Carcassonne Under the Big Top

It’s a circus of Carcassonne expansions with this, the 10th, Under the Big Top, where the focus is on scoring points through interactions with adjacent tiles.

Included in Under the Big Top ($20 retail) are 40 new tiles, animal tokens, ringmaster meeples, and a wood big-top piece. Circus tiles give points both to the meeples on them and to those on adjacent tiles. Acrobat tiles score multiple meeples, with new ones stacked in a pyramid when tiles are placed adjacent. And ringmaster meeples are placed as normal but score bonus points for adjacent circus and acrobat tiles.

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Logo_AsmodéeAsmodee Group is in the process of acquiring yet another game publisher, F2Z Entertainment, including the latter’s design studios, Z-Man, Plaid Hat Games, and Filosofia. Terms were not revealed but closing was said to be expected “in the coming months.”

Interestingly, the deal will unite two leading titles of the board game resurgence, Catan and Carcassonne, under one publisher (for English and French, at least).


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Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

Pandemic: CoC

I don’t know how I missed this, but I just saw an entry pop up on BoardGameGeek for Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. The game is being released by Z-Man games and uses familiar Pandemic rules with a Cthulhu Mythos flair.

There’s not much info I can find. A post by W. Eric Martin indicates an official announcement from Z-Man on the 15th of this month, with a debut of the game at Gen Con this year.

How many versions of Pandemic is too many to own? I have the original printing, am looking at getting Legacy, and now am going to have to snag this when it comes out.

It looks way too cool to pass up.

Zev Shlasinger Joins WizKids

WizKids logoWizkids has just announced that Zev Shlasinger, formerly of Z-Man Games, has joined the company to head up a new board game unit.

“I plan to continue to bring original and unique ideas to market with the help of the WizKids team,” said Shlasinger. “They are very serious about building a board game business and are not afraid of good, fun, original ideas. In addition, WizKids has an amazing portfolio of licensed properties to enhance their board game presence in the industry. I think our combined qualities make a formidable team.”

It’s a pretty interesting move, and I’m hoping to see Zev again at Connecticon this year to see how it goes.

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Monster_my_neighborA new card game based on secret identity discovery is launching soon in the US thanks to Z-Man Games. Have you ever wondered if your neighbor is hiding a dark secret? What if the secret is that your neighbor is actually a monster? In Monster My Neighbor (previously named, My Neighbor Monster), you will get to find out.

Players are dealt a hand of four cards. One person will be dealt a monster card. The goal is to either uncover the monster’s identity, or keep it a secret from everyone else.

There are various cards that mix up the game’s strategy. For example, a trade or steal card will allow the monster’s identity to switch to a different player. There are also bluff cards that will let you keep your identity a secret for a little bit longer.

The game supports three to eight players and takes about 20 minutes to play. It will retail for $20 and is scheduled to ship in November, just in time for the holiday gift-buying season.

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Flick em UpPretzel Games is a new company from F2Z Entertainment, which are subsidiaries of Z-Man Games and Filosofia. Before the end of this summer, Pretzel Games will launch the first in what the company hopes will be a long line of high-quality dexterity based games.

Flick ’em Up! is western themed game where players literally flick their way to being the fasted gun in the West. Set up an old timey town, made from high-quality wooden storefront facades, and grab your player token, which looks like a gunslinger with a removable cowboy hat, because this is going to be the wildest game you’ve played on your kitchen table.

Players build a town from the included storefronts and choose from 10 scenarios that give you the option to join forces with the town’s sheriff, or team up with outlaws for a good-time ruckus.

Using flick discs, players move around through the town taking down their opponents. When it comes time for a shootout, use special flick discs that are designated as the bullet to try to beat your opponents’.

Flick ’em Up! comes in a slick wooden box and features wooden cacti, barrels, town buildings, and cowboys. It is scheduled for a July release with a retail price of $70. It is currently available at Gen Con from the Pretzel Games booth where you can demo the game.

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SilvionSmokey the Bear will tell you that only you can prevent forest fires, but he never met the mad Fire Elemental. You may not be able to prevent the burning baddie from attacking, but you can stop him from destroying the Dream Forest.

Sylvion by Z-Man Games is a solo or two-player cooperative tower defense card game. Players build a deck use a drafting system and play cards in their hand by paying for them with other cards. There are animals, trees, and fountains, all at your disposal to help put out the fire.

Fire cards are randomly drawn from four piles and are considered a wave attack from the enemy camp. You must defeat the fire cards by playing stronger, more powerful forest cards.

When all of the fire cards have been destroyed, your marker must be on a green space to show that you’ve saved the forest. If you are on a fire card, the forest has been burned down.

Silvion is available now for $25 from the company’s website, Amazon, or you local board game store.

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Abracada…What? is a family game of deduction and spell casting… But watch out! Say the wrong magic words too many times and the only thing you’ll be spelling is trouble!

In Harry Potter, we all know that saying a spell wrong means disaster. The case is just similar in Abracada…What?, a deduction and memory race in which players take on the roles of witches and wizards who compete to reach the top of a magic tower. When it starts, each player has 5 spellstone tiles in front of them, but the trick is that the faces of these tiles are facing the opponents, i.e. not visible to the owner. A number on each tile marks the total amount of copies of that type of spell. On a turn, player attempts to cast a spell from his or her own set of tiles; if successful, the special effect of the named tile will take place, otherwise the player loses 1 life. Since some tiles are kept invisible from everyone, it really takes careful calculation and a bit of luck to avoid “Avada Kedavra”.

Abracada…What? plays 2 to 5 players in about 30 minutes. It is expected to be released in Q2 2015, with an MSRP of $34.99.

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El Grande Big Box


The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of El Grande, one of the most influential strategy and area control bestsellers. To celebrate this special occasion, a Big Box Edition will be released in Dutch, German and English languages.

Aside from the base game, the Big Box also includes all previously published official expansions, including:

  • Grand Inquisitor & Colonies;
  • Grandissimo;
  • King & Intrigant;
  • King & Intrigant: Players’ Edition;
  • King & Intrigant: Special Cards;
  • Anniversary Extension (details TBA).

The English version of El Grande Big Box will be published by Z-Man Games in 2015, according to W. Eric Martin on BoardGameGeek.

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Traders of Osaka


“In charge of valuable cargo, you must deliver it from Osaka to Edo. But fierce competition and the Black Tide may sink your hopes for fortune!”

As a re-implementation of the 2006 economic card game Traders of Carthage, Traders of Osaka leads players into ancient Japan where buying and selling valuable goods – and of course, earning victory points – are the ultimate goals. But with competitors lurking around, players also need to consider each and every action carefully to maximize their own profits while hindering the opponents. And when the ships reach the destination of Edo, not only can players sell their goods, but they can also destroy the opponents’ cargo.


Current Components List

  • 1 game board
  • 108 cards
  • 48 achievement tokens
  • 4 ships
  • 4 trader pieces
  • 1 reservation piece
  • Rulebook

Traders of Osaka plays 2 to 4 players in 30 minutes, and will be released in Q1/Q2 2015 with an MSRP of $29.99.

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