Robinson Crusoe

Limited to only 500 copies, Portal Games has launched their very own Loot Box, now up on their website for pre-order.

The Loot Box includes promos, mini-expansions, and gadgets for the following titles: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, Alien Artifacts, Imperial Settlers, 51st State, Neuroshima HEX! 3.0 and Cry Havoc.

Some of the highlights include:

• A brand new, 14th scenario for Robinson Crusoe

• A new set of crystals for Cry Havoc

• A play mat for 51st State

Coming in at over $70 in value, all items will be available to purchase separately through varying times in 2019 but you can get them all first when you pre-order the Portal Games Loot Box.

Portal Games is planning for a busy start to the year with a pile of expansions and retail launch kits ready for players. Alien Artifacts, Robinson Crusoe, and Imperial Settlers will all have new content being released in the first quarter of 2018. Portal Games had already announced a slew of new expansions for 2018, but now players are getting release dates and details of additional in store event kit surprises.

Imperial Settlers

Imperial Settlers by designer Ignacy Trzewiczek and artist Tomasz Jedruszek will receive an expansion deck of cards, We Didn’t Start the Fire, on May 16, 2018. The new empire pack introduces the concept of conquest to Imperial Settlers. Contesting introduces borders to Imperial Settlers. When a player completes a conquest they move the border between empires and can take the left-most faction from their neighboring empire and built it into their own empire. The empire pack will include 50 new cards and support all previous factions.

Portal Games is also planning for the release of a retail support kit for Imperial Settlers prior to the launch of We Didn’t Start the Fire. Releasing on February 2nd, 2018, the In-Store Event Kit will help retailers planning for local tournaments. The retail support kit will include three cards for each of the original 4 base factions that feature a panoramic layout. The three cards in each faction can be placed side by side for a seamless and massive view of the world of Settlers. The kit will also include an Imperial Settlers playing mat (23″ x 13″) to be used as a prize in local tournaments. Winner of the 2014 Golden Geek for best solo game and now almost four years old, Imperial Settlers continues to build a fanbase of players.

Alien Artifacts
Alien Artifacts: Discovery will be released March 21st, 2018 as the first expansion to Alien Artifacts by designers Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska. The first expansion begins to move along the storyline of the Alien Artifacts universe.
By accident, humanity discovers a mysterious resource hidden under the thick crest of one of the planets. The race for the wealth and new possibilities begins!
The expansion introduces the Alien Resource card which will allow players to harvest additional resources from planets and gain new abilities. The Discovery expansion will add 50 new cards to the game, including planets, technologies, ships, Alien Artifacts, and Alien Resources.
An Early Launch Kit will release on March 3, 2018 for brick and mortar stores. Participating stores will receive 10 copies of the expansion, 10 promo materials, and an Alien Artifacts poster. Most importantly, participating retailers will receive the expansion a full two weeks before the official release date.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Robinson Crusoe will see the The Lost City of Z big box expansion in 2018, but prior to that players will have the chance to travel through time with Robinson Crusoe though an In-Store Event Kit on March 21st, 2018. The In-Store Event Kit will allow players to take part in a new time travel themed scenario. The kit will include:
  • a new scenario about time travel
  • 8 unique player characters
  • four sets of custom wooden pieces representing the food resource
  • one poster
Released in 2013, Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island won the Golden Geek Best Thematic Game award, the Gra Roku Advanced Game of the Year and the Swiss Gamers Award.
The game has also appeared on a number of Dice Tower Top 10 lists including:

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!

It’s that time of year again, the Dice Tower has announced their nominees for the best games of 2016.  These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2016.  You can see previous winners along with this year’s nominees and their pictures on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.  And now, your nominees:

Best Game from a New Designer  (The game has to be the designer’s first or second published game to qualify for this award)

Best Artwork

  • Arkham Horror: The Card Game – illustrated by Christopher Hosch, Ignacio Bazán Lazcano, Henning Ludvigsen, Mercedes Opheim, Zoe Robinson, and Evan Simonet; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Inis – illustrated by Dimitri Bielak & Jim Fitzpatrick; published by Matagot
  • Islebound – illustrated by Ryan Laukat; published by Red Raven Games
  • Kanagawa – illustrated by Jade Mosch; published by Iello
  • Scythe – illustrated by Jakub Rozalski; published by Stonemaier Games

Best Theming

  • Black Orchestra – designed by Philip duBarry; published by Game Salute
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • SeaFall – designed by Rob Daviau; published by Plaid Hat Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Two-Player Game

Best Reprint

Best Expansion

Best Party Game

  • Codenames: Pictures– designed by Vlaada Chvátil; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Happy Salmon – designed by Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir; published by North Star Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Secret Hitler – designed by Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, & Max Temkin; published by Goat Wolf & Cabbage

Best Cooperative Game

Best Family Game

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, & Andrew Wolf; published by USAopoly
  • Ice Cool – designed by Brian Gomez; published by Brain Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Karuba – designed by Rüdiger Dorn; published by HABA
  • Sushi Go Party! – designed by Phil Walker-Harding; published by Gamewright

Best Strategy Game

  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Board Game Production

  • Conan – designed by Frédéric Henry, Antoine Bauza, Pascal Bernard, Bruno Cathala, Croc, Ludovic Maublanc, & Laurent Pouchain; published by Monolith
  • The Others – designed by Eric M. Lang; published by Cool Mini or Not
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games

Most Innovative Game

Best Game from a Small Publisher  (The published must have published five or fewer games at the beginning of 2015)

  • Arkwright – designed by Stefan Risthaus; published by Capstone Games
  • Cottage Garden– designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Edition Spielwiese
  • Not Alone – designed by Ghislain Masson; published by Geek Attitude Games
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • Vast: The Crystal Caverns – designed by David Somerville; published by Leder Games

Game of the Year

  • Adrenaline – designed by Filip Neduk; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Cry Havoc– designed by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, & Michał Walczak; published by Portal Games
  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Inis – designed by Christian Martinez; published by Matagot
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Just a few days ago on the 28th January Portal Games held PortalCon 9.

A one day event, this gives Portal Games staff a chance to meet local fans, and highlight what’s been happening in the Portal world.

The keynote speech highlighted the successes of Cry Havoc, Robinson Crusoe (2nd Edition) and the opening a new office in Germany.

Looking forward to 2017, they highlighted the upcoming releases of First Martians, Alien Artifacts and the Cry Havoc expansion, Aftermath. A mention was also given to a Portal studio dedicated to bringing our favourite Portal games to iOS and Android.

They have now made their keynote presentation available here.

first-martians

First Martians, the big sequel game to the popular co-op game Robinson Crusoe, is landing on store shelves in 2017.  First Martians is a cooperative game where you and your follow space travelers are working to survive the harsh martian landscape.  While you won’t have to fight off bears and other wildlife, you will need to establish yourself a base as well as find a way to get food and water.  There will also be the inclusion of a campaign mode where what you accomplish in one game will have effects on later games, almost like a legacy system but without the permanent changes.  There will also be the standard game mode for playing one at a time, as well as a open world mode where you explore as much of Mars as you can before you aren’t able to survive anymore.

Personally I am very excited for this game and look forward to it’s release!

robinson-crusoe-150

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.

robinson-crusoe

If you missed the boat last time it was around, now might be your chance to hop on the updated edition of Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. Designed by Portal Games’ veritable owner Ignacy Trzewiczek, Robinson Crusoe has players working as a team of shipwrecked survivors trying to make ends meet on an island full of dangerous animals and unpredictable weather.

A description from the BoardGameGeek website:

 [Players will] be faced with the challenges of building a shelter, finding food, fighting wild beasts, and protecting themselves from weather changes. Building walls around their homes, animal domestication, constructing weapons and tools from what they find and much more awaits them on the island. The players decide in which direction the game will unfold and – after several in-game weeks of hard work – how their settlement will look. Will they manage to discover the secret of the island in the meantime? Will they find a pirate treasure, or an abandoned village? Will they discover an underground city or a cursed temple at the bottom of a volcano? Answers to these questions lie in hundreds of event cards and hundreds of object and structure cards that can be used during the game…

This new edition of the game will come with:

  • Custom wooden pieces for all resources
  • Thick cardboard player boards
  • An additional 7th scenario
  • A completely re-written rulebook
  • Coming in a Ticket to Ride-sized box

September 2016 is the date to look forward to for this award-winning game. For additional information, please visit here.

February is almost over and more information is slowly starting to materialize about some of the most anticipated releases of the coming year. The latest Portal Games newsletter contains some interesting tidbits about two big names in particular:

51st state master

First, the popular post-apocalyptic card game 51st State is being reborn in the form of a new 51st State: Master Set that combines cards from the original game with cards from both of the expansions, all recalibrated for optimum balance. The Master Set is already available for pre-order on Portal’s website, (here), and although it isn’t a crowdfunding campaign and the game will be published either way, it does offer a system of pre-order rewards and ‘stretch goals’, two of which have already been unlocked, ensuring each copy will come with a 51st State Transfer Book (summarizing all the changes between the original game and the master set) and an original story set in the world of Neuroshima. Portal have also promised that the new rulebook is almost finalized and will be made available soon.

From the return of an old classic to what could potentially turn out to be the hottest new release of the year, the Portal Newsletter also included a link to a recent interview with Ignacy Trzewiczek himself (originally published in Polish here.) about the upcoming title First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet. First Martians, of course, is based on the extremely popular co-op Robinson Crusoe and is the next big thing in the recent trend of App-driven board games. Ignacy cites his experience playing X-Com as a major inspiration and motivation to move ahead with First Martians, because it showed him how useful an app could be in eliminating the boring overhead of games – “managing tokens, moving pieces and all that fiddly work which pulls us away from the essence of the game, from the fun.”

The interview also covers a variety of other topics including the game’s current development progress – the game system is finished, but Portal is working hard to create lots of great encounters, events and campaigns; how First Martians will compare to its predecessor Robinson Crusoe – despite very significant differences, including a huge new mystery mechanic that will be further explained in the coming months, Ignacy expects that players familiar with Robinson Crusoe will be able to jump right into First Martians with minimal rules explanations; and also the current state and expected features of the game app – the app is already fully operational (a necessity, since the game cannot be played without it), and completely manages the adventures, events, et. al. which occur in the game, allowing players to choose between several different game modes and difficulty levels, but some features have not yet been coded, such as the ability to save your current game progress and come back later.

Be sure to read the full interview here.

portal games logo

Portal Games sent out a newsletter at the end of last week full of exciting news. If you aren’t familiar with Portal Games, you should be. They are the Polish board game publisher headed by Ignacy Trzewiczek. He’s the guy that designed the siege boardgame Stronghold (can’t wait for the next edition), the huge hit Robinson Crusoe and most recently the empire building card game Imperial Settlers. Since forming his own company that enabled him to get his games directly to market, he has picked up several titles like Neuroshima Hex. If you are unfamiliar with any of these games do yourself a favor and go fix that!

atlanteans

Enough introductions, lets get to some goodies from Portal’s newsletter. First off is some more news about Imperial Settlers. As Dice Tower News first reported here, the first expansion, Atlanteans, will be premiered at Gen Con in July and then available for the masses in August. This expansion introduces a new faction with a new mechanic as well as cards for all four existing factions. The newsletter provides more fuel for fans of the game by revealing artwork from the expansion, specifically artwork for some of the new Roman cards!

In more Imperial Settlers news the first Empire Pack (of 55 cards) Why Can’t We Be Friends added new card mechanics to all four core Factions as well as solo play. Adding cards to the core opened up a new aspect for the game, Deck Building! Although you can just add the new cards in, it is advised you remove core cards out as you add new cards in. Wow! the possibilities for this game in the future just opened wide with more Empire Packs and expansions. There is a suggested method for this Faction deck building and Ignacy himself has added a video walkthrough to this process here.

tides of time ban

Ignacy visited the UK Games Expo where he previewed Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot as well as Tides of Time. Both are new Portal games that will be made available at Gen Con. Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot is a dice chucking game with modifiable pirate ships that DTN wrote about here, whereas Tides of Time is a “micro” card drafting 2-player game that we announced here. Having a chance at a sneak peak may have well been worth a trip across the pond!

The Portal newsletter provide a link to a user created “spin down” life counter for the very popular Robinson Crusoe. This beautifully drawn life counter was created by BoardGameGeek user Rom Brown and can be downloaded for free here from the BGG site.

board game insider

Board Games Insider is a bi-monthly podcast by Ignacy Trzewiczek and Stephen Buonocore (president of Stronghold Games) that is geared toward designers and insiders but any fan of boardgames would enjoy. The newsletter directs readers to the link for Episode 7 where the hosts talk about BGG Fam con, the UK Games Expo and a Mysterious Origins Announcement (spoiler: a new game from Stronghold)! Go ahead and check out the podcast here.

Neuroshima Hex is Portal’s hugely popular tile placement game that is heavy on combat and tactics. The newsletter directs fans to a BGG link that provides a user made faction, The Gurrak Tribe.

Two last news bit from the newsletter. First, Ignacy has started his second Kickstarter for his writing endeavors. The first one for Board Games That Tell Stories was successful and enabled him to publish a book collecting articles from himself and other board game designers about many topics including board game design. Now Ignacy is kickstarting Board Games That Tell Stories 2! Lastly, the 6th annual PortalCon took place on June 6th in Poland.

That was a lot of Portal news! In short, if you enjoy Portal games, get ready for some new games and expansions in the next couple of months!