area control

Galactic Raptor Games has just launched their new game, Animal Kingdoms, on Kickstarter.  In Animal Kingdom, players are house leaders seeking to gain control of the five animal kingdoms by placing more animals under their control in a kingdom than any other player. Animals are represented by numbered cards in eight beautiful suits.  However, each kingdom has decrees that determine how players may place animals in the kingdom.  The game is played over the course of three ages, providing several opportunities to establish control over a kingdom.  Later victories are worth more, but earlier victories provide an advantage in controlling the kingdom if they claim the capitol city and thus a permanent seat on the council for the kingdom.  Points are earned for second and third place control in the kingdom, and points are also earned for being the first to withdraw from an age.  The player with the most influence points at the end of the third age is the winner.  The game includes several variable elements to ensure that it lays differently every time.  The kingdom decrees are randomly selected from a pool of 30 different decrees each game.  Additionally, the point values of a kingdom are also randomly selected for each age every game.

Animal Kingdom plays 1-5 players, ages 8+, in about 45 minutes.  Contents include 64 noble beast cards, 30 decree cards, 15 first place tokens, 4 first to withdraw tokens, 90 influence cubes, game board, scoreboard, 5 player scoring markers, and rulebook.  A deluxe option available on Kickstarter only upgrades the influence cubes to custom wooden animal meeples and includes 64 custom printed card sleeves. The Kickstarter campaign was funded on the first day and runs through 1 February with an expected delivery of November 2019.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

There’s still a large market for civilization-building games, as there’s a large breadth of separation between the 8+ hour civ games people commonly remember and the more “reserved” tabletop equivalents. In my experience, some of the more pleasant versions have been lighter, dice-driven affairs such as Roll Through the Ages or Nations: the Dice Game, but I understand those are an extreme compromise from the combative, strategic, map-oriented games that many prefer. Those that do, but still want something quicker, may be interested in Infinities: Defiance of Fate, already funded on Kickstarter as of writing this. It is described as a “4x-lite” game, which has strong tableau and area control mechanics mixed with dice-directed action allocation that plays at a decent clip and can be played in story and skirmish modes. As described on the campaign page:

     “The multiverse is an impossibly vast existence, accounting for every possible outcome of every possible point of divergence. In Infinities: Defiance of Fate you are the leader of a sci-fi or fantasy faction seeking to assemble an army, shape the very worlds you walk on, and fulfill or redefine your destiny. Experience a combination of accessible, tactical gameplay and rich, flexible storytelling as you forge your own timelines.”

The allusions to time and fate are not just buzzwords for this game, they’re mechanically literal. Timing is everything in this game, with every player choosing actions one at a time and cards to carry over from round-to-round to strategically place themselves in spots that may benefit them in the long-run. Fate, of course, manifests itself in the dice as per usual, but there’s a fair amount of manipulation and you don’t have to remain seated with what the dice decide for you. With easy to learn yet hard to master rules and simple combat, it all comes together as a pretty sharp, brisk package for those looking for lighter 4x fare. If you’re interested in learning more about Infinities: Defiance of Fate, be sure to check out their Kickstarter page for a full rules breakdown, updates, and community feedback.

Travel back in time to the world of Ancient Greece with their art, academia and mythology in Hellenica by MR. B. Games. This game combines a multitude of mechanics such as area control, resource management, strategy and combat that makes it infinitely replayable. The object is to reach 3 of your chosen objectives.

“Your goal is to become the preeminent symbol of Greece for all posterity by completing a combination of secret and public goals. Will you be remembered as a warmonger or a peaceful philosopher? Great priest or apostate? Will you develop a devotion to the gods or focus on the advancement of your people? Can you guide your civilization during these turbulent times? Will your vision of Hellenic civilization be remembered for all time, or will you merely be a stepping stone for another…?”

As you try to reach your 3 objectives you will take 7 steps per turn:  Research/Advancement, Worship, Build, Train, Supply Troops, World Event , Pass, Upkeep Phase. All of these steps are specific and intricate and the direction you take will depend on the goals you have. If you want to gain more favor from the Gods then you would build more temples and try to earn more favor tokens. If you have a military objective you would build more barracks and train more troops.

Hellenica is on Kickstarter until September 7th, 2018 and will be exclusive to this campaign and MR. B. Games. So don’t wait!

“The Limited Edition Core Game of Hellenica will not be available outside of this campaign and direct from MR. B. Games and will feature solo play and support up to 7 players. Rather than make those expansions, we are including everything we have in the Core Game (think of it as the the Core Game AND the first two expansions already bundled together!)”

And check out the campaign page to see Mark and Randy from Dice Tower as they preview this epic game!

Blue Orange Games has two new games that will be released at this year’s Gen Con.

First is Blue Lagoon designed by award winning game designer Reiner KniziaBlue Lagoon is a set collection games with an area control mechanic.  Players manage settlers to explore the islands, collect resources, and build villages.  Points are awarded collecting resources and colonizing the islands.

Blue Lagoon plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in 30-45 minutes.  Contents include game board, 24 wooden resources, 8 wooden statuettes, 20 wooden villages, 120 settler tokens, 1 linen bag, score pad, and rulebook.

Next, Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc have teamed up again to design Scarabya.  Scarabya is an area enclosure game with a tile placement mechanic.  Players are competing archeologist on their own dig site (player board) attempting to place tiles around the golden scarabs on their player board. Each gold scarab enclosed is worth the size of its enclosure, up to four points.  The challenge is that the tiles to create an enclosure come in different shapes, is drawn at random, and is played in order.  All the players draw and place their tiles concurrently and the game continues until the last tile is drawn and played or discarded. The player with the most points in golden scarabs at the end of the game is the winner.

Scarabya plays 1-4 players, ages 8+, in 15-20 minutes.  Contents include 4 sets of 12 tiles, 4 sets of 4 boards, 4 sets of 8 rocks, 4 frames, 72 scarab tokens, 12 mission cards, and rulebook.

Lean more about both these games at Blue Orange Games.

If you love the smell of burning cottages in the morning, you’ve finally got the chance to burninate the universe with your favorite one-armed dragon in in Trogdor!! The Board Game. Fans of the web comic series Homestar Runner will get their fix of mayhem and destruction in a new game designed by James Earnest of Cheapass Games and the creators of Homestar Runner.

Starring Trogdor, the game is for 2 to 6 players who will cooperate to use the Wingaling dragon and cultist helpers to destroy the kingdom of Pleasantry by burning the cottages… and villagers. The playing field is a set of tiles laid out randomly each game. The players assume the role of the cultists who want to help Trogdor achieve this destruction.  Each of the cultist ‘creepos’ has a different player power, such as moving in a different directly or taking a unique action.

Does this sound too easy?  Well, there are also knights that are there to protect the villagers and make it much more difficult to torch things freely.  Burninating the universe  takes 30 to 45 minutes, making burninating much faster than most other methods of destruction.

The Kickstarter includes multiple backer levels that provide upgrades from wooden meeples to plastic minis and several options for deluxe (very deluxe!) storage boxes.

See the Kickstarter page and the BGG entry for more information.

Play as a street gang building an empire in Neon Gods by Plaid Hat Games. Start your business, recruit your gang and hustle on the black market. Beware of cops who’ll do anything to shut you down and opponents who’ll do anything to invade your turf. Neon Gods is a colorful play on 70’s and 80’s style in an alternate reality of a future 2009.  Control your territory and build your illegal empire so you can edge out your rivals. The game is for 2-4 players ages 14 and up and will play in about 60-120 minutes. You can pre-order now and the game will be available later this year. You can also check it out at the Plaid Hat Games booth at GenCon 2018.

Condottiere has recently been added to the Z-Man Games catalog and is being re-released with new art, upgraded components, and new rulesets.

In Condottiere, players assume the role of ambitious leaders of wealthy Italian city-states who have hire the Condottiere of assert control over other regions of Italy.  The various strength of the Condottiere, ranging from the lowly foot soldier to the elite cavalrymen, are represented by cards in each players hand, and the players commit their Condottiere to battle in each region by bidding their cards.  The highest bidder (strongest army) wins the region but all cards bid are expended, so hand management is key.  Some cards have special features that change the results of the battle and should be committed wisely to achieve a surprise victory. The first player to control three adjacent regions or five total regions is the winner.

The iconic art style from the 2007 edition of Condottiere is preserved in the new edition with original artist Tomasz Jedruszek returning to update the artwork.  Additionally, the new version will include not only a modern ruleset, but also the classic ruleset for fans of the original game and a 2-player variant ruleset.   The new version will include new larger board and reminder icons on the special cards to aid in gameplay.

Learn more about Condottiere at Z-Man Games.