Thames & Kosmos

KOSMOS is coming out with a new board game, Cities Skylines- The Board Game, designed by Rustan Håkansson. This 1-4 player cooperative game is based on the video game Cities: Skylines where you and your team will plan and develop your own metropolis!

To create this thriving city, you will need to expand while keeping in mind pollution, traffic, crime, and other problems that arise throughout the course of the game. Replayability will be high as there are multiple starting scenarios where you will build different cities with unique buildings as you attempt to keep the population in a good mood.

Cities Skylines- The Board Game is set to come out October, 2019. You can preorder the game here.

Ubongo is a fast-paced, easy-to-learn, geometric puzzle game where players race to piece together interlocking tiles. The goal is for players to get them to fit perfectly on their own puzzle boards. Ubongo Extreme: Fun-Size Edition is a smaller, lower-priced, and more portable format of the larger game and adds a higher level of complexity by using polyhex tiles instead of the traditional tile shapes. Ubongo Extreme: Fun-Size Edition is designed by
Grzegorz Rejchtman for 1-4 players, aged 8+, and is expected to release on July 1st, 2019.

Inka Brand & Markus Brand continue releasing games in the popular EXIT series, with the latest iteration being EXIT: House of Riddles. The game is classified at a beginner difficulty level, caters for 1-4 players, and plays in roughly 1-2 hours. Players are detectives who are summoned to an abandoned house to investigate an unsolved mystery. Upon entry, the detectives hear screams and find the entrance shut behind them and need to crack the case to find their way out. Expect EXIT: House of Riddles to release on July 22nd, 2019.

Brainwaves is a series of games developed by neuroscientists and game designers where players challenge their episodic memory (memory of recent personal events). Thames & Kosmos are releasing 3 games in this series which are all for 1-4 players, aged 8+, and play in roughly 15 mins.

Brainwaves: The Astute Goose has players identifying a burglar hiding in a crowd and is designed by Reiner Knizia. Then, designed by Dirk Baumann, Brainwaves: The Brilliant Boar has players collect sets of various animal portraits on cards by utilizing their memory to match those in their hand (facing away from them) to those revealed on the table. In Brainwaves: The Wise Whale, players are collecting colorful sea creatures by matching either their colors or animal types, and is designed by Maureen Hiron. Expect all 3 games to release on July 8th, 2019.

The newest installment in the popular EXIT: The Game series of one-time use escape room style games, The Catacombs of Horror, is coming soon from Thames & Kosmos by returning designers Inka & Markus Brand (Village, Rajas of the Ganges, The Rise of Queensdale) and Ralph Querfurth (also worked on EXIT: The Game – The Sinister Mansion and The Mysterious Museum).

In the Catacombs of Horror, you and up to 3 of your friends will scavenge the puzzling catacombs of Paris, searching for clues within the gloomy crypts in order to try and solve a mystery surrounding the disappearance of one of your friends.

The Catacombs of Horror will be 4.5/5 in the EXIT difficulty scale, and is a double-sized edition presented in two separate parts.

For more information on this upcoming release, click here.

As convention season is in full swing, new game announcements are going to be coming fast, so lets get to it.  First up is a new expansion to add to the innovative card crafting game, Mystic Vale, called Mystic Vale: Mana Storm.  This expansion continues the trend of adding more of what you want, more cards, leaders, and advancements, while still adding something new to the game.  This time around it’s leaders that can be upgraded, giving them more powerful abilities, and amulet tokens which are just like mana tokens except that have unique powers associated with them.  So if you enjoy Mystic Vale, I am sure this expansion will just make the game that much better.  Look for it on store shelves in October of this year.

Next is a monster pack for the second edition of King of Tokyo featuring King Kong.  While this isn’t as exciting, except for the fact you can have a three way monkey showdown now, what is also coming in the box is a new way to win the game.  What way is that you ask?  Well, I don’t know, but we will all find out when this pack hits stores in October of this year.

Next we have the big box expansion for Legends of Andor that finishes out the epic story, Legends of Andor: The Last Hope.  Krahder has ended his raid, and in the process has kidnapped many of the citizens of Andor, so it is up the heroes to rescue them.  They will venture beyond the Gray Mountains to fight the hordes of skeleton warriors with Krahder leading them.  Eventually you will work your way to Krahder himself to defeat him once and for all, bringing the overarching story of Legends of Andor to it’s conclusion.  While the German version of the game has been released, the English version of the game will be released in October of this year.

After that is the latest set in the BattleCon series and that is BattleCon: Trials of Indines from Level 99 Games.  This set brings an additional 10 fighters into the game with more new combos, moves, and strategies to give you greater variety in your BattleCon games.  This game was previously Kickstarted back in October of last year, and so this year will see it’s fulfillment to backers, and retail release.  No firm date yet is given but they do expect the game to ship this year to both backers and retailers, so look forward to it.

Finally we have an expansion to the popular tile based Cthulhu war game, Shadows over Nomandie, called Desert Wrath.  In this set it takes you out of the typical theaters of war for the time and sends you to Egypt.  There you will “follow the adventures of the Section M and accompany Captain Harris Badger and the Corporal Akhee Singh in their fight against the Black Sun in search of the legendary city of Irem“.  This expansion includes the new Section M faction as well as the typical new units, spells, heroes, etc. that you come to expect in a big box expansion.  So if you enjoy the game, and don’t mind the change of scenery, then this expansion will just bring more variety and replayability to the game.  Check your local game store in late July for this expansion.

A lot of new games are coming from Thames and Kosmos this year so lets run down the list, starting first with the undersea search game, Lagoonies.  In this game you are trying to find gloop spirits by diving into the water, but they change places as the octopus rotates so you have to pay attention.  The game comes with some nifty looking clear water pool type pieces and should only aid in the fun.  Look for this on store shelves in July.

Next is Monster Trap, a Labyrinth like game where you are trying to push the monsters in the mansion into the trap before they can scare your grandma.  The game is for two to four players and each player will control a different kind of movement for the monsters, and whoever collects the most monsters in the trap will be the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in June.

After that is Jungle Party, a memory type game where you are having to remember where certain animals are in order to advance.  The board has lanes you will push tiles of animals through that are partially covered and partially not, so as you push the animals through you have to remember where they are.  So those with a good memory should easily find their way to the goal and win!  Look for this game on store shelves in July.

Harry the Hopper is a simple dexterity game where you are playing as grasshoppers trying to knock down blades of grass.  Play is simple in that you just take aim, and launch your grasshopper, trying to knock over as many blocks as possible.  The game ends when someone knocks down the king’s red blade of grass, but you better have knocked over all your grass beforehand.  Look for this game in stores in June.

Up next is Thames and Kosmos entry into the room escape genre with their EXIT series of games.  Each set will present you with a different scenario where you have to escape, like a lab or an abandoned cabin.  In May you will see the release of the first three in the series; The Secret Lab, The Pharaoh’s Tomb, and The Abandoned Cabin.  Each set contains decks of cards and some other components you will need to escape each room.  Good luck.

Next is a word guessing game like Taboo called Word Slam.  How this game differentiates itself is that instead of coming up with the descriptor words, you have to use the cards in the box to describe the word.  So you will have to get a bit creative with the word associations, but leave a trail of clues for the guessers to follow and they just might get there.  This game should be arriving in June of this year.

Mag-O-Mag is a vertical magnetic game where you will have one player on one side watching the game pieces and giving instructions, with another player on the other side actually moving the piece.  You will have to communicate well in order to accomplish the objective which could be speed, accuracy, or being able to collect the most loot.  Look for this game on store shelves in August.

Previously we talked about Pillars of the Earth finally being reprinted, and now we have a new game in the book series being made, A Column of Fire.  Not much is known about the game yet, but the setting seems to be for a political type game as you try to position yourself to be the most powerful.  More information should come out as we get closer to it’s release in September.

Next is Kerala, a colorful looking tile placement game where you are trying to collect all the colors, but also linking all the colors together.  In the game you will pull tiles from the bag and then draft them, adding them to your display adjacent to your elepheeples (elephant meeples).  Plan wisely and draft well and you will come out on top.  Look for this game in stores in July.

And finally, the last game that was announced was Brutal Kingdom, a take that type card game where you are trying to be the one who survives to rule the country.  In the game the king, or queen, has just been killed and now the question of who will rule the country is being asked.  On each turn you will play a card and carry out the action, hopefully moving yourself one step closer to victory.  Whoever gains the most influence will be the new king or queen of the country.  Look for this game in stores in June.


Vasel’s Law* is finally producing fruit for a grail game on a lot of people’s lists, The Pillars of the Earth.  This announcement came across BoardGameGeek’s twitter feed and calls out Thames and Kosmos as the publishers.  Planned release is for late 2017/early 2018, most likely to coincide in some way with the release of the latest book in the Pillars of the Earth series in September.  Hopefully this game can live up to it’s status as grail game for so many people, and I am personally eager to find out myself.

*Vasel’s Law states that if a game is truly great, it will be reprinted


ACD Distribution has just released some information on two upcoming games from Thames & KOSMOS, Imhotep and Smugglers.  In Imhotep you are Egyptian architects trying to build the great wonders of the world from obelisks, to temples, to the great pyramids in order to be just like Imhotep, an architect whose awe-inspiring structures and brutal tactics earned him divine status among his people.  To accomplish this you will have to excavate building blocks, transport them to the different construction sites, and then add them to the structure at that site.  The difficult part comes in that on your turn you have only one action you can take, excavate a block, load a ship, or move a ship, so ships you load may be moved by an opponent and vice versa.  Negotiations will be tight and it’s a race to see who can be the best builder, look for this game on store shelves June 15th.


The second game is Smugglers, which has a clay shaping aspect like Dohdles, but with a smuggling twist.  You are a new smuggler on the block auditioning to be in the big gang, but to do this you will have to smuggle as much loot as you can through a hole in a fence.  On your turn a roll of the die will determine which hole in the fence you have to go through, then you pick which contraband you will try to sneak through and conceal it inside a ball of rubbery polymer putty.  Once you have formed your ball you roll it down the chute and if it passes through the fence then you get to keep the contraband, if it gets stuck then other players can take it from you if they guess what is inside.  The same can happen if you make the ball too small, if other players can guess what is inside then they steal it, and whoever has the most contraband at the ends wins.  Look for this interesting family game to arrive on store shelves June 15th.

Nicole Bunge over at ICV2, posted an article regarding the expansion of U.S. company Thames & Kosmos expanding into the board game market.

Thames & Kosmos was founded in 2001 as an alliance between the Thames Science Center, a science museum and learning store, and Kosmos, the nearly 200-year old German-based publishing house Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH.

The first game she mentions is Lost Cities the Board Game. This game is based on  the 2008 Spiel Des Jahres winner Keltis, and it is due out in April.  She also goes on to mention the Lost Cities The Card Game for 2 players, which is also being released in April.

She then goes on to mention some more games soon to be released like: Kahuna, Dimension, Dohdles!, and Ubongo. These are games that have been out of print and many gamers can now look forward to a wide release in the coming months.

To learn more, and to read the whole article, please click here.