Terra Mysticais easily one of the biggest and highest rated Eurogames of all time, having inspired a space-themed spin-off in Gaia Project. Yet it has not stopped growing as this Fall we’ll be seeing another expansion for this 2-to-5 player territory terraformin’ game. Merchants of the Seas brings shipyards, Markets, and new maps to the multitude of factions vying for control – even the ones introduced in previous expansions! You’ll be able to send out ships to take special shipping actions, or perhaps play one of the few races that prefers to not get their feet wet and instead try to manipulate trade with other structures. All this can be played independently or combined with previous expansion content, meaning you’ll be able to make the as complex and intricate as your table can handle.
“Merchants of the Seas expands on the hit terraforming gameplay of Terra Mystica. Develop your faction’s nautical strategy, stake a claim on distant lands, or focus on the benefits of trade. Plus, a double-sided board and over 30 tiles add countless new avenues to victory.”
There are two main goals with this expansion that should not be overlooked by the promise of added rules – strategic flexibility and balancing. Ships and trading allow for a wide variety of action potential that is, for the most part, independent on your current standing in a game – have water, will travel. Both ships and trading have ways to give you access to distant or action efficient terraforming and building options, making it harder to be built into a corner and opening new tactical decisions to boot. The new maps offer tons of replay potential and include new starting scores for each faction for all the maps that exist, balancing the game no matter how the landscape falls. If you’re interested in Terra Mystica or Merchants of the Seas, check out Z-Man’s website for more rules, images, and preorder information through them or your favorite local retailer.
First on the list of news in the board game app world is that Zombie Dice on iOS, after being dormant for nearly 7 years, has reanimated and been updated for modern devices. Now if you are running the latest version of the iOS on your phone or tablet, you will be able to have some fun rolling virtual dice as a zombie now. You can head over to the App Store now and download the new version for free.
Next a new expansion was announced to the popular Terra Mystica app, and this expansion brings in all the goodies from the Fire and Ice expansion of the board game into the app realm. This means you will be able to play with all six of the factions in the expansion, from the powerful Yetis to the rule breaking Shapeshifters. Also being included in this expansion will be a new level of AI, hard level, giving experienced players new challenges in the game. Expected release for the expansion is the first quarter of 2018, so expect to see it available in the app soon. You can download Terra Mystica and preview the new factions on the DigiDiced website.
Last, and by no means least, an old series of gamebooks is being converted into an app called Fighting Fantasy Legends. The book series was called Fighting Fantasy, and was a creation of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone that was published in the 80s. The books themselves were a mix of choose your own adventure and role playing where you would be choosing the path you would go, but would also be rolling dice for things like combat. The books were very popular and although they have gone through several publishing companies, they are still available today. Now, however, Nomad Games has decided to adapt some of these books, City of Thieves, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Citadel of Chaos, into an app. In the game you will exploring the different areas and using cards and dice to perform actions and do battle while deciding who you will help. As you level up you will improve your dice making you stronger, and with tons of choices to be made in a single game, each play to be different than the last. So if you were a fan of the original books, check out the Youtube trailer and then head on over to the Days of Wonder blog for links to purchase the game in your preferred app store.
The new Terra Mystica mini-expansion introduces four new town tiles, a new scoring tile, and a new bonus card create new goals for players to try to complete. All new special terrain tiles for each faction will give new bonuses and abilities when placed.
Carcassonne: The School
“School is in session in Carcassonne!”
The Carcassonne: The School expansion, originally released in 2011, has each player competing to complete the various roads leading up to the school. Once the road is complete, the teacher will get paints the next time something is scored, regardless of what is scored and which player scored those points. Once each of the roads is complete, there are enough students and the teacher will stay put for the rest of the game.
Carcassonne: The Festival
In The Festival mini expansion for Carcassonne, players have the ability to withdraw a meeple. When a player lays down the festival tile, they choose between placing a meeple normally or withdrawing a previously placed meeple from another feature.
A Feast for Odin
The Feast for Odin mini-expansion has players traveling through two new exploration boards providing more options than before. Players will now be able to sail to the archipelago of Lofoten or travel to Tierra del Fuego. Players will find new opportunities to generate income and obtain new bonuses.
Voyages of Marco Polo: New Characters Four new faces are being added to The Voyages of Marco Polo. Each character will feature a new game-bending ability. This mini expansion also introduces the gifts mechanic to the game. Gifts will grant players bonus goods and occasionally allow players to take extra actions.
Beyond Baker Street
The Beyond Baker Street expansion will introduce several new characters to the game. New character cards allow players to take on the roles of Dr. John Watson or Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. Moriarty will enter the game as a new possible suspect.
Sylvion: Below Ground
The land itself will join in the fight with the Ravage in a new mini-expansion for Sylvion. Sixteen new terrain cards will be available to occupy battlefield spaces. While Swallowers will use up Tree and Fountain cards, Owls will allow players to draw two cards from the Defender deck.
Fans of Isle of Skye, the tile-laying game published by Lookout Games, were understandably thrilled to hear that Digidiced will be releasing an app version of it sometime in 2018.
To whet the whistles of those who have been salivating for more information, Digidiced released a screenshot of the game, and it definitely looks like it’s going to be a winner, at least graphically. It also highlights the interface they are developing for the game, and it looks pretty interesting as well. They are looking for input on how the interface looks, so give them a shout with your thoughts.
Z-Man games has just announced they will be releasing Gaia Project, the spiritual successor to the wildly successful Terra Mystica. Gaia Project will be released later in 2017 and will be available for gamers to see at GenCon 2017.
The galaxy lies in the distance, full of planets full of resources waiting to be claimed by spacefarers. Your people have finally developed enough technology to head out into the cosmos and reach for the stars. Similar to Terra Mystica, Gaia Project once again invites up to four players to forge galactic empires of their own.
Fourteen unique factions will come in the game with each player taking one faction to claim planets, increase production and develop technology to colonize planets before your rivals. Grow your empire and you’ll unlock abilities and new technologies to dominate the galaxy.
Creating New Galaxies and Federations
Featuring a modular board, players will be able to create a new galaxy for exploring every time they play. Once the galaxy is constructed players need to immediately start producing the resources necessary for exploration. Only through successful good production will you have the resources necessary to power your way through the galaxy. As your tiny empire grows you can upgrade existing resources like mines, invest in your research engine, or develop your own federation to help keep your planets aligned.
Even if you manage to claim a planet before your rivals, you will still have to deal with the unforgiving environments on these new planets. Choose what planets to make habitable wisely or you’ll waste the scarce resources you’ve collected.
Starting on the Cutting Edge
You’re not starting from scratch in this game. When the game begins all fourteen factions have already developed the technology to travel between planets. You’ve also mastered the ability to terraform planets, altering the environments enough to create the conditions necessary to sustain your specific faction.
Even with this amazing technology your faction can develop further. Something you’ll need to do faster than your opponents. Investing in research will be critical, whether it be something that can boost your economy, your scientific output or your terraforming ability. Creating Quantum Intelligence Cubes will help you extend your reach beyond the planets merely adjacent to your position. With Navigation Research you can increase your range to reach distant planets that appear as mere specks.
Among the many worlds you will encounter are the Transdim Planets. These purple planets contain critical resources, but unlike other planets they cannot be built directly upon. To claim these planets you must initiate a Gaia Project. An investment in a Gaia Project grants you Gaiaformers. These powerful machines can be placed on Transdim planets to begin resource extraction.
A successful Gaia Project allows you to claim a planet that would not be suited your faction without having to go through the costly terraforming process.
A Legacy of Success
Gaia Project builds of the legacy of Terra Mystica, currently ranked as the 6th greatest game on Boardgamegeek and the 5th greatest strategy game. Terra Mystica also allows up to 4 players to represent one of 14 different factions as they terraform landscapes in competition with other factions. Terra Mystica was a big winner when it was released in 2012 and through the 2013 awards season. A selection of awards include:
DigiDiced, the folks behind the digital version of Le Havre Inland Port and Patchwork, have announced (through Twitter) that the digital edition of Terra Mystica will soon be released. In their Twitter post they said the game is nearing completion for release in the next couple weeks. Some of the highlights of the app is that it will be available across all platforms (Android, iOS, Mac, and PC), feature AI opponents to play, and out the gate have full cross platform multiplayer. DigiDiced has done great work with their other board game implementations so I am expecting no less from this one, plus the included screen shot looks great. Be on the look out for the game in the various digital stores in the coming weeks.
Thinker Tinker Maker (TTM), an Oregon based duo that creates custom game components, is now planning on starting up a company to sell laser-cut board game inserts, accessories, and components. For their first project, they’re creating a Kickstarter for board game inserts. According to TTM, their inserts will accomplish the following:
Consolidate shelf space to make room for more games
Decrease setup and pack up time
Enhance presence, interaction, and organization of components
Draw envious eyes of other gamers
From the gallery of their current inserts, I’ll definitely agree with point 4, since the inserts are filled with nice thematic laser-cut designs.
Currently, you can get inserts from the following games on the Kickstarter:
TTM plans to use the Kickstarter funds to get its own laser cutter for future inserts. After the Kickstarter, TTM will launch an online store with the items at standard prices (the Kickstarter has discounted prices based on bulk). If you want to get an insert for one of your games (or just want to see some neat inserts), check out the Kickstarter here!
Fire & Ice, designed by Jens Drögemüller and Helge Ostertag and released initially at Spiel a few weeks ago, is an expansion to 2013’s Terra Mystica and it will be widely available this week from Z-Man Games.
In this expansion is a new game board, 6 new factions, two new terrain types (Ice and Volcano), and additional game options to spice up the game (variable turn order and factions for auction). The new game board is an option, not a replacement and the new factions can be used with the original board. The new board features the new terrain types, balance of terrain location, and contains the money to victory point conversion. The new ice factions are the Yetis and Ice Maidens. The new volcano factions are the Dragonlords and Acolytes. The new variable factions are the Shapeshifters and Riverwalkers.
Variable turn order can be used to vary game play. Included in the box is a small sideboard containing two columns. At the beginning of the game, starting with the first player, each player places one of their faction tokens in the topmost position on the left column. Each time a player passes, move that player’s faction token to the topmost position of the other column.
Factions for auction is another option to vary game play. At the beginning of the game, put all faction tokens in the cloth bag and shuffle them. Draw tokens equal to the number of players and place them next to the game board. For each of these factions, place a marker on space 40 of the victory point track. This will be used as currency during the auction as players bid on which faction to represent during the game.