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GamewrightFor 2013, Gamewright’s lineup includes nine new games, ranging from preschool to strategy titles.

Skunk Bingo is for preschoolers and features a spinner, plastic log, bingo-style game boards, and tokens with pictures of various woodland creatures. The point, of course, is to fill one’s bingo board with matching creature tokens. The twist is that while the spinner indicates a number and type of token each turn, those tokens don’t go directly onto a player’s board. Rather, the player is supposed to slip them in to one end of the plastic log, which pushes a corresponding number of tokens—different ones—out the other end. These are the ones that go on the board. Also, skunks are useless. They don’t match anything.

Wig Out is actually a rerelease of an earlier Gamewright card game but with new packaging and cards for four additional characters. The game is played simultaneously, players throwing down their cards onto matching stacks. Stacks, though, can’t be started until one player puts down a pair. A player that has no matching cards is supposed to draw back up to a hand of eight. The winner is the first player to get rid of all their cards.

Chef Pop de Pop also involves a hand of eight cards. In this one, though, the goal is to save as many cards as possible by matching them to the results on popcorn dice in a shaker (the shaker looks kind of like a frying pan or a Jiffy Pop device from before everyone switched to the microwave). Also, one of the dice in the shaker is an action die meant to stir things up. For example, if the action die reads “Pop” then the first person to yell out “Pop” gets a free turn to themselves.

The goal when playing Monster Cafe is to feed as many monsters as possible their favorite meals, while not being stuck with any that are still hungry. It’s a set-collection game with a push-your-luck element. Players can grab monsters earlier, in the hope that they’ll be able to feed them later, or wait until they’ve been fed, with the risk that someone else will grab them first.

In Terzetto, two players go head-to-head, each turn trying to match with three same-colored marbles a pattern set with a shaker. The first person who can’t fit the pattern within their 5 x 5 grid, loses. The game can also be played with a variant, where the three placed marbles must be of different colors and the goal is to get three in a row of the same color.

Combining a marbles-like action game with a miniatures-style fantasy battle game is Cube Quest. In it, two players each get to recruit an army from among 25 cubes representing knights, priests, monsters, and other soldiers. Then, taking turns, they flick the cubes against the defensive structures each other has built, with the goal of knocking the opponent’s king out of his castle. A cube, though, that lands in an opponent’s area has the potential of being captured. Also, different types of cubes have different special abilities. For example, knights can be flicked twice on a turn.

That’s It! is a a trivia guessing game that is part of Gamewright’s Port-a-Party line. It comes with a set of cards, each listing five categories with specific examples. Each round, one player is supposed to read the categories, after which the other players attempt to guess the example. When a player guesses correctly, the reader yells, “That’s it” and hands the player a scoring token.

Iota, previously published by its designer, is a card game most easily described as a cross between Set and Qwirkle. Its cards are square and each has a unique combination of color, number, and symbol. Players are supposed to play the cards in a grid such that in any line either all cards have the same color, same number, and same symbol; or no two cards have the same color, same number, or same symbol; or the cards have the same color and same symbol, but are numbered sequentially.

And finally, there’s Forbidden Desert, a sequel to the company’s Forbidden Island. Like the previous game, Forbidden Desert is played cooperatively, with the players trying to collect artifacts—in this case, components to an ancient flying machine—while fighting the environment. Rather than rising water, however, this game features sand storms and shifting dunes. In fact, the tiles that represent the desert, not only slowly cover with sand markers, making it more difficult to excavate the artifacts, they also move around the board. And while running around the board, shoveling sand, and excavating (flipping desert tiles) the players’ characters are constantly dehydrating, making finding and managing water resources an important element of the game.

Forbidden Desert will be packaged in a tin a bit larger than Forbidden Island but still retail for only $25.

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