Z-Man Games

2016’s A Feast for Odin took the gaming world by storm, not only because it was the latest farm building, feed your people masterpiece from Uwe Rosenberg (Agricola, Caverna: The Cave Farmers), but also because of its unprecedented number of worker placement slots (60+), and brilliant integration of Uwe’s new tetromino placement mechanism (Patchwork, Cottage Garden). Z-Man Games has just announced the first full sized expansion for Feast for Odin, The Norwegians, and it adds more of what we loved in this worker placement magnum opus. First, Norwegians adds more worker placement slots – There are now more ways to breed animals, craft, trade and hunt, as well as a fifth column of actions. These new actions come on several new boards tailored to the player count. New actions come with new tiles, and Norwegians comes with 95 new goods tiles, from elk and pigs to horses and antlers, as well as 6 new special tiles. Additionally, Norwegians comes with personal artisan sheds, small boards which provide individual player powers, such as better whaling or wood storage, helping further to guide your strategy: something especially useful in a game with so many options. And of course, the expansion comes with new islands to explore, and updates of the old islands, incorporating the new rules and tiles. Read more on Z-Man’s website here, and expect A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians in stores at the end of 2018.

An invasion of barbarian tribes can certainly feel like pandemic to the Roman world.  Matt Leacock and Paolo Mori have teamed up to bring the Pandemic gameplay to Ancient Rome.  In Pandemic: Fall of Rome, players are members of Roman society employing Roman legions to defend against invading tribes.  Plays may also convert members of a tribe into Roman soldiers. Rome survives to continue its long history is they can defeat all the barbarian tribes, whether by absorption or eradication. Rome has five barbarian tribes threatening its borders: Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and Anglo-Saxons and Franks.  Each invading tribe follows their migration pattern that eventual leads to Rome. Pandemic: Fall of Rome will also feature a Solo Play mode and a challenge mode for season Pandemic players.  The tribes are represented by wooden cubes like all pandemic games, but the Roman legion tokens are legionnaire shaped meeples.  The game will include custom dice for resolving battles with the invading hordes.  Pandemic: Fall of Rome is available for pre-order now with a projected release in Q4. Go to Z-man Games to learn more about Pandemic: Fall of Rome.

The Hills & Sheep Expansion from Z-Man Games expands the world of Carcassonne with new tiles and options. Players must grow their flock, gain the high ground of the hills and cultivate a vineyard in this expansion

“The wind blows, ruffling the long, green grass covering the rolling hills. The sheep slowly graze across the field as the shepherd watches over his flock, always on the lookout for wolves. Outside the monastery, monks tend to the vineyard and prepare the ripe grapes.”

Your shepherds watch over your flock of sheep as it grows. Be careful! If you wait too long to return your flock to the stable, wolves may attack. After placing a field tile, you may choose to place a shepherd and immediately draw out of the cloth bag. If you draw a sheep token, you increase your flock. However, there are hungry wolves hiding in the bag and if you draw one of them, your flock will scatter and points will be lost.

Hill tiles are elevated with another tile facedown beneath them. During scoring, a meeple on a hill will break a tie and claim the points. Vineyards placed around a monastery increase its value. However, since only a completed monastery can claim the bonus points from the vineyards,  sabotage from other players is a distinct possibility.

You can pre-order your copy of this expansion now. The release is planned for Q4, 2018.

The Dice Tower has made a lot of videos about Carcassonne over the years. Check out some of them out here.

It has been ten years since the exceptional worker placement game Stone Age burst onto the board gaming scene. For ten years, players have sent their stone age workers out to collect wood, stone, and gold to attain higher levels of knowledge and build sturdier structures for a better civilization.  Ten years later, winter has come and adds new challenges to add to the game. The Stone Age Anniversary will be a limited edition and will include upgraded components and a beautiful double-side board.  It will also include new options for playing in the bitter cold of winter.  Stone Age Anniversary is available for pre-order now and will be available in Q4. Go to Z-Man Games to learn more.

Z-Man Games celebrates a decade of curing diseases with a special 10th Anniversary Edition of Pandemic. Steve Kimball, Z-man’s Head of Studio, made sure that this edition of Pandemic would be something truly special.  First, the game comes in a custom metal box shaped like the early 20th century first aid kits.  This beautiful case is a fitting display item, and it comes special gaskets that will allow you to mount it on the walls of your game room.

Second, at long last, each of the Pandemic character roles has a highly detailed plastic figure. These are based on the 2nd edition character designs and have been painted in a wash to bring out the details. Next, like the 1st edition, this edition will include wooden cubes and wooden cure markers screen printed with the virus symbols.  Keeping with the vintage look of the game box, the game will feature all-new art and graphic design throughout.  The role cards have been converted to large ID badges complete with updated character art from the second edition, profile data, and even fingerprints.  The gameboard is bigger, and custom screen printed Petri dishes round out all the fine touches and upgrades to this popular game. As a bonus, there is even an offer of pre-painted figures while supplies last for pre-orders.  Read about more about this edition or Steve Kimball’s inspiration for the special edition at Z-Man Games.  You can see Pandemic 10th Anniversary on display at GENCON and in stores in Q4 this year.

Z-MAN Games announces Mesozooic, a real-time card game where you take on the role of a zoo director planning and constructing a dinosaur zoo that will surpass all others. Once built, fill your zoo with dinos and attractions that bring in the crowds.

Mesozooic takes place over three rounds. During each, you first draft the most desirable features into your hand. Choose to customize your zoo however you like. While the highlight of the zoo is, of course, the dinosaurs themselves – you can also add attractions, monorails and topiary to your layout as well.

After drafting, you will race against time, frantically sliding the cards one at a time to match up features and optimize your zoo’s layout. But watch out – things don’t always go as planned. Once you have a working zoo, you also need to keep it running smoothly. Remember, attractions need to be regularly maintained to be scored.

Finally, players will score their zoo layout to see who has created the best family attraction. The zoo with the best layout scores the most points and wins!

Perfect for parties and family game nights, Mesozooic is available for pre-order via Z-MAN Games or your local retailer!

Players: 2-6
Recommended age: 8+
Game time: 20 minutes
Designer: Florian Fay
Contents: 110 Cards, 1 Sand Timer, 1 Scorepad, 1 Rulesheet

Nintendo Switch is not currently a haven for playing modern board games, with available options topping out with titles like Othello and Monopoly. Yet, the hybridization of being able to play both at home and on the go with a Nintendo Switch could be a game changer with the right titles…

Enter Carcassonne – Asmodee Digital announced that it will be bring the fan-favorite Klaus-Jürgen Wrede game Carcassonne to the Switch platform during the winter quarter of this year, and while Carcassonne is already available digitally, the Switch platform has advantages that many gamers will find appealing over a phone app or Steam-based computer game. For one thing, the Switch screen is much bigger than an average cell phone, and physical Switch physical games are easy to trade or share. Also, players on the whole are more likely to play local couch co-op on a TV screen via a console, rather than on PC.

For those unfamiliar with the game from 2000 that started all of this excitement, check out its BGG page, but here is the quickest summation: Carcassonne is an easy to play, hard to master tile-laying game for 2-5  players in which over the course of 30 minutes or so you will be making decisions on to best control and influence the outcomes of different areas of tiles. Placing on the road as a robber, or cloistered away as a monk are two of the roles players can assign their people (called meeples) to in order to score the most points across the southern France landscape and claim victory!

But the Nintendo Switch and designer board game pairing likely does not start and end with Carcassonne…

quoting Pierre Ortolan, CEO of Asmodee Digital,

“Carcassonne is the first Asmodee Digital title of many to follow on Nintendo’s platforms.” 

Thus leading one to believe that Asmodee Digital would likely bring over the other titles that have already been crafted digitally on other platforms, such as: fellow gateway game Ticket to Ride, award-winning Terraforming Mars, and recent mega-hit Scythe. With these titles stemming from a single developer, it would already be a solid foothold for modern board games on a current generation video game console, and it would be easy to envision makers of other digital board game implementations also porting over their creations, such as: Alhambra, Kingdom Builder, Splendor, or Small World.

As a fan of digital board gaming, watching the video on Paste Magazine’s article got my meeple heart beating hard to lay down some farmers for the win.


Condottiere has recently been added to the Z-Man Games catalog and is being re-released with new art, upgraded components, and new rulesets.

In Condottiere, players assume the role of ambitious leaders of wealthy Italian city-states who have hire the Condottiere of assert control over other regions of Italy.  The various strength of the Condottiere, ranging from the lowly foot soldier to the elite cavalrymen, are represented by cards in each players hand, and the players commit their Condottiere to battle in each region by bidding their cards.  The highest bidder (strongest army) wins the region but all cards bid are expended, so hand management is key.  Some cards have special features that change the results of the battle and should be committed wisely to achieve a surprise victory. The first player to control three adjacent regions or five total regions is the winner.

The iconic art style from the 2007 edition of Condottiere is preserved in the new edition with original artist Tomasz Jedruszek returning to update the artwork.  Additionally, the new version will include not only a modern ruleset, but also the classic ruleset for fans of the original game and a 2-player variant ruleset.   The new version will include new larger board and reminder icons on the special cards to aid in gameplay.

Learn more about Condottiere at Z-Man Games.

The Spiel des Jahres nominees for 2018 have just recently been announced (see Dice Tower News article here), and for the first time since 2010 the judges have awarded the “Sonderpreis“, literally a special award. The recipient is the innovative Pandemic Legacy Season 2 by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau, published by Z-Man Games. Pandemic Legacy Season 2 uses amazing new mechanics and devices, and blends them with an engrossing story taking place 71 years after the original Season 1, creating a game “all future legacy games will have to be measured” against. Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy Season 1 were both nominated for Spiel des Jahres awards in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

For more information, check out Z-Man Games press release on their website here.

Anchors Aweigh! is a new board game from Z-Man Games by designer Carlo A. Rossi (known for Divinity Derby) with art by Michael Menzel (known for Legends of Andor). It was originally published in Germany as Alles an Bord?! (Everything on board?!) by ABACUSSPIELE. Anchors Aweigh! is for 2-4 players, aged 8+, and plays in about 30 minutes.

“The wind rushes, carrying the smell of salt water and ruffling your hair. The crew bustles around you, hauling up crates of supplies and organizing them in the cargo hold. You hear the crash of the waves against the side of the ship. The captain calls for the anchor to be hauled up. It’s time to set sail!” [source]

In Anchors Aweigh! players have ships with cargo holds which they prepare before adventures by quickly filling with equipment (known as assets) which they grab from a central asset pile. Players match these tiles according to requirements set on adventure cards. For example, an adventure may require a rope and a sailor to complete it. The first player to fill their cargo hold shouts “Anchors aweigh!” and gathers the face-up adventure cards. The other players will have to fill their cargo holds from memory and hope they grab the right supplies. Everyone then sets sail.

“Another ship is spotted in the distance. The captain grabs the spyglass to see what approaches. The other ship is quickly catching up, sails billowing out with the wind. As the ship gets closer, her crew raises a flag. The wind catches the fabric, stretching it out to show the skull and crossbones emblazoned on the dark background.” [source]

As players sail the high seas they will encounter pirates who they either fight or flee from. To fight them they have to satisfy the supply requirements on their cards or pay a penalty. If they defeat the pirates they gain treasure or valuable cargo items.

There are also Discovery, Trade, and Contract cards which allow players to offload cargo for gold, gain extra cargo, or trade items. After two rounds, the player who earned the most treasure from their adventures wins the game. The game is currently available for pre-order on the Z-Man Games website.