Board Game Expansions

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced they will be starting a Kickstarter Campaign soon for a premium reprint of the popular deck building game Valley of the Kings (2014) by designer Tom Cleaver. This Premium Edition will include not only the original game, but also the subsequent Valley of the Kings: Afterlife and Valley of the Kings: Last Rites. Although Valley of the Kings was an early deck builder, using tried and true mechanics of buying new cards from a marketplace, using the buy power of other cards in hand, it introduced some novel ideas into the genre. The only cards to score points in Valley are those purposely culled from one’s deck into a special “entomb” pile, removing the card from play. The timing of when to use a card for its action, or when to use it for cash value to buy new cards, or when to give up the card for points, kept the game fresh and interesting. This new collection not only contains all 3 games, but also includes new graphics, new Pharaoh cards with unique abilities, and enough tarot sized sleeves to protect all the cards (over 300). The Kickstarter for the Valley of the Kings Premium Edition is scheduled to begin on April 2, 2019, and continue for 2 weeks.

Here is the second and final part of interviews and sneak peeks of what I was able to see at the GAMA Trade Show. Hopefully I’ve saved the best for last.

Frank West, designer of City of Kings, and one heck of a guy, discussed City of Games’ upcoming title Rising Blades, a competitive worker placement / tile placement game with RPG elements. In Rising Blades, players add tiles to a growing map each round, in which they can move, fight monsters and develop their unique asymmetric characters. Expect Rising Blades to hit Kickstarter at the end of the year.

Czech Games Edition (CGE) showed the unique cooperative deduction word game Letter Jam from designer Ondra Skoupý. In Letter Jam, players receive a set of facedown letters delivered from an app, and the goal is to deduce these letters. Each player places one of these cards facing the other players in a style akin to Hanabi, so that you can see everyone’s secret letter except your own. Players then make words with the letters, giving clues as to what other players’ hidden letters may be.

Forbidden Games confirmed an expansion for the popular auction stock market game Raccoon Tycoon by designer Glenn Drover is in the works. The expansion should include a 6th player, more buildings and a new railroad type.

Stephen Buonocore, the evil genius behind Stronghold Games was kind enough to reveal some further details about the 5th and final big expansion to their evergreen hit Terraforming Mars, Terraforming Mars; Turmoil. Turmoil, the only expansion to be released in 2019, will be labeled as an “expert” expansion, meant for more experienced players. In short, this expansion involves politics. Mars has established a Martian Senate, composed of several parties, each with its own agenda. The Red party is interested in keeping Mars pristine and untouched, the Green party wants full terraforming, the Kelvinists want more heat, etc. Players can place delegates, trying to gain control of parties, or even the entire senate. A face-up line of Event Cards show what influences each party will have over the next several turns. Expect Terraforming Mars:Turmoil to hit Kickstarter in April/May.

Root, the critically claimed asymmetric forest critter game from Leder Games and designer Cole Wehrle has a new expansion on Kickstarter. The Underworld Expansion, by designer Patrick Leder, introduces two new critters to the wood, the Crows and the Moles. The Corvid Conspiracy of Crows slowly takes over other players’ decks of cards by adding agents to their hands. As each agent comes to fruition and advances the Corvid agenda, the Conspiracy must move to a new secret hideout in the wood. The Great Duchy of Moles travels underground, building tunnels and taking over clearings in the wood. The Underworld Expansion also includes new Mountain and Lake Maps, and a new Exiles & Partisans deck of cards to replace the original deck with special powers. Also available are resin clearing markers, new meeples in the vagabond pack, and all of the previous expansions and extra. The Kickstarter for the Underground Expansion continues through April 2, and is expected to ship in December 2019.

Railroad Rivals by Forbidden Games and uber-designer Glenn Drover (Empires: Age of Discovery, Raccoon Tycoon, Railways of the World) completed a successful Kickstarter campaign last March, and now the company has announced a new Kickstarter for the anticipated expansion, Robber Barons. In Railroad Rivals, 1-5 players bid for turn order, collect stocks and place city tiles, matching railroad stock symbols on tile edges to create a rail network. Goods are then delivered along those networks, either your own or an opponent’s (for a fee), to increase the value of the stocks. The player with the most valuable portfolio of stocks wins the game. The new Robber Baron expansion adds a 6th player to the game, a new goods type – mail, 1 new railroad stock, 5 new city tiles, new versions of the Boston and New York City tiles, as well as several game enhancements. New Stock Shenanigans tiles can be bid for, and directly manipulate stocks and stock values, and the new specialty city tiles include 2 locomotive upgrades, a new Industry tile and a Railroad Headquarters tile. The Kickstarter Campaign for Railroad Rivals: Robber Barons continues through March 19, and the expansion is expected to deliver in August 2019.

The original Shadows of Brimstone dungeon crawler by Flying Frog Productions and Jason C. Hill (Last Night on Earth, Fortune and Glory) was a Kickstarter phenom in 2013, earning $1.3M and delivering a robust unique dungeon crawler. In Shadows, 1-4 players took on roles in the old west, and adventured into an old mine that housed portals to other realms. The game had great monsters, a fantastic exploration system that required no GM, and powerful role playing and leveling options, including a town expansion in which to rest and work on your characters.

Flying Frog added numerous other expansions to the 2 starting boxes for Shadows, then followed it up with Forbidden Fortress in 2016, a stand-alone feudal japan version of Shadows. Now Flying Frog has started a Kickstarter Campaign for 2 new Shadows of Brimstone Adventures, Gates of Valhalla and Valley of the Serpent King.

Valhalla has multiple viking character types for players, who travel back to the Targa Plateau from the City of the Ancients Core set to battle new creatures and search of elusive dark stone. The Valley of the Serpent King features Spanish Conquistador characters, and has portals to the Swamps of Jargono from the Swamps of Death Core set. Both games feature numerous high quality miniatures, including oversized elite monsters, dungeon tiles, cards, tokens and all you would expect from a Shadows of Brimstone game. The new Shadows Adventures are fully compatible with all previous versions, but can be played on their own.

The Kickstarter Campaign continues through March 9, and the games are expected to deliver in September of 2020.

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (2013) was one of the early award winners to come from Stonemaier Games, and the studio has just announced the first expansion, Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss. In the original Euphoria, players used dice as workers to manipulate the three factions in the Euphoria world: the Euphorians, the Subterrans and the Wastelanders. The numbers on the dice represent the intelligence of your workers: higher numbers allow them stronger actions, but in this world, you want dumb workers, because the smart ones run away. In Ignorance is Bliss, by designers Morten Monrad Pedersen and automata-masters Nick Shaw and David Studley, the once lofty Icarites, who lived among the clouds selling bliss, have now descended to the peons, imposing a new way of life. For more information, keep an eye on the Stonemaier website here, where they will continue to provide more information on this expansion all February long.

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…

Splotter Games, the undisputed masters of all things economic, heavy and euro, have just announced an expansion to their hit game Food Chain Magnate (BGG #29), called The Ketchup Mechanism. In Food Chain Magnate, by designers Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga, 2-5 players collect employees for their growing fast food company, then use each employee to cook food, set up advertising, hire and promote employees, build restaurants, etc. Automated customers then see advertising, get hungry, and drive to the closest/cheapest location where they can buy what they want. The first players to achieve certain milestones in the game gain permanent bonuses, but money determines the winner of this heavy, no luck involved, economic wonder. The Ketchup Mechanism is a modular expansion, adding a number of small changes to the game. The company states that the expansion is still developing, but we can expect a sixth player, new milestones, coffee shops and baristas which customers visit on the way to a restaurant, new buildings, new food types, new employees, and… ketchup. I have to comment on the brilliance and humor behind the expansion name – when people critique Food Chain, or Splotter Games in general, their first comment is about runaway leaders and the lack of … Ketchup. Splotter Games is taking pre-orders for The Ketchup Mechanism, and are aiming for a late 2019 release. For more details, check out the Splotter web page here.

Portal Games recently hosted PortalCon 11 in Gliwice, Poland, where they celebrated 20 years of the Board Games that tell stories. At the celebration, owner and Portal head honcho Ignacy Trzewiczek announced several new games and expansions coming from this amazing company in 2019. There are a ton of new announcements, all of which can be read in the press release from Portal, or seen live in the Keynote Address given at PortalCon.

Several new games set in the Imperial Settlers (BGG #145) universe were announced. First on the list is Empires of the North, a standalone card game designed by Ignacy, featuring Scotsman, Inuit and Vikings. Each faction comes with 2 unique card decks allowing a variety of game play styles. 2-4 players can each try to lead their faction to victory by dominating the opposition, developing their economy or defending their land. Also from the big man is Imperial Settlers Roll and Write. Just as the name implies, this new roll and write game takes place in the empire building world of Imperial Settlers, and focuses heavily on engine building, with each big move giving bonuses towards the next. The game includes two modes, one a traditional 2-4 player competitive point scoring challenge, while the second is a new adventure mode. This single player game comes with a pad of 48 unique challenge sheets to complete, each with its own starting points and goals. And just to round out the Imperial Settlers fervor, Portal Games has announced the Imperial Settlers Big Box, a 5 year anniversary of this award winning game, complete with all of the factions and expansions. The Big Box will be exclusively available direct from Portal Games, and includes a plastic insert to hold everything, new commemorative anniversary cards, as well as oft requested single piece faction boards for the Amazons, Aztecs and Atlanteans.

Also coming from the President of Polish Play is a reprint of Prêt-à-Porter, the 2-4 player surprisingly brutal fashion industry board game. Players take turns hiring new employees, gaining managers, designers and models, all in an effort to destroy the competition. This third edition is coming to Kickstarter in 2019, and features new art from acclaimed illustrator Kwanchai Moriya (Dinosaur Island, Catacombs).

Portal also announced new armies for their arena combat board games Neuroshima Hex and Monolith Arena, both from designer Michał Oracz. The Sand Runners are the latest army to dominate the world of Neuroshima Hex, and are a “specialized army of veteran warriors who clashed with the Moloch in the early days of the war”. The Sand Runners feature a double sided HQ tile for versatility, and come with a new Sand Storm tile type. The new army for Monolith Arena are the Academics, focusing on runes, upgrades, and the ability to dramatically weaken their enemy – in fact, their banner directly slows enemy tiles. The Academics armies are few in number, but devastating in ability.

One of the biggest hits Portal and Ignacy had in the past year was the web-integrated Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, and the first campaign expansion, Detective: L.A. Crimes, is coming soon. Detective is one of the most engrossing, slowly enfolding, experiential crime story games made, and L.A. Crimes promises to bring more real life sleuthing, this time in the drug infused world of 1980’s Los Angeles. L.A. Crimes is due to be in stores March 2019, with the new mechanics of Stakeouts and Observation, 5 new characters, and 3 new cases. Also announced was Detective: Alexa Edition, wherein players can complete the 6th case in Detective, all narrated and run by the Amazon Alexa. Portal games has stated the Alexa edition is “part of an effort to bring board games to new players”, making the experience akin to an interactive radio drama. Finally, the world of Detective will be expanded even further by the Detective Signature Series. Portal Games has invited celebrated designers to use the framework of the Detective board game to create their own narratives. The first two master designers picked to frolic in the gritty world of suburban crime are Rob Daviau (Pandemic: Legacy, Betrayal at House on the Hill) and Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Lords of Vegas, Betrayal at House on the Hill), both masters of story telling in their own rights.

Board & Dice, who recently merged with NSKN Games, made several expansion and reprint announcements recently. One of the company’s recent hot games (BGG #223) is Teotihuacan: City of Gods, an impossible to pronounce, but critically acclaimed rondel-driven worker placement game in the Aztec Empire by designers Daniele Tascini and Dávid Turczi (Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar). Just announced is Teotihuacan: Late Preclassic Period, a modular expansion coming at GenCon 2019. This expansion adds asymmetric player powers, a 4th temple which unlocks powerful abilities, seasonal effects before eclipses, and new variants of some of the rondel boards.

Dice Settlers, the recent dice driven civilization building game by designer Dávid Turczi, is also getting a modular expansion – Dice Settlers: Western Sea. This expansion adds 17 new custom dice, envoys, enclosures and advisors to the game. The advisors are particularly interesting, as each one adds its own unique die and special ability. As the name implies, Western Sea also allows players to sail and fish along the shores. Look for this expansion at Essen 2019.

Finally, Board and Dice are coming out with Exodus Chronicles by designers Rainer Ahlfors and Andrei Novac, a reimplementation of their popular space opera game Exodus: Proxima Centauri (2012). Proxima Centauri is a 4X game complete with all that entails – hidden movement, bidding, tech trees, politics, and engine building both literal and figurative. Exodus Chronicles promises to be a new streamlined design, not simply a reprint, yet still including the two expansions Edge of Extinction (2015) and Event Horizon (2017). Look for Exodus Chronicles later in 2019.