Two new products are slated to arrive soon from Stronghold Games – Friedmann Friese’s Futuropia and the Piece of Cake expansion for Kitchen Rush. The former new game from prolific designer of F-named games, Futuropia is described as a “luck-free” economic game where players compete to build an ideal civilization – one where citizens no longer need to work but instead have enough food and energy to live in leisure for the rest of their natural lives. It’s a fun theme with some serious science fiction roots not entirely divorced from it’s predecessor, Power Grid, which is certainly reason enough to have a piqued interest. Futuropia allows for 1 to 4 players and takes roughly 90 minutes to play.
“To ensure you always encounter new challenges, we offer multiple game set-up variations, which create a variety of gameplay situations, ensuring new experiences and replayability. The solo game offers you an option to learn the mechanisms and processes of Futuropia before you play it with other players. See our hopeful future in…Futuropia!”
Kitchen Rush: Piece of Cake is, on the other hand, simply an expansion to the frantic real-time cooperative game slash restaurant simulator. It adds plenty more new options to the game, including board extensions, desserts, mini-orders, and a new hourglass for use as a specialist worker. Kitchen Rush is excellent and challenging on it’s own, but if perhaps you find it a bit stale or would like to broaden the types of actions in the game, Piece of Cake is there for you. Both products are scheduled to release to retail in January of 2019, so if you’re interested in either of these items be sure to check out your favorite store to pick up a copy.
It happened again. Another small publisher was robbed at the Essen Spiel Fair. You may remember that it was only a couple of years ago that LudiCreations fell victim to an unscrupulous thief who stole their cash box at Essen. The silver lining to the whole event was the rapid creation of and overwhelming support on Kickstarter for Steal This Game. Steal This Game was a tongue-in-cheek theme reflective of the incident inflicted on LudiCreation at Essen.
This time, the thieves targeted Artipia Games, ironically while they were running demos of their new game, A Thief’s Fortune. Like so many outstanding game publishers, Artipia’s personnel were being ever attentive to their customers and fans. The thieves took advantage of Artipia’s customer engagement to create a distraction while an accomplice stole the cash register. Artipia acted quickly, resulting in one arrest but not the recovery of the stolen cash. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Artipia Games reflected on the incident:
“Our shock and financial loss left a very sour taste in our mouth. Artipia Games is a family indie game publishing business and the sales we make at the Essen fair play an important role in our survival.”
To cut their losses, Artipia Games is running a Kickstarter Campaign for five specially designed promo cards for A Thief’s Fortune, Fields of Green, Kitchen Rush, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Whoosh: Bounty Hunters. In what is becoming a tradition in our hobby, the theme of these promos is also a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the incident. There are no plans to reprint these promos; there were made only for this Kickstarter campaign to offset the losses from the theft. The boardgame community has always pulled together in camaraderie and compassion in times of need. Whether you decide to back the Kickstarter for the promos or make a small donation, your support will be greatly appreciated.
Artipia Games have announced the digital app for their board game, Among the Stars developed by Cublo Games. It’s available on iOS and Android.
“Among the Stars takes place in a war-ravaged galaxy where the warring alien races have declared peace in the wake of a threat with the potential to destroy them all. An Alliance is established to build space stations throughout the galaxy in order to promote trade among the races, strengthen diplomatic relations, and defend against this impending threat. Each player takes the role of one of those races trying to build the greatest space station. Through card drafting, the players select locations, and use these to build their station, scoring victory points based on the placement. The construction lasts four years, and the alien race with the most points at the end wins.” [source]
The digital game features a single player campaign where players can face AI opponents with 2 levels. There is also a 3-4 player, asynchronous network multiplayer game with push notifications, and a local multiplayer (pass & play) option.
It features over 120 cards, 8 races, 8 objectives, achievements and leader boards, and an in-game tutorial and manual. The Among the Stars digital app will be available in English, German, and Polish, though more languages will be available soon.
“Nabbarah: A city full of wonders and stories to be told – a glimmering jewel in the middle of the desert. You are a thief, always on the look for the next target to hit. You decide to sneak into the Royal Palace, break in its Treasure Room, and look for the mythical treasures rumored to be hidden there. Among piles of gold, emeralds and precious jewelry you stumble upon a chest containing a mysterious Hourglass. As soon as you touch it you are filled with mystical energy and realize its true power: You are now able to see glimpses of your own future. By taking different courses of action, different paths unfold before you, allowing you to shape your future as you see fit. Unfortunately, everyone in the palace is now after you…”
A Thief’s Fortune is a competitive Card Drafting & Engine Building game for 1-4 players from Artipia Games. Each player represents a different timeline of a Thief who can see glimpses of the future using a mystical item.
Each player has a Past, Present, and Future area in front of them. Over the course of 5 rounds, players draft Location, Character, and Events cards and adds them to their Future with the various resources on them. Resources from those cards are collected and all cards which have run out of resources are moved to each player’s Present. The following Action phase allows each player to start activating the cards in their Present to perform various actions as they build and manipulate their game engine in an attempt to score the most Fortune points. The player who gathers the most Fortune Points over the course of the game wins.
BakaFire of Tragedy Looper fame is coming out with a new 2 player fighting card game, Sakura Arms. Originally released in Japan, Sakura Arms is the latest in AEG’s Big in Japan series of games. Battling players control the power of the “megami”, channeling through the petals of the Sakura tree, trying to combine megami to give greater attacks. Combining some elements of deck construction and head-to-head card play, Sakura Arms should be available January 2018. Check out AEG’s website for more details.
Several games recently have been reimagined as card games, and the latest to follow this trend is Junta Las Cartas. Junta, the classic free-form board game of corruption and revolution, originally came out in 1978, and this new card version promises the same mechanisms of stealing money, buying votes, hiring assassins and blowing up buildings. Junta Las Cartas plays 3-6 players in under an hour and is expected in November 2017. Check out AEG’s web page for more information.
The Master’s Trials: Wrath of Magmorath, by designers Vangelis Bagiartakis (Among the Stars, Dice City) and Anastasios Grigoriadis is coming from AEG and Artipia Games. Master’s Trials is a cooperative dice crafting game for 1-4 players, which uses the dice building mechanism from Dice City to create and develop characters. Players need to send their characters through 10 rounds, eventually to battle the evil Magmorath. The Master’s Trials should be available November 2017; more information is on AEG’s website, which you can find here.
Artipia Games has started a Kickstarter Campaign for an expansion to the popular “game of life for gamers” game The Pursuit of Happiness. In The Pursuit of Happiness: Community, players now interact with their local community. The game comes with a new board, room for a fifth player, as well as new projects, items, activities, jobs, and partners. The new community deck and popularity track allow players to engage in community related events, and affect their popularity within the community.
The Kickstarter for Community continues through April 7, has an option to buy the base game, and is expected to deliver October 2017.
Artipia Games is currently Kickstarting a new game that brings the mechanics and gameplay of the Among the Stars game down to Earth. The game is called Fields of Green, and it uses the same square cards and drafting mechanics of it’s sci-fi cousin. In the game you will have four rounds to build up your farm and start cranking out the victory points. You will draft cards to provide water, produce crops, store crops and water, and then finally take them to market to convert them into points. One interesting mechanism they keep in this game is that certain aspects, like water, can only travel so far. This makes not only the cards you draft important, but also their placement. At the end of four rounds, the person with the most points is the winner.
The game looks good with solid art and some nice components in the form and wooden wheat and water tokens. Another nice thing is that there is a cheaper option which requires Essen pickup for those who will be attending the fair. Everyone else will have to pledge at the full price to include shipping, so head on over to the Kickstarter page to pledge for your own copy.
The trade fair with the most impact for both Germany and the board gaming hobby is only a smidge more than a month away, and with it come even more hot releases, demos, prototypes, and exciting news just in time for the Holiday shopping season. Taking place this October 13th through the 16th in Essen, the 2016 Spiel is expected to continue the record breaking growth they’ve been experiencing, which is terrific news and further evidence of the oft observed “Golden Age” that this hobby still experiences. According to the press release from Internationale Spieltage:
“[…]SPIEL has grown by more than 50 percent in the last four years. This year it looks as if more than 160,000 visitors will enthusiastically respond to the SPIEL motto “Come and play!”
Over a thousand exhibitors across multiple exhibit halls, each showing off their best and newest releases to the public. It’s not just the size though, that’s exciting. As the press release highlights, there are some interesting trends being showcased this year among the hundreds of entries into the gaming fray. Specifically, this year is seeing a spike in team-building games, the stuff that makes for memorable get-togethers with friends and family. The one-and-done genre of Escape Rooms meant to challenge groups to muster wits and overcome puzzles will be available in a swath of tabletop titles and live-event rooms at the fair. In addition, the instantly popular Codenames: Pictures and Captain Sonar will certainly be drawing large crowds.
This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, and there are games to recognize it. Notably, two new releases come thematically celebrating Martin Luther and the historic religious change he ushered: Stronghold Games’ Sola Fide and Zoch Verlag’s Mea Culpa. There will also be family-friendly events and quizzes in various locations, topping the already broad, educational, and heatlhy range of activities the fair has to offer.
Let’s not forget the big releases rolling over from Gen Con, which will certainly see the same kind of fervor that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Seafall and Scythe are two of this year’s most anticipated titles and I can imagine the European public wanting to get their hands on copies all the same. I feel obligated to draw attention to a few more titles that will probably be incredibly popular as well. Artipia Games will have their newest Kickstarter title and spiritual sequel to Among the Stars, Fields of Green, available for demo and backer pickup. Hobby World will have Spyfall 2 there, which will add more locations, higher player count, and two spies! Finally, Bombyx will have Legendary Inventors on hand, a game that I played in prototype form and was highly impressed with how deep yet accessible it is.
If you’re interested in seeing more games confirmed to be available at the 2016 Spiel, please check out this preview thread at boardgamegeek.com. Many thanks and much respect to Eric Martin for working diligently to compile all of that for the community. For more gaming news and images regarding the upcoming Essen Spiel, please check out our new Instagram page that joins our news, twitter, and video coverage.
Stronghold Games have 3 new board games open for pre-order:
The Pursuit of Happiness, designed by David Chircop & Adrian Abela, is a worker-placement game for 1 to 4 players which plays in about 60 to 90 minutes. Have you ever wanted to start over in life? Well, here’s your chance to see what you can accomplish in one lifetime. What better way to spend your free time than in The Pursuit of Happiness? For more information, click <here>.
Kraftwagen: V6 Edition, designed by Matthias Cramer, is an economic game for 2 to 4 players set in the world of industrial Germany at the beginning of the automotive boom. Will you become the next Benz, Porsche, or Diesel? If you can meet production demands, keep prices reasonable, and prove your cars can out race the competition, you might just stand a chance! And with the addition of the powerful V6 engine, the rubber is really going to meet the road! For more information, click <here>.
City of Spies: Estoril 1942, designed by Gil d’Orey & Antonio Sousa Lara, is a deck-building, area control game for 2 to 4 players. Players spend their turns trying to expand their network of spies by controlling locations on the board while using their spy skills to influence the plans of others in order to recruit more spies to their network and ultimately win the game! For more information, click <here>.
In addition to their new pre-orders, Stronghold released the 2nd and 3rd installments in their Pocket Line of games:
Bear Valley, designed by Carl Chudyk, is a light card game of forest exploration playable by 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, in 15 to 30 minutes. Using a press-your-luck play style enhanced by variable player powers, Bear Valley challenges players to find their way through a create-it-as-you-go forest full of caves, rivers, mountains, and BEARS! The goal is to make it out of the forest alive, reaching base camp ahead of all others. For more information, click <here>.
Stellar Conflict, a fast, fun, real-time, space combat game in the Among the Stars Universe, comes to us through Stronghold’s partnership with European based Artipia Games. It supports 2 to 4 players ages 10 and up and plays in about 10 minutes. Deploy your fleet of ships as fast and accurately as you can, in real-time, to try to blast your opponent(s) out of the sky! For more information, click <here>.
And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, they’ve also announced a new mini-expansion for their immensely popular family game Diamonds which is expected to debut at Gen Con:
Diamonds: The Thief, designed by Mike Fitzgerald, takes the familiar clubs suit action and ties it to a new wooden thief token that will stalk a single player until successfully pilfering some diamonds. Each time he grabs some loot, he sneaks off to his next mark and the haul that awaits! The Thief will become mandatory for all Diamonds tournaments. So, get ready to empty your showrooms and secure your vaults or risk losing your Diamonds to the nimble fingers of The Thief! For more information, click <here>.
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By decree of the Queen, there needs to be a new capital!
The Kingdom of Rolldovia is in turmoil. Her royal highness the Queen, has decreed that there will be a new capital, after the old one was sacked by hordes of barbarians and bandits from the south. As leaders of one of the country’s influential noble families, players vie with each other to establish their provincial city as the best home for Rolldovia’s new capital.
Those who enjoy city-building games rejoice! Those who love dice games rejoice again! AEG and Artipia Games announce Dice City, a city-building, dice-crafting game in which players will be seeking to gain the approval of the others in the kingdom. To promote your city, you can create strong armies, construct wondrous buildings, or open up trade routes.
Dice City is a “dice-crafting” game, in that the locations in your city act as the changing faces of your dice each turn. The goal to winning is to manage your city and its natural resources wisely.
The game will contain:
- 4 player boards
- 20 dice
- 149 cards
- 93 tokens
- 4 player aids
- 1 rulebook
Dice City is for 1-4 players ages 14 and up and plays in about 45 minutes. The game is scheduled for release in October of 2015. For more information about Dice City, check out its page at AEG’s website here.
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