set collection

Ten years ago, Queen Games published one of its most popular games, Fresco. In the years that followed it, Queen Games would support Fresco fans with 10 expansion modules to add new dimensions to the game. Queen Games would eventually publish the Fresco: Big Box Edition providing new fans the game with all its expansions in one box.

Last year, Queen Games treated Alhambra to a Designer’s Edition Mega Box through Kickstarter. For Fresco’s 10th Anniversary, Queen Games is giving Fresco its own Limited Designer’s Edition Mega Box.

The Kickstarter for the Fresco: Mega Box is a celebration of everything Fresco.

First, Fresco is getting 4 new expansion modules bundled in Expansion 3: The Church Pews, The Dome, The Damsels, and The Catacombs. If backers already own the Fresco: Big Box Edition, Expansion 3 will complete the expansion collection for Fresco. The Church Pews module adds a chapel board to the game and enables players to build pews for the church and collect extra points. The Dome module adds an extra feature that can be painted but only after the main fresco has been finished and only if the players have the right paint remaining. The Damsel module gives players an extra player board that allows for special actions to affect the main board such as exchanging colors in the workshop or switching tiles in the market. Lastly, the Catacombs module adds catacomb tiles that can be accessed for coins or points with the aid of cartographers who will point out which fresco tiles need to be painted to reveal the entrance to the catacombs. Fresco: Expansion 3 contains the same style artwork as the original game.

Next, two smaller games are being included in the Mega Box: Fresco: The Card Game and Fresco: The Dice Game. Fresco: The Card Game distills Fresco into a smaller faster playing game.  Players draw color cards from either the market or workshop into to collect the proper mix of colors to paint the available fresco sections to earn points.  Fresco: The Card Game comes with 42 market cards, 42 workshop cards, 24 fresco cards, 20 mood tiles, and 12 bonus tiles. Fresco: The Dice Game use colored dice to represent the paint needed to complete frescoes.  Players have their own player board on which they will need to collect five portions of a fresco.  Fresco tiles require specific numbers to be rolled in order to collect the tile. Color dice will increase the chance of getting the right numbers need for the fresco tiles. Portraits are always an option when the dice fails to meet the needed fresco number. Fresco: The Dice Game comes with 20 fresco tiles, 12 portrait tiles, a game board, 4 player boards, 6 colored dice, 2 color dice, 12 betting tiles, a first player marker and a +/-1 Chip.

Fresco: Mega Box has undergone an artistic makeover. The artwork has been revised for all components and the colors are more vibrant and color-blind friendly. The wooden paint tokens have been replaced by tiles depicting the various colors in unique shaped containers for easier visibility.  Those same icons are presented on the fresco tiles and market tiles also.  The new artwork is consistent across all the modules, including to new expansion. The Mega Box also includes the two smaller games: Fresco: The Card Game and Fresco: The Dice Game. This is a lot to fit in one box, so the new box comes with two new inlays to keep all the components organized. All this in the Gold Edition.

For the Diamond Edition, fresco tiles and paint colors are upgraded to clear acrylic printed with the same beautiful full color artwork.  Many of the stretch goals include upgrading other components to acrylic for the Diamond Edition.

To learn more, check out the Kickstarter Campaign that runs though November 5 with an expected delivery in September 2020.

One thing cats are known for is laying down in the middle of one’s projects.  While slumbering felines may be an impediment to craftwork, they are a good thing in Calico from Flatout Games.

In Calico, players compete to sew the coziest quilt. The gameplay is real simple: place a patch tile from your hand onto your quilt board, draw a new patch tile from the market, refill the market.  Patches come in different designs and colors but are all the same shape so you never have to worry about a patch fitting in the quilt.  Quilts score points by meeting design goals AND appealing to the cats in the quilt room.  Design goals can be met in two different way and more points are scored is both ways are met at the same time.  Each cat has its own design preference, and the more finicky the cat, the more points that can be scored.  Cats have preferred patch patterns, and some cats have preferred arrangements for those patterns. Once a pattern on a quilt meets the design preference of a cat, it comes and sits on the quilt, earning the player points for the cat. Bonus points can also be earn by sewing buttons on the quilt when three patches of the same color are placed together on the quilt.  Each quilt board has patches already formed on the border to give each player a head start on meeting design goals.

Beautiful artwork is provided by Beth Sobel (Wingspan, Viticulture, Arboretum, Between Two Cities, and many more).

Calico plays 1-4 players, ages 13+, in 30-45 minutes.  Contents include 4 double-layers quilt boards, 108 patch tiles, 52 button tokens, 60 cat tokens, 6 double-sided cat tiles, 24 goal tiles, and 6 colorless patch tiles. Kickstart backers will also receive a double-sided promo cat time plus four more cat tokens. The Kickstarter campaign runs through November 7 with an expected delivery in October 2020.  To learn more, check out the Kickstarter campaign.

The Trapper Keeper Game from Big G Creative turns back time to school days in the ‘80s and 90’s when the Trapper Keeper was king of school supplies.

Nostalgia scores big with the game box and components.  The Trapper Keeper Game comes in an authentic Trapper Keeper and will feature one of three art designs from the 80s: rainbow unicorn, palm tree sunset and psychedelic outer space!  Each player will have their own miniature Trapper Keeper folder to collect their school papers, the backs of the school paper cards are school lockers, and the Bell cards (round tracker for the game) is a school clock.

In the Trapper Keeper Game, players are students who are collecting papers from the lockers and placing them in their folders.  The papers are divided into nine stacks and arranged in several rows and columns face down to create a set of lockers. The top card is turned over to reveal the paper inside the locker. The Bell cards keep track of the rounds in the game but also provide additional rules for school paper selection unique to each round.  There are seven types of school paper cards: Quizzes, Homework, Secret Notes, Detentions Notices, Parental Signatures, Report Cards, and Field Trip Slips.  Each of the papers is scored differently: for example, the Quizzes score the points printed on them, while Parental Signatures are worth nothing but are needed to activate the scores from Report Cards and Field Trip Slips.  Some papers have doodles on them, in either red or blue in on either the left or right side.  Which side of their folder the players store their papers determines which doodles will score points later. At the end of the last round, points are scored for players with the largest doodle collections of each type and for their school papers.  The player with the most points wins.

The Trapper Keeper Game is designed by Prospero Hall (Disney Villainous), who knows a thing or two about designing nostalgic pop culture games, bringing us Bob Ross: Art of the Chill Game, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, and Jaws.

The Trapper Keeper Game plays 2-5 players, ages 8+, in about 25 minutes.  Contents include 81 school paper cards, 11 bell cards, five mini Trapper Keeper folders, a teacher’s pet marker, score pad and pencil. Look for this game exclusively at a Target near you.

Fluttering Souls from Good Games Publishing is an abstract card game where the players score points from the different set of butterflies they have collected.  The game is played over 3-5 rounds, and the player who scores the highest points in each round earns a white butterfly token.  The player who collects three while butterfly tokens first is the winner.

Fluttering Souls is based on a Japanese legend that butterflies carried messages from departed loved ones.

Five different types of butterflies are represented on 21 cards. Each butterfly has a different rarity and point value based on the number of butterflies of that type collected.  The cards are arrayed on the table in overlapping layers, some face up and some face down, according to the set-up diagram.  Players take turn selected available card (a card that does not have another card overlapping it) until all the cards are taken. Collections are scored and the winner is awarded a white token.  For each subsequent round, the cards are reshuffled and set-up according to the new layout card drawn at the end of the round. There are 15 different layout cards, so the strategy to collect butterflies will always change. Each layout also only supports 19 cards, so two hidden butterfly cards are not in play.

Fluttering Souls plays 2 players, ages 13+, in 15-20 minutes.  Contents include 21 Butterfly Cards, 15 Layout Cards, 5 Butterfly Tokens, and Rules. Look for Fluttering Souls at your friendly local game store Q3 2019.

Now on Kickstarter is Bites, a reimagining of Big Points with Ants on a Picnic theme and variable gameplay.  Bites is a highly interactive set collection game with commodity speculation that plays in 20 minutes. In Bites, players move ants along a trail of food picking up food as they travel towards the ant hill. Players can move ANY ant, but they can only move an ant to the next matching color food. Players can then collect either food item in front or behind the ant they moved. Players take turns moving ants and collecting food until all the ants have reached the ant hill.  The order of arrival to the ant hill will determine the value of each food item. The first ant to arrive will score players the most points for food in the same color as the ant, while the last ant to arrive will score the players nothing for food of the ant’s color. Scoring for chocolate and wine change every game based on the starting rules card selected for them.  Two other cards, a special rules card and the ant hill card, selected at the beginning of the game also changes how the game is played.

Bites plays 2-5 players, ages 12+, in about 20 minutes.  Contents include a 5-level ant hill, 5 wooden ants, 50 regular food tokens, 10 special food tokens, 19 cards, 11 special tokens, and rulebook.  Backers may add-on additional food tokens for a longer game. The Kickstarter Campaign runs through June 6 with an expected delivery in January 2020. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign to learn more.

If you’ve ever liked low-budget films, have you also every wondered how fun it would be to make them? There’s a carefree joy to them that’s infectious. Movie Empire, designed by Karsten Schulmann and featuring art by Allan Ohr, reminds me a lot of that, and it’s now on Kickstarter. If you’ve every actually wanted to try your hand at making B-movies, or if you just like classic movies tropes and worker placement games, this project will be worth the look.

“Movie Empire is a mix of worker placement and set collection for 1-4 players. And as Hollywood is a shark tank, you have 2 styles of play with the (completely optional!) black dossier variant, that adds a take that mechanic to the gameplay. Let the clubbing and stabbing commence!”

Mechanically speaking, it’s built on solid tried-and-true mechanisms and proudly lacks an auction mechanic, so that alone is attractive to particular tastes. However, it’s not just all that wrapped up in a fun theme – It’s got a solo mode and optional variants too! The illustrations are fun and spoofy, so there’s a lot here to like. Seeing that this game has already reached it’s funding goal, there’s more than enough people who agree with me! If you would like to learn more about Movie empire, check out it’s Kickstarter page for more information, rules, FAQs, community feedback, and updates.

Green Couch Games is teaming with Chris Bryan and illustrator Vincent Dutrait for Darwinauts.

In this 45-minute play time Euro game of tile-laying, worker placement, set collection and action selection, 2-4 players ages 13 and up will explore another dimension – taking 2 actions per turn of either placing an explorer, placing a tile, replenishing tiles and removing explorers, discover a species or record a species – which also allows them to take one of 5 possible bonus actions.
When the Rift tile is revealed, players add an additional phase to their turns – dismantling the landscape, as they must race to finish their tasks and get home.Players receive points for their recorded species for specializing in specific species. Whoever has the most points wins the game.

The game is set for a Kickstarter campaign in the spring, with a fall release.

You can find out more on Green Couch Games’ website here.

WizKids has a new family weight game now available at a store near you. In Bumúntú, 2-to-5 players act as African tribal leaders, seeking wisdom from the animals of the wilderness. Players will move carefully across a grid seeded with various animal tiles, each one with different movement abilities (a la Hive). Collecting these animal will gain their favor, a value determined on a leaderboard that all players affect. Strategy and planning are thus key in this game and what could be a gentle stroll through the wilds will end up being a tense skirmish for supremacy.

“A common theme in African folklore is that animals are wise creatures who teach humans to do good and moral things. In Bumúntú, based on the Bakongo culture of central Africa, you are a tribal leader seeking to befriend the animals. Trek through the jungle, follow the animals’ guidance, and earn their favor. Successfully earn the most favor and the animals will help bring your people to prosperity.”

The comparison to Hive is the most apt I can make, although this is much more a family weight game with set collection rather than a head-to-head competition to trap the opponent. Bumúntú has a wider variety of animals and variable scoring that can swing each round, making this a good game for teaching pattern recognition, long-term planning, and spatial movement to children and new gamers alike. If you are interested in learning more about Bumúntú, check out WizKids’ product page for more pictures, full rules, and a full list of local and online retailers.

Next Move Games is not laying off the gas just yet. They have one more new release joining Tuki at this year’s Origins Game Fair, and this one is the start of a new line of small box games. 5211 is a re-implementation of a game known as 5 Colors, a design from 2017 that seems to have had a limited distribution. What Next Move has done is brought on the excellent Chris Quilliams for all new art and adjusted the components to allow for up to 8 players. This is great news, because 5211 will be leapfrogging off an already established rule-set that was already conducive to a party game audience, while receiving the components to appeal to that wider audience and with distribution and art to back it up.

“5211 is a fast playing, type-matching card game with unique scoring methods that reward clever plays! Designed by Tsuyoshi Hashiguchi and illustrated by Chris Quilliams, 5211 is an addictive game that begs to be played over and over! […] While players could get lost forever in the simple elegance of the game’s design, an average game of 5211 should only take about 20 to 30 minutes to play.”

The game is played over multiple rounds until the deck of cards has been depleted. Each round, players will simultaneously choose and reveal 2 cards, then two more one at a time. The color most represented by played cards scores, unless it’s too many which causes it to bust and the second most color scores. If there’s a tie for most, they both bust, and the next highest color scores. It gives the game this sort of trick-taking feel within a set collection game, where every card played is a gambit of trying to figure out what colors your opponents will be inclined to play. If you’re interested in learning more about 5211, check out Next Move’s website and it’s BGG description, and be on the lookout for the game breaking into retail shortly after Origins.

This updated version of The Ancient World, features new cover art, updated components new and revised titans and even expanded gameplay.

The following design features take the game to a gorgeous new deluxe level:

  • Numbered, limited-edition boxes
  • “Ryan Laukat’s “signature” printed in metallic ink
  • Larger, double-sided player boards
  • Updated game board, district and empire cards
  • Metal coins!

“In an ancient world forgotten by time, enormous titans terrorize the land. Five tribes have been fleeing from the titans for centuries, but things are about to change. Growing city-states pledge to end the reign of terror, determined to take on the titans and make the world a safer place for all. Each city-state competes to attract the tribes, eager for the strength of the combined peoples, with the hope that the titans can be defeated once and for all.”

The Ancient World mixes card drafting, set collection and worker placement mechanism as players compete to grow the largest and most influential city-states, measured by owned tribe banners. Players take turns sending citizens to take special actions or using military cards to attack titans. Banners are collected via empire cards as well as by defeating titans. Victory points are gained for sets of tribe banners and after six rounds, the player with the most VPs wins.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until September 8th. The game is expected to ship in June 2019. Backers can choose between two pledge levels. If you own the original game, you can make due with just an upgrade pack (and perhaps some sweet metal coins). Players new to the game can go all in for the entire 2nd edition pledge.

The Dice Tower reviewed the original version of The Ancient World and you can see what Sam and Tom said here.