Markus Brand

Ubongo is a fast-paced, easy-to-learn, geometric puzzle game where players race to piece together interlocking tiles. The goal is for players to get them to fit perfectly on their own puzzle boards. Ubongo Extreme: Fun-Size Edition is a smaller, lower-priced, and more portable format of the larger game and adds a higher level of complexity by using polyhex tiles instead of the traditional tile shapes. Ubongo Extreme: Fun-Size Edition is designed by
Grzegorz Rejchtman for 1-4 players, aged 8+, and is expected to release on July 1st, 2019.

Inka Brand & Markus Brand continue releasing games in the popular EXIT series, with the latest iteration being EXIT: House of Riddles. The game is classified at a beginner difficulty level, caters for 1-4 players, and plays in roughly 1-2 hours. Players are detectives who are summoned to an abandoned house to investigate an unsolved mystery. Upon entry, the detectives hear screams and find the entrance shut behind them and need to crack the case to find their way out. Expect EXIT: House of Riddles to release on July 22nd, 2019.

Brainwaves is a series of games developed by neuroscientists and game designers where players challenge their episodic memory (memory of recent personal events). Thames & Kosmos are releasing 3 games in this series which are all for 1-4 players, aged 8+, and play in roughly 15 mins.

Brainwaves: The Astute Goose has players identifying a burglar hiding in a crowd and is designed by Reiner Knizia. Then, designed by Dirk Baumann, Brainwaves: The Brilliant Boar has players collect sets of various animal portraits on cards by utilizing their memory to match those in their hand (facing away from them) to those revealed on the table. In Brainwaves: The Wise Whale, players are collecting colorful sea creatures by matching either their colors or animal types, and is designed by Maureen Hiron. Expect all 3 games to release on July 8th, 2019.

In August of this year the International Gamers Awards (IGA) committee announced the finalists for the 2018 IGA Awards.

“The International Gamers Awards were founded in 1999 for the express purpose of recognizing outstanding games, their designers, and the companies which publish them. The awards have gained widespread acclaim and have helped bring these outstanding games to the public’s attention.” [source]

The winner in the Multi-Player General Strategy category was Rajas of the Ganges. This game, designed by the husband and wife team of Markus and Inka Brand, with stunning art by Dennis Lohausen, was published by HUCH!. It has players represent powerful nobles who are gathering resources and wealth. Rajas of the Ganges also got the Seal of Approval from Tom at the Dice Tower.

The winner in the 2-player General Strategy category was Codenames Duet, designed by Vlaada Chvátil and Scot Eaton, with art by Tomáš Kučerovský, and published by Czech Games Edition (CGE).  In it, two players attempt to decipher the identity of their agents hidden behind a card with a word, by guessing those words based on one-word clues. Assassins are hidden in-between the agents which end the game when revealed. The crew at the Dice Tower have spoken well of this game numerous times as well.

You can learn more about the International Gamers Awards, the awards categories, and other nominated games, by visiting their website.

Thames and Kosmos has recently announced a ton of new games and expansions releasing in the coming months.

Word Slam Family, a more compact version of the 2016 Inka and Markus Brand hit Word Slam, is coming in September. Players try to get their teammates to guess a word, using only the 105 explanatory cards in the game; talking, signing and emoting are forbidden. Teams word simultaneously, and the first to get the word correct earns the point. Word Slam Family replaces the classic die and timer with an app, and the box itself becomes the screen between the teams. World Slam Family should arrive in September 2018.

Mercado by Rüdiger Dorn (Istanbul, Karuba) has 2-4 players purchasing valuable items from the great market. Players draw coins from their bag, and place them face down at market locations, competing with others for the same goals. Players who have paid all the necessary matching coins can take the location and gain reputation. Market boards can bring privilege or seals, or some can introduce counterfeit coins into a players bag. Look for Mercado in July 2018.

In Drop It, 2-4 players drop circle, triangle, square and diamond pieces of their color into the slots at the top of a large vertical board. Points are earned for hitting higher locations and special targets, but the pieces can bounce around a bit, so aiming is tricky. Additionally, if pieces of the same color or shape touch, they earn no points.

The EXIT series of escape room games have received well deserved accolades over the past year, including the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award in 2017. These games are self contained, one use, elaborate puzzle games driven by code wheels, puzzle books and props, which often involve the destruction of pieces while finding solutions. Six games in the series are already available, and now four new EXIT games are coming – Dead Man On The Orient Express and The Sunken Treasure are due out in July, while The Sinister Mansion and The Mysterious Museum should arrive in October. Due to the secret nature of the EXIT games, not much else is known about these games other then the titles.

Imhotep: A New Dynasty is a new expansion for the 2016 Spiel Nominee Imhotep. Imhotep had players mining and shipping their stone blocks to various locations, building pyramids, obelisks and temples for points. The new expansion adds 5 new locations, new market cards, gods and chariots to the classic. God cards add a bidding and betting element to the game, allowing players to secretly predict the outcome on various locations, earning rewards if they are correct. A New Dynasty should be available to purchase this August. \

Dark Heroes is a new expansion to the classic Legends of Andor. Winner of the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel in 2013, Legends of Andor is a cooperative fantasy quest game with strong puzzle and strategy elements. Dark Heroes adds 4 new hero boards with dice and standees, and allows up to 6 players to overcome the original challenge. Dark Heroes is scheduled to come to stores June 2018.

 

Image Courtesy of BGG

Image Courtesy of BGG

Stronghold Games will be publishing the Kennerspiel des Jahres (2012) winner ‘Village’ along with it’s expansions ‘Village Inn’ and ‘Village Port’, along with the recent Essen 2015 release, My Village. The games are designed by Inka and Markus Brand and will be printed in Germany under license from German publisher Eggert-Spiele.

Village and Village Inn will come first, with an expected release date in time for the Gama Trade show in March 2016. These will be closely followed by Village Port and My Village in May/June 2016 in time for the Origins Game Fair.

Village is a Euro style game for 2 to 4 players with an intriguing twist on resource management – among the more usual resources, you also have to manage time and at some point during the game you will be likely to actually want to kill off your workers. As you may expect, the Inn & Port expansions add an Inn and Port to your village, introducing more options for managing the lives of your family members.

My Village is a standalone game with a very similar theme and weight as Village, but this time uses dice management as it’s primary mechanic instead of cubes & workers.

For more information take a look at Stronghold Game Website

murano

Mayfair Games and their subsidiary Lookout Games has announced a new title to be released soon Murano.  If you are someone who likes variability in their gameplay this title appears to be one that will likely appeal to you.  Designed by Inka & Markus Brand with beautiful artwork from Klemens Franz.

Read the Publishers description below.

Murano seeks the most glorious of merchants.  There is a lot going on in the Venetian lagoon: glassblowers are creating breathtakingly beautiful pieces of art, which are sold to discerning customers by the businessmen of various shops.

Various and esteemed personalities visit the small islands of Murano in search of treasures to acquire.  If your work lives up to their high standards, fame and glory shall be yours and you shall achieve victory in this game.

Murano is an exciting mix of different game mechanics and challenging from beginning to end.   The game board changes from turn to turn and every move counts.

Only at the end of the game, will you find out who has spent his resources best, built most skillfully, and placed his gondoliers most profitably!

New Buildings must always be placed adjacently to streets. Murano tile-laying-game – the trick is buildings may be neutral or belong to a player, making profit from all the many customers in the alleys.

On your turn move a ship to the next free spot and play the corresponding action.  Murano’s simple worker placement mechanic  involves a lot of decisions, with each movement changing the options for everyone!

The building cards provide many special benefits that allow for a broad range of strategies every time you play.

Ages 10+
2-4 Players
60-75 Minutes

Murano™ contains

  • 1 game board
  • 8 ships
  • 40 character cards
  • 42 street tiles
  • 12 glass factory tiles
  • 12 shop tiles
  • 12 palace tiles
  • 12 special building tiles
  • 15 special building cards
  • 1 island tile
  • 1 bag
  • 30 acrylic beads
  • 32 gondoliers
  • 60 markers
  • 49 coins
  • 1 rulebook