Z-Man Games has announced a new game called Noctiluca. Perhaps the first thing that catches your attention about Noctiluca is that it is designed by Shem Phillips, best known for games like Raiders of the North Sea and Architects of the West Kingdom. However, Noctiluca is a departure from the worker placement of those games.
Noctiluca appears to be a dice-based set collection game. In Noctiluca, players are divers making their way through the water attempting to collect creatures called noctiluca, which are known for their curative properties. Points are scored by filling jar cards with different combinations of the creatures. Four colors of dice represent the varieties of noctiluca.
“When the noctiluca surface, the pool is filled with a rainbow glow. The colorful noctiluca can cure numerous ailments with merely their glowing presence. Healers from around the world will reward the skilled divers who can catch these rare creatures.”
The game is for 1 – 4 players, with an estimated play time of 30 minutes. There is a double-sided board and over 100 dice in the box. Z-Man did not provide a specific release date for the game, but more information can be found on the game’s product page and official announcement.
Lift Off is a space race game which has players hire the best specialists, build rockets, then tackle missions in a race to be the first to the stars. Its designed by Jeroen Vandersteen with art by Kreativbunker, Nache Ramos, and Andreas Resch. It was originally published by Hans im Glück but will now be published for an English audience by Z-Man Games. Lift Off supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays in 60-90 mins.
“Humanity yearns for the stars and the race to explore is in full swing! With everyone wanting to claim their spot in history and start the golden age of space exploration, you must make strategic choices to outwit your opponents. Compete against other agencies to hire the best specialists, expand your research, upgrade your rocket, and complete missions in this retro resource management game.” [source]
In Lift Off, players will build their own space agency, compete for milestones in space travel, send up the first satellites, mine asteroids, build orbital trading posts, and land on new planets. More complex missions have bigger payoffs but will require more work. Technologies in life support, fuel, and oxygen will also need to be developed prior to missions to improve their chances of success.
Lift Off is expected to release in Spring of 2019. For more information about the game visit the Z-Man games product website.
Asmodee, which has the largest catalog of games under it’s wide umbrella thanks to it’s partnerships with Days of Wonder, ZMAN Games, Fantasy Flight, Catan Games and more, has announced it’s Modern Classics line. This new category is for games that are easy to get into yet offer tremendous depth and make for excellent staples in any new or existing collection. The titles in this series together cover a wide range of mechanisms and modes-of-play and each one is considered a gateway of it’s respective genre. As stated by Asmodee in their announcement:
“Modern Classics refers to a small group of pioneering titles that have left a lasting legacy on the board-games market and have stood the test of time to remain preferred gateway purchases in a constantly changing landscape of products. […] Each of the highlighted titles is easy to learn but hard to master, making them well suited for any gaming situation that you might encounter. The Modern Classics range consists of the following games: Ticket to Ride Europe, Catan, Carcassonne, Dixit, Pandemic, and Splendor.“
While this really is just a matter of showcasing for new customers, the games chosen here are, I feel, irrefutably ‘Modern Classics’ and deserve to be called as such. These quintessential games also cover a lot of ground as well, certain to prepare even the newest of gamers for the great many strategy games that lie beyond. Just with these six games there’s card drafting, network building, tile laying, set collection, storytelling, cooperation, trading, and resource management game mechanisms. Hoo! The question I have now is, will there be any more games added to this list in the future? Only time will tell.
Z-Man Games is bringing out a new edition of yet another classic game.
Clans, the 2003 Spiel de Jahres nominated game, has been reimagined into a “mystical Celtic setting.” The new version will be called Fae.
Fae will keep the same simple mechanics from the original game but will have “art and production quality up to modern standards.”
In this 2-4 player game, players will be moving druids around the board, forming them into larger groups that will then move together themselves. If this results in an area with druids being surrounded by empty spaces, that space will score based on the type of area and the color of druids in the group.
The trick is that what color the players are is kept secret until the end of the game, adding a bit of bluffing to the area scoring aspect.
Keep an eye on the Z-Man Games web site for more information, and be on the lookout for Fae to be released later in 2018. It is available for pre-order.
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.
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.
Z-Man Games has announced plans to release Spynet, a new card game by famed designer Richard Garfield.
As a spymaster your task is to dominate the espionage trade by recruiting undercover intelligence agents to complete missions. Two to Four players can either work alone or with teammates to gather all the necessary information required to recruit agents and disrupt the plans of their opponents in this card drafting game.
The deck in play contains agents, funding and missions. Players take turns drafting cards from a series of face down row of cards. A player can look at the first card (or stack of cards if there are multiple cards in that spot in the row) and take the card(s) or return them back to the row. If you put them back you can look at the second stack of cards, the third stack etc. Once you take a stack you add one card to each empty spot in the row of cards as well as to each stack that you looked at but did not choose, sweetening the stack for future players.
Having the knowledge of passed over cards means players will know at least a little about what cards their opponents are collecting. Success in building your agency will require paying attention to what your opponent is gathering while at the same time doing your best to hide your own intentions.
Players can lay down multiple cards in a turn, playing one agent in any of the four espionage fields (tech, infiltration, counterespionage or enforcement), attaching any number of funding cards to boost the power of that agent, and one mission card in each of the espionage fields the player currently has the highest power in. Complete enough missions and you can claim the title of ultimate spymaster.
Spynet is scheduled for a 2017 release.
Origins is one of the biggest conventions in the US for gaming, and they have been giving out their awards for the best each year. The different categories include family games, role-playing games, card games, game accessories, board games, collectible games (CCG, TCG, etc.), miniatures, and finally a Game of the Year. Some of the past winners include great games like Codenames, Imperial Assault, and 7 Wonders Duel, so you know bad games aren’t getting these awards. But that’s enough background information, here are the nominees for the 2017 Origins Awards:
Family Games (6 Nominees)
Role-Playing Game (10 Nominees)
- 7th Sea: Second Edition by John Wick Presents (designed by John Wick, Mike Curry, Rob Justice, Mark Diaz Truman, Jesse Heinig)
- Curse of Strahd by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
- No Thank You, Evil! by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Fantasy Flight (designed by Tim Flanders, Corey Konieczka, and Sam Stewart)
- Shadowrun-Seattle Sprawl by Catalyst Game Labs (designed by Raymond Croteau, Jason Hardy, James Meiers, O.C. Presley, Scott Schletz, R.J. Thomas, Malik Toms, Thomas Willoughby, CZ Wright, and Russell Zimmerman)
- Symbaroum by Järnringen and co-published by Modiphius Entertainment (designed by Martin Grip, Mattias Johnsson, Mattias Lilja and Johan Nohr.
- Storm King’s Thunder by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jenna Helland, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire-Special Modifications by Fantasy Flight (designed by Blake Bennett, Tim Cox, Jordan Goldfarb, Sterling Hershey and Monte Lin)
- The One Ring: Horse: Lords of Rohan by Cubicle 7 (designed by Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Francesco Nepitello, and James Spahn)
- Volo’s Guide to Monsters by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Ed Greenwood, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Kim Mohan, Christopher Perkins, Sean K. Reynolds, Matthew Sernett, Chris Sims, and Steve Winter)
Traditional Card Games (8 Nominees)
Game Accessories (4 Nominees)
- Blood Rage Organizer by The Broken Token (designed by Greg Spence)
- Dungeon Morph Dice Adventurer Set by Inkwell Ideas / Q-Workshop (designed by Joe Wetzel, Dyson Logos, Matt Jackson, Shane Knysh, Tim Ballew, Dave Millar, Sigurd Johansson, AJ Stone)
- Flip ‘N Tray Mat Case by Ultimate Guard (designed by Adrian Alonso)
- Improved D Total by Gamescience (designed by Dr. A.F. Simkin, Col. Louis Zocchi, Frank Dutrait)
Board Games (10 Nominees)
- Blood Rage by (designed by Eric M. Lang)
- Clank! by Renegade Games (designed by Paul Dennen)
- Cry Havoc by Portal Games (designed by Grant Rodiek, Michael Oracz, Michael Walczak)
- Feast for Odin by Z Man Games/Asmodee (designed by Uwe Rosenberg)
- Islebound by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
- Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight/Asmodee (designed by Christopher Burdett, Anders Finér, Henning Ludvigsen)
- Scythe by Stonemaier Games (designed by Jamey Stegmaier)
- Star Wars Rebellion by Fantasy Flight (designed by Corey Konieczka)
- Terraforming Mars by (designed by Jacob Fryxelius)
- World’s Fair 1893 by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games (designed by J. Alex Kevern)
Collectible Games (5 Nominees)
- Yu-Gi-Oh Breaker of Shadow Booster by Konami (designed by Konami Digital Entertainment)
- Pokémon XY11 Steam Siege Booster by Pokémon USA (designed by The Pokémon Company)
- Magic the Gathering: Kaladesh Booster Pack by Wizards of the Coast
- Marvel HeroClix: Uncanny X-Men Booster Brick by WizKids (designed by WizKids)
- Cardfight Vanguard Fighters Collection by Bushiroad
Miniatures (5 Nominees)
- Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team by Games Workshop
- Konflikt ’47 by Warlord Games (designed by Clockwork Goblin Miniatures)
- Dragon Rampant by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine
- TANKS by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine (designed by Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates)
- Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames (designed by Andy Chambers and David Lewis)
Tower defense games seem to be all the rage right now with several having popped up on Kickstarter, so Z-Man decided to bring in a game from Hobby World. The game is called Bastion, and the forces of evil have never been this organized before, so it is up to your and your fellow heroes to protect the castle. The enemy is relentless and so each turn more will be added and be pushed closer and closer to the castle.
You will have to manage your mana, spells, and artifacts as well as you can to be able to defeat the oncoming horde. You will have to spend mana equal to the monster’s strength and match it’s color to be able to defeat it. As you defeat monsters they will grant you extra abilities or powers to be able to better defend the castle. Work together, properly utilize the structures in place, and coordinate effectively, and you may just save the day.
Look for Bastion on store shelves in the second quarter of this year, and you can read more about the game on Z-Man’s website.
Christorpher Chabris, at the Wall Street Journal, wrote a piece on narrative games, with a special notice of both the games Pandemic Legacy and TIME Stories. He noted that there are many reasons why we play games, and one of those reasons can be to tell a story, and you can’t find that experience more central than in the two previously mentioned games. While I haven’t played TIME Stories yet, I have played Pandemic Legacy and I wholeheartedly agree that the story experience is like no other, and that is what makes it so great. You can read the whole story on the Wall Street Journal website.
As of June 20th the winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres, Kids Game of the Year, has been announced and it is Stone Age Junior, aka My First Stone Age. So congratulations to the designer Marco Teubner and you can buy this award winning game at your local game store today!
You can see the announcement from the German Spiel des Jahres site here and look forward to the announcement of the winners for the Kennerspiel and Spiel awards on July 18th.
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