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Earn Medals in 7 Wonders: Architects, Build an Ant Colony in Marabunta, and Score Sweets for Monsters

by W. Eric Martin

• In yesterday’s post about PlayPunk, I talked about Antoine Bauza‘s activity as a publisher and developer, but he’s not through being a game designer, as demonstrated by 7 Wonders: Architects – Medals, an expansion for 7 Wonders: Architects that will debut in France in February 2024 in time for the FIJ game fair in Cannes.

A representative for publisher Repos Production told me the main goal for this expansion was to introduce another way for players to interact with one another without increasing the game’s playing time. Here’s what awaits in the box:

First, this expansion includes two new wonders — Ur and Rome — to give players more choices for what to build.

Second, new science tokens exist that can be mixed with the original ones, tokens that give you the ability to, for example, keep military cards that you would normally discard or always have the cat ability available to you.

Components shown at SPIEL Essen 23

Finally, this expansion includes a new game element: medals. At the start of play, draw a random medal and place it face up between each pairing of players. (Each pairing already has a card rack between it, so now two items will be present.) When either of these players meets the conditions showing on a medal, they claim the medal and turn it face down, earning 4vp for this medal at game’s end.

The rules also suggest that you can place medals in the center of the table and have them open to all players on a first come, first claimed basis. I’ll confess that approach seems less interesting than having direct competition for extra points on my left and right.

The Repos representative noted that this is the first of two expansions that will be released for 7 Wonders: Architects. (If you’re not familiar with the base game, check out my overview from September 2021.)

• Aside from that expansion, Repos has three small games — the same size as 2023’s The Number — coming out in the first half of 2024.

February 2024 brings Little Tavern from Maxime Rambourg and Théo Rivière, with 3-5 players in the role of servers who are fighting for tips from whoever walks through the door.

In game terms, place a table in front of each player, then mix all the cards — customers and scrolls — face down on the table in a jumbled pile.

On a turn, draw and reveal a card, then place it at any empty seat at any table. Romantics want to sit with one another; goblins want to sit with their leader; and nobles prefer to be on their own so that no one outshines their royalty. Scrolls serve as events.

Once all the tables are full, score each player’s tips, and after a certain number of rounds, whoever collected the most money wins.

Pikit is an April 2024 release from newcomer Corentin Brand, with players rolling dice to claim (on doubles) mecha, whether from the table or an opponent, or strange creatures, many of which also have abilities you can use to steal cards, draw additional cards, block an opponent’s effect, and so on.

• May 2024 brings Monstrolicious, a new version of Richard Garfield‘s two-player game Pecking Order, which debuted in 1998.

In that game, player take turns playing cards into different slots, and when a player fills the second side of a slot, the player who was there first reveals their card, then the attacker (the one who just placed their card) says whether they win the slot (because their card is higher than the defender’s card) or not. The loser removes their card, opening the slot for a future challenge, but the face-down card is not revealed, forcing players to deduce which cards might have been played.

Once all cards have been played, players score for the value of the slots they control. After four rounds, whoever has the most points wins.

• While learning about the Repos Production titles above, I also learned of a few upcoming titles from other Asmodee studios. Marabunta, for example, is part of Space Cowboys two-player game line, and this Reiner Knizia design will debut in Germany on December 8, 2023, in France at the FIJ game fair in February 2024, and in the U.S….sometime?

I know little about the design other than this: On a turn, the active player rolls the six dice, then splits them into two groups. The opponent chooses and uses the dice in one of the groups, then the active player uses the remaining dice.

I do like the communal play area, which suggests this design isn’t the roll-and-write it might seem like at first glance. We’ll see…

• Space Cowboys will also release its twelfth(!) Unlock! collection in December 2023, with Unlock!: Supernatural Adventures featuring three escape room-style scenarios: the viking-themed “Ragnarök”, the Gotham City-like “Threat over Nova City”, and “Dia de Los Muertos”.

• In April 2024, Libellud will release the 1-4 player game Harmonies from Johan Benvenuto about which I can say nothing else at this time.

• In my round-up of 2024 titles coming from the EU branch of Blue Orange Games, I mentioned that Next Station: Paris will be released a few months ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Days of Wonder is doing something similar as the next title in the “Cities” series from designer Alan R. Moon will be Ticket to Ride: Paris. The publisher didn’t have a nice box to show off, but I can tell you that red, white, and blue cards will play a special role in the game as you build your own version of the Paris Métro.

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