With regular new releases coming back to the UK from next week, I’m taking a closer look at some of the games we can expect to arrive soon.
The start is making Pandemic: Hot Zone, a smaller and more accessible version of the co-op classic Pandemic:
Based on the bestselling Pandemic, Pandemic: Hot Zone features the same nail-biting cooperative experience as you play against the game itself, but in a smaller form that you can take anywhere and play in a shorter amount of time. Every game is a challenge that you’ll tackle together, working to contain outbreaks and making strategic choices as a team. Can you discover all three cures in time?
(Source: Publisher description)
With the game getting released next week, Z-Man Game has published an article about how the game came to be and what the ideas behind it are:
Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America was first leaked back in February as COVID-19 had started to become a truly global crisis. That was the first chance that anyone outside the company had heard of Hot Zone’s existence, but the game’s story actually began all the way back in April 2018. Today, Matt and I would like to take you behind the curtain and provide insight into how Hot Zone became a reality.
Just over two years ago, Adrien Martinot, Head of Studio at Days of Wonder, had a brilliant idea to create a Ticket to Ride demo game for stores. With a smaller board, shorter train routes, and a quicker playtime, players could walk up, play a full game, and get a taste for the Ticket to Ride experience. The concept worked, and the demo game gained a lot of traction among retailers.
December was a busy end to the year despite the disappointment of quite a number of delays. Here is a look at our bestseller and the hot pre-orders:
Top 5 Sales
1) KeyForge: Call of the Archons (Starter Set and Decks)
2) Crown of Emara
3) The Fox in the Forest
4) The Quacks of Quedlinburg
5) Arboretum (2018 Edition)
KeyForge was by far our bestseller in December and it was great to get a restock of the Starter Sets in a couple of weeks before Christmas. Crown of Emara has slowly picked up steam since Essen. The first few weeks after Essen nobody seemed to care about it, but now with more and more people talking about it the orders started coming in on a regular basis. The Fox in the Forest and Arboretum are both perfect Christmas games: they look great, don’t cost the world and have family-friendly themes. The English edition of Quacks appeared out of nowhere but was a hit from day one.
Top 5 Pre-Orders
1) Underwater Cities
2) Men At Work
3) A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians
4) New Frontiers
5) Bad Bones
Pre-orders are always a bit slower in the time before Christmas because everybody is hunting Christmas presents and is more looking for games that are in stock. So the pre-order for the Underwater Cities reprint had an easy time to get to the top of our pre-order leaderboard. Men at Work was one of the games that didn’t make it before Christmas, so these orders were originally meant for Christmas. The Feast for Odin expansion is very popular since the Essen board game show and New Frontiers got a late boost by the first Youtube videos appearing online during the Christmas holidays. Bad Bones is a small surprise because this new game from the Magic Maze publisher Sit Down! got a bit buried in the avalanche of new announcements before and after Essen.
Pandemic: The Fall of Rome is the latest games based on the classic Pandemic co-op system. Designed by Matt Leacock and Paolo Mori it lets players take on one of seven roles in old Rome and try to save the Roman empire from invading Barbarians.
Z-Man Games has now posted a preview of the seven different roles in the game and also of the battle system that uses the battle dice to decide the outcome of the many battles in the game.
Joel from the Devon Dice podcast had the chance to play Pandemic: Fall of Rome. He filmed the demo and has now posted the video which includes the rules explanation, a look at the gameplay and his thoughts about the game.
Z-Man Games has announced the first expansion for A Feast for Odin:
The Norwegians offers new ways for players to guide their tribes to victory, including three double-sided action boards customized for different numbers of players that add a fifth column of action spaces for players to choose. 95 new goods tiles feature new animals, new types of food, and new equipment for the Vikings, who can now hunt elk, purchase horses, or craft weapons and armor, while the double-sided “artisan sheds” give players new ways to produce goods. Rounding out the expansion are eight double-sided exploration boards depicting distant cities like Cork, Limerick, and the Isle of Skye, which players can visit or raid.
2018 is the 10th Anniversary of Pandemic, the classic co-operative game designed by Matt Leacock. Z-Man Games will celebrate the anniversary by releasing a special Anniversary edition of the game.
But this is not the only Pandemic that will get released this year: Z-Man has just announced Pandemic: Fall of Rome (designers: Matt Leacock & Paolo Mori (Ethnos)) for the end of the year.
Pandemic: Fall of Rome follows the proud tradition of the award-winning Pandemic, transforming the signature cooperative crisis management gameplay from disease control to the defense of one of the greatest civilizations in history! Instead of diseases, players face off against the migration of aggressive barbarian tribes. They must defend their cities long enough to forge alliances with the invading hordes, and in doing so save the Empire from certain doom.
As soon as we know more about the UK release, we will start taking pre-orders.