Dark Souls (2017) is a cooperative fantasy board game based on the popular computer and console game of the same name. In Dark Souls, players take on character roles, fight minions for souls, level up and collect new equipment, trying to get powerful enough to defeat a giant boss. The game was noteworthy for having beautifully large, detailed miniatures, a detailed and programmed boss A.I., and, like its namesake, for being hard. Characters will die, and if too many succumb, the players will lose.
Steamforged Games has
announced 3 new expansions for Dark Souls, each expanding a specific area of
the game. The Characters
Expansion introduces 6 new character types to the game, each with new
equipment, actions and stat progressions. The Characters Expansion comes with
16 new miniatures, cards and boards to support the new characters. Vordt
of the Boreal Valley is a new boss, originally tasked with standing
sentinel over the gates that lead from the Undead Settlement to the Castle of
Lothric. Now a savage and mindless beast, the boss Vordt comes with two
behavior decks, one for movement and one for battle. The Vordt expansion also comes
with a new boss board, and new level 4 encounters, making it a difficult
challenge for experienced players. Finally, The Darkroot
Basin and Iron
Keep expansions come with 9 new double sided tiles for use in any game.
All three new expansions to Dark Souls are expected
to deliver to retail on November 22, 2019. For more details on Dark Souls the
Board Game, and its previous expansions, check out the Steamforged website
The Big Book of Madness (2015) is a cooperative board game by designer Maxime Rambourg, which pits 2-5 student magicians against the monsters escaping from the eponymous Big Book. Each player takes on the role of a student, each with unique powers and abilities. Players must turn the pages of the book, defeat the curses within, and eventually shut the tome for all time, all before succumbing to madness. Players use deck building to create a deck of elemental cards, spending these elements to buy new, more powerful spells, or to support their fellow students. For without cooperation between the players, all is lost.
Iello has announced the
first expansion for this well received game, The
Big Book of Madness: The Vth Element. This expansion includes 2 new
modules, Dark Matter and Phobias. Dark Matter adds Dark Curses, the Dark Book,
Dark Monsters and new characters to the game. Phobias adds new Phobia Cards,
which are madness cards with permanent effects.
was an instant board game hit on its release in 2014. Combining unbelievable art
from Xavier Collette with the sublime gameplay from
master designers Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier, Abyss managed to transport
players into a fantastical and political underwater world. The gameplay in
Abyss is a wonderful collection of push-your-luck card collection, resource
management of stunning pearls, and card set creation, all simple in their own
right but interwoven into a magnificent strategic board game still loved to
this day (currently #338
on BGG). The first expansion to Abyss, Kraken, was
released in 2015 to critical acclaim, adding the two edged sword of dark pearls.
Now, Studio Bombyx has given Abyss
fans two new toys to drool over – the second expansion Abyss:Leviathan,
and the new card game Conspiracy:
Abyss Universe, both coming to western shores this November.
replaces the accumulating threat track from the original card game with a
border board filled with tremendous monsters. While pulling cards during
exploration, if a monster is drawn, the player now has an opportunity to fight
a Leviathan on the board. Certain Lords and Allies can give benefit to killing
these monsters, and the player with the most kills will earn an extra 5 points
at the end of the game.
Abyss Universe is a card game in the Abyss Universe, sharing similar gameplay
and more of that delicious Xavier Collette art. 2-4 Players use Abyss-like cards
to create a reverse pyramid, starting with a row of five cards and working down
to one. Two matching keys or 3 total keys on cards allow the player to take Location
Cards, which add abilities and points. Pearls have their role in this game as
well, and the player with the majority of pearls on cards immediately takes the
Pearl Majority Card. The game ends when a player has completed their pyramid; groups
of connected cards of the same color score points equal to the highest scoring
card in the group. The Pearl Majority Card adds 5 points, and the player with
the largest colored group scores an additional 3. Highest score claims rightful
rule of the depths. For more details, check out Bombyx’s webpage here.
Realms is arguably the golden child of the 2 player head-to-head deck-builder
world. Ever since the game’s debut from White Wizard Games in 2013, people
have been extolling the virtues of this classic “buy cards”, “play cards”, “damage
opponent” card game. Designers Robert
Dougherty and Darwin Kastle created
an elegant, competitive deck builder which still has a solid following to this
day, and has inspired numerous expansions, such as Colony
and the latest, Frontiers.
The digital version of Star Realms has likewise gained traction, and this latest expansion has just been added to the popular app. Frontiers adds 45 new ships and bases to the game, as well as 2 new campaign chapters with 12 new missions. Frontiers is available now on all platforms; for more information on this popular add-on, check out the game page here.
A Marvel Deck Building Game (2012) by designer Devin
Low is one of the great granddaddies of the deck building world. In
this (semi)cooperative card game, players collect recruitment power to add new
superheroes to their deck, then use the fighting abilities of these well-known
heroes to defeat the villains marching on the city. But beware, there is a
Mastermind Villain behind all this evil, unraveling a diabolical Scheme. Players
need to defeat the Mastermind before the Scheme plays out to fruition in order
to win at Legendary.
Publisher Upper Deck Entertainment has supported the game well over the years, amassing almost 20 expansions with innumerable Marvel characters, and the latest (for the completionists among us) is[CT1]Legendary: Revelations. Revelations is a “deluxe” small box expansion, containing 200 cards instead of the standard 100, and it includes the popular heroes Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, War machine, and many more. New Location Cards represent infamous places in the MCU, and every villain group will come out with a Location. New card keyword mechanics include Hyperspeed, Last Stand, and Dark Memories. Scheme cards in Revelations also reflect the changing nature of this set, and are double sided, flipping over at key points in the adventure.
includes 9 new heroes with 14 cards each, 4 new villain groups of 8 cards each,
2 new henchmen groups of 10 cards, 3 new Masterminds and 4 new Schemes (each double
sided), and 3 new Bystander types. This new expansion is due to hit stores at
the end of August 2019. For more information, check out the official
of the North not only made resources store between rounds, but added some
very clever worker placement and action selection mechanisms to the glorious
foundation built by Imperial Settlers. The game comes with 6 very different
factions/tribes which all play in clever ways. Some tribes are best at sailing
the seas, pillaging and conquering the islands. Some are best as homebodies,
collecting resources and living off of the interest. Others just beg to work
with the other players, living off of trade.
No sooner had this gem of a game been released, than Portal announced the first expansion,
Japanese Islands, of which Ignacy himself claims “The Japanese faction connects
the world of Empires of the North and the base Imperial Settlers.” Portal
promises two new tribes for the base game, along with new islands to explore. Imperial
Settlers: Empires of the North is in limited pre-release now, with copies on
sale at GenCon, and full release is dated
for August 22. The new Japanese Islands expansion is due to be revealed at Essen Spiel 2019 this October.
In Raccoon Tycoon,
up to 5 players choose from 5 actions to try and earn the most victory points
by game end. Central to the game are the Price and Commodity cards, which allow
players to gather commodity resources, then increase the price of several
goods. As an action, players can sell all of a single resource for the current
price, but the price then decreases by the number sold. Money can be used to
buy buildings in order to gain special abilities. Railroad cards can be
auctioned, and earn increasing points at the game end for completion of sets.
Town cards can be bought with resources, and are a necessity in order for the
railroad cards to score.
Cat Expansion adds a number of things to the game, primary among them being
a 6th player, and an additional set of Railroad cards, the Jack
Rabbit Railroad. To facilitate set collection, Badger Baron Railroad cards can
be used as wild cards to complete sets, and new Town cards are thrown into the
mix. Additional buildings add variety and new special abilities. New player
boards have space to organize resources, buildings, and components. The Fat
Cat Expansion also adds new meeple play, with specialized wooden tokens
that can be purchased to earn points or bonuses. Housing and Locomotive meeples
can be built via specialized buildings, and can be added to Town or Railroad
cards respectively for points. Animal and Tycoon meeples can also be acquired
during the game, and advance on a point track on the player board. And to add
frosting to an already spectacular cake, the Fat Cat Expansion comes with a
giant wooden Fat Cat Start Player Marker, matching the impressive Raccoon that
came with the original game.
Anachrony (2017) is an immensely popular (BGG #52), unique heavy worker placement game taking place in the short days before the inevitable end of the world. An asteroid impact is going to destroy the Earth, and players must collect resources preparing to evacuate. Worker placement is done with multiple types of workers with different abilities, plus workers can (and must) wear powered Exosuits to explore certain regions of the board. The most powerful tool at a players disposal, though, is… time travel. Players can give themselves resources from the future, but beware, not following through with the actual loan can cause temporal anomalies, and invoke stiff penalties.
Now the much anticipated expansion to Anachrony, Fractures of Time, is on Kickstarter from Mindclash Games and designers Richard Amann, Viktor Peter, and Dávid Turczi. Fractures adds a new area for worker placement, the Amythenia Valley, an area where humanity has learned to survive and collect the powerful Flux resource. Flux can be used to allow Exosuited workers to “blink” – essentially existing in two worker spaces at once. However the Fracture Devices used to create Flux are far from perfect, and must be maintained by the new Operator worker type, or else temporal glitches ensue. Fractures of Time also adds a 5th faction to the game, the Path of Unity, consisting of dissidents from the other 4 factions, residing in a capitol city sent back from the future. Also in the expansion are a new Exosuit type – the Paladin, and a new Solo mode, as well as a giant Infinity Box to hold everything together. The Kickstarter for Anachrony: Fractures of Time continues through May 7, and the expansion is due to ship in March 2020.
Space Base is a critically acclaimed engine building, dice-economics game from designer John D. Clair and publisher AEG, which took the clever “roll dice – earn money – buy cards” pattern from Machi Koro (2012), and others, and brought it to the next level. The first expansion for Space Base, The Emergence of Shy Pluto, was only released last week, and already a second expansion and storage kit has been announced. Space Base: Command Station, coming later this year, will expand the maximum player count from it original 5 up to 7. The expansion, which comes in a box to hold everything, will include 2 more boards, all necessary starting cards and cubes. Command Station will also include 14 “pre-deployed” ship cards to help balance the larger player counts. Look for Space Base: Command Station at your FLGS this August.