Vincent Dutrait

Update: Originally this article reported that this International Edition would be an improved version of the original available everywhere. This is not the case, as told by Ravensburger the International Edition will be it’s own product under the new name El Dorado distributed only in regions outside of Ravensburger’s current reach. This has been corrected below.

Prolific and renowned designer Dr. Reiner Knizia announced via twitter that his hit deck-building design, The Quest for El Dorado, will be getting an International Edition. It will be distributed under the new name El Dorado later this year in regions Ravensburger does not currently serve and will have all new art by Vincent Dutrait featured on large format cards. Understandably there were many concerns about whether this would cause compatibility issues with future expansions and those concerns were quickly addressed. The new International Edition will stand apart from the English version of the game and will not interfere with expansion content that is still planned for release from Ravensburger. As tweeted by Ravensburger:

“This international edition of the base game will not be published by Ravensburger, but by other publishers selling into areas we do not cover. Future Ravensburger expansions will be compatible with the Ravensburger base game.”

The Quest for El Dorado is a deck-building racing game where 2-to-4 adventurers cut through thick, unexplored jungle to reach the legendary city. Each turn players will buy more cards that will help their deck run more efficiently, make travel across specific terrain types easier, or help with buying even better cards. The game made such a splash when it released in 2017 that it already has one expansion, adding heroes and hexes, and there’s a standalone expansion is on the way. It’s easy to see, from the pedigree and it’s following, why El Dorado deserves wider distribution and it will be awesome to see this on shelves in many more countries by the end of the year.

Set in another dimension filled with alien life, Darwinauts, designed by Chris Bryan (Lanterns Dice Game, Favelas, and Dragon Ball Z: Perfect Cell) and illustrated by the prolific Vincent Dutrait, puts you and up to 3 other players in the role of brave researchers tasked with venturing through a portal into this new land to discover, research, and record new species of life.

In Darwinauts, which the publisher describes as a “light-to-medium weight Euro-style game of tile-laying, worker placement, set collection, and action selection,” players take 2 actions on their turn; they can place an explorer, place a tile, replenish tiles and remove explorers, discover a species, or record a species (which then triggers one of five possible bonus actions). Gameplay will continue in this manner until The Rift Tile is revealed, after which the new world will become unstable and players will dismantle the landscape they built and race to complete their tasks and return home before the game draws to a close.

The campaign includes a Standard Explorer pledge which includes just the game and stretch goals, as well as a Decorated Explorer pledge which includes a playmat in addition to the game and stretch goals.

For more information on the game, you can find the official Kickstarter campaign page here.

Pencil First Games has announced The One Hundred Torii, a new Kickstarter project from designers Scott Caputo (Whistle Stop) and Eduardo Baraf (Herbaceous), with artist extraordinaire Vincent Dutrait (Treasure Island, New York 1901 and many, many others). The One Hundred Torii is a zen tile laying game, where 1-4 players take turns adding to an ever expanding garden, calling for help from the characters living therein, and scoring for paths between matching landmarks.

“Step into tranquility as you pass through the torii gates, traveling from fountains to flowers to shrines while meeting vendors, poets, and even samurai along the way… “

On their turn, the players take one tile from their hand of 2, and expand the garden. Every tile piece has paths and at least one of the 6 features – Lotus, Bridges, Lanterns, Water Basins, Inari Statues, or Sekimori Ishi (stone features). If a continuous path is created between two matching features, the player scores a landmark token for that feature. If multiple paths are created, the player only scores for the shortest one. If the path passes through one or more Torii gates, bonus tiles are earned; Red Torii give the player multiple matching tokens for the feature, while blue Torii earn tokens for other, different features. When a player earns 5 of the same token, they must be cashed in for a larger 5-point piece. Similarly, 5 more tokens create a 10-point piece. Fully isolated areas of the garden with 2 or more features score special Enclosure Tokens. Other achievements are earned for being the first player to earn all six 5-point tokens, or three of the 10-point tokens.

Another important aspect of the game is the ability to ask for help from one of the five characters who live in the garden. Characters cost coins, or single tokens, but never the larger 5- and 10-point pieces. The Samurai prevents players from placing a tile in a specific location. The Poet covers a single feature, preventing it from completing pathways, or possibly allowing for longer pathways. Both the Samurai and the Poet stay out until another player asks for their help. The Vendor allows players to discard a tile from their hand, and replace it with 2 new ones. The Geisha lets a player place 2 tiles into the garden, although only the second tile scores for a path. Finally, the Gardener allows a player to place a tile on top of another tile. The first and second time a player summons a character, they collect that characters’ token, earning 2 points. However only one player may collect the points for summoning a character for a third time.

At the end of the game, the 5- and 10- point tiles score their points, as well as tiles earned from working with the characters, tiles from creating enclosures, and achievements for being first to earn the larger tokens. The One Hundred Torii also comes with a single player mode, where the player battles against Onatsu, the pilgrim. Onatsu takes the player’s unused tiles, and scores her own points throughout the game.

The Kickstarter Campaign for The One Hundred Torii continues through June 10, and the game is expected to deliver in April 2020.

Pearl Games has announced Solenia, a new resource collection, pick up and deliver game from renowned designer Sébastien Dujardin (Deus, Troyes) and artist extraordinaire Vincent Dutrait. Solenia takes place in an interesting world that has lost its day-night cycle, plunging the northern regions into eternal darkness, and the southern land into an endless daylight. The Day People down south have a demand for stone and water, while the Night People require wood and wheat to survive. The board is composed of 5 strips of square spaces creating the day/night world, an airship miniature is placed on the middle space of the middle strip, while each of 1-4 players receives a deck of 16 cards with number values 0-2. Players take turns placing one card from their hand of 3 on the board each turn, on an empty space either next to an existing card they previously played, or next to the airship, although extra resources can be spent to distance the card further away. If the space contains a Production Island, the player gains the matching resource (wood/wheat/stone/water) in a quantity equal to the card played, although players can only hold 8 resources. If the space has a City, the player can fulfill an order for that city. Tiles for Day and Night Cities sit beside the board, and having fulfilled the requirements, the player collects the tile and earns gold stars equal to the value of the card played. Value 0 cards cause the airship to move around the board. The game ends after all 16 cards have been played, at which point players earn bonus stars for pairs of Day/Night city tiles and leftover resources, then the player with the most gold stars wins. Look for Solenia in the US in January 2019, and for more information, check out the Solenia web page at Pearl Games.

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]

Criss Cross

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.

Stephenson’s Rocket

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.

King’s Road

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.