IDW Games is publishing a family update to their 2017 release Seikatsu. Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life features adorable artwork by Neytirix and reunites the design duo of Matt Loomis and Isaac Shalev for the same core tile-laying as the original.
In Seikatsu, players place tiles containing a bird of a certain color and a flower of a certain color in a shared garden. Players score groups of birds when tiles are placed, and score rows of matching flowers at the end of the game. Similarly, in Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life, players place tiles containing a type of animal and a color of pillow upon which the animal is sitting in a shared living room. Upon placing tiles, players will score for groups of the same type of animal. Then, at the end of the game, players score rows with pillows of the same color.
Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life has a player count of 1-4, and releases on August 30, 2019.
Quoridor is the classic abstract strategy game where you are trying to get your piece across the board to the other side. Sounds simple, but on your turn you have two options, move your piece, or place a wall onto the board. This ratchets up the strategy quickly because now you have to weigh the options between throwing an obstacle into the path of your opponent, and moving yourself closer to victory. Whoever manages to make it to the other side is the winner.
Quoridor Junior does little to change the game, but does give it an aesthetic upgrade and attempts to give it a bit of theme. In Quoridor Junior you are different animals aiming for a goal, like a rabbit trying to get to the carrot buffet, or a cat trying to get to some warm milk. No matter who you play as, the goal and gameplay are the same but with a kinder, gentler coat of paint. Look for it on store shelves in October of this year.
Remnants takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Each player builds a compound and fights to survive Raiders and mutant creatures. Players send survivors and specialists out into the badlands in to gather resources determined by die rolling. Players spend those resources to buy weapons, defense, and special development cards to strengthen their compounds to withstand assaults by raiders. After the final attack, the game ends and the player with the most victory points is the winner.
Remnants plays two to four players, ages 13 and up, in about an hour.
Grackles, designed by Sarah Graybill and John Shulters, is a lightly themed abstract strategy game where players try to line up as many of their own colored birds in rows on telephone wires. Each turn, players can do one of four actions: place a tile with 4 colored spots on telephone wire, connect 2 of their colored spots with their matching birds, extend a line of birds they laid down, or rotate an unoccupied tile. Contents include 180 acrylic, debossed bird tokens. Grackles plays 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, in about 30 minutes.
Fireside Games also announced their 3rd Annual International Panic Day, a Castle Panic game event hosted by independently owned game stores around the world on June 2. To support the event, Fireside Games is offering Castle Panic Event Kits to hosting stores. Each kit supports 16 players and offers 3 different game formats: casual play, team play, and scenario play. Casual play is noncompetitive and offers new players the opportunity to learn to play the game. Team play provides a group competitive experience in which teams add up slain monsters to win prizes. Finally, scenario play pits two teams in head-to-head competition in Nightmare Mode, throwing their slain monsters into the forest of the competing team. The goal is to have the last tower standing.
Event Kits contain promotional and event material, including two demo copies of Castle Panic and rewards for participates. Promo cards are available for each participant. Exclusive suede Monster bags go to team and scenario play winners as well as the Event Coordinator, while Monster-eye game totes go to Runners-up. And Defender of the Realm pin is awarded to the person who most contributes to the spirit of the event.
AXIO is Reiner Knizia’s redesign of the older game Ingenious, and is a simple abstract strategy game where you just place a tile each turn and score the shapes. When you score you will score only the shapes matching the tile you put down, and that are connected to that shape in that row or column. That means as you get shapes to be placed together, the more points you will score in one go. But that isn’t all there is to it, there are also pyramids that you can place down when you surround an empty space, giving you a points boost just when you might need it. And why might you need that boost? Well that is because at the end of the game, your final score is the lowest value on your score track, so you need to make sure you are scoring evenly.
The AXIO Octa app uses all the same rules and scoring, but instead of placing squares you are placing octagons, and there is no pyramid to place so scoring evenly becomes extra important. The apps come with solo play, online play, and team play as well as in game achievements that you can get. Art is okay but considering the art of the original (or lack there of) this isn’t too much of a detraction. You can download the app today on either Android or iPhone, and both will run you about $4.
Tak has been getting a lot of good buzz. It’s a two player abstract strategy game with a ton of great reviews, landing it at number 16 on BGG for abstract games. One thing about the game though is that it’s not small, nor is it exactly cheap, both aspects which Cheapass Games has aimed to fix. In late February they will be releasing Tak: University Edition, which features the full game, but in a smaller and more affordable package. The game itself has a deceptively easy goal, just create a road connecting your side of the board to the opponent’s side. But accomplishing that goal is much more difficult because they can block you with walls, cover your pieces with their pieces, and even lock pieces in place. But manage to out smart your opponent and you can claim victory.
Next is an expansion for Dropmix, a game being talked about not so much because of how good the game is, but because of the cool technology involved in game play. The main component of the game is an electronic board that connects to your phone via bluetooth, and it’s on this board that all the magic happens. In the various game modes you will be playing down cards onto the board, and depending on where you play them you will pull in different aspects of that song into the mix. You might pull in vocals, the bass, the drums, and so on, all coming together to create a unique mix of music. So far there have been cards produced in the pop, hip-hop, rock, and electronic genres for use in the game, but now they are adding something new, country. This new pack will be like the others and include 15 cards along with one hidden track card, allowing you to pull your favorite country songs into the mix. Look for this pack to be on store shelves at the start of February.
Convention season is coming and so of course the game announcements are going to start ramping up. We have five new announcements in this article to go through so lets get cracking.
First is the latest from Wizkids and that is DiceBot MegaFun, a real time dice game of robot combat. In the game you will be rolling dice to try and scavenge weapons from the junkyard to outfit your robot with. Then, once you have the weapons you desire you will start attacking your opponents, hoping they don’t have a defense for the weapon you choose. Manage you get through their defenses and you will damage then, cause enough damage and they will be eliminated! Last one standing is the winner. Look for this to be released in June.
Next is a new game from Osprey Games called Star Cartel, which as you can guess from the title is a game all about trading goods in space. In the game you are trying to make your goods worth the most, but in order for the value of goods to go up you have to trade them to the Cartel. But you can’t score what you don’t have so you have to be careful how much you let go. You will also be able to upgrade your ship to better protect your investments and hope you have the most valuable stash by the end of the game. Look for this on store shelves in July of this year.
Ultra Pro is continuing to ramp up it’s game offerings with a new abstract strategy game called Zircles. This game has a bit of a Blokus feel to it in that you have triangle pieces of differing arrangements and sizes. On your turn you place down a piece trying to complete the circles at the corners of the triangles. As you complete circles you will get points, and once someone has played all their pieces, any you have left will count against you. Whoever has the highest score at the end is the winner. Zircles will be released in July of this year.
Lastly we have two releases coming from Rio Grande Games, first is an expansion to the time travel game Temporum called Temporum: Alternate Realities. What the expansion does is double the amount of cards in the box, giving you 48 new places to time travel to and 60 more player cards that you can use. It also comes with all the needed chits for the new zones, but overall just gives you more variety and options in playing the game. Look for this to arrive in June of this year.
And finally, we have the last game we will talk about, Bohnanza: The Duel, bringing the classic bean growing card game into the two player realm. The game remains mostly the same except now instead of trading for beans, you gift them to your opponent, hopefully to their detriment. But since it’s a gift you can reject it, but rejecting it means you have to offer your own gift in return. Other new additions include bonus cards that give you gold when you complete them, and the ability to plant different beans in the same field. So if you are a fan of the original but wish it was two players, this will definitely fill that need. Look for this at your local store in May of this year.
Playford Games have their latest board game up on Kickstarter now, an abstract game called Capere. This game is billed as an abstract strategy game with card based movement and simple scoring rules, but as usual, simple doesn’t mean easy. The game can be played with two or four players and in both cases you will have a line of blocks representing your soldiers. On your turn you draw a card and it will either be a movement card or a god card. Movement cards give you a value of one to four, indicating how many move action you can take, and a god card will just show the god’s symbol. God cards are mostly good allowing you to skip turns, with the bad one skipping your turn, allow you to resurrect pieces, remove pieces, or even jump over other pieces in your way. You earn points by with fully surrounding an opponent or by making it to their starting line on the board. First person to 6 points is the winner, or if you somehow get trapped and can’t make a legal move, then your opponent wins.
Marble playing pieces
The game is simple and yet has good strategy decisions, and the graphic design is clean and elegant, exactly what you would want from an abstract game. The pieces are interesting as it says they are made from cut marble, and there is a deluxe option available where you get resin busts of roman soldiers for playing pieces. So if you are a fan of abstract strategy games, give this one a look on it’s campaign page.
Wizkids seems to be all about the hype train as of late with the teasing of a new DnD Adventure game, and now it’s a new Dice Masters set. This new set will be set in the Forgotten Realms of Dungeons and Dragons. It will have all new spells, adventurers, and monsters, plus a new draft pack format to allow for tournament play. Each pack will come with enough cards and dice that when two packs are put together, you have everything you need for a game. Look for this new set to appear on store shelves in September of this year.
Bushiroad, known for other TCGs like CardFight!! Vanguard, are getting ready to release a new TCG designed by Mike Elliot called Dragonborne – Rise to Supremacy. What makes this game interesting beyond the setting and art is that dice are being introduced to enhance in-game effects. You will be able to use the dice to defend your forts, strengthen your units, or enhance your spells, making them better. You can check out more on Dragonborne’s Facebook page, and look forward to it’s release in August of this year.
Last, IDW Games is reprinting a highly rated abstract strategy game called Torres. In Torres you are the sons of the king, vying for prestige in order to be crowned the next ruler of the land. To do that you will need to rebuild the kingdom with the most impressive castle you can. In the game you will use action points to build up your castle, but you have to not only build it tall, but also spread it out across the land. Plus you will also be playing cards and placing knights to help earn you points, and whoever has the most at the end is the winner. Look for this game on store shelves in August.
Santorini was successfully Kickstarted earlier this year and is an abstract strategy game where you are trying to claim the highest spot on the island. Play is simple with a two step turn of move and build, and extra layers are added with special player powers that can be used throughout the game to give it more depth. The components were also stellar with everything happening on an elevated island with nicely designed 3D building pieces to give the game a really nice look. Fulfillment of the Kickstarter is moving along and looks to wrap up at the beginning of January in 2017, which will also coincide with the game going to retail. You will be able to buy the base game as well as the Kickstarter extras through a small expansion called The Golden Fleece. And while I passed on the Kickstarter, the game did pique my interest so I am looking forward to seeing it on store shelves and in reviewers hands.
Bristol Design Forge is a laser cutting outfit that will take on most any job, and sometimes they get some interesting ones. This time out they got a request to create the game Cyvasse that is featured in a couple of the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The rules were never fully spelled out in the books so the fans of the series had to fill in the blanks, but in the end they now have a full realized game. Components are laser etched wood and features a divider with dragon head legs so that each player can set up their side of the board secretly. You can head over to the Bristol Design Forge website to check out the game and even purchase it in their web-store.