J. Alex Kevern

Tasty Minstrel Games has announced an absolute metric tonne of games slated for release in the following months: some new, some reprints, and some just plain interesting. So without further ado, here is the list…

“Planet Earth is overpopulated, but recent technological developments open new possibilities – whole cities hovering high in the skies.”

Dilluvia Project, a game declared “awesome” by our own Jason Levine, is a heavy euro game from designer Alexandre Garcia, originally published by Spielworxx in 2015. Dilluvia is a glorious amalgamation of mechanisms, all coming together into a resource collection, cube management, area control festival where 2-4 players try to best manage a utopian flying city. Players jockey for position around a 4×4 grid of tiles, trying to secure the best resources by pointing to rows and columns. Cube collection leads to control of prime real estate in the city, in which buildings can be placed for points. Even the score mechanisms are unique, with “prestige points” giving the player more opportunity to earn true victory points in this deliciously crunchy mechanism salad. Look for Dilluvia Project to be reprinted this August.

“The journey out west was daunting and fraught with peril, but you made it!”

Old West Empresario from designer Stan Kordonskiy (Dice Hospital) is a tile drafting and placement game for 2-4 players. Tiles can give the player actions each turn, or can score points at the end of the game. Like other tile placement games, everyone is trying to create a prosperous town, where neighboring buildings feed off of each other, generating more points. Look for Old West Empresario to hit stores at the end of August.

Homesteaders is a fast auction game from designer Alex Rockwell, which has garnered understandable love since its release in 2009. TMG has announced a new 10th anniversary edition of this classic, including a new expansion, New Beginnings. In Homesteaders, 2-4 players auction for buildings to place in their burgeoning western frontier town, managing precious resources (9 different types!). Buildings give the player new abilities, income, and point generation, however some buildings require workers to fully function. After 10 rounds, the player with the most points is declared victor, and gets to name their city. The new Homesteaders comes with metal coins and victory point tokens, 53 building tiles, 30 auction tiles, 25 worker meeples, 74 wooden resources, and even a metal start player token.

The new expansion adds a 5th player, more buildings, auctions and components. Look for Homesteaders 10th Anniversary and the New Beginnings expansion in late September.

“Cats all over the world look forward to the Festival!”

Festival of a Thousand Cats from designer Fukutarou is a trick taking card game originally from Japan, which is sought after but difficult to obtain in the west. Tasty Minstrel has gotten the rights to reprint this quirky game, and it should hit western shores in late September. Cards have ranging number values, come in 4 different suits/seasons, and can score positive or negative points. 2 cards to be fought over are placed in the center of the play area, and these cards may have crows (negative points), fish, or milké (an intoxicating mixture of catnip and milk). Be careful – winning too much milké makes the cats sick and both fish and milké points are lost. Players each play one card from their hand, but cannot play the same suits as the scoring cards, unless there is no other option. After all players put in a card, the highest card played wins the higher of the 2 scoring cards, and the lowest wins the lower of the scoring cards. Add to this formula a varying distribution of numbers in each suit, and you end up with a very quirky, interesting take on trick taking.

“Stake your claim, build a mining empire, and keep one step ahead of the competition!”

Rolled West from designer Daniel Newman is the new inevitable roll-and-write version of TMG’s popular Gold West (2015) from J. Alex Kevern. In Rolled West, 2-4 players roll dice to collect resources, in order to make settlements and score majorities for the various terrain types. Players can bank resources on opponent’s turns, fulfill contracts, make sales, or invest in futures. The game comes with 4 custom dice, 4 dry erase player boards, a dry erase score board, and markers.

“Deep beneath the surface of the earth lie gems, artifacts, and other valuable things.”

Big Dig by Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington is a similar 2-4 player flip-and-write, dry erase game, where players flip over cards that dictate what shape of grid squares to cross off (dig) on their board. Digging out areas must proceed from the top or from already cleared areas, and certain areas cannot be excavated, except maybe by blowing them up! Players try to achieve the 3 random goals set on cards, and the first to do so wins. Lots of goals and double sided player boards lend variety to this new roll and write. Look for both Rolled West and Big Dig to come to stores in October 2019.

“Your prehistoric clan needs a little guidance. Hunt, gather, figure out new techniques for doing things and make a little art along the way!”

Dawn of Mankind is coming from designer Marco Pranzo (Historia) and acclaimed artist Kwanchai Moriya. Not a lot of details are known about this title, except that players create the journey of their tribe, involving generations of families. Other players may inadvertently help you along if they proceed along the same story path. At the end of the game, the “story” left by your family translates into points. Dawn of Mankind is due to hit stores in Q4 2019.

Fans of small-box trick-taking game, The Fox in the Forest, who want to play with more than 2 players will be interested in Time Chase, which supports 3-6 players and plays in about 30 mins. Players have unlocked the secret to time travel but some of their less upstanding colleagues want to use the invention to travel back in time to take credit for the invention for themselves. Interesting mechanisms such as travelling back in time to previous tricks (called events) to change their outcome is possible. The first player to control three events in the timeline wins. Time Chase is designed by Jonathan Woodward with art by Allen Panakal.

In Artsee, players are curators at an art gallery which is expanding its collection. Each player has a gallery with four wings which need to have new exhibits added that provide experiences to match visitors’ expectations. Players seek to gain prestige which earns them the right to display prominent works and draw in more visitors. The curator with the most prestigious gallery wins. The game relies on card drafting and set collection mechanisms and is designed by J. Alex Kevern (known for Sentient and Passing Through Petra) with art by Janos Orban.

Both games are expected to release in August of 2019.

Travel back to an old world, to a city nestled beside a canyon, like no other. Welcome to Petra, where traveling caravans enter the city through a narrow canyon called “the Siq.” Invite them to your market for trade as you grow your settlement and your reputation. The more you grow the more benefits you’ll reap as you set your sights on becoming the most powerful leader in Petra.

Renegade Games Studio brings the magnificent city of Petra to life in Passing Through Petra, a new tile pushing and influence spreading game. It’s designed by J. Alex Kevern, who brought you favorites like Prowler’s Passage, Sentient, and World’s Fair 1893, and illustrated by Jain Orban. This newest release will be hitting the shelves in October.

The game is designed for 2-4 players, ages 14 and up. You’ll have around 60 minutes of game time to build your influence. The components add depth to the theming within the game and include: pre-painted Merchant Pawns, recessed Player Boards, and plastic canyons walls.

To learn more, check out the full press release from Renegade Games Studio here!

Renegade Game Studios have announced an upcoming summer release – Sentient. Designed by J. Alex Kevern (World’s Fair 1893), the game pits players against each other in a futuristic world of competing corporations, all trying to program the best sentient robot.

From Renegade:

“In Sentient, players will be tasked with choosing from available robots to program in their factory. Each robot that is added will modify your board and attract the interest of investors for your company. Program your bots efficiently and collect the support of your patrons to build the most formidable operation.”

Estimated playtime is 45-60 minutes, target audience is 12+.

worlds fair

In 1893 in Chicago, a 600 acre beaux arts miniature city stood for six months and attracted over 27 million visitors, there to see some of the greatest attractions in the world- for the first ferris wheel, the first commercial movie theater, and industrial and scientific exhibitions from 46 nations all premiered at the Chicago World’s Fair. This extraordinary setting is remembered with striking visuals and a blend of area-control and card-drafting mechanics in a new game from publisher Foxtrot Games and designer J. Alex Kevern, dubbed simply World’s Fair 1893.

worlds fair board

The World’s Fair of 1893 in Chicago was a spectacular international exhibition that showcased many great achievements in science, technology, culture, and entertainment. Acting as organizers of the fair, players use their influence and supporters to secure the grand exhibits that will be put on display.

On your turn, you send a supporter to one of the fives areas and collect all the cards next to it. Choose carefully to collect the cards you need and also beat out your opponents for control in the various areas:

  • The main exhibit cards could earn you the most points, but only if you have the supporters you need in the matching area to get the exhibits approved into the fair.
  • Favors from the influential figure cards will increase your supporters in the areas and help you approve the exhibits you’ve already collected.
  • The Midway ticket cards for the fun and profitable attractions score you a small number of points and move the game forward.

The Kickstarter campaign page allows backers to vote on what exhibit cards will be included in the box and also features a downloadable print & play file so you can try it out before backing. The project will fund on 10/28.