Tile Laying Games

EPOCH: The Awakening is the first game from new company Orange Nebula, LLC and designer Marc Neidlinger raising funds on Kickstarter now.  As described by the designer:

The game begins: thrown overboard after a life of wretchedness, you wash ashore a hostile island ruins — completely alone with nothing except the breath in your lungs and an undaunted spirit. Through your advanced resource management, area control tactics, and freeform action selection, you’ll add companions to your party, acquire bizarre relics, attain potent character traits, and defeat a host of unusual monsters in the ultimate goal of mastering heroic attributes — and regaining honor.
 
In EPOCH, players enter a fantasy world filled with companions who can be recruited to join the quest, relics to be gathered on the journey, and areas to control with influence.  Players managing their influence obtain attributes that may be combined into more advanced character traits.
You may perform 3 actions on each turn in the order you feel is most advantageous: activate a companion, travel to a new location, and interact with a map tile. Many actions require the the use of your influence to gain attributes in a one-of-a-kind heroic attribute alchemy system, which is leveraged to gain the game’s most powerful rewards. For example, you can meditate at a spire to gain inspiration. You can train at a fort to gain strength. But then you can combine your inspiration and strength to gain the courage (inspired strength) which allows you to perform a bounty hunt. There are over 72 unique card abilities that can be merged in unusual ways for potent combinations, and fresh tile placement each game for high replayability.
EPOCH is for 2-5 players and advertises to take 15-30 minutes per player.  Delivery is currently set for March 2018.  For more information, check out the Kickstarter page here.

Fireside Games had previously announced the release of Hotshots, a new cooperative wildfire fighting game from Justin De Witt, who previously brought us Castle Panic.  Initially scheduled for release this spring, the game has been delayed due to manufacturing setbacks and is instead scheduled to hit stores this summer.  Fireside Games estimates the manufacturing process to be completed this month.

As a reminder from Fireside:

In Hotshots, crews of 1 to 4 players take on the roles of wildfire fighters (Crew Boss, Spotter, Swamper, and Sawyer) with special abilities and roll dice on burning terrain tiles to match the combinations shown on the tiles. The more faces they roll, the better they fight the fire. Players can choose to cut Firebreaks, which protect tiles from embers blown by wind gusts, or push their luck to reduce Flames and possibly even generate Reward Tokens. If players bust and fail to match at least 3 of the 6 symbols on the tile, the fire grows. Another option is to maneuver Vehicles (Air Tanker, Helicopter, and Brush Rig) to save the forest.

Flame tokens are added at the end of each player’s turn by the draw of a Fire card, which can bring about light or strong wind gusts, increase the strength of the flames on certain tiles, and start fires. Too many Flame tokens will cause a tile to Scorch and be lost. Losing a terrain tile could also affect the game play. Some tiles are tied to crewmembers’ special abilities, while others help the firefighters and still others cause the fire to spread in unique ways. If 8 tiles or the Fire Camp Scorches, the game is over and the forest is lost. But if the intrepid crew can extinguish the fire, the team wins together.

The press-your-luck mechanic with ratcheting rewards creates a lot of great tension, and the variety of ways to fight the fire makes for interesting choices. The modular tile layout and Fire cards bring high replayability to the game, and the beautiful acrylic Flame tokens provide an enticing table presence.

Look for more press on this game as its release looms closer this summer.  In the meantime, you can visit the publisher’s website for more information here.

Kickstarted not too long ago, Game Salute will be releasing it’s latest game in the Key line, Key to the City: London.  This game plays much like the other highly popular game in the key series, Keyflower, where workers are used both to bid for tiles, but also to activate them.  Gameplay is not much different in Key London, but there are some additional options such as connecting tiles with different colored routes and being able to upgrade some tiles a third time.  Then there is the setting, gone is the generic farm setting, now you are building and bidding for iconic London buildings like the Westminster Abbey, the Royal Opera House, St. Paul’s Cathedral and more.  Look for this game to hit store shelves later this month.

The second game they are releasing is called Planetarium, and is another Kickstarter game, but this time you are helping to create an entire solar system.  In the game you will be moving elements around the board, and whenever one collides with your planet you get to acquire it for use later.  Once you have the right elements you can play evolution cards to change and modify your planet in order to play final evolution cards which will represent it’s final form, and give you lots of points.  Have the most points at the end of the game and you win.  Look for this game on store shelves at the end of March.

The winners of the prestigious Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel Des Jahres have been announced.

Codenames by designer Vlaada Chvatil published by Czech Games Editions won the Spiel Des Jahres (German for Game of the Year).  This team party game has seen great success thus far having one a number of Dice Tower Awards as well.  Having already picked up placement in Target stores this award can only aid in its uptake with the non-hobby gaming public.  This win was not overly surprising as a result of the overwhelming popularity seen by the aforementioned items.

Isle of Skye: From Chieftan to King by designers Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister Published by Mayfair Games/Lookout Games won the Kennerspiel Des Jahres (German for Connoisseur Game of the Year).   This game has received critical acclaim from many within the gaming community.  This win was more surprising as a result of the competition it received from both Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and T.I.M.E. Stories.

For more information you can visit the Spiel Des Jahres awards pages for Codenames here and Isle of Skye here.

From This and That Games, the publishers  of Comrades and Patriots, comes your daily dose of adorable – Sea Turtle Scurry is their newest game come to Kickstarter.

Sea Turtle Scurry is a game of baby sea turtle racing, from the nest to the ocean. Players lay tiles, play cards, and even hitch a ride on each other on the way to their new home!

Players use their tiles to create a path for the turtles to travel, choosing a side and facing to help their turtle and hinder their opponents. Cards are used as actions or to scurry and forgo a card’s benefit to charge across spaces after incurring penalties for terrain. Turtles can even crawl on another’s back and hitch a ride, unless the ridden turtle crawls onto a rock, which can dampen any hitchhiker’s plans. The game is educationally conscious, as each card features facts about the endangered animals, and made lovingly to spread awareness of one of the most precious marine species. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter on June 7th, going on until June 28th 2016, for more information.

princess goblin layout

The Princess and The Goblin is a children’s novel from 1872 written by George MacDonald about Princess Irene and her adventure into the goblin kingdom to stop their invasion of the human world.  While she is exploring the cave she comes across Curdie, a young miner who has been searching for clues to the goblin’s plans.  Now together they need to escape and get back to the kingdom in time to warn them, and this is where the game of The Princess and the Goblin picks up.  In the game you have a stack of tiles that has been randomized and this is your draw pile, around that pile are 4 tiles face down that start the play area.  On your turn you will look at the top tile and place it out face down, then you get to look at the adjacent tiles to see what they are before putting them back face down.  At this point you can place down some tokens you have in order to help you remember which tile is which and will give you bonus points in the end.  The crux of the game is that you are trying to build a path leading from the goblin cave back to the castle.  The difficult part comes in the memory and because each edge of the tile has a symbol you must match in order for the path to be valid.  Once you finish a path you are done for the round and count up your points, and once everyone has escaped or there are no more home tiles to escape to, whoever has the most points is the winner.

This game looks stellar with some art I can definitely get behind, and the gameplay is simple so you can play with your family, which is what the creator is hoping for.  If this game sounds like something you would like then head on over to the campaign page to pledge today.

sandcastles

YAY Games, the makers of last year’s hit Kickstarter Frankenstein’s Bodies, have successfully completed production of their latest project and are ready to set it loose upon the world. Debuting this week at the Essen Spiel game fair in Germany, Sandcastles is a card/tile placement game for 3-7 players, with rules variants included for 2 player or solo gaming. Each player must use the cards available to the them to build the best Sandcastle they can before the tide rolls in – but be careful: the other players will do their best to steal bits away from your sandcastle or even siphon off your bonus points!

Sandcastles plays in about 30-40 minutes and is designed by Andrew Harman. For more detail, read the full press release below:

“Bringing out the naughty child in you!”

Media release (Oct 3rd, 2015)
Embargo – Immediate
Sandcastles set for International launch

Gamers sometimes complain about games having the same old themes (don’t mention Zombies) or that a theme has just been plastered onto a game. These are not statements that could be laid at the feet of up and coming British board game publisher YAY Games.

Following on from the cult success of Frankenstein’s Bodies, a highly thematic game about building your very own “creature” out of spare body parts, YAY are set for the international launch of Sandcastles.

“We are hoping that folks at Essen really take our latest brain child into their hearts. In Sandcastles you are on a beach trying to build the best sandcastle you can before the big wave comes crashing in.” Says Andrew Harman YAY Games chief creative.

He goes on to warn in a tongue in cheek way. “Don’t get too comfortable playing in the sand though because the other players could be planning on using crabs, seagulls of their own buckets to kick over your glorious creation and steal your sandy glory!”

Sandcastles is a very portable tile placement game for 1 to 7 players and lasts around 30 minutes. If you’re looking for a game to take on holiday to play with your family, look no further

YAY Games are getting a reputation for producing games with interesting themes that are easy to learn and pack in a lot of interaction. They can be found at booth 2E-121 at Essen.

You can also keep up to date with this fresh and exciting company on Facebook here or Twitter here.