March was an action-packed month, and the number of combinations for the board games we sent out was our highest yet! And there were some great games in there, from the fantastic Loot Island, which we first saw at Essen 2017 to the exceptionally brilliant Queendomino and HMS Dolores – two games which we absolutely love. Bunny Kingdom also has a place in our hearts and is a game we keep coming back to.

Queendomino

  • 2-4 players
  • 25 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.5

Build up the most prestigious kingdom by claiming wheat fields, forests, lakes, grazing grounds, marshes, and mountains. Your knights will bring you riches in the form of coins – and if you make sure to expand the towns on your lands, you will make new buildings appear, giving you opportunities for new strategies. You may win the Queen’s favours… but always be aware of the dragon!

Queendomino is a game completely independent from Kingdomino, while offering a choice of more complex challenges. Two to four players can play Queendomino independently, but also in connection with Kingdomino, allowing for games with 7×7 grids for four players, or for up to six players if you stick to 5×5 grids.

Azul

  • 2-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 8.0

Introduced by the Moors, azulejos (originally white and blue ceramic tiles) were fully embraced by the Portuguese when their king Manuel I, on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, was mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the Moorish decorative tiles. The king, awestruck by the interior beauty of the Alhambra, immediately ordered that his own palace in Portugal be decorated with similar wall tiles. As a tile-laying artist, you have been challenged to embellish the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora.

In the game Azul, players take turns drafting coloured tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they’ve placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets; wasted supplies harm the player’s score. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Bunny Kingdom

  • 2-4 players
  • 40-60 minutes
  • 12+
  • 7.5

Peace has come at last to the great Bunny Kingdom! Lead your clan of rabbits to glory by gathering resources and building new cities across the land!

Draft cards and pick the right ones to position your warrens on the 100 squares of the board, provide resources to your colonies, build new cities to increase your influence, and plan your strategy to score big at the end of the game. Settle in lakesides or fields to collect water and grow carrots, gather mushrooms in the green forest, and climb the highest mountains to discover rare and precious resources… Secretly rally rabbit lords and recruit skilful masters to make your cities and resources even more valuable at the end of the game.

After each turn, your groups of contiguous warrens grant you points depending on the cities and different resources they include. The game ends after 4 turns, and the player with the most points wins the game.

Battle Sheep

  • 2-4 players
  • 15 minutes
  • 7+
  • 6.7

In Battle Sheep (first released as Splits), players start the game by constructing the board from identical four-hex tiles, then each player places his/her tall stack of discs on one of the border hexes. Players take turns removing some number of discs from the top of one of their stacks, moving that new stack of discs as far away as it can go in a straight line. Players must leave at least one disc behind when moving, so the board gradually fills up and movement opportunities become more and more scarce. The player occupying the most spaces at the end of the game wins!

Sheriff of Nottingham

  • 3-5 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 13+
  • 7.3

Prince John is coming to Nottingham! Players, in the role of merchants, see this as an opportunity to make quick profits by selling goods in the bustling city during the Prince’s visit. However, players must first get their goods through the city gate, which is under the watch of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Should you play it safe with legal goods and make a profit, or risk it all by sneaking in illicit goods? Be mindful, though, as the Sheriff always has his eyes out for liars and tricksters and if he catches one, he very well may confiscate those goods for himself!

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Loot Island

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.8

640 A.D. – a ghastly curse befell a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean. Soon, it was known that its dark magic would not only afflict whoever tried to take away anything from the island but also haunt whoever even dared approach its coasts, making it the perfect location for pirates to hide their loot.

1902 A.D. – centuries later, pieces of ancient treasure maps were found by you and your fellow treasure hunters.

In Loot Island, players play their map cards to the landings of the island in an attempt to piece together enough of a map to find treasures buried there. At the end of each round, an exploration will take place, and if loot is found in a landing, treasures will be distributed among the players present there on a first come, first serve basis.

Otys

  • 2-4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.2

Mid-22nd century, after 300 years of unconsciousness, the water rising engulfs the last emerged lands. Fighting for their lives, the survivor’s settlements must remain above the sea level. You live in the Otys colony and you must retrieve the past civilizations debris in the depths to build the future of humanity.

Your diver’s team is trained to bring up the most useful materials remaining in the depths. You need to use them wisely to fulfil the contracts offered by the Colony and thus obtain more notoriety than your contenders. Your divers lay at different depths; it is up to you to best match their special abilities with the bonuses offered by the Colony. But beware! Your diver’s oxygen is limited, and as soon as they have accomplished their mission, they must go up to the surface. Try to manage all the parameters of your team in a profitable way, so the Colony will reward you more than it will the others!

Seasons

  • 2-4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.5

he greatest sorcerers of the kingdom have gathered at the heart of the Argos forest, where the legendary tournament of the 12 seasons is taking place. At the end of the three-year competition, the new archmage of the kingdom of Xidit will be chosen from among the competitors. Take your place, wizard! Equip your ancestral magical items, summon your most faithful familiars to your side and be ready to face the challenge!

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

  • 2-4 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.0

The harvest is in, and the artisans are hard at work preparing for the upcoming festival. Decorate the palace lake with floating lanterns and compete to become the most honoured artisan when the festival begins.

In Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, players have a hand of tiles depicting various colour arrangements of floating lanterns, as well as an inventory of individual lantern cards of specific colours. When you place a tile, all players (you and your opponents) receive a lantern card corresponding to the colour on the side of the tile facing them. Place carefully to earn cards and other bonuses for yourself, while also looking to deny your opponents. Players gain honour by dedicating sets of lantern cards – three pairs, for example, or all seven colours – and the player with the most honour at the end of the game wins.

Harbour

  • 1-4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 8+
  • 6.6

Dockmaster Schlibble and Constable O’Brady cordially invite you to visit their bustling Harbour town! Attend to business at the Trader’s Guild or the Masoner’s Hall. Break for lunch at the Sushi Shop, or stop off for a drink at the Pub. Don’t forget to check out the Wizard’s Traveling Imaginarium before you go! But no matter where you go, keep on the lookout for a bargain… the denizens of this town are always wheeling and dealing! Collect and trade resources as you visit the various buildings of Harbour, and cash them in to buy your way into the town. Whoever has the most points worth of buildings when the game ends, wins!

Rhino Hero

  • 2-5 players
  • 5-15 minutes
  • 5+
  • 7.0

Super Rhino! presents players with an incredibly heroic – and regrettably heavy – rhinoceros who is eager to climb a tall building and leap other tall buildings in a single bound. First, though, you need to construct that building.

Players each start the game with five roof cards, and they take turns adding walls and roofs to a single building. On a turn, you first place walls on the highest floor, then you choose a roof card in your hand and place it on the wall. Each roof card bears markings that indicate where the next player must place walls on the card. In addition, some roof cards force a player to perform special actions, such as placing a second roof, changing the direction of play, or moving Super Rhino to a new location on the tower. Keep your hands steady!

The first player to build all of his roof cards wins the game. Alternatively, if the building collapses, the player who caused the collapse automatically loses, and the player with the fewest roof cards in hand wins.

HMS Dolores

  • 2-4 players
  • 10-20 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.4

Eric M. Lang and Bruno Faidutti have joined forces to create the ultimate prisoner’s dilemma game. Do you cooperate and risk getting outsmarted by a greedy player? Or do you compete and risk losing everything?

You are pirates who just looted a ship and must negotiate how to split the treasure. There are seven types of loot with values from 1 to 3. At the end of the game, you only score the treasure types you have the most and least of.

On each turn, open four new treasures: two in front of you and two in front of your neighbour. Simultaneously decide how to split them. Choices:

Peace (I want the 2 in front of me)
War (I want them all)
First pick (I want just one, pick first)

If both players choose peace, they split the loot evenly. If both choose war, they lose all treasure. If both choose “first pick”, they lose all treasure and one of your gained treasure columns.

The game continues until the Dawn Card is drawn.

Byzanz

  • 3-6 players
  • 45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 6.6

You are a merchant in Byzantium and you are trying to have the most profit from the markets inside the city.
Bid for the best stock of goods and find the right moment to sell your collected wares. And do not forget to go to the main market for a good deal!

Players are merchants and bid on offers from the market to collect as many sets of 3 cards of the same good. The game ends when all cards have been auctioned and players with the highest total of good cards wins. Cards are both: money on your hand for bidding and points for scoring in each set sold.

Hero Realms

  • 2-4 players
  • 20-30 minutes
  • 12+
  • 7.7

Hero Realms is a fantasy-themed deck-building game that is an adaptation of the award-winning Star Realms game. The game includes basic rules for two-player games, along with rules for multiplayer formats such as Free-For-All, Hunter, and Hydra.

Each player starts the game with a ten-card personal deck containing gold (for buying) and weapons (for combat). You start each turn with a new hand of five cards from your personal deck. When your deck runs out of cards, you shuffle your discard pile into your new deck. An 80-card Market deck is shared by all players, with five cards being revealed from that deck to create the Market Row. As you play, you use gold to buy champion cards and action cards from the Market. These champions and actions can generate large amounts of gold, combat, or other powerful effects. You use combat to attack your opponent and their champions. When you reduce your opponent’s score (called health) to zero, you win!

Multiple expansions are available for Hero Realms that allow players to start as a particular character (Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Thief, or Wizard) and fight cooperatively against a Boss, fight Boss decks against one another, or compete in a campaign mode that has you gain experience to work through different levels of missions.

Tichu

  • 4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.6

Tichu took much of its rules and mechanics from Zheng Fen. It is a partnership climbing card game, and the object of play is to rid yourself of your hand, preferably while scoring points in the process.

The deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added: dog, phoenix, dragon and Mah Jong (1). When it’s your turn, you may either beat the current top card combination – single card, a pair of cards, a sequence of pairs, full house, etc. – or pass. If play passes all the way back to the player who laid the top cards, he wins the trick, clears the cards, and can lead the next one. The card led determines the only combination of cards that can be played on that trick, so if a single card is led, then only single cards are played; if a straight of seven cards is led, then only straights of seven cards can be played, etc.

Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

  • 2-4 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 14+
  • 6.8

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 Conqueror. 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.

Sundae Split

  • 2-5 players
  • 20 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.2

In Sundae Split, players try to build the best ice cream sundae from the ingredients at hand. Get just the right mix of toppings and flavours, but avoid the vegetables! At the end, each sundae is scored and the player who made the best sundae wins the game.

In more detail, one player splits ingredients into piles, and the other players take turns choosing one. As the splitter, you get the last pile. You have to be clever and a little sneaky to get the ingredients you want. Collect the best mix of toppings and flavours to make the most valuable ice cream sundae and win the game!

Honshu

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-40 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.1

Honshu is a trick-taking, map-building card game set in feudal Japan. Players are lords and ladies of noble houses seeking new lands and opportunities for fame and fortune.

One game of Honshu lasts twelve rounds, and each round is divided into two phases. First, map cards are played in a trick, and the player who played the highest valued card gets to pick first from those cards played. Then the players use the map cards picked to expand their personal maps. Each player must expand their personal maps to maximize their scoring possibilities.

Manipulating your position in the player order is crucial for mastering Honshu.

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