J.B. Howell

Kolossal Games and designer J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard, Flotilla) have have started a Kickstarter campaign for Papillon, a tile laying and area control game about butterflies. In Papillon, 2-4 players bid for turn order using a pool of caterpillars, then draft tiles containing flowers from a central grid. The drafted tiles must be placed with matching edges, creating a tableau with patches of colored flowers. When a flower patch is complete, players can place a butterfly clip on the giant 3D cardboard version of that flower. Points are earned at the end of the game by area control of each flower type.

It has to be noted that the components in Papillon are striking, from the butterfly clips and garden gnome meeples, to the complex but beautiful cardboard flower structures. The Kickstarter also includes an expansion, Beyond the Meadow, with predators, new wildflowers, and new goal cards. The Kickstarter Campaign for Papillon continues through April 17, and the game is expected to ship in January 2020.

Wizkids has announced Flotilla, a 2-5 player board game by designers
J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard) and Michael Mihealsick (Onimaru), taking place in a post-nuclear 1950s earth. After the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests, sea levels have risen dramatically, necessitating the Flotilla, a cobbled together floating city. Fleet Commander players start as Sinksiders, collecting resources from the Ocean Board, collecting ruins, trying to create a better world for their crew. Later, players can become Skysiders, flipping and attaching their collected watercraft to the Flotilla itself, in order to vie for control of the many guilds therein. The final winner is the most influential Fleet Commander within the Flotilla. Flotilla is scheduled to hit stores in October 2019.

Wizkids Games has just announced the new social deduction game Chiyo’s Secret from designer J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard). In Chiyo’s Secret, players are trying to determine the identity and location of the wanted lovers Chiyo and Fusanobu in feudal Japan. One player takes on the role of Motonaka, the lovers’ son, trying to save his parents and help their escape. The rest of the players are either Allies, seeking to capture the pair for execution, Usurpers trying to lure Fusanobu into a trap and seize power, or Betrayers trying to betray the Daimo and use the pair as a gift for the Shogun. Players gain information by moving locals between establishments, or by questioning Motonaka, who may lie about his parents once per game. Players roles, excepting Motonaka, are secret, so exact intentions are unclear. The game ends when a player has met his or her winning conditions. Chiyo’s Secret is due to be released in February 2019, but for more information check out WizKids’ web page here.

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.