• On the Road, due out in October 2023 from designers Gabriele Bubola and Leo Colovini and publisher Helvetiq, has nothing to do with the Jack Kerouac novel, which by chance I read earlier this year for the first time. (My short take: I can see why the novel was a big deal, but Sal and Dean are caustic beatholes who leave human devastation in their wake. Go on your road trip, sure, but don’t mess up others’ lives along the way.)
Instead On the Road puts you in the role of a traveling band that is crisscrossing the land to gain fans ahead of the Sunshine Festival that triggers the end of the game. This design from Gabriele Bubola, Leo Colovini and Helvetiq is for 2-4 players and plays as follows:
On a turn, play one of three movement cards in your hand, then move your van that many spaces (with more options if you start on a van space). If you land on one of the four types of landscape tiles, you take a matching token (if available), then add “fans” (stars in your color) to the bag; if you land elsewhere, take a pink location token. Draw a new movement card, then if you ended on a night tile, draw fans from the bag equal to the number of pink location tokens you have, placing your fans on the mainstage tile and other fans on the porta-potty tile.
Once you move to the mainstage, you take a ticket, then draw fans as before, and each subsequent turn you either draw one additional fan or return one of your fans from the porta potty to the bag.
You can discard location tokens to affect the bag draw, for example, placing a fan of yours on the mainstage instead of the porta potty when an opponent draws it, but this hurts your fan-gathering abilities on future turns.
Whenver the mainstage is full, the game ends and whoever has the most fans on it wins.
I dug Bubola and Colovini’s Old London Bridge (2022 write-up) as well as Bubola’s Merchants of Dunhuang (2021 write-up) and Hats (2019 write-up), not to mention pretty much everything from Colovini, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Here’s an overview of gameplay:
In more detail, the game board depicts a grid of spaces that each show 1-4 houses in a single color, and each player has a set of colored buildings, with the colors having no connection to the space on the board. On a turn, you either draw two colored cards from the deck and add them to your hand (with a limit of five cards in hand) or discard cards to place a building, then draw a card.
When you build, you must build adjacent to an occupied space (except at the start of the game), and you must discard cards of the same color as the space on which you want to build. You can discard 1-4 cards, after which you place 1-4 of your buildings on this space, then score points equal to the number of houses on the space multiplied by the number of buildings you placed. You can build multiple buildings on a turn as long as they are adjacent.
When a player has at most two buildings in their supply, the game ends, then players score endgame points, with two of the districts awarding points for the highest buildings and the other two for the most buildings. Additionally, points go to the player with the longest chain of buildings.
• In other Knizia news, at the start of 2023, KOSMOS released a new edition of Einfach Genial in Germany, and Thames & Kosmos — which releases KOSMOS titles in English — plans to have Ingenious on the U.S. market in Q4 2023. Hoorah!
• A new title from Repos Production has popped up on retailer sites in the U.S. and France: Waterfall Park, which is described as a new edition of Karsten Hartwig‘s Chinatown, which debuted in 1999 as title #2 in the alea line.
For those not familiar with the original game:
And now the new one:
Waterfall Park is shorter and more family friendly than Chinatown, and the exchanges and interactions have been significantly increased to make the game even better.