Tag Archives: Meeple Heist

New games from Latin America (November part 2)

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

Argentina

Criaturas y Cristales means – probably not that surprisingly – “Creatures and Crystals”, which might give a first premonition on what the game is about. It is a card based fantasy game by Martin Venturini, which can be played by 1-5 people either competitively or cooperatively. You play a character that you send through markets and temples during the game to gain abilities and equipment there, to prevail in a hostile world. This doesn’t just include the fight against evil monsters, but also the contest with other characters in a special arena, where you can prove that you’re better than the others. Criaturas y Cristales is published by 3D Fantasy in three differently priced versions, each illustrated by Emmanuel Bou and designed by Daiana Diaz.

These days MendoZen is releasing Pegó el Zonda Ancestral by Munir Ots, illustrated by Fernando Carmona. In this game we set off into the history of the Cuyo region in West-Argentina to the Huarpe. Various tribes are competing to gain the favor of the gods, the worthiness to which they mainly demonstrate by controlling the Zonda wind. With the help of different play styles of the wind you attack the other players and deal damage to them, if they can’t protect themselves through other natural phenomena. The whole thing is done with cards and card combinations that you play until there is just one player left, who therefore has won thanks to divine favor.

A new edition of the 2015 title Los Caminos de Alicia (The Paths of Alice) by Matias Esandi and Amelia Pereyra has just been published by Rewe Juegos, this time it’s not in a fancy box like the original, but includes an expansion. You lay down a labyrinth of hexagonal path tiles from a central spot. There will appear scenes from Alice in Wonderland in the labyrinth here and there, which have certain effects on the game. Each player follows a different goal on the way through the labyrinth. Since this is, it feels like, the one hundredth game with the theme Alice in Wonderland, that I’ve encountered (I’d be surprised if there were more games for a different literary source), I capitulated and just ordered the book. I guess I’ll indeed have to read it in order to join in on the discussion.

Finally I have two more short news from Argentina.

Tinkuy releases an expansion to the game Contame, on which I have reported here in the past. The expansion is called Contame Inicio and includes new cards for the storytelling game. On the 24th and 25th November the event Innovando el Juego takes place in Buenos Aires, which I will participate in, in a certain sense, as well, sadly only virtually: On Saturday at 18:30 German time I’ll be interviewed live via Skype. The whole thing will be released afterward on Youtube as well, apparently, but at the moment I just find it awesome to be able to be near such an event at least a bit. I’m very excited about it, although I’m not certain yet what awaits me there.

Brazil

Roberto Tostes has won the first prize at a prototype competition by Diversao Offline in 2017 with Sobrevivência na Amazônia (Surviving in the Amazon). Now he has started a Crowdfunding-Campaign for his game to get it published. The players have dropped themselves off in the Amazon region via parachute to explore little known territories. They now have to fight through the rough terrain until they reach the extraction point. There are dangers lurking, but also the possibility to gain extra points by photographing animals that are threatened by extinction. To survive, the brave explorers have to get food and water and they need to build camps to sleep in, every four rounds, because of the darkness of night time. Sobrevivência na Amazônia has been illustrated by Manoela Boianovsky and Orly Wanders and is intended to be released by self-publishing.

I wrote about Wagner Gerlach and the Clube do Tabuleiro de Campinas here once already. Equilíbrio escaped my attention then, which seems to have been made in spring. It is again a game which can be made by yourself with supposed disposable stuff, meaning you don’t need to buy it (and also can’t). A hexagonal game area is placed with bottle caps on which further (partially stickered) bottle caps are stacked. You move through this area with your meeple and try to gather five different elements (Water, Earth, Fire, Metal and Wood), which you can exchange against a Yin-Yang-Symbol afterward. When gathering the playing area gains holes, which make movement harder; when you exchange a symbol though, you can place down the five elements again to acquire new tactical options. Whoever has exchange three Yin-Yang symbols first, wins the game.

And in September I reported on Meeple Heist , with the assumption that the publication by Papaya Editora was just around the corner. Yesterday I now found out that Papaya Editora are closing down completely. All the rights to the games have been sold to Ludens Spirit an apparently bigger publisher. What they will do with all the rights, I don’t know, but at least the release of Meeple Heist should be secured. Currently it is set for January 2019. We will see.

Mexico

In miniature games on Kickstarter I usually also shrug when a ton of people longingly count the days to release, because there are sooo many cool miniatures included. For me, all of these classic fantasy miniatures kind of always look the same. Absolutely not belonging into that category is War for Chicken Island, which currently has a lot of effort on Kickstarter to reach its funding goal. Even though the miniatures this time around really look quite cool. They are chickens that fight for limited resources on an island that is way too small. Despite their exaggerated weaponry they are less concerned with clubbing in the others skulls, but rather to high five them, because that gains you points you need to win. Leads to the same thing, but without someone dropping out of the game. War for Chicken Island comes from Ivan Escalante, who also illustrated it. The publisher is called Draco Games and I thought the Kickstarter video was pretty cute sometimes. Currently it looks like there is a relaunch, even though the final decision (as of yesterday) has not been reached yet.

New games from Latin America (September 3)

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

Argentina

Apparently political games are popular in Argentina as well, as can be seen by the example of Ballotage by Diego Barderi and Francisco Rossetto. In Ballotage, the players put together a list for four candidates of their party. Then they throw their ballot into an urn. With a specific number of votes, one candidate of a list ranks up on the game board. This doesn’t however mean that whoever leads the corresponding party gains any points. Rather it depends on the secret goals you have – so you don’t necessarily always want to push for your own people. Furthermore you can always only cast your vote for a list, never for a person, which could require some serious tactics to make the right people get to the top. A nice gimmick is the actual voting via an urn, which is very stylish for a political game. Ballotage has been illustrated by Guillermo Taylor (TAY). If you’ve got some knowledge of spanish you can look at a video here (which you should be able to understand to a degree even with less than perfect understanding of Spanish. The game itself is language independent.)

Most Germans probably have no clear notion of rugby (although I have to exclude myself from that: I was lucky enough to have once experienced the semifinal and final of the german collegiate finals in rugby sevens, that was definitely impressive). In Argentina, however, its a bit of a different case, since Argentina has a very strong rugby national team that once made it up to rank 3 of the world rankings and still today represents a true challenge for teams from the traditional rugby strongholds. So it shouldn’t be that surprising that there are also games about rugby from there.

Tercer Tiempo is a rugby deck-building game. The cards either represent abilities, with which to try and get ahead on the field. Other cards are tactics cards, with which to either combine ability cards to more complex plays, or interfere with the enemy team. The game comes from Ariel Mennucci and has been released by 2 Creativos. It has been illustrated by Matias Iribarren.

Brazil

Meeple Heist by Thiago Bonaventura and Emivaldo Sousa seems to be an unusual game. The players lead a specialised gang that wants to rob a Casino. To that end, there are 16 meeples in four colours walking around in the Casino (meaning on the game map). Then you try to get them to the best positions. For each specialist there is a position to get the most money. Sadly there are two problems with this. First off, every player has a stack of cards that decides which meeple colour represents which person – the meeples that represent my safecracker could be the muscle for someone else. Now this would be a wonderful occasion to bluff, but therein lies the second problem: For each person in my team I have to play an escape plan card, in order not to leave empty handed in the end. While the others still may not know who makes up my team, during gameplay it becomes clearer and clearer who is a part of it. The more information is available on the board, the more accurately the others can interfere with my plans. This is one I’d really like to play some day. Last year there was a crowdfunding project for Meeple Heist, now the release by Papaya Editora is imminent. The illustrations have been made by Matheus Astolfo.

Columbia

In Animal Warriors humans are locked in battle with animals. I’m not sure if I understood everything correctly (understanding videos in Spanish is still hard for me), but I’ll try to describe it like this:

The cards represent figures that are part of different clans. They have attack and defense values, but can also support each other. The goal is to break through the enemy lines and rob your opponent of all of his hitpoints. There’s a kind of game board, on which cards, but also bonus chips, are laid out, which can upgrade your own cards. The whole thing is shipped as a core box and there are several extra card decks that can be bought separately. Animal Warriors is made by Jhon Edicson Cárdenas Hernández.

Peru

Already released in spring, but having gone slightly under my radar, is Kontiki’s Adventure by Roberto Ballón and Cristina Frisancho (who also did the graphic design). The game is about the adventures of Tikis, little ghosts from old Peru, in a labyrinth of hidden cards. The players have to find altars and their fitting sacrifices, and whoever reaches the exit in the colour of the altar that has been activated last wins the game.

Of course there are spells and traps as per usual in a proper labyrinth, and the ghosts are trying to use this to their advantage (or to the disadvantage of the others). Kontiki’s Adventure is intended to get the Peruvian audience closer to pre-Columbian history, but also to the modern world of board games. The publisher is called KON Juegos.

Venezuela

Chess is called Ajedrez in Spanish. And three means tres. When a game is released that is called Ajetrez, you can already imagine that it is a variant of chess for three players, and that is exactly right. But Ajetrez is apparently not really the official name of this venezuelan game, because it is actually called Los Tres Reinos (The three Kingdoms).

It amounts to the same thing though. The leaders of three kingdoms meet on a round game board. The goal is, of course, to become the ruler of all three. Partially the rules of chess are utilized, but there are 57 instead of the expected 48 figures and negotiations also play a part here. Additionally, there is quite a bit of background story to explore. Los Tres Reinos was developed by José V. Morillo I. and is published by the author.