carcassonne

Z-Man Games announces a fresh new take on the classic Carcassonne game: Carcassonne: Safari.    Instead of building the French countryside surrounding Carcassonne, players will build the wilderness of Africa with savannahs, bush, animal paths, baobab trees, and watering holes, all teaming with wildlife.  The wildlife is key to scoring in Carcassonne: Safari.  Unlike traditional Carcassonne, scored points are not based on size or length of a controlled area.  Instead, scored points are based on the number of different animals in the scoring area. A safari is certainly more interesting with a larger variety of animals.  Bonus points are scored for each bird in a scored area.  Boabab trees, like the cloisters in the original Carcassonne game, need to be surrounded before being completed. However, boabab trees do not score any points.  Instead, they provide the player controlling the baobab tree animal tokens when placed and additional animal tokens when completed.  Players can use the animal tokens to increase the scoring of bushes and paths by discarding a token to increase the number of animal types scored in the area by one.  Animal tokens can also be used to create watering holes.  Every player can contribute to any watering hole by adding their animal token to the watering hole as long as it contains a different animal than one already there. Scoring encourages the completion of watering hole because each new tile placed to expand the watering hole scores an increasing number of points. Lastly, this game features two ranger vehicles that reside just adjacent to the safari tiles.  Players may move the ranger vehicles as part of their move.  Placing a tile beneath a ranger vehicle scores additional bonus points.  Carcassonne: Safari is the fourth game in the Carcassonne Around the World series which already features Carcassonne: Amazonas, Carcassonne: Gold Rush, and Carcassonne: South Seas.  Carcassonne: Safari is available for pre-order now and will be released in late 2018.  Go to Z-Man Games to learn more about Carcassonne: Safari.

 

The latest expansion for the wildly popular Carcassonne adds bridges, castles and bazaars, providing players with creative solutions to earn more points.

Many players know the frustration of broken roadways and roads to nowhere. Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars, provides players wooden bridge tokens to connect broken roadways and around obstacles.

The new castle tile enables player to turn even the smallest city into valuable real estate.  Cities with a castle score additional points from completed neighboring features.

Lastly, the new bazaar tile triggers an auction for choice tiles that players may bid their current points to try and claim the most advantageous tile for themselves.

Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars contains 12 Land Tiles, 12 Castle Tiles, and 12 Wooden Bridges and is available for pre-order now.

Asmodee, which has the largest catalog of games under it’s wide umbrella thanks to it’s partnerships with Days of Wonder, ZMAN Games, Fantasy Flight, Catan Games and more, has announced it’s Modern Classics line. This new category is for games that are easy to get into yet offer tremendous depth and make for excellent staples in any new or existing collection. The titles in this series together cover a wide range of mechanisms and modes-of-play and each one is considered a gateway of it’s respective genre. As stated by Asmodee in their announcement:

“Modern Classics refers to a small group of pioneering titles that have left a lasting legacy on the board-games market and have stood the test of time to remain preferred gateway purchases in a constantly changing landscape of products. […] Each of the highlighted titles is easy to learn but hard to master, making them well suited for any gaming situation that you might encounter. The Modern Classics range consists of the following games: Ticket to Ride Europe, Catan, Carcassonne, Dixit, Pandemic, and Splendor.

While this really is just a matter of showcasing for new customers, the games chosen here are, I feel, irrefutably ‘Modern Classics’ and deserve to be called as such. These quintessential games also cover a lot of ground as well, certain to prepare even the newest of gamers for the great many strategy games that lie beyond. Just with these six games there’s card drafting, network building, tile laying, set collection, storytelling, cooperation, trading, and resource management game mechanisms. Hoo! The question I have now is, will there be any more games added to this list in the future? Only time will tell.

Z-Man Games has announced plans to release an updated version of the The Count, King and Robber expansion for Carcassonne. Originally released in 2007, the new edition of this expansion will feature artwork compatible with the artwork that was updated in the 2014 edition of Carcassonne. The 6th Carcassonne expansion is scheduled for a May 2018 release.

New characters and starting points provide a fresh start for the classic tile-laying game. Choose to begin your adventure with the grand city itself, Carcassonne. Or wander along the edges of a new, winding river. Combine the new river tiles with those from the base game for a more complex river design.

The Count, King and Robber expand the world of Carcassonne with three new characters manipulating the game and how points are scored. The king tile will grant bonus points to whoever holds control of the largest city. Players seeking to explore distant parts of the Carcassonne kingdom will be rewarded for clan,ing bonus points for controlling the longest road with the robber.

The Count controls a new city in Carcassonne which contains for districts: the castle, market, cathedral, and blacksmith. The count will start in the castle but by adding a follower to the city players can move the count to new districts. The count’s location can free trapped followers while also blocking other followers from moving.

Heretics introduce a new mechanic to the game. Players will be able to build shrines to disrupt a monetary. If a shrine is placed next to an occupied monastery a challenge will occur. Players will need to race to complete their feature to be the one scoring points.

The River II adds twelve tiles with river features on each tile. The river tiles are placed first to create a variable starting setup to the game, after which the game continues as normal.

Previous small expansions

Before being released in 2007 as a box set, the expansions included in this collection were only available as small stand alone expansions. Both the 2007 and 2018 versions of The King, Count, and Robber include the following small expansions:

About Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game, designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, in which players take turns drawing and placing tiles to build the French world of Carcassonne. Each basic tile can include features from a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and the tile needs to be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played. Once a tile has been placed, the player then decides whether or not to place one of their meeples on one of the areas represented on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area the meeple is on is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.

Carcassonne won multiple awards in 2001, including the coveted 2001 Spiel des Jahres.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Z-Man Games is making sure to get the small things right an isd releasing a series of mini-expansions available immediately.

Terra Mystica
The new Terra Mystica mini-expansion introduces four new town tiles, a new scoring tile, and a new bonus card create new goals for players to try to complete. All new special terrain tiles for each faction will give new bonuses and abilities when placed.

Carcassonne: The School
“School is in session in Carcassonne!”
The Carcassonne: The School expansion, originally released in 2011,  has each player competing to complete the various roads leading up to the school. Once the road is complete, the teacher will get paints the next time something is scored, regardless of what is scored and which player scored those points. Once each of the roads is complete, there are enough students and the teacher will stay put for the rest of the game.
Carcassonne: The Festival
In The Festival mini expansion for Carcassonne, players have the ability to withdraw a meeple. When a player lays down the festival tile, they choose between placing a meeple normally or withdrawing a previously placed meeple from another feature.
A Feast for Odin
The Feast for Odin mini-expansion has players traveling through two new exploration boards providing more options than before. Players will now be able to sail to the archipelago of Lofoten or travel to Tierra del Fuego. Players will find new opportunities to generate income and obtain new bonuses.
Voyages of Marco Polo: New Characters
Four new faces are being added to The Voyages of Marco Polo. Each character will feature a new game-bending ability. This mini expansion also introduces the gifts mechanic to the game. Gifts will grant players bonus goods and occasionally allow players to take extra actions.
Beyond Baker Street
The Beyond Baker Street expansion will introduce several new characters to the game. New character cards allow players to take on the roles of Dr. John Watson or Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. Moriarty will enter the game as a new possible suspect.
Sylvion: Below Ground
The land itself will join in the fight with the Ravage in a new mini-expansion for Sylvion. Sixteen new terrain cards will be available to occupy battlefield spaces. While Swallowers will use up Tree and Fountain cards, Owls will allow players to draw two cards from the Defender deck.

Castles of Burgundy is a classic euro game that sits in the BoardGameGeek top ten, and with a card game version already created, why not create a dice version?  Coming later this month you will finally be able to play Castles of Burgundy the Dice Game,  a roll and write style game.  The core of the game is still there with the familiar hex board, the ability to buy and sell goods, different actions you can take on tiles, and bonuses you get for completing areas of the board.  But now instead of rolling dice and assigning workers to slowly do these actions, now the roll of the dice will immediately let you get silverlings, mark off spots on the board, get goods, and other things.  This means you will be able to play a game very quickly, and still get a bit of the experience you have from the big game.  Look for this game to hit store shelves by the end of the year.

Next we have a new game coming from Cryptozoic based on the highly popular Rick and Morty cartoon called Rick and Morty: The Ricks Must Be Crazy Multiverse Game.  This game is a unique engine building game in that you will be using energy from the different levels of the multiverse in order to build and operate you inventions, but there is more to it than that.  If you go into the lower multiverses you will get first dibs on energy to be able to power/build things, but because that universe is more primitive, the things you can build are more limited and more unreliable.  Stay in the higher ones and you will be farther down the list when comes time to give out energy, but you will be able to build the best stuff, so plan wisely.  Whoever can “collect” the most tech by the end of the game will be the winner.  Look for this game to be released in April of next year.

The last physical game we will be talking about is the unique game called Wallet, which uses a literal wallet as the main component.  The story is that you are surrounded by the cops, and to escape you need an ID and some cash form the boss, but he just took off in a helicopter.  Lucky for you, he dropped his wallet with all of the IDs and cash left inside.  So on your turn you will be searching the wallet trying to find a plausible ID and some cash to either get out of town, or bribe the cops to look the other way.  But be careful, there could be an undercover cop in your midst if they find their badge in the wallet.  Rounds are quick at only 10 minutes and the whole game is over in 30 minutes, with the person who scored the most points being the winner.  So if you want to get your hands on this game with a very thematic and unique component, you will have to wait until June of next year.

And finally, we have the two App releases for the day, the first being an update to the Carcassonne app and the release of the updated Abalone app.  Carcassonne is the perennial favorite tile laying game that most games and even non-gamers know about, and it has done very well as an app in the past.  But this new release of the game makes it look stunning by introducing fully 3D tiles to the game.  This will give the classic game a lot of pop and make it look really impressive.  Check out the new version here and then download it from Google play (sorry iPhones) or steam today.

The second app that has been release is Abalone, a classic abstract strategy game of pushing marbles to corner and remove your opponent’s pieces.  The game looks great and bringing it to the app space means you will be able to practice and work on your strategies against an AI before challenging other players.  Plus the ability to vary aspects of the game like how many marbles you need to remove to win, or setting a time limit, allows you to add more challenge to the game if you are a seasoned player.  So if you are interested you can find out more about the game here, and then download it from your particular app store or steam today.

If you’re anything like me, which since you’re here and most likely interested in board games that means you’re not far off the mark, you’re probably also interested in mobile and Steam versions of popular board games. Digital board games have been a growing market, apps flying out of their little digital shopping carts so-to-speak, and those licensed by publishers also tend to have extra polish and features which make them even more attractive. That’s why the word about several new releases coming from Asmodee Digital is particularly exciting. The list, announced at Gen Con and cited from their press release, is as follows:

Coming very soon:
Ticket to Ride: First Journey (Steam, Mac, iOS & Android)
Carcassonne (Android & Steam)
Smash Up (Steam, iOS & Android)

To be released before the end of 2017:
– Abalone (Steam)
– Milles Bornes (Steam, iOS, and Android)
-A new text adventure game set in the much-loved Catan universe, called Catan Stories (iOS & Android)

Slated for 2018:
Zombicide
Scythe
Terraforming Mars
Bananagrams
Gloom

Digital games are wonderful for their ease and convenience. I use them especially as tools to help learn and teach games very effectively, or to preview games before deciding on purchasing the physical version. I especially welcome digital versions of Scythe and Terraforming Mars which will allow a new audience of gamers to experience those games for themselves without having to invest too much into them up-front. If you’re interested in learning  about these and future app releases, be sure to visit Asmodee’s website and social media pages for more information.

Ares Games has announced an expansion to their 2016 camp-horror-movie board game, Last Friday. Last Friday – Return to Camp Apache will add support for up to 7 players, with two controlling the evil Demon and the Maniac. The expansion will also sport a new board, 5 new characters including 2 special characters, the Marshall and the Witch, 2 new chapters, new clues and equipment. The original Last Friday chapters can also be played with the new goodies in a “Survival Horror” game mode which introduces some real time constraints.  Read more details in the Ares Games press release here.

Cool Mini or Not has announced Sherlook, a board game interpretation of the “difference between the pictures” puzzles from children’s magazines. In Sherlook, two nearly identical crime scene pictures are placed out, and players need to guess how many differences there are between the photos. When only one player is left, they only have 3 more seconds to make a guess. The game continues over 10 rounds, in which crime scene photos can be arranged in very different ways, adding to the difficulty.  Sherlook comes with “40 nearly identical crime scene photos”, stumps 2-6 players in about 20 minutes, and should be available now. You can read more about the game in the CMoN press release here.

Z-Man Games has announced the 2017 Carcassonne Big Box, which contains the original 2001 Spiel Winner, along with 11 of the most essential expansions. This compilation, actually the 6th big box for Carcassonne, contains the first two expansions, Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders, considered indispensable. Also in the box are the mini-expansions Flying Machines, Messengers, Ferries, Gold Mines, Robbers, Mage & Witch, Abbot, River and Crop Circles. If this classic of modern board gaming has managed to escape your collection so far, this Big Box collection should be a must buy. You can read more details on the Z-Man website here.

While the Green Horde continues to roam the countryside, gobbling up everything in it’s wake, lets see some other games on Kickstarter worthy of a second look.

First up is a game from Pandasaurus Games and Hisashi Hiyashi, designer of Yokohama and Trains, called Minerva.  Minerva is being called a brain burning tile laying game where the location of the tiles being placed has as much importance as the tiles themselves.  The reason for this is that each tile has an ability, but the abilities on the tiles aren’t triggered when they are placed in your tableau.  It isn’t until you put down a residence tile that they are triggered, and then it’s only the tiles in that row.  This is how you will gain resources, buy buildings, and eventually be able to purchase the temples to score big VP bonuses at the end.  Needless to say this game has a lot of tough decisions going as you determine how to build your tiled engine so that you can reap the most victory points.  Check out the Kickstarter today if this sounds like something you want to try.

Not enough Cthulhu in your life?  Do you think Carcassonne is too boring just building out a normal city?  Well Carcosa is here to answer the call and give you your cthulhu based Carcassonne game.  And as you can probably guess, this game plays much like the quintessential classic where you are drawing tiles and placing tiles, and then placing your cultists to claim majorities on different features.  Some differences come in the form of hidden information and the effects tiles can have when fully revealed.  On your turn you will place a tile you drew and looked at, but that tile will be face down, which for most tiles doesn’t change anything.  But, there are some tiles with a yellow mark on them, and these are the tiles which will have special effects when they are revealed, causing events like devouring several cultists on the board.  Plus with your cultists going mad and needing to recover whenever they score, you have a very different feeling game to normal Carcassonne.  Check out the Kickstarter today, and try to keep your sanity.

Next is a game which takes the Greek gods of old and gives them a high tech make-over for an interesting new take on territory control, called Lords of Hellas. Lords of Hellas’ look is very eye catching, taking mythological characters like Hercules, Helena, and the Minotaur and giving them a technology upgrade.  This also carries over into the huge monuments in the game of various Greek gods like Zeus, Hermes, and Athena, each standing nearly 5″ tall when fully built.  Gameplay for the game is territory control, but that alone would be boring, so changes and tweaks have been made to keep things fresh and new.  Multi-use cards give you tough choices in a game with few resources, do you play them to help in battle or for their resources?  Multiple end game conditions make it so that if you are losing on one front, you might still be able to win on another.  The heroes of each army also bring asymmetry to the game with different abilities and start conditions, plus you can upgrade your hero throughout the game making them even better.  Overall there are lots of things to like about this game, so check out their Kickstarter page to see everything it has to offer.

Finally we have something that is half game, half teaching tool called Turing Tumble, a name that plays on the famous Turing Test which tests for artificial intelligence.  The board is vertical with lots of pegs on it for the placement of different gears, flippers, switches, as well as launchers and catchers for two sets of colored marbles.  As you place the pieces on the board, you can get the board to sort or combine the colored marbles in predictable ways or do other functions.  It can even be taken as far as creating a calculator for doing math, making this board a mechanical computer that kids will have fun playing with.  The game aspect of the Turing Tumble comes from the included comic book which has you following the adventures Alia, a space engineer, as she tries to escape from a deserted planet.  The puzzles in the game start out easy and get harder as they go along, teaching your kinds the basics of computers and helping them build more complex sequences.  If this sounds as interesting to you as it does to me, head on over to their Kickstarter page.

Meeplesource has started their third Kickstarter Campaign, offering a gorgeous collection of printed wooden upgrades to many popular and new board games. Highlighting the offerings are large 32mm custom meeples for the highly anticipated upcoming legacy city building game Charterstone. Ink and Remover tokens for the upcoming Hardback are present. The classics are supported with custom bits for Carcassonne and its many expansions, as well as new printed meeples for Catan. Red Raven Games are being well represented in this Kickstarter with upgrade kits for Islebound,  Above and Below, and the upcoming Empires of the Void II, each keeping Ryan Laukat’s unique art style. New Colt Express and Camel Up wooden bits are also being offered.

Check out the Kickstarter Campaign here, which will continue through June 1. The items are expected to deliver October 2017.