New Game Round-up: Flip through the Foothills, Care for Cats, and Eat Fruit in Space

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by W. Eric Martin

• We published an extremely rough video overview of Ben Bateson‘s and Tony Boydell‘s Foothills in February 2019 following a peek at the game during Spielwarenmesse 2019.

Now you can get a much closer look at this Lookout Games release through either the rules — available in English (PDF) and German (PDF) — or in person at the UK Games Expo May 31 to June 2, 2019, where 120 copies of the game will be sold, half sold via Surprised Stare Games and the other half via retailers at the fair. Here’s a short take on gameplay: Using your five action cards cleverly, collect resources, remove rubble, build track and stations, and use the action spaces you unlock, all the while collecting more victory points than your opponent. In the end, the player with the most victory points wins!

For slightly longer take, you set up the game by randomly choosing six of the eight railway lines, with each line consisting of 2-7 cards. Each player has five double-sided action cards labeled A-E, with the C action on the back of A, the E action on the back of C, etc. Two additional sets of A-E action cards are laid out as well, with the primary A-E actions on these cards being the same as the starting player cards, but with differing secondary actions.

When you take one of the actions available to you, you flip over that action card, possibly leaving you without access to that action until you play that card again or flip over something else. When you visit the pub as part of an E action, you score one of your action cards, then take a matching replacement from one of the extras laid aside at the start of the game.

• Another debut at the 2019 UK Games Expo will be Cat Café, a 2-4 player roll-and-write game from designer Lee Ju-Hwa and co-publishers Alley Cat Games and Mandoo Games. After this soft release, Alley Cat plans to have the game’s full release take place at SPIEL ’19 in October. An overview:

Make your corner in the Cat Café the best one possible! Entice cats by literally drawing toys for the cats to play with. Place the toys in the most favorable way possible, and you win by attracting the most cats!

In the game, players draft one die each round, then use the final unused die as well. Both dice are then used to 1) Draw a particular type of cat toy and 2) Place it on that level of a particular tower. Placing each toy in a particular position gives a player points in specific ways: Place a bowl next to different and unique other toys, or place a cushion high up so that cats can sleep and watch from high up, or even give the cats yarn to play with, giving you potential majority scoring.
• Another roll-and-write at UKGE — albeit only in demo form for now — is Space Worm from Reiner Knizia and Inside the Box Board Games. Space Worm adds a route-building element to the basics of roll-and-write games, with players trying to, ahem, “navigate the fruity void of space with their leviathan cosmic serpents, eating planets whole and collecting space fruit along the way”. In more detail:

To set up Space Worm, each player rolls two dice and starts their worm on the planet matching the sum rolled. Each round, a player rolls the eight colored dice, then players draft one die in turn; you extend the length of your worm by drawing a vertical or horizontal line from your worm’s current location that matches the length of the die rolled. Since you are a mindless space worm, you can’t cross over your path or else you’ll eat your own tail! If you can’t move, you cross off one of your hearts.

If you pass through a fruit after drafting a die of the matching color, you score 1 bonus point. Should you cross out all fruit of one type, you score the highest available bonus for this fruit, lowering that potential bonus for all other players.

Once a player has eaten out all of the fruit in the solar system or lost their fourth heart, the game ends. Players tally their four fruit scores, earn 2 points for each remaining heart, then lose points based on how many of the eight planets they didn’t visit.

Space Worm includes four different maps featuring wormholes, forcefields, and more.

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