fragor games

Fragor Games has a new game coming out at Essen – A Game of Gnomes. Essen is the annual game show held in Essen, Germany in October, and this year it will be October 8-11.

There currently isn’t much information about A Game of Gnomes, but from the description it looks like a lighthearted game where 2-4 players are gnomes adventuring to seek their fortune. Also, the components look similar to miniature lawn gnomes (sculpted and painted), and it looks like it includes a large mountain for the gnomes to climb.

Preorders for the game are now open. There is an option of Essen pick up as well as normal delivery, so anyone can preorder.

To learn more and preorder A Game of Gnomes, check out Fragor Games’s website here.

ladybugs box

Selecta has released some fantastic children’s games over the years, including Viva Topo! (a favorite in my house!).  Now, thirteen great children’s games previously released by Selecta are now being published by Pegasus Spiele, featuring a whole new box design illustrated by Anne Pätzke.

ladybugs comp

This new design features new, loving illustrations that will greatly appeal to children.  Additionally, a colored dots-scheme for the background of the game boxes will reflect the age-level of the game: green (from 3 years old on), blue (from 4 years old on), yellow (from 5 years old on) or red (from 6 years old on).  The games will still feature the same excellent wooden figures from Selecta.

Pegasus Spiele has announced the first four games of this new series release:

  • Viva Topo! 
  • The Ladybug’s Costume Party
  • the nominated Zoowaboo
  • Bouncing Bunnies

These new games from Pegasus Spiele will be presented at the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL in Essen from October 8 through October 11, 2015 at booth GA-31.

For more information on the new design and release of these children’s games, visit the announcement on Pegasus Spiele’s news page.


Portal Games continues to release quality games with its latest announcement: Five Families, an expansion for the award-winning Legacy: the Testament of Duke De Crecy‏, a game in which players are managing the affairs of their wealthy, aristocratic families in pre-revolutionary France.

Portal Games released the following today in a press release:

Portal Games announces Five Families – an expansion for the award winning Legacy: the Testament of Duke De Crecy

The first expansion for Legacy from designers Ignacy Trzewiczek and Michał Walczak.

Gliwice, Poland – August 31st, 2015. Today, Portal Games announced Five Families, the first expansion for the award winning Legacy: the Testament of Duke De Crecy. This expansion by designers Ignacy Trzewiczek and Michał Walczak adds a new dimension to Legacy through the introduction of unique Families.

Five Familes allows the players to trade new family members and traits to the other players in exchange for their Favor, a new resource. Favor tokens are used to purchase new, powerful actions. Each family is unique and the individual family members offer powerful abilities to the player willing to trade their Favor. Additionally, Five Families adds new Patrons with unique scoring options, Birth Events with more drama, and a Daisy Track for a new solitaire challenge.

“Legacy has always been a thematic game that provokes players into telling jokes, and trash talking each other – with marriages, and having kids with ugly or greedy husbands being a fuel for pure fun. With this expansion I wanted to add even more of this discussion – and that’s how I came up with the idea of players offering their family members to the other players during something like a matchmaking phase! It worked from the very first play test – laughs, funny comments and each player praising his family members as a best choice for a husband or wife. This is hilarious phase and adds so much interaction and table talk to the base game!” says designer Ignacy Trzewiczek.

Legacy the Testament of Duke De Crecy is for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 or older and takes approximately 60-90 minutes to play. Five Families is an expansion which requires the base game to play. The expansion includes 105 cards, an action board, 60 Favor tokens, and a rulebook. Five Families will debut in October at Essen Spiel and will be in Europe retail distribution in October. Distribution in USA will begin in December. MSRP will be $25. For more information you can visit the Five Families page on our website at

About Portal Games

Portal Games is a publisher of award-winning games such as Imperial Settlers, Stronghold, Pret-A-Porter, Legacy, and Neuroshima Hex. Founded in Poland in 1999, Portal Games has developed into one of the most renowned European game publishers and design teams. Their commitment is to produce only the highest quality Board Games That Tell Stories.


Get ready for the newest installment from a true titan among train games! Ticket to Ride Map Collection Volume 5 will include a double sided map for the United Kingdom and Pennsylvania as well as new train card and stock share decks that will introduce players to exciting new economic and technological challenges. Ticket to Ride United Kingdom is designed for 2-4 players and is an expansion to the existing popular game series, so you will need one of the stand-alone Ticket to Ride games to be able to play.


Curious to find out more? Check out the full press release below, or visit the Days of Wonder website here.

Days of Wonder announces new Ticket to Ride Map Collection Volume 5 – United
Kingdom Map Expansion
Also includes the Pennsylvania Map

Los Altos, CA; Paris, France – August 25, 2015.

Today, Days of Wonder announced the upcoming release of the 5th volume in the Ticket to Ride Map Collection – United Kingdom. With this new map designed for 2 to 4 players, players will need to develop their technologies to be able to extend their network over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the 19th century. The double-sided map also features the board of Pennsylvania, a state full of railroad history where players will invest in railroad companies to achieve victory.
The United Kingdom map comes with a complete new Train cards deck including additionnal
Locomotives, and Technology cards such as the Mechanical Stoker or the Thermocompressor
that will allow players to develop their Technology level and build faster trains and claim long
routes. The Pennsylvania map comes with 60 “Stock Shares” cards representing the great
railroad companies of Pennsylvania. On this map, claiming a route also allows a player to invest
in a company – having a majority of shares in a given company allows to score extra bonus
points at game end.

“The new Technology system in Ticket to Ride United Kingdom is really challenging”, says
Adrien Martinot, General Manager at Days of Wonder. “You need Locomotives to buy
Technologies, but you also need them to claim vital routes on the map. Finding the proper
balance between your Technologies and the expansion of your railroad network is the key to
victory! On the Pennsylvania map, the challenge is different, but still, you’ll need to make sure to
make the best investments in order to win”.

Ticket to Ride United Kingdom includes a double-sided map: the United Kindom map is
designed for 2-4 players and includes 116 new Train cards, 57 UK Destination Tickets, and 47
Technology cards. The Pennsylvania map is designed for 2-5 players and includes 50 Tickets
and 60 “Stock Shares” cards. Both of these maps require the trains from either Ticket to Ride®
or Ticket to Ride® Europe.

Ticket to Ride United Kingdom makes its debut at the Essen Fair in Germany in October and will
be available in game stores in Europe shortly after. It will be available in the rest of the world in

Stallioan canyon

F2Z Entertainment would like to announce the first expansion for Pretzel Games’ Flick ‘Em Up entitled Stallion Canyon.  In this expansion, horses are introduced into the game, allowing your cowboys to ride them to move faster and cross canyons.

This expansion will feature a booklet including five new scenarios and three practice fields to improve your abilities.  Additionally, new components will be included such as lassos, horses, and “high shot” ramps.

See a short video demonstration of the “high shot” ramps here.

Flick ‘Em Up is a cowboy-themed dexterity game by Pretzel Games and designed by Jean-Yves Monpertuis and Gaëtan Beaujannot.  The official release of this expansion will be at Spiel Essen 2015.



504 is a new game from acclaimed designer Friedemann Friese, who brought us games like Power Grid and Fearsome Floors.  It comes with nine different modules: Wargame, Pick-up & Deliver, Production, Streets, Exploration, Racing, Majority, Add-Ons, and Stocks. For each game players will choose three of these modules in any order to create one of 504 different games. The order that you choose the modules will lead to different rule sets for each module so a Wargame-Production-Racing game will play differently than a Racing-Production-Wargame.

Friese started the design of 504 in 2011 and believes he will have this ready for Spiel 2015 which will take place in Essen, Germany in October.


strongholdgames                portal games logo

Stronghold Games and Portal Games are teaming up to release a 2nd edition of Stronghold. Originally released in 2009 and designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek, Stronghold has players taking on the roles of invaders and defenders in a sprawling asymmetrical castle siege.

“The game board represents the stronghold itself, as well as the surrounding terrain from where the attacking forces launch their siege against the walls of the stronghold. The defender has a small number of soldiers manning the walls, while the invader has an infinite legion of attacking creatures. A desperate fight takes place every turn.”

The second edition promises to streamline the rules, shorten gameplay, and improve the components. The board itself will be bigger and feature brand new artwork. Look for Stronghold 2nd Edition to make an appearance at Essen 2015, and hit store shelves in late 2015.

clever move banner

“Really?  That game won?”

A recent article from Clever Move discusses the nature of the international Spiel des Jahres award and its importance to the international gaming hobby.  Due to the fact that many serious board gamers question the recipients of this award from year to year, Tom Felber, jury foreman for the SdJ jury, explained how the organization works at BGG Con 2014:

…The Spiel des Jahres is NOT for the board game geek. Not for the hobbyist or hard core player…Spiel des Jahres is for the general public. Games that EVERYONE can play.

spiel_des_jahres 150

The Spiel des Jahres focuses on bringing the best games to the forefront that will encourage more people in the general public to participate in hobby games by highlighting lighter games that can be easily digested and played quickly, such as the 2014 winner, Camel Up.

Imagine sitting someone in front of Twilight Imperium when their previous game experience began with Monopoly and ended with Scrabble. They may or may not make it through the entire game, but, either way, they wouldn’t come back for more. Board games, they’d conclude, are not for them.

The article also presents, in a nutshell, the process for selecting the SdJ winner:

  1. There are 13 SdJ jurors.
  2. Each juror nominates 20 games.
  3. Each juror later narrows their list of nominees to 15 games.
  4. Jury meets in April, creates a list of 50-60 games.
  5. Jurors may veto games for any reason, one of the most common being poorly-written rules.
  6. They chop the list down to approximately 25 games.

The games selected for this prestigious award may not appeal to hardcore gamers at first sight, but that is not necessarily the focus of the award.  “The chosen games might be bland, edgeless, and simple — but that’s a good thing once you understand why.”

You can read the full article HERE.

On the November 11/19/2014 posting of Bruno Faidutti’s personal blog, Bruno discusses the plethora of games that are being released in recent days, specifically at Essen this year.  With the constant flood of new releases, one would guess that a few gems would rise to the top above endless seas of chaff.  On the contrary, the bar for quality has been raised considerably.  “The overall quality of games, not only in production but also in design, seems to be paradoxically increasing with quantity – and it’s making their job quite tough for seasoned game designers like me,” Faidutti states.  “Many of the so-called groundbreaking games published ten or twenty years ago, some of which have become regular sellers, would pale in comparison to more recent stuff if they were published today – they just still have the good old charm of forerunners.”

Faidutti proceeds to then introduce a dozen (actually, 15) games that he has been enjoying most recently, listed in order from the lightest to heaviest in weight:

1.  Seventh Hero (Kuro, IELLO/AEG)

2.  8 the Liar (Odd Hackwelder, Swan Panasia Co., Ltd.)

3.  Dragon Run (Bruno Cathala, Blue Orange)
dragon run

4.  Tales & Games: The Hare the Tortoise (Gun-Hee Kim, IELLO)

5.  Wakanda (Charles Chevalier, Blue Orange)

6.  Colt Express (Christophe Raimbault, Ludonaute, Asmodee)

7.  Ivor the Engine (Tony Boydell, Surprised Stare Games, Ltd.)

8.  Black Fleet (Sebastian Bleasdale, Space Cowboys, Asmodee)

9.  Cash ‘n Guns (Ludovic Maublanc, Repos Production)

10.  Sheriff of Nottingham (Andre Zatz and Sergio Halaban, Arcane Wonders)

11.  Manifest (Amanda Milne and Julia Schiller, SchilMil Games, Ltd.)

12.  Sons of Anarchy (Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski and Sean Sweigart, Gale Force Nine)

13.  Five Tribes (Bruno Cathala, Days of Wonder)

14.  El Gaucho (Arve D. Fuhler, Argentum Verlag)

15. Lords of Xidit (Regis Bonnessee, Libellud)

As I read the article, the games that most intrigued me were Colt Express and its 3D cardboard train, The Hare and the Tortoise (looks like oodles of fun for my kids), and Black Fleet.  What sold me on Black Fleet was not only the big map, neat miniatures and pirate theme, but specifically Bruno’s comment, “I would have loved such a game when I was ten, and I still quite like it at fifty.”

What’s not love about a game like that?

Check out Bruno Faidutti’s blog HERE.

bruno haul

In his blog, Designer Bruno Faidutti (Mascarade, Misson: Red Planet, Citadels) gives us his report from Essen. For those of us who couldn’t make the journey, this is a great way to get a small taste of what it was like to be there.

If you have some time, stop on by and give it a read (scroll down a bit for English). Above is a picture of his haul from the convention.