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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Await a New Magical Athlete, Relive the Marriages of King Henry VIII, and Bet on Whispers

by W. Eric Martin

Takashi Ishida‘s game Magical Athlete — which debuted from Japanese publisher Grimpeur in 2003 and had an English edition from Z-Man Games in 2010 — will appear in a new edition from U.S. publisher CMYK in 2025.

For those not familiar with the game, players pay money to draft a team of racers, each with a special ability. The game then consists of a few races, with each player simultaneously announcing which of their racers will compete.

• In April 2023, I mentioned that New Mill Industries planned to release new editions of Taiki Shinzawa‘s trick-taking games Zimbabweee Trick and Dois as, respectively, Inflation! and Charms, and a Kickstarter campaign for those titles launched in mid-October 2023, with these new editions due for release in January 2024.

• New Mill Industries is also taking pre-orders for a 250-copy second printing of Daniel Newman‘s Enemy Anenome. In this trick-taking game for 2-6 players, you can’t play a card in the same suit as another card already in the trick — but that’s a good thing as then you score a card from your hand instead. Winning tricks also earns you points, so that’s an option, too.

• Additionally, in early 2024 New Mill Industries will produce a small edition of The Six of VIII, a trick-taking game from Carol LaGrow, a.k.a., BGG admin indigopotter.

The title refers to the six wives of King Henry VIII, with the game being played on a timeline in which each Queen’s suit is trump during her reign. The suits, and the years on the timeline, are proportional to the lengths of the reign of each Queen.

• Designer James Ernest of Crab Fragment Labs has released a new gambling card game called Whispers that uses an eight-suited deck with cards numbered 1-6, along with six “whisper” cards.

You can read the full rules here, but the idea is that you’re betting on how long you can avoid getting a pair. Each players antes a coin, then receives two cards face up from the deck; if you receive two cards of the same value, flip one face down to transform it into a whisper. Each player declares whether they’re in or out, and everyone who’s in is dealt another card face up. If you now have a pair, you’re eliminated from the round, paying a penalty to the pot equal to the value of the paired card, e.g. 5 coins for a pair of 5s. Each whisper you have doubles this penalty.

Once at least one player is eliminated, in addition to deciding whether you’re in or out of the next card flip, you can offer to split the pot with everyone who is still in. If they agree, you do so; otherwise you are automatically in.

If only one player is left, they win the pot; if players decide to split the pot, do so; and if the remaining players are eliminated in the same round, then whoever paid that highest penalty wins the pot!

Play a certain number of rounds, then whoever has the most money wins.


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