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Games Seen at Gen Con 2023 II: Venture, Shadow Blades, Mighty, and Cookie Box Pokémon

by W. Eric Martin

• I’ve already covered a few titles from Korea Boardgames that will be available at SPIEL ’23 in October — Euijin Han’s Coffee Rush here, Uwe Rosenberg’s Tangram City here, Lee Sedol’s three “Wiz Stone” abstract strategy games here — and at Gen Con 2023 I got a peek at the rest of its line-up.

Venture, which will be demoed at SPIEL ’23, is a new edition of Kentaro Yazawa‘s 2019 game Project Universe. An overview of this 2-4 player game:

Year 22XX. Two centuries of fierce competition in the delivery industry have encouraged massive strides in Earth’s transportation system. Private ownership of trucks, ships, airplanes, and even spacecraft are now common.

Humanity can now pass the Milky Way, far into space, and reach their destination in the timeliest of manners. We have reached civilizations innumerable. Many of them desire to make use of Earth’s delivery technology and efficient fuels. As a result, a deluge of orders has been sent to the corporations of Earth, and the age of rocket deliveries begins. There is opportunity for all, but only one can succeed.

In Venture, you must manage your corporation while competing against others for deliveries. In each of three rounds, players need to collect resources, hire personnel, upgrade their rocket, take orders, and make investments, after which they launch into space, moving to various planets to make deliveries, hire alien employees, and more before returning to Earth.

Original cover and WIP 2nd edition• Another new edition coming from KBG is Shadow Blades, a re-themed version of Richard Garfield‘s 2017 card game SpyNet.

In a 2021 interview with Neil Bunker, Garfield called out SpyNet as a design he would want to re-visit and do differently, saying: “…I would actually change very little about i]SpyNet[/i except for the messaging. I am disappointed that it barely got noticed after publication, yet find it one of my favorite two-player games. I think the decision to promote it primarily as a team game made people not give the two-player game a fair shake. Also, I think the special cards in the game gave a sense of ‘wackiness’ to the play and players didn’t take it seriously because of that — despite the fact that once you know what is in the game, there is a lot of interesting play dealing with that.”

Mock-up components at Gen Con 2023

Well, now the design is getting another chance, with KBG placing players in the role of clan leaders who send out assassins, thieves, and spies (yes, spies!) to do their dirty work.

• KBG plans to release a new edition of Juan Carlos Ruiz‘s stacking game Cakes!, which debuted in 2021 from ATOMO GAMES, under the name Cake Party and a new edition of Jean-Claude Pellin‘s real-time pattern-building game Cookie Box under the name 쿠키 박스 포켓몬, a.k.a. Cookie Box Pokémon.

Note that neither of these titles will be sold or demoed at SPIEL ’23. I’m including them here for completeness and because lots of folks were excited about Point Salad: Eevee Edition, which Mandoo Games released in 2022. Perhaps some enterprising Korean individual will develop an exporting business devoted to Pokémon-themed games.

Cookie Box’s bell is now a Pokéball

• Another title that KBG will show to the press and potential licensees is Mighty (마이티), a trick-taking game that spread among Korean college students in the 1970s and has no known designer.

Mighty is traditionally for five players, with most rounds being played as two players vs. three. Players receive their hand of ten cards, then take turns bidding how many points they think they can collect and which suit they want to be trump, if any. (Each 10, J, Q, K, and A collected during a hand is worth 1 point.) Once all but one player pass, that high bidder picks up the three undealt cards — three because the 53- card deck includes a joker — then discards three.

The high bidder can now declare that they’re playing the round on their own, which will double their points should they make their bid, or they can declare that the winner of the first trick will be on their team, or they can call for a specific card; whoever holds this card becomes the high bidder’s partner, but they don’t reveal their identity until they play that specific card.

KBG’s version of Mighty includes rules for 4-6 players.


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