Bruno Cathala

With Origins passed and GenCon close at hand more game announcements are being made, and here are several that are coming soon from iello.

Being released at GenCon is a new game from Antoine Bauza called Oceanos, a game where players are submarine captains exploring the ocean depths.  You will draft cards to build out the area of the ocean you are exploring and then score that line, scoring points for different animal types, upgrade your sub, and if you have the most eyes of the kraken, taking a penalty.  Player with the most points wins.

Next is Schotten Totten from Reiner Kinizia, a reskining of the classic game Battle Line where you are trying to play sets of cards to different areas to try and control them.  The theme is no longer ancient armies battling to rival clans trying to expand their land so expect some light-hearted art typical of iello.  Look for this game at GenCon as well.

The last game being released at GenCon is another reskin and that is Rent A Hero, a reskin of the game Seventh Hero.  In Rent A Hero you are trying to recruit heroes to fight against the hordes raiding your village and pass of heroes your don’t want to other players.  The game play is simple with heroes being passed around and players deciding if they want them or not, asking for more info to make a decision and using powers to try and figure things out, first player to have a full set of heroes is the winner.

Next is a game being released at Essen called Bunny Kingdom, a game where you will be drafting cards and playing them in order to establish your kingdom on the board.  You will harvest things like carrots, copper, wood, and spices and build cities which will multiply the points that you can acquire from these fields.  Art is very nice and extensively bunnized so look forward to this game.

The last game being released at Essen is Kanagawa, a game by Bruno Cathala that is all about creating the most harmonious painting that you can.

“It’s 1840: In Kanagawa, the great bay of Tokyo, the Master Hokusai decided to open a painting school to share his art with his disciples. You are one of these disciples, and more than anything, you want to prove yourself worthy of the “crazy, old artist”. Follow his teachings to expand your studio and paint your preferred subjects (Trees, Animals, Characters, Buildings), all while paying attention to the changing of the seasons in order to make the most harmonious print… the one that will become the work of your lifetime!”

five tribes solo

While board gaming is mainly a social activity, there are some of us who like to sit down for a solo experience to either learn the game better or to just enjoy the game at your own pace.  Games like the Pathfinder Adventure Card Games were designed from the start with the ability to be played solo, while other games, like Suburbia, tend to need some massaging to get the solo experience to work.  So Days of Wonder has done that massaging and released the rules for the solo variant of Five Tribes.  Designed by Bruno Cathala and Thierry Jolit, the solo variant has you going up against a dummy player, Yazid the First, as you try to usurp his throne before he has a chance to rally enough support to stop you.  You can head over to the Days of Wonder site and download the rules page for free and then try it yourself.


Asmodee has announced an exciting set of games which will be released in December in their Advanced, Core and Family game lines, making them perfect for Christmas presents.

abyss kraken

Abyss Kraken (Advanced Game Line)

Abyss designed by Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier set in an undersea world of giant sea creatures will get an expansion called Kraken. Xavier Collette who did the evocative artwork for the base game which won the Dicetower Award for Best Game Artwork 2014 has done the artwork for Kraken.

“The new ally race, the Kraken, are wild but will earn you black pearls. New Locations allow you to raid the loot deck for treasure.”


Raptor (Advanced Game Line)

Raptor is an asymmetrical two player game by Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti where one player controls a team of scientists tracking down the Raptor babies of the opposing player. This is a fast paced card driven game where the scientists try to capture the Raptor babies whilst evading the mother Raptor.

Zombies vs Cheerleaders (Advanced Game Line)

Zombies vs Cheerleaders is a two player game from Richard Toquet with the Cheerleaders controlled by one player and the Zombies by their opponent. Using an action point system and card based powers, the Cheerleaders aim to defeat the Zombie horde whilst the Zombies try to eat one of the Cheerleaders.

“It will take all your brain power…or lack there of, to win this hilarious, horror-filled battle!”

kemet ta seti

Kemet Ta-Seti (Core Game Line)

Hemet Ta-Seti designed by Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage is the first expansion for the Game Kemet, where players battle each other’s Egyptian tribes for control of temples and territories.

“The shadow of Ta-Seti lingers on the black soils of Kemet. Where new and terrifying creatures come into play.”

colt express horses

Colt Express – Horses and Stagecoach (Family Game Line)

The popular Colt Express game by Christophe Raimbault where you are robbing a train and shooting your way to victory gets an expansion called Horses and Stagecoach. Just like the base game this contains 3D cardboard playing pieces which adds to the theme and makes the game look so enticing on the table.

“Horses will allow you to move around the train and to the Stagecoach to nab one of the Hostage characters. Hostages can earn you ransom, but many of them will give you a negative effect as well.”


Crossing (Family Game line)

Crossing is a simultaneous action selection game by Yoshiteru Shinohara where players try to collect the most gemstones.

“Each round, players square off in a duel. You can grab Life Stones from mushrooms as they appear or steal Stones from your opponents’ stash.”


raptor traler

If you ever wondered what your favourite game designers would look like if they featured in a blockbuster movie dinosaur hunt, then look no further than this new trailer for the Raptor board game. This is a French language trailer (although still worth a look if you’re not a French speaker) featuring Raptor game designers Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti as well as many others as they embark on a dinosaur hunt.  You get a few close up shots of the board and components towards the end and the dino artwork is used as the dinosaurs that attack the explorers.  This is essentially a bit of fun for all the people involved in the production of the game and is a nice idea that shows all involved have a great sense of humour while still getting the word out about the new game.  I particularly like the disclaimer at the end declaring that no dinosaurs were harmed in the making of the trailer!

international game award

The 2015 International Gamers Award nominees for general strategy games released between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 have been announced. The nominees are grouped in two categories—multiplayer and two-player games.

The multiplayer nominees are:

Game Designer Publisher
Aquasphere Stefan Feld Tasty Minstrel Games/Quined Games
Deus Sebastien Dujardin Pearl Games/Asmodee
Elysium Matthew Dunstan and Brett Gilbert Space Cowboys/Rebel pl./Asmodee
Five Tribes Bruno Cathala Days of Wonder
Hyperborea Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi Asmodee/Asterio Press
Kraftwagen Matthias Cramer ADC Blackfire Entertainment
La Granja Michael Keller and Andrea Odendahl PD Verlag/999 Games/Stronghold Games
Orleans Reiner Stockhausen Dlp Games/Tasty Minstrel Games
Panamax Gil d’Orey, Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro and Paulo Soledade HC Distribuzione/Stronghold Games
Quartermaster General Ian Brody Griggling Games
Roll for the Galaxy Wei-Hwa Huang and Thomas Lehmann Rio Grande Games
Voyages of Marco Polo Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini Hans im Gluck/Z-man Games


The two-player nominees are:

Game Designer Publisher
Baseball Highlights 2045 Mike Fitzgerald Eagle/Gryphon Games
Fields of Arle Uwe Rosenberg Feuerland Spiele/Z-man Games
Patchwork Uwe Rosenberg Lookout Games/Mayfair Games
Star Realms Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle White Wizard Games
Star Wars Armada James Kniffen and Christian T. Petersen Fantasy Flight Games
Wir Sind das Volk Richard Sivel and Peer Sylvester Histogame

For more details on the nominated games, and on the nomination committee members please go to the International Gamers Awards website here.

dice town app

Matagot has announced Dice Town, the fun fast dice game designed by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, is now an app available on iPad and iPhones. Dice Town is played by rolling custom dice that remain hidden under a cup, each player will select one of their dice to keep for free, other dice may be kept by spending $1, those that were not kept are re-rolled. This goes on until at least one player has chosen to keep all their die allowing the remaining players one last roll.

dice town app 2

The dice have six sides a nine of spades, ten of hearts, jack, queen, king, and ace of spades that are used to create poker hands and determine who will control the different areas of Dice Town and be allowed to take the benefits of that area. For example whoever rolls the most nines takes control of the gold mine and gets one gold nugget for each nine they rolled (worth points at the end of the game). Each of the six faces has a benefit like this that players will compete for, additionally there is a Town Hall area that goes to the player with the best poker hand. The player that wins control of the town hall is granted the first property tile that is face up they are also give an additional face up card for each ace they have in their hand for a maximum of three cards. These property tiles are worth various end game points and are usually valuable. Last but not least if a player did not win anything from the other areas there is a final spot called Doc Badluck that will give the poor player something for their troubles. Play continues until the gold nuggets or property cards are gone and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins. This is just a brief overview of the game as the spaces that are not mentioned here add a lot to the overall strategy and play of Dice Town.

Dice Town looks like a lot of fun to play and the app is designed to have increasing levels of difficulty. All in all for the price it certainly looks worth it and I would certainly pick it up if I had a compatible device. You can find the announcement on the Matagot website here and you can head over to iTunes to purchase the app. If  a fun, fast, clever dice game is something you would like and if you like the app consider picking up a physical copy for offline fun at your FLGS/OLGS.

mission red planet new

As you may have heard, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) is releasing a revised version of Mission: Red Planet, which was originally published by Asmodee in 2005.

The first edition of Mission: Red Planet was a near flop. Neither the French version or the US version sold well, but after a couple of years it was being called a classic on BoardGameGeek, the board gamers’ website.

At the 2013 Essen fair (a game trade fair held in Germany), Bruno Faidutti was talking to John Grams from Fantasy Flight games, who asked about interest in a new edition. Grams hadn’t played the game, but US resellers had asked about it, and the Brunos were excited to jump on the opportunity.

mission red planet proto

With the new Mission: Red Planet, the basic system and theme of the game stayed the same. It’s still a steampunk themed sci-fi game about colonizing Mars, with a character/action card system mechanic. The one important new feature is the addition of Phobos, the moon where paratroopers can be airdropped anywhere on Mars. During the designing process, the Brunos and Steve Kimball from FFG went over every detail of the game to make the game as good as it could be. The game now plays up to 6 instead of 3-5, and it also has a two player variant designed by Bruno Cathala.

Bruno Faidutti leaves us with his one regret – he dislikes the game’s name. He would prefer a simpler name like Red Planet or Mars, but since Mission: Red Planet is already well known by its original name, it’s too late to change it now.

To read more of Bruno Faidutti’s thoughts, check out his blog here.

queens necklace

CoolMiniOrNot and Spaghetti Western have announced they are teaming up to reprint Queen’s Necklace from designers Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti. Queen’s Necklace, inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s novel of the same name, was originally printed by Days of Wonder in 2003 and combines set collection, bluffing, and wagering.

Queen’s Necklace is a game of gem-selling, influence, and intrigue at the Court. Two to four players compete in the role of Royal Jeweler to sell rare jewels to the Queen and her court.

Jeweler’s loupe in hand, you must decide how best to spend your hard-earned ducats: on the acquisition of beautiful gems (diamonds, emeralds, and rubies); or to buy the favors of the various court followers. After three years of craftsmanship, the jeweler who sells the most precious gems and builds the largest fortune will receive the coveted title of King’s Jeweler and a place at the Court!

The reprint will include new art by Denis Zilber and an updated rule book combining all the changes and revisions for the game as well as clarifications that currently exist only in digital FAQs. It is expected to be out in September 2015.

Spaghetti Western and CoolMiniOrNot have teamed up in the past to bring us great games like Arcadia Quest, Kaosball, and Dogs of War so it’s a good bet that this will be an exceptional reprint of an already great game. Be sure to look for it at your FLGS/OLGS.


Days of Wonder announced an upcoming expansion to the hit game Five Tribes coming to GenCon this summer! From designer Bruno Cathala, artwork by Clément Masson, and titled ‘The Artisans of Naqala‘ the expansion will bring Artisans to the game who will help players craft magical and precious items. Some of these items will unlock special powers and others will provide Victory points.

They say that in the very heart of the mountains of the Sultanate of Naqala, there lives a Tribe that rarely appears in the bazaars and markets in town.

They call themselves the Artisans, and work day and night crafting precious items, inlaid with rare gems.

Some travellers claim that the Artisans are able to craft unique artifacts, filled with magic and mystery…

artisans cards

The Artisans will be represented by purple meeples and the expansion will also feature new Djinns and new tiles: Workshops (where Artisans Craft their items), Specialized Markets (where players can buy specific merchandise), an impassable Chasm, and Mountain markers. The entire contents of the expansion will be:

  • 6 Tiles (3 Workshops, 2 Specialized Markets, & 1 Chasm)
  • 15 Wooden Meeples
  • 4 Tents
  • 18 Item Markers
  • 6 Mountains
  • 4 Djinn cards (2 new, 2 revised)
  • 1 New Scoring Pad
  • 4 Summary Sheets
  • 1 Rule Booklet


Five Tribes was a big hit at GenCon last year, is nominated for a 2014 Dice Tower Award, and won the Golden Geek award for Best Strategy Game 2014. With the original designer and artist back for this expansion it’s a pretty good bet that this will make an already great game even better.

You can see the full press release here. If you’re lucky enough to attend GenCon check it out and as always keep an eye on your FLGS/OLGS for the expansion to become available.