Asmodee

Nintendo Switch is not currently a haven for playing modern board games, with available options topping out with titles like Othello and Monopoly. Yet, the hybridization of being able to play both at home and on the go with a Nintendo Switch could be a game changer with the right titles…

Enter Carcassonne – Asmodee Digital announced that it will be bring the fan-favorite Klaus-Jürgen Wrede game Carcassonne to the Switch platform during the winter quarter of this year, and while Carcassonne is already available digitally, the Switch platform has advantages that many gamers will find appealing over a phone app or Steam-based computer game. For one thing, the Switch screen is much bigger than an average cell phone, and physical Switch physical games are easy to trade or share. Also, players on the whole are more likely to play local couch co-op on a TV screen via a console, rather than on PC.

For those unfamiliar with the game from 2000 that started all of this excitement, check out its BGG page, but here is the quickest summation: Carcassonne is an easy to play, hard to master tile-laying game for 2-5  players in which over the course of 30 minutes or so you will be making decisions on to best control and influence the outcomes of different areas of tiles. Placing on the road as a robber, or cloistered away as a monk are two of the roles players can assign their people (called meeples) to in order to score the most points across the southern France landscape and claim victory!

But the Nintendo Switch and designer board game pairing likely does not start and end with Carcassonne…

quoting Pierre Ortolan, CEO of Asmodee Digital,

“Carcassonne is the first Asmodee Digital title of many to follow on Nintendo’s platforms.” 

Thus leading one to believe that Asmodee Digital would likely bring over the other titles that have already been crafted digitally on other platforms, such as: fellow gateway game Ticket to Ride, award-winning Terraforming Mars, and recent mega-hit Scythe. With these titles stemming from a single developer, it would already be a solid foothold for modern board games on a current generation video game console, and it would be easy to envision makers of other digital board game implementations also porting over their creations, such as: Alhambra, Kingdom Builder, Splendor, or Small World.

As a fan of digital board gaming, watching the video on Paste Magazine’s article got my meeple heart beating hard to lay down some farmers for the win.

 

FFG has announced an upcoming release to Legend of the Five Rings:  The Card Game.  Whispers of Shadow and Steel is a novella set in the fictional land of Rokugan.  This is the second installment of Legends of the Five Rings Fiction, but the first to include 2 new upgraded art cards that can be used in L5R:TCG.  This novella is approximately 100 pages long and features the Scorpion Clan, and specifically, Bayushi Yojiro, one of this clan’s characters.

There will be three copies of each card, for a total of 6 cards, which will be tucked inside the book.  The first card is an extended art version of Bayushi from the Imperial Cycle:

As a MagistrateBayushi Yojiro alters the rules of conflicts—in his case, ignoring the effects of status tokens on participating characters. This can enhance the dishonorable Scorpions around him, and erase the bonus of your opponent’s honorable characters.

The second card is from the upcoming Elemental Cycle for this game, and features an ability unique to the Scorpion Clan:  Infiltrator:

Infiltrator is an attachment that allows you, as an action, to reveal the top card of your opponent’s conflict deck and either play it as if it were in your hand or discard it.

As an attachment, you can repeat this process every turn, as long as your infiltrator is in play, and as long as your bid remains higher than your opponent’s. This allows you to infiltrate your opponent’s conflict deck and turn their very best weapons against them—a tactic well befitting a Scorpion.

From FFG:

They’re already existing cards (or soon to be existing cards) with full art. They’ll look different than what will be in the standard LCG packs, but will function the same in-game (same stats, abilities, etc.). From a pure gameplay perspective, these promotional cards won’t be exclusive to people who purchase the book, but if you’re looking for the fantastic alt-art cards to make your deck ‘pop’, these are for you.

There is yet no release date set for Whispers of Shadow and Steel, but it is available for preorder from both local retailers and FFG.

For a review of Legends of the Five Rings, click here and for more information on this expansion, click here 

According to Reuters, the board gaming super-giant, the 800 pound gorilla, Asmodee is investigating a sale to an unknown buyer. Asmodee, the France based company owned by private equity firm Eurazeo SE, is currently worth an estimated 1.5 Billion euros (almost 1.8 billion US dollars). Among other things, Asmodee owns the board game companies Fantasy Flight Games and  Days of Wonder, F2Z Entertainment properties Z-Man Games and Plaid Hat Games, and the French publishing rights to the Pokemon Trading Card Game and Wizkids!. This includes the rights to some of the most popular games on the market, such as  Catan, Ticket to Ride, and X-Wing. The identity of proposed buyer(s) has not been disclosed at this time, pending further deliberations. For more information, you can read the original Reuters article here.

Love Letter, a popular card game of social deduction and player elimination, has been acquired by Z-Man Games.

“We are thrilled to have Love Letter join Z-Man’s diverse catalog,” says Steve Kimball, Head of Studio at Z-Man Games. “This gem of a card game packs a lot of fun in a tiny box (or velvet bag) and fits perfectly with the many other acclaimed card games that have been a hallmark of the Z-Man brand. I’m excited to work closely with Seiji Kanai to help Love Letter reach new audiences and realize its full potential.”

Love Letter was designed by Seiji Kanai in 2012 and has been reimplemented with various themes including Adventure Time, Batman, The Hobbit, and Lovecraft Letter.

“Love Letter and Lovecraft Letter have been a pure joy to develop and share with our customers,” says John Zinser, CEO of Alderac Entertainment Group. “We would like to thank Seiji Kanai and our partners at Japon Brand for entrusting us with the smallest but most valuable of treasures. Our friends at Asmodee have the capability to take Love Letter and Lovecraft Letter to even greater heights and we are excited to watch the games make this transition. We are sure that everyone who has sought the favor of the Princess will be delighted with Asmodee’s stewardship of these great games.”

Asmodee, which has the largest catalog of games under it’s wide umbrella thanks to it’s partnerships with Days of Wonder, ZMAN Games, Fantasy Flight, Catan Games and more, has announced it’s Modern Classics line. This new category is for games that are easy to get into yet offer tremendous depth and make for excellent staples in any new or existing collection. The titles in this series together cover a wide range of mechanisms and modes-of-play and each one is considered a gateway of it’s respective genre. As stated by Asmodee in their announcement:

“Modern Classics refers to a small group of pioneering titles that have left a lasting legacy on the board-games market and have stood the test of time to remain preferred gateway purchases in a constantly changing landscape of products. […] Each of the highlighted titles is easy to learn but hard to master, making them well suited for any gaming situation that you might encounter. The Modern Classics range consists of the following games: Ticket to Ride Europe, Catan, Carcassonne, Dixit, Pandemic, and Splendor.

While this really is just a matter of showcasing for new customers, the games chosen here are, I feel, irrefutably ‘Modern Classics’ and deserve to be called as such. These quintessential games also cover a lot of ground as well, certain to prepare even the newest of gamers for the great many strategy games that lie beyond. Just with these six games there’s card drafting, network building, tile laying, set collection, storytelling, cooperation, trading, and resource management game mechanisms. Hoo! The question I have now is, will there be any more games added to this list in the future? Only time will tell.

Asmodee UK have acquired fellow UK distributor, Coiledspring Games. Coiledspring Games was founded in 2004 with only one game and one puzzle but quickly became a leading UK distributor with many products in it’s catalog (including Biblios, Outfoxed and Sushi Go). Following the acquisition, Coiledspring Games will continue to operate as a separate entity and run at arm’s length from Asmodee UK’s current operations.

The change in ownership, effective immediately, sees Coiledspring Games join the Asmodee Group of games companies around the world.

Asmodee UK’s Managing Director, Steve Buckmaster:

“We’re delighted to welcome Coiledspring Games to the Asmodee Group. We’ve always thought very highly of the team and the work they do, so it’s great to have them on board with us.[source]

Coiledspring Games’ Roger Martin:

“We’re very excited to be joining the Asmodee Group and I am sure this will bring with it some big opportunities for Coiledspring Games. Being part of Asmodee presents us with a fantastic platform for future business.” [source]

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Z-Man Games is making sure to get the small things right an isd releasing a series of mini-expansions available immediately.

Terra Mystica
The new Terra Mystica mini-expansion introduces four new town tiles, a new scoring tile, and a new bonus card create new goals for players to try to complete. All new special terrain tiles for each faction will give new bonuses and abilities when placed.

Carcassonne: The School
“School is in session in Carcassonne!”
The Carcassonne: The School expansion, originally released in 2011,  has each player competing to complete the various roads leading up to the school. Once the road is complete, the teacher will get paints the next time something is scored, regardless of what is scored and which player scored those points. Once each of the roads is complete, there are enough students and the teacher will stay put for the rest of the game.
Carcassonne: The Festival
In The Festival mini expansion for Carcassonne, players have the ability to withdraw a meeple. When a player lays down the festival tile, they choose between placing a meeple normally or withdrawing a previously placed meeple from another feature.
A Feast for Odin
The Feast for Odin mini-expansion has players traveling through two new exploration boards providing more options than before. Players will now be able to sail to the archipelago of Lofoten or travel to Tierra del Fuego. Players will find new opportunities to generate income and obtain new bonuses.
Voyages of Marco Polo: New Characters
Four new faces are being added to The Voyages of Marco Polo. Each character will feature a new game-bending ability. This mini expansion also introduces the gifts mechanic to the game. Gifts will grant players bonus goods and occasionally allow players to take extra actions.
Beyond Baker Street
The Beyond Baker Street expansion will introduce several new characters to the game. New character cards allow players to take on the roles of Dr. John Watson or Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. Moriarty will enter the game as a new possible suspect.
Sylvion: Below Ground
The land itself will join in the fight with the Ravage in a new mini-expansion for Sylvion. Sixteen new terrain cards will be available to occupy battlefield spaces. While Swallowers will use up Tree and Fountain cards, Owls will allow players to draw two cards from the Defender deck.

The biggest push in bringing board gaming to mobile devices and PCs has no doubt come from Asmodee, or specifically Asmodee Digital. We’ve written about this quite a few times on this site, and in fact one of my very first articles I wrote for Dice Tower News was about Asmodee doing really cool things to bring good games to a broader market. While we do have to rely on their analysis and apparent drive to see how effective their efforts have been, the spread of board gaming to virtual platforms is undoubtedly healthy for the community and industry as a whole if only for exposure reasons. This is why it’s such big news that Asmodee has partnered with Kingnet to bring their titles to the Chinese market. As announced by Asmodee:

 “Asmodee, a leading global games publisher and distributor, today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Kingnet, a preeminent Chinese mobile games development studio and internet content and services provider. Founded in 2008, Kingnet operates many popular games including Skyscraper, Shushan Legend and MU Miracle. Through this partnership, Kingnet will license select Asmodee content and develop and distribute original mobile games for the growing Chinese user base.”

This is no small matter, as that kind of exposure to that large of a market is bound to grow interest in strategy and social gaming, and can also inspire those players towards new designs. Despite how crazy Asmodee’s outreach and growth may seem over the past few years, we have to congratulate them and Kingnet for seeking new horizons like this. My curiosity is now poised on what effect, if any, this push will have on the counterfeit board games issue. While Asmodee’s partnership with Kingnet is unrelated, that particular industry could change as more and more games gain outreach. We’ll have to wait and see!

Asmodee has founded HeidelBÄR Games, the first German Studio to join the Asmodee family. They were originally founded as Heidelberger Spieleverlag in 1989 and brought their first successful game to the market in 1992. The studio then published several games and partnered with Fantasy Flight Games and Czech Games Edition to expand its sales network. Then, at the start of 2017, Heidelberger Spieleverlag merged with Asmodee Group as Asmodee Germany.

Carol Rapp, CEO of Asmodee Germany:

“We are very happy that the combination of Asmodee and the former Heidelberger Spieleverlag brings together the best of two worlds. The studio’s creative freedom combined with the strong marketing and retail efforts of Asmodee promises great potential for all sides. That HeidelBÄR Games is the first German studio in this family is a great step into the future of our group.”

The new studio is managed by Heiko Eller-Bilz who had this to say:

“For us it is a great honor to take a place among the other successful Asmodee studios like Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, Space Cowboys, and Z-Man. As a studio we want to focus on games that build a bridge between family games and hobby games. On games that have that special something.”

HeidelBÄR Games is based in Miltenberg, Germany and the studio is already working on its new games. Visit www.heidelbär.de for their new website to see a catalog of their games and upcoming projects.

Long time board game publisher Mayfair Games has announced it’s closure as a publisher.

After 36 years, this was not an easy decision or one we took lightly, but it was necessary.

Board game publishing giant Amodee has purchased all the assets of the former company, including the product lines of both Mayfair Games, Inc and also Lookout Games, GmbH.

Once we had come to this conclusion, we knew we had to find a good home for our games which is when we reached out to Asmodee.

This news marks the latest addition to Asmodee’s now very impressive arsenal who have been aquiring other high-profile publishers over the past few years.

Thank you to the many retailers, reviewers, customers, industry partners, and volunteers, who made us a success over the past 36 years!

With such household names as Catan and Agricola under their belt, Mayfair Games have left an undeniable mark on the industry of board gaming and introduced a generation of fans to what this wonderful hobby has to offer. For me personally the thanks, is very much mutual.