Area Control Game

Ethnos is the latest game from designer Paolo Mori, the same man who designed Unusual Suspects and the Pocket Battles series.  In Ethnos you are trying to take control of the land not through battling and direct war, but through influencing different tribes and peoples in the world to your side.  There are twelve different fantasy tribes in the game, like halflings, giants, and merfolk, and each one has different powers when you activate them.  In any one game you will only use six of those tribes, and you will shuffle all the cards of the chosen tribes together to make the draw deck for that game, giving a variable setup to each game.  On a turn you will either take a card from the deck or row of face up cards and add it to your hand, or you will play down cards with either the same tribe or color on them.  If you chose to play cards you will discard any you don’t play, preventing people from hoarding cards, and the top card that you play will indicate where you place influence tokens on the board, and what special ability you activate.  At the end of the age you will score the areas that you control and take the lowest valued chip, also doing this for the second and third ages but taking higher and higher point chips.  At the end of the third age, whoever has the most points is the winner.

Look for the interesting area control game to hit store shelves in April of 2017.

Ninja Division, in an effort broaden their catalog so that they can appeal to the widest cross section of gamers possible, has recently acquired the rights to Cthulhu: A Deck Build Game and Onami from Wyvern Games.  The first game, Cthulhu: A Deck Building Game, is a cooperative deck building game where the players are going up against one to three elder gods in the hopes of saving humanity.  As with other games with this theme you will have to not only watch your health, but also your sanity in order to survive to the end.  Play is very free form in that each round the players as a team will have to deal with whatever catastrophe has happened without any formal turn order.  Also, since this is a deck building game, you will have the opportunity to increase your power and get better cards, but at the cost of diverting resources from fighting to researching.  Balance your resource needs and banish the elder god before you all die, and you win!

The second game is a simple to play, area control game called Onami, where you are trying to control the most cards by the end of the game.  Gameplay is simple in that you will have a hand of 5 cards, and from those cards you choose one to play onto the 5×5 grid of a board.  On each card are numbers on the four edges that indicate it’s strength in that direction, place a card next to a number with a higher value then the other and you capture control of that card.  What makes it interesting is that you can chain this effect, so if the freshly captured card has values on it’s edges higher than the adjacent cards, you can capture those cards as well.  This means you can be losing horribly and still bounce back through a chain of captures.  At the end when the grid is full, whoever controls the most cards is the winner.

Both of these games are Kickstarter games so they will first go to backers, but after that you will see Cthulhu: A Deck Building Game on store shelves in Q1 of 2017.  Onami will be a little different in that you will see copies for sale on Ninja Divisions site this month, but it won’t enter wide distribution until it’s reprint in Q2 of 2017.


I will give this game props for a unique art style, with monsters roaming the countryside that look just as at home in a Dr. Seuss book as they do in this game.  The game I am talking about is Feudum, a hand management game with aspects of area control and resource management.  In the game you will have a hand of 11 different action cards you can take, in any given round you will select four of those actions with some limitations.  These actions will let you place pieces on the board, move them around, influence different areas, and attack other players.  You are doing this all in order to gain Veneration Points (VP) with the ultimate goal of having the most VPs (clever) by the end of the game.  But it’s not all roses, there are monsters that you will have to contend with, the other players to defend yourself against, and the dreaded feed your people mechanic that all aim to bring you down.  Last through the five epochs with the most points and you will be the winner.

Like I mentioned at the outset, the art style and stripped monsters included in this game are truly unique and give this game presence on the table that begs you to stop and look.  And it’s this art style that belays the heavy nature of this game with a run time of 80 to 180 minutes for 2-5 players, so don’t go into this game thinking it’s light.  If you want to know more about the game you can head over to the Kickstarter page, they have already blown through a number of stretch goals adding a lot of content to the game.


Wizkids and Gale Force 9 continue to do very little in the way of advertising for their latest DnD game, Tyrants of the Underdark.  Tyrants is an area control, deck building game where you will try to influence and control areas of the board.  How you deploy and move your troops on the board is through the deck building aspect as you acquire cards to perform different actions.  At the end your score is based on the points in your deck as well as the points you have secured on the board.  The base game came with a few decks to give you some variety, but I doubt anyone will turn down the opportunity to add more to the game.  So in January of 2017 you will be able to find the expansion pack that will add the aberration and undead decks, giving you even more variety and replayability to this highly rated game.


Renegade Games has been on a hot streak as of late getting their games ported over to other languages.  First was their newest release, Lotus, getting a Japanese translation, and now World’s Fair 1893 will be getting a German release courtesy of DLP Games.  World’s Fair 1893 is a family weight game where you are drafting cards in order to get sets of tickets for each ride, and securing control of areas on the board to score points.  All told the game is getting great reviews and so it’s no surprise that they were able to get it localized in another language.  The German language version of the game will be at Essen, and then in wide release soon after so keep an eye out for it.  You can read the full press release from Renegade Games below.

Renegade Game Studios and DLP Games to release German version of World’s Fair 1893

San Diego, CA (Oct. 10th, 2016) — Renegade Game Studios™, the premier publisher of original games has partnered with DLP Games, a leading German publishing company, to release a localized version of the historically inspire game, World’s Fair 1893.

With three full print runs in the US, the game has been successful with experienced, casual, and new gamers as well as reviewers and award committees.

The World’s Fair of 1893 in Chicago was a spectacular international exhibition that showcased many great achievements in science, technology, culture, and entertainment. Acting as organizers of the fair, players work diligently to increase their influence throughout the fair and obtain the grand exhibits that will be put on display. The organizer who has earned the best reputation when the fair begins will emerge the victor!

“The World’s Fair 1893 is such an carefully thought-out Euro-style game that we are delighted to partner with DLP.” says Renegade President Scott Gaeta. “We look forward to sharing it with fans in Germany through this partnership.”

Look for World’s Fair 1893 in German at the DLP Games booth or in English at friendly local game stores in the US and online. World’s Fair 1893 takes about 40 minutes to play and is for 2-4 players ages 10+. It is co-published with Foxtrot Games in the US and has won numerous awards including the Mesa Select Award in 2016.

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After going without expansions for two years now, Small World  is back with another new map for 2 to 5 players.  Aptly named Small World: River World, this new map features rivers running all over the map, making capturing water areas vital to any strategy.  In addition to the new maps you now have pirates to contend with as well as your opponents, so you will have to be extra careful.  Toss in some new event tiles themed around the new map and you have a decent expansion for this evergreen game.  Check out Days of Wonder’s blog post for more information, and look for it to hit stores in November, or you can pick up a copy while at Essen.

inis comp

Inis is the latest game announced by Asmodee and brings ancient Celtic mythology to life in this area control game.  In Inis you are trying to achieve three different goals to become High King; be present in 6+ territories, be present in territories with 6+ total sanctuaries, or be chieftain over 6+ enemy clans.  You will do this by exploring, setting up temples or sanctuaries, combating your foes, and expanding yours clans across the modular board.  All of these actions are done through card play and so when it’s your turn, you play a card which tells you exactly what you need to do.  Most of the time they will do one of the above actions, and sometimes you will get a bonus advantage or epic tale card as well.  Both of these types of cards give you more powerful options for actions or reactions that you can take.  The first to achieve a game winning condition is the winner……maybe.  In Inis there are no ties, so if in a round two people achieve one of the game winning conditions, even different ones, the game keeps going.  It isn’t until at the end of a round there is a single player with more game winning conditions met do you have a true winner and new High King.  Look for this game on store shelves in September of 2016, and you can read more about it on Asmodee’s site.

gateway uprising

In yet another market move, CMoN has entered into a partnership with Fishwizard Games to publish their upcoming game Gateway: Uprising.  Gateway: Uprising is billed as an area control deck building game set in a steam punk world where magic exists, but has been all but outlawed.  As described in the press release;

Gateway: Uprising places players into the roles of competing factions of rebellious wizards attempting to re-take their city, one district at a time from the oppressive Chancellor and his regime, who have outlawed magic for everyone but themselves. And although the players’ objective is to expel the City Guard from the Districts, they must also contend with a horde of monsters called the Druegger, whose sole purpose is to destroy the city.

The game has amazing art and will support up to 4 players ages 14 and up.  The release date is currently set for the first quarter of 2017 so we still have some waiting to do before this game is available to buy.  You can read the full press release on CMoN’s website.


There have been a couple new releases from Rio Grande Games lately with one in stores already, and two more almost there.  The first game that is in stores is Tiffin, an area-control, hand management game where you play as delivery runners in Mumbai.  The process to deliver lunch, called tiffins, to workers gets a little complicated, and amazingly with over 250,000 deliveries each day, hardly any mistakes are made.  In Tiffin you are a group of those delivery runners and you are trying to maximize profits through choosing the best route, finding shortcuts, and overcoming obstacles other players throw at you.  While sometimes you have to work together, in the end it’s whoever has made the most money who is the winner.

concordia salsa

Next is an expansion to a very popular game called Concordia Salsa.  This expansion adds more to the game in the form of Byzantium and Hispania maps, wooden pieces for salt as a commodity, city tokens for additional salt cities, and 27 new forum cards.  While an English/German version of this expansion has already been released, this will be a full English edition released by Rio Grande Games.  Look for this to hit stores soon.


Lastly Rio Grande Games is reprinting the third edition of Imperial, an area control/area influence type game.  This game has been around for a decade, but with the most recent printing having been long sold out, this reprint is overdo.  In Imperial it is “Europe in the age of imperialism. International investors try to achieve the greatest influence in Europe. With their bonds, they control the politics of the six imperial nations: Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Great Britain, the German Empire, and Russia. The nations erect factories, build fleets, and deploy armies. The investors watch as their nations expand, wage wars, levy taxes, and collect the proceeds. Since the European nations are under the shifting influence of different investors, new strategic alliances and conflicts arise between them again and again!”  Also look for this to hit stores in the near future.

You can see all these and more on the Rio Grand Games website.

madness at midnight

Madness at Midnight recently went live on Kickstarter. Now you, and up to 4 other players, can control a band of deranged cultist to fulfill sinister plots, and control key locations in Arkham. Beware, though, as your opponents will try to undermine you and possibly call in the feds to end the game and take the win away from you.

The first player to reach 13 victory points win, but if you don’t keep the investigators at bay, they’ll call in a federal raid and make everybody lose – except for the cult with the least points who escapes notice.

Madness at Midnight is a game from Mr. B Games, and it’s designed by Mads L. Brynnum and Richard Launius.

You can check out the Kickstarter page here.