“Marco Polo set out from Venice in 1271 and spent the next twenty-four years traveling and proving his skill as a merchant. Seventeen of those years he spent in China as an ambassador of Kublai Khan, embarking on missions throughout the Mongol Empire and seeing parts of the world most Europeans could scarcely imagine at the time. Will you continue the legacy of one of history’s greatest travelers?”
Attention all Marco Polo fans, Z-Man Games has just announced a sequel to this classic, Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan, featuring the same design team of Luciani and Tascini. Marco Polo II has the same basic structure as it’s predecessor, with players using their dice as workers to activate action spaces, collecting resources, finishing contracts, and traveling across China. Players can once again use previously occupied spaces by placing their die on top of the growing stack, paying hard cash for the privilege. Additionally, jade now enters the game as a new resource, allowing manipulation of the markets. Players can join various guilds to open new travel routes along the map, opening shortcuts.
Games today announced the first expansion to Elizabeth
Hargrave’s mega hit Wingspan. Wingspan
took the gaming world by force when it hit in early 2019, combining a huge
variety of gorgeously illustrated cards with simple, elegant gameplay. Wingspan
was quickly the most talked about game, unfortunately making it frequently out
of print, and difficult to find. Winning the illustrious Spiel des Jahres
Kennerspiel award probably did not help matters either.
The European Expansion, also designed by Elizabeth Hargrave, still contains the fantastic art by Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, Natalia Rojas, and Beth Sobel. The new birds included in this expansion will use a variety of new abilities, including round-end abilities, more player interactions, and birds that benefit from excess resources. The plan for this expansion, and future additions, it to be seamlessly shuffled into the original cards, creating a larger, more varied game.
Stonemaier has also announced that future copies of Wingspan will include a “swift start promo pack”, which includes a first round walk-through, using specific new bird cards to demonstrate how to play. The back of the Wingspan box will clearly show whether the promo pack is included. This promo pack will be also available for separate order directly from Stonemaier. For more information on the Swift Start Promo Pack, check out Stonemaier’s website here.
The European Expansion for Wingspan will contain a new tray for holding the tremendous quantity of cards, 15 more eggs (purple!), more food resources, and a new scorepad. Pre-orders for this expansion will begin on November 6, and look for the game to hit shelves November 22, 2019. For those lucky enough to attend, limited copies will also be available at Essen in October. For more information, check out Stonemaier’s website on the European Expansion here.
“Assemble a crew and outfit a longboat to raid settlements for gold and fame!”
Raiders of the North Sea, by Garphill Games and designer Shem Phillips, is a unique worker placement game wherein players collect resources to raid and pillage as Vikings. The game was deservedly nominated for the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award in 2017, and has accrued two excellent expansions over the years. In Raiders players use a twist on standard worker placement: a single worker is held in hand, which is placed on the board to select a first action. A second action is selected by picking a new worker up off of a previously used space. Workers come in three colors, restricting which actions can be done by which workers.
And now, Dire Wolf Digital has taken this modern classic and created an excellent digital version for Steam, mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch. Raiders of the North Sea is part of an ongoing partnership between Renegade Games and Dire Wolf to produce digital versions of their board games, including Lanterns: the Harvest Festival, Lotus, and the Renegade Companion App. The game truly shines in the digital forum, retaining the excellent artwork created by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (The Mico). Additionally, all versions of Raiders of the North Sea include cross-platform play, so you can compete against friends regardless of which system they use. For more information, check out the press release from Dire Wolf Digital here.
Back in May we announced the nominees for the renowned Spiel (Game of Year), Kennerspiel (Connoisseur-Enthusiast Game of the Year), and Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year) awards. The winners have been announced. This year Azul, designed by Michael Kiesling and published by Plan B/Next Move games won the Spiel des Jahres.
Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, from designer Wolfgang Warsch and published by Schmidt Spiele, won the Kennerspiel des Jahres Schmidt Spiele.
And, finally, Funkelschatz won the Kinderspiel des Jahres. Also known as Dragon’s Breath and published in the USA by HABA, Funkelschatz is designed by Lena and Günter Burkhardt.
The Spiel des Jahres award nominees have been announced for 2018 across their three categories; Spiel desh Jahres (Game of the Year), Kinnerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur-Enthusiast Game of the Year), and Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year). The nominees are:
Acram Digital has announced they are looking for beta testers for the digital port of the board game Istanbul. Acram has teased that the game is coming in Q2 2018 and is seeking beta testers now. Those interested can find more information on how to join the playtest here.
The game is currently in development for PC/Mac/Linux, Android and iOS systems. Digital features of the game will include:
official, digital version of Istanbul board game
optimized for PC, smartphones and tablets
play with AI, with friends or both
pass and play mode
online multiplayer with asynchronous mode option
official rules plus extra additions
When the app is released players will no longer have to gather around the same table to enjoy the merchant life, but instead will be thrust into the usual day in this city market via their favorite digital device.
Hustle and bustle in the bazaar district of Istanbul: merchants and their assistants are hurrying through the narrow alleys attempting to be more successful than their competitors. Good organization is key: wheelbarrows have to be filled with goods at the warehouses and then swiftly transported by the assistants to the various destinations. The goal of the merchants is to be the first to collect a certain amount of rubies.
In the game players will take on the role of merchants with their four assistants roaming through the 16 bazaar locations. Each location allows players to leave an assistant behind to take a specific action, returning later to pick up the assistant. When a merchant has finally collected five rubies in his wheelbarrow all players will complete the round to end the game. If the player who ended the game has completed their goal they will be declared the winner, otherwise ties will be broken by money still in hand.
The original board game, released in 2014, was the winner of numerous awards including the coveted Kennerspiel des Jahres. Awards included:
Acram Digital studio is a independent developer based in Poland. They are the developer of the digital ports of Steam: Rails to Riches and Eight Minute Empire. Acram Digital was established in 2014 by two board game enthusiasts enthusiasts focused on porting board games to digital platforms including tablets, smartphones, PCs using iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Asmodee is celebrating the 7th anniversary of 7 Wonders, originally released in 2010, with two new mini expansion packs.
The first expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Leaders Anniversary Pack Expansion is an expansion to 7 Wonders: Cities, which was released in 2010 as the first 7 Wonders expansion. This anniversary pack will include at least fifteen new leaders to include in games of 7 Wonders. Characters from history will include Gorgo, Cornelia, Enheduanna, Roxana, and more. 7 Wonders Leaders added Leader cards to the base game. At the start of every game, each player drafts a hand of four leaders and can pay money to play one leader at the start of each of the three Ages.
The second expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Cities Anniversary Pack Expansion, is an expansion to the 7 Wonders: Cities expansion, which was released in 2012. The expansion pack will include at least fifteen new cities. City cards will include a memorial, customs, counterfeiter’s office, smuggler’s cache, and more. 7 Wonders: Cities was the second expansion for 7 Wonders. City cards were a new type if card in the game and aggressively increased the interaction between players in games.
7 Wonders & Many Awards
When released in 2010 7 Wonders was an instant hit, finding both popular and critical success. A sample of awards includes:
This was on Kickstarter last year and had initial fulfillment to backer this year in the weeks leading up to Gen Con.
“We are continuing to expand our games business with on-trend and relevant games, and Escape Room in A Box is the latest addition to the growing Mattel Games portfolio,” said Ray Adler, Senior Director, Global Games at Mattel. “We know that in a digitally focused world, consumers are gravitating toward social game play. This new introduction brings friends and families together to re-create the thrill captured in the entertainment experience.”
The Werewolf with give a group of players one hour to solve a series of puzzles, crack some codes and find some hidden clues in time to stop the plot of a mad scientist. As soon as the box has been opened players will have been exposed to a virus that will turn them into werewolves. Players will then have one hours to complete 19 puzzles and find the codes to open the three locks and escape the virus.
Players will be able to connect to the Amazon Alexa to track time, ask questions for clues and play a soundtrack for the game.
Mattel’s escape room in a box will be released in retail in the fall of 2017.
Legacy of Escape Games
Escape Room style games have become extremely popular in recent years. Mattel noted in their press release that 13.4 million people in the US alone participated in escape rooms. Kosmos Exit series of games adaptation of escape rooms for board game players was the winner of the 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres.