Z-Man Games

Z-Man Games has announced an expansion to their 2015 award-winning dice placement game The Voyages of Marco Polo. Agents of Venice adds two different modules to the game, as well as the ability to insert a 5th player, more contracts, city cards, goals and 5 new characters.

The City of Venice Module adds a board representing Venice in the 13th  century. Players can build trading houses in Venice, earning benefits similar to those in the rest of the world, but must work their way up, earning one palazzo at a time. The Companions Module adds friends you meet on the road. These companions give special abilities and benefits to the player, but companions have their own agendas, and their bonuses only last for a single turn. Players will need to pick and choose the friends which give them the best ability for use at that single moment in the game.

The City of Venice Expansion should be available in early 2018. You can read more about the expansion on Z-Man’s website here.

Z-Man Games announced a new mini-expansion for Uwe Rosenberg‘s most recent magnum opus, A Feast For Odin. The new expansion has 2 new double sided exploration boards, allowing players to travel to Lofoten, the Ornkey Islands, or even Tierra del Fuego. Each board has more spaces for points, bonuses or plundered goods, and the Ornkey Islands even comes with a bonus weapon card to boost hunting or trading. Read more about the mini-expansion on Z-Man’s website here.

Tea and Trade from Z-Man Games will be the first expansion for Uwe‘s hidden gem, Fields of Arle (2014). Fields of Arle is a true Rosenberg gem, complete with multiple resource types, space to clear fields and build structures, tons of different spots for worker placement, and of course the need to feed your people. Often regarded as one of Uwe‘s best, Fields of Arle was a 2 player only sleeper hit, now playable with 3 using the new expansion. The Tea and Trade expansion will unsurprisingly add tea as an upgradeable resource to the lands of East Frisia. Tea has the unique property of invigorating your workers, making them act as if they were more skillful then they are, and can even allow workers to act twice. A new action, digging ditches, makes draining the moors and clearing peat bogs easier, and can make the land more productive. Finally, a new harbor board allows you to take to the sea,  trading and upgrading your resources or collecting more food from the bounty of the sea. Read the full press release about Fields of Arle: Tea and Trade on Z-Man’s website here.

Fingersmiths by co-designers Dennis Ku and Daniel Rocchi was declared winner of the 8th annual Canadian Game Design Award (CGDA) at FallCon 2017 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Finalists for the 2017 award included:

  • The Builders of Babel by Fabien Haond
  • Like a Boss By Adam Wyse
  • Fingersmiths by Dennis Ku and Daniel Rocchi

The CGDA was created to promote, showcase and foster Canadian talent in game design

The Road to the Canadian Game Design Award

The road to the CGDA award is a long one. By the end of May designers must send a complete ruleset and a short video with an overview, rules summary and pitch for the game. A team of volunteers judges across the country read through the rules and watch the videos, scoring submissions on Presentation, Theme, Mechanics, Rules, and Overall Appreciation.

Finalists submit prototypes which are sent to teams of judges in at least three cities in Canada who play the games and score again on those same criteria of Presentation, Theme, Mechanics, Rules, and Overall Appreciation. The criteria is described as follows:

  • Presentation: We don’t expect a final product in terms of graphic design. Aim for functionality. In other words, does the presentation functionally impede or facilitate game play?
  • Theme: Is the theme original/interesting? Does the theme come through in the rules and game play? Do the mechanics match the theme?
  • Mechanics: Mechanics will be evaluated based on novelty, game-driven arc, interesting decision points, efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Rules: Rules must be clear, unambiguous, easy to comprehend. Are the Setup, Player Turn and Scoring Descriptions clearly identified? Are the rules well organized? Are there sufficient examples and diagrams?Treat your ruleset as you would your resume. Using this analogy, you need a good resume (rules) to get a job interview (a request for prototype playtesting).
  • Overall Appreciation: General impression of cohesive whole. Judges will be tasked with answering the following questions: Does the game “work”? Is the game exciting/fun to play? Does this game make you want to play it again and again? Would you buy this game? How does this game rank compared to other entries?

Final scores in these categories are compiled and the winner is announced each year at FallCon.

The History of the Canadian Game Design Award
The FallCon Gaming Society and The Canadian Warmers Group had been supporting the gaming hobby in Canada since 1985 when Back to the Future ruled the big screen and the Nintendo Entertainment System finally was released in North America). In 2010 the Society and Group took a further step in supporting the hobby by launching the cross-country design award challenge.

Past Award Winners
This is the CGDA’s 8th year. Past winners include:
  • 2010: Roberta Taylor – Octopus’ Garden
  • 2011: Matt Tolman – Undermining
  • 2012: Paul Saxberg – Coven
  • 2013: Joseph McDaid – Windfall: Gateways
  • 2014: Gavan Brown & Matt Tolman: Super Motherload
  • 2015: Ben Hesketh & Graham Davis: Video Game Studio
  • 2016: Sebastien Bernier-Wong & Peter Gorniak: Sloops!

Other finalists have included Steampunk Rally (runner up in 2014) and Quarantine (finalist in 2013). Winners have been picked up by publishers including Z-Man Games, 8th Summit, Valley Games and Roxley Games.

Winners of the Canadian Game Design Awards have not included Curling or Crokinole, which seem like real oversights. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving anyway!

Francis Fukutama might have declared The End of History in his 1989 essay, but apparently Z-Man Games didn’t get the notice. Z-Man games has announced they are releasing  remastered edition of the 1991 Avalon Hill classic History of the World by designers Gary Dicken, Steve Kendall and Phil Kendall. The game is scheduled for a late 2017 release.

Once again players will will take control on the grand scale that made the original game a classic. Running from the very dawn of civilization to the 20th century through multiple epochs, players will need to spread their empire across the globe. Fierce battle and unpredictable calamities will test even the most veteran player, but those who score the most points will be remembered throughout history.

The remastered edition maintains gameplay from the original title while adding a newly illustrated board and new components.

Gameplay

Played out over 7 rounds and running from the ancient 3000 B.C. Sumerians to the pre-WW1 Germany each player will control a new rising empire. At the end of every epoch players will score points for all of the units of their color on the board both from the current empire they control as well as any previous empires units they controlled that remain on the board.

During each of the epochs players will marshall armies and send them towards the very edges of the known world, head towards unoccupied territory or battle with other players. New terrain will score points, but control all of a single colored region and you’ll be rewarded even more greatly. Success in invasions will be determined by dice rolling. The invader rolls two, the defense one, and whoever has rolled the highest individual dice value claims a win.

Invading territory won’t be the only path to victory. Each empire has unique abilities in addition to whatever armies they start with. Secure resources, build monuments and use all of your empires traits to your best advantage in order to score points.

A History of History of the World

Originally published by Ragnar Brothers in 1991, History of the World has worked it’s way through several english iterations. Compendium Games re-released the game in 1992, Gibsons Games in 1993 followed by Avalon Hill in 1993. An 8 year break took place before Avalon Hill/Hasbro released the game again in 2001.

Good morning (UK time) Gamers, here is your round up of the latest game announcements.

First up – Kingsburg. You heard it right.

The latest edition of this classic from designers Andrea Chiarvesio and Luca Iennaco has just been announced by Z-Man Games. Containing the base game, all five modules from the To Forge a Realm expansion, and the brand-new Alternate Advisor Rewards module, you will have more options than ever before!

Sadly this reporter could find no expected release date, but here’s hoping for 2017!

Not to be outdone, WizKids have been busy. Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol is coming out in January 2018. Nicely timed to coincide with the new film coming out soon, this deduction game will have you using influence to meet contacts, gather information, and reveal evidence, to identify the replicant. Unless of course, the replicant is you!

Last, and by no means least, we have CMoN announcing DOJO KUN: THE BEAUTIFUL FIGHT . The good news is that this one is imminent, expect to see it in your FLGS around September 29th.

A mysterious letter with an invitation to enter Dojo Kun has arrived on your doorstep. Have you acquired the knowledge necessary to lead your Athletes to victory, or is there still a long way to go on your path?

And now for something completely different…..BUSINESS NEWS!

ThinkFun the leading developer of logic and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) games in the U.S. market, including the ever popular Escape the Room series have joined the renowned Ravensburger Family, following closely from Wonder Forge and BRIO .

It’s clear in the press release that this is seen as a really positive step for both parties, as they look to expand their range, and their penetration in the growing games market.

Good luck to them, and fingers crossed for more Escape the Room games!!

Vlaada Chvátil’s fantastic civilization building game Through The Ages now has a digital version available. Through the Ages is easily considered one of the best board games of recent history, having its newest edition ranked at #2 on BGG. Czech Games Edition has made the mobile app available for both iOS and Android. You can read the full press release from CGE here.

Along the same vein, Temple Gates Games and Rio Grande Games have announced a digital version of Roll For The Galaxy. The popular dice game version of Race For The Galaxy hit the board game world by storm in 2015, and has consistently been at the top of the charts. The digital version will be made available for iOS, Android and Steam, and is being designed by Keldon Jones, who was responsible for the AI on the Race for the Galaxy app. You can read the full press release here.

Z-Man Games has announced the new 2018 Season of Pandemic Survival. Pandemic Survival is the competitive team version of the award winning cooperative classic, pitting teams of 2 against the same scenario: same roles, same cards, same infected cities, same situation.  Tournaments are held across the glode, leading up to the World Championships, with the grand prize being a trip to any city on the Pandemic map. For more information on the 2018 Survival Series, read the full press release here.

The International Gamers Awards have been going on since the year 2000, celebrating and recognizing gaming a truly global scale by having a committee of judges from all around the world. Each year they vote for the best game within the General Strategy category, which is split into two sub-categories: Multiplayer and 2-Player. 2017’s finalists have been announced and it’s immediately noticeable that this year’s competition is fierce. So without further ado, the nominees are:

General Strategy Games – Multiplayer nominees

A Feast for Odin
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Publisher: Feuerland Spiele

Century: Spice Road
Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi
Publisher: Plan B Games

First Class
Designers: Helmut Ohley
Publisher: Hans im Glück

Gloomhaven
Designer: Isaac Childress
Publisher: Cephalofair Games

Great Western Trail
Designer: Alexander Pfister
Publishers: eggertspiele

Key to the City: London
Designers: Sebastian Bleasdale and Richard Breese
Publisher: R&D Games

Lorenzo il Magnifico
Designers: Flaminia Brasini and Virginio Gigli and Simone Luciani
Publisher: Cranio Creations

Magic Maze
Designer: Kasper Lapp
Publisher: Sit Down!

Scythe
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Publisher: Stonemaier Games

Image from the English 2nd Printing

Terraforming Mars
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius
Publisher: Fryx Games / Stonemaier Games

The Colonists
Designer Tim Puls
Publisher: Lookout Games

Ulm
Designer: Günter Burkhardt
Publisher: HUCH!

Yokohama
Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
Publisher: OZAKU Brand

General Strategy Games – 2-Player nominees

 

Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Designers: Nate French and Matthew Newman
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Caverna: Cave vs. Cave
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Publisher: Lookout Games

 

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft
Designer: Diego Ibanez
Publisher: Devir

Santorini
Designer: Gordon Hamilton
Publisher: Roxley

Star Wars: Destiny
Designers: Corey Konieczka and Lukas Litzsinger
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Z-Man Games has announced details about the latest iteration of the award-winning Pandemic series of games, Pandemic: Rising Tide. In this new cooperative game by pan-legend Matt Leacock and Splotter Spellen great  Jeroen Doumen (Food Chain Magnate, Roads and Boats), players must battle the incoming seas instead of disease, to prevent flooding in the Netherlands. Blue cubes represent water coming inland, and players construct hydraulic engines in connected regions of water to pump the cubes out to sea. Take control of hydraulic engineers, sanitation workers or builders, building and repairing dikes to control the movement of water. Construction of massive hydraulic structures can earn great reward, as you make one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Read more about Pandemic: Rising Tide on Z-Man’s press release here. The game is due to hit game stores in late 2017. It should be noted that for each pre-order of Pandemic: Rising Tide, Z-Man will be donating to hurricane relief efforts.

Z-Man games has just announced they will be releasing Gaia Project, the spiritual successor to the wildly successful Terra Mystica. Gaia Project will be released later in 2017 and will be available for gamers to see at GenCon 2017.

The galaxy lies in the distance, full of planets full of resources waiting to be claimed by spacefarers. Your people have finally developed enough technology to head out into the cosmos and reach for the stars. Similar to Terra Mystica, Gaia Project once again invites up to four players to forge galactic empires of their own.

Fourteen unique factions will come in the game with each player taking one faction to claim planets, increase production and develop technology to colonize planets before your rivals. Grow your empire and you’ll unlock abilities and new technologies to dominate the galaxy.

Creating New Galaxies and Federations

Featuring a modular board, players will be able to create a new galaxy for exploring every time they play. Once the galaxy is constructed players need to immediately start producing the resources necessary for exploration. Only through successful good production will you have the resources necessary to power your way through the galaxy. As your tiny empire grows you can upgrade existing resources like mines, invest in your research engine, or develop your own federation to help keep your planets aligned.

Even if you manage to claim a planet before your rivals, you will still have to deal with the unforgiving environments on these new planets. Choose what planets to make habitable wisely or you’ll waste the scarce resources you’ve collected.

Starting on the Cutting Edge

You’re not starting from scratch in this game. When the game begins all fourteen factions have already developed the technology to travel between planets. You’ve also mastered the ability to terraform planets, altering the environments enough to create the conditions necessary to sustain your specific faction.

Even with this amazing technology your faction can develop further. Something you’ll need to do faster than your opponents. Investing in research will be critical, whether it be something that can boost your economy, your scientific output or your terraforming ability. Creating Quantum Intelligence Cubes will help you extend your reach beyond the planets merely adjacent to your position. With Navigation Research you can increase your range to reach distant planets that appear as mere specks.

Gaia Projects

Among the many worlds you will encounter are the Transdim Planets. These purple planets contain critical resources, but unlike other planets they cannot be built directly upon. To claim these planets you must initiate a Gaia Project. An investment in a Gaia Project grants you Gaiaformers. These powerful machines can be placed on Transdim planets to begin resource extraction.

A successful Gaia Project allows you to claim a planet that would not be suited your faction without having to go through the costly terraforming process.

A Legacy of Success

Gaia Project builds of the legacy of Terra Mystica, currently ranked as the 6th greatest game on Boardgamegeek and the 5th greatest strategy game. Terra Mystica also allows up to 4 players to represent one of 14 different factions as they terraform landscapes in competition with other factions. Terra Mystica was a big winner when it was released in 2012 and through the 2013 awards season. A selection of awards include:

The Dice Tower Top Ten Lists still include Terra Mystica on a frequent basis, including these appearances:

  • The 2017 Top Ten from 5 Years Ago list had Eric placing the game at #2 and The People ranking the game #2.
  • The 2015 list of the 100 greatest games had Tom listing the game at 39, Eric listing the game at #19 and The People ranking the game at 15.
  • Eric ranks the game as the 7th best Long Game.

Through the Desert is a classic Reiner Knizia abstract game that has gotten some great reviews and sits at #15 for abstract games.  The game is exceedingly simple to play, on your turn you place two camels of any color you like.  When you place camels you have to match their color to ones already on the board, placing them adjacent to each other.  One restriction is that you can’t place ANY camels adjacent to your opponent’s camels, meaning you can cut off sections of the board with clever placement.

What you are trying to do with these camels is either connect or encircle the watering holes or oasis on the board.  Watering holes are worth 1 to 3 points and oasis are worth 5 points.  You also get bonus points for if you fully enclose an area by how big that area is.  Most points at the end is the winner.

Since this is a reprint of an older game, and part of Z-Man’s Euro Classics line, the art and components have been updated to match modern published games.  They did the usual revising of the rules to eliminate ambiguities, and even created a second side to the board for an additional way to play by adding in the Niger river.  Needless to say, if you like the original or like abstract games, give this one a look when it hits store shelves later this year.  For more info you can head on over to Z-Man’s website.