As we hurtled towards Christmas we had a plan to tick off as many wishlist items as we could for our subscribers – and with the games for December we did just that. Matt Leacocks’ recently released new game, Forbidden Sky, was high on our list of wished for games, and alongside Tokyo Highway both games made for an amazing December.
Then we added in Planet, a recent Blue Orange game which has an innovative gameplay element, and combine those with the fabulous Unlock! series which are amazing escape-room-style games! The Mind, a 2018 Spiel des Jahres nominee, brought in an extra touch of class to the games – add in some sprinkles of extra quality from Ars Alchimia, Celestia, Flip City (an amazing game which we love at BGC), Gizmos, Mesozooic and a whole lot more, and you’ve got our December crates.
Over the course of the game, players construct columns of varying heights by using the 66 squat cylinders in the box, then connect those columns with sticks that serve as roadways, with the columns not necessarily being the same height when connected. Once you have a highway, you can possibly place one of your ten cars on it.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”252929″ name=”Planet” image=”8615″ background=”8615″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/252929″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”30-45 minutes” age=”8+” average=”6.9″]The spark of life is about to jump from your hands to spread out in the world. Deploy your mountain ranges and your deserts, spread out your oceans and your glaciers. Handle wisely your continents to form environments suitable for the apparition of animal life and maybe you’ll manage to create the most densely populated planet!
In Planet, each player receives a planet core without anything on it. Each turn, players choose a tile with mountain/ice/forest/desert on it and place it on the planet. Then the player who fulfills the most conditions for the appearance of certain animals gains its card.
-description from the publisher[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”245271″ name=”Forbidden Sky” image=”8607″ background=”8607″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/245271″ players=”2-5″ playtime=”60 minutes” age=”10+” average=”7″]Soar to dizzying heights in the electrifying cooperative adventure. Work as a team to explore a mysterious platform that floats at the center of a savage storm. Connect a circuit of cables to launch a secret rocket – all before you are struck by lightning or blown off to the depths below. It’s a high-wire act that will test your team’s capacity for courage and cooperation. One false step and you all could be grounded…permanently!
This latest installment in the Forbidden… game series takes you to new heights with several novel challenges, including collectively planning a terrain using only limited information and constructing a real electrical circuit.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”244992″ name=”The Mind” image=”8610″ background=”8610″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/244992″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”15-0 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7″]The Mind is more than just a game. It’s an experiment, a journey, a team experience in which you can’t exchange information, yet will become one to defeat all the levels of the game.
In more detail, the deck contains cards numbered 1-100, and during the game you try to complete 12, 10, or 8 levels of play with 2, 3, or 4 players. In a level, each player receives a hand of cards equal to the number of the level: one card in level 1, two cards in level 2, etc. Collectively you must play these cards into the centre of the table on a single discard pile in ascending order but you cannot communicate with one another in any way as to which cards you hold. You simply stare into one another’s eyes, and when you feel the time is right, you play your lowest card. If no one holds a card lower than what you played, great, the game continues! If someone did, all players discard face up all cards lower than what you played, and you lose one life.[/bartag]
The House on the Hill: What’s going on in this run-down manor? Explore the sinister pieces and foil the curse that haunts this desolate place. The Nautilus’ Traps: Attacked by a sea monster during a dive, you seek shelter by opening a hatch in an old submarine. Find a way back to the surface! The Tonipal’s Treasure: Captain Smith hid his treasure on Tonipal Island. Unravel the mystery before Johnson, another treasure hunter, beats you to it![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”239307″ name=”Unlock! Secret Adventures” image=”8614″ background=”8614″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/239307″ players=”1-6″ playtime=”60-0 minutes” age=”10+” average=”7.9″]Unlock! Secret Adventures features three ‘escape room’ scenarios that you can play on your tabletop.
Unlock! is a cooperative card game inspired by escape rooms that uses a simple system which allows you to search scenes, combine objects, and solve riddles. Play Unlock! to embark on great adventures, while seated at a table using only cards and a companion app that can provide clues, check codes, monitor time remaining, etc.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”160432″ name=”Ars Alchimia” image=”8604″ background=”8604″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/160432″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”100 minutes” age=”10+” average=”6.8″]Alchimia – a land where the works of a single grand alchemist has caused alchemy to develop more quickly than other technology. The everyday lives of the people rely on the alchemy factories that this first pioneer built.
In Ars Alchimia, you work at one of these factories. As an overseer belonging to the Academy, you take orders from the people, gather resources, and transmute them – but you need to be more efficient than your competition.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”175117″ name=”Celestia” image=”8606″ background=”8606″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/175117″ players=”2-6″ playtime=”30 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7″]In Celestia, a revamped version of Cloud 9, you board an aircraft with a team of adventurers to perform many trips through the cities of Celestia and recover their wonderful treasures. Your journey will not be safe, but you will attempt to be the richest adventurer by collecting the most precious treasures!
[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”168679″ name=”Flip City” image=”8616″ background=”8616″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/168679″ players=”1-4″ playtime=”30-50 minutes” age=”8+” average=”6.4″]Build your own town in Flip City! In this micro-deckbuilding game, you have no hand at all; instead, you play cards directly from the top of your deck. Each card is double-sided, with each side granting different special bonuses. Winning the game requires delicate strategies… and some luck as well!![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”205610″ name=”A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King” image=”3329″ background=”3329″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/205610″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”15-30 minutes” age=”14+” average=”6.8″]Hand of the King is a fast-paced card game of conspiracies and sudden twists of fate for two to four players, challenging each of you to gain the most support among the twisted intrigues of the King’s Landing court. Each turn, you send Varys to do your bidding, moving through the court and inciting iconic characters from A Song of Ice and Fire to support your cause. With the help of some companions and crafty alliances with other players, you just might rise to become the king’s new Hand![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”246192″ name=”Gizmos” image=”8608″ background=”8608″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/246192″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”40-50 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.6″]The smartest minds of our generation are gathering together at the Great Science Fair. Everyone’s been working hard on their creations, but only one will be crowned champion. Contestants have to think on the fly to build their machines quickly and efficiently. Whose project will be the best?
In Gizmos, you want to build engines – engines within the game to get things done faster. Using the four types of energy marbles, plucked from the 3D marble dispenser, you purchase and construct new additions to your works. As you build, new attachments can trigger chain reactions, letting you do even more on your turn. Whoever builds the greatest machine and collects the most victory points wins![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”9209″ name=”Ticket to Ride” image=”3335″ background=”3335″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9209″ players=”2-5″ playtime=”30-60 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7.5″]With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”154906″ name=”Isle of Trains” image=”3803″ background=”3803″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/154906″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”45 minutes” age=”13+” average=”6.9″]In Isle of Trains, players are train operators, building trains with the right mix of freight cars needed to complete delivery contracts before your opponents.
Cards are used in multiple ways: they can be built as train cars or buildings supporting your train line, used as currency to pay the cost of building those new train cars and buildings, or used as cargo to load on available train cars.
Balancing the need to upgrade your train, take advantage of benefits from loading other players’ trains, and complete delivery contracts first is the key to being the most successful train operator on the Isle of Trains![/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”255639″ name=”Mesozooic” image=”8609″ background=”8609″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/255639″ players=”2-6″ playtime=”20 minutes” age=”8+” average=”6.5″]The age of the dinosaurs is back – this time safely behind glass! Build the best dino zoo and impress your guests in a frantic, real-time puzzle game.
Dinosaurs are back and the world is clamouring to see them! In Mesozooic, it’s your job as the director to plan and construct a zoo that will surpass any others. Fill your zoo with a variety of crowd-pleasing features: wow your visitors with towering dinosaur enclosures, entertain them with prehistoric attractions, and let them travel around the zoo in style on a network of monorails.[/bartag][bartag bgg_object_id=”246346″ name=”Cat’astrophes” image=”8605″ background=”8605″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/246346″ players=”2-6″ playtime=”10-20 minutes” age=”7+” average=”6.6″]You’re a cat now! And as any self-respecting cat, your way of life is to make as much mischief as possible. But beware to not being caught by a Hooman or you’ll be grounded! Try to blame another cat instead!
Each player plays his turn, starting by the first player. You can make 3 different moves:
1. Play a hidden card in front of you
2. Play a hidden card in front of another player
3. Draw one to two cards from the deck
When everybody has made a move, all player reveals the cards and effect are applied on the shared mischief stair. Then check who’s get caught![/bartag]