hidden roles

Sit Down! Games has five new games and an expansion to be released at Internationale Spieltage SPIEL 2019. All products are available for pre-order now for pick-up at Essen.

Hidden Roles is a small expansion for Magic Maze that increases interaction and makes the games a semi-cooperative. Each player receives a secret role, possibly becoming a traitor, or getting a secret mission, or following their own special rules. Like Magic Maze, this expansion is divided into five difficulty levels so you can learn the game gradually. Unlike Magic Maze, a minimum of three players is needed to play this expansion. Hidden Roles comes with 53 Role Cards, 1 “I’ve got my eye on you” card, and 2 Warning Cards.

Magic Maze on Mars is a stand-alone game that takes the Magic Maze gameplay to Mars. Like Magic Maze, Magic Maze on Mars is a real-time, cooperative game where each player is in charge of a specific action, and may be the only player who can perform that action, so communication, which only occurs in very specific and short periods of the game, is key to coordinate efforts.  In a race against time, players gather the resources necessary to build the station complex, including locations for domes to house Mars colonists.  Building good routes from the landing pad to the domes and keeping pathways clear is important.  Resources can be spent to extend the time to build the station, but once colonists arrive, time can no longer be extended.  The players win when one of the colonists moves into a dome before the time expires.

House Flippers is a simultaneous action selection game where income is managed by a collection of sand timers that represent the time to generate income.  When the sand timer runs out, players collect their income.  With the income, they can renovate property which they can resell at a higher cost.  Or players can buy a rental property which will give them another sand timer that also generates income. Or player can hire an interior decorator to double the income from a sand timer.  Players continue to flip properties (and sand timers) until the have enough income to reach a golden retirement, which provides an objective condition to end the game.  The first one to accomplish their retirement objective wins. House Flippers is a fast pace game for 2-4 players, ages 7+, and plays in 10 minutes.

Palm Reader is a cooperative game in which one player, who has chosen a symbol from a card, must get everyone else to guess it. By using your index finger, you draw this symbol in your left neighbor’s palm, who draws it in their neighbor’s palm, and so on… but no one ever sees what is drawn.  After the final player has received the tracing, reveal the card, then have all players vote on what they believe the starting symbol was. You receive as many victory points as the number of players in a row who successfully guess the symbol. Palm Reader comes with 108 double-sided cards, each with five choices of symbols for the active player.

Space Bowl is a pattern recognition game where players are looking for a habitable constellation in the galaxy based on the report from the computer.  The galaxy is made up a 5×5 grid of constellation cards, each with a selection of planets.  The Ships Computer board reveals a 3×3 sector of space with specific planets in each sector.  Players race to identify which sector of space meets the computer specification. Points are scored and lost based on how successful players are in finding a matching constellation.  The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. The 56 constellation cards in the deck will ensure that space will always look different. Space Bowl plays 2-8 players, ages 8+ in 30 minutes.

Lastly, Wormlord is fast paced simultaneous action game where players command an army of worms to conquer objectives on the battlefield.  Worms are represented by strings, and they are deployed on the battlefield by tying them in a lose knot and placed in a square.  Worms are conquered by picking up an adjacent enemy worm, untying it and returning it to the owner’s pile.  Only one string can be in a player’s hands at a time.  The first player to conquer three objectives on the battlefield wins. The game include 60 earthworm strings (15 in four different colors). Wormlord plays 2-4 players (or up to 8 in teams), ages 6+ (as long as they can tie a knot), in 5-10 minutes.

Visit Sit Down! Games to learn more or see them at their Essen booth 3-0120.

Sit Down! has three new products in the pipeline this first month of the new year, all having been shown off at the previous Essen show. All three are slated for initial release in European Markets, with future distribution unannounced. Their newest title is Gravity Superstars, a competitive game for 2 to 6 adventurers that emulates platforming games of old as each player jumps and runs along platforms to capture stardust . It’s a very cool and innovative design where each player deals with a different puzzle because their piece sits facing them in one of the four cardinal orientations of the board, a different perspective giving a different set of challenges.

     “What is really original about Gravity Superstar is the manner in which the players’ pawns move: Each turn, they move one or two spaces, then they are affected by gravity, which makes them fall until they are stopped by a platform. This effect is made possible by the fact that the pawns are used lying down on the board. Thus, they move up (above their head), down (below their feet), left, or right. During its movement, a pawn can collect stars (to score points at the end of the game) or replay tokens (to take a second consecutive turn), and eject opponents’ pawns from the board.”

The next two products are for the Magic Maze line, starting with Magic Maze Kids XXL. It’s pretty much exactly what it reads on the tin, it’s a giant board (70 x 70 cm) compatible with Magic Maze Kids that also adds a few new rules, and that sounds like a lovely addition to an already excellent children’s game. Last is a much awaited expansion for the original Magic Maze hinted at during the Dice Tower Awards ceremony last July, Hidden RolesThis appropriately-named expansion (one that I have been very hyped for) can be added to any game of 3 or more players to allow for a potential traitor who doesn’t want the team to succeed, but if they’re called out they are removed from play and must give up their action to someone else. All of these sound amazingly fun in all their own ways, and if you are as excited as I am to see more from Sit Down!, be sure to check out their website for future announcements!

Chiyo’s Secret is an upcoming game from designer J.B. Howell and published by WizKids. Checking a distributor’s page and its BGG listing have given me some reasons for excitement for Chiyo’s Secret. What peeked my interest in this hidden role game is that its BGG summation brought out feelings of recent classic games like Coup and Love Letter:

“You are a noble ally of the daimyo, perhaps with a secret agenda of your own… Chiyo’s Secret has four teams: Loyal Allies, who seek to capture Chiyo and Fusanobu and send them to be executed for their crimes; Usurpers, who seek to lure Fusanobu and the Daimyo into a trap and seize power for themselves; Betrayers, who seek to betray the Daimyo and present Chiyo and Fusanobu to the Shogun instead; and the lone Motonaka who seeks to protect his parents, hiding them until the Shogun arrives.”

If this intrigues you as well you can already learn the backstory and how to play this 5-8 player, 45-60 minute game as the final rules are already posted and show off the art and components as well.

J.B. Howell may not be a famous board game designer yet, but 2019 may change that, with two other WizKids games scheduled to release, as well as at least three from other publishers. One of which, Reavers of Midgard by Grey Fox Games, the newest game in their Champions of Midgard universe, may be cause for some series fans to check out Chiyo’s Secret to examine Howell’s design skills. I am equally interested in another 2019 release of Howell’s called Papillon, which combines butterflies and flowers in a game of set collection, tile placement, and area control/area influence into a unique looking package.

Gamers  will starter to gather information and seek out others to complete their objectives in January 2019 when Chiyo’s Secret is scheduled to release.

If you’re a fan of dice and dice games, WizKids has got your back this fall!


First up is Blank White Dice. Designed by Jonathan Leistiko, Blank White Dice has players simply rolling their dice and activating the abilities shown on the faces. What makes this game unique is that when a blank face is rolled, players can draw their own icons on to the dice, which will provide your dice with new abilities. I suppose you could call it a face-building game as you roll your way to victory.

The game comes with “wet-erase” markers that are not as easy to rub off as dry-erase markers. The dice are of a very high quality, nice and weighty, bulky – and the die faces are recessed so that the markings don’t easy rub off upon rolling. I will say that you’ll need a wet cloth around to remove markings as the felt tops of the markers are not enough to remove what is marked upon the die. The game comes with many different cards featuring abilities that may be played upon the die (upon placing their icons on them–see below).


Secondly we’ve got Burke’s Gambit. Designed by Robert Yates, Burke’s Gambit is sci-fi themed game of hidden roles and sabotage. One of your crew has been contaminated by a parasitic organism, and to make things worse another member of your crew has sabotaged to ship on a crash course to Earth! Players will take the roles of different members of the ship, roll dice to determine their actions (e.g. attacking other players, healing themselves, scanning for the parasite, etc.), and ultimately vote to eject someone out of the airlock!

burkes gambit

Lastly, we have Dice Stars. Designed by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, players are collecting sets of dice that represent multi-coloured shooting stars. On their turns, players can add dice to the pool before rolling them, taking either all the dice of one colour or the dice of one value. Dice taken will help you score in different ways, and the highest score wins!

dice stars

Look forward to this slate of dice games in October (Blank White Dice), November (Dice Stars), and December (Burke’s Gambit). Additional information can be found on WizKid’s website.

agent and operatives board

On March 22, a new espionage-themed board game, Agents & Operatives, will hit Kickstarter from Everything Epic, a game design and publication company “committed to producing games that combine innovative mechanics with thematic experiences.”  In Agents & Operatives, players are cast as Section Leaders of a clandestine Faction Team where the objectives are clear: locate Faction allies and decimate all enemies.

The game combines social deduction gameplay mechanics with worker placement through the strategic placement of units on interactive Zone tiles.  According to unit placement, players receive special unique abilities and then work to discover other players’ secret roles, obtain resources, and damage other players’ Sections.

agents stuff

What follows is an excerpt from Everything Epic’s official press release, in which the game design is further explained:

Agents & Operatives presents features that create genre-breaking mechanical combinations that are familiar yet used in new and dynamic ways that will allow gamers of all types, from the Avid Eurogamer to the Ameritrash Thematic gamer, to easily learn and enjoy together. Additionally, the game’s modality adds for high replayability, high strategy, with easy rules entry and low downtime that keeps players engaged and planning their next move; all the while scheming against their enemies at the table.

Exciting features of the game include Zone tiles that can be arranged differently to alter worker placement strategy and combat range. Faction Team objectives also change depending on number of players, allowing the game to showcase new strategies depending game size. Another innovative feature is the bold “Team Reveal” ability, where all Team members can collectively reveal their Faction to all other players in order to utilize a special ability. The game also adds a Terror Track, which makes the gameplay deadlier as the game proceed, immersing players in a race against time that compels decision-making based either on contemplated strategy or social instinct. Finally, in keeping with Everything Epic’s preference to avoid player elimination, despite being a combat game, players are never fully eliminated and can continue to assist their Team after decimation of their Section.

 Agents & Operatives is a game for 4-8 players and plays in 60-90 minutes.  Watch for the Kickstarter project for this game to launch on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Indie Boards & Cards has launched their latest Kickstarter campaign for a new version of Coup.  This standalone game Coup:Rebellion G54 is in the same world as regular Coup and should be easy for anyone that has played the original game to play.  But this particular version is not integratable with previous versions.

This edition of the game has 25 different roles that can be selected from and you will choose 5 of these at the beginning of the game.  as a result of this you will have over 5000 different ways the cards can interact with each other.  This should allow for dynamic play each game should you so choose to have that or find a combination of cards you like playing with and you can master that particular set.

They have stated that they took cards being sleeved or unsleeved into consideration when doing the box up for this game.  Additionally they will have dividers in place so that you can quickly see each role and select the ones you want without having to rifle through the deck each time.

Included as promos with this game are a full set of coins in the 1 and 3 point denominations.  Additionally they will be including 25 extra cards which will allow for having spare cards incase one card gets damaged or allowing you to have up to 8 players.  Finally they have said they will be including a promo for the base game of Coup the Jester which is a modified version of the ambassador.

For full details on this project head over to their Kickstarter page here.

one night resistance box

Indie Boards and Cards (the makers of The Resistance and Flash Point: Fire Rescue) and Bezier Games (the makers of One Night Ultimate Werewolf) are partnering to create One Night Resistance. One Night Resistance is exactly what it sounds like – a mixture between One Night Ultimate Werewolf and The Resistance. From the Kickstarter:

One Night Resistance is a super fast game of secret identities for 3 to 10 players that combines all the deductive and chaotically fun elements of the One Night Ultimate Werewolf series with structured game play of The Resistance.  The result is a very addictive game that is easy to learn and will be played over and over again.

If you haven’t played One Night Ultimate Werewolf, it is a quick hidden role game. There are two sides – town and werewolves. During a ‘night’ phase, people take turns doing special actions (following a scripted app), and then during the day they try to figure out who the werewolves are. Then everyone votes to kill someone – if the majority vote for a werewolf, then the town wins, otherwise the werewolves win. One Night Resistance plays similarly, but set in the world of the Resistance, a futuristic world where the Resistance is trying to take down the Empire, but there are spies in their midst. In One Night Resistance, everyone gets an ID and a specialist role and people take turns doing their actions in a clockwise order (no app). The roles appear to be independent of allegiance, so having a specific power doesn’t necessarily make you a spy.

Backing the Kickstarter will get you some promos – 3 additional specialists: the Defector, the Rogue, and the Blind Spy. Also, if you back the Kickstarter, you can buy some of Indie Boards and Cards’ older titles as add-ons.

The Kickstarter is scheduled to deliver in September of 2015. If you’re a fan of One Night Ultimate Werewolf, The Resistance, or other hidden role games, check out the page here.



New from Ludically and distributed by Asmodee by designer Christopher Belinger is the party game Illegal.  This game is very much directed at a mature market.  They even put on the box 18 years and older which is a rare thing to see for a game and by putting it on there signals that the content will at best be risque.

This game involves you taking on the role of a dealer in some illicit good.  You will have to go off and try to convince others to sell you goods and to buy your goods. You score points at the end of the game by acquiring goods that are part of your secret objective and flying under the radar for the kinds of goods you are trying to sell.

illegal cards

For me this game feels like the thrill of diplomacy negotiating with people mixed with something akin to Pit where you are trying to do major set collection on the sly.  Because this game not only requires you to keep your selling habits but also purchasing desires secret it is a great game of cloak and dagger and misdirection.  With the inclusion of an all knowing GM who has intentionally given people their items to sell, desires to buy, and their stock of supplies this game has the potential for great success with those that like a bit more thinky and accusatory party game without descending into an hours long murder mystery or some nonsense.

If this sounds appealing I would encourage you to head over to Ludically’s website here.