“Struggle of Empires is set in the eighteenth century: an
age of discovery and sail, a period of colonization and the beginnings of
industrialization, and also a time of almost constant warfare in Europe and its
Empires contains several unique mechanisms which has kept this game consistently
on people’s top lists for the past 15 years. The game takes place over 3 wars, each
lasting 5-6 rounds, wherein players compete for control of Europe and the
burgeoning colonies. An auction phase exists before each war which forces
players into unlikely alliances, making it impossible to fight certain opponents.
A large and varied tile set awards special abilities and bonuses. Additionally,
the dice based battle system uses the differences in pairs of thrown dice to
add power, a relatively unused but interesting mechanic.
The Deluxe Kickstarter edition of Struggle has new variations from Martin Wallace, and new art from João Tereso, the artist behind the beautiful Railways of Portugal (2019). The original rulebook, which was a bit confusing, has been completely redone including multiple game play examples. A myriad of beautiful wooden components fill the box, including over 150 units and over 200 wooden control and alliance markers. The game also contains a large and re-imagined game board, over 50 thick cardboard action tiles, cloth bags, dice, and a wooden gavel for the auction. The Kickstarter Campaign for Struggle of Empires continues through August 30, and the game is expected to deliver in August 2020.
Venturing out into the wilds is a dangerous mission. With the new Wildlands: The Adventuring Party, announced by Osprey Games, you can bring four classic fantasy archetypes into the Wildlands. Play as a thief, wizard, cleric and barbarian, asserting your dominance over your opponents and immortalizing your status in the realm.
A word of warning – these characters will invade your game whether someone is playing them or not, stealing your crystal shards and (throat) punching anyone in their way.
When using the adventuring party as a faction, the player controlling them does not assign map cards to their individual characters. Instead, they choose five cards to pass to the player on their right and keep the other five face down. When revealing a character, the player can choose any location they have a map card for, discarding that card. This faction also brings the heal action into the game. Thom the Cleric uses this action to remove one damage token from a character in the same or an adjacent space.
When using the adventuring party as an encounter, the party is set up on the board at the start of the game. From then on, at the end of each player’s turn, the top card of the adventuring party deck is revealed, and an action is taken by the character displayed on the card. Which action is taken depends on the character and the relative board state. As the game progresses, the troublesome band makes their way around the board, attacking characters, stealing loot and generally causing chaos.
Wildlands: The Adventuring Party includes four unique miniatures and their activation deck, along with encounter rules for using this faction as non-player characters. It is expected in March 2019.
Fool! is a card-shedding and trick-taking game where player attempt to get rid of their cards without playing the lowest card. The player who plays the lowest card has to sit out the next trick, losing the opportunity to get rid of a card. Players score negative points for cards left in their hand, and positive points if they got rid of all the cards in their hand, unless they play the lowest card in the last hand which earns them nothing. Fool! plays 4-8 players, ages 8+, in about 15 minutes.
Fortune is the forth game in the Fast Forward Series and uses the Fable Game system. These games do not require an understanding of the rules beforehand. Instead, the cards are pre-sorted and the rules of the game are explained on the cards as they are played. In Fortune, the player with the highest score wins the game, but gaining the highest numbers may not be enough. The trick is to get the right bonuses for the big payoff. Fortune plays 3-5 players, ages 10+, in about 15 minutes.
Calimala was originally published last year Blackfire Entertainment in both German and English editions, but it may have been difficult to find here in North America. Stronghold is republishing the English only edition this year. In Calimala, players are members of the guild of cloth finishers and merchants in Republic of Florence during the Late Middle Ages. Players assign their employees to produce and trade cloth and gain prestige by delivering their good, contributing to the construction of buildings, and sponsoring artwork. The player with the most prestige at the end of the game wins. Calimala plays 3-5 players in 45-75 minutes.
Lastly, Stronghold Games is republished Kanban: Automotive Revolution as a Limited EditionKanban: Driver’s Edition. Stronghold has also included Kanban, designed by renowned designer Vital Lacerda of Vinhos, The Gallerist, and Lisboa fame, in their Great Designer Series. In Kanban, players are managers in an automotive factory seeking to impress the factory manager by establishing the most efficient assembly line. With each promotions come more capabilities to be more efficient. The players with the higher productivity points, demonstrating the most effective use of workhours, at the end of the game is the winner. Kanban plays 2-4 players, ages 12+, in 90-120 minutes. Stronghold does not plan to reprint this game again in the future!
The most successful game based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe was Martin Wallace’s Discworld: Ankh-Morpork. Despite the popularity of the game, Discworld: Ankh-Morpork fell out of print and became hard to find. The game was an obvious favorite for many Discworld fans, but even gamers unfamiliar with Discworld admired the game’s masterful mechanics, simple game play, and high replayability in a strategic game. While fans of Discworld may be saddened that Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is not returning, fans of the game will be pleased that the game is returning under a new theme.
Martin Wallace has reimplemented Discworld: Ankh-Morpork in Nanty Narking.Nanty Narking is set in Victorian London and features characters from literary works of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Player personalities include Monsieur De Sidonia, Fagin, Lord Bellinger, Lord Holdhurst, Lord Balmoral, Professor Moriarty, and Sherlock Holmes. Each has his own victory condition, and the game ends when either the player achieves the victory condition, or if the ‘Riot’ Random Event card is drawn and its conditions are met, or when the draw pile runs out. Placing followers and buildings on the map establishes control over certain areas of the city, not only advancing players closer to their victory condition but also providing them additional abilities afforded by the control of the city area.
Nanty Narking features many upgraded components: a beautifully illustrated gameboard map of Victorian London, all new card artwork matching the new theme and featuring other literary characters of Dickens and Doyle, highly detailed plastic miniatures, and metal coins (included for Kickstarters).
Nanty Narking plays 2-4 players, ages 14+, in about 60 minutes. Contents include game board, 91 plastic miniatures (4 gentlemen, 24 hotels, 4 horse guards, 12 trouble makers, and 3 new citizens), 132 cards (101 action cards, 12 event cards, 12 city area cards, and 7 personality cards), rulebook, 4 player aids, 1 d12 die, and 50 cardboard counters (metal coins for Kickstarter backers).
The Kickstarter campaign runs through 20 September with an expected delivery in October 2019. Go to Kickstarter campaign learn more about Nanty Narking.
Several years ago, Martin Wallace brought us A Study in Emerald, a game based on the story by Neil Gaiman about the secret war by the Restorationists to free mankind from forces of the Olds Ones. It was a game that blended the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft set in 1882 Europe. Now that the Old One have been banished from the northern hemisphere, where did they go?
Fifty years later, the Old Ones are awakening in the Outback of Australia! In AuZtralia, players are adventurers and explorers uncovering the riches and resources and colonizing in an 1930’s alternate reality Australian Outback. Players build ports, construct railways, mine and farm for food. Every action costs time, and at some point in time during the game, the Old Ones are awaken and become a player in the game attacking the players’ settlements. Players will need to recruit military forces to protect the settlements, and they might need to work together to defeat the most dangerous Old Ones. Players earn victory points from their farms, defeating Old Ones, and from their personalities. Old Ones also score victory points by blighting farms and how many are left at the end of the game. When all the time points are spent (or a player port is destroyed), the game ends and the player (or Old One) with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
AuZtralia is a military/economic/adventure game for 1-4 players, ages 13+, and take about 30 minutes per person to play.
Also coming in October is the latest expansion to Terraforming Mars. Terraforming Mars: Colonies expands the game playing world by adding new places to build colonies. While those places may not be suitable for terraforming, they can produce much needed resources and income. Build colonies on distant moons (even in the clouds of Jupiter) and send your trade fleets to them to build your resources to support your terraforming operations on Mars.
Terraforming Mars: Colonies requires the base game to be played but can be played with any of the expansions. Contents include 49 project cards, 5 corporation cards, 11 colony tiles, a reference tiles, trade fleets tiles, 8 markers, and 8 trade fleets.
In Wildlands, each player controls a faction to competing for power in the ruins of a once-great kingdom now known as the Wildlands. In each skirmish, players score points by defeating enemy characters and collecting treasure. With variable faction powers, adaptability is key as a semi-randomized set-up and double-sided board changes each game.
Duncan Molloy, Games Developer at Osprey Games, describes the design goal in Wildlands:
“Our aim with Wildlands is to bring the excitement of skirmish games to the masses, offering approachable mechanics without sacrificing the drama or strategic decision-making so integral to the genre.”
The game comes with 20 unique miniatures sculpted by Bobby Jackson and Tim Prow. Bobby Jackson is a 20-year miniature sculpting veteran now working with Cool Mini or Not. Tim Prow has sculpted many miniatures for expansions to Cthulhu Wars. The miniatures will represent powerful wizards and cunning gnomes to hulking beasts and mighty warriors in the unique art style of Wildlands.
Osprey Game plans continued support of Wildlands, following its release with additional factions, maps, and mechanics in the future. The game plays two to four players and is set to released in late 2018.
Toy Fair 2018 is right around the corner. February 17-20 will mark the dates of this New York Trade Show. Cryptozoic Entertainment will be previewing a lot of new games at this year’s fair. Rick and Morty has been a popular IP recently and Cryptozoic is bringing three Rick and Morty titles along with them: The Ricks Must Be Crazy, Pickle Rick, and The Rickshank Rickdemption. In addition to the Rick and Morty games, Crypotzoic is adding two new entries to their DC Deck-Building series: Rebirth and Crisis Expansion Pack 4. They are also bringing The Arrival (Martin Wallace), a strategy board game where players assume the role of a tribe leader and Wallet, a 2-7 player party game where players need to convince the cops of their innocence. Cryptozoic will preview these games (and a few more) at its booth (#5344) during the Toy Fair.
Moa, a successful Kickstarter Project from APE Games and Martin Wallace (A Study In Emerald, Steam, Brass), is a territory control card game in which players control tribes of New Zealand birds. Each player holds a hand of 9 cards dictating their actions, and players can play as many cards on their turn as they like, but these 9 cards must last for 7 rounds. Additionally, each round only two territories on the board can be manipulated. Players score points for area control, but can also sell their territories to the invading mammals when they lose control. Each tribe of birds has unique abilities; The Eagles are fearsome warriors, the Kiwis respected and honored by their tribe, the Moreporks are mysterious mystics, and the Pukeko can spread far and wide. The Moa, as the leader, has all these abilities and tries to hold the tribes together. Moa features gorgeous art from Vincent Joubert (Via Nebula), and plays 3-5 players at 20 minutes per player.
Cryptozooic Entertainment is bringing Martin Wallace’s new game The Arrival to a wider audience with updated art, components and rules, after initial release at Spiel in 2016. The Arrival has players take control of ancient Ireland in a time when the land of Erin is occupied by the demonic Fomori. Players must decide whether to collect resources to spread their tribe, and thus gain more corruption, or to forgo resources in order to gain more fame. At the end of the game, the winner is either decided by who has the most fame or the least corruption, depending on whether the players or the Fomori control more territory in Erin.
The Arrival is coming to stores in Fall 2017. You can read more about the game on Cryptozooic’s website here.