Stronghold Games

Terraforming Mars has grown to be a very popular game in the hobby, currently sitting at number 5 on Board Game Geek’s rankings. The game has come a long way with the content that it has, seeing players take control of corporations who are trying to turn Mars into the coziest place they can (as well as satisfying their special interests). However these corporations were really just starting resources cards that also detailed some bonuses or special actions unique to them as well as a bit of flavor text to add in a dash of theme, but they were hardly anything more compelling. That is soon to change as, coming this Summer, the newest expansion for Terraforming Mars will bring more theme and power to each corporation. As announced by Fryxgames and shared by Stronghold Games shortly after:

     “Prelude is a small expansion that lets you kickstart your terraforming! It focuses on the early stages of Mars colonization and tells the background story of the corporations. When choosing corporation and starting hand, each player also draws 4 Prelude cards, and chooses 2 of them to boost their corporation. The expansion opens up powerful starting combos and increases player asymmetry.”

For those that love Terraforming Mars, this one appears to be a no-brainer. Expansions which just add more player power at setup tend to be exceptionally painless to integrate and often don’t require a lot of additional explanation, and in my experience they are typically the most sought after as well. While it will only be a handful of months until this expansion releases, there will also be a pre-release at Origins in June. For more information about this expansion release and future Terraforming Mars content, please check out Fryxgames and Stronghold Games websites.

Stronghold Games LLC, publisher of Terraforming Mars, Core Worlds, Space Cadets, and many other great games, has moved from Somerset, New Jersey to their new location in Boynton Beach, Florida. While they’re currently in temporary offices in this city they’ll be in their permanent HQ by the end of March.

Their new logo was designed by Bill Bricker, which is an evolution of the original design from the company’s inception in 2009.

Stephen Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games:

“This is an important moment in Stronghold Games history, as we exit our most successful year. With the continuing growth of the company, it is time to add new talent with both an eye toward diversity and insider/outsider industry knowledge. We mark this moment as well with a new logo – a new representation of Stronghold Games.”

There are also two, new full-time staff members. Bill Bricker will become the new Director of Art & Marketing and Pauline Milano will become the new Director of of Administration.

More details can be found in their press release on the Stronghold Games website.

Stronghold Games has announced plans to release Dungeon Rush by designers Rustan Håkansson and Eli Håkansson in March 2018. Originally published by Lautapelit.fi in 2016, the release has Stronghold Games once again partnering to bring strong European titles to North America.

Dungeon Rush has players taking on the role of adventurers rushing into a perilous dungeon to root out the evil that lies within while earning gold and leveling up their character abilities as they delve below. Dungeon Rush will entertain 3-5 adventurers aged 8+ for around 20 minutes per game.

Each player will take command of two heroes they will permanently control for the game, one hero for the right hand of the player and and one hero for the left hand. At the start of a round the players will simultaneously reveal two monster cards and place them within reach of all of the players. Players then quickly place each hand on the monster they want that hero to battle. Players can place both hands on a single monster to have both their heroes battle that monster. No two players in the game can select the same monster, so players will need to decide quickly, and once the decision is made they cannot select a different monster.

Each player will then battle the selected monsters, using any abilities they have gained. If successful, they can slide the monster card under their hero card, adding new melee, ranged, magic, and stealth abilities to their heroes.

After battling through three dungeon levels players will have one last battle against the Dungeon Lord and Dragon to finish the game.

What’s in the Box?

The Stronghold Games edition of Dungeon Rush will include:

  • 10 Oversized Hero Cards
  • 4 Dragon Cards
  • 4 Dungeon Lord Cards
  • 34 Level 1 Monster Cards
  • 34 Level 2 Monster Cards
  • 34 Level 3 Monster Cards
  • 1 Rulebook

Game Designers Rustan Håkansson and Eli Håkansson

Designer Rustan Håkansson will be familiar to many gamers from his popular 2013 release Nations and 2014 release of Nations: The Dice Game. Dungeon Rush is Eli Håkansson‘s first credited game.

Art by Lauri Bremer, Tuuli Hypén, Jere Kasanen

Artist Tuuli Hypén has contributed to a number of new releases including the 2017 Stronghold Games releases of The Bottle Imp and Gold Fever, and the 2015 release of M.U.L.E: The Board Game.

Artist Jere Kasanen will be well known to many gamers from work on popular games including Flame Rouge, Nations, Nations: The Dice Game, and Honshu.

While Lauri Bremer may be new as a board game artists, working with the rest of the design and art team will be a great introduction to the world of game design.

Stronghold Games has scheduled a slew of new releases this November, including new games from frequently collaborating designer Friedemann Friese and expansions for some of its other popular titles.  Visit the publisher’s page for more information.

FLEE, a new game utilizing the Fable System in Stronghold/2-F Spiele’s Fast Forward series.

Finished!, a new puzzle-style solitaire game.

Pursuit of Happiness: Community, an expansion for the life-building game Pursuit of Happiness that introduces the concept of local communities.

Flamme Rouge: Peloton, an expansion for the bicycle-racing game Flamme Rouge that introduces new tiles, a variant for solo play, and expands the base game up to 6 players, or even up to 12 players with each controlling one rider.

The Bottle Imp, a new version of the 1995 classic trick-taking game.

Continuing Uwe Rosenberg‘s exploration of polyominoes, Indian Summer is coming soon from Stronghold Games.  Stronghold Games released Rosenberg’s previous puzzle game in 2016, Cottage Garden, too.  This one features the same beautiful artwork of Andrea Boekhoff, but is touted as being geared toward more experienced gamers:

At the heart of the game are puzzle tiles with holes that are placed on individual forest boards to cover up treasures. When players get their hands on these, they gain more options and an edge over their opponents. All that counts in the end is to be the first to cover your forest floor completely with leaves.

From the publisher’s thematic description:

Before winter makes its appearance, a particularly warm fall bathes the forest in a golden shimmer. During the Indian Summer, New England blossoms one last time. Treetops are ablaze with countless colors — a living rainbow, from green to orange to red. Slowly the first leaves are starting to fall. Meanwhile, our steps and the diligent squirrels rustle the colorful foliage.

On our walks through the woods, we discover all kinds of little treasures; we collect berries, nuts, mushrooms and feathers. We pause for a moment to watch the shy inhabitants of the forest before we set off towards home once again. There, a good book and a hot tea are already awaiting.

Indian Summer is set to arrive in January 2018.

First on the list of upcoming games is the latest is the ever growing genre of Roll and Write games, and that is Harvest Dice from Grey Fox Games.  Play is simple for this one, roll all of the veggie dice and pick which vegetables you want in your garden or fed to your pet pig.  At the end you will score veggies based on what the market wants as well as points for a well fed pig, most points is the winner.  These quick and easy games thrive on fast play times and easy replayability, and you should be able to find this one on store shelves in November of this year.

Second is a new one from Stronghold games called Noria, a first design from Sophia Wagner, winner of the Spiel des Jahres fellowship in 2015.  We don’t know much about the game yet except for that it looks to be a euro-style game with an innovative “wheel building” mechanic.  Similar to how the rondel is built and changed in Crusaders, this multi-layered wheel will have different actions and abilities in three rings so that you actions can be highly customized to your strategy.  You will be using these actions to discover islands, build out your empire, and bribe politicians with hidden knowledge you find.  Another aspect worth mentioning is the excellent art by Michael Menzel and Klemens Franz, elevating the possibility that this game could be something special.  Look for it to hit stores in January of next year to find out.

The International Gamers Awards have been going on since the year 2000, celebrating and recognizing gaming a truly global scale by having a committee of judges from all around the world. Each year they vote for the best game within the General Strategy category, which is split into two sub-categories: Multiplayer and 2-Player. 2017’s finalists have been announced and it’s immediately noticeable that this year’s competition is fierce. So without further ado, the nominees are:

General Strategy Games – Multiplayer nominees

A Feast for Odin
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Publisher: Feuerland Spiele

Century: Spice Road
Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi
Publisher: Plan B Games

First Class
Designers: Helmut Ohley
Publisher: Hans im Glück

Gloomhaven
Designer: Isaac Childress
Publisher: Cephalofair Games

Great Western Trail
Designer: Alexander Pfister
Publishers: eggertspiele

Key to the City: London
Designers: Sebastian Bleasdale and Richard Breese
Publisher: R&D Games

Lorenzo il Magnifico
Designers: Flaminia Brasini and Virginio Gigli and Simone Luciani
Publisher: Cranio Creations

Magic Maze
Designer: Kasper Lapp
Publisher: Sit Down!

Scythe
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Publisher: Stonemaier Games

Image from the English 2nd Printing

Terraforming Mars
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius
Publisher: Fryx Games / Stonemaier Games

The Colonists
Designer Tim Puls
Publisher: Lookout Games

Ulm
Designer: Günter Burkhardt
Publisher: HUCH!

Yokohama
Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
Publisher: OZAKU Brand

General Strategy Games – 2-Player nominees

 

Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Designers: Nate French and Matthew Newman
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Caverna: Cave vs. Cave
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Publisher: Lookout Games

 

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft
Designer: Diego Ibanez
Publisher: Devir

Santorini
Designer: Gordon Hamilton
Publisher: Roxley

Star Wars: Destiny
Designers: Corey Konieczka and Lukas Litzsinger
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Having previously garnered success with co-published titles 504, Fabled Fruit, and Fuji Flush, Stronghold Games and 2F-Spiele announced 6 new jointly published games releasing in 2017, including:

  1. 3 games in the Fast Forward series of games, all designed by Friedemann Friese utilizing the Fable system introduced in Fabled Fruit.  Fear will be a hand-management game about chasing ghosts, Fortress will be a bluffing game about becoming king, and Flee will be a cooperative game about running from monsters.  The games supposedly forego rule books, so that players can begin playing immediately and discover new rules as they play.
  2. an expansion for Fabled Fruit, the progenitor of the Fable system.  Fabled Fruit: The Lime Expansion adds 20 new locations and the eponymous limes.
  3.  a new solo-only game, Finished!.  Friedemann Friese previously designed the hit solo game Friday.  In Finished!, the player is trying to sort a deck of cards to not fall asleep at work (which is more than a little meta).
  4. a reprint/update of 2007 game Felix: The Cat in the Sack entitled Felicity: The Cat in the Sack, a game about acquiring cats, but not bad cats, and not dogs or rabbits, either.

All of these games are set to release in October 2017, with the third Fast Forward title coming in November 2017.

Quick on the heels of the release of Not Alone at Origins last month, an expansion has been announced, Not Alone: Exploration. In this first expansion, new Hunt cards will be available for the Creature, new Survival cards will be added for the Hunted, and 10 new Location cards are added for the planet Artemia. The location cards can be played on their own, or they can be mixed in with the Locations for the base game, giving Not Alone an almost infinite combination of places to explore.

Not Alone is published by Stronghold Games and designed by Ghislain Masson. It’s an asymmetrical game in which one player plays as a Creature trying to hunt down the other players that have crashed on the planet Artemia. The Hunted explore the planet by selecting a Location card and revealing it simultaneously, but only after the Creature uses Hunt cards and power tokens to stalk the the survivors and predict the location(s) that they are exploring. Captured explorers lose willpower and move the Creature closer to a total assimilation victory. Savvy (or lucky) explorers that don’t get captured are able to use the ability of the location they went to, sometimes revealing new locations on the planet, and thus reducing the changes of being captured by the Creature. It’s an intense, immersive, thematic card game with guessing, bluffing, hand management, and a pinch of deck-building that plays great with 2 to 7 players in 30-45 minutes.

Come visit the planet Artemia again, if you dare, in NOT ALONE: Exploration, which will release later this year.

 

 

 

Stronghold Games has announced details on the Fast Forward™ Series which uses the new Fable Game™ system first introduced by Friedemann Friese in Fabled Fruit.

Fabled Fruit was the first in the series, and Stronghold has announced that Fortress will be the second game using the Fable system.

A great Fortress looms in the distance… and it must be yours! Accept the challenge against all others to conquer the Fortress! FORTRESS is a game about risk taking, out-witting and bluffing your friends to become the dominate ruler of the kingdom, and second in our Fast Forward™ Series .

No rulebook reading is necessary in the second game in the series. Put 2-4 gamers around a table and discover constantly changing rules while playing the game. Similar to Fabled Fruit a pre-sorted deck of cards slowly introduces new rules to the games. Through 12 games of Fortress gamers can explore the entire set of rules. Each game takes approximately 15 minutes. Once complete it can be reset to be played once again by the same group or a new set of gamers.

Fabled Fruit was the first of the Fable games, now referred to as the Fast Forward Series. In the series a game starts in an initial and very simple set of cards and rules but as you play through the game system both the mechanisms and gameplay evolve.

Playing through the game multiple times each play changes the game slightly. Unlike Legacy games the game is never permanently altered. At any point you may easily reset a Fable game from the beginning either after playing through the entire set of cards or at any point partway through the game.

Awards

Fabled Fruit, the first in the series, was shortlisted on for a variety of awards:

  • 2017 Spiel des Jahres Recommended List
  • 2016 Golden Geek Most Innovative Game Nominee
  • 2016 Golden Geek Best Family Game Nominee
  • 2016 Golden Geek Best Card Game Nominee