Z-Man announces Hadara, a civilization building game with an innovative card selection system.  In Hadara, players attempt to build the most prestigious civilization over the course of three epochs.  In order to grow their civilization, players will recruit people from different cultures who will bring in their knowledge and skills to build your commerce, military, arts, agriculture, and technologies. The card selection system is based on a rotating wheel depicting the five player civilizations. Surrounding the civilization wheel are the five decks of specialties to improve civilizations. Players may recruit from the specialty closest to their civilization symbol of the rotation wheel.  Players need to carefully consider who they will and will not recruit.  As the wheel is rotated, new opportunities are presented, including those people left unrecruited by others. With each epoch, merchants, artisans, philosophers, warriors, and architects are more skilled and bring greater benefits to civilizations but at a great cost.  Hadara is designed by Benjamin Schwer (Crown of Emara) and features artwork by Dominik Mayer (Concordia and Transatlantic).  Hadara plays 2-5 players, ages 10+, in 45-60 minutes. It is available for pre-order now, or look for it in your friendly local game store this spring.

UK Games Expo is the premier event in the UK where all aspects of the gaming hobby are represented under one roof. It will run on Friday, 1st June to Sunday 3rd June 2018. The UK Games Expo Awards were developed and introduced in 2007 to recognize the achievements of manufacturers and publishers of eligible games in a variety of game genres.

This is a shortlist of the games nominated in no particular order.

Best Abstract Game

Best Children’s Game

  • BrainBox People at Work (The Green Board Game Company)
  • Don’t be a Donkey (John Adams Leisure Ltd)
  • Rhino Hero: Super Battle (Habermaass GmbH aka HABA)

Best Family Game

Best Miniature Range

Best Miniature Rules

Best New Accessory

  • Big Book of Battle Mats (Loke Battle Mats)
  • DMB Games Resin Dungeon Tile Core Set (DMB Games)
  • Blood Red Skies – Aces Accessory sets (Warlord Games)

Best New Boardgame (American-Style)

Best New Boardgame (Euro-Style)

Best New Boardgame (Strategic Style)

Best New Card or Dice Game

Best New Expansion

Best Party Game

Best Role-playing Adventure

Best Role-playing Expansion

Best Role-playing Game

Academy Games would like to announce their upcoming game releases for June of 2016.  These releases are:

Mare Nostrum: Empires

Mare Nostrum: Empires is a building game in which 3-5 players lead their individual empires to dominion of the ancient world.  You grow the fame and glory of your empire by expanding your influence into new Provinces, then extending your Trade Caravans, building Markets, and founding new Cities and Temples.  You may also recruit Heroes and create Wonders to advance your Empire’s cause.  But beware of your ‘friends’, for they may look upon your gains with envy and greed…and thwart your progress towards dominance of Mare Nostrum!

  • Choose Your Leader
  • Choose Your Strategy
  • Grow into a Trade Empire
  • Become a Hero
  • Conquer Your Enemies
  • Play in a Beautiful World with High Quality Components and a Thick Mounted Game board

Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal

This stand-alone product continues the multi-award-winning Conflict of Heroes series.  In this game, players command platoons and companies of individual squads and tanks to resolve the same tactical dilemmas that commanders faced during some of the most ferocious engagements of World War II.

In this game, the Americans track Victory Points, but the Japanese track Bushido.  If a Japanese commander loses face during battle, his command and men’s morale can crumble.  Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal features a fast and fluid system (quick and simultaneous play) that is fun, easy (no charts), historically accurate, and contains high-quality components.

Look for both of these titles to be released in stores in June of 2016.  For more information on these titles, visit the Academy Games website.


BGG.Con is underway and amidst the excitement and eager gamers, Artana sat down with our own Eric Summerer to show off a very intriguing new title – Chronicles: Origins. Designed by Dirk Knemeyer and Rob Daviau, Origins very literally will be the first of the chronicles series which will take players on a journey of creating a new world from scratch! Via it’s BGG entry:

First, players take the role of leaders of a small and emerging tribe, collaborating to avoid threats, exploit opportunities, and build the tribe to a position of growth and stability. Then, once a variety of tribes have been created, players take leadership of a city-state that evolved from an original tribe and contest the region with their opponents who are the leaders of city-states of their own.

origins 2

The game features the legacy mechanism that has been popularized by Risk: Legacy and the recently released Pandemic: Legacy. Judging by the information available, it seems that Artana is differentiating their product from those powerhouses, which turned hour-long classics into week-long affairs, by adapting the evolving game with specialized components, chits, and tried-and-true role playing elements. What really makes it stand out, though, is something called the “Echo System”, which allows the unique creations of each player that stands it’s test of time to easily transfer and continue to later releases of the series. For fans of legacy games, this is a good step forward. We now have a game that’s preparing itself at release for expansive content that allows the legacy game to continue to live and breathe beyond it’s shelf-life. The potential for this design step is incredible, to say the least. I look forward to hearing more about it.


hostage negotiator

In the October 2015 press release for Van Ryder Games, the company announced that Kevin Wilson, designer of hit games such as Descent, Civilization, Android, and TMNT, will be creating 1 of 4 upcoming new Abductor Packs to expand the solitaire game Hostage Negotiator.

See the official press release below:

Thompsons Station, TN – October 12th, 2015 – Van Ryder Games announced today that Kevin Wilson, designer of such notable games as Descent, Civilization, Android, and the upcoming TMNT, has signed on to design an Abductor Pack for the hit solitaire game Hostage Negotiator. The Abductor pack from Wilson is slated to be 1 of 4 new expansion packs to be released in 2016.

Van Ryder Games’ owner A.J. Porfirio comments, “We are thrilled to have Kevin on board to contribute to the growing amount of Hostage Negotiator content. He is undoubtedly the most prolific designer we have worked with and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Hostage Negotiator is a quick to play 20-30 minute card and dice game that has you negotiating with a hostage taker for the release of hostages. Gameplay features a hand building mechanic which has the feel of deck building, but without the deck. The game immerses you in the theme with many players reporting a strong emotional response when hostages are released or killed. The game is expandable by adding Abductor Packs that feature new Hostage Takers and new game play elements.

Hostage Negotiator is currently sold out and a 2nd printing is in progress with an expected Nov/Dec release date which will include a reprint of Abductor Packs 1 & 2, as well as, the introduction of Abductor Packs 3 & 4!

For more information on Hostage Negotiator and its upcoming expansions, visit the company’s website here.

tigris martial

Fantasy Flight Games’ upcoming reprint of the classic title Tigris & Euphrates (Reiner Knizia) is a board game in which players compete to develop the most extensive and well-balanced civilization.  In the beginning of the game, there is plenty of room for expansion of your empire on the Fertile Crescent, but as yours and your neighbors’ kingdoms expand, conflict is inevitable.  In a recent article by Fantasy Flight Games, the process of growing one’s civilization and the conflict that occur in the game are explained in more detail.

Players begin by taking control of treasure-filled temples dotting the landscape by placing one of their leaders (kings) near one of them.  Each player will be expanding their civilization by placing buildings of four different colors: blue, green, red, and black, representing agricultre, commerce, housing, and religion.  Players score points by placing tiles connecting to a connected civilization.  Treasures grant victory points in any color.  The winner is the player who has the highest amount of points in their weakest color.

tigris revolts

Revolts can occur in a kingdom when a player places a leader token in a kingdom that already has a leader of that type.  The player with more temples (therefore more favored by the gods) wins the revolt.  Placed tiles can also connect two kingdoms, which can also lead to a revolt.

Catastrophes are a way to permanently protect your civilization, or buy time to place more tiles.  They can also be used to sabotage another player due to their ability to “transform a square of land that could have become disputed into a permanently blighted disaster zone where nothing can be built.”

In the early days of urban civilization, countless leaders fought for control over Mesopotamia’s rich land and swelling population. Only one leader had the foresight, the support, and the ruthlessness necessary to overcome the competition, and found a dynasty that would last far into the future. Can you create an enduring civilization and a powerful dynasty, or will you be defeated in the brutal battles fought over the fertile crescent?

To read this article about the details of gameplay in Tigris & Euphrates, visit the web page here.

Irongames has announced some exciting new releases for the month of April, and here we are offering a glimpse at these new titles!


In Peloponnes, each player is trying to establish one of seven different civilizations in 1,000 BC. To do this, they must erect buildings and annex land to be developed, thereby increasing both their wealth and their population.

In this game designed by Bernd Eisenstein, players will bid on tiles and gather income, after which disaster tiles will be revealed that could affect all players.  Land tiles, building tiles, and inhabitants are all worth victory points.  The winner will achieve the most points, thus making them the most dominant civilization on the peninsula at the start of a new millennium.  Peleponnes is a game for 1-5 players ages 10 and up, and plays in 15-50 minutes.


Enter Rome at the time of the slave uprisings under Spartacus! The escaped rebels have managed to gain influence and power. Rome is attempting to undermine the stronger armies of the slaves in order to restore “pax”, or peace – but only for personal gain. Will the Empire collapse under the strain, or will their promises to insurgents succeed in drawing them to their side?

In PAX, players take on the role of the escaped slave underground.  Using their cards, they will attempt to undermine the Roman establishment and increase their sphere of influence.  Players will win the game by developing more strength than Rome (and any other player).  This game involves tricky tactical decisions, and a player can, through deception and intrigue, side with Rome to aid in a victory over the slave revolt.

PAX is for 1-4 players ages 10 and up, and plays in 30 minutes.

PAX Expansion will also be released, including 30 new cards:

The slaves are re-arming themselves and Rome, too, does not remain idle. With the new cards; Militia, Scouts, and Adversaries, additional tactics are possible for the slaves as well as for Rome!


They were the most powerful nations of their time: the Carthaginians, Romans, Hellenes, Egyptians and Persians. Pergamemnon assembles all of these peoples for an epic showdown.

Pergamemnon is a deck-builder in which players will become on of the most powerful nations in antiquity, and through direct conflict, will vie for victory.  Nations will also be able to conjure mythical creatures to influence the battle in their favor.

Pergamemnon is a game for 2-5 players ages 10 and up, and plays in 45 minutes.

Pergamemnon Expansion will also be released, including 32 new cards:

Out of the Abyss come the Germans and the Macedonians, two more powerful nations to compete with the others. In addition to the specific skills of each people, all players now have the option to acquire additional skills.


Titans, the demi-gods of the underworld, threaten mankind, spreading mischief and chaos in the world but the humans are prepared to defend themselves by creating their own Titans to withstand these attacks from the underworld.

Players play as these humans, attempting to carry on the business of normal life by acquiring goods, upgrading their merchandise, and delivering them to ships and dealers.  All the while, players will be strengthening their titans and troops to gain the military advantage.

Panthalos is for 2-5 players ages 12 and up and plays in 60 – 90 minutes.


In this tactical tile-laying game, players will be striving to acquire valuable land and riches for the Roman Empire.  Players will need to balance their tax collection strategies, as a greedy tax policy will limit the influx of riches later in the game.  By placing land tiles and moving their armies and censors, players will attempt to collect the most coins to achieve victory.  The game ends when 120 coins have been collected.

Palmyra is a game for 1-5 players ages 10 and up and plays in 30-45 minutes.

For more information on these new releases and on Irongames, visit Irongames’ website here.

big game theory banner

Explore. Expand. Exploit. Exterminate. A 4X gamer’s favorite things. Designer Oliver Kiley (Hegemonic) conducts a very in-depth examination into the pitfalls of 4X design. Mostly discussing the video game 4X experience, many of his points can be rolled over to analog games.

This basic premise of large-scale empires fighting for resource control to fuel a military domination struggle creates some fundamental challenges for 4X game design…As I see it, the challenges are inter-related, but stem from a set of relatively simple issues.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

The post covers the unsatisfying end game of many 4X scenarios when you have to wipe up an often far-flung lingering opposition after your empire has reached a obvious and unassailable level of advancement. As well as the challenge behind how to balance a multi-player game and keep things interesting once one player has “snowballed” past the point of any hope of challenge. Plus, how do you manage your empire once your cities are as numerous as the stars?

The result of unchecked snowballing is that, for many in 4X games, matches are decided by “one big battle.” The player with the biggest production and military advantage presses the attack and corners a defender. If they are able to stack the odds in their favor in advance, winning a key fight is often a foregone conclusion. And once the bulk of the defenders army is destroyed the aggressor just “steamrolls” their way to an inevitable victory, with their forces uncontested as they take over the opposing empire.

Going beyond the unsatisfactory solution of buffoonish, inefficient AI “governors” , Kiley finds the best solutions lie in working to create a swift closure to a winning game, as well as create alternate goals to allow multiple avenues of victory beyond raw numerical superiority. He also details some game designs that go so far as to radically reinvent the 4X concept.

The post is an extremely fascinating read and you can check it out on his Big Game Theory blog right here. You can also check out Kiley’s earlier study of the 4X experience “A Failure to End” here.


    clockwork wars

    Eagle & Gryphon Games have a new project, Clockwork Wars, that will be launching on Kickstarter on July 30.  Designed by Hassan Lopez, this fantasy civilization game features hidden unit deployment and a technology tree that varies from game to game in sorcery, science, and religion.  In this “magic and steam-era technology” universe, players earn points by controlling territories with resources, developing your cities, and seizing villages.  After nine turns, the player with the most victory points is the winner.

    Clockwork Wars is for 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up with a play time of 75 minutes.

    clockwork wars sentience

    On the Facebook page, Eagle and Gryphon Games have posted a mock up of their new expansion to the game, Sentience.  This expansion will add a fifth player and race, as well as a cards and hex tiles.

    Hassan Lopez has a Designer’s Diary where he goes into details about the development of the game.  Lopez stated, “I knew early on that my best opportunity to weave theme into the game mechanics was within the Discovery cards. Like in any good civilization game, I wanted the player’s personal narrative to unfold both within the realm of conquest and exploration, as well as technological discovery.


    Coming Soon from Ludically and Chrisophe Boelinger


    After decades of exploration, disputes arise among the colonizing European nations over the discovered lands, resources and trade routes.
    Old-continent quarrels become new again in the colonies.  War & Peace introduces 40 new beautifully and individually illustrated evolution cards
    consisting of 20 character and 20 progress cards.


    You will be able to combine them with the base game’s evolution cards or use them as a complete replacement. Your games will become even richer and more varied. The cards are more aggressive. They are interactive, original, and sometimes drastic. They cover the major themes of war, peace, and trade, among others. With War & Peace, add spice to your games and make your copy of Archipelago new again!

    Contents: 40 cards, 1 card tray, 1 rulebook