board games

Moa, a successful Kickstarter Project from APE Games and Martin Wallace (A Study In Emerald, Steam, Brass), is a territory control card game in which players control tribes of New Zealand birds. Each player holds a hand of 9 cards dictating their actions, and players can play as many cards on their turn as they like, but these 9 cards must last for 7 rounds. Additionally, each round only two territories on the board can be manipulated. Players score points for area control, but can also sell their territories to the invading mammals when they lose control. Each tribe of birds has unique abilities; The Eagles are fearsome warriors, the Kiwis respected and honored by their tribe, the Moreporks are mysterious mystics, and the Pukeko can spread far and wide. The Moa, as the leader, has all these abilities and tries to hold the tribes together. Moa features gorgeous art from Vincent Joubert (Via Nebula), and plays 3-5 players at 20 minutes per player.


Masters of Disguise, the first expansion for Age of Thieves (2016) ,is coming soon from Galakta Games. Age of Thieves is a simultaneous action selection game where 2-4 players control one of the master thieves in a clockpunk universe, each with unique powers, trying to break into the emperor’s palace, steal the prized jewel, and escape without alerting the guards. Masters of Disguise adds 2 new characters and new rules and mechanisms. Players can travel through the sewers to the Undercity, and use Burglary cards to further plan their turn. There are even new scenarios included to play through with your thieves.

Wanted: Rich or Dead, also from Galakta Games, pits 3-5 players as famous cowboys in the old west. Players secretly select where on the map they want to travel, in order to steal supplies, gamble or gain abilities. However, if 2 or more cowboys end up at the same location, a shootout occurs, and players then need to pick cards specific to their characters, in order to survive the fight. The last cowboy standing with the most cash wins the game.

Both Age of Thieves: Masters of Disguise and Wanted: Rich or Dead are coming to stores in December 2017. Read more about these games on Galakta Games’ website here.

Altiplano, the highly anticipated follow-up bag building game from publisher DLP GamesOrléans designer Reiner Stockhausen, and artist Klemens Franz, has a new publisher for North America. Renegade Games will be bringing this Essen 2017 sell-out to North America in Q1 2018. Altiplano uses the popular bag building system made popular by Orléans, coupled with management of scarce resources in the high plateaus of South America.

For more information on Altiplano, check out Renegade Games’ webpage here.

Friedemann Friese is taking the new Fabled games model into the Power Grid universe with a new expansion Power Grid: Fabled Expansion. The expansion will be released by 2F-Spiele, 999 Games, Giochi Uniti, and Rio Grande Games.

This latest expansion works for both Power Grid and Power Grid Deluxe base games. The expansion includes two presorted Fable Decks which will introduce new mechanisms to the games as players work through campaigns using the maps of USA, Germany, Europe, or North America.

Each fabled campaign will have players playing three consecutive games on the same map. When playing with two players, players will use the “Against the Trust” rules. In each game players will reveal cards in order as the conditions for those cards are met, which those cards adding twists to the game.

Examples of actions that trigger the reveal of new rules include:
  • Reveal in Phase 3: Buying Resources… When a player buys coal for 7 Elektro or More
  • Reveal at the end of a game… when the players have already revealed card 6
  • Reveal in Step 1 or Step 2… when the players have already revealed card 4, and there is a difference of 10 or more between the numbers of 2 adjacent power plants in the current market.

Power Grid: Fabled Expansion includes 30 Fabled cards and 6 rules cards. The expansion does not change player count or length of game, with the game still playing over 120 minutes with 2-6 players aged 13 and up. The game requires a copy of Power Grid or Power Grid Deluxe to play and is scheduled to release in November 2017.

A Fabled History

The first game in the Fabled line, Fabled Fruit, introduced the fable deck of cards which introduce new and developing gameplayover time. The game starts in a simple state, but as you play through the game new rules emerge and deeper mechanisms develop. The Fabled game system is fully resettable, unlike most legacy games. Fabled Fruit ended up making the 2017 Spiel des Jahres Recommended list.

This year Friese is also releasing other titles based on the Fabled system including Flee, Fear, Fortress as well as The Lime Expansion to the original Fabled Fruit title.

Power Grid has it’s own storied history. Power Grid was the updated release of the Friedemann Friese crayon game Funkenschlag. The objective of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone’s network gains a particular size. Players mark claim the rights to to power a city and then develop pre-existing routes between cities for additional connection, bid against each to purchase the power plants through an always changing power plant market that they use to power the cities in their network, and finally buy resources to power those plants.

When released in 2004, Power Grid began a multi-year award winning streak. Awards won include:

Leder Games, designer Cole Wehrle (Pax Pamir), and artist Kyle Ferrin (Vast) have started a Kickstarter for Root, a highly asymmetrical game along the lines of Leder Games‘ previous hit Vast. In Root, 2-4 players take on the roles of the Marquis and her cats, who have just taken control of the woodland, the Eyrie, who are mustering their hawks to take back the wood, the Alliance of woodland animals, who have just been displaced, and the Vagabond, who travels through the wood.

Each faction scores points on the tracker and uses the same deck of cards, marked with 4 suits of the forest animals. The first faction to 40 points wins the game. The Marquis scores points by building industry and improving  infrastructure, while the Eyrie constructs roosts out of which they attack and claim territory, and the Alliance must set up conspiracies and hide in the shadows. The Vagabond is the most mobile group in the woods, and scores points by helping the other players, developing both positive and negative relationships with the other factions. Additionally, the Vagabond have a secret objective to win the game, regardless of points. Read more about Root at the Leder Games website here, or on the Kickstarter page.

The Kickstarter campaign for Root is due to continue through November 21, and the game should come to backers in August 2018.

ShutterBug, by designer Mike Elliot (Dice Masters) and Calliope Games, pits 2-6 players in the back woods of America, looking to be the first to take pictures of the mysterious hidden creatures roaming there. Players take turns over 8 rounds, moving their pawns and collecting tip cards, leading them to their quarry. Trade tips with other players and score points, all while fulfilling side jobs and trying to achieve your secret assignment. Most points at the end of 8 rounds wins. Look for Shutterbug in November 2017.

In Capitol City, by James Ernest (Kill Doctor Lucky) and Calliope Games,  players have 4 rounds (seasons) to build the best wild west town. Each season the train brings in new workers, some good and some bad, to help develop main street. Players bid for priority on the upcoming season, choose characters from the train and then purchase building cards. Attach characters to buildings to gain money or points, and gain special bonuses for related kinsfolk – either your own or other players’.  Capital City is due for release in November 2017.



Roar: King Of The Pride is a new board game from IDW Games, and designers Daryl Andrews (Sagrada) and Erica Bouyouris, which has players competing to be the dominant lion pride in Africa. 3-6 players must manage their food supply, expand into new territories and raise cubs to compete effectively. Be careful of other players’ secret objectives, and new more powerful threats that encroach into the Savannah. Expect Roar: King of the Pride in March 2018.

Loot Island from Whats Your Game and Aaron Haag (Yunnan) is a pirate themed card game with an interesting balance between teamwork and selfishness. 2-5 players take turns placing their map cards on the landings of Loot Island. Each location requires enough map cards to find the loot, but the loot must be divided among the contributing players, with first come first served. Do you add to the map to gain a small share, or do you withhold your information, hoping the other players fail to find any loot at all? And just to make it crazier, there is a traditional pirate curse which must be broken. Loot Island should hit stores in November 2017.

Quick Simple Fun Games has announced Muse, a deduction game for 2-12 players reminiscent of Dixit, where players use cards of insane art to guide teammates to inspiration. Muse can be played cooperatively, or at larger player counts, in teams. One player takes on the role of Muse, giving clues within the confines of their inspiration card, leading their team to their chosen masterpiece. Muse should hit stores by November 24, 2017.

NSKN Games has announced some of the lineup that they will show off at Essen Spiel 2017 (October 26-29), and the games look fantastic.

Dragonsgate College is a new dice drafting and action selection game from the wondrous team of Thomas Vande Ginste and Wolf Plancke, authors of the award winning Yedo. 2-4 players take on the roles of fantasy school students from different houses, trying to develop into the best wizards, rogues and warriors. Build unique buildings, hire professors and assistants, and test yourselves in the training dungeon, in this gorgeous game, available for sale at Essen.

Teotihuacan: City of Gods is Daniele Tascini‘s spiritual successor to his 2012 hit Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. This time 2-4 players will manage dice in a time-sensitive rondel, while worshipping the Aztec gods. Dice gain power over time, and players are given two choices with each placement – an action and worker upgrade, or a powerful bonus without upgrade. Players can develop new technologies, climb the famous temples, build houses for the citizenry, or construct the famous temple of the sun. Teotihuacan is due for release later in 2018, but will be shown at Essen.

Mistfall, Chronicles of Frost is a fast deck builder set in the fantasy card game universe of Mistfall. 2-4 players explore the familiar lands of Valskyrr, and can even play as one of the beloved characters from the previous games. Players are randomly assigned adventure chapter quests, which they then race to complete. Fight enemies, hire adventurer, explore lands to gain the most points. Players use deck building mechanics to gain new abilities, items and allies, while trimming the deck by retiring cards into your personal journal for fame. Chronicles of Frost will be featured in a Kickstarter Campaign early this November but will be shown at Essen.

Mr. B Games has announced the 2nd edition reprinting of Phil Eklund and Sierra Madre Games classic Bios series. Like most of Eklund’s games (Greenland, Neanderthal), the Bios series uses real science and heavier mechanisms to simulate some of the big questions in the world. Bios: Genesis allows 1-4 players to progress from a simple ingredient in the primordial soup using both card drafting and dice mechanics, with the ultimate goal of creating life. The new second edition includes materials for 4 organisms per player instead of the original 3. In Bios: Megafauna, 2-4 players start as a plant or animal, then work up until someone wins by becoming the dominant carnivore or herbivore. Players must drift with continents, withstand huge ecological events and out-compete their competition. Megafauna includes 250 wooden bits, 160 cards, 42 disks, 5 punchboards and 20 dice.

Both Bios: Genesis and Bios: Megafauna are expected to arrive in stores in November 2017.

Czech Games Edition has announced several new games and expansions coming in the next few months.

Pulsar 2849 is a new space based euro game from Vladimír Suchý (Prodigals Club, Shipyard). 2-4 players explore space, build megastructures and discover alien technologies, using a unique dice drafting mechanic. Each round, players roll dice and sort them according to value, and draft with each number corresponding to an action in the game. Expect Pulsar 2849 in Q4 2017.

Tash Kalar: Arena of Legends by Vlaada Chvátil has a new expansion coming, Etherweave. This third expansion brings a new faction and a new mechanic. Warp Effect allows a player to manipulate time, using the effect of a not-yet-summoned being right now. Be careful and do not destroy causality – once you use the effect, there are serious punishments for failing to summon the future being. Expect Tash-Kalar: Etherweave in Q4 2017.

Adrenaline, the 2016 hit FPS simulator by Filip Neduk, also has an upcoming expansion, adding a sixth player and several new elements. Adrenaline: Team Game Expansion promises a new player character, simultaneous team play, a new poison damage mechanism, and character specific weapons and gadgets. The new expansion is due to hit the streets in Q1 2018.

Finally, CGE has announced a digital version of their mega-hit game Codenames. The new computer version promises online matchmaking or play with your friends. CGE also promises the already large word list will be easily expandable. Additionally, a Codenames Gadget App is available for iOS and Android from CGE, providing random key cards and a timer. Interested players can sign up for future news about Codenames Online here.