Grail Games have announced a few games they’ll be publishing by prolific designer, Dr. Reiner Knizia.
Yellow & Yangtze
Yellow & Yangtze, the sister game to Tigris & Euphrates, will be released in 2018. The game is set in the Qin Dynasty (part of modern day China) along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. It sees the rival states of Qin, Chu, Qi, Yan Han, Whei, and Zhao battling for supremacy in 221 BC and is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Dutrait. Yellow & Yangtze supports 2-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in roughly 90 mins. The designer has improved and tweaked the game play of Tigris & Euphrates so that while Yellow & Yangtze will have a similar feel it will be its own “beast”.
Game play details according to the publisher:
In Yellow & Yangtze, players build civilizations through tile placement. Players are given five different leaders: a Governor, Soldier, Farmer, Trader, and Artisan. The leaders are used to collect victory points in these same categories. However, your score at the end of the game is the number of points in your weakest category. Conflicts arise when civilizations connect on the board. To succeed, players’ civilizations must survive these conflicts, calm peasant revolts, and grow secure enough to build prestigious pagodas. [source]
Coming in Q1 of 2018 is Criss Cross, a roll-and-write game illustrated by Heiko Günther. This is a custom dice game played over 12 rounds where 2 dice are rolled, and players write the symbols in adjacent squares on their scoring sheet. Groups of symbols in columns and rows score points. While all players share the dice symbols the placement of these will vary across players. Criss Cross supports 1-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 10 mins.
In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. They can invest in railway lines, transport passengers, build up local industries, and compete for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron. Illustrations are by Ian O’Toole.
On September 15, 1830, the age of the railroad began with the opening of the first line between Liverpool and Manchester. The locomotive that ruled those rails was George Stephenson’s Rocket. With a top speed of 45km/h (28mph) Rocket, was the most advanced engine of the day, and its arrival marked the beginning of the modern railway. [source]
Stephenson’s Rocket supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays between 60 and 90 mins.
In King’s Road, players are nobles attempting to gain power and influence in the king’s provinces. As the king travels along the road in his provinces, he will allow the most influential noble in each region to govern in his stead. Over time the most favored noble will win the game.
King’s Road is an area-majority game. Each player has identical decks of eleven cards. On a turn, players simultaneously select the three cards they will play, and in what order. To win, players not only have to influence the king as he traverses the land, but attempt to read the minds of their opponents.
King’s Road re-implements the game Imperium, previously only available within game compendiums. [source]
This game is also illustrated by the great, Vincent Dutrait and supports 2-5 players, aged 10+. Game play length is around 30 mins. King’s Road is currently available at retailers.
Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road
Unlike the prior games in this list, this one is not designed by Dr. Knizia but by Gerhard Hecht with art by Franz Vohwinkel. The core mechanism will be “open deck-building” with players trading spices along the Silk Road from Asia to Europe. The game supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays in roughly 45 mins.
According to the publisher, the game plays as follows:
In the beginning, each caravan consists of three cards that are spread out vertically so that the top part of each card is visible; each card stands for a caravan member with different abilities.
On his turn, a player performs only one action, choosing one of the cards on top of the three caravans and executing one action shown on that card. Then the card is put at the back of its caravan. To use the same caravan member again, a player must first use all the other cards on top of that caravan row. [source]
Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road will release in Q2 of 2018.
While there have been a number of good pirate themed games in recent years there simply isn’t enough of them for fans of the genre. Treasure Island, by Matagot, would be a welcome addition.
“Treasure Island is a game of bluffing and adventure in which one player embodies Long John, trying to mislead the others in their search for his treasure. The hunt reaches its climax with Long John’s escape, when he will make a final run to get the booty for himself!”
Designed by Marc Paquien (of Yamatai fame) and illustrated by Vincent Dutrait (known for Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, Broom Service), the game will support 2 to 6 players. Each 45-minute game involves exploration of the island and deception. Some players play as Long John Silver‘s crew who have committed mutiny while another player acts as Long John Silver himself who directs (or misdirects?) the other players to his treasure. Round after round, players question Long John Silver while he tries to escape their clutches. The game reaches its climax when Long John Silver tries to escape his crew and make a run with his treasure.
Currently, there are no details regarding the game’s release, but we expect more news soon.
If you’re interested in history, set-collection, captivating artwork, and a unique hand-management experience, you may want to check out Museum – now seeking funding on Kickstarter. Designed by Olivier Melison and Eric Dubus, Museum approaches a simple, elegant design with high production value and layers of player conflict and depth to keep choices fresh and interesting. The exceptional Vincent Dutrait has outdone himself, having illustrated over 180 beautiful artifacts from history that players will be pondering over as they curate their own museums of antiquity. Players will be gathering artifacts from the corners of the world and being careful to choose which to display, as opponents nip at each other heels for the items in storage and public opinion can change the value of the more precious stash. As described on the campaign page:
“Museum’s rules are easy to learn, making it an ideal game for families and younger players. However, it also contains some subtle nuances that more veteran gamers will be able to challenge themselves with.”
The set-collection and end game scoring of Museum are impressively simple, but it doesn’t take long to find that the real draw of the game comes from the player interaction rather than the goal. From the start, players are drafting cards, denying options from one another, while having to be careful not to open up new opportunities inadvertently. The only cards that are safe are in a players display or in their hand, as all cards in the discard are available for purchase as well. This adds a twist to the colloquially known “rest action”, making it not just a means of pacing and collecting yourself, but it also allows you to block other players from accessing previously discarded cards. This, along with the shifting market and public information, creates a deeply tense social experience.
Museum has a carefully crafted touch to it which shows through in more ways than one – the rules (which can be found on the Kickstarter page) are very clean and concise, the graphic design is top-notch, and the amount of extra content on offer is also praise-worthy. Judging squarely on what’s presented, the hand-management reminds me of games like San Juan, having to be careful how to buy cards and with what, mixed with a simple structure and tension like the more recent Century: Spice Road. All of this makes a game that I’m certainly going to keep my eye on after this article is published. If you are also interested in Museum, be sure to check out their campaign page for all the information and announcements.
Pretty sure my own wallet takes a kick whenever I do these posts, but then again, that just shows that there are lots of interesting projects out there to back. So here are some more for you to look at.
Fist up is a new game from Ludicreations that tries to tell the forgotten story of what happened during the destruction of the libraries at Alexandria. Alexandria is a euro game where you most precious resource is time, as the library is burning down around you and you need to get the most valuable treasures before they are lost forever. Each setup of the game is different with a randomly generated layout, and as you move from one room to the other you will be interacting and reacting to things that are there. You will have to plan your moves wisely, budget your time well, and make use of various items and books you obtain to secure what you seek. In the end you will score based on the sets of items you were able to rescue and the person with the most points is the winner. You can find out more about this game on it’s Kickstarter page, and also look at the wonderful illustrations done for it by the talented Vincent Dutrait.
Next is the latest game from Tim Fowers called Now Boarding. For those of us who have played game apps like Airport Mania, this game will feel very similar as it’s a race against time for you and your fellow pilots to fly people to their destinations. On a turn there will be new passengers who have places they need to be, and in order to get them there you will have to work together since each player owns certain air travel lanes on the board. Once the round starts you have 30 seconds to pick up passengers and drop their off as quickly as you can, any that don’t make it gain anger tokens. Once a passenger gets three anger tokens they are removed from the game and file a complaint, three complaints and everyone loses. Manage to avoid getting that third complaint and you all win! With a fast play time and great art, this filler game could hit the table multiple times. To find out more about the game and to pledge, you can visit their Kickstarter page.
After that we have the latest in the long line of werewolf themed social deduction games from Bezier Games called Werebeasts. So what makes this game different than the 50 other Werewolf style games? Well for one this one is a social deduction collection game, this means you are trying to figure out what people are collecting over identifying any specific individual. Each round you will be bidding for cards with one player being the auctioneer, and the rest bidding with whatever cards they have. The auctioneer gets to determine what they consider a higher bid and the highest bidder gets the card. You can accuse someone at any time on what they are collecting, but if you are wrong then you are eliminated instead. But why are you collecting cards? Each person has two goals on werebeasts they want to collect, and each one they collect is worth a point. At the end, the last one standing or most points at the end is the winner. So if you are in the mood for another social deduction game, check out the Kickstarter.
Next is a beautiful drafting card game from Dr. Finn Games called Little Flower Shop. In this game you are the owner of a flower shop trying to arrange that most beautiful flowers in your store window. To do this you will be drafting cards, with cards having vases, flowers, hanging baskets, or orders that you can fill. Each vase has a specific flower that needs to be placed in it, and if you manage to but them together then you can score that set at the end of the game. You can also earn points by buying the hanging baskets you draft with money you earn by fulfilling orders with different flowers. At the end whoever has the most points will be the winner of the game. Art for the game has a nice watercolor style to it and the gameplay is simple but fun. If this game sounds interesting then check out it’s Kickstarter page.
Up next is or token dice project of the week, and that is Deluxe Constellation Dice. These dice are a little pricey, but they are high quality and feature sides with different astrological symbols like Cassiopeia or Corona Borealis. The dice also feature some impressive coloring and even some glow in the dark features. Over all if you like dice with a star theme then you want to check out this Kickstarter. You can pledge for D10s, D6s, fudge dice, and even full poly sets at the higher tiers.
Next is an expansion for a game that hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz, but has excellent reviews, and that is The Networks: Executives. The Networks is a previous game that was Kickstarted by Formal Ferret Games and has you playing the programming manager for a fictional TV station. You populate your prime time lineup with shows, stars, and commercials in order to bring in the most viewers. Executives expands on that game by adding three new features to the game. First are Executives, those are essentially characters you choose to play as that have different special abilities and weaknesses. Next are more season 0 shows, giving you an asymmetrical start with different benefits as opposed to the generic same start that the base game had. And last it adds in Mogul cards which give you big bonuses when you achieve a programming milestone, giving something to work towards in that respect. These additions help to expand the game more and smooth out some rough spots in the game. If you want to get a copy of the expansion or the base game, check out the Kickstarter today.
Last is kind of a wild card game which came out of no where, and that is The Island of El Dorado. This game looks like a mix of Catan and an exploration game. On your turn you will roll two dice, you will pick one die to determine how many spaces you can move, and the other die will determine how many resources you gather. Moving is how you explore and reveal the tiles of the board, and when you gather resources you will gather them from areas you have built up or are present. With those resources you can then purchase more villagers, build forts to strengthen your villagers, build farms to gather more resources, or make offerings at temples to gain control of them. The strength of your villagers comes into play when you are moving across the board and another player is in your way. You can battle them, rolling dice and adding your strength to it to see who wins. This is also the way you can steal the final temple piece that is needed to win the game. In the end, whoever has made offerings at the three temples, and has control of temple piece wins the game. So if you like these kinds of mashup type games with lots of different mechanics, while still working well as a whole, check out the Kickstarter today.
QST Tabetop Subscription Box is a really interesting new project just launched on Kickstarter. QST aims to deliver a brand new board game each month, created as a collaboration between a famous concept creator, board game designer, and artist. What makes this project special is the amazing caliber of the personalities already lined up. Get ready for a long impressive list.
The Concept people include Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty), Nolan Bushnell (Remember Atari and Chuck E. Cheese), R. A. Salvatore (Sci Fi Author), Kevin Eastman (Heroes in a half shell), and many others.
Board Game Designers include Richard Borg (Liar’s Dice, Memoir ’44), Bruno Faidutti (Citadels, Mission Red Planet), Bruno Cathala (Shadows Over Camelot, Cyclades), James Ernest (Kill Dr Lucky), Seiji Kanai (Love Letter), just to name a few.
The artist list is no slouch either, with huge names from various field, such as Vincent Dutrait, Mihajlo Dimitrovski, and Marvel artist Walt Simonson.
The first game from QST will be Foreclosure: Dungeon Masters Tavern, by Cory Jones (Co-Founder of Cryptozooic), Matt Hyra (Adventure Time Card Wars) and Robb Mommaerts (Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis). In Foreclosure, the boss monsters have sought legal counsel and sued the dungeon masters over loss of treasure. Having won, they are now collecting on the loot from the Dungeon Masters Tavern, driven into foreclosure. 2-4 players take on the roles of varied monsters in a blind bidding game in an attempt to gather the most loot.
The Kickstarter Campaign will run through September 29, and is expected to start shipping in March 2018. Check out the complete list of people involved here.
Van Ryder Games has listed several projects they are working on for 2017-2018.
Detective: City of Angels is a new big box noir style detective game set in Los Angeles in the 1940s. Players compete to solve crimes in this board game designed by Evan Derrick (Dark Moon) with art by Vincent Dutrait. Detective: CoA will be a Kickstarter project with a launch estimate of Summer/Fall 2017.
Saloon Tycoon will be getting an expansion via Kickstarter in Spring 2017. The Ranch Expansion adds a new player board, tiles, animals, and new characters.
Hostage Negotiator is getting Abductor Pack #8, designed by the lead play tester of Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave, Mike Martins. Abductor Pack #8 is expected to release at GenCon.
The Big Score will have players completing small heists to build up to the biggest heist of them all. This new heist game by Chase Williams and Jason Mowery uses drafting and push your luck mechanisms, and is expected to start on Kickstarter in 2017.
Grail Games has started a Kickstarter campaign for King’s Road, a re-implementation of the difficult to find game Imperium, a light area control card driven game from designer Reiner Knizia with art from Vincent Dutrait.
In King’s Road, 2-5 players each have an identical hand of 11 cards. Players each play three cards face down dictating their next 3 moves in order. If the cards show a region, the players place one control marker of their color in the denoted area. Special cards include the Knight, which allows players to place an additional control marker, the Dragon, which increases the number of areas which score, and the Wizard, which allows the player to pick up and re-select some of their cards. After card play, the area where the King pawn resides is scored, and the King then moves to the next area numerically. Areas score according to their banner, with the highest points going to the player with the most control markers. The Kickstarter campaign for King’s Road will continue through March 23, and is expected to deliver in August of 2017.
Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced the latest iteration of Love Letter, Lovecraft Letter, featuring excellent art by Vincent Dutrait and Kouji Ogata. There are no princesses in this Cthulhu Mythos inspired game – instead you are trying to eliminate your rivals and understand the cosmic horrors that exist just outside our “reality”. Watch as madness consumes your enemies, or take the initiative and remove them yourself.
Read more about Lovecraft Letter here.
It is a sad fact of business that not all of them will succeed, and unfortunately the dark specter of failure is looming on Crash Games. For various reasons Crash Games is in a financial tight spot right now and so they are turning to the board game community to help them out. With this final Kickstarter they are hoping to raise the needed money to be able to pay their game designers and their manufacturer what they are owed. So if you are interested in either of the below games, or just want to help, I highly recommend you go to the campaign page and pledge your support. But enough of the doom and gloom, lets get to the games.
The first of the two games being offered is Backyard Builders Treehouse, a drafting game all about building the best treehouse possible. On your turn you have a hand of five cards, you will pick a card to add to you treehouse and then pass the cards. The next player will draw a card to bring the hand back up to five and do the same, continuing around until the end of the round. As for placing cards in your treehouse, whenever you want to place a new card you have to match the top value of the previous card to be able to add it. And that’s it, you go around until you reach a set height based on the number of players and then add up the point totals on the cards. One thing that makes it not a pick the highest card affair is that you get bonus points for having a run of the same color, thus giving you some options when picking cards. Also of note is that the art is done by Vincent Dutrait so you know it will look stunning.
The second game being offered is the set collecting, fishing game called Fish Frenzy. In the game you will be bidding on different boats in order to collect the fish cards below them to get majorities in the different fish types. However, if you want to get the fish from a boat that is already occupied, you will have to give up some fish tokens in order to bump the other player out. You will bid back and forth between the person already there until someone comes out on top, at which point the loser moves away, leaving their bid fish tokens behind. At the end of the round all bid fish tokens go away, so not too many bid wars are going to break out. Once everyone has placed you can either collect all the fish for end game scoring, or you can eat the fish getting you back some of those precious fish tokens. After adding two cards to each boat the next round begins again. At the end you will get 3 points for each fish type you have the most of, and 1 point for the ones you have the second most of, most points at the end is the winner.
Rising 5 is a cooperative, exploration/puzzle board game from Holy Grail Games and designed by Gary Kim and Evan Song. Following the example of others, such as Mansions of Madness and XCOM: The Board Game,Rising 5 will be supported by a digital app.
“Players can explore the planet to collect energy or clues and to fight against evil monsters. When players try to unlock the code, the App or the game master will give signs that lead to right code. If players successfully find the code, they win; if the Darkness Level reaches the Red Moon because of the evil monsters or if the Character card deck is exhausted, the players lose the game.”
The game is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Dutrait. There’s an extensive video, located here (in French but subtitled in English), that discusses not only his career progress but his inspirations behind Rising 5. You can watch a video play-through of the game here.
To learn more about the campaign, as well as help support it, you can visit the Kickstarter page here.
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