tile-laying

AEG announces Ecos: First Continent, a world building game designed by John D. Clair (Mystic Vale) and art provided by Sabrina Miramon (Photosynthesis, Quadropolis) and Matt Paquette (Mystic Vale, Thunderstone Quest).  The world in Ecos is built by laying tiles that represent desert, water, and grassland. Each player will have a tableau of cards that will allow the placement of additional tiles, terrain features such as mountains and forests, or animals to populate the world. Activating the cards requires certain elements to be present in the world. Each round one player will reveal Element tokens from the Element Bag, giving all players the opportunity to complete a card from their tableau and shape the continent to their own purpose. Elements that cannot be used can be converted into Energy cubes or additional cards in hand or added to your tableau, to give you greater options as the game evolves. Game play in Ecos is simultaneous, and all players have access to the elements as they are drawn to activate their cards and build the world.  Every game card is different so the world will be built differently each play.  Many cards will score players victory points, sometimes based on the features in or adjacent to a habitat.  The first player to score 80 points wins the game. Learn more about the game here.

Ecos: First Continent plays 2 to 6 players, ages 14+, in 45-75 minutes.  Contents include 6 Dial tokens, 75 Map Tiles, 15 Mountain Tokens, 25 Forest Tokens, 66 Energy Cubes and storage container, 6 Scoring Cubes, 1 Scoreboard, 105 Game Cards, 102 Animal tokens and 2 storage containers, 40 Element stones, 1 Element bag, and Rulebook.  Look for Ecos: First Continent at your friendly local game store in October 2019.

Queen Games has three new games coming to market this November.

First up, set in the Luxor universe is a new Rüdiger Dorn game titled Expedition Luxor. In this area control and tile placement game,

Two to four players deploy their adventurers to claim the locations they discover. However, they must be careful, because the adventurer that is placed last will be the one that claims the discovery and earns vital points at the game‘s climax.

Next up, by designer Christophe Behre is the bidding game, Bastille.

The player who uses his influence most clever in the bastille, the catacombs and fulfilling his mission cards will win the game based around the French revolution.

While the first two game releases have strong historical settings, the tile laying game, Skylands, is pure fantasy where the world has already been destroyed and it’s up to the remaining inhabitants to unite the remaining flying islands.

The players control the fate of the inhabitants and create their own island world. The player who utilizes the four actions of the game to their best advantage and closely watches their fellow players will win the game.

Look for these exciting new games in November along with Kingdom Builder: Family Box and the Arthur expansion to Merlin.

 

If you like take-that style games, tile laying, wild treasure hunting adventure, and/or mazes, Centershaft: Fallen Elements could be a game for you, and it’s seeking funding right now on Kickstarter. Designed by George and Hattie Anthony, with art by Tyler Johnson, this game pits 2 to 4 players against one another in a rat race to find four elemental gems and leave via the hub tile. Yet this maze is dangerous, as it’s filled with dangerous natives, guardians, and is constantly being twisted and trapped by everyone involved. Featuring excellent hand-crafted illustrations, premium components, and miniatures,

     “The four opportunists must venture, not fully aware of the dangers, into a subterranean labyrinth. Seeking what they believe are rare gems, they soon discover the stones contain elemental powers. Threatened, they find themselves maneuvering quickly through warp portals, battling natives, and avoiding traps in an ever-changing maze. […] Be mindful. Opponents enamored with obtaining the power of the gemstones will stop at nothing to take what you’ve got. Remember to journal each elemental landmark and track your steps wisely… the path back to the Centershaft may not be as easy to return!”

There’s a lot of familiar elements within this game that remind me of another fan-favorite, maze-crawling, take-that game – Fantasy Flight’s Wiz War. I have a lot of fond memories playing it many years ago, laying traps to stifle people, threatening the game state by picking up a treasure nobody expected, and rotating tiles to alter the maze in zany ways. Centershaft echos a lot of those things, but with a much more dynamic tile-driven grid filled with suspense and external threats that can shift and evolve in many more organic ways than Wiz War could have imagined. If you are interested in learning more about Centershaft, check out the Kickstarter campaign page for plenty of video previews, complete rules, FAQs, and updates!

If the name in the headline seems slightly odd and lengthy, you’d be forgiven for thinking so, but such is the cost of combining two fairly different tile-laying games into one new and surprising title. Stonemaier Games announced on Wednesday that they’ve gotten permission from Bezier Games  to combine their Castles of Mad King Ludwig with Stonemaier’s Between Two Cities, creating a more unique version of the latter with advanced scoring and theme from the former. It’s a kind of board gaming mad science that, when coupled with several prominent reviewers having received early copies to critique, makes for one very powerful piece of news that subverts disbelief with lots of pretty new tiles and possibilities. Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig plays 2 to 7 players, features a 4-piece Game Trayz custom insert, and is set to hit retail on October 19th.

     “Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a competitive tile-drafting game in which each tile is a room in a castle. You work together with the player on your left to design one castle, and with the player on your right on another castle. […] At the end of the game, each castle is scored. Your personal final score is the lower of the scores of the two castles you helped design, and the player with the highest final score wins the game. To win, you have to share your attention and your devotion between two castles.”

As presented within the description above, it really is just Between Two Cities but with some better bits mixed in. You’re still doing the same wonderfully unique exercise of building two places between your neighboring opponents, but now there’s more involved with what kinds of rooms you add that affect scoring in new and interesting ways. It is doubtlessly a more attractive package than either of it’s parts, both on the table and in it’s design. Fans of either game have something a bit more of value in store in this union, which speaks to the thoughtfulness of Stonemaier Games’ presentation of this product.

Apart from the praise and criticisms this game will gather under it’s own merits, I can’t help but applaud the idea of smashing up two games into something a bit different. Will this become a new trend to takeoff into 2019? The year of board game mashups? It would be fascinating to see, and I encourage it! If you’re interested in learning more about Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, check out Stonemaier Games website for more pictures, videos, a full rulebook, and updates.

Kaosmos by Gigamic is a quick tile-laying game for 2-6 players. This game can be played in about 30 minutes and is great for players 10 years old and older. In Kaosmos your goal is to arrange your 9-tile galaxy in the most high scoring way, while keeping your asteroid belt as long as possible, and at the same time, following each new rule as it comes into play.  Through 5 rounds you will face black holes, discover new dimensions or explore new asteroid paths as you strategically place your tiles to get the most points. But beware- only your lowest scoring galaxy will be counted in the end- so get the highest score you can and follow the kao-tic rules! Kaosmos is coming to a cosmos near you this September!

Kingdomino: Age of Giants! is the first expansion for both Kingdomino and Queendomino, but it is actually several expansions in one.

First, there are the Giants! Certain dominoes cause a giant to appear on your kingdom.  Those giants stand on crowns in your kingdom and prevent you from scoring them at the end of the game.  Other dominoes allow you to get rid of the giant in your kingdom and send it over to an opponent’s kingdom.

Second, there are Quest that can be played with The Middle Kingdom rule.  Quests allow your middle kingdom to score additional points if the surrounding squares or the four corners of your middle kingdom fulfills the quest conditions. This expansion is played separate from the Giants.

Lastly, Kingdomino: Age of Giants! adds a fifth player.

A nice addition with the expansion is the distribution tower to hold all the dominoes.

Contents of the expansion include 3D castle, 1 distribution tower, 2 brown wooden kings, 1 starting tile, 29 dominoes (12 Giant dominoes, 17 Quest tiles), 6 “Giant” meeples, and a score pad.

Learn more about Kingdomino: Age of Giants!  from Blue Orange GamesKingdomino: Age of Giants! is available for pre-orders now and will be in stores in August 2018.

Asmodee, which has the largest catalog of games under it’s wide umbrella thanks to it’s partnerships with Days of Wonder, ZMAN Games, Fantasy Flight, Catan Games and more, has announced it’s Modern Classics line. This new category is for games that are easy to get into yet offer tremendous depth and make for excellent staples in any new or existing collection. The titles in this series together cover a wide range of mechanisms and modes-of-play and each one is considered a gateway of it’s respective genre. As stated by Asmodee in their announcement:

“Modern Classics refers to a small group of pioneering titles that have left a lasting legacy on the board-games market and have stood the test of time to remain preferred gateway purchases in a constantly changing landscape of products. […] Each of the highlighted titles is easy to learn but hard to master, making them well suited for any gaming situation that you might encounter. The Modern Classics range consists of the following games: Ticket to Ride Europe, Catan, Carcassonne, Dixit, Pandemic, and Splendor.

While this really is just a matter of showcasing for new customers, the games chosen here are, I feel, irrefutably ‘Modern Classics’ and deserve to be called as such. These quintessential games also cover a lot of ground as well, certain to prepare even the newest of gamers for the great many strategy games that lie beyond. Just with these six games there’s card drafting, network building, tile laying, set collection, storytelling, cooperation, trading, and resource management game mechanisms. Hoo! The question I have now is, will there be any more games added to this list in the future? Only time will tell.

One thing that has been missing from farming games is the possibility of your farm being flooded.

That’s not the case anymore, once Lowlands from Z-Man Games is released.

In Lowlands, players are farmers in the lowlands near the North Sea, a rough area where people have to work hard just to get by. They are under a constant threat of flooding and heavy storms, banding together to create dikes to keep the rising tides away from their farms. These dikes will help everybody, but people have to strike a balance between staying on the farm benefiting the family and building the dikes to help the community.

This push and pull is pivotal in Lowlands

“In Lowlands, you carve your farm out of this unforgiving land, gathering and spending resource cards to transform your farmyard into pastures that allow you to profit from breeding sheep. Adding expansions to your farm will unlock new options and score you victory points, but helping to build the dike that collectively protects all players is also rewarded. No matter what, the tide will rise and, if the dike isn’t high enough, it could rush in and sweep away your hard-earned profits. Will you sacrifice your own farm for the good of the community, or will you pursue your own agenda? The choice is yours.”

Players will be given a group of farmers who will be assigned to various activities around the farm to help improve it, or tend the sheep and sell them for profits.

As the game progresses, players can add different sorts of tiles to their farm, taking it in the direction they want and earning victory points all the while. You can build feeding troughs to feed your sheep and bring more sheep in. Or you can build a cabin on the lake which will increase the point values of adjacent tiles.

In addition to farm improvements, your farmers and resources can be assigned to help build the dikes that will benefit everybody. The tide rises, new flood pieces are chosen, and players will struggle to keep the dike high enough to keep back the raging waters of the North Sea.

Helping with the dike will give players bonuses as well, so it’s not all selflessness.

Lowlands gives an added twist or two to the farming game genre.

No release date has been announced, unfortunately.

For more information on Lowlands, please check out the Z-Man Games article.

In 2017 Kingdomino won the coveted 2017 Spiel des Jahres award. Designer Bruno Cathala and artist Cyril Bouquet have returned to the -domino world with Queendomino. Blue Orange Games is scheduled to release Queendomino in October at Spiel Essen 2017.

In the award winning Kingdomino players took on the role of  a Lord seeking new lands in which to expand their kingdoms. Players took dominoes with a combination of the games’ 4 terrain types and built out their kingdom, ensuring that at least one of its sides connected to a matching terrain type already in play. When taking the tile they will place, players also choose what tile they will place in the next round. More valuable tiles will provide a later spot in turn order in the next round.

The game ends when players have (ideally) completed a 5×5 grid. Some tiles contain crown symbols on them. At the end of the game players multiple each of their connected terrain types by the number of crowns in that connected terrain area.

Queendomino builds on these simple mechanics. Tiny knights earn your coins. Use the coins to buy pieces from the marketplace which you can place on the new red terrain to improve your kingdom… unless another player has already played the dragon and destroyed that piece from the market! Place tower pieces in your kingdom in an effort to earn the Queen’s favor.

While Queendomino is a stand alone sequel to Kingdomino, the two games can be combined to allow 4 players to play towards a 7×7 grid or for 6 players to play towards a 5×5 grid.

Grail Games, an Australian publisher devoted to family friendly games, launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to fuel up a fresh take on Stephenson’s Rocket designed by Dr. Reiner Knizia. While other Knizia’s games, such as Tigris and Euprhates or Ra, were already reprinted, this campaign provides the first possibility to lay your hands on Stephenson’s Rocket since it’s 1999 release, yet this time with illustrations by Ian O’Toole, whose artworks can be found on components of The Gallerist or Lisboa.

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. By investing in the various new rail lines, transporting passengers, and building up the local industries, players will vie for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron in the early days of the steam locomotive.

It will take the 2-4 competing rail investors between 60 and 90 minutes to acquire stocks and see who earns the most Prestige in this tile-laying, route-building, set-collection, and bidding game.

Apart from new artwork and upgraded components, changes include shares, Prestige (no more paper money), and city tokens being tracked directly on the board itself, which is in the Kickstarter version double-sided and features a new Eastern USA map. Stephenson’s Rocket arrives in April 2018; if you would like to take a ride, check out the ticket prices on its Kickstarter campaign here.