Stronghold Games

Friedemann Friese is at it again with another “F” named game in the Fable Game system, this time using deck building, or rather…deck unbuilding? Fine Sand, coming soon from Stronghold Games, is a deck deconstruction game where players are competing to build sandcastles from the materials around them. These materials are represented by a starting deck of 30 cards, depicting anywhere from sand and stone to structures. Players will spend basic materials to build the structures, which in turn removes the cards from the deck and makes it more efficient at the same time, ramping up an engine until someone triggers game end by removing most of their cards.

“Fine Sand uses the “Fable Game System” introduced in Fabled Fruit, and in addition to a stack of starting cards, each player receives a presorted stack of Fable cards. With these cards, you change your card stack from game to game. Continue to play, or reset and play the game again with the same or different groups. Fine Sand includes an addictive solo campaign!”

It’s quite a fascinating system, a little sleaker than it’s fellow deconstructing title Valley of the Kings, that really turns the genre on it’s head and may prove to be the most impressive Fable Game yet. Even tried-and-true concepts like “trashing” cards have been twisted a bit, since constructing cards already removes them from the deck, trashing instead gives the card to the player on your left – gumming up their system! With the Fable cards, each players starting stack of cards will change from game to game, adding variety and demanding a different approach each time you play. If you’re interested in learning more about Fine Sand, keep an eye on Stronghold Games’ website. While it doesn’t have a product page just yet, it is on their release schedule and certainly they will have more information and updates the sooner we approach it’s retail release date.

Stronghold Games has begun taking pre-orders on more than a handful of games due out in the next couple of months.

Two of the new games available for pre-order now, AuZtralia and Terraforming Mars: Colonies, were reported in Dice Tower News recently. Bryan Drake also sat down with AuZtralia’s designer, Martin Wallace, to learn more about the game. Stronghold Games has proudly added AuZtralia to its Great Designer Series. Terraforming Mars: Colonies is the fourth expansion to the hugely popular, Terraforming Mars. Only 500 copies of Terraforming Mars: Colonies will be available for pre-order, so act fast.

Also available for pre-order are two Friedmann Friese games, Fortune and Fool!

Fool! is a card-shedding and trick-taking game where player attempt to get rid of their cards without playing the lowest card.  The player who plays the lowest card has to sit out the next trick, losing the opportunity to get rid of a card. Players score negative points for cards left in their hand, and positive points if they got rid of all the cards in their hand, unless they play the lowest card in the last hand which earns them nothing. Fool! plays 4-8 players, ages 8+, in about 15 minutes.

Fortune is the forth game in the Fast Forward Series and uses the Fable Game system.  These games do not require an understanding of the rules beforehand.  Instead, the cards are pre-sorted and the rules of the game are explained on the cards as they are played. In Fortune, the player with the highest score wins the game, but gaining the highest numbers may not be enough. The trick is to get the right bonuses for the big payoff. Fortune plays 3-5 players, ages 10+, in about 15 minutes.

Calimala was originally published last year Blackfire Entertainment in both German and English editions, but it may have been difficult to find here in North America.  Stronghold is republishing the English only edition this year. In Calimala, players are members of the guild of cloth finishers and merchants in Republic of Florence during the Late Middle Ages.  Players assign their employees to produce and trade cloth and gain prestige by delivering their good, contributing to the construction of buildings, and sponsoring artwork.  The player with the most prestige at the end of the game wins. Calimala plays 3-5 players in 45-75 minutes.

Lastly, Stronghold Games is republished Kanban: Automotive Revolution as a Limited Edition Kanban: Driver’s Edition. Stronghold has also included Kanban, designed by renowned designer Vital Lacerda of Vinhos, The Gallerist, and Lisboa fame, in their Great Designer Series.  In Kanban, players are managers in an automotive factory seeking to impress the factory manager by establishing the most efficient assembly line.  With each promotions come more capabilities to be more efficient. The players with the higher productivity points, demonstrating the most effective use of workhours, at the end of the game is the winner. Kanban plays 2-4 players, ages 12+, in 90-120 minutes. Stronghold does not plan to reprint this game again in the future!

 

Several years ago, Martin Wallace brought us A Study in Emerald, a game based on the story by Neil Gaiman about the secret war by the Restorationists to free mankind from forces of the Olds Ones. It was a game that blended the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft set in 1882 Europe.  Now that the Old One have been banished from the northern hemisphere, where did they go?

Fifty years later, the Old Ones are awakening in the Outback of Australia! In AuZtralia, players are adventurers and explorers uncovering the riches and resources and colonizing in an 1930’s alternate reality Australian Outback.  Players build ports, construct railways, mine and farm for food.  Every action costs time, and at some point in time during the game, the Old Ones are awaken and become a player in the game attacking the players’ settlements. Players will need to recruit military forces to protect the settlements, and they might need to work together to defeat the most dangerous Old Ones.  Players earn victory points from their farms, defeating Old Ones, and from their personalities.  Old Ones also score victory points by blighting farms and how many are left at the end of the game.  When all the time points are spent (or a player port is destroyed), the game ends and the player (or Old One) with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

AuZtralia is a military/economic/adventure game for 1-4 players, ages 13+, and take about 30 minutes per person to play.

 

Also coming in October is the latest expansion to Terraforming MarsTerraforming Mars: Colonies expands the game playing world by adding new places to build colonies.  While those places may not be suitable for terraforming, they can produce much needed resources and income. Build colonies on distant moons (even in the clouds of Jupiter) and send your trade fleets to them to build your resources to support your terraforming operations on Mars.

Terraforming Mars: Colonies requires the base game to be played but can be played with any of the expansions.  Contents include 49 project cards, 5 corporation cards, 11 colony tiles, a reference tiles, trade fleets tiles, 8 markers, and 8 trade fleets.

The Dice Tower Live Show (8/3/2018) will be featuring quite a few news releases during the event. Below is a brief summary of what will be announced.

Stronghold Games New Game Announcement

Not much is known, at this time, about the game other than it will be part of Stronghold’s Designer Series and designed by Alan R Moon and Bobby West.

Indie Boards & Cards and Stronghold Games Merge

New Entity Created: Indie Game Studios – Distinct Company Brands to be Maintained
California, USA and Florida, USA – August 3rd, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Indie Boards & Cards and Stronghold Games are proud to announce the pending merger of these two great publishers, and the  formation of a new force in the hobby game industry: Indie Game Studios. Action Phase Games, previously acquired by Indie Boards and Cards in 2016, will also be folded into the new entity and the three distinct brands will be maintained moving forward. Following the merger, the new Indie Game Studios becomes one of the largest hobby board game companies in the world.

Pandasaurus Games New Game Announcement

Pandasaurus Games is announcing Machi Koro Legacy. The game will be designed by Rob Daviau and Suganuma-san with artwork from Nobura Hotta (the original Machi Koro artist). It’s a really fun, 10 mission campaign that leaves you with a fully playable game when finished.

IDW Games New Game Announcements

Batman: Gotham City Under Siege, although not a new announcement for its release is going to be hitting retail very soon.

Designed by Richard Launius and Michael Guigliano, and Batman – The Animated Series: Gotham City Under Siege is a cooperative game for 1-5 players. Each player takes on the role of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon or the Gotham City Police Department, along with the unlikely aid of Catwoman. They must defend the city over the course of four acts, with each act inspired by episodes from the first season of the show. Players will need to work together to find the right balance between completing challenging story cards, or taking down the villains and masterminds running rampant in the streets.

First-time announcing, however, is TMNT Adventures. More info will be coming soon.

 

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.