In an interesting turn of events, a popular card game is getting a subsequent board game version instead of vice versa as is typically the trend. Space Race, now on Kickstarter, is a more fleshed out version of it’s predecessor with more cards, a premium table presence thanks to it’s components, and more robust strategies. The gameplay is similar to what fans of the card game already know – this is a simultaneous action selection game where the actions to choose from dwindle over time as players compete for cards and points. What separates the two beyond the obvious physical differences is that scoring happens more often in the new one, changing how important breakthroughs are in comparison.
“Space Race is a unique engine-building strategy game for 1-4 players (5 with the Deluxe Bundle). You become a director of a newly formed Space Agency and your mission is simple: lead your country onto the pages of history as the nation that has conquered the Universe! Hire astronauts and scientists, develop technologies, initiate space programs, and celebrate astonishing breakthroughs.”
While this is a big step from it’s previous card game version, the same typical dynamic applies – one is a lighter game with a much smaller footprint while the other is the opposite. That said this new Kickstarter doesn’t so much reduce it’s predecessor as much as it embellishes it, and that’s a great thing for a game that really deserves attention drawn to it’s excellent core mechanic. There’s even two expansions on offer during this campaign that add more cards, projects, and rocket miniatures modeled after historical space-faring designs. If you’re interested in learning more about Space Race, check out the Kickstarter crowdfunding page to read the full rules, watch reviews, and see community feedback and updates.
For those of you anxiously awaiting the second printing of Jonathan Ying’s Bargain Quest, you can now also look forward to a brand new expansion, too! This fun little game of adventure and capitalism will offer even more must have items for heroes to choose from.
In Bargain Quest, players take on the role of shopkeeper trying to attract adventuring heroes to their shop over their opponents. Each player will secretly draft from a deck of items to place in their shop windows and then help equip their heroes for an upcoming ad kkiventure. Players earn money to upgrade their shop and hire employees based on how their hero fares in battle.
The Black Market expansion will offer players more heroes, employees, and play modes. A new shipment of items will also be available to entice heroes to battle the new monsters.
Gather up to eight of your friends to see who can run the most successful shop with the most gold and prestige. Renegade Games will be releasing the Black Market expansion in May 2019. Don’t worry if you missed out on the Kickstarter for the base game. It will be available through Renegade Games once the Kickstarter fulfillment is completed.
Galactic Raptor Games has just launched their new game, Animal Kingdoms, on Kickstarter. In Animal Kingdom, players are house leaders seeking to gain control of the five animal kingdoms by placing more animals under their control in a kingdom than any other player. Animals are represented by numbered cards in eight beautiful suits. However, each kingdom has decrees that determine how players may place animals in the kingdom. The game is played over the course of three ages, providing several opportunities to establish control over a kingdom. Later victories are worth more, but earlier victories provide an advantage in controlling the kingdom if they claim the capitol city and thus a permanent seat on the council for the kingdom. Points are earned for second and third place control in the kingdom, and points are also earned for being the first to withdraw from an age. The player with the most influence points at the end of the third age is the winner. The game includes several variable elements to ensure that it lays differently every time. The kingdom decrees are randomly selected from a pool of 30 different decrees each game. Additionally, the point values of a kingdom are also randomly selected for each age every game.
Animal Kingdom plays 1-5 players, ages 8+, in about 45 minutes. Contents include 64 noble beast cards, 30 decree cards, 15 first place tokens, 4 first to withdraw tokens, 90 influence cubes, game board, scoreboard, 5 player scoring markers, and rulebook. A deluxe option available on Kickstarter only upgrades the influence cubes to custom wooden animal meeples and includes 64 custom printed card sleeves. The Kickstarter campaign was funded on the first day and runs through 1 February with an expected delivery of November 2019.
Bezier Games is releasing Cabo with all new artwork. Cabois a hand management and memory card game designed by Melissa Limes and Mandy Henning. Players are dealt four cards face down and only get to see the values of two of them. The goal of the game is to have the lowest value of cards in your hand. Players takes turns trying to lower the total value of their cards by swapping out their cards for cards from the deck or discard pile. Some action cards allow player to peek at their own cards, spy on another player’s card, or swap cards with another player. The Bezier Games edition include new artwork while keeping to the same whimsical style of the original version. Cabo is available for pre-order now and is expected to be released in March 2019.
Greenbrier Games is releasing a new 4X-style game, Helios Expanse, that plays in under 60 minutes. The play experience was crafted to be as satisfying for the traditional 4X gamer as it is for the casual gamer. During gameplay, players program their card actions in advance then play them out each round. In addition, the game was created with the goal of being teachable in less than five minutes.
Helios Expanse puts players in control of an interstellar civilization where they must compete for galactic supremacy. Explore the board using movement, expand empires by colonizing planets, exploit advantages by moving up the technology track and exterminate competitors by moving up the military track. The first player to colonize the most planets is the supreme ruler of the universe!
• 60 min / 3-5 Players / 14+ years
• 4X gameplay experience in less than 60 minutes
• Easy to teach
• Action / Movement Programming
• Area Control / Area Influence
• Hand Management
• Variable Powers
• Scaleable Game Board
Earlier in 2018 Greenbrier Games ran a Kickstarter campaign for Helios Expanse so more information about the game is available there. The game is planned for retail release in March 2019.
Fans of Evolution and North Star Games can now anticipate an upcoming sequel to the richly scientific franchise. Designed collaboratively by Nick Bentley, Brian O’Neill, and Dominic Crapuchettes, OCEANS is billed as their most ambitious game yet several years in the making. While it continues to use Evolution’s excellent theme and art in fun new ways, it will also inter the figurative depth and denizens of the ocean into it’s strategy to create something altogether not for the feint of heart. The game is intended to hit Kickstarter in February 2019 with an anticipated release the following September.
“OCEANS is the latest entry into the Evolution Game Series and, a grand cumulation of effort by North Star Games to design the ultimate gamer’s game. […] Whereas the previous games in the Evolution series were bound exclusively by the science (and the core of this game is as well), OCEANS expands upon it with a new set of cards called “The Deep”. This fantastical set of new cards stretch the boundaries of the game from science, to science fiction by including creatures like the Leviathan and the Hydra.”
However, before the anticipated launch of the crowdfunding campaign, North Star Games is seeking outside playtest groups to ensure the design is as polished as it can be. This additional effort to put their game through more pressure before putting it to Kickstarter further shows the love and care they have in OCEANS and I think it’s a great sign of a good game on the horizon. If you are interested in participating in playtesting, you can follow this link for information and to apply. For even further details, screenshots, and behind-the-scenes looks for OCEANS, be sure to check out their blog and website for all that and more.
The most successful game based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe was Martin Wallace’s Discworld: Ankh-Morpork. Despite the popularity of the game, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork fell out of print and became hard to find. The game was an obvious favorite for many Discworld fans, but even gamers unfamiliar with Discworld admired the game’s masterful mechanics, simple game play, and high replayability in a strategic game. While fans of Discworld may be saddened that Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is not returning, fans of the game will be pleased that the game is returning under a new theme.
Martin Wallace has reimplemented Discworld: Ankh-Morpork in Nanty Narking.Nanty Narking is set in Victorian London and features characters from literary works of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Player personalities include Monsieur De Sidonia, Fagin, Lord Bellinger, Lord Holdhurst, Lord Balmoral, Professor Moriarty, and Sherlock Holmes. Each has his own victory condition, and the game ends when either the player achieves the victory condition, or if the ‘Riot’ Random Event card is drawn and its conditions are met, or when the draw pile runs out. Placing followers and buildings on the map establishes control over certain areas of the city, not only advancing players closer to their victory condition but also providing them additional abilities afforded by the control of the city area.
Nanty Narking features many upgraded components: a beautifully illustrated gameboard map of Victorian London, all new card artwork matching the new theme and featuring other literary characters of Dickens and Doyle, highly detailed plastic miniatures, and metal coins (included for Kickstarters).
Nanty Narking plays 2-4 players, ages 14+, in about 60 minutes. Contents include game board, 91 plastic miniatures (4 gentlemen, 24 hotels, 4 horse guards, 12 trouble makers, and 3 new citizens), 132 cards (101 action cards, 12 event cards, 12 city area cards, and 7 personality cards), rulebook, 4 player aids, 1 d12 die, and 50 cardboard counters (metal coins for Kickstarter backers).
The Kickstarter campaign runs through 20 September with an expected delivery in October 2019. Go to Kickstarter campaign learn more about Nanty Narking.
Agricola, one of the great classics of the Eurogame genre, was originally released in 2007. It was reprinted as a revised edition with new rules, art, and cute little ‘animeeples’ in 2016. But Agricola: Farmers of the Moor, one of the more popular expansions, was not given the same treatment at that time. Lookout Games has now released the expansion with the matching updated art and pieces.
Agricola: Farmers of the Moor steps up the misery on your farm a notch from the base game by requiring that you keep your family warm in addition to feeding them. But it’s not all starvation and pain, you have the opportunity to expand your farm by converting forests and peat bogs to arable land, and even better, you get some cute little horse meeples to add to your paddock. If you have the 5-6 player expansion for the base set, the expansion has everything you need to add the expansion in for all six players.
If you didn’t get quite enough medieval farming with the base set you bought in 2016, Agricola: Farmers of the Moor is available now. See the Lookout Games page (German) for more details.
In 2017 designer Jonathan Ying, of Imperial Assault fame, successfully crowdfunded Bargain Quest. Since its release Bargain Quest has garnered positive reviews. Now, the game has returned to Kickstarter for a second printing, along with a new expansion, entitled The Black Market.
Bargain Quest is a card drafting, hand management and auction game for 2-6 players. If you are a hero in need of equipment before you go out to face the monster menacing the town, where do go? In Bargain Quest the players are shopkeepers of a fantasy item shop trying to sell their wares to heroes that will be attempting to save the town from pesky monsters. Will the heroes defeat the monster? It doesn’t really matter as long as you are running a profitable business.
In addition to the reprint of the base game, the Kickstarter includes new expansion content. The Black Market expansion includes additional heroes, employees for your shop and a new deck of black market items. The black market items can be accessed by players by spending their reputation.
The Kickstarter campaign for this reprint of Bargain Quest and The Black Market expansion includes several reward options, including just the new content for those that already have the base game. The campaign also includes three bonus packs which contain additional content for backers.
Mars is hot… literally. Most of the time, except for when it is really cold. But it is also hot as a theme in boardgaming right now, and Terraforming Mars is the leading the pack. Since its release in 2016, it launched straight to the top of the BoardGameGeek rankings and has stayed there, currently sitting in the #4 position amongst all other games. With that popularity comes expansions, and a move out and away from the surface of Mars. Terraforming Mars: The Colonies will be the fourth explansion for the game and will expand out into the rest of the solar system to put space stations in the void and on the moons of other planets. It follows the other Terraforming Mars games and will play with 1-5 players in 2 hours. It is currently scheduled to release 2018-10-15 with no word on if or when pre-orders will be available.