June 2019 saw some absolute humdingers in our game selection, including the amazing Chronicles of Crime from Lucky Duck Games, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra – both games we saw at Essen 2018 and we were thunderstuck by how great they were. Also in the mix was the absolute classic that is Alhambra (from which we took the name for our AI, the illustrious Dirk!) and the amazing 2018 release of Gingerbread House. Add into the great mixing bowl of games the usual Modern Classics plus the great Gobblin Gobblins and Forest of Fate and you’ve got the June crates!

What games can I expect in a crate?

Each crate is made up of at least two games from the collections shown for each month. For example, in March 2019, a subscriber might have received Quacks of Quedlinburg & Fungi, or Istanbul and Food Truck Champion. Each crate combination is selected based on wishlists, crate preferences and your games library, and is guaranteed to be a combined higher value than the cost of a crate.

Chronicles of Crime

  • 1-4 players
  • 60-90 minutes
  • 14+
  • 8

Chronicles of Crime is a cooperative game of crime investigation, mixing an app, a board game and a touch of Virtual Reality. With the same physical components (board, locations, characters and items), players will be able to play plenty of different scenarios and solve as many different crime stories.

Players start the app, choose the scenario they want to play, and follow the story. The goal being to catch the killer of the current case in the shortest short time possible. Using the Scan&Play technology, each component (locations, characters, items, etc.) has a unique QR code, which, depending on the scenario selected, will activate and trigger different clues and stories. That means players will be able to get new stories way after the game is released simply by downloading the app’s updates, without any shipping of new physical components involved.

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

  • 2-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.6

Created by Michael Kiesling, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra challenges players to carefully select glass panes to complete their windows while being careful not to damage or waste supplies in the process. The window panels are double-sided, providing players with a dynamic player board that affords nearly infinite variability!

Players can expect to discover new unique art and components in Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, including translucent window pane pieces, a tower to hold discarded glass panes, and double-sided player boards and window pane panels, in addition to many other beautiful components!

Alhambra

  • 2-6 players
  • 45-60 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7

Granada, 1278. At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, one of the most exciting and interesting project of the Spanish Middle Ages begins: the construction of the ALHAMBRA.

The best master builders in the whole of Europe and Arabia want to demonstrate their skill. Employ the most suitable teams of builders and make sure that you always have enough of the right currency. Because no matter whether they are stonemasons from the north or horticulturalists from the south, they all want a proper wage and insist on their ‘native’ currency. With their help towers can be constructed, gardens laid out, pavilions and arcades erected and seraglios and chambers built.

Gingerbread House

  • 2-4 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7

Once upon a time a witch lived alone in her house in the depths of the forest. Her favorite hobby was baking yummy gingerbread; in fact, she loved gingerbread so much that she built her entire house out of it. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one who loved it! Rude fairy tale characters passing by were eating away her walls, windows, and doors! One day, the witch decided that she’d had enough of them all helping themselves and, paying attention to which types of gingerbread these greedy intruders liked the most, she came up with an idea on how to get rid of them once and for all…

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Watson & Holmes

  • 2-7 players
  • 45-75 minutes
  • 12+
  • 7.4

Watson & Holmes is a game of deduction set within the magnificent works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Two to seven aspiring detectives step into the shoes of Doctor Watson, working alongside the detective Sherlock Holmes to try to solve a series of so far unpublished cases directly extracted from Doctor John H. Watson’s diaries. Those who accept the challenge relive the adventures of the crime-solving duo, visiting each of the locations where the inquiries were made. Following the trail, each clue brings players closer to solving the case.

Forest of Fate

  • 2-6 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 14+
  • 6.6

Forest of Fate is a social card game, where teamwork and tough decisions determine your fate. Choose wisely, and you just might make it home with the story of a lifetime.

The quest is already done: your goal is to make it back to The Finishing Post, your local tavern, to tell your epic tale. Form a party of up to six characters and brave your way home through the Forest together, meeting threats at every turn with your particular skills and abilities. In your way stand beasts, bandits and nature itself – colourfully illustrated by 36 unique encounter cards, each with 16 surprising outcomes. Draw a set at the beginning of each game and place them in a random path (that you decide) to ensure that no two playthroughs are ever the same. Resolve outcomes using your choice of approach and skill, looking up the appropriate paragraph reference in the printed or digital story book. When the going gets tough use the legendary artefacts you recovered, or items you find on the way, to help you out – but don’t imagine this will be easy. The Forest is a dangerous place and it’s possible that some of you will not make it back. It’s possible that none of you will make it back. Fail, and a shocking twist of fate awaits you.

Gobblin' Goblins

  • 2-12 players
  • 20-30 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.3

Gobblin’ Goblins is a card game where you must defeat your opponents by being the greediest goblin in a sneaky battle for gross gourmet food.

Goblins gobble everything from mud pie to flip flops to rusty old pylons. Their stomachs are bottomless, however, each goblin has it’s own likes and dislikes as well as allergies. They also have their own special ability depending on their category.

Summoner's Isle

  • 2-4 players
  • 40-60 minutes
  • 8+
  • 6.9

The island of Thule, known to most as Summoner’s Isle, is where those with uncommon talents learn to become Summoners, gifted spirit-weavers that use their rare talents to protect the free-folk of the mainland. In ancient times, when humans were nothing more than slaves, the Isle served as the main gateway between Midgard and the Old Worlds.

The first Summoners rose up to lead the humans in the battle that pushed the Old Ones back into their own realms, and – at great cost of life – the Summoners closed the gateway. It is believed that the enormous sacrifice of our ancestors is the reason why spirit energy remains so abundant on Summoner’s Isle today.

Bruxelles 1893

  • 2-5 players
  • 50-125 minutes
  • 13+
  • 7.6

Bruxelles 1893 is a worker placement game with elements of bidding and majority control. Each player is an architect of the late 19th century and is trying to achieve, through various actions, an architectural work in the Art Nouveau style. The most successful building yields the most points. Each player can also create works of art to increase his score.

The action board is modular, with not every player having access to each action each turn. Some actions cost money – acquiring high-quality materials, building a level of your personal house, finding a patron, creating a work of art, selling that art for money and prestige – while other actions are free but can potentially cause you to lose one of your workers; these latter actions include acquiring low-quality materials, activating your patrons, visiting the stock exchange, and taking one of the actions with a cost. Once everyone has passed on taking more actions, the round ends and players have an art exhibition during which they can sell works. After this, players receive prestige points or bonus cards based on the symbols they’ve placed their workers next to on the action board.

Crystal Clans

  • 2 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.3

Choose your clan, prepare for battle, and fight for control of powerful crystals in Crystal Clans, a battle card game for two players.

In every game of Crystal Clans, you go to battle with unique armies, seeking to outmaneuver your opponent and lead your squad to victory. Six clans stand ready to battle for dominance, including the adaptable Water Clan, the peaceful Flower Clan, the relentless Skull Clan, the innumerable Blood Clan, the wise Meteor Clan, and the unyielding Stone Clan. Each clan’s cards can be used in multiple ways, giving you more options and adding surprise to each battle. The first clan to claim four crystals wins the game and fulfills their destiny to dominate the world.

Dixit

  • 3-6 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.3

One player is the storyteller for the turn and looks at the images on the 6 cards in her hand. From one of these, she makes up a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players).

Each other player selects the card in their hands which best matches the sentence and gives the selected card to the storyteller, without showing it to the others.

The storyteller shuffles her card with all the received cards. All pictures are shown face up and every player has to bet upon which picture was the storyteller’s.

Codenames

  • 2-8 players
  • 15 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.7

Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

Codenames: Win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues.

Love Letter

  • 2-4 players
  • 20 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.2

All of the eligible young men (and many of the not-so-young) seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to take your romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first?

Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2-4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors. From a deck with only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in hand; one card is removed from play. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire!

7 Wonders

  • 2-7 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.8

You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World. Gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. Build your city and erect an architectural wonder which will transcend future times.

7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organise their cards, and the boards are double-sided). Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.

Unlock! Secret Adventures

  • 1-6 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.8

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. The three scenarios are…

‘A Noside Story’
‘Tombstone Express’
‘The Adventurers of Oz’

Patchwork

  • 2 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.7

In Patchwork, two players compete to build the most aesthetic (and high-scoring) patchwork quilt on a personal 9×9 game board. To start play, lay out all of the patches at random in a circle and place a marker directly clockwise of the 2-1 patch. Each player takes five buttons – the currency/points in the game – and someone is chosen as the start player.

Gearworks

  • 1-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.2

Gearworks is a puzzle-style board game featuring card placement, hand management, and a ‘twist’ on area control. The game is often described as ‘Sudoku meets steampunk.’

Strategically position your gears to fix a mysterious clockwork machine in the corner of the workshop. Collect parts created by the machine each round by being the last player to fix its various components. As a tinkerer, you can certainly put those parts to good use and create fantastical contraptions!

Will the other tinkerers sabotage your efforts or will you earn the workshop owner’s favor and become the master tinkerer?

Ticket to Ride

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.4

With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes. 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.

‘The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets,’ says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. ‘The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor.’

A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

  • 2-4 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 14+
  • 6.7

The king has called for a lavish feast and tourney, the likes of which have not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms since the days of Aegon the Conquerer. What’s more, the king has declared that at this feast, he will choose his new Hand – and you have a chance of rising to this lofty position. Of course, you’re not the only one with eyes set on becoming the power behind the Iron Throne. In A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King, you need to scheme and backstab to outwit your opponents, and you need the help of Varys, the Master of Whispers, to do it.

After The Virus

  • 1-3 players
  • 30-90 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.3

The zombie apocalypse is here! After The Virus is a cooperative deck builder in which you and your friends band together to survive and complete different missions. The 15 included missions form a storyline if played in sequence, but don’t expect to survive that easily because the zombies will attack you in ever increasing numbers!

Your deck is invaded by more zombies each time it is reshuffled, so you need to search the area deck for useful weapons and other things to help you. Some stuff can be added to your deck while others will stay in your play area, and still other things will be usable only once in the game. To manage your deck and play area well is critical if you are to complete the mission before you are overwhelmed by the zombies!

Magic Maze

  • 1-8 players
  • 15 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.2

After being stripped of all their possessions, a mage, a warrior, an elf, and a dwarf are forced to go rob the local Magic Maze shopping mall for all the equipment necessary for their next adventure. They agree to map out the labyrinth in its entirety first, then find each individual’s favourite store, and then locate the exit. In order to evade the surveillance of the guards who eyed their arrival suspiciously, all four will pull off their heists simultaneously, then dash to the exit. That’s the plan anyway…but can they pull it off?

Valley of the Kings: Last Rites

  • 1-4 players
  • 45 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.5

When you die, you can take it with you!

Take on the role of Egyptian nobles at the time of the pharaohs, preparing for death and burial in the Valley of the Kings. Players want to fill their tombs with food, amulets, and other treasures, and to do so they acquire cards that are laid out in the shape of a pyramid; purchase cards at the base of the pyramid, and it ‘crumbles’ to bring cards higher in the pyramid to the base where they can be bought. The pyramid resets each round with new offerings.

Pocket Mars

  • 1-4 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.6

For a long time now, Earth hasn’t been a perfect place to live. You are one of the architects sent to Mars. Your objective is to set up an infrastructure for the first colonists who would arrive on the red planet and start a new chapter for mankind.

Pocket Mars is a fast paced and wildly dynamic card game but don’t let the short playthrough time fool you. It’s a heavy weight filler! A compressed and easy to understand set of rules, combined with cards that you can play in more than one way is what makes this game great! Fifteen minutes is all it takes for you and your friends to set out on an exciting adventure in space!

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