Hokkaido. Expanding to the territory here is going to be a little more challenging! From the same team that brought you Honshu: Designer Kalle Malmioja and illustrators Ossi Hiekkala and Jere Kasanen, enjoy the same splendid artistry and delightful gameplay with added strategy and mechanics! Still 12 rounds the game introduces a card drafting mechanic that is all new to the Nippon Series and brings more intriguing ways to map your region.

 

Hokkaido includes 60 Map Cards, 6 Starting Province Cards, 5 Scoring Summary Cards, 9 Goal Cards (optional variant), 15 Terraforming Tiles, 56 Wooden Pieces, 1 Scoring Pad and a Rulebook.  The game is great for 2-5 players ages 8 and up and plays in about 30 minutes.  Look for its release in February of 2019 or pre-order now!

Jakarta based, board game company, Chiveus, is still a small publisher with only 2 prior games under their belt, but they will be at Essen Spiel 2018 introducing 3 new games to the industry.

Jalan-Jalan is a party card game with “Take That” and “Voting” mechanisms for 3-5 players, aged 14+. It plays in 30-45 mins. Players create the perfect list of vacation plans with all the destinations to visit. Each destination is categorized (eg. water-related, cultural, and adventurous) and each player has two random interests, one hidden from the other players. Players attempt to go to places matching their interests, for which they earn points by convincing the group to go to them. This is decided through voting but players can play action cards to swing things in their favor.

Kancil is a hidden role game for 3-6 players who negotiate between a farmer and merchants. The farmer attempts to sell their hand grown cucumbers to the merchants while a creature called the Kancil, disguised as a merchant, attempts to steal the earnings and run away. The goal of the game is to earn the most profits through successful deals but this is hampered by the Kancil. Players take turns in each of the roles. The Kancil creature originates from Indonesian folklore.

Unmask! is a set collection, hidden role, press your luck game set in the Victorian Era where players take on the role of detectives. The detectives attempt to find the culprit behind a treasure heist by gathering information from witnesses while a villain attempts to block these efforts. Players try to unmask each other in order to nullify each other’s special bonus through deduction before the game ends. Points are gained by detectives expanding their card collection through investigations. The player with the most points wins.

WizKids have published multiple games using their Adventure System which makes them all compatible with one another. Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage Adventure System Board Game is the latest release for this system. Other releases for this game system include Castle RavenloftThe Legend of DrizztWrath of AshardalonTemple of Elemental Evil, and The Tomb of Annihilation. 

“In the city of Waterdeep rests a tavern called the Yawning Portal, named after the gaping pit in its common room. At the bottom of this crumbling shaft is a labyrinthine dungeon known as Undermountain, domain of the mad wizard Halaster Blackcloak, who has seeded his lair with monsters, traps, and mysteries.”

This game includes multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and game play designed for 1-5 players, ages 14+. There are also new Environment and Bane/Boon cards, and Trap and Spell decks. The other significant improvement is that players can now reach level 4 with their characters and gain even more powers … so you can finally tackle the earlier, harder games with characters more capable of handling them (I’m looking at you Wrath of Ashardalon).

As with previous incarnations of the Adventure Game System, the Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage Adventure System Board Game will also release with a Premium Edition which features pre-painted miniatures. This game will be available in March of 2019.

 

In August of this year the International Gamers Awards (IGA) committee announced the finalists for the 2018 IGA Awards.

“The International Gamers Awards were founded in 1999 for the express purpose of recognizing outstanding games, their designers, and the companies which publish them. The awards have gained widespread acclaim and have helped bring these outstanding games to the public’s attention.” [source]

The winner in the Multi-Player General Strategy category was Rajas of the Ganges. This game, designed by the husband and wife team of Markus and Inka Brand, with stunning art by Dennis Lohausen, was published by HUCH!. It has players represent powerful nobles who are gathering resources and wealth. Rajas of the Ganges also got the Seal of Approval from Tom at the Dice Tower.

The winner in the 2-player General Strategy category was Codenames Duet, designed by Vlaada Chvátil and Scot Eaton, with art by Tomáš Kučerovský, and published by Czech Games Edition (CGE).  In it, two players attempt to decipher the identity of their agents hidden behind a card with a word, by guessing those words based on one-word clues. Assassins are hidden in-between the agents which end the game when revealed. The crew at the Dice Tower have spoken well of this game numerous times as well.

You can learn more about the International Gamers Awards, the awards categories, and other nominated games, by visiting their website.

Euro Game fans rejoice, for publisher Eggertspiele, artist Chris Quilliams, and designer extraordinaire Alexander Pfister (Great Western Trail, Mombasa, Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King) have announced their new game for Essen Spiel 2018, Blackout: Hong Kong. In Blackout, 1-4 players work to restore order from chaos in a future Hong Kong, where the electrical grid has been massively overstressed to the point of failure. Players start by rolling dice to randomly select which 3 of the 6 resources in the game will be available for the round. Next, players select 3 (or 4 with an upgrade) cards, which are placed facedown on their player board. These cards are revealed, and can place control cubes on the board, gain resources, spend resources, give abilities, or provide objectives. Objective cards are then scored, after which players can scout neighboring territories. Scouting is dangerous work, and gives an alternative way to collect needed resources, but players need to assemble cards from their hand to form a team with the required qualifications for the scouting token. Regardless of the outcome, one of the team will be injured, and will end up in the hospital, taking that card out of action. After scouting, players can use money to purchase new cards from face-up lines next to the board. Finally, in clean up, extra cards are discarded from the side of the board, and excess food and water are sold for money. Players score points for territories they control, and can refresh their hand of cards if they have 4 or less. When refreshing, players take back into hand whichever pile on their board is the largest. At the end of the game, money converts into points, and most total points takes the victory. Blackout can be played traditionally, solo, or as a 5 chapter campaign.

For more details, check out Eggertspiele’s website. Look for Blackout: Hong Kong at Essen Spiel 2018 October 25-28.

Stonemaier Games and developer Jamey Stegmaier have announced a new small box expansion for their mega hit Scythe (currently rated number 7 on boardgamegeek). Scythe Encounters started in June 2018 as an invitation to fans to design encounter cards for the game, those random events players find while wandering the countryside. The response was overwhelming, and Encounters represents the best 32 entries. Scythe Encounters is due for release December 8, 2018, however Stonemeier went one step further and had one palette shipped over to the US, so the first 1900 pre-orders will receive their boxes significantly earlier. Check out the Stonemaier Games Newsletter for more information, and as always, a great chart on the progress of new additions from the company.

Dice drafting is an excellent game mechanism that I feel is under-utilized and not fully explored. Last year’s hit Sagrada is a great representation of this point. I like to think that Creative Game Studios recognized this as well when they planned to bring The Towers of Arkhanos to Kickstarter on October 2nd. Their newest project goes beyond just drafting the dice, as it also uses the shape of the dice to it’s visual advantage – the dice are placed after drafting to act as pillars for the titular towers as they climb ever upward over the course of the game. This eye-catching blend of theme and function, along with an approachable set of rules, makes this a crowdfunding title worth the look.

 “The towers of ARKHANOS  is a fast paced competitive boardgame for 2 to 4 players who will control one of the magic schools from the realms of Drunagor and try and build the magic towers in order to gain more prestige points to be appointed the greatest wizard of the realm. Design by Daniel Alves and Eurico Cunha two of the creators from “MASMORRA: Dungeons of Arcadia”, the game features artwork by Marcelo Bastos and Rodrigo Ramos creating a unique and colorful world.”

A strong draft and table presence aren’t the only things Arkhanos has going for it. Like any good gateway game, it also teaches a few other strategic staples, notably risk assessment and timing. Unlike other dice drafting games, this one always gives you the option of taking actions without a die, but doing so means you will lose one of your meeples instead as it is grimly sacrificed to be a pillar of a tower in place of a die. Actions and area control are determined by these meeples, so losing them this way isn’t ideal but it often comes down to seizing opportunity and an advantageous bonus in a crucial move. You don’t have to take my word for how thoughtfully put together this game is, however, because if you are interested in learning more about The Towers of Arkhanos you can check out their Kickstarter campaign page for playthrough and preview videos, full rules, community feedback, and updates.

Belfort was originally published in 2011 and has been out of print for a long time. Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) is bringing it back in a new updated format with brand new content and extra table appeal. In addition, Belfort: The Expansion Expansion, which is also out of print, is also being reprinted as part of the new Kickstarter campaign.

Belfort is a worker placement/area control game in which 2-5 players collect resources and use them to create buildings and maintain control over city districts. Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes must work together and in conjunction with the town guilds to build the small village of Belfort into a bustling city!

For those of you who already own everything Belfort there is to own, a NEW Expansion! – Belfort: The New Expansion – with never before seen content is in development. This new expansion will be completely compatible with any edition of Belfort that was previously published.

Jay Cormier and Sen-Foo Lim, the designing duo known as the Bamboozle Brothers, are back again to create this new expansion content. In addition, the original artist, Josh Cappel, is working on the art for the expansion as well as revisiting the original Belfort art.

“We are working hard to make sure this edition will be truly something special and will be a welcome addition to the collections of those who have played the game before and those who are brand new to the experience.”

The new expansion needs a name

TMG has not put an official name on the new expansion yet and they are looking for help from backers. On the Kickstarter campaign page, you can take a look at the rules and offer up what you think would be the perfect name for the Belfort expansion. Once the campaign ends, TMG will make a final decision on the name.

The Belfort 10th Anniversary Edition campaign doesn’t have any Stretch Goals. TMG has chosen to pre-load it with component upgrades including metal coins and painted wood.

The Kickstarter campaign is fully funded and runs until October 20th. Several pledge levels are available for those new to the Belfort world who want to go all in as well as those who only want to upgrade their components or get the expansion.

Watch some Dice Tower Coverage of Belfort as well as Belfort: The Expansion Expansion.

The Jack Vasel Memorial Fund (JVMF) is a charitable organization started by the Dice Tower’s own Tom Vasel, dedicated to helping gamers in need. You have probably heard of it from podcast outros, announcements on videos, or from the holiday auctions. I have been very lucky and am not a gamer in need, but I wanted to tell a personal story from the other side, from the benefits of being a donor.

My name is Corey Thompson, I write occasional articles for Dice Tower News, and I was able to go to Dice Tower Convention in Orlando, Florida this past July. At the convention, during the live JVMF auction, I bid on a “giant wooden abstract game” from the company Gigamic Games. You can watch the auction on YouTube, I’m the odd tattooed guy in the front row. It’s fun to watch my foibles; I awkwardly bid on several things I didn’t win. At this point, I knew of some of the abstract games by Gigamic, but hadn’t played many of them. However, the auction was for charity, and “GIANT WOODEN GAME”, so I was all in.

Fast forward to September, some lost emails and miscommunications on my part, and Gigamic found themselves in a nationwide driving tour of game stores, showing off their games from coast to coast. It turned out that I lived near their final stop, so Nate Scheidler made the amazing offer to hold a game demo at my house. I scrambled, invited as many gamers as I could think of, and on September 29, my house was a stop on the Gigamic Gigatour.

Nate brought over giant versions of their classic abstract games Pylos, Katamino, Quixo, Quarto, Quoridor, and Marrakech. Each game looked more magnificent than the last, and even though I am not traditionally an abstract game player, it was difficult picking a favorite. Pylos involved carefully choosing moves to conserve my wooden spheres, Quixo was a great combination of tic-tac-toe and a sliding puzzle, Quarto had a unique take on the you-pick-I-choose mechanic, while giant Marrakech was the ultimate tactile area control game with its amazing fabric rugs.

Later in the evening, Nate set out a giant version of the semi-cooperative social game Hellapagos for 8 of us, complete with a giant island. Let’s just say I was voted off the island for shooting people, then eaten by cannibals, and finally resurrected near the endgame, so I’m not really sure how I did. New Gigamic games Squadro, Kontour, Kaosmos (being renamed Cosmic Factory) and Tutti Frutti also made appearances. Nate supplied a fantastic food spread and announced he would match the food costs with another donation to the JVMF.

About 25 people had an amazing day playing light, easy to learn, completely absorbing games, thanks to Gigamic, Nate Scheidler, and one lucky bid at the JVMF auction. I would recommend first hand checking out everything JVMF offers, including the holiday auction on BGG each year, and if you can be in town, the silent and live auctions at Dice Tower Con. Not only is the organization a truly good charity for people in need, but the benefits in games played and people met were for me personally, indescribable.

PS. I got to keep giant Marrakech!