Grail Games

Scott Almes, the designer behind the Tiny Epic series of games and the very popular, Heroes of Land, Air & Sea, has just kickstarted a new, stand-alone game, called Boomerang.

Boomerang could be described as a card drafting game (like 7 Wonders or Sushi Go!), mixed with a roll-and-write game (like Yahtzee, or Qwixx).

With roll-and-write games taking off the last few years and card drafting already a favorite mechanism among many, Boomerang is sure to appeal to a wide swath of gamers.

In Boomerang, players are touring Australia, trying to see and do as much as they can before their holiday ends! By spotting native animals, collecting pieces of Australiana, and doing other holiday activities, players will earn points. Each round players will draft cards, mark off various accomplishments on their score sheets, and at the end of the game, the best traveller wins. You beauty!

To find out more, visit the live Kickstarter campaign. And now, the obligatory clichés: Crikey, this looks promising. G’day, mate.

Grail Games have announced a few games they’ll be publishing by prolific designer, Dr. Reiner Knizia.

Yellow & Yangtze

Yellow & Yangtze, the sister game to Tigris & Euphrates, will be released in 2018. The game is set in the Qin Dynasty (part of modern day China) along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. It sees the rival states of Qin, Chu, Qi, Yan Han, Whei, and Zhao battling for supremacy in 221 BC and is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Dutrait. Yellow & Yangtze supports 2-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in roughly 90 mins. The designer has improved and tweaked the game play of Tigris & Euphrates so that while Yellow & Yangtze will have a similar feel it will be its own “beast”.

Game play details according to the publisher:

In Yellow & Yangtze, players build civilizations through tile placement. Players are given five different leaders: a Governor, Soldier, Farmer, Trader, and Artisan. The leaders are used to collect victory points in these same categories. However, your score at the end of the game is the number of points in your weakest category. Conflicts arise when civilizations connect on the board. To succeed, players’ civilizations must survive these conflicts, calm peasant revolts, and grow secure enough to build prestigious pagodas. [source]

Criss Cross

Coming in Q1 of 2018 is Criss Cross, a roll-and-write game illustrated by Heiko Günther. This is a custom dice game played over 12 rounds where 2 dice are rolled, and players write the symbols in adjacent squares on their scoring sheet. Groups of symbols in columns and rows score points. While all players share the dice symbols the placement of these will vary across players. Criss Cross supports 1-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 10 mins.

Stephenson’s Rocket

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. They can invest in railway lines, transport passengers, build up local industries, and compete for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron. Illustrations are by Ian O’Toole.

On September 15, 1830, the age of the railroad began with the opening of the first line between Liverpool and Manchester. The locomotive that ruled those rails was George Stephenson’s Rocket. With a top speed of 45km/h (28mph) Rocket, was the most advanced engine of the day, and its arrival marked the beginning of the modern railway. [source]

Stephenson’s Rocket supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays between 60 and 90 mins.

King’s Road

In King’s Road, players are nobles attempting to gain power and influence in the king’s provinces. As the king travels along the road in his provinces, he will allow the most influential noble in each region to govern in his stead. Over time the most favored noble will win the game.

King’s Road is an area-majority game. Each player has identical decks of eleven cards. On a turn, players simultaneously select the three cards they will play, and in what order. To win, players not only have to influence the king as he traverses the land, but attempt to read the minds of their opponents.

King’s Road re-implements the game Imperium, previously only available within game compendiums. [source]

This game is also illustrated by the great, Vincent Dutrait and supports 2-5 players, aged 10+. Game play length is around 30 mins. King’s Road is currently available at retailers.

Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road

Unlike the prior games in this list, this one is not designed by Dr. Knizia but by Gerhard Hecht with art by Franz Vohwinkel. The core mechanism will be “open deck-building” with players trading spices along the Silk Road from Asia to Europe. The game supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays in roughly 45 mins.

According to the publisher, the game plays as follows:

In the beginning, each caravan consists of three cards that are spread out vertically so that the top part of each card is visible; each card stands for a caravan member with different abilities.

On his turn, a player performs only one action, choosing one of the cards on top of the three caravans and executing one action shown on that card. Then the card is put at the back of its caravan. To use the same caravan member again, a player must first use all the other cards on top of that caravan row. [source]

Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road will release in Q2 of 2018.

Grail Games, an Australian publisher devoted to family friendly games, launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to fuel up a fresh take on Stephenson’s Rocket designed by Dr. Reiner Knizia. While other Knizia’s games, such as Tigris and Euprhates or Ra, were already reprinted, this campaign provides the first possibility to lay your hands on Stephenson’s Rocket since it’s 1999 release, yet this time with illustrations by Ian O’Toole, whose artworks can be found on components of The Gallerist or Lisboa.

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. By investing in the various new rail lines, transporting passengers, and building up the local industries, players will vie for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron in the early days of the steam locomotive.

It will take the 2-4 competing rail investors between 60 and 90 minutes to acquire stocks and see who earns the most Prestige in this tile-laying, route-building, set-collection, and bidding game.

Apart from new artwork and upgraded components, changes include shares, Prestige (no more paper money), and city tokens being tracked directly on the board itself, which is in the Kickstarter version double-sided and features a new Eastern USA map. Stephenson’s Rocket arrives in April 2018; if you would like to take a ride, check out the ticket prices on its Kickstarter campaign here.

 

Grail Games has just announced that they will be releasing an English language version of the popular 2013 Kosmos game Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road by Gerhard Hecht. Kashgar is a 2-4 player open deck building game, where players keep three stacks of cards (caravans), the top card of which is available to play. Each turn, players can activate the top card of a single caravan then move the card to the back of the stack. Actions include gaining new cards either blind from the deck or from the discards, and gaining or exchanging various resources. Resources include 5 types of spices and mules, which players use to fulfill contract cards in order to gain points.

Expect Kashgar in early 2018, and you can read Grail Games’ announcement here.

While a certain project just launched by CMON will be getting most of the attention, we still want to highlight some other good ones that might be worth backing.

First up is the reprint and re-theming by Indie Boards & Cards of the popular flip and write game, Avenue, now called Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama.  How to play the game remains largely unchanged, where you flip a card to see what kind of road you can draw, and then drawings it on your personal map.  Some of the changes being made to the game are the inclusion of double sided dry erase boards, meaning you no longer have to worry about running out of maps.  Also being included are components for a 7th player of the game and decree cards which offer more variability when you play the game.  Overall if you like this kind of game, or just missed out on Avenue the first time around, check out this Kickstarter today.

Next we have an expansion for the cowboy saloon building game called Saloon Tycoon: The Ranch Expansion from Van Ryder Games.  Saloon Tycoon is all about building up your own saloon to be the best in the west, but others want to achieve that goal as well.  You will take turns adding to your saloon, trying to satisfy you secret goals as well as public ones.  Attracting citizens will help you out, but be careful of the outlaws, they just want to make trouble.  The Ranch Expansion adds more tiles for you to build, cows and horses to wrangle, more characters, and four different mini expansion that are Kickstarter exclusive.  You will also be able to add on the base game and the Boomtown expansion to expand your game even further.  So if this sounds interesting to you, check out the Kickstarter.

Following that we have a new party game being done by Grail games called Hang 12.  Hang 12 is a personal trivia type game where the active player will pick a beach to surf, and that beach determine what kind of trivia question they have to answer.  Some of the question are “I have seen all the Star Wars movies”, or “I have eaten caviar before” and so on.  The active player secretly answers either true or false and then everyone else guesses to see what the right answer was.  If you are right you get to take the next level of point card, if you are wrong then you lose your current point card and start over.  What makes the scoring interesting is that it’s a bit of push your luck because as you get more answers right in a row, you point card increases faster and faster, but get a question wrong and you lose it.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk the points you play the surf card to ride the wave in and bank the points, moving closer to the 24 point victory.  If this surf themed party game sound like something you want to try, check out the Kickstarter now.

After that we have a new cooperative game being designed by Chris Batarlis and Steve Avery called Metal Dawn.  The game essentially has you playing out the Terminator movie before the robots have fully taken over, where you play agents fighting back against the machines.  The game plays out like an area control game where you have to deploy your characters to different zones in Washington DC before they get overrun.  You will have to find gear and gain intel to use against the constant onslaught of robots in order to turn the tide and secure the zones.  Then you will have to use some of that intel on DOMINUS, the satellite that took over all the robotic enemies and started the rebellion.  Once you bring him down to Earth he turns into a massive robot menace that once you defeat that, will finally end the robot uprising.   Hopefully your skills are up to par and you have good teamwork, because DOMINUS will not go easy on you.  Check out the Kickstarter today, and if you upgrade to the deluxe edition you also get rules to play the game competitively as well.

Last, and by certainly no means least, we have the expansion to the popular character creation game, Roll Player: Monsters and Minions by Thunderworks Games.  Roll Player has you rolling dice to give your character stats, learn skills, gain traits, and equip them with the best armor and weapons you can manage. Roll Player: Monsters and Minions expands on that by adding more of what you want, more classes, more races, and more market items, including a brand new item type, scrolls.  But what makes this expansion great is that now you take this character you crafted, and put them up against monsters like bugbears, goblins, vampires, and dragons.  Hopefully the character you created is up the snuff or he may be taken out.  You can check out the Kickstarter here, which is well past funded and blown through many stretch goals.

Grail Games has started a Kickstarter campaign for King’s Road, a re-implementation of the difficult to find game Imperium, a light area control card driven game from designer Reiner Knizia with art from Vincent Dutrait.

In King’s Road, 2-5 players each have an identical hand of 11 cards. Players each play three cards face down dictating their next 3 moves in order. If the cards show a region, the players place one control marker of their color in the denoted area. Special cards include the Knight, which allows players to place an additional control marker, the Dragon, which increases the number of areas which score, and the Wizard, which allows the player to pick up and re-select some of their cards. After card play, the area where the King pawn resides is scored, and the King then moves to the next area numerically. Areas score according to their banner, with the highest points going to the player with the most control markers. The Kickstarter campaign for King’s Road will continue through March 23, and is expected to deliver in August of 2017.

Grail Games is stepping up the releases with the previously reported Knizia reprints and three more games coming later this year.  First is a push your luck style party game called Hang 12.  In the game players will be asking other players simple true/false, A or B type questions, and it’s their job to guess your answer.  If you guess right then you get to catch a wave, then the push your luck part of the game starts.  You can keep answering questions to increase the amount of points you will get, and if you reach a certain threshold you could get bonus points.  But the downside is that if you get something wrong, you lose all the points you built up that round.  So, do you know your friends as well as you think?  Look for this on store shelves in mid-2017.

Next is the Kickstarter game Doughnut Drive-thru, a worker placement dice style game all about those tasty treats.  The main goal of the game is to serve the most value in doughnuts to your customers.  To accomplish your goal you will be using 4 different actions, prepare, learn a recipe, serve, and coffee breaks.  Each action has a normal and improved version of the action that depends on how many workers, read doughnuts, you place on the card.  Learning a recipe lets you draw cards from the deck and then keep one recipe, discarding the others.  Prepare has you rolling a die to try and prepare a doughnut, with more valuable doughnuts needing higher values on the die.  Serving works the same way, and if you succeed you flip the card over and it will be scored at the end, plus each served doughnut can be used for +1 on a roll.  Lastly you have coffee break, which is how you will refresh used ability cards as well as get your doughnuts back from any single card.  Most tips at the end determines the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in April of 2017.

Last is the card game version of the Kinizia classic, Medici the Card Game.  This takes the big box bidding game and turns it into a small box push your luck style game using just a deck of cards.  On your turn you will turn cards over until you have drawn three cards or get what you want, taking at least one card into your hand.  The next player gets to draw some more cards and take cards from what they drew or what you drew.  Play will continue around like this until you get either five or seven cards (based on player count) in your hand.  You will then score your hand, called a boat, and put any cards you can keep into your warehouse.  You will do this again for two more rounds scoring your boat and then your warehouse as well.  As the end of the third round, whoever has the most points is the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in May of 2017.

Grail Games would like to announce the publication of new editions for two classic Reiner Knizia game in 2017: King’s Road and Stephenson’s Rocket.

The following is an excerpt from the official press release:

King’s Road is a re-implementation of Imperium, last published in 2001. It is due to be released mid- 2017, and will feature art by Vincent Dutrait (Medici, Lewis & Clark, Broom Service, etc.) Stephenson’s Rocket, last published in 1999, will feature artwork from Ian O’Toole (The Gallerist, Vinhos, Lisboa, etc.) Grail Games also plans to produce a previously un-released expansion map for Stephenson’s Rocket that features the eastern United States. Both titles are from famed board game designer Dr Reiner Knizia (Medici, Tigris & Euphrates, Samurai, Ra, etc.)

Stephenson’s Rocket, a route-building and bidding game, has a devoted fan-base. Widely considered to be Knizia’s best design not to be re-printed since its original release, this new edition of Stephenson’s Rocket will be highly anticipated. The game, its mechanisms, and goals, will be refreshed and presented in a clear and beautiful art style from famed board game illustrator Ian O’Toole.

“I am very excited to announce the upcoming release of these titles,” said publisher David Harding. “The new presentation of Stephenson’s Rocket and its expansion will please current fans and attract new ones, while King’s Road, with its fast play time and meaty choices, will deserve a place in any gamer’s collection. We are so pleased to be able to continue releasing great games from one of our greatest designers.”

For more information, and to read the entire press release, visit the publisher’s website.

 

medici-card

Medici is one of Reiner Kinizia’s classic designs, and it recently got a reprint through Kickstarter courtesy of Grail Games.  Well now they are back to fund the card game version of the game, aptly called, Medici: The Card Game.  This takes the bidding mechanic of the full board game and turns it into a push your luck mechanic with drawing from a central stack of cards.  On your turn you will draw up to three cards from the deck, always drawing at least one, and then deciding if you want more than just the last card you drew.  This goes around until someone reaches seven cards in hand, play then stops and the day is scored, giving out points for what you are holding and what is in your warehouses.  After scoring you take the cards in your hand and put them into your warehouses for scoring in later rounds.  At the end of the third day, whoever has the most points is the winner.

While the tight bidding of the board game kept me away, turning it into a light push your luck card game will definitely get me interested.  It also helps that the art is stunning and done by the highly regarded Vincent Dutrait, so I am definitely backing this game.  If you want to join in then head on over to the campaign page to snag a copy for yourself.

Grail Games, a Sydney, Australia based games studio, has announced two upcoming games:

guns and steel

Guns & Steel: Renaissance

Currently on Kickstarter Grail games is releasing a standalone expansion to 2015’s, Civ-building card game, Gun’s & Steel. Guns & Steel: Renaissance, which is being offered primarily in Australia, New Zealand, and SE Asia, contains a new set of cards, new victory condition involving culture, and a new way to claim wonders using Glory. Able to be played as a standalone game, or mixed with the original, if you’re lucky enough to be able to pick this up, I’d check out their Kickstarter <here>

Contains:

  • 45 Civilization Cards
  • 10 Wonder Cards
  • 20 Glory Tokens
  • 35 Culture Tokens
  • 5 Reference Cards
  • 1 English Rulebook

jeju

Jeju Island

In this English release family game for ages 7+, players collect sightseeing tiles while traveling around Korea’s Jeju Island. Tiles are traded for cards that provide special effects and end game victory points. With the cute art and mancala style travel this game has to offer, I know my kids are going to want to give it a try. Preorders opening soon, expect an August release of Jeju Island.

Contents:

  • 80 Sightseeing Tiles
  • 32 Cards
  • 14 Wooden Player Tokens
  • 1 Harubang Statue Token
  • 1 Game Board
  • 1 Rule Book