Terra Mysticais easily one of the biggest and highest rated Eurogames of all time, having inspired a space-themed spin-off in Gaia Project. Yet it has not stopped growing as this Fall we’ll be seeing another expansion for this 2-to-5 player territory terraformin’ game. Merchants of the Seas brings shipyards, Markets, and new maps to the multitude of factions vying for control – even the ones introduced in previous expansions! You’ll be able to send out ships to take special shipping actions, or perhaps play one of the few races that prefers to not get their feet wet and instead try to manipulate trade with other structures. All this can be played independently or combined with previous expansion content, meaning you’ll be able to make the as complex and intricate as your table can handle.
“Merchants of the Seas expands on the hit terraforming gameplay of Terra Mystica. Develop your faction’s nautical strategy, stake a claim on distant lands, or focus on the benefits of trade. Plus, a double-sided board and over 30 tiles add countless new avenues to victory.”
There are two main goals with this expansion that should not be overlooked by the promise of added rules – strategic flexibility and balancing. Ships and trading allow for a wide variety of action potential that is, for the most part, independent on your current standing in a game – have water, will travel. Both ships and trading have ways to give you access to distant or action efficient terraforming and building options, making it harder to be built into a corner and opening new tactical decisions to boot. The new maps offer tons of replay potential and include new starting scores for each faction for all the maps that exist, balancing the game no matter how the landscape falls. If you’re interested in Terra Mystica or Merchants of the Seas, check out Z-Man’s website for more rules, images, and preorder information through them or your favorite local retailer.
Z-Man games announced a new category of games, an official “Pandemic System” category. This term will represent any game that has, at it’s core, the Pandemic engine.
This comes as a result of confusion that was discovered to surround the Pandemic Survival World Championships. There seemed to be questions that would continuously be raised about what comprised the competition such as what games would be played, the meaning behind the term “Survival’ and why certain themed games were used and others not.
“With all of that in mind, I’m excited to announce that we’re defining a new category of Pandemic games. Going forward, games whose foundations are rooted in Pandemic’s gameplay will be known as Pandemic System games. We want players to know that the engine under the hood is based on Matt Leacock’s award-winning co-op mechanics, while the setting—be it historical or fantastical—allows us to adapt gameplay to create a more nuanced, thematic experience. “
Head over to Z-Man Games’ web site for more info regarding the future of the Survial Games series.
“Pandemic: Rapid Response is a race against time. Set in the
beloved Pandemic universe, this real-time board game challenges players to
create supplies and deliver aid to cities in need around the world.”
In Rapid Response, players work cooperatively to fly their rescue
plane to troubled cities, and drop the supplies they require. The board
represents rooms within the plane, each of which specializes in a task –
generating supplies, dealing with generated waste, or controlling the cargo bay
in order to make the drop. Around the outside of the board is a track of
cities, with a token marking the plane’s current location. City cards sit on
this track and show what cargo is needed where.
Everything takes place in real time, and players take turns rolling custom dice, Yahtzee-style, with 3 rerolls allowed. One die of any face can be discarded to move the player’s marker one room within the plane. Airplane symbols on dice can move the rescue plane itself one city in either direction around the board. The rest of the die faces can be placed on matching boxes in a player’s room to generate that type of supply – either vaccines, food, power, first aid, or water. Once a resource track is filled with enough dice, players need to activate that room to generate resource cubes into the cargo bay. But making cargo creates waste, and dice need to be placed in the recycling center to reduce the buildup. Finally, activating the cargo bay delivers cubes therein, and as long as the plane is in the right city and the correct cubes are in the cargo bay, that city card is cleared. Remember, all of these actions are done during a 2-minute sand timer: When the timer runs out, a new city card is placed on the route, one time token is discarded, then the timer is flipped and the insanity continues. Players all win if all the city cards are cleared using their required resources, but lose if time tokens run out, or the plane becomes overwhelmed with waste.
Z-Man Games has announced the 2019 season of Pandemic Survival. Survival takes the classic game, but standardizes the roles played, the initial infected cities, the player deck and the infections deck. This means that each and every game session of the 2019 season will start at the same place, allowing for fair tournament play. This is the 5th year Z-Man has organized Pandemic Survival, and once again players can compete for prizes and the elusive Pandemic Survival World Championship. The ultimate champion will win a trip to any city on the Pandemic board.
Pandemic (2008) by Matt Leacock is the poster child for all great cooperative games, dominating “best of” lists, sitting in BordGameGeek’s top 100, and collecting more awards than one can count. In this classic game, players act to stem the four diseases taking over cities all over the globe, as more and more infections relentlessly appear. Players take on specific roles, such as Medic, Scientist or Operations Expert, each with a special ability. The evil infections deck denotes which cities gain infection cubes each round, and cities with 4 or more cubes will “explode” into neighboring areas, quickly taking down the whole map. Players win or lose as a team by either allowing the world to succumb to infection, or curing all 4 diseases.
There are a few changes in this year’s competition – players must bring their own copy of the original base game, however the card decks will be pre-stacked and sorted, allowing for quicker setup, and “ease of assembly”. For more details, rules for this unique style of tournament play, and the schedule of games, check out Z-Man’s press release here.
The “Choose Your Own Adventures” book series is a hybrid
between the beloved Choose Your Own Adventure books popular in the 80s and 90s,
and a traditional board game. In this iteration, players must lead the Rapid
Force Crew around the galaxy, looking for clues to track down the Evil Power
Master and stop him before he unleashes destruction.
For centuries, the Lacoonian System, an alliance of the most advanced civilizations in the galaxy, has lived in peace. But now the Evil Power Master has returned and is leading a destructive rebellion.
There are nine locations in the Lacoonian System where the Evil Power Master could be hiding and players must navigate the stars to find him. By traveling the galaxy and tracking clues, your team can eventually use the clues to boost your signal, and discover his whereabouts. But beware! The Evil Power Master will throw many dangerous challenges your way as you try to stop him.
In the box
154 Story Cards
158 DATA Cards
9Start Item Cards
4 Character Cards
1 Game Board
2 Tracking Cubes
9 Signal Booster Discs
Choose Your Own Adventure game series: War With the Evil
Power Master is for 1-8 players, ages 10+. It is designed by Prospero Hall and
plays in about an hour. Watch the Dice
Tower coverage of the previous game in the series.
The award winning card game Love Letter (2012), by designer Seiji Kanai, has been the poster child and gold standard for the burgeoning genre of microgames. With only 20 cards, Love Letter is easy to teach, easy to carry and can fill just a few minutes of gaming satisfaction anywhere, anytime. Now Z-Man Games has announced a new version of this classic, which includes two new character cards to shake up game play. The Chancellor (#6) allows players to draw multiple cards, keeping one and placing some on the bottom of the deck.
Did you find yourself constantly asking who was still in the round? Now you won’t have to worry about that! Once a player is knocked out of the round, they’ll flip over the character reference card to reveal a broken wax seal. A quick glance around the table will tell you who is still in the round and whose letter didn’t quite make it.
The Spy (#0) gives players a more valuable win for a round, that is if no other players have also played the Spy. This new edition also includes handy reference cards that flip to reveal a broken wax seal, when a player is eliminated from a round. For more details and pictures, check out the story from Z-Man here.
Z-Man Games has announced the next game in the Oniverse series of games, Aerion by designer Shadi Torbey featuring art from Élise Plessis. The Oniverse is most famous for its flagship game Onirim (2010), the popular 1-2 player card game of pattern creation, door collection and inevitable reshuffling, as well as its successors Sylvion (2015), Castellion (2015) and Nautilion (2016). Aerion continues the theme of 1-2 players trying to collect a series of goal cards, this time by building 6 airships by collecting the best blueprints, resources and crew. Resources are collected by rolling 6 dice, using specific combinations to create your materials. If your roll does not make a resource you need, you can discard cards to reroll – but like Onirim, if you run out of cards in the resource decks, you lose the game. Again following on the success of Onirim, Aerion comes with 6 mini expansions changing the challenge slightly each time. Aerion comes with 133 cards, 6 dice, 16 tokens, 1 scary wooden pawn (remniscent of Onirim), and the rulebook. For more information, you can read the press release from Z-Man Games, and look for Aerion at your FLGS in Spring 2019.
Z-man Games has announced a new game called, Miaui (MEOW-ee), from designer Bruno Faidutti. The theme is based on anthropomorphic cats fishing in a lagoon. Miaui appears to be a light, family-friendly card game for 3-6 players aged 8 and up.
“As the tide changes on the island of Miaui, it’s time for the fishing festival! Dive into the depths to catch the most valuable fish for the evening feast.”
Miaui is played over twelve rounds. Each player has a hand of cards, numbered from one to twelve. The number on the card represents how deep you are willing to dive in the lagoon when you play it. In the center of the table there are three cards which represent the available catch for a given round. The “catch” can range from valuable fish to negative jelly fish. Each round players choose one card from their hand and simultaneously reveal their choice. The highest card played dives deepest in the lagoon to get the card at the bottom, whereas, the lowest played card takes the top card.
Z-Man Games announces a fresh new take on the classic Carcassonne game: Carcassonne: Safari. Instead of building the French countryside surrounding Carcassonne, players will build the wilderness of Africa with savannahs, bush, animal paths, baobab trees, and watering holes, all teaming with wildlife. The wildlife is key to scoring in Carcassonne: Safari. Unlike traditional Carcassonne, scored points are not based on size or length of a controlled area. Instead, scored points are based on the number of different animals in the scoring area. A safari is certainly more interesting with a larger variety of animals. Bonus points are scored for each bird in a scored area. Boabab trees, like the cloisters in the original Carcassonne game, need to be surrounded before being completed. However, boabab trees do not score any points. Instead, they provide the player controlling the baobab tree animal tokens when placed and additional animal tokens when completed. Players can use the animal tokens to increase the scoring of bushes and paths by discarding a token to increase the number of animal types scored in the area by one. Animal tokens can also be used to create watering holes. Every player can contribute to any watering hole by adding their animal token to the watering hole as long as it contains a different animal than one already there. Scoring encourages the completion of watering hole because each new tile placed to expand the watering hole scores an increasing number of points. Lastly, this game features two ranger vehicles that reside just adjacent to the safari tiles. Players may move the ranger vehicles as part of their move. Placing a tile beneath a ranger vehicle scores additional bonus points. Carcassonne: Safari is the fourth game in the Carcassonne Around the World series which already features Carcassonne: Amazonas,Carcassonne: Gold Rush, andCarcassonne: South Seas.Carcassonne: Safari is available for pre-order now and will be released in late 2018. Go to Z-Man Games to learn more about Carcassonne: Safari.
Since Mayfair Games folded their hand earlier this year, we’ve been slowly learning the fate of the games in their catalog. Now, we have some clarity on Lords of Vegas. Z-Man Games will take over publishing for the Lords of Vegas line of games, which includes the base game and the UP! expansion. It appears that Z-Man will start by selling the existing Mayfair stock of games.
“James and I are thrilled to have Z-Man continue the legacy of Lords of Vegas,” says Mike Selinker, the president of Lone Shark Games and co-designer of Lords of Vegas. “When we were presented with the opportunity, many people from Asmodee and Z-Man told us how much they loved and played the game. So it was a no-brainer. We think our fans will like what Z-Man plans to do for Lords of Vegas in the coming years.”
Perhaps the biggest part of this news for existing fans of the game is that the designers and Z-Man will continue development of the ‘Underworld’ expansion, which had been in the works with Mayfair. Personally, Lords of Vegas is one of my favorite games, so I am glad that it gets to continue on with a publisher like Z-Man. Hopefully Z-Man will take the opportunity to improve the production quality for future editions of the game compared to the Mayfair version, and possibly revisit the 1950’s era aesthetic.
If you are not familiar with Lords of Vegas, it is an area influence game, with plenty of push-your-luck and the kind of high stakes you would expect from a Las Vegas casino-building themed game.