New Game Round-up: Organize Books, Escape a Castle, and Set Up Trading Offices in Novgorod

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by W. Eric Martin

• U.S. publisher Renegade Game Studios has announced a new design from French group L’Atelier, which has previously designed One Key and Obscurio for Libellud.

Here’s an overview of Atheneum: Mystic Library, a game for 2-5 players due out in September 2020:
The magic exam is tomorrow, but you and your fellow students haven’t studied at all! You head to the library to cheat, using magical books that don’t need to be read. All you need is to knock your magic wand precisely on a stack of books and « TA-DA! » the subject is learned by magic. However, to get you inside the library, you’ve promised the guard to clean up and organize the shelves in exchange for for him overlooking this intrusion at night…

In Atheneum: Mystic Library, you must study for the exam while cleaning up the library! During the game, you can score points for objectives by placing books on your shelves in specific configurations. At the end of the game, you score points for full shelf compartments, decorative candles, and shelved books of your favorite subject. Whoever collects the most points wins!
• In October 2019, I covered the two-year publishing plan of German publisher Spielworxx, which includes a new version of Karl-Heinz Schmiel’s Tribune: Primus Inter Pares and the Tribune Expansion with a planned release date of Q3 2020. Stronghold Games has announced that it will be the North American publishing partner on this project, with a Kickstarter planned for late April 2020.

• Since 2015, designer Stefan Risthaus of OSTIA Spiele has been working his way through locations on the Baltic Sea or in the Baltic states with a series of small games: Visby, Tallinn, Riga, Riga: Lubeca, and Vilnius.

For 2020, he’s moving a bit more inland with Novgorod, a 2-4 player game set in this city located south of Saint Petersburg and east of Eastonia. The game is being crowdfunded on Spieleschmiede (link), and while the game will include rules in English and German, full rules are available right now only in German (PDF). For now, here’s a brief overview:
In Novgorod, players build kontors (trading offices) in Hanseatic cities to ship goods and manufacture luxury products. These are necessary to fulfill missions that give you victory points and allow you to step forward on your career card.

Balancing between building enough (but not too many) kontors, improving your ship, and figuring out the idea ratio between earning money and collecting victory points is crucial.

• A far larger crowdfunding campaign is nearing its end for Archon Studio‘s Wolfenstein: The Board Game, a design based on a video game series that is not as I originally expected about lycanthropic Frankenstein monsters, but about efforts to escape the German stronghold of Castle Wolfenstein in an alternate reality World War II — so I was about 7% correct.

Here’s an overview of this 1-4 player game that’s due out in Q3 2021:
Wolfenstein: The Board Game takes place in the legendary Castle Wolfenstein and — like the action of the flagship, award-winning games developed by MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus — occurs in the early 1960s in a world in which the Nazis won the Second World War.

Playing as BJ Blazkowicz, Anya Oliwa, Set Roth, Max Hass, and Bombate, players have to infiltrate the castle, then contend with Nazi antagonists controlled by the game’s AI mechanisms. Depending on the chosen game, players will encounter Nazi zombies, mechanized Nazis, or a mixture of both. The set also contains an iconic unit known from the legendary Wolfenstein 3D — Mecha-Hitler!

Controlled by players, BJ and his companions — in the form of 32 mm plastic figurines — must fight through the hordes of Nazis, explore Castle Wolfenstein, and perform dangerous missions, all to defeat the sinister plans of Adolf Hitler and his two cruel subordinates. Additional known characters will be available in future add-ons and expansions.
You can check out the Kickstarter campaign (KS link) for more details.

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