In 2018, Luxor, designed by Rüdiger Dorn, received a Spiel des Jahres nomination. Considering that a Spiel des Jahres nomination generally leads to good sales, it only makes sense that Queen Games would release more content to support the game. Luxor: The Mummy’s Curse expansion is now on Kickstarter.
Luxor: The Mummy’s Curse includes components for a fifth player, as well as, four different content modules. Two of the modules are comprised of new equipment cards and treasure tiles. The “mummy module,” which includes a mummy standee, 20 talisman tokens and 18 mummy tiles, introduces a mummy that players may move around the board to curse other players in order to collect talisman tokens, which can be spent on reward tiles. The “special adventurers” module brings variable player powers.
The Kickstarter campaign for The Mummy’s Curse includes pledge levels for the expansion, as well as, a bundle with the base game. Price tiers and full content details can be found on the Kickstarter campaign page.
Queen Games has three new games coming to market this November.
First up, set in the Luxor universe is a new Rüdiger Dorn game titled Expedition Luxor. In this area control and tile placement game,
Two to four players deploy their adventurers to claim the locations they discover. However, they must be careful, because the adventurer that is placed last will be the one that claims the discovery and earns vital points at the game‘s climax.
Next up, by designer Christophe Behre is the bidding game, Bastille.
The player who uses his influence most clever in the bastille, the catacombs and fulfilling his mission cards will win the game based around the French revolution.
While the first two game releases have strong historical settings, the tile laying game, Skylands, is pure fantasy where the world has already been destroyed and it’s up to the remaining inhabitants to unite the remaining flying islands.
The players control the fate of the inhabitants and create their own island world. The player who utilizes the four actions of the game to their best advantage and closely watches their fellow players will win the game.
Look for these exciting new games in November along with Kingdom Builder: Family Box and the Arthur expansion to Merlin.
Queen Games has collaborated with nine celebrated game designers to create a new Limited Designers’ Edition of Alhambra that can only be purchased through their Kickstarter campaign going on right now.
The Alhambra Designers’ Edition has all new art for the box cover, the game board, the tiles, and the cards. The new addition also includes a tile dispenser tower in matching artwork.
There are nine expansions available with the Alhambra Designers’ Edition. Different pledge levels in the Kickstarter campaign offer supporters an increasing number of expansions with their base game.
You may have heard of a few of the designers who have contributed to the Alhambra Designers’ Edition: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (Carcassonne); Stefan Feld (The Castles of Burgundy); Emanuele Ornella (Oltre Mare); Michael Schacht (Zooloretto); Mike Elliott (Thunderstone); Rüdiger Dorn (Istanbul); Marco Ruskowski & Marcel Süßelbeck (Fresco); Dirk Henn (Shogun); Michael Rieneck (The Pillars of the Earth). The list of famous designers contributing expansions for the Alhambra Designers’ Edition is an embarrassment of riches.
For those who already own Alhambra and are not interested in purchasing another base game, the Kickstarter campaign does include an option to just purchase the expansions created by these designers.
For those who want an ultimate version, there is the Mega Box edition which includes all nine designer expansions with the new designer base game as well as all previously published expansions and bigger tiles.
Like all Kickstarter campaigns, there are stretch goals. For the Designers’ Edition, the stretch goals appropriately include fan designed expansions. Fans can submit expansion ideas, up to three of which will be developed and produced as part of the Alhambra Designers’ Edition. Ideas for the submission can be sent to email@example.com.
To learn more about the Alhambra Designers’ Edition and the specific expansions designed by each of the designers, see the Alhambra Designers’ Edition Kickstarter Campaign which runs until May 25, 2018 and is expected to deliver in March 2019.
Thames and Kosmos has recently announced a ton of new games and expansions releasing in the coming months.
Word Slam Family, a more compact version of the 2016 Inka and Markus Brand hit Word Slam, is coming in September. Players try to get their teammates to guess a word, using only the 105 explanatory cards in the game; talking, signing and emoting are forbidden. Teams word simultaneously, and the first to get the word correct earns the point. Word Slam Family replaces the classic die and timer with an app, and the box itself becomes the screen between the teams. World Slam Family should arrive in September 2018.
Mercado by Rüdiger Dorn (Istanbul, Karuba) has 2-4 players purchasing valuable items from the great market. Players draw coins from their bag, and place them face down at market locations, competing with others for the same goals. Players who have paid all the necessary matching coins can take the location and gain reputation. Market boards can bring privilege or seals, or some can introduce counterfeit coins into a players bag. Look for Mercado in July 2018.
In Drop It, 2-4 players drop circle, triangle, square and diamond pieces of their color into the slots at the top of a large vertical board. Points are earned for hitting higher locations and special targets, but the pieces can bounce around a bit, so aiming is tricky. Additionally, if pieces of the same color or shape touch, they earn no points.
The EXIT series of escape room games have received well deserved accolades over the past year, including the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award in 2017. These games are self contained, one use, elaborate puzzle games driven by code wheels, puzzle books and props, which often involve the destruction of pieces while finding solutions. Six games in the series are already available, and now four new EXIT games are coming – Dead Man On The Orient Express and The Sunken Treasure are due out in July, while The Sinister Mansion and The Mysterious Museum should arrive in October. Due to the secret nature of the EXIT games, not much else is known about these games other then the titles.
Imhotep: A New Dynasty is a new expansion for the 2016 Spiel Nominee Imhotep. Imhotep had players mining and shipping their stone blocks to various locations, building pyramids, obelisks and temples for points. The new expansion adds 5 new locations, new market cards, gods and chariots to the classic. God cards add a bidding and betting element to the game, allowing players to secretly predict the outcome on various locations, earning rewards if they are correct. A New Dynasty should be available to purchase this August. \
Dark Heroes is a new expansion to the classic Legends of Andor. Winner of the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel in 2013, Legends of Andor is a cooperative fantasy quest game with strong puzzle and strategy elements. Dark Heroes adds 4 new hero boards with dice and standees, and allows up to 6 players to overcome the original challenge. Dark Heroes is scheduled to come to stores June 2018.
Haba introduces a bunch of new games coming in 2018, and a new line of games for kids designed to be more active than your typical board games.
First up we have Iquazu from designer Michael Feldkötter and artist Stephanie Böhm. This fantasy game has players carefully managing a hand of cards and trying to hide precious gemstones in a grid behind a waterfall, with the help of the water dragon, Silon. As players place the gems, they score for majorities in rows and columns, and earn tokens that give them bonus actions. Once all the columns are filled a final scoring takes place and the player with the most points wins.
Karuba was published in 2015, and is a well-regarded tile-laying game from Rüdiger Dorn that has 2-4 players (though if you own multiple copies of the game, more can play) simultaneously building paths using the same tiles, racing to make a network on which their adventurers can reach the temples and earn points. In 2017, it gets not one, but two spin-off titles. Karuba: The Card Game has the 2-6 players simultaneously picking and revealing 2 cards from their hand, with whomever plays the cards with the lowest sum losing one of those cards, then using the cards to build a network of paths to connect their adventurers and temples, collecting points and treasures along the way. Karuba Junior is a cooperative family game of tile-laying for 1-4 players in which you and your fellow adventurers race to find the treasures and avoid the tigers before pirates reach the island and nab them out from under you.
Conex is an interesting looking card game for 2-4 players. The cards show a base color, and also have small corners and edges of other colors overlapping onto themselves. Players attempt to overlap those corners with matching cards from their hands, building out a seemingly random mish-mash tableau of cards overlapping at odd angles, all the while carefully planning ahead as they try to earn the most points. The game plays in about 20 minutes and the way the cards are laid appears to be a unique mechanism from designer Prospero Hall.
King of the Dice (how did it take until 2017 for a game with this name to be announced?) pits the players as monarchs in a quest to attract the most desirable citizens to their realms. Each turn they roll dice up to three times, trying to show the potential inhabitants they they have the requirements the inhabitants need to thrive. Their are special cards that can provide you with benefits, but also may hide dragons and village idiots that can bring your kingdom low. This game of press-your-luck dice-rolling comes from designer Nils Nilsson and artist Gus Batts, and takes about 30 minutes to play.
Gold Rush Fever hits the players in the real-time action/party game Boom, Bang, Gold from designer Alexandre Emerit. 2-4 players compete to collect gold nuggets by simultaneously tossing sticks of dynamite (well, wooden facsimiles thereof, at least) into the mine (the game box) in an attempt to blast the gold face-up. They then have one minute and one hand to grab the face-up tiles and put them on their shelf. If they find a special tile (a bat, rat, snake, or ghost) they call “Watch Out!” and other players must put their had on their head and cry out “Help!”. When no face up tile remain, the round ends. There are also special action tiles that give special abilities to players who use them. Twelve rounds of frantic chaos and whoever has collected the most gold wins.
Now we get to Haba’s bread-and-butter, great kids games. My Very First Games: Tidy Up is for 1-3 kids aged 2 and up. It is a cooperative game where the players help Little Tomcat Tiptop put all his toys in the right places so his room is neat and tidy. The game also has matching and competitive modes.
Then we have five new games for kids 3-4 and up. Sleepy Princess: Pile Up (aka, The Princess and the Pea) is for 1-4 kids of at least 3 years old. The players help the Princess stack her bed with many pillows, mattresses, and blankets. Beneath this fluffy menagerie lies the hidden wooden pea. Remove the pieces without falling to win. The game comes with a copy of the classic tale as well. Ben’s Building Site: Dominoes has 2-6 kids aged 3 and up placing cards with 2 images on them end-to-end, matching the symbols at each end to tidy up the worksite and get rid of their cards first. It’s dominoes with pictures and cards to make it easier for kids to play, and a cute theme they should enjoy. Dragon Rapid Fire: Quartets is a card game for 2-6 players of 4 years or more in which they strive to collect 4 matching cards and earn fire crystals. Whoever has the most fire crystals wins. Game play is similar to Go Fish and the card art and components are charming. Wild Animals: Schnipp Schnapp is a speed game where players try to be first to slap down the crocodile when two of the same animal meet at the watering hole. It adds a cute theme and artwork to the classic Schnipp Schnapp game that is popular with kids and parents in Europe. Finderfox for 2-4 kids 4 and up is memory game where you roll a die to move the Felix Finderfox pawn and you have to guess who is hiding behind the bush you arrive at. Good memory and good luck will help you win.
Haba also introduces three new games for kids 5 and up. In The Hearmees the key to the game is the “Clawky-Talky”, a textured pad that the supervisor (each player takes turns being the supervisor) use a stylus on to try to communicate to the other players which tiles are needed to be built this round. Listen carefully and try to deduce what is being drawn so your building builds fastest, because whoever gets done first wins. Dragon’s Breath has up to 4 kids take on the role of adolescent dragons enlisting the aid of Father Dragon and working to melt a column of ice and extract the precious stones encased within. The players start the game by making a structure of “ice rings” filled with precious stones in the middle of the board, as rings are removed by the father dragon, the stones are freed. Players choose each round which stones they will get, trying to predict which will score best each round. Whoever collects the most stones wins. In Floppy Ears you strive to play out all of your floppy ear cards before the others do, but you can only play cards that match the ones hanging on your ears, and you have to remember which colors those are and play them at the right time.
Then we have Dino World for kids six and up. This dexterity game has 2-4 kids trying to capture the most dinosaur cards by pushing new predators from the top of the box onto the prey below. Aim carefully, and make sure you match the symbols so that you go after the right prey! The game has 52 dinosaur cards in 5 different sizes.
Haba is also introducing a new line of active games for young children (the first four games are designed for kids around 4-5 years old, and older), called Active Kids. These games integrate traditional board games ideas like Set Collection and Die Rolling with physical activities that encourage more movement and a less sedentary lifestyle. The line begins with four new titles: Dog Rallye: Active Kids, Hampeltiere: Active Kids, Rhino Hero Action: Active Kids, and Socken zocken: Active Kids.
Dog Rallye plays in about 15 minutes and has a tube-shaped bone that the 2-4 players stuff with treats and roll on the floor. Players have to move around on all fours, like a puppy, scrambling to pick up the treats that come out of the sides of the toy bone, then they sort them into the matching colored holes on their lawn section of the board. The first player to get the right doggie treats collected wins.
Hampeltiere gets the kids out of their chairs to act out animals in funny situations. Each round, a different player acts as judge, and flips over a card, while the other players try to copy the movement of the animal on the card. The judge decides who correctly did it first, with that player moving their scoring marker one space. When one players makes it all the way around the track, they win the game. The game should take about 10 minutes to play.
Rhino Hero Action follows on the popular Rhino Hero and Rhino Hero: Super Battle stacking games. In this 10-15 minute game, the Spider Monkeys are collecting slime balls to throw at the city residents, but the heroes are trying to take them out of the city to keep it safe. 2-4 players take turns with each being the Hero while the others play the Spider Monkey Gang. The Hero has to collect their wits, skill, and courage, to gather and move more and more slime balls out of the city each round, while the Spider Monkey Gang tries to prevent the hero from making a complete circuit.
And last in the line (for now), Socken Zocken has the 2-4 players running about in their socks for 10-15 minutes, dropping off one sock in each laundry basket. Those baskets have directions that tell them which basket to run to next. Once they have dropped off all their socks, they have to return to the box in the center and put their hand on the sock monster to claim the victory.
Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) continue their excellence into 2018 with some great games on the horizon.
Space Base is designed by John D. Clair (known for Mystic Vale, Custom Heroes, and Edge of Darkness) and has players assume the roles of Commodores in a space fleet. The order and types of cards a player buys for their space base has an impact on the economic engine which they build in order to become Admiral. Establish colonies in a sector, spread your cargo carriers, and expand your mining network to build your income and influence. The game will support 2 – 5 players and plays between 30 – 75 minutes depending on the number of players.
Details on Istanbul: The Dice Game are a bit thin but with a game designed by Rüdiger Dorn and art by Andreas Resch we can only expect great things. It will be a standalone dice game in which 2 – 4 players collect rubies in Istanbul’s bustling bazaar. Through clever use of the dice, players can make money and goods then exchange them for rubies to become the ultimate trader. Expect playtime of 20 – 40 minutes for ages 8+.
Joe Price and JT Smith expand on their hit game in 2018. In The Captain is Dead: Lockdown (Episode 2 in the AEG series, originally Episode 3 when released on Game Crafter) the Captain is still dead and the crew find themselves imprisoned on their own ship. Hostile aliens have taken control of the ship and the players must remain hidden and work together to regain control of the ship. You will need The Captain is Dead base game in order to play this expansion. The game supports 1 – 7 players, aged 12+, and plays between 90 – 120 mins depending on the number of players.
Istanbul, designed by Rüdiger Dorn and the 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres award winner, is going to get an expansion AEG and Pegasus Spiele announced. Titled Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh the expansion comes with four new locations and a new resource, coffee, that is the focus of these new locations. Also included are new versions of the existing tiles Wainwright and Caravansary that take advantage of the new resource. To top it all off Guild cards will allow players to explore different strategies during play.
I am a lover of efficiency and this I believe is a big reason Istanbul was one of my top games last year and still one of my favorite games to play. I love the race to gather gems, the multiple ways to do so, and the fact that to win you need to be very efficient in how you go about doing that depending on the board set up. It’s a fantastic game and one I highly recommend playing if you haven’t done so already.
That said I am very excited for this expansion as new locations will only add to the variety of the board set up and a new resource could significantly change current strategies. Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh is due to come out in September/October. You can read the full announcement here.
Istanbul Wins Kennerspiel 2014
Camel Up has won the Spiel des Jahres 2014 and Istanbul won the Kennerspiel des Jahres.
Camel Up is designed by Steffen Bogen and published by Pegasus Spiele / Zman Games.
In this camel racing game, players bet on who they think will win. The earlier bets are placed means more winnings if correct. Dice come out of the pyramid tower one at a time moving the camels and giving players time to bet.
Camel Up is for 2 to 8 players, ages 8 and up and a play time of 30 minutes.
Istanbul is designed by Rüdiger Dorn and published by Pegasus Spiele / AEG.
In Istanbul, each player is a merchant in a bazaar. As you work your way through deciding what to buy, you drop your assistant to handle all the fine details. In order to use that assistant again, you have to swing back and pick him up. The first player to collect five rubies wins the game.
Istanbul is for 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up and a play time of 50 minutes.
Valley of Kings
|In Valley of the Kings, 2-4 players are Egyptian nobles at the time of the pharaohs, preparing for their death and burial in the Valley of the Kings. In the Egyptian religion, when you die you can take it with you! Egyptians therefore stocked their tombs with food, shabti (statuettes of servants who will work for them in the afterlife), canopic jars (to preserve their organs), statues of the gods, household items, and amulets. You compete with the other players to accumulate the best artifacts for your tomb. At the end of the game, you score the artifacts stored there – the player with the most victory points wins!
- Ages 14+
- 45 minutes playtime
- 96 Artifact cards
- 4 Tomb cards
- 4 Reference cards
Hustle and bustle in the bazaar district of Istanbul: merchants and their assistants are hurrying through the narrow alleys attempting to be more successful than their competitors. Good organization is key: wheelbarrows have to be filled with goods at the warehouses and then swiftly transported by the assistants to the various destinations. The goal of the merchants is to be the first to collect a certain amount of rubies.
You are leading a merchant and four assistants through the 16 Places of the bazaar. At each Place, you can carry out a specific action. The challenge is that, to carry out an action at any of those Places, your merchant needs the help of an assistant and has to leave him behind. To use that assistant again later, your merchant has to come back to that Place and pick him up. So plan ahead carefully to avoid being left with no assistants and thus unable to do anything…
- 2-5 players
- Ages 10+
- 40-60 minutes play time
The Emperor of China is coming to visit you! It is now upon you – the best architects – to honor him by building the most extravagant pagodas in this game of tactics. Show your opponent who truly is the best architect of all!
Pagoda combines simple rules with tricky decisions and brings with its short playtime the best entertainment for two players. Featuring stunning components, players build up six pagodas represented by three dimensional towers. The player who uses the available resources and tactics to score the most points wins the game!
- 2 players
- Ages 10+
- 30-45 minutes playtime