Tile Laying Games

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.

Calliope Games has announced a new Tsuro game, Tsuro: Phoenix Rising, coming in 2019. Tsuro (2004) by Tom McMurchie, and its followup Tsuro of the Seas (2012) by Tom McMurchie and Jordan Weisman are well regarded abstract family games, in which 2-8 players take turns placing tiles in a grid. Each tile continues several curving paths. Each player has a token on one specific path, and must move along the path as it grows. Therefore, new tiles have the possibility of moving a token off the board, and eliminating that player. Little is known about the details of Tsuro: Phoenix Rising, except that it will be featured soon during PAX Unplugged, November 30 through December 2.

Z-Man Games announces a fresh new take on the classic Carcassonne game: Carcassonne: Safari.    Instead of building the French countryside surrounding Carcassonne, players will build the wilderness of Africa with savannahs, bush, animal paths, baobab trees, and watering holes, all teaming with wildlife.  The wildlife is key to scoring in Carcassonne: Safari.  Unlike traditional Carcassonne, scored points are not based on size or length of a controlled area.  Instead, scored points are based on the number of different animals in the scoring area. A safari is certainly more interesting with a larger variety of animals.  Bonus points are scored for each bird in a scored area.  Boabab trees, like the cloisters in the original Carcassonne game, need to be surrounded before being completed. However, boabab trees do not score any points.  Instead, they provide the player controlling the baobab tree animal tokens when placed and additional animal tokens when completed.  Players can use the animal tokens to increase the scoring of bushes and paths by discarding a token to increase the number of animal types scored in the area by one.  Animal tokens can also be used to create watering holes.  Every player can contribute to any watering hole by adding their animal token to the watering hole as long as it contains a different animal than one already there. Scoring encourages the completion of watering hole because each new tile placed to expand the watering hole scores an increasing number of points. Lastly, this game features two ranger vehicles that reside just adjacent to the safari tiles.  Players may move the ranger vehicles as part of their move.  Placing a tile beneath a ranger vehicle scores additional bonus points.  Carcassonne: Safari is the fourth game in the Carcassonne Around the World series which already features Carcassonne: Amazonas, Carcassonne: Gold Rush, and Carcassonne: South Seas.  Carcassonne: Safari is available for pre-order now and will be released in late 2018.  Go to Z-Man Games to learn more about Carcassonne: Safari.

 

Santa Maria by designers Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby is a well regarded dice drafting and tile laying game from 2017, and now the designers along with publisher Aporta Games have started a Kickstarter Campaign for the first expansion, American Kingdoms. Briefly, in Santa Maria, 1-4 players draft dice, and slide them down or across the associated row or column on their personal board, activating every building the die moves over. However, the last building activated in this manner holds the die, effectively shutting that building down for the round. Players can also buy new tiles for their board, adding buildings, and individual buildings can be activated using money instead of dice. The game emphasizes the timing of when to draft dice, what order to activate rows, and the puzzle solving nature of designing the perfect engine. Santa Maria combines resource collection, racing down tracks for points and bonuses, end game goals with scholars and bishops, and set collection via shipping tiles.

American Kingdoms adds a couple new features, and 4 new modules that modify play. Cacao is a new resource in the game, used for new expensive shipping tiles, but mostly for modifying the dice. New scholars and bishops provide abilities and end game scoring. New 3×1 building tiles can be purchased for player boards, but come with a prohibitive 4 coin cost.

The Governor Module adds a… governor to each player’s board. The governor starts in the upper left corner of the player board, and moves one space whenever a die is used. Governors activate buildings, gaining resources when they land on buildings, but can move back off later, opening the building up again. Players lose points at game end if the governor has not moved far enough, and gain points if he makes it to the lower right of the board.

The Specialists module adds specialist tiles, which are randomly associated with dice. When the dice are drafted, the player can buy the specialist, gaining resources or buildings, but at a cost. Upgraded buildings are expensive, but players get a discount if they replace another building.

The Ambassador Module changes the dice mechanic of the game slightly. Players start with less dice, but there are 2 ambassador dice available each round, one white and one blue. These special dice can be drafted, but all players will be able to use the number when one player drafts. The drafting player is the only one able to modify the die number.

The Mayan Module is by far the most involved. With this addition, the game can play up to 5 players, with one player taking on the role of the native Mayans. The Mayan City has curving roads for each drafted die, rather than the regimented grid of the standard player boards. Mayans have several changes to their game play, and their main goal is to use resources to build multi-level pyramids. The higher the pyramid (up to 3 levels) the more points they earn. Additionally, the Mayan player has a hand of cards for trading with players, changing resources, and generally getting their monuments built. The game even changes the conquistador track, adding a back and forth of Mayans gaining gold and conquistadors stealing the gold from the Mayan player.

Finally, the Kickstarter Campaign also contains a mini-expansion for the original game, the Exploration deck. This deck provides 5 nationalities with varied starting resources for each player, and 21 achievement cards with secret player goals.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Santa Maria: American Kingdoms is set to continue through November 11, and the game should deliver in March 2019.

 

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!