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Concoct Cookies to Serve in Your Speakeasy and House of Fado

by W. Eric Martin

• Copies of Vital Lacerda‘s Inventions: Evolution of Ideas will ship to “first wave” Kickstarter backers in February 2024, so publisher Eagle-Gryphon Games is starting to hype its next title from Lacerda: Speakeasy, with this being artist and graphic designer Ian O’Toole‘s tenth collaboration with Lacerda.

Here’s a rundown of the setting and gameplay in this 1-4 player design:

Speakeasy will transport you to the roaring 1920s during the era of Prohibition. Manhattan was under the firm control of Lucky Luciano, a prominent mobster. To strengthen his grip on the territory, he implemented a well-structured system. He divided Manhattan into different districts, each assigned to a specific mobster responsible for handling their “business” operations.

These mobsters operated under a non-aggression pact, which meant they refrained from attacking each other and co-operated when needed. This agreement ensured a relatively peaceful coexistence among them, allowing them to focus on expanding their operations without internal conflicts. To maintain order and prevent newcomers from encroaching on their territories, the mobsters heavily guarded their controlled areas. Any unauthorized attempt to establish a presence was met with hostility. As a result, only those within the existing network could participate in the lucrative world of illegal activities during the Prohibition Era.

In this worker-placement and card-management game, you take on the role of one of those mobsters, managing and operating your very own speakeasy empire in Manhattan. To do so, you’ll need to use all your cunning and resources to stay ahead of the competition. As you improve your operation, become more infamous, and upgrade to more lavish speakeasies and even casinos, you’ll attract the attention of the outside mafia and the police. You need to use your leverage to keep your business running and receive your share from Lucky Luciano.

You need to hire goons to help you take over Manhattan during this exciting and dangerous time. You can associate with outside mobsters — and even attack and rob rum runners to gain valuable resources to gain an edge over your rivals. You need to manage your cards carefully, placing your workers strategically to deliver illicit liquor and reach Manhattan’s goals to earn income. You will cook your books to fill your safes with free tax money by achieving some goals.

• Publisher EGG also has another Lacerda title in the offing: House of Fado, co-designed with João Quintela Martins, who previously worked with Lacerda on 2023’s Bot Factory.

Here’s background on the setting of this game, which is also for 1-4 players:

In Portugal, some restaurants serve traditional Portuguese food alongside performances of fado, a music genre that can be traced to the 1820s in Lisbon, Portugal and is often characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, while being infused with a sentiment of resignation, fate, and melancholy.

People spend their entire evenings in these restaurants, called Casa de Fado (“House of Fado”), dining and listening to the music, which speaks about “saudade”, a Portuguese word meaning “longing, nostalgia, yearning, missing something or someone”. Typically, there isn’t any rotation of the tables. Once you enter the restaurant, you stay until it’s closed.

In its traditional form, fado is played by a trio of musicians: a guitarist plays “Guitarra Portuguesa” (a twelve-string Portuguese Guitar); a singer, that is, a “fadista”; and a guitarist playing “Viola de Fado” (classical guitar). The Portuguese guitar has a unique sound, and the chords are played in different bars from those of the classical guitar.

In the game House of Fado, players have to manage their restaurant, attract customers, and contract and promote fadistas and musicians, thus gaining prestige for their fado house. Managers will move their staff members to different places to perform some actions, using the same bump action as in The Gallerist.

• Ahead of those two titles, EGG will crowdfund Cookie Champion, a 1-5 player game from the father-and-son design team of Stefan and Louis Malz:

The best master bakers in the country and their assistants have come together to determine the winner of a world-renowned cookie-baking competition. Who will convince the panel of experts and win over the spectators with their confectionery creations in order to be proclaimed “Cookie Champion”?

Cookie Champion is a medium-weight strategy game of clever card management and area control in which you choose your recipes, gather your ingredients and goods, decide whether to provide decorations, then sell your cookies for much needed cash — or deliver them to the presentation tables for the judges to score. You can also hire staff to help you out or fire them for extra money. Present the best cookies, impress the judges, and bake your way into becoming the champion.

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