Tile Laying Games

Takenoko (2011) is a delightful tile placement, set collection, and resource management game from master designer Antoine Bauza. In Takenoko, players take turns choosing actions to plant new bamboo, move the panda to eat bamboo, or move the gardener to grow the bamboo, progressing towards secret objective cards. This bamboo and panda masterpiece hit the world by storm, winning multiple awards, including the As d’Or and Golden Geek Awards, and is currently sitting pretty on BGG at #235. So what could make this beloved classic game even better – GIANT TAKENOKO.

In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow, and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. They will have to bear with the immoderate hunger of this sacred animal for the juicy and tender bamboo. The player who manages his land plots best, growing the most bamboo while feeding the delicate appetite of the panda, will win the game.

Once a coveted limited edition, a new Kickstarter Campaign for Takenoko Giant has begun from Surfin’ Meeple, offering Brobdingnagian versions of both the original Takenoko and the Takenoko: Chibis Expansion. This Giant edition offers new hand painted figurines for the Panda and the Gardener, each over 100mm tall, as well as huge wooden bamboo segments. Also included in the wooden storage box are wooden action markers, larger hex tiles, a massive wooden die, larger linen objective cards, and inserts to keep everything organized. The Kickstarter for Takenoko Giant continues through May 5, and the game is expected to deliver in January 2020.

Renegade Games has announced they are bringing the English version of
Aza Chen‘s (Cat Tower) adorably cute Bubble Tea (2016) to Western shores. In Bubble Tea, 1-5 players start with 2 cup cards, decorated with a 3×4 square grid, and a set of clear overlay ingredient cards.

Welcome to the most popular bubble tea shop in Taiwan, where you’ll find rich, delicious milk tea filled with chewy pearls and jellies! To make an unforgettable drink, you’ll need to pay attention to crucial elements. More bubbles, less sugar, just the right amount of ice – all of this will make the drink taste different. Sounds good, right?

One player then rolls the ingredient dice, and everyone races to use the clear overlays to create a legal drink using all of the ingredients rolled. The first to complete their boba tea wins a customer card, and the first to impress 3 customers wins the game. Alternatively, the customer cards have drinks of varying difficulties players can attempt to create. Look for Bubble Tea this June at your FLGS, and for more information check out the Renegade Game web page here.

Kolossal Games and designer J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard, Flotilla) have have started a Kickstarter campaign for Papillon, a tile laying and area control game about butterflies. In Papillon, 2-4 players bid for turn order using a pool of caterpillars, then draft tiles containing flowers from a central grid. The drafted tiles must be placed with matching edges, creating a tableau with patches of colored flowers. When a flower patch is complete, players can place a butterfly clip on the giant 3D cardboard version of that flower. Points are earned at the end of the game by area control of each flower type.

It has to be noted that the components in Papillon are striking, from the butterfly clips and garden gnome meeples, to the complex but beautiful cardboard flower structures. The Kickstarter also includes an expansion, Beyond the Meadow, with predators, new wildflowers, and new goal cards. The Kickstarter Campaign for Papillon continues through April 17, and the game is expected to ship in January 2020.

Passtally is a new tile laying game coming soon from Pandasaurus Games and designer Masaki Suga (須賀 正樹). In Passtally, 2-3 players take turns laying elongated hexagonal tiles on a board full of weaving paths, reminiscent of the classic game Tsuro. Players have pieces at the borders of the board, marking the ends of certain paths. Tiles change the underlying paths, and tiles can be placed on top of previous tiles, building up layers. Players score by tracing lines between their pieces, integrating the placed tiles, trying to use higher stacked tiles to gain more points. Passtally is one of those rare games which is elegant to look at, simple to teach, but deep in strategy. Look for Passtally in stores in late June.

The award winning tile laying game Glen More by Matthias Cramer has been a classic since its release in 2010. In Glen More, players move their worker around a rondel, picking a tile to place in their growing village. Any tile can be picked from the rondel, although it is always to player in the back who gets the next turn, so farther away tiles mean a longer time until a player’s next turn. When placing a tile, all surrounding tiles activate, generating resources. Finally, a robust market system ties the game together. Unfortunately, Glen More has been difficult to obtain in recent years due to its age and lack of reprints.

Luckily for all of us, Funtails Games has announced a Kickstarter campaign for Glen More II: Chronicles, a labor of love from Cramer and his team, 3 years in development. Matthias Cramer was determined to keep what was great about the original, while adding enough to keep the game current, so the rondel, the tile placement, and the market have stayed. New additions include Person tiles, which befriend you to the neighboring clans, adding extra abilities, and Overbuild tiles which can be placed over existing locations. Finally, the namesake Chronicles are a set of 8 expansions, all fully mix- and match-able, adding almost limitless replayability. The Kickstarter for Glen More II: Chronicles continues through April 11, and the game is expected to deliver in October 2019.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced that they are bringing the 2018 EmperorS4 house-building card game, Walking in Burano, to western shores. In Walking in Burano, by designer Wei-Min Ling (Shadows in Kyoto, Hanamikoji), 1-4 players take turns buying cards from a center 3×3 grid. Cards show the bottom floor, upper floor or roof of a stereotypical Burano house, bedecked in pastel colors. Players can take 1, 2 or 3 cards, but all need to come from the same column, and need to be either the bottom or top set of cards – no taking only from the middle. Players then earn 1 gold for each card not taken. The cards can then be used to build new houses of a single color in their tableau by paying gold. Once a house is complete, it is visited by either a tourist, who scores extra points for small details on the house, such as awnings, cats or plants, or by an inhabitant of Burano, who scores points for sets of building types. The first player to 5 completed buildings ends the game. Look for Walking in Burano at your FLGS in Q4 2019.

Railroad Rivals by Forbidden Games and uber-designer Glenn Drover (Empires: Age of Discovery, Raccoon Tycoon, Railways of the World) completed a successful Kickstarter campaign last March, and now the company has announced a new Kickstarter for the anticipated expansion, Robber Barons. In Railroad Rivals, 1-5 players bid for turn order, collect stocks and place city tiles, matching railroad stock symbols on tile edges to create a rail network. Goods are then delivered along those networks, either your own or an opponent’s (for a fee), to increase the value of the stocks. The player with the most valuable portfolio of stocks wins the game. The new Robber Baron expansion adds a 6th player to the game, a new goods type – mail, 1 new railroad stock, 5 new city tiles, new versions of the Boston and New York City tiles, as well as several game enhancements. New Stock Shenanigans tiles can be bid for, and directly manipulate stocks and stock values, and the new specialty city tiles include 2 locomotive upgrades, a new Industry tile and a Railroad Headquarters tile. The Kickstarter Campaign for Railroad Rivals: Robber Barons continues through March 19, and the expansion is expected to deliver in August 2019.

IDW Games announces a new tile-laying game by HG Game Worx. In Amoeba, designed by Heidi and Greg Preslicka, players draw and place tiles in order to build the biggest amoebas then claim those amoebas by placing their nuclei markers on them.  But here is the twist, players can place tiles on top of completed amoebas to split them up and reduce their opponent’s score.  There are 12 unique tiles that will require pattern recognition and strategic thinking to grow the biggest amoeba. The game ends when all tiles are played, and the player with the biggest amoeba wins.

Amoeba plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in about 30 minutes.  Contents include 84 Amoeba Tiles, 40 Nuclei Markers, 1 Custom Die, and a multilingual rulesheet.  Amoeba is scheduled for release in June 2019.

Queen Games has announced Copenhagen, a new tile-laying polyomino game by designers Asger Harding Granerud (Flamme Rouge) and Daniel Skjold Pedersen (Gold Fever). In Copenhagen, 2-4 players are competing to collect cards which grant them polyomino window facades to place on their board. Overbuilding certain floors and areas can grant abilities for the rest of the game. The most beautiful facade, fitting seamlessly into the harbor setting, especially those with full windows, score points to win the game. Copenhagen features beautiful art from Markus Erdt (Pioneers, Treasure Hunter), and plays in 20-40 minutes. Not much information is available at this point, but all of it is on Queen Games’ website here.

Bézier Games was excited to announce a collectors’s edition of their popular tile-laying game Suburbia will be released this fall. Players can expect the same fun hex-shaped tiles in a larger size with new three-dimension art. There’s also a giant tile tower which the company used images of to tease the game last week.

Suburbia Collector’s Edition will come with ALL previously released expansions, as well as a brand new expansion called Nightlife. In this newest expansion players will utilize buildings and locations that are more active at night.

To keep everything neat and organized, the game will also game with custom Game Trayz for easy set up and storage.

Keep an eye on Kickstarter later this month. Bézier Games plans to initially launch this game on crowd-funding platform January 14th, with retail copies expected to be available this fall.