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Svarog's Den - Board Games

A Renaissance Comes to Amalfi, Household Objects Come to Time’s Up!, and Paranoia Comes to Munchkin

by W. Eric Martin

• In November 2023, U.S. publisher R&R Games will release Time’s Up! Family Edition, a version of Peter Sarrett‘s 1999 party game Time’s Up! in which you’re no longer trying to guess the identity of celebrities and historical figures, but instead common items from everyday life.

A summary of gameplay:

Time’s Up! Family Edition is a charades-based party game that’s ideally played in teams of two. Before the game begins, each player looks at several cards featuring familiar items like staplers and hairspray and chooses some of them. Each player’s cards are shuffled to form a deck, and this deck is used for each of the game’s three rounds.

In each round, team members take turns trying to get their teammates to guess as many words and phrases on the cards as possible in 30 seconds. In round 1, almost any kind of clue is allowed, and the cluegiver cannot pass on a card. In round 2, no more than one word can be used in each clue (but unlimited sounds and gestures are permitted); the cluegiver can pass on any card they like, and the teammates can give only a single answer. In round 3, the cluegiver can use no words at all and can pass as often as they like; again, teammates are allowed only a single guess.

Give good physical clues in round 1, and they’ll pay dividends down the road when you need to keep your mouth shut and gesture like a maniac before time’s up!

• In addition to that title, R&R Games has licensed two games for release in English, the first being Secret Identity, a game from Johan Benvenuto, Alexandre Droit, Kévin Jost, and Bertrand Roux that I covered in a February 2022 round-up of French party games.

Here’s an overview of this September 2023 release:

ln Secret Identity, you must guess the hidden identity of your opponents while trying to make them guess yours.

At the start of a round, you receive a key card that indicates your identity among the eight characters on the table. Using double-sided “picto” cards, you try to give clues to your character so that others can guess who you are, while simultaneously guessing their character — earning points for each success. Each round, new characters appear on the table, giving you and everyone else a fresh face to guess, but your supply of picto cards is never replenished, so you must be judicious when using them in order not to run out by game’s end.

After the fourth round, whoever has scored the most points wins. Will you be able to act both as a skilled informant and a sharp observer?

• That game will be followed in October 2023 by Amalfi: Renaissance, with French publisher Sylex being the originator of this new edition of Takeo Yamada‘s Amalfi, which debuted in 2020.

An overview:

In Amalfi: Renaissance, players take on the role of merchants in the Italian port town of Amalfi during the Renaissance period. The town was a dominant maritime power during the previous century, but its importance has diminished. The merchants of Amalfi are eager to recapture their previous success and revive the abandoned port town, but they have only four ships.

In this game, players’ ships are used to navigate, but also to store their resources. With their resources, they will be able to:

— Discover charts and thus get better destinations for their actions.

— Acquire paints, books, and historical monuments to earn honor and bonuses.

— Invite renowned historical figures to support their strategy.

— Construct new ships to have more workers and take more actions.

The game ends after four rounds, and the player with the most points wins.

This new edition of Amalfi includes new mechanisms (you can now build lighthouses on the map); new characters including new illustrations with si new asymmetrical decks; and rebalanced artworks, charts, decrees, and titles to offer more choices and more replayability, all in a new box with a double-layered main board and individual player boards.

• The Munchkin universe will continue to expand, with Steve Jackson Games planning a late 2024 release for Munchkin Paranoia, which crosses the gameplay of Munchkin with the world of the Paranoia RPG from Greg Costikyan, Daniel Seth Gelber, and Eric Goldberg.

A teaser:

The Computer Is Your Friend — this was the first thing you heard when you came out of the clone tank. It’ll probably be the last thing you hear when you’re lasered down like the Commie mutant traitor that you are.

In Munchkin Paranoia, elements of Munchkin take a new form thanks to inspiration from Paranoia: races = mutations; classes = secret societies; level = color clearance; monsters = your fellow citizens of Alpha Complex…mostly; and victory = reach High Programmer status!

Look forward to “Hot Fun, Cold Fun” and “Bouncy Bubble Beverage”…


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