The “shufflebuilding” game Smash Up starts with a simple premise: Take the twenty-card decks of two factions, shuffle them into a forty-card deck, then compete to smash more Bases than your opponents! Each faction brings a different game mechanism into play – pirates move cards, zombies bring cards back from the discard pile, dinosaurs have huge power – and every combination of factions brings a different play experience.
Players take on the role of newcomers to Catan and learn how the adventurous life in the first settlement played itself out. They explore, using a new movement mechanic, for the raw materials they need to build the settlement. Along the way, they discover useful natural products – but also encounter wild animals and are confronted with adventurous situations. Those who survive these encounters obtain the raw materials they sought as well as experience points that improve the abilities of the player’s character. Over time, then, the player becomes stronger, smarter or more charismatic and is better and better suited for the dangers of the wild.
In Camel Up, up to eight players bet on five racing camels, trying to suss out which will place first and second in a quick race around a pyramid. The earlier you place your bet, the more you can win — should you guess correctly, of course. Camels don’t run neatly, however, sometimes landing on top of another one and being carried toward the finish line. Who’s going to run when? That all depends on how the dice come out of the pyramid dice shaker, which releases one die at a time when players pause from their bets long enough to see who’s actually moving!
Blue Moon City – the board game – picks up where the two-player game, (Blue Moon), ended: the reconstruction of the destroyed city of Blue Moon. The board, illustrated by Franz Vohwinkel as well as many well-known American fantasy artists, consists of 21 large building tiles, which show building plans on one side and the buildings in their reconstructed glory on the other. As in the 2-player game, the game includes 3 large molded plastic dragons.
Carcassonne: South Seas keeps the familiar tile-laying gameplay of the original Carcassonne, with players adding a tile to the playing area each round and optionally placing a token on the tile to claim ownership of…something. Instead of the familiar cities, roads and farms, however, players in Carcassonne: South Seas use their meeples to gather bananas, shellfish and fish, then ship those goods to traders in exchange for points.