With John D. Clair‘s Rolling Heights having been delivered to most backers and hitting retail stores in late February 2023, U.S. publisher Alderac Entertainment Group is highlighting its remaining plans for the year, starting with a March 2023 Kickstarter campaign for Josh Wood‘s Let’s Go! To Japan, a game that originated after Wood was thwarted in his real-life effort to go to Japan due to Covid.
Here’s an overview of this 1-4 player game:
The game consists of thirteen rounds in which players draw activity cards illustrated by Japan-based artists and strategically place them in different days in their week-long itinerary. These can’t-miss tourist attractions will have you bouncing between Tokyo and Kyoto as you try to puzzle out the optimal activities to maximize your experience while balancing your resources. The game ends with a final round in which you ultimately go on your planned trip, activating each of your cards in order along the way.
The player who collects the most points by the end of their trip wins!
• In July 2023, Smash Up: Excellent Movies, Dudes! brings non-IP-infringing nostalgia to your table, whether for play on its own as a two-player game or in combination with any other Smash Up sets.
• Shake That City from Mads Fløe and Kåre Torndahl Kjær should hit retail outlets around the same time, giving you a chance to build a city bit by bit. In short, each round the active player shakes the cube device, then ejects colored cubes in a 3×3 grid. This player chooses one color of cubes, then places the matching colored buildings in their city in a similar arrangement to the cubes; everyone else does the same with any other color of cubes.
• At Gen Con 2023 in August, AEG will once again host its Big Game Night event, with the featured games being Waffle Time and Number Drop. I posted a preview pic of Waffle Time, a drafting game by Maxime Demeyere in which you build the perfect waffle, in August 2022, but I have no other info right now.
Number Drop is a Tetris-style roll-and-write game from Florian Sirieix and Benoit Turpin that debuted in 2021 from French publisher Débâcle Jeux. Each round, a player rolls four number dice and one tetromino shape die, then everyone “drops” the rolled tetromino into their grid with the four rolled numbers filling the four squares of this shape. After dropping, you can score a combination of identical numbers or consecutive numbers, but you can score each combo only once.
If you score both combos of the same size, then you circle the “block” letter (A-E) next the combo value. The next time a * is rolled on a number die (with * being a joker of value 0-9), then everyone who has not circled this block letter must drop a punishment block into their grid. This block will break up combos, but still allow you to complete lines, which is another way to score.
Point City is reminiscent of 2019’s Point Salad. Each turn, you draft two adjacent cards from the city grid, then add them to your expanding city. By using resource cards and bonuses on erected buildings, you can complete building cards that provide points, resources, and other benefits.
Deep Dive is a press-your-luck game for 1-6 players. Each turn, flip over an ocean tile, and see what you reveal. You can take what you reveal in the shallows or dive deeper, hoping for a larger catch — but the deeper you go, the more plentiful the predators become. As you surface with food, you build sets of three colors. Target the colors you need to complete sets and score the maximum number of points.
When one of the depths of the ocean has been fully explored, the game ends and the penguin waddle with the best sets of food wins!
• Further out are two titles for which AEG currently has no official images. Let’s start with Undergrove, a 2-4 player game from Elizabeth Hargrave and Mark Wooton that gives you a taste of what’s hiding underground:
Undergrove is a medium-weight 3X game in which you play a Douglas-fir tree that is building symbiotic relationships with fungi and using them to establish your seedlings. Players explore by adding new mushrooms to a shared forest area, expand by playing new seedlings and roots on those mushrooms, and exploit their relationships with the mushrooms to gain resources. Players then help their seedlings grow into trees by transferring resources through the fungi. At the end of the game, the player who has grown the best set of seedlings with the most valuable symbiotic relationships wins.
In Ascent of Dragons, players get to be epic dragons battling over who will dominate the realm. Each player uses a dragon with unique cards and upgrades to ravage the lands, cast spells, and vie for supremacy in battle. Combining hand-management, worker-placement, and area-control mechanisms, players have a huge wealth of options for how they want to approach their strategy. Some may build intricate combos of spells while others dominate control of battlefields. Between loyal troops, monstrous allies, and the dragons themselves, the game looks as epic on the table as it feels to play.
After four eras of collecting gems to unlock upgrades and compete, the dragon who has amassed the greatest hoard of treasure is declared the victor and ruler of the realm.