In late November 2022, I teased titles coming from the German side of KOSMOS in the first half of 2023. Now Thames & Kosmos, the U.S. branch of KOSMOS, has released its 2023 product catalog, so we can see which games are making their way from Europe to North America at some point in 2023. (Candice Harris has already depicted a few of these titles in a PAXU 2022 round-up. Specific release dates will come later.)
The movement of the characters is controlled by a special dice mechanism. Colored dice determine which figure can be moved. Your dice value determines the number of spaces a figure can travel. By choosing the dice before and after the roll, players are faced with decisions that are seemingly uncomplicated, but nevertheless significant for the outcome of the game. Black dice, which always must be rolled, trigger threats or cause encounters with enemies or friends. The encounter cards ensure the continuous, ever-growing threat to completing the quest.
As in most co-operative games, players must coordinate their moves and actions with each other to ensure the desired outcome.
In this dice game, which consists of four chapters, each with three episodes, you create a unique city. The roll of the dice shows everyone which building to draw on their game pad, and from episode to episode, you have to face new challenges. First the land is developed and later gold is found. This brings bandits into your city who must be surrounded and taken into custody. You can play through the campaign or pick your favorite individual episodes or chapters to play over and over again.
• High Score is another dice game from Knizia, one that debuted in Germany in late 2021. Each round, players take on a new challenge, with that round’s card also dictating how they can re-roll dice. Try to top other players’ scores without busting.
• Inside Job from Tanner Simmons is a mostly co-operative trick-taking game in which the team attempts to complete missions — along the lines of The Crew — but with one teammate who’s attempting to sabotage the effort.
• The Adventures of Robin Hood: Friar Tuck in Danger from Michael Menzel presents new challenges for players of The Adventures of Robin Hood.
• Noobs in Space is a 2-5 player game from Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck (designers of Challengers!) that falls into the co-operative game with communication limits genre that often divides players. An overview:
In Noobs in Space, a team must complete a series of tasks and challenges together, using what little knowledge you have. Not all hope is lost because each of you has a small part of the solution; you just need to figure out how to put it all together. While one player may know the task at hand but not have the resources to implement it, those resources may be shared among three other players. They, on the other hand, do not know what is necessary based on the information they have. Since players cannot show cards to each other, there must be a lot of clear communication and interaction by describing or reading out cards in order to gradually find out what should be done — and all of this must be done as quickly as possible.
The story leads through several levels, and each level consists of several tasks, so the whole game is an action-packed event from beginning to end.
• The highly successful Exit family of escape room games will continue to expand, with Thames & Kosmos running roughly a year behind what KOSMOS is releasing in Germany. These 2022 titles will all be released in English in 2023:
• And to expand on that earlier tease post, on its Instagram page KOSMOS has announced three new EXIT titles hitting the German market in 2023: