Gen Con 2016 logoIello’s latest is Sea of Clouds ($30, now), a set collecting card game in which the players are sky pirates gathering treasures, artifacts, and rum. They can also pick up pirate cards, which help them in combat against their neighbors. To collect the cards, players go through a type of draft, each on their turn looking at a stack and then deciding whether to keep it or add another card at random from the draw pile and move on to the next.

Shipping to retail later this month are Schotten Totten ($15) and Oceanos ($40). The former is a reprint of a well-known Reiner Knizia title (also published as Battle Line) but is new to Iello. The latter was designed by Antoine Bauza and has players collecting animals and treasures from the ocean in submarines that they can upgrade with better propellers, periscopes, fish tanks, and other features.

Looking further out, Iello has planned for September Aladdin & the Magic Lamp ($25), the next in its Tales & Games series. Game-play for this 20 minute, 2-5 player title incorporates set collection and secret action selection.

October will see release of Around the World in 80 Days in a beautiful gilt slip-case. I didn’t catch much about game-play, other than it’s for 2-6 players and takes about 45 minutes.

Then in November, Iello delivers The Mysterious Forest, a cooperative memory game based on the Wormworld Saga web comic.

And sometime later comes Farm Friends, an expansion for Happy Pigs with blocky cows, sheep, and chickens; Bunny Kingdom, a card drafting, area control game by Richard Garfield; and a Cthulhu Monster Pack for King of Tokyo.

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KOT_Target_FlatCoverSince we’re talking about Target exclusive games, let’s not forget about the exclusive King of Tokyo edition coming to Target on July 31st.

This edition replaces Gigazaur with Baby Gigazaur. As you can see, it’s extremely cute.

Other than a monster swap, this is the same King of Tokyo 2016 that we’ve previously posted about.

MSRP will be the same.

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King of Tokyo 2016

KOT2016King of Tokyo is getting a new, fresh look, along with a clearer rulebook. The new edition comes with King of Tokyo veteran monsters: The King, Gigazaur, Meka Dragon, and Alienoid, along with Space Penguin (up until now only available at tournaments) and Cyber Kitty.

The rules are still the same, as are the deck of power cards. This is just a visual refresh, and a great looking one at that!

The main reason for the makeover? There’s a digital version of the game coming out, and the new look will carry over into that.

King of Tokyo arrives July 14th in the US, and at the end of the year everywhere else. Also, a special edition containing Baby Gigazaur will be exclusive through Target for 1 year.

Also, a quick note about expansions. Since the older power cards will have different card backs than the new ones, they can’t be used unless sleeved with an opaque back. IELLO will be releasing their own sleeves in the near future.

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Miniaturized King of Tokyo

hYY0hkjReddit user, raremind, posted some pics today of his miniaturized King of Tokyo set that he can easily pack up and store in his bag. The project is pretty impressive, and cuts down the size of the game a good amount. In the end, it’s all stored in it’s own bag, and has a much smaller footprint than the original game. I especially like the use of tokens instead of the cardboard stand-ups, and the use of a paper slider for health and VP really trumps the dials in my opinion.

You can check out all the pics he posted over on imgur. If you like what you see, give him an upvote on reddit.

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Worldbuilders and IELLO have announced a Gen Con 2015 monster for King of Tokyo and King of New York. The monster, Draccus, will be available to con goers for $20 at the Worldbuilders booth (#663). All proceeeds from the sales will go to Worldbuilders, which aids Heifer International to stop world hunger. After the convention you’ll be able to snag Draccus from The Tinker’s Packs, again with the proceeds being donated to the charity.

Draccus is the creation of New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss, and the art was done by Régis Torres.

In Rothfuss’s book The Name of the Wind, the narrator, Kvothe, finds himself face-to-face with the Draccus, a very real beast on which the legends of dragons were based. Kvothe is shocked that not only does it actually exist, but he suddenly finds himself having to survive an encounter with one, and save an entire city from its drug-crazed rampage. Kvothe needs to use all his wits and tricks to come out alive, let alone triumphant.

I love the idea of the monster being used to raise funds for charity. It’s a pretty sweet looking one too.

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Iello at Gen Con

Gen Con logoI didn’t count them myself but Iello’s Matt Bonin told me that the company released 20 games since last Gen Con!

Among the newest making their appearance at this year’s show, the most anticipated had to be King of New York. I expect it would have made a bigger splash if Iello had more than just 200 available to sell.

Also designed by Richard Garfield, King of New York borrows a lot from its predecessor, King of Tokyo, yet presents players with a few more interesting choices and alternate strategies. For example, in the new game players must not only consider the risks and rewards of entering Manhattan (which replaces Tokyo) but also a location from among New York’s other four boroughs while outside the city center. In each borough, destroying buildings (achieved with certain dice results) earns a player benefits like victory points, energy, and health, but turns those building tokens in to military units, which may later attack the monsters.

King of New York should be available at retail outlets in September for $50.

Night of the Grand Octopus ($40, available October), which we previewed at Toy Fair, is a bluffing and negotiation game with a Cthulhu-like theme. Players move their cultist figures simultaneously around the board trying to collect ingredients for a summoning. Whenever two or more cultists end up in the same location, the players must agree on who will get the ingredient or all suffer a penalty.

The latest in Iello’s Tales & Games series, The Hare & the Tortoise ($30, available now) has players wagering on the result of a race among five animals. In general, card play advances the animals, but not always in a simple relationship. Depending on the talents of a particular animal too many cards could freeze it (when ahead, the hare may decide to take a nap) or it may move forward even if no cards are played (the tortoise is a slow but steady racer).

Friday the 13th is a new version of Reiner Knizia’s weird trick-taking card game, Poison. The game includes three suits: mirrors, black cats, and ladders. Collected cards are negative points, except for the player with the most of each suit, for whom that suit counts as nothing.

Friday the 13th

Looking forward, Iello will be distributing in English several games from French publisher Serious Poulp: Steam Torpedo, a two-player game of tactical submarine combat, 8 Masters’ Revenge, a card game of Kung Fu fighting, and 7th Continent, a solo or cooperative game of adventure and exploration.

Also planned for 2015 are The World of Yo-Ho, a board game about animal pirates that uses smartphones as playing pieces, and a game without a title yet, which features cooperative play, deck building, and fighting monsters.

Counterfeit Games

Counterfeit designer board games, a problem in the Chinese market, are now being marketed for export. According to Cédric Barbé, CEO of French game publisher, Iello:

In the past, the impact of counterfeits has been limited to sales in China, though that impact has been hard to measure with precision. We have experienced situations in which a Chinese publisher interested in one of our games has changed its mind after finding the game already on its market. Or finding that the game was being sold at such a low price as to be even cheaper than the cost of having it manufactured by our printers.

King of Tokyo on DHgatePurple Pawn, though, has confirmed listings of counterfeit games on the website of business-to-business export broker,, including King of Tokyo and Forbidden Island. The games are listed in case lots at wholesale rates, shipping overseas included. Some are pictured with unauthorized translations and expansions or modified packaging. One King of Tokyo listing, for example, includes a limited-release Brockenbar promotional monster and a never-released Ultraman monster.

Nevertheless, Jason Schneider, Director of Product Development and Marketing for Gamewright, says that so far, counterfeits have had minimal impact on sales:

As for the counterfeit Forbidden Island, we’re aware of it but haven’t taken any legal action against it up to this point. In all honesty, it’s just not worth the amount of time and money we’d have to invest to prosecute… It’s a shame that they’re out there, but until we see a significant dent in the sales of the official product, we probably won’t take action. In the mean time, we’ll stand flattered that our games are popular enough that someone would want to knock them off!

Forbidden Island on DHgateThough Purple Pawn was not able to confirm their status (counterfeit or legitimate) in time for this article, other games found on the same website, outside their normal distribution channels, are Cards Against Humanity, Bananagrams, Yu-Gi-Oh, Temple Run Danger Chase, Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow, and Blokus.

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Gen Con 2013 logoIt’ll be difficult for Iello to match King of Tokyo but it’s certainly trying. The company presented at Gen Con a variety of recent releases, hot-0ff-the-press games, and previews of future products.

Titanium Wars, out for a short time, is a card game of planetary conquest for 3-4 players. The goal is to be the first player to control a certain number of titanium resources. (Titanium, in this game, isn’t the metal alloy, but rather an energy source.) To accomplish this, players have to purchase fleets, equipment, and buildings; develop their technologies; and battle over planet cards. A certain degree of diplomacy is also required to do well.

A future expansion for Titanium Wars will allow the game to be played with two players.

The Phantom Society is a ghost hunting deduction game for 2-4 players in two teams—one plays the ghosts, the other the hunters. The game’s board represents a Scottish manor hotel and each space, with slots for hiding ghost tokens, a room. During play, the ghost-hunting team works to find all the ghosts before their rampage destroys the hotel.

With a fairy-tale theme and simple push-your-luck, dice-based play, The Three Little Pigs is a lite strategy title that I think will be popular with families. The goal of the game is to build houses of straw, wood, and bricks by rolling dice. Each die has door, window, and roof faces. With two of the same result, a player can build a straw section, three a wood section, or four a brick section. Some of the dice, though, can also be rolled for wolves. When that happens, the player is supposed to blow on the game’s spinner, which will show which type of section (straw, wood, or brick) an opponent will have to eliminate.

The Phantom Society and The Three Little Pigs were selling in limited quantities at the show. They should be available at retail shortly.

Two additional games demoed at Gen Con but scheduled for fall release were Guardian Chronicles and Heroes of Normandie. The former is a super-hero game that features teamwork among players as a central element, without being a fully cooperative game. The latter is a simple, two-player war game with comic-style art.

Meeting with Iello, I was also able to get an early look at a couple of games still in development. Steam Park is a fast, simultaneous dice-rolling game with a steampunk-fantasy, theme-park theme and three-dimensional pieces. Zombie 15′ is a game about zombies (obviously) that’s supposed to play real-time in 15 minutes. The idea is that the game should feel just as rushed as the teenaged apocalypse survivors would feel while trying to complete each of the 15 included scenarios. Another interesting aspect of Zombie 15′ is that whenever a player eliminates zombies with a weapon that’s marked as loud, those zombies go in to the horde box. Then, whenever a horde card is drawn, all the accumulated zombies attack at once.

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