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Build Next Station: Tokyo, Lay Dominoes on Moon River, and Mech a Dream for an Unhappy Robot

by W. Eric Martin

Let’s keep looking at titles that were announced or demoed at the 2023 Spielwarenmesse trade fair — and I’m lucky, I’ll finish in time to start covering what will shown at FIJ 2023 at the end of February!

• French publisher Blue Orange Games showed off Moon River, a design for 2-4 players from Bruno Cathala and Yohan Servais that bears the label “A Kingdomino game system” on the cover. An overview:

Moon River uses the Kingdomino game system — but without dominoes.

In the game, you will build a personal landscape of tiles to score points, but instead of tiling dominoes in your landscape, the game uses half-dominoes in which one edge has a jigsaw puzzle-style connection. You combine two of these half puzzle pieces to craft your own dominoes. This mechanism is meant to provide more variability and randomization in each play.

Instead of building your landscape around a central castle, you start from the river and expand away from it. Also, the crowns (i.e., the victory point multiplier) from Kingdomino are replaced by cow meeples, with players being able to use cowboys to move them.

Color Flush is a 3-6 player game from newcomer Vivien Roeltgen, and it sounds like precisely the type of silly card game that I want to get to the table:

In Color Flush, try to be the first to get all the cards of the same color in your hand — but watch out as all the cards are double-sided, and you can see only one side. You have to wisely use the different actions you dispose of to flip over, draw, or give out your cards and end up with the right combination.

Morris the Dodo is a game for players aged 3+ from Emilie and Jérôme Soleil in which you’re trying to help the bird slide down a waterfall to place eggs in hiding spots — without breaking them! — before an explorer can discover your nest.

In the U.S., this title from Blue Orange Games will be called Slidin’ Toucan.

• Three Blue Orange titles — Puzzlegend Robinson, Puzzlegend Merlin, Puzzlegend Sherlock Holmes — from designer Yoann Levet seem more like puzzles than games, but I’ll leave them in place for now.

The gist of each title seems to be that it comes with 22 cards, with most cards having a puzzle side and an object side. You need to arrange these cards in various ways and solve puzzles to reveal objects that will come into play in subsequent puzzles, and eventually you’ll reach whatever the goal happens to be.

Mech A Dream from Thomas Dupont and Antoni Guillen is due out at retail stores (at least in France) on February 17, 2023.

In this game for 2-4 players, you have three assistants with which to take actions during the day, whether to collect resources, visit the dock for actions, buy a machine, and work on a machine tile already in progress. Machine tiles go onto your conveyor belt at the time slot allocated on them, and they advance only when they have assistants on them. Once a machine has come off the end of the line, it’s complete and is placed in your factory, where you can start using its power.

After seven rounds or after someone has completed their ninth machine, the game ends, and whoever has accumulated the most dream points wins. Wait, dream points? Yes, you are working hard in the factory to help your robot friends learn how to dream. What a kind and gullible human you are!

On display in the BOG press room at SPIEL ’22

Next Station: Tokyo is a standalone sequel to Matthew Dunstan‘s Next Station: London, with new twists on this flip-and-write formula:

Travel to the city of Tokyo, Japan, and compete to redraw their metro plans in order to meet the tourist challenges of tomorrow.

Each turn in Next Station: Tokyo, you reveal the next station card and draw a subway line on your map. You have to optimize your network to collect a maximum number of stamps and stay connected to the central green loop to earn as many points as possible.

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