In Chocolate Factory, 1-4 players take turns drafting employees for their factory, as well as new machines to manipulate the chocolate coming down the line. Players draft in a first-to-last, then last-to-first manner, ending up with one employee for the round and one machine which lasts for the game. The real meat of the game lies in the conveyor belt, a push-through line of tiles which moves chocolate across the factory floor one space at a time. Tiles enter from the left with a single cocoa bean, but coal can be used to activate machines adjacent to each tile, converting beans to cocoa, fingers or chunks, wrapped candies and assortment boxes. Players get to push up to three tiles through the factory per round, converting as much as their coal allows. Additionally, employees can give bonuses to production, and extra pieces can be “burned” to make more coal. Finally, players sell their finished chocolates either to their local corner stores, fulfilling specific requests, or to the large public department stores, but only to the one store associated with their employee that round. Chocolate Factory combines drafting with strategic engine building as you try to collect the most money in 6 rounds.
The game comes with 4 double layered player boards, 1 ledger and score board, 30 conveyor tiles, 124 wooden chocolate pieces, tarot sized department store cards, 35 employee cards, 54 corner store cards, 30 factory machine cards, coins and markers, plus a solo mode. The Kickstarter Campaign for Chocolate Factory continues through March 13, and the game is expected to deliver in October 2019.
The game requires players to make meticulous plans, dedicate their workers and gather sturdy materials. First, travel to the Emperor’s court to gain blueprints and materials and use emissaries to earn the Emperor’s favor. However, use the emissaries wisely. The more time spent sweet-talking the Emperor, the less time there is to gather resources and materials
During each round, players reveal a set of building cards, each with their own attributes, as well as flip one of the six unique action strips. Using their emissaries, players claim spaces on the action strip, carefully choosing the placement to earn the right to claim the best building cards or maximize the number of actions they can take. After the emissaries have been placed, players draft building cards, resolve actions and construct buildings in order from closest to farthest from the golden Emperor pawn.
Now that you have your blueprints, workers and materials, it’s time to build the city! City planning requires the careful arrangement of housing, utilities and amenities to make the city’s residents happy.
After drafting a building card, you can place the building into your play area, creating a maximum of a 4×4 grid of buildings. Carefully arrange your residential areas with nearby public buildings and add in aqueducts and temples to make a civilized, balanced city and score the most points to win.
Raiding. Pillaging. Longboats. Axes. Beards. Braids. What is it about Norse men and women that keeps us so enthralled with this theme? One can’t deny that Viking society has a rich history and culture which game designers can draw upon for games as simple as providing a feast for a god, or building longboats or even mythical, and fantastical combat as the world ends.
In June, 2018, IELLO are releasing Raids. This viking themed game seems more combat oriented as players compete against each other as they try to retrieve treasure and earn glory. Players have ships which they sail from island to island to collect Vikings, Viking related paraphernalia, and fight monsters for points. Vikings can even board each other’s ships to attack one another. The game is designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert (who both designed Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time) with art by Biboun. Raids will support 2-4 players, aged 10+, and will play in roughly 40 mins.
Iello has announced plans to release Fairy Tile by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J Gilbert in February 2018. A family weight game, Fairy Tile will allow 2-4 players 8 and up a chance to create a new story adventure in around 30 minutes. Fairy Tile will release in brick and mortar stores on February 8th and online February 22nd.
Welcome to Fairy tile, a Kingdom of magical lands where a daring Princess, a devoted Knight, and a dreadful Dragon roam looking for adventure. They need your help to discover the Kingdom! Help them move further and further to fulfill their destiny and tell their story, page after page.
Image From BGG
In Fairy Tile gamers will develop the Kingdom by placing land tiles into play and moving the Princess, Knight, and Dragon pieces across terrain including mountains, forests, and plains. As the Princess, Knight, and Dragon participate in various adventures players will accomplish objectives written on their Page Cards. Once objectives are complete players will read the story taking pace on the Page of their Book out loud.
Following in the spirit of their Spiel winning Kingdomino, Fantastic Park by designer Brett J. Gilbert (Elysium) has 2-5 players using domino style tiles with one animal on each side to build a park. Whatever animals are left on your last remaining tile in hand are the animal types that score. Animals score according to the largest connected group of that type. If a player has a domino with matching ends in hand at game end, that animal type scores twice.
Photosynthesis has been getting a lot of buzz lately, and rightly so. Almost an abstract game, Photosynthesis has 2-4 players growing trees on a large hex grid board. Each turn, the sun moves around the periphery of the board, and trees will gather sun energy from that direction. Remember that larger trees will shade smaller trees, preventing the collection of energy. After collecting energy, players spend the sun to grow trees, plant new seeds, or complete the life cycle by removing large trees for points. The game lasts for 3 or 4 full revolutions of the sun around the board. Photosynthesis is a strategic balance of resource collection and spending, with gorgeous components and art by Sabrina Miramon (Quadropolis).
Over at Meepletown, Derek Thompson has posted a great interview with Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, the designers of the highly anticipated upcoming release Elysium. They get into quite a few interesting tidbits about the design process for Elysium and their expectations for the game, but they also talk about their history with games, their partnership with each other, how it feels to be a published designer, and, of course, their favorite gaming moments.
You’ve both written a lot about games, and as I understand it, have co-designed with others and belong to a larger consortium of designers in the UK. What’s your particular partnership like?
Matt: I don’t know how Brett would describe our partnership, but I think we work well together because we have different but complementary skills that are useful at different points of the design process. I usually have too many ideas, and so I’m constantly throwing them at Brett to see if any of them sound like they could work. I’m usually making the first prototype just to get it to the table and see whether the idea is worth following. Brett has a really great editorial mind (I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this!), so he’s very good at taking in that first prototype and sorting it out into something sensible, and figuring out what we should keep and what isn’t working. I think we also work well together because our co-designed games tend to take parts of each of our own distinctive design ‘personalities’, and fuse them together into something unique that neither of us could have done by ourselves.
Brett: I am in no way offended by Matt’s description of me as someone with an ‘editorial mind’! Games need both order and chaos; systems and surprises. Creativity is not, as someone observed, merely the finding of a thing, it is also the making something out of it after it is found. Matt and I instinctively come at the same problem on different vectors, and that’s enormously powerful, generating new insight and often shortcutting what might otherwise be a long process of iteration, discovery and (potentially) failure. And the quicker you can find out what you have (or don’t have!) the better. Elysium is a great example of something that neither of us could have created on our own — and indeed, something that neither of us could have *expected* to create. It’s exciting to investigate ideas together and suddenly realise you’ve ended up someplace totally new.