Garphill Games designers and owners Shem Phillips and Sam McDonald hosted a live stream on YouTube in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, bringing with them a whole host of news for their games slated for this year and beyond. I’m going to break that news down to the key points and headings, so feel free to jump around to what you feel is most interesting.
A Tease Of The South Tigris
The final game in the South Tigris series, Inventors, is due to be Kickstarted early next year, and whilst we’re still waiting for the Scholars of the South Tigris to hit our shelves and tables, there was a sneak peak of the final game. Set in Baghdad in the golden age of science, and based around the authors of The Book of Ingenious Devices, the game has players inventing and building devices which can either be useful or just plain silly. Players will be taking two cards, an adjective and a device, and will be looking to combine them to make a final invention. A big engine building aspect similar to Wingspan was mentioned, but the core is around the dice. Mitigation of the dice is key, as you have a pool of 12 dice you’ll be using. At various times, they’ll be exhausted and irrelevant but they can grow and be involved through different actions you take.
Again, the designers have a lot more to say about this. SJ Macdonald believes that this game will be the heaviest of all their games, though not by design, just by a desire to be awesome and give a lot for players to explore with. Go and take a look at the video and find out more from the designers themselves.
North Sea Revisit
Shipwrights of the North Sea has always been seen as the first child that you did your best for but didn’t quite live up to its potential. Raiders of the North Sea was the star of the trilogy and Explorers of the North Sea did pretty well for itself. Now, nine years later, Shipwrights of the North Sea is getting a second edition called Shipwrights of the North Sea Redux. This new revised edition completely changes up the gameplay, but keeping the core DNA for a Garphill Games game, including card drafting and the option to discard a card to get a benefit, tucking cards under other cards to boost their abilities and much more. There will also be some cards included within the game to bolster the Runesaga expansion which will allow you to incorporate the Redux version with the expansion and still get the benefits. In addition, the game now will include a solo mode for those who love to play solo. The new Redux for Shipwrights will be on Kickstarter later this year.
Shem also announced that a big collector’s box for Explorers of the North Sea will be on the way, allowing you to store the expansion stuff in with the core game. For the first time, Garphill are delving into a custom insert, similar to those seen in Parks, to make set up easier and have somewhere to store components during play.
And for those of you who want their shelves to line up neatly, box sleeves will be available to buy for the West Kingdom Trilogy and Raiders of the North Sea Collectors boxes so that the artistic styles can line up on your shelf.
New Historic Game Announced
The next game in the historic series, following Hadrian’s Wall and Legacy of Yu, has been announced, Ezra and Nehemiah. Set in Jerusalem in around 5th century BCE and based on the books of the Bible of the same name, players are contesting for victory points by building the temple, rebuilding the walls and gates of the city, and teaching the Torah to the exiles who are returning. Over three rounds (or weeks), players will use cards, workers and resources to rebuild Jerusalem, taking a rest on the Sabbath. This requires food and reflection on the weeks work and the player with the most points at the end of the third week will win. It's worth noting that this isn’t a game about religion, with no message associated, it is just based on the historical events that took place in Jerusalem.
The commentary around this game is that it’s a “greatest hits” collection of the stuff Garphill Games has been putting out, taking some of the core mechanisms from previous games and combining them into a new story. Engine building, multi-use cards and workers are at play, but in this game, player interaction is the key focus, looking at positive interactions with your opponents. For more details about the game, I recommend checking out the video to hear the designers talk about it much better than I possibly could! The heavy weight Euro game is due to be on Kickstarter in October of this year and released in 2024.
Something Slightly Different
Shem Phillips also teased a new game with Akrus Games, designed by himself, and with more news coming soon about it. All that was revealed with a slight theme relating to Indiana Jones-ish adventure with alternative history, an image of a man holding a gun on his shoulder, Q4 2023 and a strapline of Storm Incoming. More on that to come in the near future, I’m sure.