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In 2023, IELLO Welcomes Ancient Knowledge, Prophecy, Demonic Guests, and Even More Wickedness

by W. Eric Martin

At SPIEL ’22, French publisher IELLO had its traditional media room to highlight both new releases and upcoming games. Here’s a sampling of what IELLO plans to publish in 2023:

Ancient Knowledge is a card-based strategy game from first-time designer Rémi Mathieu that will debut at SPIEL ’23. The game is an ephemeral engine builder, with monuments that age over time and vanish into your past. An overview:

As the ancient builders of this world, the last survivors of the civilization before ours, you are now the only holders of this multi-millennial knowledge. Leave your mark on history through stone and traditions, and protect this ancient knowledge.

Each turn, all your monuments get closer to the inevitable: falling into the past. It’s up to you to find the best synergy so that you can pass down knowledge before the decline of the emblematic monuments you have constructed, monuments we still find nowadays in the four corners of the globe. From Mexican pyramids to the Sphinx of Giza, passing through the famous cities of Tiwanaku and Babylon, only the cleverest builder will shine through the ages and seize victory. In this game, your only enemy is time.

The game includes 145 unique builder cards that players bring into play, removing knowledge tokens from them to build artifacts, achieve common objectives, and take other actions. Once in the past, monuments can be used to acquire new cards, and players take two actions per turn. When a player has 14 monuments in their past, the game ends.

No pics were allowed, so I’ll just say that the game had a strong Innovation vibe for me in terms of all the cards being unique and you needing to assemble an engine, but with only six “present” slots available for monuments and those monuments disappearing bit by bit, forcing you to re-create the engine constantly.

Hellton Palace is a two-player game from Jean-Baptiste Pigneur due out in mid-2023, with each player running their own hotel for demonic guests.

The goal is to outlast your opponent because your guests are terrible beings who will wreck your business. If your bellhops don’t serve them, they get irritated, and when one is irritated twice, you lose a bell token due to your guest smashing it in frustration. Run out of bell tokens, and you lose the game.

If you do serve a guest, you make use of the power associated with them, but the guests get bothered due to the intrusion, which can cause them to break the pillars supporting your establishment. Lose all the pillars in a column of your hotel, and you lose the game.

Cheese Master is a Q1 2023 release from Johan Benvenuto and Alexandre Droit for 2-8 players in which you attempt to determine how much cheese remains in the supply after each roll of the dice. Mice will eat cheese, but cats will chase them away prior to the meal — except that dogs will scare cats.

Guess incorrectly in a round, and you lose 2 points — but you lose 1 point for not guessing at all, so is it better to make a guess?

• In 2023, IELLO plans to release micro expansions for several of its titles, with King of Tokyo: Even More Wicked! allowing you to add the “wickedness gauge” from King of Tokyo: Dark Edition to a standard game of King of Tokyo. From the samples I saw, these powers seem to be the same as the ones included that standalone game.

The Baby Gigazaur micro expansion will consist of the stand-up figure, the health/point tracker, and Power Up cards.

Diamant: Mise en Garde et Trahison includes two tiny expansions for Diamant. The betrayal module gives each player a third, single-use card in hand, so instead of simply staying in a mine or leaving, you can throw a net across the mine, capturing anyone who leaves and letting you keep half of their gems. The warning module consists of eight tiles, and at the start of a round, you reveal one of the tiles to set new conditions for this round.

Bunny Kingdom: Bunny Express allows you to place railroad tracks in the Bunny Kingdom, with the role of sheriff going to whoever has the most tracks, which has consequences for turn order.

Mock-up at SPIEL ’22

• In mid-2023, IELLO is starting a new line of card games, which includes a new edition of Bruno Faidutti’s The Dwarf King, which first appeared in 2011. In this trick-taking game, special cards and contract tiles are introduced each round.

Foodie Forest is a new version of Reiner Knizia‘s Too Many Cooks, first released in 2002. Each player has a set of five goals, and in each round players simultaneously reveal a goal they haven’t attempted previously. They then take turns adding cards to the pot, collecting them whenever the sum reaches at least 10, ideally collecting the right things to maximize their score while avoiding bad stuff.

Prophecy is a trick-taking game for 2-6 players from Christopher Haviland and Bob Kamp in which players sacrifice cards from their hand in order to set a target for the number of tricks they will win, scoring extra points should their prophecies come true.

• Finally, in 2023 IELLO plans to release French editions of Ascension: 10 Year Anniversary Edition, Ascension Tactics: Miniatures Deckbuilding Game, and titles from German publisher Drei Hasen in der Abendsonne, such as Hula-Hoo! and Allegra.


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