Guilds of London, Great Western Trail, Conan, Ars Alchimia, AEG Black Box, Blood Bowl and More!

Guilds of London

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London: The biggest, most important and richest city in England in the late medieval and early modern periods.

The Guilds played a major role in the lives of London’s citizens, controlling the way in which trade, manufacturing and business was conducted in the city. The members of the guilds were rich men, who were appointed to the most influential positions in the community and wielded immense civic power. The chief representative of the Guilds became the Lord Mayor of London, and the leading delegates of the Guilds became his Aldermen. Other members of the Guilds were the burghers of London. The Guilds ran the city and controlled its commerce; each had its own Hall and its own Coat of Arms. Representatives of the Guilds met at the Guildhall to discuss the great issues of the day.

In Guilds of London, you place your liverymen in strategic Guilds, building your power base, so that you can achieve the status of Master in many of them. You also have the opportunity to spread your power into the commercially valuable Ulster or Virginia plantations. Control of each Guild provides victory points and additional actions that you can exploit, so that you can control the future development of the city.

Great Western Trail

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America in the 19th century: You are a rancher and repeatedly herd your cattle from Texas to Kansas City, where you send them off by train. This earns you money and victory points. Needless to say, each time you arrive in Kansas City, you want to have your most valuable cattle in tow. However, the “Great Western Trail” not only requires that you keep your herd in good shape, but also that you wisely use the various buildings along the trail. Also, it might be a good idea to hire capable staff: cowboys to improve your herd, craftsmen to build your very own buildings, or engineers for the important railroad line.

If you cleverly manage your herd and navigate the opportunities and pitfalls of Great Western Trail, you surely will gain the most victory points and win the game.

Ars Alchimia

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Alchimia — a land where the works of a single grand alchemist has caused alchemy to develop more quickly than other technology. The everyday lives of the people rely on the alchemy factories that this first pioneer built.

In Ars Alchimia, you work at one of these factories. As an overseer belonging to the Academy, you take orders from the people, gather resources, and transmute them — but you need to be more efficient than your competition.

The game lasts four rounds, with each round representing a year. Each round, players take turns placing one or more of their workers on one action they want to do: gather resources, take up an order, employ an assistant, or transmute at the alchemy forges. The trick is that the more workers on one spot, the less effective an action becomes; if you want to place workers on a spot where there are already some, you’ll have to exceed the number of workers already there.

The Fog of War

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For months you’ve been planning and gathering forces for the largest invasion of the war. Your opponent knows that you are preparing a major strike, but do they know where? Suddenly you receive reports that a spy has gained information about your operation, and the enemy shifts their defensive forces. But do they know the full extent of your plans? Should you call off the invasion and plan for a new attack? Or risk disaster against a prepared enemy? This is the fog of war…

The Fog of War is a two-player grand strategic game covering the European theater of World War II from 1940 to 1944. One player plays the Axis forces, and the other the Allies.

The game does not have units that move around a map; instead the game focuses on the planning and intelligence aspects of the war. Each player has a deck of cards that represent the army, navy, and other assets of their nations. A map shows the 28 land and sea provinces over which the players are battling.

You defend a province by placing cards face down on the map. If you wish to attack a province, you must plan an “operation” to do so by creating one on your operation wheel. The wheel is a unique way of forcing players to commit to operations in advance, while giving opportunities for intelligence gathering and bluffing. An operation consists of a province card that shows the target of the operation, plus one or more cards to conduct the attack. All of these cards are placed face down, so your opponent does not know the target of the operation or the strength of the cards that are taking part. Each turn, the dial on the operation wheel is rotated by one position. This controls when an operation can be launched and any attack or defense bonuses that apply.

In addition to combat forces for attack or defense, you may also spend Intel tokens to look at your opponent’s operations and defenses.

Jorvik

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For several decades during the Viking age, parts of England were occupied by the Norsemen. Under their influence, one of the larger cities turned into a flourishing center of trade and craftsmanship. The Vikings called the city and its surrounding kingdom “Jórvík”, which is today known as the city of York.

In the game Jórvík, players assume the roles of Viking jarls. They gather prestige points by trading goods, holding big feasts, funding pillages, commissioning craftsmen and hiring soldiers to defend the city against recurring invasions. The player with the most prestige points wins.

The game is a re-design of Die Speicherstadt (2010). In this game, players acquire cards from a card display through a simple yet brilliant worker placement and bidding mechanism to build up their trading empires. Jórvíkincludes two versions: A base game that is equivalent to Die Speicherstadt, and an advanced game that equates to Die Speicherstadt including its expansion Kaispeicher.

 

Legendary Inventors

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Lead a team of history’s greatest minds to glory in Legendary Inventors, a game in which 2-5 players each captain a group of four inventors working to bring their knowledge to life by creating useful objects to improve the world. Compete against rival teams to patent inventions and work to improve the knowledge of your inventors. The inventing team who has patented the most inventions or who has the smartest inventors wins.

In more detail, the game takes place over three ages, with each age representing a different period of technological advancement and those inventions becoming more complex in each subsequent age. On a turn, you either send one of your inventors to work on an invention or refresh your inventors to make all of them available again. When you send an inventor to work you apply that character’s skills — Albert Einstein has a starting skill of four Physics, for example, while Johannes Gutenberg has a starting skill of two Mechanics — against the needs of the invention, marking off what you’ve done with colored cubes.

When an invention is complete, the three players who have contributed the most reap the rewards of its completion! Players can choose to acquire and patent the invention by placing the invention card face up in front of them, or they earn reward tokens to upgrade their inventors, gain extra victory points, and even add additional knowledge to an invention.

As soon as all but two inventions in an age are complete, that age ends and a new one begins. After the third age, the team of inventors with the most victory points wins!

 

Treasure Lair

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Lairs with vast treasure await heroes who have the endurance to travel through treacherous locations, are clever enough to overcome encounters with dangerous charlatans, and are brave enough to defeat the fearsome monsters that lurk within.

In Treasure Lair, you must form a party of heroes in order to face the many challenges during your quest — but choose wisely, for each quest requires different skills and abilities. Brute strength may be enough to smash your way into the treasure lair, but stealth and wilderness lore may be vital to your quest for the greatest treasure. Win the most treasure and lead your heroes to victory!

The Mysterious Forest

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The Mysterious Forest is a cooperative memory game inspired by Daniel Lieske’s graphic novel, The Wormworld Saga.

After going through a magical painting, young Jonas enters a fantasy world. Players help him cross the Mysterious Forest and face the frightening Queen of the Draconias. The game is played in three phases: During the scouting phase, the players look at each of the eight forest cards in play and try to memorize all the equipment they need to cross the forest. Then they prepare Jonas’ backpack by rolling the dice and trying to get the right pieces of equipment. Once ready, the players start the expedition by turning the first forest card face up and discarding the required equipment from the backpack.

If they can reach the final card and choose the right equipment before they reveal it, they win the game!

MTG: Planechase Anthology

Magic has built up quite a bit of history over the past 23 years. With dozens of known planes inhabited by countless creatures, the story of Magic runs deep and wide. Some players have been playing Magic for years, and the story is an ocean they have no problem diving into. For other players such as myself who have barely scratched the surface of the story, it can seem almost impossible to breach at times. Fortunately, Planechase Anthology offers an approach to the Magic story that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their existing familiarity.

As a chaotic and unpredictable trip through the many planes of Magic, Planechase Anthology will offer veteran players a nostalgic trip through Magic‘s history (and possibly a glimpse into its future) and newer players a crash course on the settings we’ve seen throughout Magic‘s lore.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

To understand the appeal of Planechase Anthology, first you have to understand what you’re getting. Here’s a quick rundown of everything the shiny box contains:

  • Four ready-to-play 60-card decks from Planechase (2012 Edition), each with eight rare cards (for the exact decklists, check out the Planechase 2012 product page)
  • 86 oversized Planar cards, including 78 plane cards and 8 phenomenon cards
  • Four slide deck boxes
  • Oversize slide deck box
  • 35 double-sided token cards
  • Special edition planar die
  • Four Spindown life counters
  • Strategy insert
  • Did I mention the box is shiny?

Dungeon & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard

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In Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard, the dragon has been slain, leaving behind a treasure over which to fight, and the players are wizards who are fighting to claim the most gold from the dragon’s pile.

The players have a shared “spellbook” of cards depicting various well-known D&D spells, and each card shows a unique hand gesture that the player must make to cast, while pointing at another player as the target of the spell. All players choose their spells simultaneously, and the spells can move the wizards closer or farther away from the treasure or affect the game state in other ways as well. It’s a game of second-guessing, satisfying successes, and agonizing reversals as each spell cast potentially affects the outcomes of the following ones!

The first player to grab 25 gold pieces from the hoard wins.

 

The Blood of an Englishman

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“Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!” roared the giant as he crashed through the vines. Jack, with one arm around his precious stolen harp and the other grasping the beanstalk, felt the rush of danger. Will he make it to the bottom in time to chop down the leafy ladder, or will the giant successfully catch the thieving beggar?

In The Blood of an Englishman, players take on the role of either Jack or the Giant. The Giant must maneuver the Fee Fi Fo and Fum cards while Jack tries to create three beanstalks to steal the bag of gold, the Golden Goose, and the Singing Harp. Each player has different available actions and must carefully arrange the cards to achieve their goal. Are you brave enough to face your fate?

MTG: Planechase Anthology

Blood Bowl 2016

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The classic game of fantasy football is back!
Blood Bowl is a game of Fantasy Football. The basic game features a match between a two teams drawn from a number of fantasy archetypes, playing a warped version of American Football.

The Blood Bowl boxed game contains two teams: Humans, an all-round team who are flexible enough to adapt to any style of play, or Orcs, who make up in brute force what they lack in finesse. The teams are represented by coloured plastic miniatures, and push-fit assembly is required before use. The game is expandable, and additional rules and teams will be made available through expansion sets and supplements.

Actions in the game are resolved through the use of dice. Regular six-sided dice are used to make tests in a number of cases, such as when a player attempts to pick up the ball, pass it, catch it or dodge past an enemy player. Custom dice are used when one player wishes to Block another, using graphics to represent each of the different (but all violent) potential outcomes.

The rules in this edition of Blood Bowl are almost identical to those found in the Competition Rules Pack, which was the culmination of several years of development of the Blood Bowl Living Rulebook. This has resulted in an incredibly well-honed game which sees regular competition play around the world. In fact each team takes turns moving, blocking and advancing the football down the field. The game comes with plastic miniatures.

Istanbul: Letters & Seals

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You, the merchants of Istanbul, have come up with a new and quite lucrative way of earning extra money: delivering messages to the shopkeepers of the bazaar! While doing so, you can catch some useful information here and there that you can sell to the secret society for rubies. In order to keep your regular business running, you have hired a companion who is actively supporting you. True, he is a little slower than you would like but in return he does not require any assistants.

Conan

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Conan, designed by Fred Henry and based on the Conan universe by Robert E. Howard, is a scenario-based semi-cooperative asymmetric miniatures board game. One player is the Opponent, playing the Opposition forces, and the other players (1 to 4) play Conan and his companions: Shevatas the thief, Hadrathus the Priest/Sorcerer, Belit the pirate queen, Valeria the warrior, etc. The game is based purely on Robert E. Howard’s novels and short stories (and not the movies or other non-Howardian material). The publisher has hired Patrice Louinet, a Howard expert, to make sure the art and the scenarios are compatible with Howard’s vision.

Each game is a scenario, played on a map. There will be several maps — Pictish Village, Underground temple, Tavern, Pirate ship, etc. — and each map can have several scenarios set on it. The game is fast, one hour approximately. It’s possible to play several scenarios in a campaign, but you can also play each scenario individually. There will be a dozen playable scenarios in the base box.

At the beginning of a scenario, players choose their team (Conan and two or three other heroes). The Opponent gathers all the miniatures (picts, Necromancer, skeleton warriors, monsters, etc.), tokens, cards from the chosen scenario. The game usually plays in a limited number of turns (ten, for instance). Each scenario can have very different objectives: find the princess captured by picts and hidden in a hut and leave the camp before the pict hunters return; find the magical key to open a sealed door, steal the jewel and leave; kill the Necromancer by the end of turn 10; survive by the end of turn 10; escape the prison; etc.

During their turn, the heroes can activate or rest. If they activate, they can spend “gems” from their energy pool to do all sorts of actions: move, fight (melee or distance), defend, pick a lock, reroll, etc. If they rest, they can move a lot of gems from their “spent” pool box to their “available” pool box. When they take an action, they throw a number of dice equal to the number of gems they put in their action. There are three different kinds of dice: yellow (the weaker dice), orange (medium) and red (strong). Each character has a color based on their specialty: Conan throws red dice in combat while the Sorcerer throws yellow dice in combat; the thief throws red dice in Manipulation actions, while Conan throws orange dice; etc. Each player can have equipment cards (armor, magic potions, weapons, etc.) which give them bonuses on their dice rolls.

The Opponent plays differently. He uses a board with eight slidable tiles, plus his own Energy gems. Each tile corresponds to one unit (1 to 3 miniatures) on the game mat, and all of the miniature abilities are written on this tile (movement, armor, attack, special abilities). The tile position on the board corresponds to the numbers 1-8. The Opponent has a pool of energy gems and each time he activates one unit, he needs to spend a number of gems matching the tile placement: tile#1 costs 1 energy gem, tile#2 costs 2 gems, etc. Whatever tile the Opponent chooses to activate, he spends the corresponding energy cost (moving his energy gems from the available pool to the spent pool), then takes the tile out and moves it to the end of the sliding track: If he wants to activate this unit again, it will cost him 8 gems, because the unit is now on position 8. The Opponent can activate a maximum of two tiles, and he regains only a certain number of gems each turn (depending on the scenario).

In a typical scenario, the heroes need to accomplish something and the Opponent wins if the heroes fail to reach their objective — but in some scenarios, the Opponent has his own objectives and the Heroes win if they prevent him from accomplishing his goal.

 

 

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