Push Your Luck Games

Schmidt Spiele has announced the first expansion for their Kennerspiel Award winning board game, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, called Die Kräuterhexen (The Herb Witches). Quacks blew up the board game world when it hit in 2018, not only for being a simple yet engaging push your luck bag builder, but because it was super-designer Wolfgang Warsch‘s THIRD nomination for Spiel that year, joining The Mind and Ganz Schön Clever. In Quacks, players pull ingredient tokens from a bag and add them to their cauldron, knowing that too many cherry bombs will make the cauldron explode. When a player stops, they earn points and money to buy new ingredients. Kräuterhexen adds a much requested fifth player to the game, as well as higher value pumpkins, new ingredients such as the variable value “fool’s herb”, and the ability to request help from the witches. Players are given 3 Witch’s Pennies, which are worth points at the end of the game, but can be spent to get special powers, such as the ability to drink a potion after blowing up the cauldron, or reducing the drop advance price to a single ruby. Look for Die Kräuterhexen later this year, and for more information and images check out Schmidt Spiele’s webpage here. No information is currently available for the English version, expected to come at a later date from North Star Games.

Also from Schmidt Spiele and the ludological deity Wolfgang Warsch is the just announced title Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal (The Taverns in Deep Valley). This dice game takes place in the deep valley, where players need to attract new wealthy patrons, hopefully gaining enough money to expand, and go for the big fish – the nobles. Is it better to focus on a nice tavern, or to keep the beer flowing to keep the regulars happy? And which expansions are the best to build first? Players need to choose the correct dice, and develop their personal deck of cards. Five included modules allow each player to set their own difficulty. Given Mr. Warsch’s track record, Tavern should be an interesting game.

The winner of the 2018 Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, has an English edition coming to retail soon from North Star Games. Quacks is a combination push your luck and bag builder  board game from master designer Wolfgang Warsch (Ganz schön clever, The Mind), in which 2-4 alchemists draw strange ingredients from a bag to add to their cauldrons. Using the correct good ingredients can earn you money and fame, allowing you to buy better ingredients, however one ingredient too many can blow up your entire potion. Players need to know when to cut and run with the potion they have, and when one more draw from the bag can outweigh the risk of losing it all.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg should hit retail stores any day now, and you can learn more about this award winner on North Star Games web page here.

Push your luck games are all about risk and reward, and Daredevil from Jeff Siadek aims to distill that down into a quick playing card game.  In this game you are a hot shot daredevil trying to make their mark without dying, and so you will be taking on various stunts in order to increase your renown.  At the start of the game you will be given a character card that gives you a special ability, like re-rolling a die on certain stunts, or allowing you to succeed on doubles regardless of the total.  After getting a character card then several stunt cards will be put out for players to attempt.  Each stunt will have a point value in the form of stars, a number you have to meet or beat on a dice roll, and consequences should you fail.  You will pick a stunt and then make a single roll of the dice, with a re-roll if you have the applicable special ability, meet or beat the number to claim the stunt, else suffer the consequences.  Consequences can come in the form of lowering die values, forcing you to re-roll dice, barring you from trying certain stunts or even death.  But don’t worry the first time death comes out, that was only a brush with death, but the second one will fully take you out of the game.  Once everyone is dead or retires then you total up your stars and the person with the most is the winner.

This is a game with not a lot of strategy or nuance to it, but those games can be fun too, like Roll For It or Tumblin’ Dice.  Plus the art is cute and the theme fits right in with the push your luck mechanic.  So if you enjoy a quick push your luck style game all about being a daredevil, check out the Kickstarter page.

Chaosium, the long time forerunner of the Cthulhu RPG world, has announced a new Kickstarter project, the card game Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection. Chaosium, famous for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, had been out of the board and card game world for quite a while until last year’s release of Reiner Knizia‘s Khan of Khans. Now the studio has returned to the Lovecraftian world with the push-your-luck card game Miskatonic University, also designed by the master, Dr. Reiner Knizia, with Graphic design by Ian O’Toole and art by Victor Leza and Goomi. In Miskatonic University, 2-5 players take turns drawing cards from the library, trying to collect sets of 3 differing Sigil and Grimoire cards. However, if the player draws a duplicate card, they and their students will be expelled from the library, losing their progress that round. Players can use one of their 7 defense cards to mitigate expulsion in different ways, and graduate students can be collected to recharge used defense cards. If players opt to leave the library voluntarily, they earn points for collected sets. The game lasts five terrifying rounds, and the most points from collected lore and saved sanity wins.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection will continue through May 8, and the game is expected to deliver in November 2018.

One of the recent trends in board games has been for big box stores, such as Target and Walmart, to claim their share of exclusive titles from within the hobby board gaming world. Several of these exclusives have been noteworthy; we have seen Target obtain Bob Ross Art of Chill Game, and Walmart is the exclusive seller of Fog of Love. The most recent participant, Red Raven Games, has announced an exclusive game with Target, Megaland. Ryan Laukat‘s newest creation Megaland has the look and feel of his previous masterpieces, bringing up images of Near and Far or Artifacts Inc. Megaland is a push-your-luck game set in a video game universe, where players fight monsters to collect coins and build up their world. 2-5 players can use coins to improve their character, build bowling alleys or arcades, and delve deeper into each new level. But players who push too hard are likely to come home with nothing. The player with the most coins at the end wins.

Megaland is due to come out in Fall 2018, exclusively at Target stores.

Everyone’s favorite altruistic archer is about to grace our tabletops again as Final Frontier Games announces the launch of their upcoming Kickstarter project – Robin Hood and the Merry Men!

In this latest offering from the makers of Cavern Tavern and Rise to Nobility, 2 to 4 players will assume the roles of various rogue heroes in a mission to defy the unjust rule of the nefarious King John and to outwit and outmaneuver the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham and his cronies.

The game plays out over a series of rounds, each consisting of a Merry Men phase and a Hero phase. Players take turns assigning their loyal followers during the Merry Men phase, collecting resources and setting traps to ambush Royal carriages. While it may be tempting to simply rob all the resources you need be careful, a push-your-luck system ensures that no good deed goes unpunished and you may end up with your followers being sent to the dungeons for their crimes!

The Hero phase offers you a chance to rescue prisoners and/or take part in various attacks, competitions or even sending envoys to King Richard updating him of your progress. Once each player has completed 5 rounds in this fashion, the player with the most victory points and therefore the greatest Hero of the land is declared the winner!

The campaign is set to launch on February 21st, 2018 and offers both a standard and deluxe (non-retail) version of the game at separate pledge levels.

 

Smirk & Dagger Games and lead designer Curt Covert have announced a game they have been teasing for some time, Tower of Madness. 3-5 Players take turns fulfilling location cards in push-your-luck dice rolling, however if they fail their investigation, they must face the tower. The actual tower stands over a foot tall, and houses colored marbles held in place by 30 demonic tentacles, much in the style of the older game Kerplunk. Failing to fulfill a card means pulling a tentacle from the tower, possibly releasing colored marbles, which add to your discovery total but permanently affect your character. Even worse, the tower may release a DOOM marble, which is one more step towards summoning Cthulhu, and ending the game. The investigator with the most discovery wins.

Look for Tower of Madness on store shelves June 2018.

That isn’t a typo in the title, Z-Man Games has announced a new game called Junggle, with two G’s, designed by Bruno Faidutti and Anja Wrede.  This game promises to give you five games in one using just a deck of cards and a single card showing the hierarchy of all the animals.  With these two components they have come up with different styled games, like a push your luck game called King of the Jungle.  In this variation you have cards out on the table face down, and one by one you will look at face down cards on your turn.  What you are doing is trying to figure out what animal will be left that is highest up in the hierarchy.  This is hard to figure out because animals are scared away by the things directly above them on the hierarchy, so those top animals may be scared off and left with someone near the middle of the ladder.  Either way if you manage to figure it out first, you win.

Another variation is a bluffing style game called Jungle Party.  In this version of the game you have two face-up cards, constituting your party, and two cards in your hand.  On your turn you draw a card and then pass one of your three hand cards to another player face down.  They then have to decide to keep it or give it back to you, and whichever choice is made, the recipient has to flip the card and add it to their party.  Like before if the animal is directly above them in the hierarchy they will be scared off or scare off other members of your party.  First person to collect five of the same animal at the end of their turn is the winner.

So that is two out of the five possible variations, and more will be revealed on the Z-Man Games website as the release date gets closer.

Grail Games is stepping up the releases with the previously reported Knizia reprints and three more games coming later this year.  First is a push your luck style party game called Hang 12.  In the game players will be asking other players simple true/false, A or B type questions, and it’s their job to guess your answer.  If you guess right then you get to catch a wave, then the push your luck part of the game starts.  You can keep answering questions to increase the amount of points you will get, and if you reach a certain threshold you could get bonus points.  But the downside is that if you get something wrong, you lose all the points you built up that round.  So, do you know your friends as well as you think?  Look for this on store shelves in mid-2017.

Next is the Kickstarter game Doughnut Drive-thru, a worker placement dice style game all about those tasty treats.  The main goal of the game is to serve the most value in doughnuts to your customers.  To accomplish your goal you will be using 4 different actions, prepare, learn a recipe, serve, and coffee breaks.  Each action has a normal and improved version of the action that depends on how many workers, read doughnuts, you place on the card.  Learning a recipe lets you draw cards from the deck and then keep one recipe, discarding the others.  Prepare has you rolling a die to try and prepare a doughnut, with more valuable doughnuts needing higher values on the die.  Serving works the same way, and if you succeed you flip the card over and it will be scored at the end, plus each served doughnut can be used for +1 on a roll.  Lastly you have coffee break, which is how you will refresh used ability cards as well as get your doughnuts back from any single card.  Most tips at the end determines the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in April of 2017.

Last is the card game version of the Kinizia classic, Medici the Card Game.  This takes the big box bidding game and turns it into a small box push your luck style game using just a deck of cards.  On your turn you will turn cards over until you have drawn three cards or get what you want, taking at least one card into your hand.  The next player gets to draw some more cards and take cards from what they drew or what you drew.  Play will continue around like this until you get either five or seven cards (based on player count) in your hand.  You will then score your hand, called a boat, and put any cards you can keep into your warehouse.  You will do this again for two more rounds scoring your boat and then your warehouse as well.  As the end of the third round, whoever has the most points is the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in May of 2017.

Clank! is the hot deck-building game right now that utilizes a push your luck type mechanic as well as utilizing a board to good effect.  So to not let a good thing go to waste, Renegade Games is releasing an expansion for the game in March called Clank! Sunken Treasures.  This expansion will include an all new board that has a partially flooded dungeon, meaning in some rooms you will have to contend with flooding as well as the normal dangers.  Can you make it out with your loot of will you drown while trying to carry it all?

Look for this expansion on store shelves in March, and if you are going to PAX South at the end of the month you can check out Clank! at the Dire Wolf Digital booth.