board games

Santa Maria by designers Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby is a well regarded dice drafting and tile laying game from 2017, and now the designers along with publisher Aporta Games have started a Kickstarter Campaign for the first expansion, American Kingdoms. Briefly, in Santa Maria, 1-4 players draft dice, and slide them down or across the associated row or column on their personal board, activating every building the die moves over. However, the last building activated in this manner holds the die, effectively shutting that building down for the round. Players can also buy new tiles for their board, adding buildings, and individual buildings can be activated using money instead of dice. The game emphasizes the timing of when to draft dice, what order to activate rows, and the puzzle solving nature of designing the perfect engine. Santa Maria combines resource collection, racing down tracks for points and bonuses, end game goals with scholars and bishops, and set collection via shipping tiles.

American Kingdoms adds a couple new features, and 4 new modules that modify play. Cacao is a new resource in the game, used for new expensive shipping tiles, but mostly for modifying the dice. New scholars and bishops provide abilities and end game scoring. New 3×1 building tiles can be purchased for player boards, but come with a prohibitive 4 coin cost.

The Governor Module adds a… governor to each player’s board. The governor starts in the upper left corner of the player board, and moves one space whenever a die is used. Governors activate buildings, gaining resources when they land on buildings, but can move back off later, opening the building up again. Players lose points at game end if the governor has not moved far enough, and gain points if he makes it to the lower right of the board.

The Specialists module adds specialist tiles, which are randomly associated with dice. When the dice are drafted, the player can buy the specialist, gaining resources or buildings, but at a cost. Upgraded buildings are expensive, but players get a discount if they replace another building.

The Ambassador Module changes the dice mechanic of the game slightly. Players start with less dice, but there are 2 ambassador dice available each round, one white and one blue. These special dice can be drafted, but all players will be able to use the number when one player drafts. The drafting player is the only one able to modify the die number.

The Mayan Module is by far the most involved. With this addition, the game can play up to 5 players, with one player taking on the role of the native Mayans. The Mayan City has curving roads for each drafted die, rather than the regimented grid of the standard player boards. Mayans have several changes to their game play, and their main goal is to use resources to build multi-level pyramids. The higher the pyramid (up to 3 levels) the more points they earn. Additionally, the Mayan player has a hand of cards for trading with players, changing resources, and generally getting their monuments built. The game even changes the conquistador track, adding a back and forth of Mayans gaining gold and conquistadors stealing the gold from the Mayan player.

Finally, the Kickstarter Campaign also contains a mini-expansion for the original game, the Exploration deck. This deck provides 5 nationalities with varied starting resources for each player, and 21 achievement cards with secret player goals.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Santa Maria: American Kingdoms is set to continue through November 11, and the game should deliver in March 2019.

Congratulations to Robert B, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Just prior to posting this announcement, instructions were emailed on how to claim his certificate.

Thank you to everyone that’s subscribed to our news (each week we’ll award a $10 CSI gift certificate to a random subscriber)! We hope that you’re enjoying the content provided and that it’s been informative.

We’d also like to express our gratitude towards Cool Stuff Inc for providing the gift certificates! We’ve given away hundreds of dollars so far! You can visit Cool Stuff’s web site here.

Euro Game fans rejoice, for publisher Eggertspiele, artist Chris Quilliams, and designer extraordinaire Alexander Pfister (Great Western Trail, Mombasa, Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King) have announced their new game for Essen Spiel 2018, Blackout: Hong Kong. In Blackout, 1-4 players work to restore order from chaos in a future Hong Kong, where the electrical grid has been massively overstressed to the point of failure. Players start by rolling dice to randomly select which 3 of the 6 resources in the game will be available for the round. Next, players select 3 (or 4 with an upgrade) cards, which are placed facedown on their player board. These cards are revealed, and can place control cubes on the board, gain resources, spend resources, give abilities, or provide objectives. Objective cards are then scored, after which players can scout neighboring territories. Scouting is dangerous work, and gives an alternative way to collect needed resources, but players need to assemble cards from their hand to form a team with the required qualifications for the scouting token. Regardless of the outcome, one of the team will be injured, and will end up in the hospital, taking that card out of action. After scouting, players can use money to purchase new cards from face-up lines next to the board. Finally, in clean up, extra cards are discarded from the side of the board, and excess food and water are sold for money. Players score points for territories they control, and can refresh their hand of cards if they have 4 or less. When refreshing, players take back into hand whichever pile on their board is the largest. At the end of the game, money converts into points, and most total points takes the victory. Blackout can be played traditionally, solo, or as a 5 chapter campaign.

For more details, check out Eggertspiele’s website. Look for Blackout: Hong Kong at Essen Spiel 2018 October 25-28.

Stonemaier Games and developer Jamey Stegmaier have announced a new small box expansion for their mega hit Scythe (currently rated number 7 on boardgamegeek). Scythe Encounters started in June 2018 as an invitation to fans to design encounter cards for the game, those random events players find while wandering the countryside. The response was overwhelming, and Encounters represents the best 32 entries. Scythe Encounters is due for release December 8, 2018, however Stonemeier went one step further and had one palette shipped over to the US, so the first 1900 pre-orders will receive their boxes significantly earlier. Check out the Stonemaier Games Newsletter for more information, and as always, a great chart on the progress of new additions from the company.

Congratulations to Tyler S, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Just prior to posting this announcement, instructions were emailed on how to claim his certificate.

Thank you to everyone that’s subscribed to our news (each week we’ll award a $10 CSI gift certificate to a random subscriber)! We hope that you’re enjoying the content provided and that it’s been informative.

We’d also like to express our gratitude towards Cool Stuff Inc for providing the gift certificates! We’ve given away hundreds of dollars so far! You can visit Cool Stuff’s web site here.

Halloween is fast approaching and what a better time to play some fun-spooky games with the family. Here’s two wonderful games that we feel would be a wonderful experience to get in the mood for Halloween.

GHOSTEL

Ghostel, by Tinkerbot Games and designed by Bevan Clatworthy, is our first game to talk about. It was highly acclaimed by Tom and reviewed here. It’s a semi-cooperative game for 2-4 players where you play ghosts attempting to scare visitors out of  g”Hostel”!

“During the day, new people will enter the hotel whilst those who already spent the night and survived will calm down from their twilight visitations. Meanwhile, the ghosts are hiding in the attic, preparing for the next night by buying more Terror Dice, Scare Tactics to improve their scaring and Spookie favours to give those extra little bonuses. During the night, the ghosts walk the rooms, using all their creepy tactics to frighten the humans away and show off for Spookie himself. At the start of the night Phase, each player rolls their Terror dice to determine how scary they are for that night. Players can move one room per turn, leaving behind a Terror die as they move. If the total of all dice in a room exceeds the courage of the human in residence of that room, they’re scared out of the hotel! Players then score based on who placed the highest scoring dice; however, scoring is graduated so even a single pip die will still score the canny player some victory points.”

Not only is the artwork great – but the component quality is superb. The ghost figures are solid and feel real solid in the hand. The cardboard tokens are sturdy and the dice and cubes are what one would expect from a quality game.

Ghostel is easy to learn and a great game to bring to the table during Halloween. More importantly, if you purchase the game and use coupon code dicetower20 you can get 20% off the game!!

GHOST FIGHTIN’ TREASURE HUNTERS

Here’s another game, from Mattel and designed by Brian Yu, is a cooperative game where you play young treasure hunters braving a haunted house to escape with gems. This is a wonderful game, also sporting really nice components and wonderful art.

“In Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters, a.k.a. Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister!, four intrepid treasure hunters are on a quest, searching for precious hidden jewels, but the phantoms in this house do not give up their bounty easily. As their ghoulish numbers grow, the treasure hunters must work together to acquire all eight jewels and escape the house before it becomes fully haunted or else face their own gruesome demise.”

Ghost Fightin’ was reviewed by the Dice Tower here. Recently, Mattel released an expansion to the game (reviewed here) that adds two additional rooms and a “ghost king” mechanism along with a few new mechanics to make the mission quite a bit more difficult.

So if it’s a little too cold outside for trick-or-treating—or if you want to get a few games to play with the family to get you in the mood for Halloween – you’re sure to not go wrong with Ghostel and Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters!

 

Get your brain working with the tile-matching puzzle strategy game Project L on Kickstarter now!

Reminiscent of Tetris, in Project L you complete puzzles with your pieces, starting with a single basic piece, and building a pool as you go through the game. Players will compete to get the most points for completed puzzles. Each puzzle earns you points, as well as pieces back that you used, and a bonus piece for completing the puzzle, which can in turn help with more difficult puzzles.

This is a 3-D game experience, with acrylic pieces that fit in triple layer tiles.

Each turn, you can complete three actions, taking a new level 1 piece, upgrading a piece, taking a puzzle tile (you can have up to 4 unfinished puzzles), place a piece on your puzzle and only once every round, players can put a piece on all their puzzles.

Once the black puzzles are gone, players rush to complete their remaining puzzles in the last round.

Depending on pledge levels, you can receive the base game, Ghost Piece Expansion or Ambassador pack.

More information about the Kickstarter can be found here.

Blue Moon City, the Spiel des Jahres nominee for 2006, designed by Reiner Knitzia and Spaghetti Western Games, is getting a reprint from Cool Mini or Not. In Blue Moon City, 2-4 players take over after the events of the 2 player hit Blue Moon, with the titular city, created from building plan tiles, ready for reconstruction. The players use cards with the races of Blue Moon to construct buildings on their plans, then eventually reconstruct the large crystal Obelisk in the center of the city. Players who help complete buildings earn crystals and Dragon Favors, with the majority contributor getting a bonus. Dragon Favors earn the player crystals, and the crystals are used to gain Markers at the Obelisk. The first player to earn a specified number of Markers wins the game. Blue Moon City comes with 4 player and 3 dragon miniatures, 40 player markers, 80 cards, 54 tokens, 21 tiles and a rulebook. For more information and pictures, check out the CMoN web page here. Look for the second edition of Blue Moon City in late October 2018.

CMoN has also announced Sugar Blast, a board game take on the casual video game “candy crush” genre. In Sugar Rush, a plastic frame holds round candy tokens in a 6 by 6 grid, each space holding one of 6 candy types. 2-4 players take turns swapping two adjacent tokens, trying to make a string of 3 or more identical candies vertically or horizontally. Matching tokens are removed, and the unique tilted frame will allow pieces to slide down and fill the empty space. New pieces are drawn from a bag to fill in the top. Players race to complete objective cards for the victory. Sugar Blast comes with the plastic frame, 32 tokens, 72 colored chips, 24 cards, cloth bag, and the rulebook. Look for Sugar Blast in late October 2018.

Finally, CMoN also announced 4 new boxes of Lannister Armies coming for the Song Of Ice And Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Knights of Casterly Rock have spared no expense on equipment and training, and are fast and hard-hitting units on the field. The Lannister Guardsmen make up in defense what they lack in strength and speed, and can effectively wear down advancing opponents. The Lannister Crossbowmen provide deadly ranged attacks, and may be expensive to maintain, but Lannisters certainly can afford to keep armies strong. The Lannister Heroes Box I contains such famous commanders as the Hound, Tyrion and Lord Tywin Lannister, causing devastation on the field. Maester Pycelle and the High Sparrow work their influence politically, well away from the main battle. Look for all 4 new Lannister boxes in stores at the end of September 2018.

Congratulations to Christopher R, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Just prior to posting this announcement, instructions were emailed on how to claim his certificate.

Thank you to everyone that’s subscribed to our news (each week we’ll award a $10 CSI gift certificate to a random subscriber)! We hope that you’re enjoying the content provided and that it’s been informative.

We’d also like to express our gratitude towards Cool Stuff Inc for providing the gift certificates! We’ve given away hundreds of dollars so far! You can visit Cool Stuff’s web site here.

Cool Mini or Not has announced 4 new box sets of Stark units for their Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Stark Sworn Swords are loyal to a man, and would rather perish than betray the house. The Stark Bowmen, although lightly armored, are capable of devastating ranged attacks, even when line of sight is questionable, launching volleys high above the field. The Tully Sworn Shields have also come to the call, using interlocking shield defenses, creating a fearsome wall of defense. Finally, the great heroes of House Stark are represented in the Stark Heroes I box. Rodrik Cassel and Howland Reed are mighty leaders from many battles. Brynden Tully and Eddard Stark are true masters of tactics and strategy. Finally, young Bran Stark, with his giant servant Hodor, and direwolf Summer can strike both courage into allies, and fear into foes on the battlefield. You can read more about the Song Of Ice And Fire Miniatures Game on the CMoN website here. Look for all 4 of these boxed expansions on September 28, 2018.