It is with a very heavy heart I report that we have recently lost a giant in the industry, Darwin Bromley. Darwin started as the co-designer of Empire Builder (1982), one of the first popular route connection games, and founded the company to distribute it, Mayfair Games. Later, Mayfair was almost single-handedly responsible for bringing European style board games to the U.S., distributing the English versions of Catan (then Settlers of Catan), Agricola, and many many others until Asmodee bought the company in 2016. Numerous outpourings have come from the gaming community, best summed up by famed Munchkin artist John Kovalic, who called Darwin’s passing “the end of an era.” I know that my life would be very different if Mr. Bromley had not made all those boxes, now in my shelves, available and popular on these shores. Thank you Mayfair Games. Thank You, Darwin Bromley.
Catan GmbH is debuting a new CATAN release at Essen, which will not only add new game elements to Klaus Teuber’s award-winning fan favorite but will donate all proceeds from the scenario to the Global Crop Diversity Trust (Crop Trust). CATAN – Crop Trust is a collaboration between Crop Trust and Catan GmbH, introducing a new semi-cooperative way to play the classic game as well as teaching players about one of the greatest challenges facing the planet today.
Players’ must balance their individual need to harvest crops against their collective goal to store and preserve seeds in the Seed Vault. Players who harvest too much endanger the seed diversity, and in doing so, threaten the land with mass extinctions and a collapse of the food supply.
“As a part of our mission to support the conservation of natural resources, Catan GmbH will donate all proceeds from the scenario to the Crop Trust. Catan Studio, the publisher for the English-speaking market, will also donate a portion of their revenue per printed copy and will offer support to organizations who want to use the scenario for educational or charitable causes.”
CATAN – Crop Trust contains educational information in addition to the board game. A specially-produced almanac which explains the history of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Frequently Asked Questions, and examples of the importance of crop conservation are also included.
There are 100+ videos that pertain to CATAN on The Dice Tower so check some of them out.
CATAN – Crop Trust will debut at the Essen Game Fair and will be available in stores and online on November 8, 2018.
A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch will add 5-6 player support and a number of new features in the upcoming extension to the existing game by Fantasy Flight Games. A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch adds several new mechanisms to the classic Catan gameplay. Players step into the roles of brothers of the Night’s Watch, who are tasked with recruiting guards for the wall and developing the Gift.
“The northern region known as the Gift was bestowed on the Night’s Watch thousands of years ago. This fertile land provides the Watch with lumber, brick, wool, grain, and ore. At least, it used to. As the Watch has become forgotten by the lords and ladies of Westeros, the infrastructure of the Gift has fallen into disrepair and the Lord Commander, Jeor Mormont, is willing to give anything to one who can restore the Gift to its former glory, even naming them as his successor.” [source]
Players are locked in competition to become the next Lord Commander by building roads, settlements, and keeps. Purchasing Development Cards and recruiting guards to defend the Wall are also crucial in proving players’ worth. With the addition of two more players, more land and paths are made available in an extended version of the game. The addition of a Special Build Phase in each player’s turn allows them to set each other apart as they spend their resources on unique, new opportunities.
4 new hero cards have also been added to hero display including the iconic Jon Snow who is able to protect a player from the robber, Tormund Giantsbane. The other heroes making their debut are Osha, Gilly, and Aemon Targaryen. Of course, to help balance out the boost to the players there’s an equal boost to the opposition in the form of mammoths to assist the two new Wildling clans.
A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch supports 3-4 players without the expansion, and 3-6 players including it. A typical game lasts 60-75 minutes though that will probably be lengthier with the extra players. The game was designed by Klaus Teuber and Benjamin Teuber and the extension should be released soon.
Related Content: Tom reviews A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch
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.
Catan fans can rejoice as there’s a lot of fun announcements for the most deservedly-lauded board games of our era. All of this news comes courtesy of the Catan Newsletter which was chock-full of everything Catan-related that one could possibly imagine. So without further ado, let’s talk about the exciting stuff!
As far as news goes for the Catan line of standalone games – Game of Thrones Catan had quickly sold out and is being reprinted with an estimated street date of November 2018. There is also a new game in the Catan Histories line, Rise of the Inkas, which is slated to arrive this summer and so far it sounds really cool. In addition to the standard rules of play, each player will have to decline their settlements twice over the course of the game, with the first player to rebuild their third era civilization being the winner. Old, retired settlements will do nothing more than provide resources for you, but they can also be built over by opponents only, so long-term planning is a must! As described via the press release:
“The strategic choices you face in Catan are even more nuanced in Rise of the Inkas. As you approach the pinnacle of a tribe’s development, your opponents look for ways to take advantage of your settlements in decline and try to take the best locations for their own! Deciding when to advance your tribe is something that you must carefully consider, for simply rushing to advance can put you in a compromised position as the resources you relied on can be claimed by your opponents.”
On the digital front, there’s Catan Universe – an online ecosystem for the base game and it’s first two expansions that can be played between all supported devices (Android, iOS, Steam, and any web browser). Now it’s easier than ever to trade and steal sheep with whoever you want, wherever you want! There’s also Catan Stories: Legend of the Sea Robbers. Players control a raven who accompanies three heroes in a choose-your-own-adventure style experience as they face conflicts that shape the future of the island.
Last, but certainly not least, there’s more Catan-themed merchandise in the shop, including Chocolate Catan and socks! There’s a lot of fun things to find in there, especially gift ideas for a board-gamer in your life. So if ever there was a time when more hexagonal-based strategy goodness was needed in your life, there’s a lot to indulge in now. If you’re interested in more Catan-related products and news, be sure to check out their website for more information and announcements!
We have reported on how a Catan movie is in the works, and the question everyone keeps asking is what in Catan can you make a movie about? Well a new game from Asmodee Digital may help answer that question, Catan Stories: Legends of the Sea Robbers. This is a text based adventure game set in the Catan world, where you will control three heroes as they seek to rescue Catan.
Explore the world of Catan like never before. Catan Stories : the Legend of the Sea Robbers is a text-based adventure game developed by Asmodee Digital with Klaus & Benjamin Teuber, the authors of Catan. Embody a raven, the keeper of the island, and guide three heroes on their journey to rescue Catan. Every decision you make will lead you to mysterious parts of the island. It’s time to save the island! (Catan Stories website)
So if this kind of choose your own adventure game is of interest to you, you can purchase the game in the App store, or on Google Play today. This is the first in the line of adventure games like this so expect to see more of them in the future.
Tired of eating wheat and mutton? Catan is about to get a lot more delicious.
Just in time for Christmas (and Easter) a new edible edition of Catan is rolling out. The new Catan: Chocolate Edition includes 32 pieces of fine Belgian chocolate in the shapes of knights, cities, settlements and roads. And the end of the game tuck the pieces away, into your belly rather than back in the box.
The new Catan: Chocolate edition includes everything you’ll need to play. In addition to the chocolate the game comes with a set of resource cards, spinner and a complete set of simplified game rules.
This simpler (but far more delicious) version of the Catan includes a spinner to determine resources rather than dice. To build something, pay the familiar resource costs but chocolate bars earned get placed in front of you. The first player to reach 5 victory points wins the game. Following the game players eat the pieces in their tableau.
Inedible Editions of Catan
In Catan (formerly The Settlers of Catan), designed by Klaus Teuber, players try to settle the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. Players roll dice to determine what resources the island produces. Players collect these resources in the form of wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone cards and then use cards to build up their community and try to be the first to 10 victory points. Though the original edition of Catan has cards for grain and sheep, none of the original commodities were actually edible or shearable.
Catan is considered by many to be a staple of the modern gaming era. The game has been winning awards steadily since it’s original release in 1995. A short list of awards won includes:
Sony Pictures is currently negotiating for the rights to adapt “Catan” into a movie. Apparently the studio is looking forward to turning Catan into a possible franchise, and is fast-tracking the film towards production. Could Knights and Seafarers follow in the future, or will the franchise pivot towards attracting 5-6 additional moviegoers?
If negotiations are successful, Gail Katz would produce the film. Katz has produced hit movies including Pawn Sacrifice, The Perfect Storm, In the Line of Fire, and Air Force One. Variety first reported in 2015 that she had acquired the rights.
“We’re excited to be working with Sony to bring the iconic world of Catan to life,” Katz said. “As huge fans of the game, we’re struck by the endless possibilities of stories that it could inspire. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to work in a world beloved by millions of people, and expand its story for the screen.”
Katz would be joined on the producing team by Dan Lin. Lin’s credits include The Departed, Terminator Salvation, Sherlock Holmes, The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, and recent horror movie blockbuster remake It. Upcoming releases will including The Lego Movie Sequel, Aladdin, and Godzilla 2. Jonathan Eirich
Blaise Hemingway has been tapped to write the screenplay. Blaise has just one released film as writer, 2006 short film The Bracelet. Hemingway is credited as writer for two additional films in pre-production, Ugly Dolls and an untitled Playmobil Movie.
(Settlers of) Catan
Catan, designed by Klaus Teuber, has sold over 25 million copies worldwide and is available in 38 different language. It was often credited as launching a renaissance in board game design following its 1995 release. It spawned a seemingly endless stream of expansions, including the recently 2017 release Catan: Legends of the Sea Robbers.
In the original Catan 2-4 players try build settlements, cities, and roads in an effort to dominate the island of Catan. On each turn a pair of dice are rolled to determine what resources are produced on the island. Players whose cities and settlements are adjacent to resource producing hexes collect resource cards and spend them to build up their civilization in an attempt to get 10 victory points and win the game.
In 1995 Catan, then still referred to as Settlers of Catan, won the coveted Spiel des Jahres award and in 2001 was inducted in two the Originals Hall of Fame. A partial list of awards won includes:
Pretty sure my own wallet takes a kick whenever I do these posts, but then again, that just shows that there are lots of interesting projects out there to back. So here are some more for you to look at.
Fist up is a new game from Ludicreations that tries to tell the forgotten story of what happened during the destruction of the libraries at Alexandria. Alexandria is a euro game where you most precious resource is time, as the library is burning down around you and you need to get the most valuable treasures before they are lost forever. Each setup of the game is different with a randomly generated layout, and as you move from one room to the other you will be interacting and reacting to things that are there. You will have to plan your moves wisely, budget your time well, and make use of various items and books you obtain to secure what you seek. In the end you will score based on the sets of items you were able to rescue and the person with the most points is the winner. You can find out more about this game on it’s Kickstarter page, and also look at the wonderful illustrations done for it by the talented Vincent Dutrait.
Next is the latest game from Tim Fowers called Now Boarding. For those of us who have played game apps like Airport Mania, this game will feel very similar as it’s a race against time for you and your fellow pilots to fly people to their destinations. On a turn there will be new passengers who have places they need to be, and in order to get them there you will have to work together since each player owns certain air travel lanes on the board. Once the round starts you have 30 seconds to pick up passengers and drop their off as quickly as you can, any that don’t make it gain anger tokens. Once a passenger gets three anger tokens they are removed from the game and file a complaint, three complaints and everyone loses. Manage to avoid getting that third complaint and you all win! With a fast play time and great art, this filler game could hit the table multiple times. To find out more about the game and to pledge, you can visit their Kickstarter page.
After that we have the latest in the long line of werewolf themed social deduction games from Bezier Games called Werebeasts. So what makes this game different than the 50 other Werewolf style games? Well for one this one is a social deduction collection game, this means you are trying to figure out what people are collecting over identifying any specific individual. Each round you will be bidding for cards with one player being the auctioneer, and the rest bidding with whatever cards they have. The auctioneer gets to determine what they consider a higher bid and the highest bidder gets the card. You can accuse someone at any time on what they are collecting, but if you are wrong then you are eliminated instead. But why are you collecting cards? Each person has two goals on werebeasts they want to collect, and each one they collect is worth a point. At the end, the last one standing or most points at the end is the winner. So if you are in the mood for another social deduction game, check out the Kickstarter.
Next is a beautiful drafting card game from Dr. Finn Games called Little Flower Shop. In this game you are the owner of a flower shop trying to arrange that most beautiful flowers in your store window. To do this you will be drafting cards, with cards having vases, flowers, hanging baskets, or orders that you can fill. Each vase has a specific flower that needs to be placed in it, and if you manage to but them together then you can score that set at the end of the game. You can also earn points by buying the hanging baskets you draft with money you earn by fulfilling orders with different flowers. At the end whoever has the most points will be the winner of the game. Art for the game has a nice watercolor style to it and the gameplay is simple but fun. If this game sounds interesting then check out it’s Kickstarter page.
Up next is or token dice project of the week, and that is Deluxe Constellation Dice. These dice are a little pricey, but they are high quality and feature sides with different astrological symbols like Cassiopeia or Corona Borealis. The dice also feature some impressive coloring and even some glow in the dark features. Over all if you like dice with a star theme then you want to check out this Kickstarter. You can pledge for D10s, D6s, fudge dice, and even full poly sets at the higher tiers.
Next is an expansion for a game that hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz, but has excellent reviews, and that is The Networks: Executives. The Networks is a previous game that was Kickstarted by Formal Ferret Games and has you playing the programming manager for a fictional TV station. You populate your prime time lineup with shows, stars, and commercials in order to bring in the most viewers. Executives expands on that game by adding three new features to the game. First are Executives, those are essentially characters you choose to play as that have different special abilities and weaknesses. Next are more season 0 shows, giving you an asymmetrical start with different benefits as opposed to the generic same start that the base game had. And last it adds in Mogul cards which give you big bonuses when you achieve a programming milestone, giving something to work towards in that respect. These additions help to expand the game more and smooth out some rough spots in the game. If you want to get a copy of the expansion or the base game, check out the Kickstarter today.
Last is kind of a wild card game which came out of no where, and that is The Island of El Dorado. This game looks like a mix of Catan and an exploration game. On your turn you will roll two dice, you will pick one die to determine how many spaces you can move, and the other die will determine how many resources you gather. Moving is how you explore and reveal the tiles of the board, and when you gather resources you will gather them from areas you have built up or are present. With those resources you can then purchase more villagers, build forts to strengthen your villagers, build farms to gather more resources, or make offerings at temples to gain control of them. The strength of your villagers comes into play when you are moving across the board and another player is in your way. You can battle them, rolling dice and adding your strength to it to see who wins. This is also the way you can steal the final temple piece that is needed to win the game. In the end, whoever has made offerings at the three temples, and has control of temple piece wins the game. So if you like these kinds of mashup type games with lots of different mechanics, while still working well as a whole, check out the Kickstarter today.
Fantasy Flight Games announces a new game set in the bountiful world of Westeros; A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch. This will be a standalone game of resource gathering and trading that is familiar to those that know the classic game Catan, but will offer many differences inspired and adapted from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
The Brothers of the Night’s Watch seek a new leader from among their ranks. Jeor Mormont wishes to promote one who can improve the infrastructure of the Gift, the bountiful and undeveloped area south of the Wall bestowed to the Watch by the Starks thousands of years ago. Drawing sustenance from the unforgiving landscape of the north offers enough challenges, but whomever takes up this task must also man and defend the Wall against the onslaught of Wildlings fighting their way into Westeros. Many brothers now compete to build, defend, and do what they can to protect Westeros, but only one shall rise above their brothers to become the new Lord Commander. But be wary—the north holds many dangers, and winter is coming.
The areas within the Gift are made of resources needed to supply the stalwart brothers of the Night’s Watch. Players will build roads, settlements, and keeps; recruit guards for patrolling; and buy development cards. However, the areas surrounding the Gift are dangerous and must be managed in addition to gathering resources. Tormund Giantsbane, a wildling from the north, has crossed the wall and robs Brothers of their hard earned resources. Wildling forces gather in the Frostfangs, and each player may recruit up to seven brothers from the Westeros prisons to man a section of the wall. Finally, each player commands a unique hero, based on the order of play. These heroes (Jeor Mormont, Bowen Marsh, Samwell Tarly, and Othell Yarwyck) have a unique ability that can be used twice during the game. Other heroes are available to select once your hero’s ability has been used.
At the start of their turn, a player rolls three dice: two to indicate which resources will be harvested from the Gift and one to determine which, if any, Wildlings advance toward the Wall. However, fortifying the Wall has consequences, as those comfortable settlements and keeps attract the notice of the Wildlings. Any time a player builds a settlement or keep, they reveal a number of facedown Wilding tokens in the Frostfangs, and further their inevitable advance toward the Wall.
Of course, the most important duty of the Night’s Watch is to defend the people of Westeros from the feral Wildlings that dwell beyond the Wall. The Wildling clans consist of Regular, Climbers, and Giants that gather and move southward toward the wall once revealed. Players must hire Guards and earn their loyalty by giving them goods in return for their protection.
The protection of the wall must be delicately balanced with the gathering of resources and establishment of settlements, and in familiar fashion, the first player to 10 victory points wins. However, A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch has two forms of possibly victory. If the Wildlings breach the wall three times, the game ends immediately and the player commanding the most guards holding their posts at the wall wins.
Look for A Game of Throne Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch at your local retailer in Q4 of 2017 and make sure to stop by the Fantasy Flight Games booth at Gen Con for a demo as well as the Catan Studios booth!
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