Fantasy Flight Games has announced plans to release a Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition the 3rd quarter of 2018. Tom Vasel’s favorite board game for six years in a row (2010 to 2015), could a new edition of the game cement the place on the top of Tom’s list?
The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition will become the new standardized version of the game when it is released. The new edition of the game will be fully compatible with all existing Cosmic Encounter expansions.
In the far reaches of space, the aliens of the cosmos vie for control of the universe. Alliances are constantly forged and broken in the pursuit of power as starships journey from planet to planet, ready to build colonies and battle foreign powers, ensuring the survival of their people as they spread throughout the stars.
Designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka, and Kevin Wilson, the game was originally released by Eon in 1977. When a new edition of the game was released in 1992 it received the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1991. It was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997
In 2008 Fantasy Flight Games reprinted the game in 2008 and subsequently released 6 expansions full of additional alien factions and mechanics.
The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition includes both a revised rulebook as well as an illustrated Quick-start Guide that aims to capture all of the nostalgia of the original game while making it easier for new players to learn the game. The Quick-start Guide is styled as a 1970s comic book style. The anniversary edition also includes translucent ship pieces factions will use while spreading their colonies across the galaxy.
While traditional favorite aliens will be included in set, the game will also include the ruthless Demon aliens. Previously only available at Cosmic Con, the new aliens will be included in the anniversary edition of the game. Having been exiled from earlier editions of the base game, they now seek cosmic vengeance and will use their power to possess other players’ hands, bolstering their strength while draining the strength of others.
Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition will also introduce new Cosmic Combo cards. These cards offer a list of alien species with a brief description of their powers to help curate themed matchups and explore different types of game strategies.
Diplomacy on a Cosmic Scale
Just like previous editions of the game, players will each take on the role as leader of their own alien species with unique abilities, seeking to expand their reach across cosmos. Players will take turns launching spaceships from their fleets through a Hyperspace Gate to reach planets beyond their home system, attempting to colonize on opponents plants.
Colonizing on other planets is not as easy as launching a ship. Each planet is already controlled by another player, and other factions may not let you place those colonies without a fight. Diplomacy will be just as important as military strategy. Once both offense and defensive players launch their spaceships, they can ask the other aliens for support in their campaign.
Other players might jump in, using their Alien Powers, Artifacts, Reinforcements, or Flares to tip the odds in one side’s favor or the other. Win the encounter and you can establish a colony, but lose and your ships will be trapped in the warp.
The first players to successfully establish colonies on five foreign planet will be the winner.
Z-Man Games has announced plans to reprint Taj Mahal by Dr. Reiner Knizia. Originally released by Rio Grande in 2000 as #3 in the Alea box box series, the game had a 2006 reprint but has been out of print now for over a decade.
India has progressed and prospered, but that wealth could collapse at any moment. Instability and unrest plague the courts with petty concerns tearing the people apart. The Grand Mogul desperately seeks new leaders to carry India into a new age. Play your cards right and seize the opportunity to win the Grand Mogul’s favor as he tours across the beautiful provinces of India.
The game places player in Northwest India at the beginning of the 18th century as the rule of the Grand Moguls is fading. Maharishis and princes will take this opportunity to attempt to seize control of the region. Cunning potential rulers will influence forces, build palaces and create a supply of commodities until one one has enough power to win the game.
The goal of the game is simply to gain the most influence points. Influence points can be gained by either building palaces or by acquiring commodities. To build a palace a player first must gain the support of the Vizier, the General, the Monk, the Princess, or the Grand Mogul. The different commodities are gained in the game by taking control of a region or by taking them off of a space where a palace has been built.
The game plays out over twelve rounds, each starting with an auction for region control and for the support of the Vizier, General, Monk, Princess, and Grand Mogul. Using cards in four colors, each player will choose a color to play on each turn and use cards of that color to bid for the most useful auction items. For each member of the court a player has managed to influence more than their opponents, they will claim the corresponding tokens. By carefully spending their cards players will control more of the board, gain more commodities, build incredible palaces, and gain enough influence to win the game.
When released in 2000 the game was a critical success, earning a spot on the 2000 Spiel des Jahres
Recommended list. Awards and honors included:
Dr. Reiner Knizia
Dr. Reiner Knizia is one of the most award winning board game designers in history. Dr. Knizia has won the coveted Spiel des Jahres multiple times, and is a full time game designer in England. With a PhD in mathematics fueling his game design, he has over 500 games and books published both with self-designed themes and with global licenses including Lord of the Rings, LEGO, Mensa, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Monopoly, Playmobil, Simpsons and Star Wars.
Rio Grande Games announced two new games to be released in April 2018 and a reprint to be released in May 2019.
First up is Epoch: Early Inventors, designed by Martyn F. Epoch: Early Inventors takes players back to the dawn of civilization where they take on the role of clan leaders and explore the landscape, discover new tools and make offerings to holy places. Exploring land gains status and makes more resources available, but energy to explore land requires food. Gathering, hunting and fishing provides food as well as raw materials. Developing tools enables players to be more effective with future actions. And making offerings at holy places gains more status. The game plays over 14-20 rounds, advancing from the Mesolithicum era to the Bronze Age. The player with the most status at the end of the game wins.
Contents include 4 Carrier boards, 44 Player huts, 4 Clan leaders, 16 Offer tokens, Start player token, 64 Food cubes, 58 Status counters, 44 Landscape tiles, 16 Ceremonial tiles, 2 Player overviews, 3 Last round markers, and Resource counters
This strategy game supports 1-4 players, ages 14 and up, and takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to play. Look for this game in stores this April.
Next up is Beta Colony by designers Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle. In Beta Colony, players are one of five directors trying to create prosperous colonies and be elected as the first leader of Victus. The players with the most Confidence Points at the end of the games is elected the first leader of Victus and wins the game. Players earn Confidence Points by building colony pods, having a majority in a colony and from a variety of other achievements from improving the colony.
Beta Colony features a unique dice based “rolldell” system where all players will use a duplicate dice roll to take two actions each round, with each action using two dice. Players will use one die to move and one die to activate the location to which they moved. Die color and value affect how each of the seven unique locations are used.
Contents include Game board, Round marker, 5 Player markers, 16 Player markers, 16 Artifact markers, 16 Dice, 9 Cycle tiles, 30 Fuel markers, 60 Crew markers, 16 Artifact markers, 4 Player spaceships, Start player marker, 8 Cultural achievements, 8 Cultural achievement tiles, and 40 Colonization pod tiles.
This mid-weight strategy game supports 2-4 players, ages 14 and up, and takes 30 to 60 minutes to play. Look for this game in stores this April.
Finally, Rio Grande Games is reprinting Northern Pacific, a fast playing strategy game designed by Tom Russell. Northern Pacific is set in 1870 as the Northern Pacific rail lines expands from Minneapolis to the Pacific Ocean. Players are investors who can either extend the rail line or invest in a city the rail line has not yet connected. The game is played over three rounds and the player whose investments have paid off the best wins the game.
Contents include the game board, 16 locomotives, 108 small investment cubes and 12 large investment cubes.
This strategy game supports 2-6 players, ages 14 and up, and takes 30 to 45 minutes to play. Look for this game in stores in May.
In 1920’s Arkham, you know what lies ahead of you: The sanity-wrenching horror of Lovecraftian terror. Mythos tales is a deduction game set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft’s quaintly chilling Arkham. Originally published in 2016, Grey Fox Games has produced a 2nd edition and included errata and corrections within to enhance game play.
Players use all the tools they can, sparse as they are, to piece together the macabre truth behind the many mysteries in Arkham. Newspaper articles, allies with knowledge they don’t realize is connected, residents of Arkham, and a map of the city help you follow the clues and find the hidden secrets. Each game you match wits with mad Armitage, trying to uncover the darkness before in time. Can you best him?
Mythos Tales plays in 1-2 hours and is for 1 to 8 keen investigators. There are 8 cases to solve, giving you plenty of hidden mysteries to enjoy. This new version features the same artwork as the original and should be in stores shortly. The first printing received the Dice Tower Seal of Approval.
Council of Four was originally published in 2015 by Cranio Creations, and designed by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini but in early 2018, CMON will be bringing it back to tables everywhere in an updated version with new art, a new box size, and their signature attention to detail. Oh, and of course, miniatures.
Council of Four has 2-4 players taking on the roles of rich merchants seeking to build lavish emporiums within cities in the Three Kingdoms. These Three Kingdoms are ruled by the Councils, each consisting of Four nobles. These Councils are, as might be suspected, easily corruptible and have a very fluid membership, thanks to wealthy merchants such as yourselves. You have to gain permits and build emporiums in the most lucrative locations to win, but don’t neglect the Emperor, as he allows you to build without permits.
With 4 different actions you can take on a given turn, 4 ways to score points, and 8 possible configurations of the modular board, the game offers differing strategies and a variable setup, two things that often lead to a great deal of replayability.
The game plays in 40-75 minutes, and is on the lighter end of the scale, is good for new players, and the new version looks great with pleasing art and well-sculpted minis.
Byzanz is the latest game being printed by Renegade Games from their partnership with Lautapelit, and it’s a well liked auction card game. In Byzanz you are trying to be the most successful merchant in the land, and to do that you need to buy and sell goods to generate the most profit. The game is simple to play, each turn there is a display of cards up for auction, and you bid using the cards you currently have in your hand. Each goods card is worth between 1 and 4 and you will use that value to pay for your winning bid. Once you have won the cards you have the option to sell a set of three cards of one good, scoring the highest value card in that set as profit, and discarding the other two out of the game. There are also wild cards that by themselves are worth nothing, but if you manage to sell a set of three of them they are worth five. Once all the cards have been won and sold the game ends, at that point everyone counts up their profits, and whoever has the most is the winner.
This reprint from Renegade will have very few things changed, with the only overtly mentioned change being the different box art. So if you are looking for a fun auction style card game, look for this on store shelves in Q1 of 2018, and you can read more on the Renegade Games website.
Grail Games would like to announce the publication of new editions for two classic Reiner Knizia game in 2017: King’s Road and Stephenson’s Rocket.
The following is an excerpt from the official press release:
King’s Road is a re-implementation of Imperium, last published in 2001. It is due to be released mid- 2017, and will feature art by Vincent Dutrait (Medici, Lewis & Clark, Broom Service, etc.) Stephenson’s Rocket, last published in 1999, will feature artwork from Ian O’Toole (The Gallerist, Vinhos, Lisboa, etc.) Grail Games also plans to produce a previously un-released expansion map for Stephenson’s Rocket that features the eastern United States. Both titles are from famed board game designer Dr Reiner Knizia (Medici, Tigris & Euphrates, Samurai, Ra, etc.)
Stephenson’s Rocket, a route-building and bidding game, has a devoted fan-base. Widely considered to be Knizia’s best design not to be re-printed since its original release, this new edition of Stephenson’s Rocket will be highly anticipated. The game, its mechanisms, and goals, will be refreshed and presented in a clear and beautiful art style from famed board game illustrator Ian O’Toole.
“I am very excited to announce the upcoming release of these titles,” said publisher David Harding. “The new presentation of Stephenson’s Rocket and its expansion will please current fans and attract new ones, while King’s Road, with its fast play time and meaty choices, will deserve a place in any gamer’s collection. We are so pleased to be able to continue releasing great games from one of our greatest designers.”
For more information, and to read the entire press release, visit the publisher’s website.
Games Workshop is reprinting and re-releasing the classic Warhammer-themed board game Space Hulk, expected to release on Saturday, December 3, 2016. This reprint appears to be not a new edition of the game, but a reprint of the 4th edition.
More information can be found on the Games Workshop website.
Fans of the original adventure and survival game Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island will be interested to know what specific changes will be present in Portal’s new release of the game under the Portal banner. According to Portal’s latest news release, the major notable changes will include:
- a “typical” square game box, as opposed to the original’s coffin box
- a fancier 1st Player Token
- an additional 7th Scenario
- Character Sheets on thick cardboard, as opposed to the thin sheets in the original
- shaped wooden resource components, as opposed to the cubes in the original
- redesigned Discovery Tokens with thematic names on them
- character stickers for the wooden player pawns
- a freshly-reworked rulebook (I like how Portal points out that the original “explains nothing” and the new one “explains everything”)
Preorders are currently being accepted, and this new release is scheduled for release in November of 2016. For more information, visit Portal’s new release here.
Green brier Games and Zephyr Workshop are teaming up to reprint the game A.E.G.I.S., a quick to learn and easy to play mecha battling game. This game takes the systems of the old style war games, even using the hex board typical of the genre, and streamlines the rules down to something quick and easy to play. They did this because the main focus of the game is the teams of mecha that you create. There are five different class of mecha, Assault, Evasive, Guard, Intel, and Support, with each type having different strengths and weaknesses. What is interesting is that the energy you have to activate and move your mecha is shared among the entire team, so going lone wolf with one will leave the rest vulnerable. Also because you can mix the types or form a team of just one type, there are tons of combinations and interactions that can be discovered. Add in the fact you can also combine certain mecha into Power Ranger/Voltron type super robots, and you have got my attention. But remember, in the end it’s the last one standing who wins.
The only downside I see to the game is the lack of mecha minis, but I am sure that can be fixed easy enough with an expansion pack. The original game was self-published by Zephyr Workshop in 2014, but they are partnering with Greenbrier Games for the reprint and will be utilizing Kickstarter to get the funding. So be on the look-out for the project’s launch later this year.
You can read the announcement here.
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