If you like 3D puzzles, Mental Blocks by Pandasaurus Games is just for you. Designed by newcomer Micah Sawyer and Jonathan Gilmour (Dead of Winter, Dinosaur Island), Mental Blocks allows players to stack oversized foam blocks to complete a 3D puzzle. The challenge is that each player can only see one perspective of the design – and there’s a time limit.
Mental Blocks is fast, frantic fun, with 60 puzzles in the box. The challenges include 30 Family mode and 30 Challenge mode puzzles that all ramp in difficulty. During some games, players will also need to deal with extra challenging rules, like no talking or not touching certain color blocks. If you’re really into total chaos, you can even add a traitor to the mix!
You can try out Mental Blocks and Pandasaurus Games’ other upcoming titles at GAMA, booth #235
Pandasaurus Games has a new project on Kickstarter, Dead Man’s Cabal, by designer Daniel Newman. In Dead Man’s Cabal, 2-4 players take on the role of lonely necromancers who want to throw a gala bash, but have no friends willing to come. So when life gives you lemons, make your own friends for your party. Players use a “variable phase” mechanism reminiscent of Puerto Rico to pick actions. Players start a turn by collecting colored skulls from the Ossuary, with each color representing an action space on the board. Players can spend a skull to do 1 private action, then the skulls left on the Ossuary determine a public action which all players can perform. Gold skulls allow players to collect new ritual cards from the Athenaeum. Red skulls allow access to the Sepulchre to collect more skulls. White skulls earn players rune tokens from the Scriptorum, amplifying points on rituals. The final location, the Sanctum, has a complex set of spaces connected by paths, and players can place skulls on the spaces trying to create an uninterrupted line of specific colors dictated by the ritual cards they are trying to complete. Bone “currency” assists actions all along the way, with mechanisms in place to gain more with weaker actions, or spend more for more and stronger actions. The Kickstarter Campaign for Dead Man’s Cabal continues through February 15, and the game is expected to deliver in June of 2019.
Our friends at Casual Gaming Revolution are doing their annual award for the most fun, innovative, and unique casual game form the previous year. What makes their process particularly exciting is that they allow for the public to vote, the winner of which is added to the tabulations of their own panel of 12 judges. So they want YOU! Yes, you! You have a real horse in this race!
“Last year’s award resulted in a very close race — the winner by a razor thin margin was Sagrada by Floodgate Games, with Azul and Go Nuts for Donuts as the runners up. This year, we have another very tough race between three great games. So, let your voice be heard!“
Pandasaurus Games dropped some news today about two new things happening for 2019. First of that is a new hire in the form of Jon Gilmour who will be the head of Game Development for any games being designed within Pandasaurus. Given that Jon Gilmour was one of the designers behind two of their big hits, Wasteland Express Delivery Service and Dinosaur Island, you can expect any new games coming from Pandasaurus to be that much more polished. Speaking of new games, that brings us to the next announcement from Pandasaurus Games.
Coming in June 2019 will be a new game called Dead Man’s Cabal, all about resurrecting yourself a group of friends so that you can throw a party and have actual guests. You see, you are playing as a Necromancer at the top of his game, and having mastered all 9 dimensions of space time there is nothing that is out of reach for you. Nothing, except maybe making some friends as this pursuit has deemed you creepy to everyone, everywhere. But who needs them, you can resurrect yourself a group a friends and throw an awesome party, that will show them!
Dead Man’s Cabal is an action selection game where you will choose two actions each round, one that you will perform privately by yourself, and one you perform with the whole group. This adds an extra level of strategy to the game because not only do you need to accomplish your goals, you don’t want to be helping others accomplish theirs. You will be using these actions to collect resources in the form of bones and crystal skulls, and then using those to bring back some fun people to party with. Whoever throws the best party will win, although it’s not mentioned how that will be determined. One aspect of the game that people will enjoy is that all the bones and skulls in the game will be 3D pieces and so it will help level up the experience.
Be on the lookout for more information as it comes out, but you won’t see it on store shelves for several more months until at least June of 2019.
Pandasaurus Games announced the release of Illusion, by award winning game designer Wolfgang Warsch. Following up his success of The Mind, Wolfgang challenges players in Illusion to correct assess color proportions across a selection of card depicting colorful abstract art. Each round begins with starting color card and an arrow card depicting the change of color proportion each subsequent card must display. Players draw new color cards and insert them in the order directed by the arrow card. The player who detects the error in sequence properly earns the arrow card; if an error is declared incorrectly, the player who placed the last color card gets the arrow card. The precise portion of each color is labeled on the back of each card. The player with the most arrow cards are the end of the game is the winner.
Illusion plays 2-5 players, ages 8 and up in about 15 minutes. Contents includes 12 arrows card (three each in yellow, red, green and blue) and 98 color cards.
Pandasaurus Games is also bringing Qwinto to the American market. This popular roll and write game by Bernhard Lach and Uwe Rapp has been a hit in the European market since 2015. In Qwinto, one player rolls one or more of the dice (colored purple, yellow, and orange) and announces the sum. All players enter that number on their scoring pad in one of the colored rows matching the colors of the dice rolled. Two rules must be followed when placing a sum in a row: all numbers in a row must increase from left to right; and no number can be repeated in a vertical column. Points are scored based on how many fields are completed in each row and which numbers are in scoring positions. The player with the most points wins.
Qwinto plays 2-6 players, ages 8 and up in about 15 minutes. Contents includes three dice (orange, yellow and purple), scorepads, and pencils.
Look for Illusion and Qwinto at GenCon and in stores this August.
Pandasaurus Games has announced they will be bringing the 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominated card game, The Game, to Target stores in August. This will be an exclusive version for Target and will feature new box and card art from acclaimed illustrator Kwanchai Moriya.
You can learn more about this variant of The Game and see some of the new artwork on the Pandasaurus website and Facebook post.
Pandasaurus Games has announced three new games coming out in August: Qwinto, The Mind, and Nyctophobia.
Qwinto, by Bernhard Lach and Uwe Rapp, is a roll and write game for two to six players and takes 15 minutes to play. In Qwinto, all players play simultaneously. Each player has a score sheet with three rows in three different colors (orange, yellow, and purple) and there are three dice (one of each color). Each row will contain mostly circle fields with a few pentagonal fields. The active player rolls one to three dice (their choice) and each player will choose whether to add the rolled sum to one available field on their score sheet. There are only three rules for writing sums on the score sheet:
The chosen row must be the same color as one of the rolled dice.
The numbers in the row must increase from left to right (leaving blank spaces is allowed)
No duplicate numbers may appear in a single column.
Any player may choose not to write a sum on their score sheet without penalty unless they are the active player; the active player must mark one of the miss-throw fields if they choose not to add the rolled sum to their sheet. The game ends when a player has filled two rows on their score sheet or when any player has filled in their fourth miss-throw field. Players then score points equal to the number in the pentagonal field for each completed column, points equal to the right-most number in each completed row, and one point for each number in each incomplete row. Each miss-throw is negative five points. The player with the most points wins! For more information, check out The Dice Tower reviews here.
The Mind, by Wolfgang Warsch, is a team experience for two to four players. Players are attempting to complete levels by placing their cards collectively in ascending order, but here’s the catch – the players are not allowed to communicate in any way to indicate what cards they have. The game includes numbered cards 1 -100, level cards 1 -12, life cards, and shuriken cards. Players will try to complete 12/10/8 levels for 2/3/4 players. For each level, the players will be dealt a number of cards equal to the level number (1 card for level 1, 2 cards for level 2, etc.) that are kept hidden from the other players. Then, all players will try to place their cards one by one on the discard pile face up in ascending order, not knowing what cards are in the other players’ hands. If a card is placed that is higher than one still in a player’s hand, that player will call a stop, the players will lose a life, and then the level will continue. The players also have shuriken cards, that can help them make it through a level. As long as all of the players agree, a shuriken card can be used to allow all players to discard their lowest level card, which then becomes public knowledge. The game ends when the players have successfully completed all of the levels or if the players lose their last life. For more information, check out The Dice Tower reviews here.
Nyctophobia, by Catherine Stippell, is a cooperative horror-survival game for three to five players that plays in 30 – 45 minutes. Up to four players will play as the Hunted and a single player will be the Hunter. The goal of the Hunted is to make it through the forest maze to their car and survive. The Hunter will win if any of the Hunted die. Sounds fairly simple, right? Here’s the hard part – all of the Hunted players wear black out glasses so they cannot see the board and can only navigate by touch.
At the beginning of the game, the Hunter (the only player who can see the board) will set up the board based on the scenario (axe murderer or mage) and give the players the general direction of their car (north, south, west, or east), but the Hunted don’t know where they are starting in relation to the car. On the Hunted player’s turn, the Hunter will assist the Hunted by placing their hand on their player piece. Then, they can explore the surrounding spaces next to their player piece. After exploring, they’ll decide on a direction to move. This may cause them to pick up rocks that they can later throw to distract the Hunter, bump into another Hunted player allowing them to coordinate and better determine their location in the forest, or run into the Hunter, taking damage. Each Hunted only has two health. The Hunter uses a deck of cards to determine their movement on their turn, but has certain rules they must follow, such as heading towards any noise markers (from thrown rocks) on the board.
There are two versions of the Hunter: the axe murderer and the mage. The ax murderer can chop down trees to get to the Hunted faster while the mage can manipulate the forest, moving trees and rotating the entire map, to confuse the players. To see more, check out the GAMA 2018 video here.
Dinosaur Island, what everyone refers to as Jurassic Park the board game, has come back to Kickstarter to allow everyone another chance at getting the Kickstarter edition, as well as an expansion and a two-player spinoff entitled Duelosaur Island. Dinosaur Island is a worker placement and dice rolling type of game where you will be collecting things like DNA and money in order to expand your park. The things you can get for your park include upgrades to park equipment, concessions, and those all important dinosaur pens for you to later fill with dinosaurs. But be careful, the dinosaurs can break out and eat your visitors, which is never good for business. So keep those dinos in their cages, and the visitors happy, and you just might win the game. The Kickstarter edition of the game, which they are calling the X-treme edition, includes a slap bracelet first players marker, upgraded tokens, and sleek metal coins.
The expansion for Dinosaur Island is called Totally Liquid, and aside from having a commercial straight from the 90s, includes lots of new content to add to your game. Included in the expansion will be all the components to add a fifth player to the game, which is something requested by a lot of players. Also included will be blueprints, which give you points based on how you build your park, a park extension with a special attraction and worker, and PR events which give bonus scoring opportunities at the end of the game. But the big addition is the fact you will now be able to build water pens into your park and have the majestic Elasmosaurus and the vicious Dunkleosteus grace your parks. Basically the expansion will be giving you more of what you love about Dinosaur Island, just with more water.
And finally, you will be able to get Duelosaur Island, a two-player version of the game where you will play head to head against an opponent to build the best dinosaur park. A lot of the game will be familiar to Dinosaur Island players, but still utilize new mechanics like a variation on the I split, you choose mechanic for assigning dice modifiers in the game. This way the game will stay fresh and be streamlined for a better two-player experience.
So if any of this sounds like fun to you, check out the Kickstarter campaign, Duelosaur will run you $35, the expansion $45, and the X-treme edition of the base game will set you back $85.
Duelosaur Island will use completely new mechanics yet still give players that Dinosaur Island feel. It will have an entirely new hand-management and tableau-building engine perfectly suited for two players, as well as an “I cut, you choose” dice-drafting mechanism.
“”One of the things we loved most about the game is how much it felt like playing a game of Dinosaur Island, even though the mechanics are completely different. You still roll DNA dice, you still make dinosaurs, you still must manage your threat level. But then there is this super clever card mechanism that leaves you with so many tense decisions to make. And don’t even get me started on the dice-drafting mechanism. Once the DNA dice are rolled the first-player sets the market by assigning different dice different bonuses, but the second-player gets to choose first. Do you give the dice you need to good bonuses and risk your opponent taking them? Or do you play it safe and throw the solid bonuses on the dice you don’t want” Nathan McNair, President of Pandasaurus Games, said.”
Cards will have three potential purposes, giving players lots of choices on how to build their tableau and manage their hands. They can contain DNA sequences for your dinosaurs, blueprints for your park attractions, or they can be discarded for certain effects.
The game also comes with five brand new DNA dice. You can mix and match these dice with dice from Dinosaur Island, bringing new possibilities not only for this game but to the original game as well.
Duelosaur Island is designed by Ian Moss and developed by Dinosaur Island designer Jon Gilmour, with all-new artwork from Dinosaur Island artists Kwanchai Moriya and Peter Wocken.
The press release also teased some new announcements for the parent game coming soon.
Keep an eye on the Pandasaurus Games web site for more information on both Duelosaur Island and its predecessor.
Duelosaur Island is scheduled for release later in 2018.