Tile Laying Games

Board games apps continue to flow as they are a great way to play some of our favorite board games where ever we want, like Tsuro and Cottage Garden.  The Tsuro update is something that just recently launched on the iOS platform as the latest iOS update included tech to be able to utilize augmented reality.  Augmented reality is basically where you can look on your phone for a view of what is front of you, overlaid with information, objects, or other things digitally.  What this means is that now you can “play” Tsuro on your real life table via your iPhone.  Is this really necessary?  No, but it is a cool next step for technology to be able to now see the digital board game on the table in front of you, although still on your screen.  You can download the update now on the App Store.

The second announcement is that another of Uwe Rosenburg’s polyomino games was released today, Cottage Garden.  The app was designed by the company DigiDiced, known for faithfully and effectively translating other games of his to the digital space.  Of course it comes with a list of great features including:

• 2-4 players locally, online or even cross-platform
• Family friendly – non violent theme
• Worldwide ranked multiplayer and casual play with your friends
• fast real time games or asynchronous games with 24 hour time limit per turn
• Easy interactive tutorial to learn the game from scratch
• Analyze your best games or learn tricks from the best with playback
• 3 different computer opponents

You can find out more about the app on their website.

Released today with Cottage Garden was Smash Up, by Nomad Games Ltd (II) and published by Asmodee Digital. It’s features are:

– Online Cross-platform multiplayer: 2 to 4 players
– Play with 4 players or solo against the AI
– 9 faction decks, including the base game set and more: Zombies, Aliens, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, Pirates, Robots, Tricksters, Wizards & Geeks
– Random or manual faction selection
– Fully automated scoring
– Tutorial system plus ‘Step Through’ and ‘Review’ modes to help players learn
– Leader boards & Achievements
– Contains 16 Base cards to compete over
– Languages available: English, French, German

Continuing Uwe Rosenberg‘s exploration of polyominoes, Indian Summer is coming soon from Stronghold Games.  Stronghold Games released Rosenberg’s previous puzzle game in 2016, Cottage Garden, too.  This one features the same beautiful artwork of Andrea Boekhoff, but is touted as being geared toward more experienced gamers:

At the heart of the game are puzzle tiles with holes that are placed on individual forest boards to cover up treasures. When players get their hands on these, they gain more options and an edge over their opponents. All that counts in the end is to be the first to cover your forest floor completely with leaves.

From the publisher’s thematic description:

Before winter makes its appearance, a particularly warm fall bathes the forest in a golden shimmer. During the Indian Summer, New England blossoms one last time. Treetops are ablaze with countless colors — a living rainbow, from green to orange to red. Slowly the first leaves are starting to fall. Meanwhile, our steps and the diligent squirrels rustle the colorful foliage.

On our walks through the woods, we discover all kinds of little treasures; we collect berries, nuts, mushrooms and feathers. We pause for a moment to watch the shy inhabitants of the forest before we set off towards home once again. There, a good book and a hot tea are already awaiting.

Indian Summer is set to arrive in January 2018.

Renegade Game Studios had previously announced that they would be the English language printer for the Spiel des Jahres nominee Raiders of the North Sea from Garphill Games. In a new press release, Renegade has stated that they will expand this partnership to include all the games of the North Sea Trilogy, including the campaign expansion.

Raiders of the North Sea is a unique worker placement game, in which players gain an action for placing their meeple, but also gain a second action by picking up a new meeple. The meeples on the board come in three colors, and the spaces on the board are color limited. Add a great viking theme of building armies, collecting crew and pillaging outposts, and you have an excellent game, worth of the Spiel nomination.

Shipwrights of the North Sea is a card game where 2-5 players collect artisans and resources, racing to be the first to construct their viking long ships. Various nefarious characters can be recruited to help the player succeed or hinder their competition.

Explorers of the North Sea is a tile laying, pick up and deliver game for 1-4. Players sail their vikings in plastic boats from island to island, picking up livestock, raiding villages and constructing outposts. Points are awarded for sets of collected items, and for completing islands by playing tiles.

The North Sea Rune Saga is an expansion which ties all three games into one large campaign for those brave enough to live the full viking life.

All of the North Sea Games are designed by Shem Phillips, and include gorgeous artwork by Mihajlo Dimitrievski. Look for the trilogy of games from Renegade in Q4 2017. You can read the full press release on Renegade Games’ website here.

Blue Orange Games has two great new games coming in August 2017.

Following in the spirit of their Spiel winning Kingdomino, Fantastic Park by designer Brett J. Gilbert (Elysium) has 2-5 players using domino style tiles with one animal on each side to build a park. Whatever animals are left on your last remaining tile in hand are the animal types that score. Animals score according to the largest connected group of that type. If a player has a domino with matching ends in hand at game end, that animal type scores twice.

Photosynthesis has been getting a lot of buzz lately, and rightly so. Almost an abstract game, Photosynthesis has 2-4 players growing trees on a large hex grid board. Each turn, the sun moves around the periphery of the board, and trees will gather sun energy from that direction. Remember that larger trees will shade smaller trees, preventing the collection of energy. After collecting energy, players spend the sun to grow trees, plant new seeds, or complete the life cycle by removing large trees for points. The game lasts for 3 or 4 full revolutions of the sun around the board. Photosynthesis is a strategic balance of resource collection and spending, with gorgeous components and art by Sabrina Miramon (Quadropolis).

After an excellent Dice Tower Con, it’s time to get back into the swing of things with another Wallet Kickers post.

First is a nice addition to any gamer’s wall, and that is Scott King’s Gaming Calendar for 2018.  On this calendar you will be able to choose a standard calendar with pre-selected pictures, or a custom calendar where you get to pick your own pictures and add your own holidays.  In the standard calendar you will get twelve stunning pictures taken by the talented Scott King to look  at throughout the year of games like Sagrada, Tiny Epic Quest, and Junk Art.  Selecting the custom calendar allows you to pick from nearly 200 photos he has taken over the years of many poular games and gaming components.  Personally I already have the 2017 edition hanging on my wall and I am looking forward to one being there in 2018 as well.  Check out the Kickstarter today.

Next is a game ending in the next week and that is Wendake.  In Wendake you are the chief of a native american tribe, trying to build up your tribe to be the best in all aspects.  Actions are taken by a unique 3×3 grid of tiles where you activate a row, column, or diagonal, taking all the actions in that line.  After you take actions you will flip the tiles over, giving a different action as well as showing what tiles have been used.  This grid will be constantly cycling, and over the course of the game you will get new actions to slot into the grid allowing you to do more.  Some of the actions include movement, harvesting, fishing, hunting, placing out new workers and canoes, and even mask ceremony cards which act as a set collecting aspect to the game.  At the end you score for the lowest position on the two pairs of “wampum” tracks, and whoever has the highest combined score wins.  To check out this great looking game, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

After that is Legendary Creatures, a deck building type game, with no relation to the Legendary system, where you are competing for renown in four different realms.  In this game you will be drawing and playing creature cards to perform different actions.  The order you play cards and which cards you play and which you send out on expeditions makes a difference and makes for lots of great choices.  You will also get the chance to add new cards into your deck, in typical deck building style, giving you more options and combinations to toy with.  Then there are spells, amulets, gifts, and landmarks which give you extra bonuses and you have too many combinations to count.  At the end your score will be your position on the four realm tracks as well as any points you earned throughout the game, most points is the winner.  You can head over to the Kickstarter page to find out more and pledge for a copy.

Following that we have TMG’s latest deluxified game, Crusaders, Thy Will be Done, a roundel action type game about crusaders in the middle ages trying to get the most influence.  In the game you have a roundel of 6 actions and actions tokens on each one.  When you pick an action, you get as many action points of that action based on the number of tokens on that wedge.  Once you finish the action you will distribute the tokens in a mancala like fashion around the circle.  Different actions let you building buildings, muster troops, fight the enemies on the board, travel around the board, or just gain influence.  Plus, as you build more buildings you uncover spots on your player board, you will gain the bonuses depicted on the board, giving you some extra motivation to build them.  There are also individual player powers and ways to upgrade you roundel to make things more interesting.  So if this crusade themed game sounds interesting to you, check out the Kickstarter today.

Next is the latest in the tactical card combat category of games, similar to Summoner Wars, called Stonebound Saga.  This game features absolutely stunning artwork, and the player cards seem to be designed to show off as much of it as possible while giving you needed info.  In the game you will be controlling different characters, each with their own specific set of moves and abilities powered by speaking stones.  You will be moving your character around on the board, and launching attacks in the hope of eliminating the other team.  There are also 7 different classes you can chose from which have different ways of playing, from healers, to bards, to powerful warriors and even rangers.  Needless to say, if you enjoy games like Summoner Wars, this game deserves a second look for sure, check out their Kickstarter page.

Next to last we have the latest game from Isaac Childres on Kickstarter, and that is Founders of Gloomhaven.  Isaac’s previous game, Gloomhaven, has positively exploded and is an adventure game that has legacy elements as well as being just a great game.  So you might be surprised to find that he has gone a different direction with this game and has created a tile laying euro game about building the city of Gloomhaven.  In this game you will be working to build up your prestige so that when the city is finished, you are the most prestigious race of them all.  But, lest you think this is a purely competitive game, there are actually elements of the game that require cooperation to achieve.  Each race has a certain element they produce, but in order to create the more advanced resources, you have to combine with other races, meaning you won’t be able to go it alone.  Add in a myriad of different action cards to choose from and a voting system to determine which point scoring buildings get added, and you have a euro style game with a Gloomhaven theme and feel.  Check out the Kickstarter today to pledge for you copy.

Lastly we have a lightning quick campaign, and that is Steve Jackson Games’ Munchkin Special Delivery.  This box is another in the ever growing line of curated boxes that you blindly buy, and find out the contents on arrival.  One difference from the others is that this is just for one box, not a subscription, and you at least know it will contain the Munchkin base game.  Other things contained in the box include several different expansions and/or boosters, Munchkin accessories, a special rule printed in the box, and even Steve Jackson’s signature (while supplies last).  So if you want to gift Munchkin, or want to jump into the game with some hand picked extras, give this Kickstarter a look before it ends on the 16th of July.

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.