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New Releases : 6th January 2010


I hope you had a great Christmas.

I also hope that the quality of games in 2010 is a good as the new releases in the first week of the year. The following are expected to arrive in the shop next Wednesday 6th January

‘World without End’ by Rieneck and Stadler (Cuba and Pillars of the Earth) is a game for 2 -4 players using Ken Follett’s novel as its theme. Early reports are that this is an outstanding game, and it looks to be setting a benchmark for Euro’s in 2010.

‘Descent : Sea of Blood’ is a campaign add on for Descent. The second Advanced Campaign add on for Descent, Sea of Blood uses the same system as ‘Road to Legend’ but adds islands and the adventurers get their own ship to explore the new world.

‘Assyria’ is Ystari’s 2009 Essen release, It has slipped under the radar since Essen and i am looking forward to trying it – it looks like it continues the Ystari line of intricate Euros that require careful planning.

‘Piece o’Cake’ is the English language (Rio Grande) release of Jeffrey Aller’s excellent ‘Aber bitte Mitte Sahne’. This is a rather unusual game in which players collect pieces of cake by splitting cakes into sections and then take what’s left after their opponents have selected the sections they want. I like this game a lot and defy you to play it without feeling hungry by the end!

‘Krysis’ is a sci-fi themed Euro in which players compete for precious artifacts

‘Kingpin’ is a 2 player game themed in a noir comic world where gangster factions fight for dominance.

‘Summoner Wars’ has received rave reviews since its release in the States. It’s a two player tactical game in which players use cards to summon units, move them or create magic. The beauty of the game i apparently it’s easy to learn rules combined with superb balance between the different cards. The initial release is in two starter sets (Dwarves v Goblins, Elves v Orcs) , and will be followed by many expansions.

‘Path of the Zealot’ is the second battle pack for the excellent Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game

GMT have released a mounted map board for ‘Command & Colors’ owners

Queen games 2009 Essen releases have a UK general release next week – i have them in stock already and they include Chicago Express expansion (excellent!), Granada, Sultan and Nelly

I am adding items to the Guru sale – i have had restocks of Arkadia, Municipium, Sherwood Forest and Giants. I have also added a few wargames. It will be worth checking the sale page throughout January as i will be adding items on a regular basis.

I will be gaming in sunny Stockport next weekend at the excellent Stabcon convention. If any of you are attending and would like me to bring some new releases up or you'd like to meetup for a game a beer please email me.

Have a great new year!

Kutschfahrt zum Teufelsberg - a review by Martin Griffiths

A review by Martin Griffiths

Kutschfahrt zum Teufelsberg (Coach Ride to the Devil's Castle) is a game I just got to like a whole lot more by losing it embarrassingly. It's a game of secret identities and variable player powers like Bang or Shadow Hunters, and shares the ability of those games to play well with six or more players. However, Coach Ride has the big advantage of not eliminating players half-way through the game.

Up to ten players represent characters aboard the aforementioned coach. At the start of the game, they are secretly divided into two teams: The Brotherhood of True Lies and the Order of Open Secrets. Each player also takes a character card, which has no real significance but gorgeous artwork, a secret profession card that will give them a special power upon revealing it, and an object from a deck, the rest of which remain in a draw pile. The aim of the game is to figure out who is on your team, and collectively acquire the objects your team seeks: three keys for the Order, three goblets for the Brotherhood.

Turns are simple. There are three options: attack a player; trade with a player; or declare victory. A declaration will end the game one way or the other. The player must name his team-mates, who between them must own the three necessary objects. If he gets it wrong, the other team wins. So what about the options that make up the bulk of the game? To initiate a trade, a player offers an object to another player, who looks at it and decides whether or not to accept the trade. If he accepts, he passes one of his objects back; if he refuses, the active player's turn is over. Some objects take effect only when traded away, such as the Secret Bags, which allow the player who gives one away to draw another object from the pile. Some have effects in attacks, and some are downright nasty: the Black Pearl cannot be refused but prevents the player holding it from declaring victory. One object even allows a player to ditch his team-mates and attempt a solo victory.

If you decide to attack, you declare the victim and put your character card 'sword-side' up, while the person being attacked puts his 'shield-side' up. Following round clockwise from the attacker, each other player flips his card to show whether he will join the attack or the defence. After everyone has revealed, players may add effects from objects and by revealing their hidden professions. Finally, a winner is determined or the conflict ends in a stand-off. A stand-off allows the attacker to draw an object from the pile, and is an important way of getting more objects into the game, but a decisive result is more interesting. The winner gets to either look at the team and profession of his victim, or to look at all his objects and choose one to take.

So far, so simple, but that doesn't begin to describe the feeling of paranoia you get when you start playing. Why's he attacking me again? Are those two on the same team? What is the meaning of being offered this object? The game usually starts quite cagily, as in the absence of any information, it's best to force conflicts to a stand-off and not risk giving vital clues to your opposition. But that's not always possible thanks to the special powers of the objects and professions, and soon some players will begin to know things. Then the game moves into a bluffing stage - if he knows who he is, but he also knows that I know... which brings us back to my embarrassing defeat. The (6-player) game had been moving along quite fast and through attacks I knew who two of my opponents and one of my allies in the Brotherhood were for sure. Then one of the remaining players passed me a goblet, the very object my team was seeking. Surely he must be a Brother too! Soon enough, I cockily declared the 'victory', only to be denounced by the deceitful member of the Order. It really brought home the subtletly of the game: the channels along which you can communicate with the other players are narrow, and there are plenty of ways of being exploited.

There are a couple of downsides to the game. With the wrong group it could drag on a bit and become repetitive, and the fix for odd numbers of players doesn't seem very elegant. But overall this is another excellent game from the Adlung-Spiele range. A tiny box, a low price, evocative artwork, and a great game to have around for larger groups.

Axis and Allies 1940 Pacific

I have returned this product to the distributors as it is sub standard. It is billed by Avalon Hill as a premium product with De luxe components, however upon opening the box it became apparant thst the components are sub standard for even a medium priced game. Moreover it does not have all the pieces neccessary to play the game out of the box. This is not a moral judgement on my part, but a commercial one as i would anticipate a huge number of returns.

New Releases : 15th December

This week’s UK new releases are:

‘Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Anniversary Edition’ – it’s big and it’s clever and it’s in limited supply.

‘Ren Faire’ is a card game about dressing up, like ‘Gloom’ it is printed on super quality see through plastic.

‘Alhambra Big Box’ has the base game and all five expansions contained in one monster sized box.

‘Hammer of the Scots’ is released in a 3rd Edition – this has a nice ‘proper’ board.


Arkham Horror Dice

Some more Essen releases have arrived:

‘Filipino Fruit Market’, from Bambus Spiel – the masters of trick taking game design have created two games about life in a fruit market

‘Santa Timea’ - Argentum’s other Essen release (the first Hansa Teutonica is back in stock) is a trick taking filler

‘Strada Romana’ – from Games from Italy is a game about collecting and delivering goods between Rome and its principal port.

‘Climate Poker’ – It’s a trick taking game with a ‘Top Trumps’ like mechanism. Quite topical

‘Kazaam Dice’ – a follow up to last year’s acclaimed ‘Kazaam’ from Polish publisher Wolf Fang

‘Macao (German version)’ . It’s brilliant and with a translation of the cards (i will provide) easy to play

And ‘Bamboleo Pizza’ – which could be described as Jenga for adults.

I have had some juicy restocks just in time for Christmas: -

Long ships, Ubongo, Ubongo Extreme, Ubongo - The duel, Hansa Teutonica, Galaxy Trucker, Galaxy Trucker – Big Expansion, Bausack, Uruk and Trans Europa

I am hoping to get the Imperial to Imperial 2030 upgrade kit next week along with restocks of Imperial, Hamburgum and Le Havre. I will put them on the site when they arrive so keep checking back.


Dungeon Lords is looking like it might be released before Christmas but too late to be posted to arrive before Christmas, and in an limited initial run (with a wider releases in February)

Please email me if you would like to reserve a copy, and if you have already reserved a copy please could you confirm that you still want a copy.

Infinite City and Thunderstone are now looking like February 2010 (at earliest) releases

Christmas last posts

For DHL UK please order no later than the 19th December

For First Class please order no later than the 20th December

For Standard UK delivery please order no later than the 17th December

For Europe please email me, airmail (items under 2 Kilos) the last order date is the 10th December, for larger items or multiple game orders the last order date is the 14th December

I have been so busy over the last week that the only game i have played is Sorry Sliders! (and i found that mentally challenging)

Move over trains i want some Elves!

As a hardened Eurogamer i am surprised to find myself recently drawn towards fantasy themed games. I can trace the origin to playing Middle Earth Quest in the summer and enjoying the evolving story of the game as much as the strategic gameplay.

And at Eastbourne last month (a bi-annual get together of Counter Magazine subscribers and writers - a veritable 'haj' for the Eurogamer) my highlights were a game of Dungeon Lords and then a five hour Descent Dungeon crawl. Now Dungeon Lords is a Eurogame camouflaged with fantasy colours. The fantasy theme adds humour and a story line to what would be an average game if it was about, say, defending a castle in medieval Italy. Thinking about it my geek rating of eight would go down to a seven or six without the Dungeon bit.

Descent though was a joy. Yes it is really a minatures game but it had just the right amount of fantasy and character development to keep me immersed for five hours without needing to take up role playing.

The conversion is now complete, i have just opened a copy of Tomb Ctyptmaster and can't wait to get it to table - and it looks like my first play of Last Train to Wensleydale is going to wait another week.