Space Cowboys

Asmodee and Space Cowboys have announced three new escape room titles to the popular Unlock! line of games. The three original Unlock! games created one hour escape room experiences with just a deck of cards, using a unique mechanism of card numbering and combining. The House on the Hill puts the players in a haunted house with a mysterious Book of the Dead. The Nautilus’ Traps has players escape a submarine at the bottom of the sea during a sea monster attack. The Tonipal’s Treasure involves a period hunt for pirate treasure on Tonipal island, however at the start you have been arrested and imprisoned by the Governor.

Read the full press release from Asmodee here, and look for the three new Unlock! games in Q4 2017.

Asmodee has posted detailed information about Cities of Splendor, the long awaited first expansion to their 2014 mega-hit and multiple award winner, Splendor. Designer Marc Andre and Space Cowboys are back at it in Cities of Splendor, which actually includes 4 mini-expansions: The Cities, The Trading Posts, The Orient and The Strongholds.

  • The Cities replaces Nobles Tiles with double-sided City Tiles, which functionally act the same, but unlike the Nobles players must claim a City Tile in order to win the game.
  • The Trading Post adds some engine building to Splendor by adding the Route to the Orient board. On this board, players can claim achievements, gaining special abilities such as additional Prestige Points, or the ability to claim more gems.
  • The Orient adds 30 new Developments Cards, which add unique new powers. These new Orient cards sit alongside the normal Development Cards, giving tons of new options.
  • Finally, The Strongholds adds a new mechanism to Splendor increasing player interaction. Players now have plastic Stronghold Towers which reserve a Development Card for their own exclusive purchase. When a player claims a Development Card, they may also either place a Stronghold, or remove an opponents’ Stronghold. Additionally, if all 3 of your Strongholds sit on the same card, you may claim it by right of conquest!

Cities of Splendor will be released at GenCon 2017, and will be in stores the same week (August 17-20). You can read Asmodee‘s press release here.

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

Here we have a trio of new game announcements from some notable names in the industry, Asmodee, CMON, and Plaid Hat Games.  First we have Asmodee and Space Cowboys with a new edition of the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective game, which was last printed by Ystari back in 2015.  This new edition contains the same ten cases as before, however, they have retranslated and revised all the cases so the solutions and clues in some of them will have changed from the Ystari version.  So while it may not be much new content for the owners of the original, this still brings the game back into print for those wanting a mind melting challenge.  Look for this new edition on store shelves in the third quarter of this year, and you can check out the preview on Asmodee’s site.

Next from CMON we have the announcement of the next game in their Zombicide line, Zombicide Green Horde.  They are staying in the middle ages with this one and so will be a sequel to the wildly successful Zombicide Black Plague.  The terrors will be numerous and overpowering for our warriors in this game, but together they just might be able to pull through.  “If Zombicide: Black Plague gave you nightmares, Zombicide: Green Horde will make them come true.”  You can see the announcement for the game on CMON’s page, and look forward to the Kickstarter later this year.

Finally we have a new game being developed by Plaid Hat Games called Crystal Clans.  This is going to be a two player tactical card game in a similar vein to Summoner Wars with different armies, card based units, and included maps to deploy on.  However, in the comments of the announcement they have stated that is where the similarities end, and that Crystal Clans is going to have fresh new mechanics to make it stand out.  The game is being designed by Colby Dauch, Andrea Mezzotero, and J. Arthur Ellis along with illustrations by the talented Martin Abel.  You can check out the announcement on Plaid Hat’s site to see some of the excellent art being put together, and then prepare yourself for it’s planned fall release.

Unlock, the card based room escape game released by Asmodee and Space Cowboys, is already getting accolades in the form of the Game of the Year award from International Games Festival.  This bodes well for the game, and with two introductory/demo scenarios already out for free, setting this game up to really take off.  The first three full scenarios of this now award winning game will be in stores soon!

Unlock! Wins Game of the Year As d’Or for 2017!

Brand-new, card-driven, escape room game from Space Cowboys picks up most prestigious award at the International Games Festival.

Paris, France

Unlock! Escape Adventures, the brand-new, card driven, escape room game from world renowned designer Cyril Demaegd was recently awarded“Game of the Year As d’Or for 2017” at the annual International Games Festival in Cannes, France.

Unlock! Escape Adventures is a new, card based game for two to six players from French studio Space Cowboys, where players find themselves in mysterious surroundings with minimal clues to help them escape! The free Unlock! Companion app (available to download from the App Storeor Google Play) is fully integrated into the game, keeping the pressure on with a countdown timer, providing valuable clues, and rewarding you for deciphering secret codes!

“All my thanks to the Festival des Jeux As d’Or jury for selecting Unlock! as their Game of the Show! We are extremely proud to have received this honour, which rewards the whole team for their hard work and dedication,” said Cyril Demaegd, Game Designer at Space Cowboys.  “Personally, I am a huge fan of escape room games involving thematic riddles and the pressure of the clock, and we’re thrilled that we were able to recreate the escape room experience in a cooperative card game.”

Eager fans keen to check out the award-winning Unlock! Escape Adventures can now download “The Elite,” a free demo scenario, that includes basic game rules and a brief tutorial, via www.spacecowboys.fr/unlock-demo.

New content is coming soon to the TIME Stories game in the form of Expedition: Endurance, an adventure that sends you back to 1914 aboard the doomed ship Endurance.  The boat has been trapped in the ice now for a while, heat and food are running low and crew’s sanity is starting to slip away.  You have to be extra careful this time out because while you haven’t endured what they have, their loosening grip on their mind is affecting you as well.  There will be a fourth stat to keep track of this time, willpower, and the adventure will constantly test your will.  If you should fail that test enough you will go insane, drawing an insanity card with some very nasty and lingering effects.  Can you fix the temporal anomaly before you lose your mind?  This new expansion will be on shelves soon, and until then you can check out Asmodee’s preview of the expansion.

We previously reported on Asmodee reprinting the game Watson & Holmes, and so to help build interest in the game Asmodee has released part of a new case on their website.  On the page you will find part of the case file as well as some of the locations you will find in the case, giving you a head start on solving the mystery.  Once the game Watson & Holmes has been published they will release the full files for this free bonus case for the game so you can print it up and add it to your game.  Will you be able to solve the mystery of Case X?

I will hand it to Asmodee, releasing additional content like this ahead of time is a solid way to get people interested in the game ahead of it’s release in 2017.

wah01_layoutI’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I can remember and will pick up and play just about anything that features a deerstalker cap or calabash pipe. One Sherlock themed game that I’ve been hearing about since 2015 is Watson & Holmes: From the Diaries of 221B Baker Street. From its description, it takes the awesomeness of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and makes it a multiplayer, competitive affair. I’m in, with one caveat. Until now its been published by Ludonova and hasn’t been for sale in the US.

That’s about to change.

Earlier this month Asmodee announced that Space Cowboys would be coming out with a new version of Watson & Holmes, adapted from the Ludonova version. This one drops the post-colon portion of the title for a much more manageable moniker, simply Watson & Holmes. It also includes all new graphic design and revisions to all the cases.

Look for Watson & Holmes to hit shelves in early 2017.

international gamers awards

Each year the International Gamers Awards are given out to the multiplayer and 2 player games that are deemed the best for that year.  Some notable previous winners are games like Twilight Struggle, Agricola, and Terra Mystica.  All highly rated and well respected games, so the nominees for this year are the cream of the gaming crop.  One note is that while this is the 2016 award, the games eligible are those that have been released between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.  And the nominees are;

blood rage

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – Multi Player category

Blood Rage – Eric M. Lang, Guillotine Games / Cool Mini or Not

Codenames – Vlaada Chvatil, Czech Games Edition

Food Chain Magnate – Jeroen Doumen, Splotter Spellen

Grand Austria Hotel – Virginio Gigli & Simone Luciani, Lookout Games

Isle of Skye – Andreas Pelikan & Alexander Pfister, Lookout Games

Mombasa – Alexander Pfister, Eggertspiele

Nippon – Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro & Paulo Soledade, What’s Your Game?

Pandemic Legacy – Rob Daviau & Matt Leacock, Z-Man Games

Quadropolis – Francois Gandon, Days of Wonder

T.I.M.E. Stories – Peggy Chassenet & Manuel Rozoy, Space Cowboys

7wonders duel

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – 2 Player category

7 Wonders Duel – Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala, Repos Productions

Patchwork – Uwe Rosenberg, Lookout Games

Raptor – Bruno Cathala & Bruno Faidutti, Matagot

Star Wars: Rebellion – Corey Konieczka, Fantasy Flight Games

Trambahn – Helmut Ohley, Lookout Games

Interesting fact, 9 out of the 15 titles being nominated are in the top 100 of games in the entire BGG database.  To see the list as well as previous year’s winners you can head on over to the International Gamers Awards website.

 

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.