Matthew Dunstan

Alley Cat Games has started a new Kickstarter campaign for the drafting and engine building game Chocolate Factory by designers
Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, the excellent team which designed Elysium (2015) and Pyramids (2017).

In Chocolate Factory, 1-4 players take turns drafting employees for their factory, as well as new machines to manipulate the chocolate coming down the line. Players draft in a first-to-last, then last-to-first manner, ending up with one employee for the round and one machine which lasts for the game. The real meat of the game lies in the conveyor belt, a push-through line of tiles which moves chocolate across the factory floor one space at a time. Tiles enter from the left with a single cocoa bean, but coal can be used to activate machines adjacent to each tile, converting beans to cocoa, fingers or chunks, wrapped candies and assortment boxes. Players get to push up to three tiles through the factory per round, converting as much as their coal allows. Additionally, employees can give bonuses to production, and extra pieces can be “burned” to make more coal. Finally, players sell their finished chocolates either to their local corner stores, fulfilling specific requests, or to the large public department stores, but only to the one store associated with their employee that round. Chocolate Factory combines drafting with strategic engine building as you try to collect the most money in 6 rounds.

The game comes with 4 double layered player boards, 1 ledger and score board, 30 conveyor tiles, 124 wooden chocolate pieces, tarot sized department store cards, 35 employee cards, 54 corner store cards, 30 factory machine cards, coins and markers, plus a solo mode. The Kickstarter Campaign for Chocolate Factory continues through March 13, and the game is expected to deliver in October 2019.

Z-Man Games has announced The Great City of Rome, designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert. The game is for 2-4 players, ages 10+ where players compete to design and build the greatest city in the world.

The game requires players to make meticulous plans, dedicate their workers and gather sturdy materials. First, travel to the Emperor’s court to gain blueprints and materials and use emissaries to earn the Emperor’s favor. However, use the emissaries wisely. The more time spent sweet-talking the Emperor, the less time there is to gather resources and materials

During each round, players reveal a set of building cards, each with their own attributes, as well as flip one of the six unique action strips. Using their emissaries, players claim spaces on the action strip, carefully choosing the placement to earn the right to claim the best building cards or maximize the number of actions they can take. After the emissaries have been placed, players draft building cards, resolve actions and construct buildings in order from closest to farthest from the golden Emperor pawn.

Now that you have your blueprints, workers and materials, it’s time to build the city! City planning requires the careful arrangement of housing, utilities and amenities to make the city’s residents happy.

After drafting a building card, you can place the building into your play area, creating a maximum of a 4×4 grid of buildings. Carefully arrange your residential areas with nearby public buildings and add in aqueducts and temples to make a civilized, balanced city and score the most points to win.

Game contents: 86 Cards, 39 Coins, 33 Influence Tokens, 18 Point Tokens, 6 Brick Tokens, 6 Action Strips, 8 Wooden Pawns, 1 Scoring Pad, 1 Rulebook, 1 Summary Sheet

You can pre-order your copy of The Great City of Rome today. It will be released in early 2019.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced Scorpius Freighter, an interesting hand management, rondel driven, space game from designers Matthew Dunstan (Elysium, Pioneer Days) and David Short (Automobiles). 2-4 players each select one of 7 factions, taking the 4 crew members specific to that faction, each with unique abilities. Each turn, players “assign” 1-2 of their crew member cards, tucking them underneath their player board. They then move one of the 3 motherships on the board in its dedicated orbit/rondel, a number of spaces equal to the number of assigned crew cards. The final landing space of the mothership determines the player’s action for the turn. However, unassigned crew still in hand give that action better, more powerful options, necessitating a balance between assigned and unassigned crew cards. If a player only has 1 unassigned crew card left, all crew are refreshed, otherwise assigned crew remain assigned for the next turn. Possible actions include upgrading crew, upgrading your ship, using your ships abilities, expanding storage space, picking up cargo, selling cargo on the side, or fulfilling government contracts. When a mothership makes a full orbit around its rondel, it confiscates cargo from the freighters, and the number of confiscated cargo cubes in motherships determines the end of the game. The player with the most victory points emerges victorious. Scorpius Freighter features beautiful artwork by Víctor Pérez Corbella (Champions of Midgard), Jay Epperson, and Matt Paquette (Mystic Vale), as well as multitudes of cards, tiles and pieces. For more details, including the full instructions, check out AEG’s website here. Scorpius Freighter will have a pre-release at Essen Spiel 2018, October 25-28.

Raiding. Pillaging. Longboats. Axes. Beards. Braids. What is it about Norse men and women that keeps us so enthralled with this theme? One can’t deny that Viking society has a rich history and culture which game designers can draw upon for games as simple as providing a feast for a god, or building longboats or even mythical, and fantastical combat as the world ends.

Renegade Games Studios have had enormous success with the games in The North Sea Trilogy. Explorers of the North Sea: Rocks of Ruin is an expansion for both Explorers of the North Sea and The North Sea Saga. Designer, Shem Phillips, is adding new ways to score with players able to salvage shipwrecks, build structures, and raid fortresses. Salvaging shipwrecks provides provisions for extra actions, or timber to build structures, or battering rams to make raiding fortresses easier, or gold which is worth Victory Points. This expansion also adds a 5th player and features art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski. It’s expected to release April 2018.

In June, 2018, IELLO are releasing Raids. This viking themed game seems more combat oriented as players compete against each other as they try to retrieve treasure and earn glory. Players have ships which they sail from island to island to collect Vikings, Viking related paraphernalia, and fight monsters for points. Vikings can even board each other’s ships to attack one another. The game is designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert (who both designed Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time) with art by BibounRaids will support 2-4 players, aged 10+, and will play in roughly 40 mins.

Iello has announced plans to release Fairy Tile by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J Gilbert in February 2018. A family weight game, Fairy Tile will allow 2-4 players 8 and up a chance to create a new story adventure in around 30 minutes. Fairy Tile will release in brick and mortar stores on February 8th and online February 22nd.

Welcome to Fairy tile, a Kingdom of magical lands where a daring Princess, a devoted Knight, and a dreadful Dragon roam looking for adventure. They need your help to discover the Kingdom! Help them move further and further to fulfill their destiny and tell their story, page after page.

 

Image From BGG

In Fairy Tile gamers will develop the Kingdom by placing land tiles into play and moving the Princess, Knight, and Dragon pieces across terrain including mountains, forests, and plains. As the Princess, Knight, and Dragon participate in various adventures players will accomplish objectives written on their Page Cards. Once objectives are complete players will read the story taking pace on the Page of their Book out loud.

Fairy Tile comes from the minds of an impressive design team and award winning artist. Designer Matthew Dunstan is known for his design work on Costa Rica, Elysium, Relic Runners and Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time. Gilbert also partnered on Costa Rica, Elysium, and Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time. Gilbert has also done work on Divinare and many other projects. Artist Miguel Coimbra brings considerable talent to the project. Most gamers will be familiar with his work on 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Imhotep, and Small World.

What’s in the Box?

Game contents include:

  • 15 Land tiles
  • 3 Character figurines
  • 36 Page cards
  • 4 Player Aid cards
  • 4 Magic tokens
  • 1 rulebook

costa rica

Mayfair announces Costa Rica, a game designed by Brett Gilbert and Matthew Dustan in which players will be exploring and recording the wildlife in a rainforest paradise.  Players will be revealing rainforest tiles, and then deciding whether to take their data back or to press on to gather more at the risk of another explorer taking credit for the discoveries.  Mosquitos stand in your way as players race to catalog as many rainforest animals as possible.

Costa Rica is a press-your-luck and exploration game for 2-5 players ages 8 and up and plays in 30-45 minutes.  The game has a scheduled street date of July 2016.  For more information visit the Mayfair Games website.

international game award

The 2015 International Gamers Award nominees for general strategy games released between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 have been announced. The nominees are grouped in two categories—multiplayer and two-player games.

The multiplayer nominees are:

Game Designer Publisher
Aquasphere Stefan Feld Tasty Minstrel Games/Quined Games
Deus Sebastien Dujardin Pearl Games/Asmodee
Elysium Matthew Dunstan and Brett Gilbert Space Cowboys/Rebel pl./Asmodee
Five Tribes Bruno Cathala Days of Wonder
Hyperborea Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi Asmodee/Asterio Press
Kraftwagen Matthias Cramer ADC Blackfire Entertainment
La Granja Michael Keller and Andrea Odendahl PD Verlag/999 Games/Stronghold Games
Orleans Reiner Stockhausen Dlp Games/Tasty Minstrel Games
Panamax Gil d’Orey, Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro and Paulo Soledade HC Distribuzione/Stronghold Games
Quartermaster General Ian Brody Griggling Games
Roll for the Galaxy Wei-Hwa Huang and Thomas Lehmann Rio Grande Games
Voyages of Marco Polo Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini Hans im Gluck/Z-man Games

 

The two-player nominees are:

Game Designer Publisher
Baseball Highlights 2045 Mike Fitzgerald Eagle/Gryphon Games
Fields of Arle Uwe Rosenberg Feuerland Spiele/Z-man Games
Patchwork Uwe Rosenberg Lookout Games/Mayfair Games
Star Realms Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle White Wizard Games
Star Wars Armada James Kniffen and Christian T. Petersen Fantasy Flight Games
Wir Sind das Volk Richard Sivel and Peer Sylvester Histogame

For more details on the nominated games, and on the nomination committee members please go to the International Gamers Awards website here.

Pictures from Meepletown

Pictures from Meepletown

Over at Meepletown, Derek Thompson has posted a great interview with Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, the designers of the highly anticipated upcoming release Elysium. They get into quite a few interesting tidbits about the design process for Elysium and their expectations for the game, but they also talk about their history with games, their partnership with each other, how it feels to be a published designer, and, of course, their favorite gaming moments.

You’ve both written a lot about games, and as I understand it, have co-designed with others and belong to a larger consortium of designers in the UK. What’s your particular partnership like?

Matt: I don’t know how Brett would describe our partnership, but I think we work well together because we have different but complementary skills that are useful at different points of the design process. I usually have too many ideas, and so I’m constantly throwing them at Brett to see if any of them sound like they could work. I’m usually making the first prototype just to get it to the table and see whether the idea is worth following. Brett has a really great editorial mind (I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this!), so he’s very good at taking in that first prototype and sorting it out into something sensible, and figuring out what we should keep and what isn’t working. I think we also work well together because our co-designed games tend to take parts of each of our own distinctive design ‘personalities’, and fuse them together into something unique that neither of us could have done by ourselves.

Brett: I am in no way offended by Matt’s description of me as someone with an ‘editorial mind’! Games need both order and chaos; systems and surprises. Creativity is not, as someone observed, merely the finding of a thing, it is also the making something out of it after it is found. Matt and I instinctively come at the same problem on different vectors, and that’s enormously powerful, generating new insight and often shortcutting what might otherwise be a long process of iteration, discovery and (potentially) failure. And the quicker you can find out what you have (or don’t have!) the better. Elysium is a great example of something that neither of us could have created on our own — and indeed, something that neither of us could have *expected* to create. It’s exciting to investigate ideas together and suddenly realise you’ve ended up someplace totally new.

Check out the full interview here.