Tom Lehmann

Now on Kickstarter is a new, updated edition of Tom Lehmann’s The City, in English for the first time.

This 2-5 player simultaneous play game plays in 20-30 minutes as players act as rival builders competing to build the best city made up of homes, airports, malls, etc. and score the most victory points. A new card, The Factory, adds a new strategy, and 5 new cards have been added, as well as victory point tokens for better scoring.

Exclusively for Kickstarter, backers will also receive a free bonus expansion not in the retail version, that adds 33 more cards and expands the game to 6 players.

You can find out more about the Kickstarter here

A second expansion is finally coming for the fantastic 2014 dice management game, Roll for the Galaxy (BGG #65), and it is a massive one. Roll for the Galaxy: Rivalry from designers Wei-Hwa Huang and Thomas Lehmann contains 3 full expansions in one box, expanding and changing multiple aspects of this already great game. Firstly, Rivalry adds pieces, and lots of them – 60+ new dice, start factions, home worlds, a new die type, and many new game tiles. In fact, Rivalry contains twice the tiles included in the 2015 expansion Ambition.

Rivalry also adds a new “Deal Game” mode, where fundamental aspects of the game are up for trade. Seven deal dice are rolled each turn to see what aspects are negotiable. You can trade surplus tiles for more space on your money track, extra tile draws for losing citizenry dice, or convert citizenry dice into developers or settlers. The possibilities to manipulate almost all restraints on game play are enormous. But these large deals take time to mature, and as the deals change turn to turn, deals can turn sour, and other players may want to take advantage or destroy what you worked hard to start.

Finally the new “Orb Game” adds an Alien Orb die type with interchangeable faces, along the lines of Rattlebones or Dice Forge. Players can buy new faces by assigning “Researcher” dice, using a progressive tech tree to constantly improve their orbs. At the end of the game, the faces are worth points, depending how advanced they are along the tree. Die faces include discounts on development dice, settler dice, and several other options.

Rivals includes brand new player screens, printed with new rules and game modes for handy reference. For more information, you can read the announcement from Rio Grande Games here.

Eagle-Gryphon Games has started a new Kickstarter Campaign for the reprint of Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age (2014), the followup to Matt Leacock‘s Spiel nominated Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age (2008). The Bronze Age had some pretty big shoes to fill for a followup, and The Iron Age did not disappoint, being designed by heavyweight Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy). Roll Through the Ages is a roll and write game, where 1-4 players roll custom dice, yahtzee style, and fill in spaces on their score pad for points. This new edition of the game comes in a more compact box, with wooden peg boards with pegs, 6 custom Empire dice, 1 Fate Die, and the previous Mediterranean expansion has been fully integrated into the score sheet. The Kickstarter Campaign also includes “personal stretch goals” – backers can receive free games, such as Dead Man’s Chest or SIXeS, depending upon how much they end up pledging to the project.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age continues through January 2, and the game is expected to deliver in February 2019.

In all professions, networking with your peers is always a good practice to help get your foot in the door to new places and to improve your skill whether it be coding, engineering, or designing board games.  So Geoff Engelstein, Tim Fowers, and Jeff Beck has decided to launch a new board game design retreat called Tabletop Network.  This will be a two day retreat out in the relaxing Snowbird mountain resort near Salt Lake City, Utah starting on Friday June 8th.

There will be lots of people presenting including Rob Daviau, Ryan Laukat, Tom Lehmann, Geoff Engelstein, Stone Librande, Tim Fowers, and more.  Some of the subjects that will be discussed will be engagement, balance, and emerging trends in board games.  Also, while there will some time set aside for playing games, this conference is meant to be about learning together and sharing ideas to improve everyone’s board game design skills, so you might want to leave the prototype at home.

In order to fund this trip they are using Kickstarter for selling the tickets.  To attend in person a physical ticket will run you $295, while a virtual pass where you can watch all the panels and talks online will run you $55.  So if you are itching to rev up your game designing engine, this retreat may be just the jump start you need.

roll for the galaxy

For those who enjoy Roll For the Galaxy you can look forward to tis first expansion “Ambition” to be released this fall.  It was up in the air until now whether an expansion would be released.  In January game designer Tom Lehmann posted the following in a thread on boardgamegeek about the possibility of an expansion.

Ultimately, this is up to the publisher, RGG. The tentative plan was that the card game would have expansions while Roll and [redacted] wouldn’t have them. This could change, of course. Both Wei-Hwa and I have ideas that we could run with. RGG will see how Roll does in the marketplace. We’ll also have to look at the future Race products in the production pipeline and make sure that we don’t saturate the market.

I’m sure Jay, Wei-Hwa, and I will discuss this further at the Gathering this year (in April). By then, we should have some solid sales data.

Even though the Gathering of Friends has not occurred yet it is obvious that the sales of RFtG justified at least one expansion.  Jay Tummelson Owner of Rio Grande Games the publisher posted the following later in the thread.

Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition, the first expansion to Roll for the Galaxy, will be coming this fall. New factions, new dice, new tiles, and more! Further details to be revealed this summer.

As always we will keep you posted as more information becomes available on this title.

Tom Lehmann co-designer of Pandemic State of Emergency with Matt Leacock has detailed some of the things you will see coming with the upcoming expansion.  This expansion promises to be one that can make life both easier and harder.  With challenges like a superbug which is extremely hard to kill of and advantages like being able to quarantine a city so that the worst of a disease can’t spread out with its cascading effects.

In addition to the superbug and the quarantines they have also created a new variant using animal diseases which have an off map add on which should complicate things yet that much more.  Or better yet having cards coming up that will do nasty things like take away cards from you, push the infection track up, or infect cities extra in a turn.  Even worse some of these cards will have a lasting effect that won’t go away until the next time you get awful news by a new one popping up.

For all of the infectious detail head over to the blog post here.


Bezier Games has announced their latest title “Favor of the Pharaoh.  This reimagining of the game “To Court the King” by designer Tom Lehmann expands upon the original game play making for a more varied game.  Centered around moving up the social ladder in ancient Egypt this game is all about strategically working your prowess to outwit your oponents.

Designed for 2-4 players and taking about 45 minutes this should be a nice medium length game.  In addition it is heavily dice dependent which may influence how much you enjoy this game.  This game also appears to be on e that will have the great standup dice roll moments on a semi-regular basis which is not necessarily something you see in this length of a game.

Publishers description below

In “Favor of the Pharaoh” (2-4 players, 45 minutes) from Bezier Games, Inc., players roll dice to advance in Egyptian society, each turn gaining a new contact and more influence. These contacts give players more dice to roll or special powers to adjust those dice. The game culminates in a tense final roll-off as players vie for the Pharaoh’s favor.

This re-imagining of Tom Lehmann’s earlier game “To Court the King” boasts over 50 different characters, each of whom has a unique ability. In each game, only 21 of those characters are used, increasing variety and replay value. Also new are 6 different custom dice with special abilities, special Immediate dice, and bonus tokens that are used to tweak players’ rolls.


More than 100 sturdy tiles depict the characters with easy-to-read imagery. Double-sided level bars organize them and vary their claiming requirements from game to game, while pyramid-shaped dice frames hold players’ locked dice. For the final roll-off, notched slots mark the high roll, while the current leader holds the wooden Pharaoh token.

To store everything, the game comes in a big box (Ticket to Ride size) with an insert. Re-developed and expanded by Ted Alspach and Tom Lehmann, Bezier Games, Inc. will be publishing “Favor of the Pharaoh” at Essen 2015.



race for the galaxy

Game designer Tom Lehmann posted information about an upcoming Race for the Galaxy expansion from Rio Grande Games.

Xeno Invasion is the 3rd RFTG arc. Like AA, it is a single expansion that works with just the base set.

RFTG:XI depicts the galaxy under attack by waves of violently xenophobic aliens, dubbed the Xenos. XI adds Xeno military worlds (worlds conquered and occupied by them), specific military vs. Xenos, and a new keyword, ANTI-XENO.

While AA can be played by those new to RFTG, XI is aimed at intermediate players.

RFTG:XI has 51 game cards (our largest expansion yet) that you can just add to the base set and start playing. XI also offers an optional Invasion Game, with Produce: Repair and invasion cards, a repulse track, bunkers, and various counters.

The Invasion game adds 2 new ways the game can end: by either repulsing or falling to the Xenos. In Produce, players can repair damaged worlds and donate goods to the war effort (earning VPs). This makes Produce far more interesting. Players can also earn VP awards by defeating their share of the Xeno attackers and having the highest military vs Xenos, while they lose the use of damaged worlds that they fail to defend (until they are repaired).

The Xeno attacks take place at the end of each round, starting with round 3, and typically take less than 30 seconds to resolve, so that players can immediately return to selecting their actions for the next round.

To provide a good proportion of the new Xeno worlds, keyword, and powers, XI is not compatible with the other expansion arcs. The ability to add new keywords and play concepts allows me to depict new stories without them becoming lost due to dilution or turning into complete luck-fests.

RFTG:XI went into final testing late last fall. We adjusted one mechanic that testers found awkward, tweaked a couple of cards, and turned in it a few months later. We then spent over a month working out what the Xenos would actually look like with the art team — there are so many war-like aliens in movies, books, and computer games that it is hard to come up with a good visual concept that works and is sufficiently different!

I’ve oked sketches for roughly half the cards so far. The illustrators are hard at work turning those sketches into finished artwork and preparing new sketches.

After that, we have layout and proofing, then it goes to our foreign partners for translation, and then printing/production/shipping. Each of those steps takes 1-2 months, depending on the artists’ other projects, speed of translations, printer schedules, and Europe’s long vacations. So, we’re looking at probably 6-8 months before it comes out. Ideally, we’ll make Xmas 2014 in the US, but we’ll see. As Jay says, it will be ready when it’s ready…