Well, we’re right in the middle of convention season and after a successful Origins and Dice Tower Con, we are right at the onset of Gen Con. This is the 52nd year for Gen Con and for those not familiar, is happening right in the middle of Indianapolis (at the convention center).
This year is reported to have over 65,000 attendees (the largest yet) and feature over 19,000 different events. This is the 6th year I’ve had the opportunity to attend and, as I’ve done in the past, I would like to take a little time to feature some of the highlights of what to expect this year.
First up is Blue Orange Games (booth 1813). They have a few new releases that I was excited about. The one I was most excited about is Slide Quest. Are you a fan of Sorry Sliders? Now add a fantasy theme and a bit of RPG to the mix and you have Slide Quest. In this game, you work as a team to move a knight around a board – maneuvering around obstacles and monsters. This is achieved by lifting up on one of four different levers to move the hero (who has a rolling ball at the base of the figurine). This is an extremely fun family hit!
Next up is Kingdomino Duel. Roll-and-Write’s are extremely popular these days and Kingdomino Duel brings Blue Orange into the mix of fun R&W’s. For those familiar with the domino-building kingdom game in which it is themed (Kingdomino) in Kingdomino Duel, you are combining two different dice values to form a domino and then, in turn, use it to draw it into your kingdom. To find out more about the game you can view the Dice Tower’s review here. If you’re a fan of the original game – and enjoy the Roll & Write craze – this game is for you!
Speaking of Kingdomino, Blue Orange Games will be hosting their USA championship tournament during GenCon
During each hour, 36 participants will be divided into 8 groups of either 4 or 5 players. Groups of 5 players will play with the Kingdomino expansion Age of Giants. The winners of each group will be divided in 2 groups of 4 and will play another game. The 2 winners of those groups will have to come back at 7pm for the Grand Finals.
You can find out more about the tournament by visiting Blue Orange Games’ website here.
Next we’re on to Horrible Games and their release of The King’s Dilemma (booth 3065 – Luma Games). This game is a turn away from their successful Dungeon Fighter line-up and is more of a narrative game that features many evolving decisions made to build an evolving deck of cards.
You will draw one card from the “Dilemma deck” each round and experience the game story as it unfolds. Each card poses a problem that the Council has to resolve on the King’s behalf. As members of the King’s inner circle, your decisions determine how the story proceeds and the fate of the kingdom. Each event happens only once: You discuss and bargain with the other players, then finally you make a choice, determining the outcome, progressing the game story, and possibly unlocking more events.
Let’s now focus some attention on Portal Games (booth 2443). Portal has long been one of my personal favorite Publishers. With hits such as Robinson Crusoe and the recent hit, Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame, designer (and company owner) Ignacy Trzewiczek, along with Joanna Kijanka, have released Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North. This is a standalone game (set in the Imperial Settlers universe) where players will take on the leaders of either the Scotsmen, Inuits, or Vikings to make them the best empire in the world.
Develop your economy, deflect your opponent, and fight for dominance in the north. Learn new mechanisms, and experience a unique style of Imperial Settlers. Will you be able to create the most successful civilization in Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North?
Last is a visit to Starling Games & Sparkworks (booth 2225 & 2317). Available from Starling is Anomaly – a hidden movement deduction game in which one person/team plays students who are up against a feeding anomaly. What’s unique about this one is that players (students) will use special ability cards that will then be fed to the anomaly, in which case they will be used for their inverse abilities which will benefit the entity. Check this out along with some other light games such as Blindspot (an inventive word game) and Penny Lane (a small worker placement game) both pictured below.
Keep your eyes out for future articles that I’ll try to post over the next couple of days.
of the North not only made resources store between rounds, but added some
very clever worker placement and action selection mechanisms to the glorious
foundation built by Imperial Settlers. The game comes with 6 very different
factions/tribes which all play in clever ways. Some tribes are best at sailing
the seas, pillaging and conquering the islands. Some are best as homebodies,
collecting resources and living off of the interest. Others just beg to work
with the other players, living off of trade.
No sooner had this gem of a game been released, than Portal announced the first expansion,
Japanese Islands, of which Ignacy himself claims “The Japanese faction connects
the world of Empires of the North and the base Imperial Settlers.” Portal
promises two new tribes for the base game, along with new islands to explore. Imperial
Settlers: Empires of the North is in limited pre-release now, with copies on
sale at GenCon, and full release is dated
for August 22. The new Japanese Islands expansion is due to be revealed at Essen Spiel 2019 this October.
Portal Games recently hosted PortalCon 11 in Gliwice, Poland, where they celebrated 20 years of the Board Games that tell stories. At the celebration, owner and Portal head honcho Ignacy Trzewiczek announced several new games and expansions coming from this amazing company in 2019. There are a ton of new announcements, all of which can be read in the press release from Portal, or seen live in the Keynote Address given at PortalCon.
Several new games set in the Imperial Settlers (BGG #145) universe were announced. First on the list is Empires of the North, a standalone card game designed by Ignacy, featuring Scotsman, Inuit and Vikings. Each faction comes with 2 unique card decks allowing a variety of game play styles. 2-4 players can each try to lead their faction to victory by dominating the opposition, developing their economy or defending their land. Also from the big man is Imperial Settlers Roll and Write. Just as the name implies, this new roll and write game takes place in the empire building world of Imperial Settlers, and focuses heavily on engine building, with each big move giving bonuses towards the next. The game includes two modes, one a traditional 2-4 player competitive point scoring challenge, while the second is a new adventure mode. This single player game comes with a pad of 48 unique challenge sheets to complete, each with its own starting points and goals. And just to round out the Imperial Settlers fervor, Portal Games has announced the Imperial Settlers Big Box, a 5 year anniversary of this award winning game, complete with all of the factions and expansions. The Big Box will be exclusively available direct from Portal Games, and includes a plastic insert to hold everything, new commemorative anniversary cards, as well as oft requested single piece faction boards for the Amazons, Aztecs and Atlanteans.
Also coming from the President of Polish Play is a reprint of Prêt-à-Porter, the 2-4 player surprisingly brutal fashion industry board game. Players take turns hiring new employees, gaining managers, designers and models, all in an effort to destroy the competition. This third edition is coming to Kickstarter in 2019, and features new art from acclaimed illustrator Kwanchai Moriya (Dinosaur Island, Catacombs).
Portal also announced new armies for their arena combat board games Neuroshima Hex and Monolith Arena, both from designer Michał Oracz. The Sand Runners are the latest army to dominate the world of Neuroshima Hex, and are a “specialized army of veteran warriors who clashed with the Moloch in the early days of the war”. The Sand Runners feature a double sided HQ tile for versatility, and come with a new Sand Storm tile type. The new army for Monolith Arena are the Academics, focusing on runes, upgrades, and the ability to dramatically weaken their enemy – in fact, their banner directly slows enemy tiles. The Academics armies are few in number, but devastating in ability.
Limited to only 500 copies, Portal Games has launched their very own Loot Box, now up on their website for pre-order.
The Loot Box includes promos, mini-expansions, and gadgets for the following titles: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, Alien Artifacts, Imperial Settlers, 51st State, Neuroshima HEX! 3.0 and Cry Havoc.
51st State: Allies is the second expansion for the popular Imperial Settlers variant game 51st State (2010). In Allies, new mechanisms are introduced to ally the factions together, gaining unique bonuses and features. Additionally, this expansion adds 3 new factions to the game – The Steel Police, Uranopolis, and Sharrash! Play to unite the varied factions in the Wasteland, or take control as a lone wolf, the choice is yours.
Breakthrough is the second expansion for Alien Artifacts, the 4x card game released last year. Breakthrough includes “new threats uncovered in the famous Discovery, and new challenges for the space faring factions”. This expansion includes 20 new technology cards, 10 new ship cards, and 10 new planet cards, from the expand category. “Humanity solved the mystery behind the alien technology, and is ready to seize its powers!”
Fans of the award winning 2012 game Robinson Crusoe (#40 on BGG) may need to sit and take a deep breath. Mystery Tales, the second expansion for this thematic cooperative survival game, is coming in 2019. Mystery Tales includes a campaign game, The Lost City of Z, as well as a slew of components which can be added to the base game. This expansion includes 10 new characters, and 300 new cards, including new beasts, a new event deck, new mystery cards and new adventure decks. The game also introduces a new mechanism of SANITY, which can push any game of Robinson Crusoe into the realm of gothic horror. Also included are 5 new scenarios in the campaign, as well as 2 new general scenarios.
Stronghold: Undead is the stand-alone expansion to the acclaimed 2 player game Stronghold (2009), and just like the original, this expansion is getting the second edition treatment. Once again the Stronghold is under seige, with one player attacking and the other trying to survive the onslaught. This time though, the deadly Necromancer throws his unflinching forces against the walls, and each player has 8 turns to break through, or to repel the invaders.
L.A. Crimes is the first expansion to the new hotness, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. In Detective, players use a unique combination of web pages, internet searches, information cards and props to solve an intricately crafted detailed story of crime and greed. The expansion has 3 new cases taking place in sunny California, in the crime riddled Los Angeles of the 1980s. The expansion includes 2 new mechanisms – observation and stakeouts.
Finally Portal Games is prepping a magical Lootbox, with 6 unique mystery promos. Pre-orders for the Loot Box start on November 1. For more information on this, and all the announcements, check out Portal Games’ press release here.
Portal Games have announced many new releases for 2018 at their games convention, Portalcon.
This is a new fantasy, battleground, board game designed by Michał Oracz, creator of Neuroshima Hex!Monolith Arena gets its namesake from the Monolith which serves as each player’s headquarters. There are various factions, which all have unique abilities and units, and the faction headquarters also has unique abilities. Each player seeds their Monolith with three tokens which activate when the opponent damages the Monolith and the player exposes the top token. Each time the Monolith is damaged the next token is revealed. The game plays over a hex-based board, supports 2-4 players aged 10+, and plays in roughly 30-40 mins.
Monolith Arena is expected to release at Essen Spiel 2018.
Detective: A Modern Crime Game
Don your fedoras and your raincoats, and cue the moody lighting as you take the role of a detective! No, wait, don’t do that because it’s not the 1920’s anymore. In Detective: A Modern Crime Game the players are placed in a modern setting with access to 21st century tools to solve the case. The game is a story-driven, cooperative game which includes 5 scenarios that can be played as a complete campaign. Each case is represented by 35 cards.
Detective: A Modern Crime Game has 1-5 players taking the role of investigators for the government agency, ANTERES, who have access to an online database to aid in their investigations. The database has information about suspects, witnesses, and documentation from arrests and trials. Players also have access to the investigation manual and can even use real world resources such as Wikipedia, Google Maps, and other available resources.
The all-female, warrior tribe of the Amazons will be featured in the third expansion for Imperial Settlers. The Amazons use elements of the deck-building mechanism to modify the deck during play by discarding reconstructed faction cards from their deck. They also get bonuses for building their cheap faction cards which allows them victory through conquest or construction bonuses.
The third Empire Pack for Imperial Settlers includes fifty new cards to allow players to expand their base factions and conquer faction cards of their opponents. Imperial Settlers: We Didn’t Start the Fire adds borders which are placed between each pair of players.
The game will be part of an early launch kit to be released May 2nd, 2018 but will see official release on May 16th, 2018.
Robinson Crusoe: Mystery Tales
This expansion adds a new campaign titled The Lost City of Z, where you follow great explorer, Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett as he tries to find the enigmatic city. It also includes a full set of rules and components that can be played with the base game of Robinson Crusoe.
Robinson Crusoe: Mystery Tales introduces new characters, beasts, and Mystery deck cards and adds a new mechanism of Horror and Sanity with dangerous and Cthulhu-like stories.
The expansion support 1-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in roughly 90-180 mins.
Alien Artifacts: Discovery
Humanity has discovered something by accident. It is a mysterious resource, hidden deep under the surface of a distant planet. The race for wealth and new opportunities begins.
Alien Artifacts: Discovery is an expansion to the popular Alien Artifacts, 4x card game. It adds a new type of card, Alien Resources, and new types of ships and planets. A total of 50 cards is added and helps move the storyline forward of the base game.
Alien Artifacts: Discovery is designed by Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska, supports 1-4 players aged 10+, and plays in 45-90 mins. The game will be part of an early launch kit on March 7th, 2018 and will see full release on March 21st, 2018.
Imperial Settlers by designer Ignacy Trzewiczek and artist Tomasz Jedruszek will receive an expansion deck of cards, We Didn’t Start the Fire, on May 16, 2018. The new empire pack introduces the concept of conquest to Imperial Settlers. Contesting introduces borders to Imperial Settlers. When a player completes a conquest they move the border between empires and can take the left-most faction from their neighboring empire and built it into their own empire. The empire pack will include 50 new cards and support all previous factions.
Portal Games is also planning for the release of a retail support kit for Imperial Settlers prior to the launch of We Didn’t Start the Fire. Releasing on February 2nd, 2018, the In-Store Event Kit will help retailers planning for local tournaments. The retail support kit will include three cards for each of the original 4 base factions that feature a panoramic layout. The three cards in each faction can be placed side by side for a seamless and massive view of the world of Settlers. The kit will also include an Imperial Settlers playing mat (23″ x 13″) to be used as a prize in local tournaments. Winner of the 2014 Golden Geek for best solo game and now almost four years old, Imperial Settlers continues to build a fanbase of players.
By accident, humanity discovers a mysterious resource hidden under the thick crest of one of the planets. The race for the wealth and new possibilities begins!
The expansion introduces the Alien Resource card which will allow players to harvest additional resources from planets and gain new abilities. The Discovery expansion will add 50 new cards to the game, including planets, technologies, ships, Alien Artifacts, and Alien Resources.
An Early Launch Kit will release on March 3, 2018 for brick and mortar stores. Participating stores will receive 10 copies of the expansion, 10 promo materials, and an Alien Artifacts poster. Most importantly, participating retailers will receive the expansion a full two weeks before the official release date.
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Robinson Crusoe will see the The Lost City of Z big box expansion in 2018, but prior to that players will have the chance to travel through time with Robinson Crusoe though an In-Store Event Kit on March 21st, 2018. The In-Store Event Kit will allow players to take part in a new time travel themed scenario. The kit will include:
a new scenario about time travel
8 unique player characters
four sets of custom wooden pieces representing the food resource
Portal Games has announced a plethora of new games and expansions for 2018. As it is apparently 2018 in Poland (I did not fact check this, it might still be 2017) many of the mini-expansions announced are available now.
First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet
Now available in both Europe and North America, Portal Games describes First Martians as the most anticipated game in Portal Games history. Strong pre-orders make it hard to argue that fact. Based on the adventure gaming engine from Robinson Crusoe, digital apps do a lot of the heavy lifting in First Martians. Portal Games announced new content almost exclusively driven by the app for 2018:
First Martians rules Almanac in PDF form
7th stand-alone Removal mission release
Community created content delivered via app
New app features
Portal Games also plans to release a new Epidemia mission as well as an in-store event kit.
First Martians is getting a new mini-expansion, in this case a set of extra ROI tiles. This mini-expansion is available now.
Robinson Crusoe gets a pair (and a half) of big announcements. The first is that Robinson Crusoe is getting a companion app! The game isn’t getting any easier, but it is getting additional content as the app will add new events and new adventures to the game. Portal Games also describes the app as allowing players “to choose a theme for each scenario.”
The second big announcement is that Robinson Crusoe is getting a second big expansion. Similar in size to the Voyage of the Beagle expansion from 2013, the Lost City of Z expansion will also follow a single explorer. Players will follow Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett on his expedition through the Amazon in search for the Lost City of Z. Lost City of Z will add Horror and Sanity into the game, add new characters, beast and a mystery deck. The game adds 5 new missions for an epic campaign.
To tide you over until the app and expansion come out Portal has released another mini expansion – Herb Garden and Pen cards. This expansion is available now.
It’s never too early for new content. Alien Artifacts was just released this week, and already Portal Games has accounted a forthcoming expansion. The Alien Artifacts: Discovery expansion moves the storyline of the game forward and introduces Alien Resources to the game. The small (but not mini) expansion adds a total of 50 new cards to the core game.
Imperial Settlers: We Didn’t Start the Fire is the third Empire Pack of Imperial Settlers. Empire Pack’s don’t add new factions to the game, but always add new mechanics and an expanding selection of cards to integrate into the core game. Portal describes the new expansion as adding new cards and increasing the replayability of the game.
Imperial Settlers is getting a Diplomacy mini-expansion which is available now. The new expansion adds two double-sided tiles that add new rules for player interaction through diplomatic mean. The double sided tiles are Declaration of War & Mobilization and Golden Route & Confiscation.
Neuroshima Hex will also be getting an expansion in 2018. The Iron Gang Hexpuzzle Pack is an expansion for the Neuroshima Hex! 3.o base game that will introduce puzzles on the hex board that will need to be solved. The expansion will be playable both solo and competitively with other players. The expansion will include a bonus army tile for the Iron Gang Army Pack.
Speaking of Neuroshima Hex… Portal Games is also introducing new games in 2018! Michal Oracz, creator of Neuroshima HEX, has created a fantasy battleground boardgames. Wage war against your opponents on a familiar hex board. Five factions will each have unique abilities and unites, along with literal monoliths looming large over the battlefield.
Monolith Arena has an estimated playtime of 30-45 minute for 2-4 players aged 10 and up.
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
But wait! There’s more! Przemyslaw Rymer and Igancy Trzewiczek have designed a board game that tells actual stories. A modern crime boardgame, Detective will focus on stories inspired by true events. Sleuths will have a variety of modern tools at their disposal including checking the internet, investigating clues and pouring over the facts. A variety of high quality components will be introduced over 5 unique scenarios. Detective plays out over 90 minutes for 1-4 intrepid investigators aged 14 and up.
It’s shaping up to be a big 2018 for Portal Games!
Coming in December from Portal Games is another expansion for their popular game Imperial Settlers, this time bringing the Aztecs on board. Imperial Settlers: Aztecs adds in an additional clan in the form of the Aztecs, but just adding a new clan is boring. So to spice things up, in addition to adding the Aztecs to the game, religion is now making its way into the game as well. This will allow all the existing factions to hold festivals, perform ceremonies, and do other actions to gain favors and blessings from their gods. In turn you can use these blessings for bonuses to help you along to victory.
Look for this expansion to hit stores in December of 2016.
Portal Games has just announced the next expansion for Imperial Settlers, 3 Is A Magic Number. This expansion is another empire pack and adds cards to all five of the existing factions for the Imperial Settlers game in addition to adding a new SET mechanism to the game. What the SET mechanism does is when you build three buildings of the same color you will both get extra points and trigger a special ability based on what color set you just built. This brings an interesting choice to the drafting phase because now you are looking at both the abilities of the card and it’s color. You can read the full press release about the expansion below and look forward to it’s release on May 25th.
Portal Games announces 3 Is A Magic Number
The next Empire Pack expansion in the Imperial Settlers line.
Gliwice, Poland – April 4, 2016. Today, Portal Games announced 3 Is A Magic Number, the next expansion for the award winning Imperial Settlers. Imperial Settlers: 3 is a magic Number is the second Empire Pack for Imperial Settlers from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek. 3 Is A Magic Number introduces all new mechanics and includes cards to supplement all five Factions currently available in Imperial Settlers. This expansion introduces a new rule: SET. This new ability allows players to score and trigger new effects each time they build 3 cards in a particular color, so called SET. With that rule drafting phase and choice of a right card to draft is even more interesting! “I like the fact that with this expansion the draft phase gets even more interesting,” Said designer and CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek. “You are not only looking at the abilities of cards, but now you also want to collect particular colors to build sets and activate your powerful feature cards. It’s fun!”
Imperial Settlers is for 1 to 4 players, ages 12 or older and takes approximately 60 minutes to play. 3 Is A Magic Number is an expansion for Imperial Settlers and requires the Imperial Settlers base set to play. The expansion contains 13 Common cards, 50 Faction cards, and 4 Solitaire cards. 3 Is A Magic Number will be released worldwide on . MSRP will be $16. For more information, you can visit the 3 Is A Magic Number page on our website.
About Portal Games
Portal Games is a publisher of award-winning games such as Imperial Settlers, Stronghold, Tides of Time, Legacy, and Neuroshima Hex. Founded in Poland in 1999, Portal Games has developed into one of the most renowned European game publishers and design teams. Their commitment is to produce only the highest quality Board Games That Tell Stories.