Rio Grande October release round-up: Powergrid expansion, butterfly hunting, honey harvesting, and bears! Oh my!

October 12, 2019 - 10:37am

Rio Grande has a wealth of new releases this month, and strong variety at that. These releases cover the spectrum of new family-weight entries to classic heavy strategy titles. Personally I'm always fond of showers of releases like this because it's fun to try to find a gem among them, and for this month I don't think that'll be difficult - not one bit. All of these titles are set to hit retail before the end of this October, just in time for Essen 2019.

To start us off is a new family game, Butterfly, designed by Stephen Glenn for 2-to-5 players ages 8 and up. Players each take turns moving Hudson the Hedgehog around the field collecting stuff: colorful butterflies, dragonflies, lightning bugs, crickets and flowers, but trying to avoid bees and wasps. The goal is to maneuver the plucky hedgehog to get you things you want while denying your opponents access to better stuff. The player with the best collection of things is the winner!

The next stop on this board game train sees us stopping in the Middle East and South Africa in the newest expansion to the Friedemann Friese's Power Grid. This new pair of maps will give fans of the energy empire-building game new geographies and resource restrictions to deal with. The Middle East map, appropriately, is abundant in oil from the get-go, but this abundance will dry up and it's imperative to build back-up energy plans to compensate by the time it leaves. The South Africa map is massive, and thus features 6 international power connections and a huge amount of coal-based power executed by a single trust. Players will need to adapt and capitalize quickly to succeed on either game board.

Following that is a new collaboration between one of my favorite designers, Bruno Cathalla, and Johannes Goupy known as Queenz. 2-to-4 players will be beekeepers trying to attract bees via orchids and collecting valuable honey. Each turn players will either collect flowers to fill their warehouse, or they'll start up a new field filled with flowers from their collection and collect honey, getting points at the end of the game for having the most valuable hives on the board. It's a very cool set collection / pattern building game with a grid element that rewards careful planning, but don't take my word for it - feel free to watch Zee's excellent review of the game to learn more.

Last, but definitely not least, is the English version of an area majority and set collection game designed by Frank Crittin, Grégoire Largey, and Sébastien Pauchon known as The Way of the Bear. Originally released in many other languages as Wangdo, this game sees 2-to-4 players control clans of bears trying to wrestle control of northeast Asia. To do this, players must place bear statues which allow them to collect tokens, but as the board fills up with these statues it becomes more difficult, and costly, to place them. The first player to collect their full set of tokens wins.

And with that, everyone, concludes this round-up - Have a great October everyone and Happy Gaming!

Indiana native and IU alumnus, majoring in Writing and a minor in Philosophy. Trained in Graphic Design and succumbed to a lifelong obsession with game development.
You can also find me on Twitter and BoardgameGeek, and can email me directly at mikeoflore@gmail.com.