Spielworxx

Tasty Minstrel Games has announced an absolute metric tonne of games slated for release in the following months: some new, some reprints, and some just plain interesting. So without further ado, here is the list…

“Planet Earth is overpopulated, but recent technological developments open new possibilities – whole cities hovering high in the skies.”

Dilluvia Project, a game declared “awesome” by our own Jason Levine, is a heavy euro game from designer Alexandre Garcia, originally published by Spielworxx in 2015. Dilluvia is a glorious amalgamation of mechanisms, all coming together into a resource collection, cube management, area control festival where 2-4 players try to best manage a utopian flying city. Players jockey for position around a 4×4 grid of tiles, trying to secure the best resources by pointing to rows and columns. Cube collection leads to control of prime real estate in the city, in which buildings can be placed for points. Even the score mechanisms are unique, with “prestige points” giving the player more opportunity to earn true victory points in this deliciously crunchy mechanism salad. Look for Dilluvia Project to be reprinted this August.

“The journey out west was daunting and fraught with peril, but you made it!”

Old West Empresario from designer Stan Kordonskiy (Dice Hospital) is a tile drafting and placement game for 2-4 players. Tiles can give the player actions each turn, or can score points at the end of the game. Like other tile placement games, everyone is trying to create a prosperous town, where neighboring buildings feed off of each other, generating more points. Look for Old West Empresario to hit stores at the end of August.

Homesteaders is a fast auction game from designer Alex Rockwell, which has garnered understandable love since its release in 2009. TMG has announced a new 10th anniversary edition of this classic, including a new expansion, New Beginnings. In Homesteaders, 2-4 players auction for buildings to place in their burgeoning western frontier town, managing precious resources (9 different types!). Buildings give the player new abilities, income, and point generation, however some buildings require workers to fully function. After 10 rounds, the player with the most points is declared victor, and gets to name their city. The new Homesteaders comes with metal coins and victory point tokens, 53 building tiles, 30 auction tiles, 25 worker meeples, 74 wooden resources, and even a metal start player token.

The new expansion adds a 5th player, more buildings, auctions and components. Look for Homesteaders 10th Anniversary and the New Beginnings expansion in late September.

“Cats all over the world look forward to the Festival!”

Festival of a Thousand Cats from designer Fukutarou is a trick taking card game originally from Japan, which is sought after but difficult to obtain in the west. Tasty Minstrel has gotten the rights to reprint this quirky game, and it should hit western shores in late September. Cards have ranging number values, come in 4 different suits/seasons, and can score positive or negative points. 2 cards to be fought over are placed in the center of the play area, and these cards may have crows (negative points), fish, or milké (an intoxicating mixture of catnip and milk). Be careful – winning too much milké makes the cats sick and both fish and milké points are lost. Players each play one card from their hand, but cannot play the same suits as the scoring cards, unless there is no other option. After all players put in a card, the highest card played wins the higher of the 2 scoring cards, and the lowest wins the lower of the scoring cards. Add to this formula a varying distribution of numbers in each suit, and you end up with a very quirky, interesting take on trick taking.

“Stake your claim, build a mining empire, and keep one step ahead of the competition!”

Rolled West from designer Daniel Newman is the new inevitable roll-and-write version of TMG’s popular Gold West (2015) from J. Alex Kevern. In Rolled West, 2-4 players roll dice to collect resources, in order to make settlements and score majorities for the various terrain types. Players can bank resources on opponent’s turns, fulfill contracts, make sales, or invest in futures. The game comes with 4 custom dice, 4 dry erase player boards, a dry erase score board, and markers.

“Deep beneath the surface of the earth lie gems, artifacts, and other valuable things.”

Big Dig by Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington is a similar 2-4 player flip-and-write, dry erase game, where players flip over cards that dictate what shape of grid squares to cross off (dig) on their board. Digging out areas must proceed from the top or from already cleared areas, and certain areas cannot be excavated, except maybe by blowing them up! Players try to achieve the 3 random goals set on cards, and the first to do so wins. Lots of goals and double sided player boards lend variety to this new roll and write. Look for both Rolled West and Big Dig to come to stores in October 2019.

“Your prehistoric clan needs a little guidance. Hunt, gather, figure out new techniques for doing things and make a little art along the way!”

Dawn of Mankind is coming from designer Marco Pranzo (Historia) and acclaimed artist Kwanchai Moriya. Not a lot of details are known about this title, except that players create the journey of their tribe, involving generations of families. Other players may inadvertently help you along if they proceed along the same story path. At the end of the game, the “story” left by your family translates into points. Dawn of Mankind is due to hit stores in Q4 2019.

Spielworxx has launched a Kickstarter for a Die Macher, a landmark heavy euro-game about the German electoral system and designed by Karl-Heinz Schmiel.  Originally published in 1986, Die Macher has been republished several times, updating the rules, political parties, player supportability, and variants for faster play. The last version published was in 2006, and the popular game for die hard Euro enthusiasts has been hard to find.

The Kickstarter campaign offers fans of the game a limited opportunity to add the game to their collection. Die Macher: Limited Edition will be available for direct sales after the Kickstarter campaign, but it is unlikely to go into distribution for sale by retailers.

Die Macher: Limited Edition includes additional rules improvements designed by the original designer, Karl-Heinz Schmiel and developed by the Spielworxx team.  Like the later editions, the Limited Edition supports 3-5 players, but only advances through four German federal state elections in the standard game.  For players who want to dive even deeper into the election campaigns, there is an expanded game which covers seven elections, as in the original edition of the game, that is included as well.  This edition also features all new art by long-time game artist Harald Lieske (The Castles of Burgundy, Puerto Rico, Power Grid, Dominion, and many more).

Die Macher: Limited Edition plays 3-5, ages 14+, in about 3 hours.  Contents include 4 Federal State Boards, 1 Media/Party Base board, 1 Popular Opinion Board, 42 Popular Opinion Cards, 1 Party Program Board, 56 Party Program Cards, 1 Poll Board, 10 Poll Cards, 16 Federal State Cards, 40 Shadow Cabinet Politician Cards, 15 Donation Cards, 1 Marker Board, 5 Party Markers, 4 Double Markers, 2 Ballot Box Markers, 150 Playing Money Bills, 10 Players Aids (5 English/5 German), 1 double-sided scoring pad, 100 Party Rally Cubes, 25 Media Markers, and 45 Tracking Markers.

To learn more about Die Macher: Limited Edition, go to the Kickstarter campaign, which runs through July 11.  Delivery of the game is expected in November 2019, though a limited number of the copies may be available at Essen and BGG Con if they are ready in time.

Solarius Mission is a space-faring eurogame from the creators of La Granja, Michael Keller II and Andreas “ode” Odendahl. It’s unique for being a 3X game, exhibiting all the features of the 4X genre minus the “eXtermination” (or combat), making for a relatively peaceful space epic as players expand, exploit, and explore the galaxy. Unfortunately, Solarius Mission saw a limited language distribution in 2016 via Spielworxx, although it still impressed many players with it’s familiar mechanics from La Granja and those inspired by Ora et Labora. Fortunately, Flying Lemur Games has announced that they’ve partnered with Spielworxx and obtained English language rights for publishing and they plan to start via Kickstarter, improving the components while they are at it. As described in their press release:

“This is a big game with lots of components – dice, cubes, tons of cardboard, minis, and cards – so we are pleased to be bringing it to Kickstarter within the next few months,” says Mischa Harris, CEO of Flying Lemur Game Studio. “And, we’re going to do it right, with a deluxe version to really make it pop on the table.”

This is excellent news for people around the world that have been waiting to play this game, especially fans of La Granja and deep, brisk eurogame sensibilities. Solarius Mission is a game that really deserves to see a wider audience, being a member of a small club of space-themed games that lacks interstellar conflict yet still keeping the gratifying sense of technological progression and discovery. It’s nicer still that this game will go through Kickstarter first, as the visuals of the first edition were frankly simple and lacking and could use the deluxe treatment. If you are interested in Solarius Mission and it’s upcoming Kickstarter, keep an eye on the Flying Lemur Games Twitter page for announcements and dates.

Two eagerly awaited games are soon to be released and available for pre-order now from one of the industry’s top publishers: Stronghold Games.

dark moon

First up is Dark Moon a game of deception and betrayal in space. Dark Moon is based on a game called BSG Express designed by Evan Derrick that was released as a print an play game. BSG Express quickly became a hit and is said to be the most downloaded PNP game on BGG. Stronghold Games kept Evan Derrick as the designer for Dark Moon which also includes art by Evan and Viktor Csete.

You are a crew member on a deep space mining expedition to Titan, the dark moon of Saturn. During a routine excavation, an “incident” occurs whereby some of the crew become infected with an unknown virus, and become paranoid, deceitful, and violent, trying to destroy the others.

At the start of the game players are divided into two groups: Infected and Uninfected. Each player will know which team they belong to but will not know about the other players affiliation. Uninfected players simply need to survive till the end of the game to win and the infected players secretly attempt to destroy them. This game provides all the paranoia of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) in a fraction of the time and from all accounts I’ve come across so far it is an exceptional game.

Dark Moon plays 3 – 7 people and takes 60 -75 minutes. It should be available from you FLGS/OLGS on June 24th 2015 so if you’re interested keep an eye out or pre-order it today.

granja

Next up is La Granja, which made its first appearance at Essen Speil 2014 published by Spielworxx and was a huge hit. La Granja is designed by Michael Keller (II) and Andreas “ode.” Odendahl and includes beautiful art by Harald Lieske.

In La Granja players will control small farms on the island of Mallorca. Over 6 rounds players will expand their farms by adding fields, farm expansions, market barrows, and helpers while earning victory points by delivering goods to the nearby village.

La Granja is a fascinating game that requires careful planning. Timing and speed is crucial. However, successful players must cope with the uncertainty of events during the game. The player who has earned the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner and new owner of the La Granja estate!

La Granja requires 1 – 4 players to carefully plan and time their actions, keep watch on other players actions, and adjust strategy based on cards and dice. La Granja is considered to be a very approachable and streamlined euro that has already seen great success so no doubt this game will do very well for Stronghold Games. It is one of the most anticipated games to come out of Speil 2014 so if you’re interested definitely keep an eye out for it in July 2015 at your FLGS/OLGS or pre-order it today.

 

kraftwagen box

The history of the automobile is a popular theme for board games. This month, Spielworxx is proud to release famed designer Matthias Cramer (Lancaster, Helvetia, Rococo)’s take on the concept with Kraftwagen.

The rulebook introduction sets the mood nicely

By the year 1928, Germany possessed a dense road network where combustion engines had triumphed over electric or steam engines and where cars were produced via assembly lines.  Manufacturers began producing more affordable vehicles for the broader population.

kraftwagen

Each player begins at the helm of a fledgling car manufacturer. By advancing the technology and proving their designs, each player hopes to come out on top as the demand for new and improved automobiles grows. Time will have to be balanced between enhancing a car’s engine, body and earning prestige for your company. Cars must be released to market to satisfy buyers, but designs can also be proven on the race track by entering your prototype into the fledgling Grand Prix.

Research in the game involves not only improving your technology and increasing efficiency, but also acquiring soon-to-be-famous automotive engineers such as Ferdinand Porshe, Rudolf Diesel and Carl Benz.

Matthias Cramer has a proven track record creating interesting games, so Kraftwagen definitely deserves some attention. A quick look over the rulebook shows an action selection mechanism very similar to Cramer’s 2010 game Glen More…getting ahead of the pack ensures you can pick the opportunties you want while the players in back take turns until they catch up.

The game is for the typical 2-4 players ages 10 and up. And playing time is a reasonable 75 minutes. If Cramer’s other games have captured your interest, keep an eye on Kraftwagen.