Michal Oracz

Portal Games recently hosted PortalCon 11 in Gliwice, Poland, where they celebrated 20 years of the Board Games that tell stories. At the celebration, owner and Portal head honcho Ignacy Trzewiczek announced several new games and expansions coming from this amazing company in 2019. There are a ton of new announcements, all of which can be read in the press release from Portal, or seen live in the Keynote Address given at PortalCon.

Several new games set in the Imperial Settlers (BGG #145) universe were announced. First on the list is Empires of the North, a standalone card game designed by Ignacy, featuring Scotsman, Inuit and Vikings. Each faction comes with 2 unique card decks allowing a variety of game play styles. 2-4 players can each try to lead their faction to victory by dominating the opposition, developing their economy or defending their land. Also from the big man is Imperial Settlers Roll and Write. Just as the name implies, this new roll and write game takes place in the empire building world of Imperial Settlers, and focuses heavily on engine building, with each big move giving bonuses towards the next. The game includes two modes, one a traditional 2-4 player competitive point scoring challenge, while the second is a new adventure mode. This single player game comes with a pad of 48 unique challenge sheets to complete, each with its own starting points and goals. And just to round out the Imperial Settlers fervor, Portal Games has announced the Imperial Settlers Big Box, a 5 year anniversary of this award winning game, complete with all of the factions and expansions. The Big Box will be exclusively available direct from Portal Games, and includes a plastic insert to hold everything, new commemorative anniversary cards, as well as oft requested single piece faction boards for the Amazons, Aztecs and Atlanteans.

Also coming from the President of Polish Play is a reprint of Prêt-à-Porter, the 2-4 player surprisingly brutal fashion industry board game. Players take turns hiring new employees, gaining managers, designers and models, all in an effort to destroy the competition. This third edition is coming to Kickstarter in 2019, and features new art from acclaimed illustrator Kwanchai Moriya (Dinosaur Island, Catacombs).

Portal also announced new armies for their arena combat board games Neuroshima Hex and Monolith Arena, both from designer Michał Oracz. The Sand Runners are the latest army to dominate the world of Neuroshima Hex, and are a “specialized army of veteran warriors who clashed with the Moloch in the early days of the war”. The Sand Runners feature a double sided HQ tile for versatility, and come with a new Sand Storm tile type. The new army for Monolith Arena are the Academics, focusing on runes, upgrades, and the ability to dramatically weaken their enemy – in fact, their banner directly slows enemy tiles. The Academics armies are few in number, but devastating in ability.

One of the biggest hits Portal and Ignacy had in the past year was the web-integrated Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, and the first campaign expansion, Detective: L.A. Crimes, is coming soon. Detective is one of the most engrossing, slowly enfolding, experiential crime story games made, and L.A. Crimes promises to bring more real life sleuthing, this time in the drug infused world of 1980’s Los Angeles. L.A. Crimes is due to be in stores March 2019, with the new mechanics of Stakeouts and Observation, 5 new characters, and 3 new cases. Also announced was Detective: Alexa Edition, wherein players can complete the 6th case in Detective, all narrated and run by the Amazon Alexa. Portal games has stated the Alexa edition is “part of an effort to bring board games to new players”, making the experience akin to an interactive radio drama. Finally, the world of Detective will be expanded even further by the Detective Signature Series. Portal Games has invited celebrated designers to use the framework of the Detective board game to create their own narratives. The first two master designers picked to frolic in the gritty world of suburban crime are Rob Daviau (Pandemic: Legacy, Betrayal at House on the Hill) and Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Lords of Vegas, Betrayal at House on the Hill), both masters of story telling in their own rights.

Portal Games has announced that Monolith Arena, from designer Michał Oracz (Neuroshima Hex, Cry Havoc), will be available on October 24, at Essen Spiel 2018. Monolith Arena is a fantasy, hex based, arena combat game for 2-4 players. Players pick one of 4 factions, The Harbingers of the Forest, the Guardians of the Realm, the Dragon Empire, or the Lords of the Abyss, each of which come with 35 unique hex tiles. The tiles are drawn into a “hand” of 3 each turn, at least one of which much be discarded, while the others can be saved or played. Tiles represent banners, units and runes, placed on the hex board to fight or modify nearby units, or represent orders, allowing already placed units to move, fight, or push others. Tiles vary greatly in which direction they can target, how many targets they can affect, how fast they enter battle, how hard they hit or how tough they fight. Advanced players can play with Monoliths, comprised of 3 stacked, hidden tiles in a plastic structure, which can unfold into the component tiles, given enough space on the board. If a player manages to destroy their opponent’s banner, they emerge victorious. Otherwise, game play continues until the last tiles are drawn, which can trigger a final battle, and the end of the game. Read more about Monolith Arena on Portal’s website, and look for the game at Essen on October 24.

Portal Games have announced many new releases for 2018 at their games convention, Portalcon.

Monolith Arena

This is a new fantasy, battleground, board game designed by Michał Oracz, creator of Neuroshima Hex! Monolith Arena gets its namesake from the Monolith which serves as each player’s headquarters. There are various factions, which all have unique abilities and units, and the faction headquarters also has unique abilities. Each player seeds their Monolith with three tokens which activate when the opponent damages the Monolith and the player exposes the top token. Each time the Monolith is damaged the next token is revealed. The game plays over a hex-based board, supports 2-4 players aged 10+, and plays in roughly 30-40 mins.

Monolith Arena is expected to release at Essen Spiel 2018.

Detective: A Modern Crime Game

Don your fedoras and your raincoats, and cue the moody lighting as you take the role of a detective! No, wait, don’t do that because it’s not the 1920’s anymore. In Detective: A Modern Crime Game the players are placed in a modern setting with access to 21st century tools to solve the case. The game is a story-driven, cooperative game which includes 5 scenarios that can be played as a complete campaign. Each case is represented by 35 cards.

Detective: A Modern Crime Game has 1-5 players taking the role of investigators for the government agency, ANTERES, who have access to an online database to aid in their investigations. The database has information about suspects, witnesses, and documentation from arrests and trials. Players also have access to the investigation manual and can even use real world resources such as Wikipedia, Google Maps, and other available resources.

Detective: A Modern Crime Game is designed by Przemysław Rymer and Ignacy Trzewiczek and is expected to release at GenCon 2018.

Imperial Settlers: Amazons

The all-female, warrior tribe of the Amazons will be featured in the third expansion for Imperial Settlers. The Amazons use elements of the deck-building mechanism to modify the deck during play by discarding reconstructed faction cards from their deck. They also get bonuses for building their cheap faction cards which allows them victory through conquest or construction bonuses.

Imperial Settlers: Amazons supports 1-4 players, aged 10+, and is expected to release during the second half of 2018.

Imperial Settlers: We Didn’t Start the Fire

The third Empire Pack for Imperial Settlers includes fifty new cards to allow players to expand their base factions and conquer faction cards of their opponents. Imperial Settlers: We Didn’t Start the Fire adds borders which are placed between each pair of players.

The game will be part of an early launch kit to be released May 2nd, 2018 but will see official release on May 16th, 2018.

Robinson Crusoe: Mystery Tales

This expansion adds a new campaign titled The Lost City of Z, where you follow great explorer, Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett as he tries to find the enigmatic city. It also includes a full set of rules and components that can be played with the base game of Robinson Crusoe.

Robinson Crusoe: Mystery Tales introduces new characters, beasts, and Mystery deck cards and adds a new mechanism of Horror and Sanity with dangerous and Cthulhu-like stories.

The expansion support 1-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in roughly 90-180 mins.

Alien Artifacts: Discovery

Humanity has discovered something by accident. It is a mysterious resource, hidden deep under the surface of a distant planet. The race for wealth and new opportunities begins.

Alien Artifacts: Discovery is an expansion to the popular Alien Artifacts, 4x card game. It adds a new type of card, Alien Resources, and new types of ships and planets. A total of 50 cards is added and helps move the storyline forward of the base game.

Alien Artifacts: Discovery is designed by Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska, supports 1-4 players aged 10+, and plays in 45-90 mins. The game will be part of an early launch kit on March 7th, 2018 and will see full release on March 21st, 2018.

Portal Games has announced a plethora of new games and expansions for 2018. As it is apparently 2018 in Poland (I did not fact check this, it might still be 2017) many of the mini-expansions announced are available now.

First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet

Now available in both Europe and North America, Portal Games describes First Martians as the most anticipated game in Portal Games history. Strong pre-orders make it hard to argue that fact. Based on the adventure gaming engine from Robinson Crusoe, digital apps do a lot of the heavy lifting in First Martians. Portal Games announced new content almost exclusively driven by the app for 2018:

  • First Martians rules Almanac in PDF form
  • 7th stand-alone Removal mission release
  • Community created content delivered via app
  • New app features
  • Tutorial mission

Portal Games also plans to release a new Epidemia mission as well as an in-store event kit.

First Martians is getting a new mini-expansion, in this case a set of extra ROI tiles. This mini-expansion is available now.

 

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe gets a pair (and a half) of big announcements. The first is that Robinson Crusoe is getting a companion app! The game isn’t getting any easier, but it is getting additional content as the app will add new events and new adventures to the game. Portal Games also describes the app as allowing players “to choose a theme for each scenario.”

The second big announcement is that Robinson Crusoe is getting a second big expansion. Similar in size to the Voyage of the Beagle expansion from 2013, the Lost City of Z expansion will also follow a single explorer. Players will follow Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett on his expedition through the Amazon in search for the Lost City of Z. Lost City of Z will add Horror and Sanity into the game, add new characters, beast and a mystery deck. The game adds 5 new missions for an epic campaign.

To tide you over until the app and expansion come out Portal has released another mini expansion – Herb Garden and Pen cards. This expansion is available now.

Alien Artifacts

It’s never too early for new content. Alien Artifacts was just released this week, and already Portal Games has accounted a forthcoming expansion. The Alien Artifacts: Discovery expansion moves the storyline of the game forward and introduces Alien Resources to the game. The small (but not mini) expansion adds a total of 50 new cards to the core game.

Imperial Settlers

Imperial Settlers: We Didn’t Start the Fire is the third Empire Pack of Imperial Settlers. Empire Pack’s don’t add new factions to the game, but always add new mechanics and an expanding selection of cards to integrate into the core game. Portal describes the new expansion as adding new cards and increasing the replayability of the game.

Imperial Settlers is getting a Diplomacy mini-expansion which is available now. The new expansion adds two double-sided tiles that add new rules for player interaction through diplomatic mean. The double sided tiles are Declaration of War & Mobilization and Golden Route & Confiscation.

Neuroshima Hex

Neuroshima Hex will also be getting an expansion in 2018. The Iron Gang Hexpuzzle Pack is an expansion for the Neuroshima Hex! 3.o base game that will introduce puzzles on the hex board that will need to be solved. The expansion will be playable both solo and competitively with other players. The expansion will include a bonus army tile for the Iron Gang Army Pack.

Monolith Arena – A Fantasy Battleground Boardgame

Speaking of Neuroshima Hex… Portal Games is also introducing new games in 2018! Michal Oracz, creator of Neuroshima HEX, has created a fantasy battleground boardgames. Wage war against your opponents on a familiar hex board. Five factions will each have unique abilities and unites, along with literal monoliths looming large over the battlefield.

Monolith Arena has an estimated playtime of 30-45 minute for 2-4 players aged 10 and up.

Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame

But wait! There’s more! Przemyslaw Rymer and Igancy Trzewiczek have designed a board game that tells actual stories. A modern crime boardgame, Detective will focus on stories inspired by true events. Sleuths will have a variety of modern tools at their disposal including checking the internet, investigating clues and pouring over the facts. A variety of high quality components will be introduced over 5 unique scenarios. Detective plays out over 90 minutes for 1-4 intrepid investigators aged 14 and up.

It’s shaping up to be a big 2018 for Portal Games!

death-b

Portal Games has announced the upcoming release of a brand new army in the extremely popular board game universe of Neuroshima Hex 3.0 designed by Michał Oracz!

Neuroshima Hex: Death Breath is designed by Michał Oracz.  Death Breath is a nasty virus that infects everything creating mindless, killing machines with powerful mutations.  Like all deadly viruses, Death Breath spreads quickly from one victim to the next.  This army also introduces a new game mechanic called the Zombie Pool.  When an infected unit is destroyed, instead of being discarded it is added to the Zombie Pool.  The Death Breath headquarters special power is that it can revive Zombie units from the pool after each battle making this army particularly difficult to kill.  One whiff of Death Breath and the Zombie Apocalypse begins!

To learn more, visit the Portal Games page by clicking <here>.

mephisto

Portal Games has announced an August release for two new armies in the extremely popular board game universe of Neuroshima Hex 3.0 designed by Michał Oracz!

The first is Mephisto designed by Michał Herda & Michał Oracz.  Now I know what you’re thinking…Is Portal Games bringing in a particularly nasty Marvel Villain to rain down hell in Neuroshima Hex?!?!  No, not this time.  Mephisto is quite simply, a half-worm, half-steel maggot born of radioactive bomb craters that will give players a shortcut and resources but quite possibly at the cost of their life.  Make good use of the new implants and modules to bring the awesome power of this monster down on your enemies!

dancer

The second is Dancer designed by Rustan Håkansson.  A beautiful lady twirling upon her toes across the board as…wait, that doesn’t sound right at all.  Oh no, “Dancer” is in fact a code name for a predictably sinister genetic experiment that was damaged during the Moloch attack on Omega.  Now the 3 raving-mad, hive-mind subjects of this military-experiment-gone-wrong have escaped and together they are a lethal combination of healing, free attacks, and massive damage.  But enemies take heed!  If you can find a way to kill one of them…Dancer will fall.

To learn more, visit the Portal Games page by clicking <here>.

this war of mine comp

This War of Mine, the critically-acclaimed and heart-wrenching survival game from 11 bit studios, is now “a board game experience, carrying an important message: In war, not everyone is a soldier. Can you survive to see the end of the war?”

Awaken Realms and 11 bit studios introduces a board game adaptation of This War of Mine by Michal Oracz, designer of the much-loved Neuroshima Hex!, and Jakub Wisniewski, the storyteller behind Dying Light.  This new game will include features such as:

  • 430 high-quality components, including 12 figures
  • a companion mobile app
  • over one thousand unique stories
  • an open & play system that makes it easy to start playing without previous learning the rules
  • a save-game mechanism
  • the innovative Reality Impact system, introducing an enormous amount of meaningful plot, choices and consequences.

The Kickstarter for this project is now live, and the following is an excerpt form the Kickstarter game summary:

This War of Mine: The Board Game is a fully co-operative, open and play, survival experience. In this challenging, story-driven game for 1-6 players, you will play as group of civilians trapped in a city torn by a military conflict.  To survive, you will need to make tough moral choices, delivered in a role-playing style.

The start of the campaign will be accompanied by an extraordinary event via livestream on May 10 at 3pm PST.  Artists for major tabletop and collectible-card-game franchises like Star Wars, A Game of Thrones, and Magic: The Gathering will unite as an ArtistsOnBoard group to create a large-format acrylic painting that will grace the cover of This War of Mine.  Click here for the link to the live streaming.

For more information on this project, visit the Kickstarter page and the game’s official website.

portal con

Well, it’s more like two new games and a reprint.  First is the reprint of 51st State in 51st State: Master Set, in this complete set you will get 88 cards from the base game and 50 cards from each of the two expansions, which is great considering the expansions have been out of print.  The game has also been re-balanced for a more cohesive experience no matter which expansion  you use and had a bit of an art upgrade.  Pre-orders for the set start today on the Portal Games site with an expected release date in the 2nd quarter of 2016.

Next is a new game called Cry Havoc, from designers Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak, which is a card driven, area control, war game.  There are 4 different factions you can play with varying abilities and units and play takes around 90 minutes, plus the game comes with 54 custom miniatures and over 100 unique cards so it should be a good looking war game.  The release date is set for Gen Con 2016 with a worldwide distribution date in the 3rd quarter.

Last new game is First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, which is a bit of a sci-fi version of Robinson Crusoe.  Like Robinson Crusoe you will be trying to survive in the harsh martian landscape but you will have an integrated app to help maintain the immersion and challenge throughout the game.  There is also a campaign mode that builds on each game as you go along as well as a sandbox mode where you try to survive as long as possible.  The game will be released at Essen Spiel 2016 and then world wide distribution will start in the 4th quarter.

Following is the full press release from Portal Games.

Portal Games announces three new titles for 2016

During a keynote speech at PortalCon 7 on Janyary 23rd, CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek

Gliwice, Poland – January 25, 2016. This past weekend, CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek announced three new titles coming from Portal Games in 2016: 51st State: Master Set, Cry Havoc, and First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet. It was also hinted that there will be a fourth title announced at GAMA trade show in March.

51st State: Master Set marks the rebirth of the 51st State line. This set includes 88 cards from the base game, and 50 cards each from both the New Era and Winter expansions. The whole set has been re-balanced to offer a cohesive experience no matter which expansion you choose to use. With all new layout, and some new artwork, 51st State Master Set is sure to please.

Cry Havoc, from designers Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak is a card-driven, area control, wargame set in a brutal sci-fi world that plays in 90 minutes or less. As with the majority of our games, the players will be in command of one of 4 unique factions with varying abilities and units. The game will include 54 custom miniatures, a large format board, and over 100 unique cards, all with stunning new artwork.

First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, uses the core mechanics of the award-winning Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island and places the players on the inhospitable Martian surface. The immersion experience is further enhanced with an integrated App that will maintain the balance and challenge throughout. Players have the option of taking on a custom Campaign Mode, where each successive game builds on the last, or even an Open World mode where they are free to roam about the Martian surface and explore for as long as they can

“We are very excited about our 2016 line up. With four amazing games and dozens of expansions for games released in previous years, we have no doubt that this year will be the best in the history of the company. With new edition of award winning 51st State, reveals three new titles for Portal Games in 2016. with big strategy game called Cry Havoc, and with revolutionary First Martians, we cannot wait for upcoming months,” said CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek.

The 51st State: Master Set will be released first, in the 2nd quarter. Pre-orders will begin Monday, January 24th, with many surprises in store for fans during the pre-order period. Cry Havoc is scheduled to release at Gen Con and enter worldwide distribution in the 3rd quarter. First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet will be released at Essen Spiel and will enter worldwide distribution also in the 4th quarter. For more information about these games, you can visit our website at http://portalgames.pl

About Portal Games

Portal Games is a publisher of award-winning games such as Imperial Settlers, Stronghold, Tides of Time, Legacy, and Neuroshima Hex. Founded in Poland in 1999, Portal Games has developed into one of the most renowned European game publishers and design teams. Their commitment is to produce only the highest quality Board Games That Tell Stories.

Coming Soon from Portal Games

neuroshima hex mississippi. 3jpg

Neuroshima Hex: Mississippi

In this army pack for Neuroshima Hex, the Mississippi army are ready to lay waste to their opponent’s headquarters with their toxic bombs.  This faction also has a noticeable resistance to attacks and ability to bypass the enemy’s defense. However, the army’s disadvantages are a low number of Warriors, low mobility, low toughness, as well as a complete lack of armor.  Pack contents include 35 army tiles, 5 wound markers, 2 HQ markers, 1 toxic bomb marker, and 5 venom markers.

Mephisto

Neuroshima Hex: Mephisto

In this army pack comes Mephisto.  Mephisto is a giant worm, a unique synthesis of flesh and steel, which can be a serious threat to even well-armed forces. The contaminated crater, Mephisto’s territory, is a tempting shortcut route and a source of resources but it often becomes a graveyard for newcomers.

sharrash

Neuroshima Hex: Sharrash

The main advantages of the Sharrash army are: mobility of HQ, the ability to blow up even the fastest enemy units and to paralyze the slower ones, and also bypassing enemy’s defense lines thanks to the mortars. Another advantage of the Sharrash is a difficult to eliminate Foundation Tile (Hole), which can easily thwart the enemy’s plans.

board games that tell stories

Boardgames That Tell Stories

A group of the finest boardgame designers answered Ignacy Trzewiczek’s invitation to take part in creating this 268 page book. They shared their anecdotes, tips and memories, making the book a unique trip over different designing styles, and a engaging guide through the world of boardgame creation.  Featured guests include Bruno Cathala, Mike Selinker, Vlaada Chvatil, Antoine Bauza, and Michal Oracz.

268 pages

neuroshima hex 3

Neuroshima Hex, a player elimination, hex and counter game published in 2008 by Portal Games has been picked up by a Brasilian publisher, FunBox Jogos.  Neuroshima Hex is designed by Michal Oracz (Theseus: Dark Orbit & Witchcraft).  FunBox Jogos is also known for their recent edition of Coup and will be bringing Neuroshima Hex to Brasil soon.