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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Prepare for a New Northwest Passage Expedition, Welcome Hegemony in the U.S., and Celebrate with A Feast of Dim Sum

by W. Eric Martin

I feel like I’ve recently covered a lot of new editions and licensing deals, but my inbox is stacked with announcements along these lines, so let me run through another batch:

Maple Games, a studio within Matagot, plans to release a new edition of Yves Tourigny‘s Expedition: Northwest Passage, which Matagot first published in 2013.

This new edition will be titled Expedition: Northwest Passage – HMS Terror Edition and will feature a mini-expansion for the solo game featuring “Hunger and Terror”. Fun!

Maple Games has published a teaser page for this new edition, but you might also consider reading Tourigny’s engaging designer diary, “Of Ice and Isomorphism”, about the original release.

• U.S. publisher Capstone Games has signed a deal with Italian publisher Cranio Creations to release two recent titles in North America: Rats of Wistar and Anunnaki: Dawn of the Gods, with both games being designed by Simone Luciani and Danilo Sabia. Capstone expects both titles to be available in Q1 2024, and Luciani plans to submit a designer diary about Rats of Wistar sometime between now and then.

Additionally, in November 2023 Capstone will release Boonlake: Artifacts, a SPIEL Essen 23 title from Alexander Pfister, Mario Rossi, and dlp games.

• Flat River Group will distribute Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory from Vangelis Bagiartakis, Varnavas Timotheou, and Hegemonic Project Games — along with the Crisis & Control and Historic Events expansions — in the United States and Canada as of October 20, 2023.

Renegade Game Studios will release Eric Hong‘s The Vale of Eternity — a SPIEL Essen 23 release from Mandoo Games — in English-speaking regions around the world in March 2024.

• At SPIEL Essen 23, Portal Games featured the co-operative deduction game AI Space Puzzle from Katarzyna Cioch, Sylwia Smolińska, Wojciech Wiśniewski, Mateusz Wolski, and Smart Flamingo in its booth — and it plans to release a second edition of the game “with additional surprises” worldwide in Q2 2024. An overview:

In this 2-5 player game, most players represent people evacuated from Earth on spaceships and one player functions as the onboard artificial intelligence (AI). The AI’s task is to help passengers during this difficult journey. Unfortunately, it has also partially malfunctioned. Your overall task? Create an effective communication system between the ship’s crew and AI during the journey to a new home.

AI Space Puzzle includes dozens of scenarios with increasing levels of difficulty, each with new challenges that you must overcome to survive!

• Canada-based Burnt Island Games will distribute Mycelia: The Strategic Mushroom Game from J.J. Neville and UK-based Split Stone Games in North America in 2024.

• In November 2021, Kids Table BG, the sibling company to Burnt Island Games, signed a distribution deal with Hot Banana Games for distribution of its first release — Steam Up: A Feast of Dim Sum from Pauline Kong, Haymen Lee, and Marie Wong — and in late 2023 the game has a prominent position in Barnes & Noble bookstores as that company’s game of the year!

Here’s an overview gameplay:

At the beginning of the game, steamers filled with different types of dim sum are stacked and placed on a turntable. Each player takes turns performing two different actions each round. Actions include gaining and spending food tokens to purchase dim sum in steamers within their “feast zone”. Players may also play fortune cards to benefit themselves or affect their opponents. Starting in the second round, a fate card is revealed each round to trigger an event that may affect all players.

The display at my local Barnes & Noble

The game ends when a specific number of steamers have been purchased or the fate deck is emptied. Final scoring is then calculated. The player with the most “hearty points” wins and leaves the table with the fullest stomach!

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