Agricola is ranked #2 on Board Game Geek. Number Two. That means of all the games, in all the world, the board gaming community bows down to worship only one other game with more vigor (Puerto Rico). It's one of the best titles ever.
The today-only Tanga sale includes the base Agricola [Amazon, Funagain] game, a 1-5 player title all about the family farming experience. It requires to you think about numerous variables like.. say squirting out more kids with the wife (or husband) to act as more farm hands, growing different types of food, and building out your farm's infrastructure. At first you're just a man and a wife working a small shack, but through the game you'll try to groom your land and assets into a major powerhouse farmstead.
Now normally you find Agricola for sale for about 46 bucks. This Tanga Sale is 65. So why is it so interesting? Well you get a deluxe set of 194 wooden pieces, a deluxe set of Meeples that not only make Agricola shine, but can be used for your other Eurogames as well. Meeples are used everywhere, from Carcasonne to Warcraft the Board Game..
Here are the title's official details:
In Agricola (Latin for "farmer"), you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you'll find on a farm: collecting clay, wood or stone; building fences; and so on. You might think about having kids in order to get more work accomplished, but first you need to expand your house. And what are you going to feed all the little rugrats?
Agricola is a turn-based game. There are 14 game turns plus 6 harvest phases (after turn 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 14). Each player starts with two playing tokens (farmer and wife) and thus can take two actions per turn. There are multiple options, and while the game progresses, you'll have more and more: first thing in a turn, a new action card is flipped over.
Problem: Each action can be taken just once per turn, so it's important to do some things with high preference. Each player also starts with a hand of 7 Occupation cards (of more than 160 total) and 7 Minor Improvement cards (of more than 140 total) that he may use during the game if they fit in his/her strategy. This amounts to countless strategies, some depending on your card hand. Sometimes it's a good choice to stay on course, sometimes you better react on what your opponents do.
Agricola can also be played without cards (family game) and can even be played solo.
The first expansion to 2009's highly successful castle siege board game Stronghold has been announced. Where as the original title (scheduled to be reprinted at the end of the year) pitted human defenders against the forces of orcs and trolls, Stronghold Undead does something unexpected: throws in legions of the undead skeletons under the control of an evil Necromancer.
OK, so maybe that was pretty expected. In fact, it was inevitable. Undead are all the rage these days...what's unexpected is that they weren't in the original game. So prepare for some more Stronghold awesomeness coming later this year!
Ah finally. The next game installment of the Catan Histories line of games is shipping from stores right now. Catan Histories: Settlers of America [Amazon, Funagain] has been dubbed the Catan Train Game, a mocking and dismissive moniker at first glance but damn enticing one once the idea stinks in fully.
We've liked the previous Catan Histories games, particularly Struggle for Rome. They tend to keep the resource gathering and building mechanics that make The Settlers of Catan so fun an approachable, and add just enough oomph of extra sophistication to make the game really, truly shine.
So now Catan is heading across the Atlantic, with the themed now centered around the delivery of goods from the coast of North America into the budding towns deeper inland. Of course, its up to the players to settle these budding towns. I mean, what would a Catan game be without constructing your own towns and cities.
At first you can push goods west over muddy roads with simple settlers. As play progresses, and players gather resources from their settlements, they will be able to upgrade and link towns with rail systems. These, of course, make the delivery of goods faster and more efficient. The winner is the player who delivers all of his / her resources to settlements out west, be them to their own cities or to their opponents settlements.
The rules of the game (which can be downloaded from the game's official website) also comes with historical details of all of the game's various components and action cards. This makes Catan Histories: Settlers of America Trails to Rais not only a fun, interesting game, but also an educational tool perfect for classrooms, too. Score!
Here are the title's official details.
The 19th Century has arrived and America is heading west. Wagon trains form on the frontier. Settlers seeking fresh lives and opportunities strike out to tame wild lands and build new cities. These new cities rely on young railroads for vital goods. Trails become rails and create great wealth.
While the crowded East still offers options, its resources dwindle. Look west to make your fortune. Smart money seeks rich, unclaimed land and hungry new markets. Finance your settlers as they head west to build capitals of tomorrow. Link these cities with rails of steel. Operate your railroad to supply the townsfolk with goods. Go west. Settle the wide, open land. Claim your destiny!
Settlers of America, Trails to Rails™ utilizes the simple, fun Catan hex-tile grid to map the young United States. Collect and trade resources in order to purchase and move settlers, build cities, lay rails and acquire and move trains. Create rail links to acquire gold, which lets you buy resources and use opponents' rails. Use trains to distribute goods to rival cities. But, as your settlers populate the West, they deplete the resources of the East. Still, your options always abound.
It's almost August and that means we'll soon be pushing together last year's Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 edition with with the upcoming late August release of A&A Europe 1940. Yep, both theater level editions will combine into a new A&A global game that's larger and more intricate than even the Anniversary Edition.
Axis & Allies.org has a full breakdown of what to expect in this amazing configuration. Not only is the original post at the top of the thread worthwhile, but lots of facts bubble up about the combined sets through the posts by other users in the forum. We especially like this bit:
"In the Global game the US gets a war time bonus income of 30IPCs. That means she's pulling down around 80+ IPCs. The US can, as you suggest, throw their entire global income in one direction if it likes. Fact is, it can purchase and place as it sees fit. This may concern some of you... but rest assured... the US is going to be dealing (in a real way) with both the European and Pacific theaters. As per the design, it cannot neglect either theater except at great peril. I really don't think a KGF, and throwing ALL, will work very well. Those Japanese forces are some mean sons of *bleep*"
While "Europe First" was usually the best option for the States in previous versions, it looks as though USA will have to make some carefully thought out and tough decisions in order to keep the balance of the war... in the balance, sort to say. Sounds freaking awesome.
We're day away from the first Thunderstone expansion hitting the shelves. If you're jonesin' for the next latest and greatest experience in the deck building genre like we are, then you might want to to peruse this entire list of cards in the set. It details everything from card names, their frequency, to their cost and powers, all in one nice neat location.
If you're looking for the art, too, well then you might just have to wait a few days till your box arrives.
The original Thunderstone left us concerned after a few repeat plays. While the base mechanics were interesting, the content in the cards didn't leave much for fun and interesting combinations. And, to us, that's half the point of any deck building game.
Our first peruse of the Wrath of the Elements set hasn't completely put our mind at ease but the cards read like they have pretty good potential. The Tax Collector and some of the weapons look very interesting, as do some of the heroes like the Diin. It looks like the game is slated to step up the interaction level between players. That's definitely good news. We're still trying to find the clever combos.. maybe this isn't the game for them.
We'll let you know when Wrath of the Elements hits shelves. From what we've heard, the game is shipping from the factory now.
Here's another great video review, this time coming from Ted Cheatham of BoardGameNews.
Fresco [Amazon, Funagain] features gameplay that reminds us quite a bit of the award winning Pillars in the Earth. Aside from the similar theme of building a major project out of human history, you're also jockeying for position to place workers to gather resources, or assigning them to refine base elements into better things, and then racing to apply your efforts to complete projects before your opponents do. The gameplay is definitely more competitive than Pillars, with a greater chance of butting heads with other players who strive the complete some of the same elements of the painting as you.
Fresco is prefect for family gamers and looking for soimething more complex (Ages 10+) Heck, the game even plays really well with gaming groups. It's nice to see a high quality title like this in a year so heavily populated with war games and new entries into the deck building genre.
Here's the game's official info:
"The ceiling in the cathedral is getting on a bit and is in urgent need of restoration. The bishop is awaiting important visitors and wants to show off his church from its best side. The players slip into the role of the fresco painters in this colorful family game and have to prove their abilities: But only the player who plans cleverly can win!
This fascinating game already contains 3 expansion modules which can be combined with the basic game in any desired manner to influence the scope of the game. Elaborately structured game cards, additional colored pieces and lots of bonus counters provide even more excitement!"
It seems that 2010 is the year of the war game system. Last week we reported that G.R.R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire received its own starting war game system with Battles of Westeros. Now, just a few days later, fans of history are treated with a swank new Napoleonic Wars system.
Battles of The Eagle and the Lion [Amazon, Funagain] is the first base set it what will probably be a long running franchise. It features 10 scenarios from the era and focuses on the English vs French conflicts. Other smaller factions play smaller supporting roles in this first set, including troops from the Kingdom of Hanover and Portugal. Future full-featured armies will follow in new expansion sets, so we shouldn't have to wait too long for the Prussians, Austrians and of course the Russians enter the mix.
Overall the system has been received extremely well. Case and point: this User Review on BGG. Sporting high-levels of production, clear and interesting rules, and a gaming system designed to be expanded upon, Battles of Napoleon could be one of the best wargames to pickup this year.
For more information please see our previous news stories related to the system:
For twenty years, from 1796 until the final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte and his generals fought on the battlefields of all Europe. Battles of Napoleon is a gaming system that allows two players to recreate the most important historical battles the era. The Eagle and the Lion, the first game in the Battles of Napoleon series, gives you all you need to recreate many of the major clashes that saw the French and English armies -- sworn enemies -- face each other on the battlefields of Belgium, Spain and Italy. No less than 10 battles are featured, each of them based on a major historical event. In Battles of Napoleon -- The Eagle and the Lion, the two players control the French and English armies (sometimes supported by allies of other nationalities) in a specific battle. Planned as the first in a series of products that combine principles and mechanics from board and miniature games, each subsequent release will be standalone two-player games that can also be combined with others for larger battles.
Zombie In My Pocket is a Print & Play game meaning you can download the images for the game for free and run it over your own stock paper to create the game components. Then dust your hands and you're good to go. Of course, if you don't have a professional-grade printer and the materials to print it on then you could just order it for relatively little money here -- it's much better than playing it on normal slips of white paper.
Tom Vasel does a good job breaking down the game and its components in this review filmed from his AstroTurf laden roof top. We're not quite sure why he chose 2nd floor craps table to stage his piece especially since the environment throws the sound off. Still it has us talking so maybe he's on to something.
Anyway, Zombie in My Pocket is 1-8 player twist on a cooperative / competitive board game. The review does a good job of walking through the setup and the rules, so we won't delve too far into that. What we'd like to note is that Zombie in My Pocket was written by a gamer with a degree in psychology, and was designed specifically to cause players to bicker and form friendly disputes in a cooperative survival horror type environment.
Where as games like Pandemic or Battlestar Galactica have you focus on working together, Zombie in my Pocket has you working together as a means to an end. Shrewd players will know when to help out the group to fight some zombies, or quickly run away to let everyone else get gnawed on while they take home the prize.
All of you Game of Thrones fans: it's time to get your dork on. Fantasy Flight Games has released the flagship installment of their new Song of Ice And Fire wargame System.
Based on the succesful BattleLore gaming system, Battles of Westeros [Amazon, Funagain] focuses on the battles and campaigns between House Stark and House Lannister from the G.R.R. Martin Book Series. The set includes armies from both factions, customizable game boards, a book of scenarios depicting battles from the novels, varying unit types, and characters from the series who lead their armies with their own custom strengths.
We've kept a close eye on this title, and we would put it in the moderate complexity for war games. The title incorporates some interesting things like command radius from your leaders, their ability to command various types of units, and faction-based unit statistics and abilities. Combat dice and all that lot seem pretty straight forward.
Being a FFG wargame, it's pretty obvious to say that it's more complicated than Days of Wonder's Memoir '44 and Westeros' sister franchise BattleLore, but less complicated than FFG's own Tide of Iron. That's a pretty nice sweet spot if you think about it.
For more information about the new system, checkout our previous coverage:
And here are Battles of Westeros' official details:
"Unfurl the banners of the Great Houses of Westeros! To secure power in the Seven Kingdoms and to ensure the survival of their lines, the Houses of Westeros each follow very different paths. Some forge strategic alliances, some create complex political intrigues, and still others use deceit and betrayal. But there is no more direct or lasting path to power than taking to the field of battle.
In Battles of Westeros, two players recreate the military conflicts set in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, taking part in battles directly from the books... or designing their own. In this epic board game of battlefield tactics, players control either House Stark, the wards of Winterfell who have called their hearty allies to defend their honor and lands, or House Lannister, an aggressive force funded by Casterly Rock's endless supply of gold."
We'll keep you posted of more details as the wargame system matures. While this first installment is all about Stark V Lannister, future installments should incorporate some of the other major houses of Westeros -- and there sure are lot of them.
We're quite happy to see a potential triple-A title breaking into the Deck Building Genre, a format of game spearheaded by 2008's Dominion. Ascension is under development by a bunch of ex Magic the Gathering pro players. And by the looks of it, some old school Magic the Gathering artist aficionados, too.
Ascension seems like it's a refined and yet more fleshed-out version of Thunderstone, but where as Thunderstone lacks depth (hopefully resolved in its upcoming expansion), Ascension will ship well structured and complete faction decks with full-bore back stories.
Players will select a themed deck and place face down as a shuffled pool in the middle of the table. The game starts by dealing out a series of cards from the pool. These are placed face up in shared area.
Turns proceed where players either purchase an item (if they can afford it) or attack creatures from this shared pool. One a card is purchased, it goes into the player's discard pile, later to be reshuffled into his deck. At this time another card from the pool be drawn and placed into the shared area play.
The pool seems to differ considerably from the Dominion and Thunderstone system. Where as before every card type was available for purchase at any time, it seems that the Ascension system will keep things interesting by creating a randomly selected subset of cards to choose from. And if you're eyeing something then you better snatch it up quick , because it might not be there by the time your next turn rolls around.
Checkout the Ascenion Official Website for more information about this upcoming title, including and overview of the rules and more information about how each of these themed decks will play. It looks awesome.
We'll keep you posted of more information as its released. Till then, have a good weekend!
It's been a while since Tanga has had a worthwhile sale! Well today they've hit a softt spot with us, right on the money, with the Carcassonne Board Game Bundle.
Repeat readers know that Carcassonne is one of our favorite titles, ever. It still remains in the forefront of our gaming play list.. especially since Carcassonne for the iPhone hit the Internets a few short weeks ago.
Now Tanga is bundling both the main set and the Traders & Builders Expansion. If you're new to board gaming and you're looking for a great neo-classic pickup for cheap, then look no further. This bundle also makes the perfect gift for families looking to get into board gaming (Ages 8+).
Here are the details:
"Carcassonne is a clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique Roman and Medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters, and in the fields. The skill of the players to develop the area will determine who is victorious.
Traders & Builders is the second major expansion to the original game of Carcassonne, containing 24 tiles with new features such as Bridges and Cities.
Some tiles also feature symbols for the goods Wine, Cloth and Wheat. Players collect one of these goods when the feature that has it on the tile is scored. Players with the most of each type of good gets bonus points at the end of the game. There are also two new wooden playing pieces in this expansion. The Builder is like a meeple in that it may be placed in a city or road as a kind of supervisor. A subsequent tile extension of the feature the Builder is in allows the player another tile placement. Farmers will also be able to place a new Pig pawn in a field for extra points at the end of the game.
Finally, Traders & Builders comes with a large cloth bag. Not only does this makes it easier to keep and handle the tiles, but it also removes the problem of having non-identical backsides.
The game is playable with or without the first expansion.
Publisher Days of Wonder describes the upcoming party game Fictionaire (4-7 players) succinctly:
"You may know it as dictionary, fictionary, Balderdash™... or even "Call my Bluff", the classic British TV game show; but it could just as easily be called "the making up lies to fool your friends" game!"
And it makes us wonder a few things. One, if the game has been all these things before, then why do we need another installment? Two: why would Days of Wonder, a maker of such unique, high-quality and well-balanced titles, push what's essentially a re0randing of such a long heritage of incredibly similar games?
We can't quite figure it out. Days of Wonder is quick to note that this title distinguishes itself in a few ways, but they're all related to the production materials and not in the game itself.
For one, each installment will come in a pack of cards the size of a cigarette pack that has been stylized like it's chalk full of ye olde cigarettes. Secondly there will be multiple installments centered around different themes. First up is the 'classic dictionary game', but other installments will be themed Tall Tales, Fool Science with quirky science history, and Naturals which tasks players to crafty zainy definitions of things straight out of the natural world.
But with only 120 cards in each pack, it might not take too long to start iterating over the same questions. And once everyone knows the true definition, or true background of scientific oddities, then it the replay value might not have the staying power.
We've been waiting with bated breath about details of A&A Europe 1940 ever since A&A Pacific 1940 came out last year, and it's not because the Pacific edition blew us out of the water.
Pacific was a substantial release that incorporated a lot of the giant format design from the especially large A&A Anniversary Edition (limited). The game sported a 35"x32" board that had a great, well balanced, detailed look at the pacific theater of WWII. Not quite as epic as the Anniversary, but just as much fun, and just as enthralling.
But the true qualities of A&A Pacific 1940 had yet to shine. Buried in an interview with lead Axis & Allies designer Larry Holland were the promises of something more. The ability to combine A&A Pacific 1940 with an upcoming A&A Europe 1940.
Think of that prospect. Not only would you get all of the custom rules and intricate island hopping and fleet movement tactics of a Pacific Campaign, but we'd also get a future large format installment that involves the bloody eastern front, the blitz of England, the troop build up of USA, and the battle of the Atlantic.
And we'll be able to combine both boards to create the largest, most epic A&A experience to date.
We're working on converting our basement to look like a Churchill's bunker right now, complete with a giant war desk, black rotary phone, and reaching canes. Bring on the A&A Europe 1940!
"With the invasion of the Low Countries and the allied evacuation from Dunkirk, the German army is poised to march on Paris. Axis & Allies Europe 1940, designed and developed by Larry Harris, builds on the success of the acclaimed A&A Anniversary Edition. France appears for the first time in Axis & Allies and will represent a new playable ally! Italy will be included as a second Axis power along with Germany. The UK, USSR and the US find themselves vulnerable at this early and uncertain point of the war. Two new combat units that debuted in Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, Tactical Bombers and Mechanized Infantry, will also appear in this game.
Axis & Allies Europe 1940 will feature an oversized board that measures 35" wide by 32" high. With over 550 combat units, deluxe game components and local storage boxes, this game will raise the standard established by A&A Anniversary Edition. All new rules for neutral nations, naval & air bases, and convoy disruption will add even more depth and historical accuracy to this giant game.
Finally, this deluxe theater-level game is designed to play together with Axis & Allies Pacific 1940. Together these two games will create the greatest Axis & Allies experience to date, with a combined board measuring 5' wide by 32" high and over a thousand sculptured combat units. Both games are designed to play alone or together to offer the 2-6 player global 1940 scenario, complete with weapons development, and national objectives.
Europe 1940 details:
Deluxe version of Axis & Allies Europe originally released in 1999
Stand alone game that can also combine with A&A Pacific 1940
Two new combat units: tactical bombers and mechanized infantry.
New playable power: France.
Updated A&A rules as debuted in Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition
Game board measures 35"w x 32"h. Designed to join with A&A Pacific 1940 board.
Over 550 game pieces plus new models for tactical bombers & mechanized infantry.M
There has been a ton of news this month, but if we were to sum it up with one word it would be: Carcassonne for the iPhone. Sure that's not one word, but we don't care -- the game is something spectacular.
For one the game is highly polished. It oozes awesometown. Sure, it's still just Carcassonne at its essence. The key here is how its so accessible. We're able to play so many games online with friends at our own pace, anywhere, any time, or with randomly matched strangers in some competitive sit down ranked matches. It's so easily accessible that its become more than just playing, it's become like a study of Chess. Akin to what GamesByEmail did for Axis & Allies in letting us flush out the bad strategies, and hone the good ones into some slick moves.