ian o’toole

On Mars is the latest game from designer, Vital Lacerda, with art by Ian O’Toole (who both worked on Lisboa and Vinhos). Players are chief astronauts for one of a number of enterprises who want to be a pioneer in the development of the biggest, most advanced colony on Mars. The game supports 1-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in 90-150 mins.

“Following the success of unmanned rover missions, the United Nations established the Department of Operations and Mars Exploration (D.O.M.E.). The first settlers arrived on Mars in the year 2037 and in the decades after establishment Mars Base Camp, private exploration companies began work on the creation of a self-sustaining colony.” [source]

The goal of the game is to contribute the most Opportunity Points (OP) to the development of the first, self-sustaining colony on Mars that is independent of any terrestrial organization. This is achieved by completing missions. After a total of three missions have been completed by a player, the game ends, and points are tallied to determine the overall winner. At first, players will be dependent on supplies from Earth and so will often travel between the Mars Space Station and the planet’s surface. Over time, activities will shift to constructing mines, power generators, water extractors, greenhouses, oxygen factories, and shelters as the colony expands. Managing the supply of water, air, power, and food will be vital to survival.

The On Mars Kickstarter campaign, run by publisher, Eagle-Gryphon Games, has already achieved 6x its funding goal with over 6700 backers, and the campaign will end on Friday, May 3rd, 2019. There is only a single pledge level to obtain the entire game which includes all stretch goals. Estimated delivery is expected in October of 2019.

Eagle Games are Kickstarting a deluxe edition of Age of Steam, which is artistically recreated by Ian O’Toole. In Age of Steam, 2-6 players are U.S. railroad pioneers who build track to transform the American economy. Players are challenged to finance their rail network and locomotives, while calculating which routes will give the best returns on their costs. All the while, aggressive creditors will push to be paid while your competition tries to grab the best shipments.

The fundamental game rules remain unchanged. The base game includes 3 double-sided game boards of the Rust Belt, Western U.S., Southern U.S., Germany, Barbados, and St. Lucia. New maps of France and Poland have already been unlocked through Kickstarter stretch goals, with Hungary and Finland as additional stretch goals still waiting to be unlocked. Poker chips have replaced the paper money, and track ownership disks replace the original plastic trains (though wooden varieties are available as an upgrade). The box has also been upgraded to effectively store and provide easy access to the components.

The Age of Steam Kickstarter project has already met 4x its funding goal, with over 1700 backers. The funding deadline is Friday, March 22nd, 2019, with project delivery expected in October of 2019.

Capstone Games is partnering with Winsome Games on a new line of games they are calling the Iron Rails series.

“The Iron Rail series from Capstone Games features games centered around investing in and building railroad networks with a focus on a specific geographic region in the world. Player interaction, route building, and stock investments are key features of the Iron Rail series.”

The first release in the Iron Rails series will be Winsome’s 2014 game, Irish Gauge. The Capstone release of Irish Gauge will maintain the original game play, but with a completely updated look featuring the artwork and graphic design of Ian O’Toole.

Irish Gauge supports 3 to 5 players, with a play time of about 60 minutes. Irish Gauge is expected to be released in the third quarter of this year. You can learn more about the game on its BGG page.

In Pipeline, players start an oil company business and focus on building an efficient pipeline network for their refineries. It’s designed by Ryan Courtney, with artwork by the incredible Ian O’Toole (known for Nemo’s War, and Vinhos). Pipeline is published by Capstone Games, and is intended for 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays in about 120 mins.

“The refinement of oil has long been part of the government-controlled energy sector. Amassed with an incredibly complex and inefficient system of refineries, the government has felt the severe pressures of worldwide demand and the ever-increasing global standards for refinement. Unable to keep up with demand, the government has only one option: privatizing the oil industry.” [source]

While constructing their pipeline, players focus on hiring experts that provide valuable benefits over their competitors. They also manage the logistics of purchasing and selling refined oil in various markets. A carefully crafted, interweaving pipeline network is the key to end game victory.

Expect Pipeline to release in August of 2019.

Eagle-Gryphon Games has launched a new Railways of the World (ROTW) expansion – Railways of Portugal – on Kickstarter. Designed by Vital Lacerda, with cover art by Ian O’Toole, this expansion is for 2-4 players and uses the same rules as other games in the ROTW series with a few important exceptions.

What’s new and different?

Although the base rules and mechanics are the same as previous ROTW titles, a few distinct changes have been made:

• Access productive islands via Maritime Connections
• Black cities can only be added at the start of the Industrial Age and via Urbanization
• Close cities on a tight map that demands careful and tough decisions, leading to significant player interaction
• Major Lines that require intermediate connections
• New Operations cards and concepts are included
• Goal Cards replace Baron Cards

What’s in the box?

• A 375 x 617mm game board
• Goal Cards (10)
• Operations Cards (34)
• Player-aid Sheets (4)
• Rulesheet

Kickstarter backers will receive a free 3-card promo pack.

Note: The Railways of the World base game or Railways of Nippon standalone base game are required to play the Railways of Portugal expansion.

The Kickstarter campaign has already reached its funding goal and will be running until January 21, 2019, 4:00 AM CET.

Watch some Dice Tower coverage of the Railways of the World series.

Osprey Games has announced Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Board Game of English Magick, based on the popular novel by Susanna Clarke and subsequent television series. The board game, designed by Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello (War of the Ring) with illustration by Ian O’Toole, pits 2-4 players in a battle to be the most celebrated magician of their age. Speaking about the project, Francesco said “working with Duncan Molloy and the team at Osprey has been a fantastic experience. In their hands, our design was not simply transformed from a rough prototype to a beautiful, polished product, but it has been tweaked and improved in so many subtle ways that we cannot wait to get our hands on it. Real magic!”

Not a lot of further details are out on this new game, but initial images look fantastic. Look for Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell in June of 2019.

Queen Games has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for all their Essen releases.  The Kickstarter campaign supports Bastille, Skylands, and Franchise.  Like all their Kickstarter campaigns, “Queenies”, or expansion modules, are included with each game, and the pledge levels include the option to support one, all, or any combination of the games.

Skylands is a tile laying game where the players build the Skylands kingdom, a kingdom composed of mystical floating islands. On each turn, a player will select one of four actions: Explore, Harvest, Build, or Collect Energy.  Reminiscent of Puerto Rico,  all the players get to take the action, but the player who selected the action gets an advantage.  Players build the kingdom on their tableau, placing forests, mountains, crystals, and cities. Harvesting resources allow for the creation of more islands, power cities, and build special buildings.  The game continues until a player has completely field his or her tableau or until all the tiles have been placed.  The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

Skylands plays 2-4 players, ages 8+ in about 30 minutes.  Contents include 4 action boards, 4 double-sided player boards, 1 supply board, 4 starting islands, 4 wooden player tokens, 4 player markers, 88 island tokens, 32 special island tiles, 60 wooden inhabitants, 1 scoring pad, and 24 victory point markers.  The Kickstarter campaign supporters will also receive 5 Queenie expansions for the game.

In Franchise, players are business owners in the 1960’s expanding their business by establishing franchises across America. While each new franchise adds wealth to the business, it costs money to establish a new franchise, and not all franchise locations are equal.  The cost to add a franchise varies from location to location and the revenue earned, likewise, varies from location to location. Meanwhile, competitors cut into the revenue available from a location when they move into the same city.  Designed by Christwart Conrad, Franchise is a revised edition of his earlier game Medieval Merchant, with updated artwork by Ian O’Toole, whose artwork has been featured in The Gallerist, Lisboa, and Vinhos Deluxe Edition.

Franchise plays 2-5 players, ages 14+, in about 90 minutes. Contents include one gameboard, 5 player boards, 10 income charts, 25 city tiles, 10 region tiles, 20 bonus tiles, 55 dollar cards, 200 wooden franchises, 6 expansion markers, and 5 influence markers. The Kickstarter campaign supporters will also receive 3 Queenie expansions for the game.

Bastille is a bidding game where players are leaders of revolutionary factions in France seeking to strengthen their faction before the revolution begins.  Each player has three influence tokens which they can place in one of seven buildings around Paris. Each building provides a different benefit ranging from money, recruits, allies, missions, or other means to advance closer to the revolution and increase influence.  The player with the most influence in a location receives the benefit of that location. Victory points are earned each round based on the random mission requirements for the revolution.  After eight rounds, the revolution begins and the player with the most victory points is the winner and leader of the Revolution!

Bastille plays 3-4 plays, ages 12+, in about an hour.  Content breakout has not been provided yet, but stay tuned to the Kickstarter campaign for updates. The Kickstarter campaign supporters will also receive 3 Queenie expansions for the game.

The Kickstarter campaign for all three games runs through September 14 with an expected delivery in November 2018. Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

 

Chaosium, the long time forerunner of the Cthulhu RPG world, has announced a new Kickstarter project, the card game Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection. Chaosium, famous for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, had been out of the board and card game world for quite a while until last year’s release of Reiner Knizia‘s Khan of Khans. Now the studio has returned to the Lovecraftian world with the push-your-luck card game Miskatonic University, also designed by the master, Dr. Reiner Knizia, with Graphic design by Ian O’Toole and art by Victor Leza and Goomi. In Miskatonic University, 2-5 players take turns drawing cards from the library, trying to collect sets of 3 differing Sigil and Grimoire cards. However, if the player draws a duplicate card, they and their students will be expelled from the library, losing their progress that round. Players can use one of their 7 defense cards to mitigate expulsion in different ways, and graduate students can be collected to recharge used defense cards. If players opt to leave the library voluntarily, they earn points for collected sets. The game lasts five terrifying rounds, and the most points from collected lore and saved sanity wins.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection will continue through May 8, and the game is expected to deliver in November 2018.

Eagle-Gryphon Games have launched The Scarlet Pimpernel: Signature Edition on Kickstarter. You play as members in the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel in France helping Sir Percy Blakeney rescue the innocent from the guillotine. While there are 7 missions to complete, none are as important as rescuing the young Dauphin, heir to the French throne, and escaping with him to Vienna.

The year is 1973.

France cowers under the Reign of Terror and not even the innocent are safe from the Committee of Public Safety and their precious guillotine.

In the midst of all this turmoil, one man uses courage and cunning to fight the brutality … [source]

The Scarlet Pimpernel supports 2-6 players, aged 12+, and plays in roughly 60-90 mins. In the game players reveal mission cards which show the next location the Scarlet Pimpernel must visit. The mission cards will also show the required number of supporters and resources needed for a successful rescue. As League members, the players must help the Scarlet Pimpernel carry out these missions by placing cubes from their supply in various spots on the game board to score points. Influence over sections of the Mission Planning Area can earn Special Favor Tiles that provide access to elaborate new actions. These aren’t permanent and can be stolen away by other players. Although players work together thematically to accomplish missions, only the player with the highest score will become the Scarlet Pimpernel’s trusted adviser.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is designed by Brian Kelley and illustrated by Ian O’Toole (The Gallerist, Lisboa, Nemo’s War). It’s currently up on Kickstarter and has already raised 224% of its funding goal with 486 backers. A pledge of $55 (excluding shipping) will secure you a copy of the base game and funding ends on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018.

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.