The newest installment in the popular EXIT: The Game series of one-time use escape room style games, The Catacombs of Horror, is coming soon from Thames & Kosmos by returning designers Inka & Markus Brand (Village, Rajas of the Ganges, The Rise of Queensdale) and Ralph Querfurth (also worked on EXIT: The Game – The Sinister Mansion and The Mysterious Museum).

In the Catacombs of Horror, you and up to 3 of your friends will scavenge the puzzling catacombs of Paris, searching for clues within the gloomy crypts in order to try and solve a mystery surrounding the disappearance of one of your friends.

The Catacombs of Horror will be 4.5/5 in the EXIT difficulty scale, and is a double-sized edition presented in two separate parts.

For more information on this upcoming release, click here.

EXIT Kids: Code Breaker has been released in Germany from publisher, KOSMOS. Unlike the existing EXIT games, this one is aimed squarely at kids as it provides 60 puzzles with 4 levels of difficulty. Players, aged 7+, are young detectives who work together to crack the code of a big, electronic lock. The detectives are given a UV lamp, a red filter, and a mirror to aid in solving the puzzles.

The game allows for 1-4 kids who do the puzzles in two modes. In “Timer” mode they give themselves a time limit of 5 minutes per puzzle, while in the “Chrono” mode they simply aim to do the puzzles as quickly as possible and try to get their best times. There are 20 double-sided hint tiles which provide clues for each puzzle and, once the correct ones have been found, create a number code which is entered into a provided lock. This lock will either open or have players search for another solution.

At the time of a writing, a release date for the US market had not been provided. More information about the game (in German) can be obtained from the EXIT Kids: Code Breaker product page.

Having just won the Kennerspiel des Jahres, Thames and Kosmos have announced that three more EXIT Games will be available later this year.  The three new scenarios are The Polar Station, The Forbidden Castle, and The Forgotten Island.  In The Polar Station, “An alarm sounded in the eternal ice, so the polar station has been evacuated and foreclosed, but a small group of researchers has remained behind by mistake — and they have only one hour to find the code that will crack the lock program.”  In The Forbidden Castle, “The castle is the highlight of the hike, but hardly have the hikers entered the old walls, when the squeaky doors close. Escape appears impossible — but strange hints may lead players in a new direction. Can they solve the riddles and find the way to freedom?”  And on The Forgotten Island, “For those shipwrecked on the beach of this forgotten island, a chained boat is the only hope — but the mysterious owner has left puzzles over the whole island. Will the team solve them, free the boat, and escape?

Having played one of the the original EXIT Games I am very much looking forward to these as the puzzles were clever, and the hint and solution system were excellent.  Look for all three of these new titles on store shelves in October of this year.

It’s official folks, the winners of the Spiel des Jahres awards have all been announced.  The winner for the Spiel des Jahres, game of the year, is the tile laying game, Kingdomino by Bruno Cathala.  This game beat out the two other games, Magic Maze by Kasper Lapp and Race to El Dorado by Reiner Knizia, to win the title.  Kingdomino is an easy to learn and easy to play game, but comes with some nice decision making, and fits well into the family friendly atmosphere of previous Spiel des Jahres winners.  The game is available now so check out your FLGS to get this now award winning family game.

Also announced today was the winner of the Kennerspiel des Jahres, connoisseur/expert game of the year, which is EXIT the Game, a room escape series from Kosmos.  This beat out the first Kickstarter game to be nominated, Raiders of the North Sea, and the fan favorite in other awards, Terraforming Mars.  As of right now there are three EXIT games released with more having been announced, so check out your FLGS to grab a copy today.

As for the Kinderspieal des Jahres, kids game of the year, that was announced as Ice Cool last month, so you can see our previous article to find out more about that game.

The 2017 Spiel des Jahres award nominees have been announced. The “Game of the Year 2017” will be selected on July 17, 2017 in Berlin. There were several other games that made it to the jury’s “recommendation” list and they can be viewed on the official announcement here.

Game of the Year 2017 (Spiel des Jahres)

Kingdomino by Bruno Cathala
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Prestigious tile laying for 2 to 4 crowned terrain planners
Magic Maze by Kasper Lapp
Publisher: Sit Down !, Distribution: Pegasus Spiele
Cooperative shopping house break for 1 to 8 hectic heroes
Race to El Dorado of Reiner Knizia
Publisher: Ravensburger
Deck building in the jungle for 2 to 4 fast treasure hunters
Children’s Game of the Year 2017 (Kinderspiel des Jahres)
Captain Silver  by Wolfgang Dirscherl & Manfred Reindl
Publisher: Queen Games
Fast-paced treasure hunting for 2 to 4 sensitive pirates from 6 years
ICECOOL  by Brian Gomez
Publishing house: Amigo Interlaced snips for 2 to 4 ice-cold schoolchildren from 6 years
The Mysterious Forest  of Carlo A. Rossi
Publisher: Iello, Vertrieb. Yikes! & Friends
Adventurous journey for 2 to 4 clever scouts from 6 years
Connoisseur-Enthusiast Game of the Year 2017 (Kennerspiel des Jahres)
Exit – The Game * by Inka Brand and Markus Brand
Publisher: Kosmos
Congenial Knobeleien for 1 to 6 (our recommendation: 1 to 4) creative cryptologists
* “The Abandoned Hut”, “The Secret Laboratory”, “The Grave Chamber of Pharaoh”
Raider of the North Sea by Shem Phillips
Publisher: Schwerkraft-Verlag
Plentiful plundering for 2 to 4 walkers-worshiping Vikings

Image from the English 2nd Printing

Terraforming Mars by Jacob Fryxelius
Publisher: Schwerkraft-Verlag
Planetary project development for 1 to 5 climate changing corporate boards

A lot of new games are coming from Thames and Kosmos this year so lets run down the list, starting first with the undersea search game, Lagoonies.  In this game you are trying to find gloop spirits by diving into the water, but they change places as the octopus rotates so you have to pay attention.  The game comes with some nifty looking clear water pool type pieces and should only aid in the fun.  Look for this on store shelves in July.

Next is Monster Trap, a Labyrinth like game where you are trying to push the monsters in the mansion into the trap before they can scare your grandma.  The game is for two to four players and each player will control a different kind of movement for the monsters, and whoever collects the most monsters in the trap will be the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in June.

After that is Jungle Party, a memory type game where you are having to remember where certain animals are in order to advance.  The board has lanes you will push tiles of animals through that are partially covered and partially not, so as you push the animals through you have to remember where they are.  So those with a good memory should easily find their way to the goal and win!  Look for this game on store shelves in July.

Harry the Hopper is a simple dexterity game where you are playing as grasshoppers trying to knock down blades of grass.  Play is simple in that you just take aim, and launch your grasshopper, trying to knock over as many blocks as possible.  The game ends when someone knocks down the king’s red blade of grass, but you better have knocked over all your grass beforehand.  Look for this game in stores in June.

Up next is Thames and Kosmos entry into the room escape genre with their EXIT series of games.  Each set will present you with a different scenario where you have to escape, like a lab or an abandoned cabin.  In May you will see the release of the first three in the series; The Secret Lab, The Pharaoh’s Tomb, and The Abandoned Cabin.  Each set contains decks of cards and some other components you will need to escape each room.  Good luck.

Next is a word guessing game like Taboo called Word Slam.  How this game differentiates itself is that instead of coming up with the descriptor words, you have to use the cards in the box to describe the word.  So you will have to get a bit creative with the word associations, but leave a trail of clues for the guessers to follow and they just might get there.  This game should be arriving in June of this year.

Mag-O-Mag is a vertical magnetic game where you will have one player on one side watching the game pieces and giving instructions, with another player on the other side actually moving the piece.  You will have to communicate well in order to accomplish the objective which could be speed, accuracy, or being able to collect the most loot.  Look for this game on store shelves in August.

Previously we talked about Pillars of the Earth finally being reprinted, and now we have a new game in the book series being made, A Column of Fire.  Not much is known about the game yet, but the setting seems to be for a political type game as you try to position yourself to be the most powerful.  More information should come out as we get closer to it’s release in September.

Next is Kerala, a colorful looking tile placement game where you are trying to collect all the colors, but also linking all the colors together.  In the game you will pull tiles from the bag and then draft them, adding them to your display adjacent to your elepheeples (elephant meeples).  Plan wisely and draft well and you will come out on top.  Look for this game in stores in July.

And finally, the last game that was announced was Brutal Kingdom, a take that type card game where you are trying to be the one who survives to rule the country.  In the game the king, or queen, has just been killed and now the question of who will rule the country is being asked.  On each turn you will play a card and carry out the action, hopefully moving yourself one step closer to victory.  Whoever gains the most influence will be the new king or queen of the country.  Look for this game in stores in June.