Mare Nostrum

Academy Games would like to announce their upcoming game releases for June of 2016.  These releases are:

Mare Nostrum: Empires

Mare Nostrum: Empires is a building game in which 3-5 players lead their individual empires to dominion of the ancient world.  You grow the fame and glory of your empire by expanding your influence into new Provinces, then extending your Trade Caravans, building Markets, and founding new Cities and Temples.  You may also recruit Heroes and create Wonders to advance your Empire’s cause.  But beware of your ‘friends’, for they may look upon your gains with envy and greed…and thwart your progress towards dominance of Mare Nostrum!

  • Choose Your Leader
  • Choose Your Strategy
  • Grow into a Trade Empire
  • Become a Hero
  • Conquer Your Enemies
  • Play in a Beautiful World with High Quality Components and a Thick Mounted Game board

Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal

This stand-alone product continues the multi-award-winning Conflict of Heroes series.  In this game, players command platoons and companies of individual squads and tanks to resolve the same tactical dilemmas that commanders faced during some of the most ferocious engagements of World War II.

In this game, the Americans track Victory Points, but the Japanese track Bushido.  If a Japanese commander loses face during battle, his command and men’s morale can crumble.  Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal features a fast and fluid system (quick and simultaneous play) that is fun, easy (no charts), historically accurate, and contains high-quality components.

Look for both of these titles to be released in stores in June of 2016.  For more information on these titles, visit the Academy Games website.

Picture of Snakes & Lattes in Canada

Picture of Snakes & Lattes in Canada

There’s something about the board game hobby that solicits compulsive acquisition. Many of us are able to tame those impulses through sheer force of will or financial necessity, but for the rest, learning about, commenting on, obsessing over, and ultimately acquiring board games is more than just a hobby.

Small World caught my eye

Small World caught my eye

Falling Through the Ice

My introduction to board games happened only a few years ago. I was already interested in roleplaying and comic books, and was a regular at The Source Comics & Games in Roseville, MN (highly recommended if you find yourself in the Twin Cities). Despite the floor space that board games occupied in that amazing store, I hardly noticed as I perused comic book back issues and the latest Pathfinder sourcebooks. I remember at one point Small World caught my eye for its whimsical fantasy art, but one look at the price tag and I was right back to the comic book bargain bin. I was sure those big pricey boxes just weren’t for me.

Like so many before me, it took just one great board game experience to open the floodgates. One of my good friends, someone I met though comic books and roleplaying incidentally, invited me over for an evening of board games. We played Dominion and Tales of the Arabian Nights, and I was utterly mesmerized by the clever designs and interesting decisions. It’s funny that neither of these games are really my cup of tea today, but at the time, I was truly spellbound.

Shortly thereafter, I moved away from Minnesota and found myself in a new city: Portland, OR. For some strange, wonderful reason, that evening of deckbuilding and storytelling stayed with me. Wanting to meet fellow geeks like me, I signed up for a local board gaming meet-up group and quickly got deeper and deeper into the hobby. Hours perusing BoardGameGeek lead to me to discover The Dice Tower and it’s wonderful network. I watched countless reviews and top 10 lists, obsessively consumed podcasts and articles, and began filling online retailer shopping carts with a dazzling array of games (Dominion and Tales of the Arabian Nights among them).

Paralyzed by the Cold

I definitely overextended myself in those early days. My collection grew more quickly than my discipline to make informed decisions about what sorts of games I really liked. It was all about theme then, and plastic bits. Some of those early purchases are still in my collection today, but the vast majority never even got a chance at my gaming table.

On top of pining after new games, I had discovered a hard truth: there were some really good games that came out long before I had even a passing interest in the hobby, and that some of those games were *gasp* sold out! Never to be reprinted again. I was devastated; my compulsive need to acquire could not abide something so tempting being so desperately out of reach. Game like Merchant of Venus and Fury of Dracula were the sort of theme-rich experiences I craved, but even on the secondary market, they were just too difficult or costly to attain.

My list of grail games grew long and longer: Endeavor, Age of Discovery III, Fief, Starcraft, War of the Ring: The Collector’s Edition, Kremlin, Dune, Glory to Rome: Black Box edition, and so many others. Occasionally I would get lucky and find one of these enigmatic lost treasures through a geeklist auction or a local seller, but more often than not, I was left to dream and lament my limited funds.

Fury of Dracula is being reprinted by FFG

Fury of Dracula is being reprinted by FFG

Swimming for the Surface

At the height of my frustration, I remember an episode The Dice Tower podcast in which Tom Vasel emphatically encouraged the board game community to be patient when it comes to difficult-to-find games. Whether they were out-of-print, temporarily sold out, awaiting domestic distribution, or missed Kickstarters, there were mountains of other available board games that deserved our attention. He was completely right, of course, and the last several months have really proven him out. For example:

It’s incredible how much previous editions of some of these games commanded on the secondary market, only to be replaced with, in many cases, superior versions. As Tom implied in that wise podcast segment: patience is a virtue.

Breathing the Air

Patience is exactly what helped me overcome my compulsive acquisition. I began making more considerate decisions about the games I order, and awaiting sales so that I could pay less even if that meant trying out the new hotness a few months later. I parted with a lot of the games in my collection that just weren’t good fits for myself or my game group (again, Dominion and Tales of the Arabian Nights among them), and began removing games from the grail list knowing that the cream of that crop would see life again in one form or another.

It’s not that I did something other gamers didn’t. In fact the bell curve of my board gaming addiction is very reminiscent of the stories I hear from my fellow game group collectors. They ramped up quickly only to learn that quality meant more than quantity, and that being part of this hobby isn’t a competition. I still get excited and place the occasional preorder, but I’ve gotten much closer to finding a balance and if you think you compulsive acquisition is out of control, you can too.

mare nostrum

Mare Nostrum: Empires from Academy Games and Asyncron is a new version of Mare Nostrum a 2003 empire-building game both designed by Serge Laget. With updated rules, components, board, and new ways to win it takes what was great in Mare Nostrum and improves on it. It is also currently blowing through stretch goals on Kickstarter and adding huge amounts of gameplay as it does.

Mare Nostrum is an empire-building game in which 3-5 players lead their individual ancient empires to dominion of Mare Nostrum. You grow the fame and glory of your empire by expanding your influence into new Provinces, then extending your Trade Caravans, building Markets, and founding new Cities and Temples. You can recruit Heroes and create Wonders to help your cause. But beware of your “friends” because they may look upon your gains with envy and greed…

Mare Nostrum is a re-introduction by Academy Games and Asyncron of the original 2003 release with updated rules, counters, and map board. This edition includes many new components and multiple new ways to win!

There were a lot of changes to the original game made before the launch including two more victory conditions, another resource type, additional buildings, a revamped trade system, and custom battle dice to name a few. Also a lot of the stretch goals add game play like the Punic Wars rulebook that adds in two player support. A lot of these stretch goals will be combined into the Atlas Expansion that will be included free for a backers. Yes your pledge on Kickstarter will get you the new game and an expansion that will be separate at retail. The artwork has also been redone by the talented Jean-Marie Minguez.

mare nostrum pieces

In the game players will start with an empire that has a unique bonus and try to expand by using resources to build markets, cities, caravans, etc.. They will  expand into adjacent provinces through influence or military might and acquire new heroes and and wonders. This will be paid for by taxing cities and collecting goods from caravans. Battles will be fought by Legions who will be able to travel the seas with the use of Triremes. As your empire grows it will move up three tracks: Trade, Culture, and Military and the leader in each will gain additional powers and benefits.

As stated above Mare Nostrum: Empires is rapidly adding on stretch goals including component upgrades, new events and heros, small expansions, additional tracking boards, and 3D components for legion tokens, fortresses, and ships. It is also available in multiple languages including English, French, German, Polish, Italian, and Spanish. If this sounds like your kind of game or you are looking for a sub two hour civ type game then you need to check out the Kickstarter for Mare Nostrum: Empires.