Tag Archives: Beluga

Global Boardgame News (April 24)

This series is released once or twice a month, covering international gaming news, trends and just plain gossip spotted online.

Got something we should write about? Leave it in the form below the article.

Tokyo Game Market is just around the corner. If you take a look at the official website where publishers announce their releases, you can see a massive amount of new games will be sold at the show.

The only other way to discover new titles is to follow the publishers’ Twitter accounts, where information is usually spread before anywhere else in the Japanese board game scene.

So the last few weeks we’ve been scouting both sources looking for new and interesting games to test and bring back to NiceGameShop in Germany.

We also made this survey for your input about which games should be a priority. Fill out the survey for your chance to win 50€ NiceGameShop store credit to use on all the hot new releases!

In the next few articles we’ll give you brief overviews of the new titles to make your decision a little easier – so let’s get started…

Tokyo Game Market has an abundance of games with cute artwork and unusual components, often handmade by the publisher and sold in very limited quantities.

The publisher Proto Craft showed Koroura last year, a abstract game in which you put dice in cute little tanks.

Now they’re following up with Access Magma, another abstract in which you fight with cute devils on lava tiles.

As the game was only announced on Twitter we don’t have any information on the rules yet.


In exciting news, Taiwanese publishers Shepherd Kit and The Wood Games are teaming up for TGM, and will be exhibiting together as Wood & Shepherd.

Shepherd Kit are releasing Adventurer’s Kit: Expedition, a treasure collecting card game and Paleolithic, being released at the same time with 2 separate expansions, Paleolithic: Dawn of Humanity and Paleolithic: Seafarers.

In Paleolithic:

Players act as elders from local tribes. The goal is to form a unique civilization through migration, resource gathering and tribal establishment. Bring along your tribal fellows and animal companions, and claim your land from the primal island of Formosa to become the great elder! [BGG]

Wood Games have two new editions of games already released in Europe: Emporion (previously released by Mont Taber) and Matryoshka (originally published by White Goblin Games in 2016). Both feature new artwork and come with Japanese and Chinese instructions, but are language independent and English rules are available online.

It’s interesting to see a Taiwanese publisher introducing locally unknown western games to their markets.


A similar case is Alpenzian, which will be released at TGM by Fukuroudou:

Alpenzian is a reimplementation of the game Sunflower Valley, with this re-design originating from the Japanese publisher’s discussions with designer Wouter van Strien. In addition to changes in the components, such as an original die with icons and different player sheets with new patterns to allow players to adjust the balance of the game, the gameplay has changed, with updated scoring rules and added variant rules for solitaire play. [BGG]


Game Market is always a fountain of quirky themes and unusual ideas. From the ubiquitous cat games to titles about managing hotel guests, nothing is too quirky.

I can not live by myself is a publisher who always has remarkable themes. After helping a Mayfly find a partner, blossoming a dandelion on a solitary island and hiding insects and moles in the soil, they are back with a game about Beluga whales.

Specifically one mother Beluga whale looking for her daughter:

You play as a mother beluga whale whose echo location system isn’t working properly, which is a problem as your daughter is lost and you want to reunite with her.

The game is divided into two halves: “Journey” and “Reunion”. In “Journey”, players collect ice cards that contain clues to the daughter’s location while trying not to be found by their natural enemy, the polar bear. [BGG]


Game Nowa is the publishing studio of designer Kenichi Kabuki, who has two new games in store for Tokyo Game Market.

Animals is a simple hand management game in which players try to get rid of their hand in order to score the cards remaining in the other players’ hands. Sengoku Domino mixes traditional dominoes with war games, so players struggle to take control in areas of the game board by strategically placing dominoes.


Blade Rondo is the new offering by Domina Games, and it features their distinctive art style. The game design and storytelling is by Pawn, known for such great solo play games like Shephy, Karen and the Pirate Island and Goritaire.

Blade Rondo is a card drafting game for 1-2 players in which the players draft just 7 cards each and battle each other. The solo version pits the players against folklorish creatures.


Ever thought about mixing the classic, beloved Settlers of Catan with poop? Well, Crap Games(!) did exactly that and will be selling Catain: The Most Longest Unco at TGM.

I’ll let the Google translation speak for itself:

Throw dice and collect hoods, make the longest feces and win people who could excrete safely!
Whether to stare on the path, disturb the opponent, reversal one shot or not, this feeling is boring!
Aim for an ass hole, Let’s More! [TGM Website]


Dyed-in-the-wool publisher Kenichi Tanabe will release two new designs with his studio Colon Arc.

Cinderella Magic,  co-designed with Peke of Takamagahara fame, is a fascinating deduction game I had the chance to play as a prototype last year.

Each player tries to help Cinderella attend the ball, but there needs to be all six different items present. These items are cards each player has in hand, and can be played either face down without effect or face up to trigger a special to help to deduce which items were already played.

On their turn, a player can instead announce they are going to ball and other players can decide whether to follow and then all cards are flipped.

If all six items were present, the players who went to the ball get a crystal slipper, while the players who passed get none; vice-versa if not all six items were present. The game ends when the glass slipper deck is emptied, and the players tally up their points.

The other game is another co-design but with Torjo Hojo, known for the Age of… series and Colony. From Batavia is a bigger design in which players:

Take simultaneous actions during each phase. Firstly, players choose a Cargo card face-down from their hand and reveal them together. Players pay the cost by discarding cards from their hand, but these discards go to their left neighbor.
The Cargo cards are placed onto their Ship cards to generate profits. When the values of the Cargos matches the Ship’ s total, the Ship is full and the player takes a new Ship card.
The first player to complete their third Ship is the biggest merchant and wins! [English Rules]


Analog Lunchbox made a name for themselves in 2017 with Lagerstätten, a worker placement game about excavating dinosaur fossils. They followed up with the beautiful Botanical Lab and will be showing two new games at TGM: Coffee House and the unusually colorful Passtally.

In Coffee House, 2-4 players are newspaper publishers meeting different people in late 17th century coffee house in London to gather news and gossip. Players try to manipulate the interests of the public, increase the value of the newspaper by acquiring expertise, and earn the most fame.

Passtally is a different beast altogether. In this abstract game, players move their pieces along an outside board, while laying connecting tiles across the interior in an attempt to create routes – all with a beautiful, minimalist aesthetic.


Dice Wide Shut by March Hare Games gained already a cult following prior to it’s release, mainly because of the quirky artwork on the cover. It’s:

A roll-and-write game that includes erasable markers and game boards. Try to fill the columns with checkmarks to score without bursting any rows! [BGG]


Let’s wrap this overview of new titles up with JUGAME Studio. We recently interviewed the team for NiceGameHub, when they unveiled two new releases.

Grand Opening!! Gourmet Town:

Is a game of producing successful eateries by seeking out the best locations and times for openings. ‘World Cuisine’, ‘Sweets’, ‘Drinks’, and ‘Japanese Food’ are the 4 Genres to produce… Trends fluctuate constantly, with every eatery that opens in town, so choosing the right moment is vital for success.

And Kamakura Collection:

Is a board game where players use 2 player pieces each to sightsee and experience as many attractions in the town of Kamakura by attaining Coins through visiting various sites and collecting travel memories. Certain sites and attractions may be overcrowded at times due to its popularity so seeking out the best time to visit becomes important in optimizing the experience.


We’ll soon be back again with even more new releases from the Tokyo Game Market. If you’re attending, we’d love to meet you there.

Oh, and don’t forget to fill out the survey for your chance to win 50€ NiceGameShop store credit!

Other links from around the world:

  • Our friends from Korea Boardgames are continuing their Kickstarter campaign for The Bark Side, a doggy trick-taker about avoiding the last trick. You can post your dog picture on Facebook or Twitter to win a copy of the game. And you can share the linked post on Facebook and Twitter to unlock the very cool dog meeple!
  • Law of the Forest by Strategic Game Society is now on Kickstarter – worth a look for anyone interested in Hong Kong and its wildlife!