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Origin Hide the Kids!
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List Price: $24.99
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Origin Hide the Kids!

Starting from the heart of Africa, players in Origin will determine the course of mankind's expansion on our planet, with the tribes gradually growing more diversified over time while still maintaining links to their ancestors and to all inhabitants of Earth.

The game tokens in Origin come in three colors, three heights, and three thicknesses, and at the start of the game one of the smallest, skinniest pieces is placed in the center of Africa. In addition, you place three technology tiles at random on the tan, orange and violet sections of the tech chart and six random tiles on the brown section; the tech tiles show 1-5 arrows. You also shuffle tan, orange and violet decks of cards and place them in the appropriate places. Tan cards provide an one-shot effect, orange cards give you a permanent power, and violet cards present you with an objective you must meet; if you do so, you can play the objective card on your turn, and immediately draw another. You can play at most one card of each color each turn.

On a turn, a player takes one of three actions:

Place a new piece on a region of the game board, with this piece sharing two of the three characteristics of a piece in a neighboring region; the new piece cannot be shorter than the original piece. Mark this piece with a token of your player color.

Move one of your pieces on the board to an empty region, with short pieces moving only one space, medium height pieces moving up to two spaces, and tall pieces up to three.

Take over a region controlled by an opponent by moving one of your pieces into this region and relocating the opponent's piece to the region your piece left. You can do this only if the attacking piece is thicker than the opponent's piece.

When you place a new piece on the board or move an existing piece, you're rewarded based on the color of the space you occupy. If you place in or move into a tan, orange or violet region, either you take a tile and the top card of this color or you draw three cards of this color and keep one of them. For a brown region, you either draw two tiles from the brown section of the tech board or draw one tile from anywhere. The technology tiles must be acquired from low to high – so you can't acquire a 4 unless you have a 3 – but you can have multiple tech stacks. You must meet a certain technology threshold in order to play the orange cards and acquire their special power.

In addition, you can score points during the game by occupying a grassland on a continent or the two regions on opposite sides of a waterway strait.

Players take turns until either all of the pieces are on the game board or all the tiles have been acquired or all the cards of one color have been drawn. Once this happens, players tally their points for objectives, grasslands, straits, tech tiles, and cards still in hand to see who wins!

Hide the Kids! is based on the Grimm Brothers tale of The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids. The game has been adapted for young children and is an on-table version of the all time children’s favorite game “Hide & Seek”.

Within the game one of the players is chosen to take on the role of the wolf (finger-puppet) and the others players take on the role of the kids. The wolf will turn around and slowly count to ten, during which time the “kids” quickly hide under or behind the furniture. At each turn, the wolf is permitted to uncover two pieces of furniture, if a Kid is discovered, the wolf wins a Kid token. The kids win Pebble tokens if they are not found and will win more tokens if there are hidden and remain undiscovered while in the clock or in the tub. The first player, wolf or kid, to collect 7 tokens wins.
Innovation: Figures in the Sand 7 Wonders: Wonder Pack
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Innovation: Figures in the Sand 7 Wonders: Wonder Pack
Innovation: Figures in the Sand, an expansion for Carl Chudyk's Innovation, breaks from the format of that game by providing players with recognizable figures from history (instead of new inventions or concepts) with those figures showing up on your table to help you win the game – or maybe your opponent. Historical figures tend to be somewhat fickle.

Figures includes 105 figure cards, with the cards being similar to Innovation cards in that they're divided into ten ages with five colors of cards in each age. Instead of including a dogma power that players can use on their turn, each card in Figures has a karma that changes the game in some way. Karmas might take effect when you meld a card, when you're counting icons to determine whether you can share an action, or when you take some other action in the game. Instead of melding a card, for example, you might score it, or instead of giving cards to opponents who demand from you, you might return cards to the age decks.
As the name suggests, 7 Wonders: Wonder Pack includes new wonders for use with the 7 Wonders base game, with the wonders in question being:
Gentlemen Thieves Rise of Augustus
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Gentlemen Thieves Rise of Augustus
Gentlemen Thieves is a board game with secret identities, bluffing and theft featuring Arsène Lupin and other characters inspired by author Maurice Leblanc. Whoever ends up with the biggest stack of loot at the end of the game wins! In Augustus, you will vie with your fellow players to complete "objective" cards for special powers and ultimately for victory points. Each card has 2-6 symbols which you must populate with legionnaire meeples in order to complete the card. These symbols are drawn one at a time from a bag, with all players gaining the benefit equally, but interestingly, there are more of some symbols than others.

So the pivotal skill you'll deploy is in making your choice of which three objectives you'll start the game with (you're dealt six) -- balancing potential difficulty of completion against value of the reward -- and then which of five available objectives you'll add to your plate each time you complete one of your three. The game ends when someone completes seven. So there's real strategy but the game is still ruled by luck of the draw.

Beautifully illustrated, about 30 minutes to play, and already a favorite for many families, Augustus is one of the nominees for the 2013 Spiele des Jahres.







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In the Shadow of the Emperor

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Germany in the middle ages! It is a time of flourishing cities, influential bishops, the powerful popes, and a pompous aristocracy. In such a volatile climate, no dynasty can remain in power for long.


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