Area Control Games

Kolossal Games and designer J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard, Flotilla) have have started a Kickstarter campaign for Papillon, a tile laying and area control game about butterflies. In Papillon, 2-4 players bid for turn order using a pool of caterpillars, then draft tiles containing flowers from a central grid. The drafted tiles must be placed with matching edges, creating a tableau with patches of colored flowers. When a flower patch is complete, players can place a butterfly clip on the giant 3D cardboard version of that flower. Points are earned at the end of the game by area control of each flower type.

It has to be noted that the components in Papillon are striking, from the butterfly clips and garden gnome meeples, to the complex but beautiful cardboard flower structures. The Kickstarter also includes an expansion, Beyond the Meadow, with predators, new wildflowers, and new goal cards. The Kickstarter Campaign for Papillon continues through April 17, and the game is expected to ship in January 2020.

Gamelyn Games, the undisputed master of all things Tiny and many things Epic, have started a new Kickstarter Campaign for Tiny Epic Tactics by designer Scott Almes (Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Tiny Epic Everything). In Tactics, 1-4 players each control 4 heroes on a multilevel 3D world map comprised of a Map Scroll and 6 Map Boxes of varying sizes. A players’ team has 1 each of a Beast, a Wizard, a Fighter and a Rogue, all of which come from a pool of unique characters. Players get 3 actions on their turn, chosen from Melee, Ranged or Magic attacks, as well as Movement.

The combat has nice added details, such as high ground benefiting ranged attacks, the possibility of knock-back with melee attacks, and allowing attacked units to immediately counter-attack out of turn. The 3 actions in a turn can be split among 3 units, or given to only 2, with one of the 2 units receiving 2 actions. Be careful, because units which gain 2 actions will become weakened, and cannot act next round, nor counter-attack.

The board has multiple spaces which increase or decrease attack range, heal players of their ammo or health, give or remove defense, as well as portals which allow increased movement across the world. The goal is to reduce enemy players’ units to 0 health, allowing capture, as well as maintaining control of the 3 key positions on the board. At the end of the game, players gain points for their surviving units, captured opponent units, and control of key map points.

The game also contains rules for 2 vs. 2 team play, solo play and a 2 player cooperative mode. Solo and Coop play uses the inside of the Map Boxes for exploration and treasure collection. The Kickstarter Campaign for Tiny Epic Tactics continues through March 6, and the game is expected to deliver in November 2019.

Bunny Kingdom (2017) is a well regarded (BGG #456) card drafting and area control game from the magical designer Richard Garfield. In Bunny Kingdom, players draft cards to place resources, bunnies and buildings on the board, trying to create fiefs with the most influence. Iello has just announced In the Sky, the first expansion to Bunny Kingdom. In the Sky adds a new Sky board to the game with ways to link fiefs to the main board. Additionally, this expansion adds a new larger 5-tower building, the Carrothedral, supplies for a 5th player, and some new mechanisms to the base game. Bunny Kingdom: In the Sky is due to hit stores in April 2019, perchance timed to a certain rabbit themed holiday…

Daily Magic is bringing the area control card game Songbirds (2016), from designer ゆお (Yuo) and artists ことり寧子 (Kotori Neiko) and Claire Donaldson, to North America in the coming year. In Songbirds, originally called Birdie Fight, has up to 4 players take turns placing cards into a 5×5 grid. The cards are comprised of numbers 1-7 in four different bird suits. Players put their cards in the grid one at a time, starting in the middle, and always playing a card next to an existing card. When the grid is full, all players should have one card left in their hand. Each column and row in the grid has a token defining its point value, and that value gets assigned to the bird suit which has the highest number total in that row or column. Now players receive points for their last card – both the number value and the total score for the suit. Highest score wins the game! For more details and images, check out Daily Magic’s website here.

 

War for Chicken Island is a new dice and card driven, area control, and take-that Kickstarter project from designer Ivan Escalante (Necronomicorp) and Draco Studios. 2-4 players each take turns helping to set up Chicken Island, a land of limited space, tight resources, and too many chickens, then each receives a brave chicken leader, a hand of cards, some starting resources, and 5 custom dice. On their turn, after gaining cards and rolling dice, players can build war machines for their army, travel across the land, and wage feathered war. The dice can add actions, regain resources, recover lost chickens or gain bonuses. In battle, defense and offense are compared, cards are played to add to the numbers, and the losing side takes a humiliation token from the winner. Players who manage to humiliate the most enemies emerge victorious. War for Chicken Island comes either with standees, or with a separate box of delightful chicken miniatures, including their nightmare inducing war machines. The Kickstarter Campaign for War for Chicken Island will continue through December 28, and the game is expected to deliver in October 2019.

Red Raven Games has just announced their latest game, Haven, designed by the talented Alf Seegert, and featuring Rad Raven’s signature art style.  Haven is a two player area control type game where one player plays the forest trying to protest the havens, and the other plays the city trying to capture it’s power for themselves.  In order to take control of the havens you have to battle for them, and to battle for them you will be placing out your seekers at different lore locations, leaf, water, stone, similar to Battle Line.  You will also being making offerings at these different locations because resolution doesn’t trigger until three offering cards are at a single location.  Resolution is easy, whoever has more swords will be able to claim a shrine, but whoever has more value of cards there will claim the lore card which is worth points at the end.  When you claim all the shrines around a haven on the board you get to claim that haven for your side, pushing you closer to victory.  At the end of the game you will also get points if you have the most of a given lore type, and then points will be awarded for having the most havens.  Most points at the end is the winner.  There are more rules than just this, which you can download and read on the Red Raven Games website.

Overall the game looks like a nice two player battle game where you are trying to strategically win certain shrines and cards in order to score the most points at the end through area control.  Beyond just the seeker and offering cards I mentioned above there are also lore cards which change things up as well, giving you an extra leg up just when you might need it.  Along with advanced variant rules and Red Raven’s signature art, this could be a very good two-player game.  Look for it on store shelves soon, although no specific date has been given.

Z-Man Games has announced plans to reprint Taj Mahal by Dr. Reiner Knizia. Originally released by Rio Grande in 2000 as #3 in the Alea box box series, the game had a 2006 reprint but has been out of print now for over a decade.

India has progressed and prospered, but that wealth could collapse at any moment. Instability and unrest plague the courts with petty concerns tearing the people apart. The Grand Mogul desperately seeks new leaders to carry India into a new age. Play your cards right and seize the opportunity to win the Grand Mogul’s favor as he tours across the beautiful provinces of India.
The game places player in Northwest India at the beginning of the 18th century as the rule of the Grand Moguls is fading. Maharishis and princes will take this opportunity to attempt to seize control of the region. Cunning potential rulers will influence forces, build palaces and create a supply of commodities until one one has enough power to win the game.

The goal of the game is simply to gain the most influence points. Influence points can be gained by either building palaces or by acquiring commodities. To build a palace a player first must gain the support of the Vizier, the General, the Monk, the Princess, or the Grand Mogul. The different commodities are gained in the game by taking control of a region or by taking them off of a space where a palace has been built.

The game plays out over twelve rounds, each starting with an auction for region control and for the support of the Vizier, General, Monk, Princess, and Grand Mogul. Using cards in four colors, each player will choose a color to play on each turn and use cards of that color to bid for the most useful auction items. For each member of the court a player has managed to influence more than  their opponents, they will claim the corresponding tokens. By carefully spending their cards players will control more of the board, gain more commodities, build incredible palaces, and gain enough influence to win the game.

Awards
When released in 2000 the game was a critical success, earning a spot on the 2000 Spiel des Jahres Recommended list. Awards and honors included:

Dr. Reiner Knizia

Dr. Reiner Knizia is one of the most award winning board game designers in history. Dr. Knizia has won the coveted Spiel des Jahres multiple times, and is a full time game designer in England. With a PhD in mathematics fueling his game design, he has over 500 games and books published both with self-designed themes and with global licenses including Lord of the Rings, LEGO, Mensa, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Monopoly, Playmobil, Simpsons and Star Wars.

ultra tiny epic

Gamelyn Games has been having excellent success with their Tiny Epic series of games from Tiny Epic Kingdoms to the recent Tiny Epic Western, so now they are seeing how small they can go. Now on Kickstarter is a micro edition of the game that started the series, Ultra-Tiny Epic Kingdoms.

The game will play the same but all components have been shrunk down to nearly half the size so it can fit in your pocket.  All the custom meeples/tokens have been changed out with cubes and the cards have been down sized to fit in the small box.

ultra tiny epic board

The game will include the original 16 factions of TEK as well as 16 location cards and the deluxe edition will come with a box sleeve and a draw bag branded with the game name.  Plus they are really playing up the smaller theme in this campaign with a smaller price tag and a small campaign time of only 7 days (ends April 2nd).  So if you are interested in a micro Tiny Epic Kingdoms, head on over to the Kickstarter page to check it out and pledge for a copy before the campaign is over.

marshlands

Followers of Dice Tower News will no doubt remember back in June of 2015, Queen Games had put up a Kickstarter for Kingdom Builder: Marshlands which was then abruptly canceled due to contractual issues with Donald X. Vaccarino, the designer.  There had been some issues with a missed publishing deadline and owed back pay between Queen Games and Donald. It seems, however, that things have been worked out.  According to this post on the BoardGameGeek site, Donald has signed a new contract with Queen Games which addresses some of these issues as well as secures the publishing of the 4th expansion of Kingdom builder as well.  Here’s hoping the new contract works out well for Donald and Queen Games.

marshlands comp

Kingdom Builder: Marshlands, like the other expansions, will tout new abilities to obtain, new boards to use, as well as some new ways to score.  Kingdom Builder is a gateway type game where every turn you are placing down settlements in locations indicated by a card you draw.  You are arranging these settlements in such a way that the three randomly chosen scoring cards will net you the most points.  The first two expansions added more boards and more abilities along with additional types of settlements you could put down adding more variety to the game.  This expansion is not much different in that it gives you more boards to use and abilities to choose from, however, there is one big change this new expansion brings.  In the past you could only ever get one of an ability tile in the game, with this expansion you can get the same ability tile twice, and when you get the second tile you get a bonus use of that ability for a total of three uses.  This will bring some freshness into the game and make it feel new again.  You can head on over to the campaign page to pledge for the expansion and many variations of the base game and other expansions.

campaign trail

Cosmic Wombat Games, a production company dedicated to realizing the tabletop visions of new board game designers, is proud to present their newest game on kickstarter. Campaign Trail is a card driven area control game of political maneuvers and electioneering for 2-6 players and plays in about 120 minutes. Each player is a candidate running for the Presidency of the United States moving around the country to gain the most votes in different states. They must choose wisely which cards to play – with each card providing a choice between 4 different actions, out of 6 possible actions in the game – carefully balance their fundraising activities with their campaign events and advertising budgets. Each candidate will also have their own unique capabilities to aid them in winning the hearts and minds of the American people. Campaign Trail is set to hit Kickstarter on September 16th!

For more information, read the full press release below and be sure to check out the kickstarter campaign here.

“Never have I played a game that offered so much different strategy and methods of play in such a simple to learn game.” ~ Levi Bushue, Living the Nerd Life

Components

Components

As mud-slinging political campaigns once again clamor for our attention, the new strategy board game, Campaign Trail, is launching its own campaign on Kickstarter, Sep 16 – Oct 9. After 4 years of touring the country’s gaming conventions, holding photo ops with hardworking gamers everywhere, and collecting rave reviews, Campaign Trail is asking for your campaign contributions to raise funds for its first production run. Developed by Cosmic Wombat Games, Campaign Trail is a 2-6 player strategy game in which players are candidates competing to become the next President of the United States.

Whether playing in teams with your running mate, or one-on-one, it’s up to you to sway the voting public in your favor using cards to advertise, campaign, host events, raise funds, register voters, travel, and debate the important issues facing the nation. The candidate that best manages their resources and connects with the public on key issues will win the presidency! Carefully designed to avoid creating real controversy around the table, Campaign Trail provides an entertaining experience that a wide range of play-testers have thoroughly enjoyed – political junkies or not. For only a little bit more, there are opportunities to influence game content by endorsing a card or even creating a character. Additionally, there is a backer challenge for a Kickstarter exclusive gift.The confetti is flying, the champagne is flowing, and you have just accepted your party’s nomination for President. Now it’s time to hit the Campaign Trail! How will you chart your path to victory?