tile placement

Soaring Rhino newest game, Mammoth, is now on Kickstarter. Mammoth takes a unique approach to biome development in a game and offers two different modes of play.  The gameplay in Mammoth draws from the scientific premise that the mammoth was instrumental in preventing the permafrost from melting and fostering massive grassland growth. 

In the competitive game, players are herds of mammoths moving about the barren tundra and trampling the brambles to make room for the flora and grassland. In this tile placing game, players place either square or octagon tiles to do one of two things: expand the flower patch they are creating with their trampling or extend the path of the herd.  Points are scored for extending and completing flower patches. The game ends when the last octagon tile is placed.  Players will score points for the number of tiles in the flower patch their mammoth occupied at the end of the game.  Points are also scored for each tile in the length of the herd’s path.  The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.  

In the co-operative game, goals and action cards are used.  Now the players are scientists working together to guide the mammoth herds through the landscape to accomplish two goals in shaping the biome: create a flower patch of a specific color large enough to accomplish the color goal, and create a herd path in the manner required to accomplish the path goal.  The group will also have to score enough points required by the two goals.  Player actions are limited by the available action cards, but if the team plans well enough, they can ensure each scientist has the action they need.  If the players accomplish all their scientific goals before the last octagon tile is placed, they win the game.

Mammoth plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in 30-45 minutes. Components includes game board, 4 plastic mammoths, 4 baby mammoth tokens, 4 animal path tokens, 72 small 1-point biocycle tokens, 48 large 3-point biocycle tokens. 40 double-sided square tiles, 52 octagon flower tiles, 2 octagon lab tiles, 4 penalty tokens, 8 goals cards, 14 action cards, a go first marker, and rulebook. The Kickstarter campaign runs until June 23 with an expected delivery in February 2020. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign to learn more about the game and the science the game is based on.

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.

Horrible Games are making moves on the digital marketplace with two announcements. The first is Dragon Castle, which will be making it’s app debut next year. Now the tense, tactical, tile picking-and-placing game will be available on the go or PC and is sure to have some exciting multiplayer features. This is amazing news, as Dragon Castle is an excellent game that deserves the digital treatment and the exposure that comes with it.

“We’re doing it again! We’re happy to announce that we’re going to publish a digital version of Dragon Castle! The app version is now in development, and is planned for release in 2019. Originally developed by the terrific trio Lorenzo Silva / Hjalmar Hach / Luca Ricciand illustrated by Cinyee Chiu, the game will be converted to the digital format by Studio Clangore, the same development team behind the Potion Explosion app.”

The second announcement involves Potion Explosion, which already exists as an app, having it’s first expansion – The Fifth Ingredient – available for download today. It can be bought as DLC inside the app, and it’ll unlock all the great features added by the physical version. Now you can play with the titular fifth ingredient, the wild ectoplasm, along with the new professors, their scolding and reward tokens, and the new potion types as well. Horrible Games also boasts that the addition includes some new animations an updated soundtrack, and an interactive tutorial! If you’re interested in learning more about these announcements, be sure to check out Horrible Games’ website for further releases and updates.

Even in today’s market where there are more and more games to choose from than ever before, Days of Wonder releases still feel exceptional. Their quality control to deliver sweet and beautiful family-weight games is second-to-none and they’re always bringing something new to the realm of “gateway” weight games. Their newest title, The River, follows this trend bringing an interesting blend of tile placement, resource management, and worker placement in a quick, clean, charming package. Designed by Sébastien Pauchon and Ismaël Perrin, it plays 2 to 4 players and is expected to be available in time for Essen this October, later to hit retail in November. As described in Days of Wonder’s announcement:

     “In the game, you embody pioneers embarking down a river in search of a new lands to settle. As you explore the untouched frontier, you will have to work twice as hard to manage your workers as they start to settle down along the way. The player with the most impressive settlement will be declared the winner!”

I’m excited to see such a blend of mechanics enter at this gaming level, because I feel that there needs to be more gateway worker placement games than Stone Age that can do something a bit new with it. While resource management itself is nothing revolutionary, how that interacts with the tile placement here is unique since new tiles have to progress down the titular river and they cover up resources you’d been using up until that point. Deciding which tiles to pick at what time is just as important as where to place workers, and on top of that there are buildings that can be bought and reserved much like the cards in Splendor. There is a good mix here, and it’ll be a highlight of Essen to see how well it’s received. If you’re interested in learning more about The River, be sure to check out Days of Wonder’s news post and also their product page which features the full rules in 6 languages!

Lookout Games announces NEOM, a city building game designed by Paul Sottosanti.  In NEOM, players are city planners who build the city in stages, one generation at a time.  Players must plan with an eye for the future when they plan their city.  NEOM is a tile drafting, tile placement, and simultaneous play game. Players will begin their planning with a starting city tile and an empty tableau to build their future city.  Each city will also begin with three anchor buildings that provide many benefits to the city. Each generation, players will draft tiles to place in their city, providing power, resources, services, industries, and other features every growing city needs.  Once all the tiles are drafted, player plan and place their drafted city features.  Once placed, the tile can not be moved, so the road system and feature location must be carefully considered.  Each generation, more powerful buildings and feature are available IF players have provided their city the means to build and use them.  Misfortune also awaits in the tiles, especially for those cities whose city planners did not provide sufficient emergency services.  After three generations, city planning is complete and the cities are scored.  The player with the highest score is the winner.

NEOM plays 1-5 players, ages 10+ in about 45 minutes.  Contents include 6 city boards, 150 tiles, 85 good tokens, 65 coin tokens, 1 scoring pad, and a rulebook.  The European release of NEOM is expected in October of 2018 and in North America shortly afterwards.

Lookout Games have announced a new tile-laying game called Gingerbread House, by Phil Walker-Harding (designer of Barenpark, Gizmos, and Sushi Go Party) with art by Klemens Franz (known for Agricola, Le Havre, and Clans of Caledonia). Players take the role of witches who are building gingerbread houses and are having trouble with those pesky, fairy tale creatures eating bits of it.

“Once upon a time a witch lived alone in her house in the depths of the forest. Her favorite hobby was baking yummy gingerbread; in fact, she loved gingerbread so much that she built her entire house out of it. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one who loved it! Rude fairy tale characters passing by were eating away her walls, windows, and doors! One day, the witch decided that she’d had enough of them all helping themselves and, paying attention to which types of gingerbread these greedy intruders liked the most, she came up with an idea on how to get rid of them once and for all…” [source]

Now its time for the witches to lure those creatures, capture them, then … get their opinion on which witch’s house is the best. The witches know that different fairy tale creatures like different types of gingerbread so they’re trying to get a diverse range of them lured into their houses as well as accomplishing other goals.

At the beginning of the game all players start with 15 domino-like, double tiles with two gingerbread symbols on each, as well as a house plan. Each player takes a turn placing a tile on their 3×3 house grid where placing the tile over a symbol provides gingerbread and special actions. There will also be “Joker” tiles and staircases which only occupy a single spot on the grid. Tiles may also be placed over existing tiles to form a 3D structure. Having the tallest structure, completing orders by discarding sets of gingerbread, and achieving other special conditions all grant Victory Points, which are required to win the game.

Gingerbread House is designed for 2-4 players, aged 10+, and plays in 30-45 mins. According to the announcement on the Lookout Games website its expected to release in September 2018.

Blue Orange Games has two new games that will be released at this year’s Gen Con.

First is Blue Lagoon designed by award winning game designer Reiner KniziaBlue Lagoon is a set collection games with an area control mechanic.  Players manage settlers to explore the islands, collect resources, and build villages.  Points are awarded collecting resources and colonizing the islands.

Blue Lagoon plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in 30-45 minutes.  Contents include game board, 24 wooden resources, 8 wooden statuettes, 20 wooden villages, 120 settler tokens, 1 linen bag, score pad, and rulebook.

Next, Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc have teamed up again to design Scarabya.  Scarabya is an area enclosure game with a tile placement mechanic.  Players are competing archeologist on their own dig site (player board) attempting to place tiles around the golden scarabs on their player board. Each gold scarab enclosed is worth the size of its enclosure, up to four points.  The challenge is that the tiles to create an enclosure come in different shapes, is drawn at random, and is played in order.  All the players draw and place their tiles concurrently and the game continues until the last tile is drawn and played or discarded. The player with the most points in golden scarabs at the end of the game is the winner.

Scarabya plays 1-4 players, ages 8+, in 15-20 minutes.  Contents include 4 sets of 12 tiles, 4 sets of 4 boards, 4 sets of 8 rocks, 4 frames, 72 scarab tokens, 12 mission cards, and rulebook.

Lean more about both these games at Blue Orange Games.

Mars is hot… literally. Most of the time, except for when it is really cold.  But it is also hot as a theme in boardgaming right now, and Terraforming Mars is the leading the pack. Since its release in 2016, it launched straight to the top of the BoardGameGeek rankings and has stayed there, currently sitting in the #4 position amongst all other games.  With that popularity comes expansions, and a move out and away from the surface of Mars.  Terraforming Mars: The Colonies will be the fourth explansion for the game and will expand out into the rest of the solar system to put space stations in the void and on the moons of other planets. It follows the other Terraforming Mars games and will play with 1-5 players in 2 hours. It is currently scheduled to release 2018-10-15 with no word on if or when pre-orders will be available.

 

The latest expansion for the wildly popular Carcassonne adds bridges, castles and bazaars, providing players with creative solutions to earn more points.

Many players know the frustration of broken roadways and roads to nowhere. Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars, provides players wooden bridge tokens to connect broken roadways and around obstacles.

The new castle tile enables player to turn even the smallest city into valuable real estate.  Cities with a castle score additional points from completed neighboring features.

Lastly, the new bazaar tile triggers an auction for choice tiles that players may bid their current points to try and claim the most advantageous tile for themselves.

Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars contains 12 Land Tiles, 12 Castle Tiles, and 12 Wooden Bridges and is available for pre-order now.

Iello has announced plans to release Fairy Tile by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J Gilbert in February 2018. A family weight game, Fairy Tile will allow 2-4 players 8 and up a chance to create a new story adventure in around 30 minutes. Fairy Tile will release in brick and mortar stores on February 8th and online February 22nd.

Welcome to Fairy tile, a Kingdom of magical lands where a daring Princess, a devoted Knight, and a dreadful Dragon roam looking for adventure. They need your help to discover the Kingdom! Help them move further and further to fulfill their destiny and tell their story, page after page.

 

Image From BGG

In Fairy Tile gamers will develop the Kingdom by placing land tiles into play and moving the Princess, Knight, and Dragon pieces across terrain including mountains, forests, and plains. As the Princess, Knight, and Dragon participate in various adventures players will accomplish objectives written on their Page Cards. Once objectives are complete players will read the story taking pace on the Page of their Book out loud.

Fairy Tile comes from the minds of an impressive design team and award winning artist. Designer Matthew Dunstan is known for his design work on Costa Rica, Elysium, Relic Runners and Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time. Gilbert also partnered on Costa Rica, Elysium, and Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time. Gilbert has also done work on Divinare and many other projects. Artist Miguel Coimbra brings considerable talent to the project. Most gamers will be familiar with his work on 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Imhotep, and Small World.

What’s in the Box?

Game contents include:

  • 15 Land tiles
  • 3 Character figurines
  • 36 Page cards
  • 4 Player Aid cards
  • 4 Magic tokens
  • 1 rulebook