Z-Man Games

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.

Cacao is a tile placement and worker influence game for 2-4 players, aged 8+. Players are tribal chiefs in Mexico who must lead their people to prosperity through the trade and cultivation of cacao. Cacao: Diamante, also designed by Phil Walker-Harding, lets you expand the world of Cacao with four new modules: The Gem Mines, the Tree of Life, the Emporer, and the New Workers.

“Walking deeper into the mine it gets colder and darker. The rocks shift as you run your hand along the wall. Lifting your torch, the light reflects on something in the distance. You walk closer and see the edge of a gem embedded in the wall. With your tools and a bit of work to excavate it, a ruby falls from the rock into your hand. Just a few more gems to find before returning to the tribe.” [source]

The Gem Mines module lets you send workers to unearth valuable gems in the mines where players uncover colorful gem pieces from a three-dimensional mine cart. Once they’ve collected gems in all four colors they can be exchanged for gold and gem-encrusted masks which give you points.

“You push through the tangled vines, making your way through the thick jungle foliage. The leaves rustle above you, a flock of birds burst out and fly off into the distance. You see a giant tree root rising from the earth in front of you. You know you’re getting close. The Tree of Life is nearby.” [source]

The Tree of Life module lets you discover the mythical tree in the forest and reap it’s rewards. The New Workers module adds new workers to explore the different placement options and customize your set of worker tiles. The Emperor module provides a strategy to influence the Emperor and gain his favor.

Z-Man Games has the expansion available for pre-order on their website. The expected release date is still to be disclosed.

According to Reuters, the board gaming super-giant, the 800 pound gorilla, Asmodee is investigating a sale to an unknown buyer. Asmodee, the France based company owned by private equity firm Eurazeo SE, is currently worth an estimated 1.5 Billion euros (almost 1.8 billion US dollars). Among other things, Asmodee owns the board game companies Fantasy Flight Games and  Days of Wonder, F2Z Entertainment properties Z-Man Games and Plaid Hat Games, and the French publishing rights to the Pokemon Trading Card Game and Wizkids!. This includes the rights to some of the most popular games on the market, such as  Catan, Ticket to Ride, and X-Wing. The identity of proposed buyer(s) has not been disclosed at this time, pending further deliberations. For more information, you can read the original Reuters article here.

Love Letter, a popular card game of social deduction and player elimination, has been acquired by Z-Man Games.

“We are thrilled to have Love Letter join Z-Man’s diverse catalog,” says Steve Kimball, Head of Studio at Z-Man Games. “This gem of a card game packs a lot of fun in a tiny box (or velvet bag) and fits perfectly with the many other acclaimed card games that have been a hallmark of the Z-Man brand. I’m excited to work closely with Seiji Kanai to help Love Letter reach new audiences and realize its full potential.”

Love Letter was designed by Seiji Kanai in 2012 and has been reimplemented with various themes including Adventure Time, Batman, The Hobbit, and Lovecraft Letter.

“Love Letter and Lovecraft Letter have been a pure joy to develop and share with our customers,” says John Zinser, CEO of Alderac Entertainment Group. “We would like to thank Seiji Kanai and our partners at Japon Brand for entrusting us with the smallest but most valuable of treasures. Our friends at Asmodee have the capability to take Love Letter and Lovecraft Letter to even greater heights and we are excited to watch the games make this transition. We are sure that everyone who has sought the favor of the Princess will be delighted with Asmodee’s stewardship of these great games.”

The latest expansion for the wildly popular Carcassonne adds bridges, castles and bazaars, providing players with creative solutions to earn more points.

Many players know the frustration of broken roadways and roads to nowhere. Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars, provides players wooden bridge tokens to connect broken roadways and around obstacles.

The new castle tile enables player to turn even the smallest city into valuable real estate.  Cities with a castle score additional points from completed neighboring features.

Lastly, the new bazaar tile triggers an auction for choice tiles that players may bid their current points to try and claim the most advantageous tile for themselves.

Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars contains 12 Land Tiles, 12 Castle Tiles, and 12 Wooden Bridges and is available for pre-order now.

Race to the New Found Land is a new board game from Z-Man Games which is set in the age of discovery. Players will build a fleet and travel across the Atlantic Ocean in search of new land and riches for their country. The game will support 2-4 players, play in 60-90 mins, and is best suited to players aged 10+.

“Sailors dare to take on the ocean, crossing the vast and tempestuous sea to discover new territory. New territories off the coast of North America were discovered: the New Found Land. Now the mightiest nations of western Europe are competing for the riches of this new region, fighting to stake their claim. Build your fleet and sail onward to glory and wealth for your country!” [source]

 

Players will be loading their ships with supplies then sailing across the sea to deliver those supplies to score victory points as they match orders in various cities. Faster ships cross the seas quicker to beat opponents to matching orders but larger ships can carry more supplies and score more points. You can also set aside resources to upgrade your ships or your shipyard. Once you have staked a claim to a new territory you will also have access to new resources. Players can also unlock unique, special bonuses based on the country they’re playing as.

Race to the New Found Land is designed by Martin Kallenborn (known for Helios) and Jochen Scherer, with art by Alexander Jung (known for Bora Bora and La Isla). Its expected to be released soon and is available for pre-order. Find out more details in Z-Man Games’ news announcement.

The “Choose Your Own Adventures” book series will always be remembered as those novels which made you choose from options which almost always lead to an unhappy ending. Now Z-Man Games have adapted the concept of the books into an adventure game in the form of “Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger”.

“Images flash through your mind. You only catch a few visuals from these premonitions before they disappear. A grand staircase. A dollar bill. A looming statue. A chill runs up your spine. You know there is danger ahead, but you can’t resist the case.” [source]

In “Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger” you play a psychic detective haunted by the missing owner of the Marsden Mansion. You have only a water bottle, pocketknife, and your detective skills to solve the mystery. Your psychic premonitions may guide you to an untimely demise or guide you to your next promising lead.

“Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger” supports 1-8 players, aged 10+, and plays in an hour or two.  The game is designed by Prospero Hall (known for Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game) and is available for pre-order.