Agra, India: The year is 1572; this year marks the 30th birthday of Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad, popularly known as Akbar the Great. Akbar is the third ruler of India's Mughal dynasty, having succeeded his father, Humayun. With the guidance of his regent, Bairam Khan, Akbar has expanded and consolidated India's Mughal domains. Using his strong personality and skill as a general, Akbar has enlarged his Empire to include nearly all of the Indian subcontinent north of the Godavari River; his presence is felt across the entire country due to the Mughals' military, political, cultural, and economic dominance.
To unify the vast Mughal state, Akbar has established a centralized system of administration; conquered rulers are conciliated through marriage and diplomacy. Akbar has preserved peace and Order throughout his empire by passing laws that have won him the support of his non-Muslim subjects. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state-identity, Akbar has striven to unite his lands. The Mughals' Persian-ized culture has afforded Akbar near-divine status.
Notables and emissaries from all over the country are on their way for Akbar's birthday celebration. As an ambitious landowner, you cannot let this pass; the festivities are a golden opportunity for you to rise in stature and wealth.
In the standalone game Carcassonne: Safari, players go out on a safari and try to see as many animals as they can, despite these animals hiding in the bush, in the savannah, or near watering holes. Help your friends to dig out such holes and receive bonus points. Sometimes you will see animals while taking a nap under a big baobab.
Carcassonne: Safari is the fourth title in the "Carcassonne Around the World" series.
Following along the same lines as its predecessor (Agricola), Caverna: The Cave Farmers is a worker-placement game at heart, with a focus on farming. In the game, you are the bearded leader of a small dwarf family that lives in a little cave in the mountains. You begin the game with a farmer and his spouse, and each member of the farming family represents an action that the player can take each turn. Together, you cultivate the forest in front of your cave and dig deeper into the mountain. You furnish the caves as dwellings for your offspring as well as working spaces for small enterprises.
It's up to you how much ore you want to mine. You will need it to forge weapons that allow you to go on expeditions to gain bonus items and actions. While digging through the mountain, you may come across water sources and find ore and ruby mines that help you increase your wealth. Right in front of your cave, you can increase your wealth even further with agriculture: You can cut down the forest to sow fields and fence in pastures to hold your animals. You can also expand your family while running your ever-growing farm. In the end, the player with the most efficiently developed home board wins.
You can also play the solo variant of this game to familiarize yourself with the 48 different furnishing tiles for your cave.
Caverna: The Cave Farmers, which has a playing time of roughly 30 minutes per player, is a complete redesign of Agricola that substitutes the card decks from the former game with a set of buildings while adding the ability to purchase weapons and send your farmers on quests to gain further resources. Designer Uwe Rosenberg says that the game includes parts of Agricola, but also has new ideas, especially the cave part of your game board, where you can build mines and search for rubies. The game also includes two new animals: dogs and donkeys.
From Christian Marcussen, the creator of Merchants and Marauders, comes Clash of Cultures, a civilization game in which each player leads a civilization from a single settlement to a mighty empire. Players must explore their surroundings, build large cities, research advances and conquer those who stand in the way. The game features a modular board for players to explore, 48 distinct advances, seven mighty wonders, and loads of miniatures and cards. The winner will create a culture that will be remembered and admired for millennia.
The game features about 48 distinct advances. The whole "tech-tree" is very flexible with no dead ends, yet still intuitive, sensible and "realistic." Additionally you have a great overview of what advances other cultures have - no need to ask - just look.
Players start with a civilization in its infancy. Move settlers to uncharted regions and reveal the terrain and its resources. Several mechanisms have been implemented to assure that an unlucky placement of region-tiles won't be a decider.
The game covers a time span similar to AH Civilization - that is to pre-gunpowder. This epic game is playable in about an hour per player! This is a pretty good playing time for a game that covers so much ground as this game will.
Players expand their cities through the game. But not just to the generic larger city. Players instead choose a building type which represents the growth of the city. For instance you can expand a city with a port, fort, temple and academy - all with different benefits! Additionally cities can be "angry," "neutral" and "happy." Everything integrated in an intuitive and elegant fashion.
Multiple paths to victory
Earn points through:
- Founding cities and increasing their sizes
Ghost Stories is a cooperative game in which the players protect the village from incarnations of the lord of hell – Wu-Feng – and his legions of ghosts before they haunt a town and recover the ashes that will allow him to return to life. Each Player represents a Taoist monk working together with the others to fight off waves of ghosts.
The players, using teamwork, will have to exorcise the ghosts that appear during the course of the game. At the beginning of his turn, a player brings a ghost into play and places it on a free spot, and more than one can come in at the same time. The ghosts all have abilities of their own – some affecting the Taoists and their powers, some causing the active player to roll the curse die for a random effect, and others haunting the villager tiles and blocking that tile's special action. On his turn, a Taoist can move on a tile in order to exorcise adjacent ghosts or to benefit from the villager living on the tile, providing it is not haunted. Each tile of the village allows the players to benefit from a different bonus. With the cemetery, for example, Taoists can bring a dead Taoist back to life, while the herbalist allows to recover spent Tao tokens, etc. It will also be possible to get traps or move ghosts or unhaunt other village tiles.
To exorcise a ghost, the Taoist rolls three Tao dice with different colors: red, blue, green, yellow, black, and white. If the result of the roll matches the color(s) of the ghost or incarnation of Wu-Feng, the exorcism succeeds. The white result is a wild color that can be used as any color. For example, to exorcise a green ghost with 3 resistance, you need to roll three green, three white, or a combination of both. If your die rolls fall short, you can also use Tao tokens that match the color in addition to your roll. You may choose to use these after your roll. Taoists gain these tokens by using certain village tiles or by exorcising certain ghosts. One of the Taoists has a power that allows him to receive such a token once per turn.
To win, the players must defeat the incarnation of Wu-Feng, a boss who arrives at the end of the game. There are also harder difficulty levels that add more incarnations of Wu-Feng, in which to win, you must defeat all of them.
There are many more ways to lose, however. The players lose if three of the village's tiles are haunted, if the draw pile is emptied while the incarnation of Wu-Feng is still in play, or if all the priests are dead.
In New Frontiers, a standalone game in the Race for the Galaxy family, players build galactic empires by selecting, in turn, an action that everyone may do, with only the selecting player gaining that action's bonus.
The developments to be used are determined during setup, allowing players to make strategic plans based on them before play begins. One group of eight developments is always in play. The game includes a suggested set of sixteen additional developments for your first game; in later games, players randomly select which side of eight double-sided "small" developments and eight double-sided "large" 9-cost developments to use during setup.
Many worlds that players can acquire have special powers, with these worlds being drawn from a bag during the Explore phase. Unlike in Race, in New Frontiers worlds need colonists to be settled, in addition to either payments or conquest.
Some worlds are "windfall" worlds and receive a good upon being settled. Others are production worlds and receive goods when the Produce action is selected. Goods can be traded for credits or consumed for victory points.
Play continues until one or more of four game ending conditions is reached. After all actions for that round have been done, the player with the most victory points from settled worlds, developments, 9-cost development bonuses, and VP chips earned from consuming goods wins.
Orléans Stories is based on the bag-building mechanism known from Orléans, with this mechanisms having been further developed into a storytelling experience in which players go through different eras and face different challenges. Broadly speaking, instead of focusing on the city of Orléans and trade with the surrounding villages, player are now settling the Loire Valley. Players must farm and produce, found villages, and build fortresses and churches. They will experience times of prosperity and success, but also times of deprivation; they must defy hunger and plague, fight for their land, and perhaps conquer foreign lands to secure the lives of their settlers. In the end, however, there is peace and the joint administration of territories and villages.
The game includes two stories: "The First Kingdom" and "The King's Favor". "The First Kingdom" is an epic story that spans eight so-called eras, and each era features different conditions and emphases. Sometimes knights settle down, with whose help you can conquer foreign territories, sometimes the plague threatens to decimate the population of settlers unless all have worked together to develop medicine.
"The King's Favor" is shorter, simpler, and more suitable as an introduction to the game. Over five eras, certain tasks have to be fulfilled by the end of each era, and those who fail to do so will drop out mercilessly. The threat of having to end the game prematurely provides a constant thrill, but all tasks are achievable, so that (usually) all players experience the end of the fifth era — but those who have concentrated only on the tasks will be punished because at this point everyone's achievements will be compared in the king's castle, and you will receive victory points for territory size, buildings, goods, and coins.
The different eras affect the parameters of play as well as the rules of the game, creating new strategic possibilities. This challenges players to constantly adapt to current conditions, giving you the impression of experiencing a story, but unlike in legacy games, these stories can be repeated as often as you like. The changes from era to era require a new way of looking at things from a distance, but this is made easier for players by a story booklet in which players will find not only all relevant information and rule peculiarities, but also hints of how to prepare for the upcoming game in the form of a narrated story.
The refinement of oil has long been part of the government-controlled energy sector. Amassed with an incredibly complex and inefficient system of refineries, the government has felt the severe pressures of worldwide demand and the ever-increasing global standards for refinement. Unable to keep up with demand, the government has only one option: privatizing the oil industry.
This is where you come in. Seeking to capitalize on this new opportunity, in Pipeline you start a company in the oil business. You will focus on building a much more efficient pipeline network in your refinery, hiring experts that provide valuable benefits over your competitors, and managing the logistics of purchasing and selling your refined oil in the various markets. You will need more than strong economic skills – carefully crafting an interweaving network of pipelines just might ensure your victory!
Empires have risen and fallen in the aftermath of the Great War, and Europa stands on the precipice of a new era. The economy is robust, morale is high, and defenses are strong. There are reports from the countryside of strange soldiers with glowing eyes, but they seem distant and harmless.
Scythe: The Rise of Fenris, the conclusion to the Scythe expansion trilogy, enables two different options for any player count (1-5 if you have Scythe; 1-7 players if you have Invaders from Afar):
Campaign (8 games): The story of Scythe continues and concludes with an eight-episode campaign. While the campaign includes surprises, unlocks, and persistent elements, it is fully resettable and replayable.
Modular (11 modules): Instead of—or after—the campaign, the new modules in The Rise of Fenris can be used in various combinations to cater to player preferences. These modules are compatible with all Scythe expansions, and they include a fully cooperative module.
While the exact nature of the episodes and modules will remain a mystery (most of these components are in 5 secret tuckboxes and on 6 punchboards), the components in this expansion include a detailed episodic guidebook, 13 plastic miniatures, 62 wooden tokens, 2 custom dice, 25 tiles, and 100+ cardboard tokens.
Sorcerer: A Strategy Card Game is set in what the company describes as a grim, gaslamp lit world full of fantastic, mythical creatures and sorcery. Designed for two to four players, the game pits two ancient beings of great power against one another to determine which of their lineage are strongest. The players use sorcery to conjure minions, cast minions, and wield enchanted items to reach the game's goal of conquering three battlefields.
The game uses a simple resource system of "energy" that is determined randomly by a dice-roll at the beginning of each round, to make sure no round is the same. However, the outcome being the same for both players, the game balance stays even. This energy is then used in the Action Phase for conjuring minions from your hand on any of three battlefields, casting possessions that can improve your minion's traits and abilities; or sorcery cards with various direct effects. Also as an action you can add more energy to your Energy Pool, draw more cards, move minions to another battlefield etc. The choice is yours, it is just about your pure skill to handle the battle preparation!
In the Battle Phase players roll amount of custom dice equal to each minion's attack trait with possible outcome of miss, hit, double hit or critical hit for each die, and place damage counters on the respective minions or directly to the Battlefield. A unique system of Omen tokens then allows to adjust this outcome by re-rolling the dice, before distributing the damage among opponent's minions and battlefield.
The combination of usual mechanics like story driven deck building, push your luck or dice-rolling; and a unique system of influencing the outcome of the battle, provides a perfect balance between strategy and random elements (even you still have the possibility to influence the outcome). Dividing the round to the Action Phase and Battle Phase then creates a very pleasant and natural flow of the hardcore game play.
The future of humanity awaits you in Space Gate Odyssey. A system of viable exoplanets has been recently discovered and the Confederations are flocking into space to colonize it. In this 2 to 4-player development and flow-management board game, you play the leader of one of these Confederations and play your influence in the Odyssey command station to send as many of your settlers as you can on these exoplanets.
After decades of research and technological development, humanity is preparing to leave the Earth to colonize this discovered system. To get there, only one possible means of transport exists: space gates. For reasons related to physics and other quantum aspects, these gates can be built only in space. The Confederations have therefore embarked on the construction of their own station in orbit, equipped with space gates.
At the beginning of the colonizing era, these portals make it possible to go on one of the first three discovered planets. As soon as an entire contingent of settlers has joined the gate of a space station, it is teleported to the corresponding exoplanet. The landing conditions vary according to the planets and the choice of colonized spots quickly becomes strategic.
As soon as one of the three exoplanets is fully colonized, each Confederation gains influence according to its placement, then access to one of the two later discovered exoplanets becomes possible. At the end of the colonization of the five exoplanets, the stations are teleported to the Hawking planet and the influence of each Confederation is assessed. The leader of the most influential Confederation will be promoted to the rank of Governor of this new system.
One of the biggest challenges in Space Gate Odyssey is your ability to quickly develop and intelligently arrange your space station. The better you optimize the flow of your settlers to your station, then to the exoplanets, the more of them you can send to the favorable spots and thus gain influence.
The choice of the modules, their arrangement, and the distance between the airlocks and the gates are therefore essential elements — especially since, at the end of the game, the domains of the modules you used to build your station will bring you additional influence points if they are in line with the position of the domains on the Hawking planet Predominance.
Finally, you must be careful not to leave too many open corridors on the space void as this represents a real danger for your settlers and could therefore damage your reputation.
Your most amazing quest starts with Space Gate Odyssey. Will you be able to take over your opponents in order to take control of the new system, or will you stay at the dock?
Across the far reaches of the Lotus Galaxy, a civil war is waged by massive machines piloted by skilled warriors. Take your place as daimyo of one of the major clans and fight for your right to the title of Galactic Emperor in Starship Samurai, an epic new game of warring clans for two to four players.
In this war, you must use diplomacy to bring honor to your clan, earn the support of the lesser clans, and cement your claim to the throne. But when negotiation is not enough, you can launch massive fleets or deploy the most fearsome weapons the galaxy has ever known — the terrifying Samurai Mechs — to crush your enemies and seize key locations. Exert your influence and bring order out of chaos!