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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Solve the Murder of Lord Russell, Spot Animals at a Party, and Challenge Your Disney Vocabulary

by W. Eric Martin

• In November 2022, I wrote about new games coming from Ravensburger in Germany in 2023, including Sakura Heroes, Twins, That’s Not a Hat, and an updated version of The Quest for El Dorado.

Turns out that Ravensburger had a few other titles on display at the Spielwarenmesse trade fair in early February 2023, such as echoes: Mord auf Ex, another audio-based mystery game from Matthew Dunstan and Dave Neale. In this release, Linn and Leo from the true crime podcast “Mord auf Ex” guide players through a true case from 1840 in the hopes of solving the murder of Lord Russell.

Cat & Co. is a dice-rolling memory game from Carlo A. Rossi that plays as follows:

Each player starts with a set of twelve animal cards in hand. On a turn, a player shakes the ten animal dice in the box, lifts the lid for a brief time, then covers the dice once again. Starting with the dice shaker, players place one card from their hand into a row, trying to play cards to match which animals have shown up at the party. If you can’t remember or don’t think your cards match the dice, you can pass.

Once all players have passed, remove the lid once again and place dice one by one on the cards in order. If a player played a card that doesn’t match a die, they receive a cat token worth -1 points. All cards that match the dice are removed from the game; all cards that collected cat tokens are returned to the hands of the appropriate players.

Keep playing rounds until someone has no cards left in hand or someone has collected at least three cat tokens. Each card left in hand is worth -1 point, and whoever has the best score wins.

• The North American branch of Ravensburger announced more titles of its own, with Disney Around the World being an August 2023 release for players aged 4+. In the game, you travel in a hot air balloon, ideally landing in new lands so that you can get stamps in your passport.

Disney WordARound, due out in March 2023, is a themed version of the simultaneous play game WordARound that’s been in print since 2012. You flip a card from the deck, with each card showing a word in three colored rings, and the color of the next card on the deck determines which word you need to yell out first in order to claim the card.

• Finally, Disney Villains: The Card Game from Leo Colovini is now available in the Barnes & Noble chain in the U.S., which is nice to know since I forgot to buy a copy at SPIEL ’22.

This design, a themed remake of Heul doch! Mau Mau, challenges you to collect cards in your personal discard pile, despite being forced to play on your neighbors’ piles if the played card matches what’s on top of their pile. Unlike the earlier design, in this game each player has a special villain power to bend the rules.

• As a side note, in February 2023 Ravensburger will release jigsaw puzzles that feature the characters from Star Wars Villainous after having successfully having fulfilled their objective. No sense not using the license to make spin-off products!


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