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Freshly Added to BGG - March 24, 2023

I let you down last week but you did not miss much: the stream of new releases has remained relatively quiet these past few weeks; 2023 definitely shows a slowdown in the board game industry. Still, a slowdown is not a drought, and I do not come back empty-handed.

Let us start with the re-implementation of a 2014 area majority game: Zhanguo: The First Empire offers us to replay the major events of III century B.C. China, which saw the unification of the country at the end of a long period of military turmoils known as the Warring States era. In this game, you play as an advisor to the Emperor as he secures his political domination over the country. Each turn you are given a hand of six multi-use cards that will allow you to hire workers, implement new regulations, and quench social unrest that may ensue (now I get why it rang a bell to the French publisher behind this bilingual English/French version). The game should be available at Essen 2023.

In the same historical vein, Sankoré: The Pride of Mansa Musa opens the gates to the 14th century city of Timbuktu under the reign of Emperor Mansa Musa, renowned for restoring the prestige of the University of Sankoré, attracting scholars from abroad. You play as one of the university managers, trying to garner knowledge in law, theology, astronomy, and mathematics, in order to meet the Empire's priorities better than your AI competitor, the Distinguished Scholar. If the cover of the game feels familiar, that may be because it is part of the same series as Merv: The Heart of the Slik Road, also by Fabio Lopiano, Ian O'Toole, and Osprey Games.

After pupils, zombies - some days it's just hard to tell them apart. Survive Alive is a base-building draft-and-write game about securing a refuge against hordes of ravenous undeads. Gather resources, build facilities, and chop off some zombie limbs to keep your people from their rotting clutches. The game should appear on Kickstarter at some point.

Still want some gore and bloody horror? Hell on Halloween picks up on the raging 'slasher' theme to offer a 1-vs-many game. The killer sets traps and hides on various locations, while the victims merrily go around asking for candies. The theme then gets muddier as candies apparently allow victims to teleport away to better locations - unless the killer stuffed razor baldes in them, in which case they have to get to the hospital. I have no clue how this might play solo but I do hope you get to play as the killer - I mean, I wouldn't want to eat killer candies in any game.

In the meanwhile, the Evolution game series is branching further on with Another World, now set in a Fantasy world. This is actually neither an expansion nor a stand-alone sequel, but a card game implementation, with lighter mechanisms and a smoother gameplay. Since it's Fantasy, species don't die out, there is no predator, and everyone is peaceful all around. The goal of the game is to be the first to transmute three creatures (I have no idea how this translates solo), showing how far away the game has drifted away from its realism-oriented beginnings.

And another Fantasy title: Cursed!? is a multiuse-cards game featuring your standard fare of taking on monsters with deadly weapons, handy items, and magic blasts. The originality of the game is that you are cursed (which is why you need to collect monsters souls, to perform a ritual to lift that curse), and all of that you touch turn to ash, meaning you cannot cling to any weapon and must constantly retrieve gear from dead adventurers to pursue your killing quest. I have zero idea how to get this game or where it will be available.

By now you know me enough to expect Sci-Fi coming in after Fantasy, so I will not disappoint you and get you Mint Imperium, another tin game from the designer of Adventure Tin and Mint Knight, available on the Game Crafter just as well. You can play as either the Imperial Navy or the Rebels in this raging war over star systems. The Imperials must build a star fortress capable of destroying planets, radiating death all over the galaxy, while the Rebels must only survive long enough.

I will end this post with three expansions. The first one is The Missing Expedition for Lost Ruins of Arnak, featuring two new leaders, new research paths, new items, new artifacts, new assistants, but mostly, a six-scenario campaign to explore in the solo game.

Next, Grand Tour is a 'big box' expansion for Snowdonia offering actually quite a lot. It collects all promos ever released since the Master Set, new scenarios, a Fix Pack for Master Set owners, a revised and updated base game (it may be a stand-alone sequel then), and "a special new component to enhance and improve all of your Snowdonia games" (how mysterious).

Finally, in Descent: Legends of the Dark - The Betrayer's War, you return to the world of Terrinoth to face the fierce and evil Dragonlord Levirax (this sounds like a vaccine's name). The expansion features new gargantuan minis to spread awe all across the table, shinier sets of cardboard staircases, elegant new furniture to embellish your dungeon's interiors, and probably an update or two for the app.

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