route building

The next big title from Stronghold Games has a deluxe edition now on Kickstarter! From designers Bobby West and Alan R. Moon, the esteemed creator of Ticket to Ride, comes Aftershock – a competitive area control game for 3-to-5 players. The story goes that the San Francisco Bay area has been rocked with earthquakes so you are trying rebuild infrastructure and repopulate the city in relative safety in spite of the destruction. What comes from this is a drafting and hidden action selection game mixed with a little bit of route building to create something that may sound familiar, but is all-together different than anything on the market today.

     “In Aftershock, players will spend money to acquire planning cards, which are used to increase population, build bridges, and determine where aftershocks occur. Spend money wisely to acquire aftershocks that will allow you to move people into and out of the demolished areas. Planning and careful negotiation are essential in order to maintain your population and score your best-planned cities and bridges.”

There’s a bit of mind-gaming to this one that makes it really click. While the actions you can take are public and bought from one another (drafted in a way that may remind of Isle of Skye), the targets of those actions are hidden and victim to turn order, which will lead to a lot of twisted thinking as you try to anticipate where your opponents will go so you can take advantage of their situation. You can see that Alan Moon touch to the game in the drafting and route connections, but can see that this collaborative effort has brought about something much more intriguing than his older network-building fare. This Kickstarter campaign is also an excellent opportunity to get the deluxe version of this game for the same price as the standard retail version post-release, so if you’re interested in this one be sure to check out their page now to see a full rules breakdown, Previews, FAQs, and take advantage of this deluxe offer.

Another week, another round of Kickstarters as things start to ramp up for PAX Unplugged this weekend.  First on the list is the second game from Mathew Sisson and company, makers of the card game Spaceteam, this time all about surviving on an uncharted island instead of a falling apart spaceship.  The game is called Ravine, and in the game you will crash land on an island, with each person starting out at different levels of being hurt, and from there it’s up to you to survive.  You will risk your health to forage for food and supplies, then use those supplies to build helpful items like spears, shelter, baskets, or fires in order to survive.  Come night time you will flip over a card that will try to hurt you in some way, but comes with a way to avoid it if you have the right cards.  If you and all your companions are able to survive through all the night cards, you will be rescued and win the game!  If you like this kind of cooperative survival game, and found the Spaceteam card game enjoyable, check out the Kickstarter today.

Next is the latest in the line of Wallet Games from Button Shy Games, and that is HeroTec, In Vino Morte, and Kintsugi.  To start this trio we have the drafting game HeroTec, where you want to outfit your hero with the best gear possible to impress everyone.  You will do this by drafting cards into your stockpile, and then from your stockpile you will use them as resources in order to build the gadgets for you hero.  Once you have fully outfitted your hero you will compare with everyone else and the most stars will be the winner.  Kintsugi is a tile laying game where you will be taking cards and overlaying them, keeping in mind placement rules, in order to score the lowest score.  You and your opponent will be alternating placing cards on the board, trying to make your secret color dominant, but without letting your opponent know which one it is.  If you get figured out the your opponent gets to reduce their score, if you are able to keep it hidden, then their score will go up, lowest score is the winner.  And finally, In Vino Morte is a very light social deduction game where you are trying to be the last one standing at the party.  Each round a new bartender will be chosen and they will pass out the drinks, with at least one of them being poisoned.  On your turn you can either drink what is in front of you or trade, after everyone has a turn and it gets back to the bartender then everyone else drinks.  People who are poisoned are out and the rest stay in for another round.  So if any of these games sound interesting to you, head on over to the Kickstarter page to back for one, some, or all of these games.

Next up is a game called Mountaineers, which takes the 3D aspect to a whole other level.  In this game your goal is to complete climbing routes in a ticket to ride type fashion by hiking around the ground and climbing the massive mountain in front of you.  And when I say mountain, I mean a three sided spire of a mountain that you will be placing your pawn on as you climb up it.  Each round different events will be happening that give you supplies, the main currency of the game, and alter the game conditions in either good or bad ways.  Then each player will get the chance to use the supplies they have to buy upgrades, move around the board, or mess with their fellow players in a bid to gain the most climbing points.  Rounds will continue and players will keep climbing until they have run out the event deck, at that point routes are scored and whoever has the most points is the winner.  Thus if you like mountain games, or are just a fan of 3D games with an impressive table presence, check out the Kickstarter page.

After that we have a new cooperative deck building game called Direwild, a first design by Vas Obeyesekere.  In this game you Animists, mages who summon animals to aid them, and are trying to stop the evil Karn, a member of your own order that turned evil.  During the game, which is a mix of dungeon crawl and deck building, the minions of Karn will move around the board, trying to take you out and keep you from stopping him.  On your turn you will do typical deck building actions of drawing cards, playing cards, and buying upgraded cards.  After that then you use the cards you just played to summon an animal to move around the board and fight the evil monsters.  Cards will often have a basic animal on them for you to choose from, but they also have text that is upside down, and so if you rotate the card, it then becomes an add-on to an already summoned animal.  This way you can turn a smaller animal into something formidable to fight along side you.  If you and your friends are able to defeat the minions, find and defeat Karn, you will be the winner of Direwild.  To find out more about this game check out the Kickstarter page.

Finally we have the freshest Kickstarter on the list, and that is the second Kickstarter for Ogre miniatures from Steve Jackson Games.  This campaign offers a whole new set of miniatures for the latest edition of Ogre, and all the models being offered are not the same as the ones in the first set.  Backing this set means you will be able to upgrade a good variety of units in the game from cardboard chits, to full blown minis.  Included in this set are: 1 Paneuropean Fencer with extra Fencer-B turret, 6 Superheavy Tanks, 4 Mobile Howitzers, 6 GEV-PCs with 3 infantry each (infantry are compatible with those from Set 1), 12 Light Tanks, and 12 Light GEVs.  So if you want more minis for this classic game, check out the Kickstarter now.

Grail Games, an Australian publisher devoted to family friendly games, launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to fuel up a fresh take on Stephenson’s Rocket designed by Dr. Reiner Knizia. While other Knizia’s games, such as Tigris and Euprhates or Ra, were already reprinted, this campaign provides the first possibility to lay your hands on Stephenson’s Rocket since it’s 1999 release, yet this time with illustrations by Ian O’Toole, whose artworks can be found on components of The Gallerist or Lisboa.

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. By investing in the various new rail lines, transporting passengers, and building up the local industries, players will vie for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron in the early days of the steam locomotive.

It will take the 2-4 competing rail investors between 60 and 90 minutes to acquire stocks and see who earns the most Prestige in this tile-laying, route-building, set-collection, and bidding game.

Apart from new artwork and upgraded components, changes include shares, Prestige (no more paper money), and city tokens being tracked directly on the board itself, which is in the Kickstarter version double-sided and features a new Eastern USA map. Stephenson’s Rocket arrives in April 2018; if you would like to take a ride, check out the ticket prices on its Kickstarter campaign here.

 

Through the Desert is a classic Reiner Knizia abstract game that has gotten some great reviews and sits at #15 for abstract games.  The game is exceedingly simple to play, on your turn you place two camels of any color you like.  When you place camels you have to match their color to ones already on the board, placing them adjacent to each other.  One restriction is that you can’t place ANY camels adjacent to your opponent’s camels, meaning you can cut off sections of the board with clever placement.

What you are trying to do with these camels is either connect or encircle the watering holes or oasis on the board.  Watering holes are worth 1 to 3 points and oasis are worth 5 points.  You also get bonus points for if you fully enclose an area by how big that area is.  Most points at the end is the winner.

Since this is a reprint of an older game, and part of Z-Man’s Euro Classics line, the art and components have been updated to match modern published games.  They did the usual revising of the rules to eliminate ambiguities, and even created a second side to the board for an additional way to play by adding in the Niger river.  Needless to say, if you like the original or like abstract games, give this one a look when it hits store shelves later this year.  For more info you can head on over to Z-Man’s website.

Days of Wonder has just announced a new entry in the younger kid focused Ticket to Ride series, and that’s Ticket to Ride: First Journey.  This may seem like I am repeating old news, but in fact there is a new version of the game with the exact same name, but instead of the USA you are traveling around Europe.  Like the original it will feature a simplified board along with large landmarks to mark each of the cities, making destination finding easier.  The train cards will feature all new whimsical illustrations as well as similar bonus point possibilities.  So if you enjoyed the first entry with your kids, then you might want to pick up this new edition as well.

There is one catch though, this version is meant for the European market, so readers in Europe can find it on store shelves come March/April.  But I have no doubt it will eventually make it to the American shores, hopefully with an updated name.  You can read more about this new edition on the Days of Wonder 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.

 

capital-lux

Two new card games are coming from Aporta Games, a drafting game called Capital Lux and a route building game called Avenue.  Capital Lux is an interesting game where you are drafting cards to either play in front of you, or in the public discard.  What makes the choice interesting is that cards in front of you score their value, but cards played in the center allow you to trigger the card’s power.  Another interesting twist is that between the four professions, when it comes time to score you can’t score a profession with more value in front of you than in the center.  Instead you have to discard all your cards of that profession, making for an interesting balancing act between the center pile and yours.  Most points at the end is the winner.

avenue

Avenue is a route building game in the same vein as Doodle City, where you will be drawing connections on individual sheets.  The main difference is that you will be drawing cards instead of rolling dice to determine the line you can draw.  There will be cards for the four different types of curves and two straights, meaning that you have to draw the route exactly like it shows, no turning of the cards.  On your sheet you are trying to connect 5 different vineyards to the clusters of grapes on the sheet, and when four of the same vineyard is drawn, you count how many grapes it connects to and that is it’s score.  One twist to the scoring is that each vineyard has to score more than the previous, if it doesn’t then it counts against you in your final tally.  The game continues until all the vineyards have come out, then you will get bonus points for connecting grapes to their color castles, and the highest score will be the winner.

Look for both these games to be on store shelves in December of this year.

Via Nebula, the latest game from the Space Cowboys label at Asmodee has just hit, or is about to hit, retail stores.  Via Nebula is a route building type game but instead of building tracks or roads, you are exploring foggy areas and placing down clear paths.  As you place these tiles from your player board onto the main board, you are connecting your construction tile to the resources you need.  The resources you need depend on the building cards that are available to build, but you don’t need the exact resources to build it, just the same number.  But building with incorrect resources will net your negative points in the end so it’s best to give them what they want.  There are lots of other things you can do from placing workers to reveal resources, building more buildings, and gaining special abilities the more tiles you place down.  Most points at the end is the winner.

The game looks great, quality of components looks good, and the game garnered a Seal of Approval from Tom’s video review.  You can read more on the game on Asmodee’s website, or pick up a copy from your local retailer.

tesla 2

Tesla vs. Edison: War of the Currents was a successfully funded Kickstarter from last year and played up the history of electricity through an economic game with some mild route building added in.  You would take on the role of the greats like Tesla or Edison as you tried to expand you power supplying empire through research, patenting and selling new technology, and influencing the public’s perception of either AC or DC current.  Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up seeks to expand on the game and make it even better with several new modules you can add into the game and even the option to get a custom wood insert from The Broken Token to organize you game.  The different modules are;

  • Build a headquarters – you can develop your own custom lab, works, office, and studio which will give you special abilities and bonus points
  • A 6th inventor to choose from, Madam C. J. Walker, which also expands the player count to 6
  • Eight female luminaries with more possible in stretch goals
  • Event cards – these historical events allow you new opportunities, but can also just bring bad news
  • New propaganda cards
  • and, Two AI decks to bottom out the player count to 1 or just add more difficulty in 2+ player games

hq mats tesla

All in all if you are a fan of the original, these expansion modules should make the game that much better for you.  The campaign is already funded and into stretch goals so you can head on over to the Kickstarter page to check it out and pledge for your own copy, you can even add on a reprinted copy of the original game.

jumbo jet exp

Jet Set came out in 2008 and is often described as Ticket to Ride on steroids in that you are still route building and connecting cities, but now there are bonuses for completing things early, you have a mandatory flight path you have to finish, the ability to share routes and involves an economic system.  The first expansion, Distant Lands, had five modules in it where you can add more flight cards, add international flights, add investors, hubs, and businesses.  This second expansion, Jumbo Jets, aims to do the same and add five more modules that you can add to the base game of Jet Set.  The five modules are:

  • Jumbo Jets – these are much larger jets and so when you put them out, you bump off all other players’ planes (including your own) from that route.  Also when someone wants to use that route, they have to pay you the full 10 euro instead of half to you and half to the bank.
  • City Bonuses – there will be city rings that you add to every city on the board, and when you connect a flight, you get to take the city ring off the cities at the start and end of the flight.  You will then trade the rings in for bonuses like more money, more planes, or even more actions.  But with only one ring per city you have to grab them fast.
  • Hotels – the hotels allow you to sacrifice route cards to build a hotel, and meeting certain conditions you add tokens to the hotel which generate money for you and additional victory points at the end of the game
  • Charter flights – this module adds two neutral planes to the board and a card indicating where they want to go, you complete a charter flight the same as a normal flight and offer a chance to score a large amount of money, but the negative is that it doesn’t score you any victory points.
  • Flight cards – these are additional long and short flight cards along with alternate final flight cards that offer routes worth two fewer points and are easier, or two additional points but are longer giving you more variety in your games.

Overall this looks to be a nice addition to the game, and if you want to get a copy of your own for a low price of $19 then head over to the campaign page.  There are lots of pledge levels to choose from as well as a list of add-ons that includes other games put out by Wattsalpoag Games.