Home Board Game News What’s New With IELLO – A Gen Con Recap

What’s New With IELLO – A Gen Con Recap

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Iello LogoDuring Gen Con this year I had a chance to sit down and talk with Matthieu Bonin of IELLO Games (pronounced Yellow for the curious). While the convention raged on around us, we were able to talk about what new games IELLO has just released and what they have coming down the pipeline.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with them, you’ve probably heard of their most popular game, King of Tokyo. A French company, IELLO has been making and co-publishing games for over three years now. They have over 15 games currently in in their catalog with another five due out soon. Other than King of Tokyo, some of their other more well known titles are Biblios, Innovation, Mythic Battles, and Uchronia (which I purchased at Gen Con, look for a review soon).

So that’s the old, which most of you probably knew about already. But you’re not here for a history lesson; you’re here for the new and upcoming titles. OK then, I’ll stop wasting your time and get to the good stuff.

New Releases

Titanium Wars

3-4 players, ages 12+, 60-90 minutes
Titanium Wars BoxReleased at Origins, Titanium Wars is a card game where players must build their fleet of spaceships to out-duel other players for planets and resources. Titanium Wars is an arms race and galactic conquest card game. The first thing that caught my eye with this game was the fantastic artwork. It’s a combination of sci-fi and steampunk (both things I like); colorful and thematic.

The game play features easy-to-learn rules, high player interaction, and very minimal downtime. Turns consist mainly of two halves. The first part is building and equipping your fleet and planets. Players have to purchase ships and upgrades (all going on simultaneously) to prepare for the next part of the round.. The second part of the turn is battling the other players for the one revealed planet that turn. Players will use their ships to fight each other until there is only one player left in competition for the planet. That player collects the planet and the victory points that come with it. The first player to the required amount of victory points  wins. The victory points are variable, based on the number of players and length of game desired. This game is for players who like a lot of interaction, diplomacy, backstabbing and fighting.

Game Images (click for larger):

Titanium-Wars-EclateTitanium Wars CardTitanium Wars - Buildings - Spaceport Titanium Wars - Units - Repair Drone

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Three Little Pigs

2-5 players, ages 7+, 20 minutes
The 3 Little Pigs - BoxPress-your-luck dice games are incredibly popular right now, so it’s no surprise to see a new offering from IELLO in this genre. The Three Little Pigs is a dice rolling game based on the popular fairly tale. Each player must build houses of straw, wood, or brick based on their die rolls. There are rules for building, but the basic premise is the dice will decide which floor of the house you can build and of what material (more matching sets are required for the better materials: straw < wood < brick).

The fun part of the game comes when you roll two wolves on your turn. At this point you get to choose an opponent’s house and blow on the spinner. Whichever material it lands on, all tiles of that targeted material in the house are destroyed. Obviously this isn’t a game to play with kids who can’t handle that kind of loss. I don’t have children, but I assume there are some out there like that. You get victory points by completing houses, with the better materials scoring more points. Easy to learn, thematic artwork, lots of luck. The Three Little Pigs should be a good game for family to play together. As an added bonus,  the box looks like a story book which is very cool.

Game Images (click for larger):

The 3 Little Pigs - PackshotThe 3 Little Pigs - House Brick The 3 Little Pigs - House Straw The 3 Little Pigs - House Wood

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The Phantom Society

2-4 players, ages 8+, 20 minutes
The Phantom Society - BoxI actually got a chance to play a few games of The Phantom Society at Gen Con and found it pretty enjoyable. (Although later I found out the other team cheated, grrr! Note from Steph – the “cheater” – It was late, I was exhausted, and didn’t understand the rules at all and accidentally cheated.). Anyway, the basic premise of the game is that one team plays a pair of ghost hunters while the other takes on the role of the ghosts. The board consists of a 6-by-6 grid of movable room tiles. Under each room tile is an empty circle. The ghost player(s) will hide their four ghosts each under a tile and it’s up to the hunters to figure out where each ghost is located.

Turns will alternate with the ghosts destroying rooms (based on a set of proximity rules) while the hunters try to locate them before the ghosts do too much damage. It’s a fun little deduction game with a risk-versus-reward mechanic built in. It’s not going to wow anyone with it’s deep strategy, but as a filler game, it’s top notch.

I do wish they would have made the ghost tiles somewhat smaller than the circles they fit into.  It’s a little hard to get the tiles flush into their slot without giving away their position by elevating the tile above. A little XACTO work will remedy that problem.

All three titles are widely available now and these new games encompass a pretty broad spectrum of play styles. So lets take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline. There are 5 new games to look forward to this year (with some possibly slipping into early next year).

Game Images (click for larger):

The Phantom Society - PackshotThe Phantom Society - CardsThe Phantom Society - Tiles

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What’s Coming Later This Year

Guardian Chronicles

2-5 players, ages 14+, 90 minutes
Guardians' Chronicles - BoxI remember when Guardian Chronicles was on Kickstarter a while ago and it looked interesting when I first saw it. I’m a big sucker for superhero games, so this one caught my eye pretty quickly. Unfortunately I got distracted and never got around to fully checking out the Kickstarter campaign. Now I’m kicking myself for that because the game sounds pretty awesome (and not just because I’m a comic addict).

Guardian Chronicles is a semi-cooperative game where one player takes on the role of the evil villain carrying out his scheme from his hidden lair. The other players must team up as the Liberty Patrol to thwart his evil doings. The game will come with almost 40 miniatures and a lot of superhero-themed artwork.

IELLO tells me that each of the four heroes will have their own unique powers, and that they will also interact with the other Liberty Patrol members with great synergy. For example, the muscular hero can throw a teammate into the center of the battle (think of Colossus/Wolverine’s fastball special) and the flying superhero will be able to carry allies around the battlefield.  The game play (from what I can tell from the beta rule book) seems like it will be familiar to miniatures players. The heroes must enter the villain’s layer and try and stop him, using familiar movement, hero powers and die rolls.

What seemed most interesting was the unique scoring system. A newspaper will act as the score keeper and during the game. The front page of the newspaper will get populated with articles based on what happens in the game.  So if the Liberty Patrol is able to stop the villain from launching nuclear missiles, there will be an article saying how they stopped the evil madman’s scheme. If they fail, it will be an article talking about how the villain destroyed a country. At the end of the game, whichever side has the most articles, wins. I love this as a score keeping system; it’s fits the game very well and is incredibly thematic.

Game Images (click for larger):

Guardians' Chronicles - Tiles Guardians' Chronicles - Sheets Golden Boy Guardians' Chronicles - Miniatures Guardians' Chronicles - Cards Sgt Freedom

Heroes of Normandie

2 players, ages 10+, 60 minutes
Heroes of Normandie - Box NON FINALWe didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the Heroes of Normandie, but ILLEO will be co-publishing it with Devil Pig Games after their very successful Kickstarter campaign. Heroes of Normandie is a light, tactical, war-game that’s inspired by Hollywood movies. For only two players, this tactical game pits the armies of the Germans vs the Americans. Players deploy their units, secretly plan their attacks and try and outwit their enemies by blocking or surprising them. It should come as no surprise that this game is scenario-based and the play time will depend on the chosen scenario.

In order to keep costs down, they decided to not use miniatures in the game, but cardboard tiles. While I’m a huge fan of minis, the artwork I’ve seen so far for the tiles looks pretty fantastic. It has a comic book-style to it that I think should work pretty well. Players will use tokens to determine initiative order and to try to outwit their opponent. A single six-sided die and some action cards will be used to determine combat results. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to demo this at Gen Con, but from everything I’ve seen so far, it looks like it’s shaping up to be a really fun, light war game.

Game Images (click for larger):

Heroes of Normandie TilesHeroes of Normandie - Hero US ClintHeroes-of-Normandie-Hero-GE-Totenkopf-600x694

Zombie 15′

2-4 players, ages 14+, 15 minutes
Zombie-15'---Box-NON-FINALZombie 15′ is a game that I’m really looking forward to. I’m a sucker for a good zombie theme and I also love real-time games. Zombie 15′ combines both into one fun-looking game.

Set in a world where all adults have been turned into the undead, the only humans left alive are teenagers and children. That’s right, every player is either a teenager or a child, so that means no gun-toting, sword-wielding machines-of-death. The game is more about surviving then slaying the hordes of the walking dead. Both real-time and cooperative, players must work together to achieve the scenario’s goals within the 15-minute time limit.

Other interesting points about the game is that it’s diceless. Players will be doing a lot of searching in the game and as they find and use weapon cards, those weapons will slowly break down. Each weapon has a limited number of uses which means even when you find a good weapon, it won’t last very long. This ensure that players must be constantly searching for more items, all while the clock is ticking away.

The scenarios will vary in their objectives. Some will have you trying to out-run the hordes, in some you have to find keys to unlock things and in others you just need to survive for the full 15 minutes. The rules are supposed to be very easy to learn, and choices will have to be made as quickly as possible because the clock is always moving during the game. To act as a time keeper, the game comes with an audio CD that is said to be very mood-appropriate. The game is also not only scenario-based, but is also meant to be played as a campaign. The scenarios are billed as a progressive campaign, so I’m guessing they will increase in difficulty as the players get more familiar with the game.

While the game wasn’t in a playable state at Gen Con, they did have some of the preliminary artwork and components to show off and I’m really looking forward to giving this game a spin.

Game Images (click for larger):

Zombie-15'-components Zombie-15'-components2Zombie 15' - Tile - Bank

Steampark

2-4 players, ages 10+, 60 minutes
Steam Park - Box NON FINALSteampark is probably the game I’m most looking forward to from IELLO this year. From the designer of the great dexterity game Dungeon Fighter comes their newest offering. In Steampark players are tasked with running their own coal-powered amusement park. Unfortunately they didn’t have a prototype of Steampark at Gen Con, but Matthieu did walk me through some of the elements of the game and I’m already hooked.

First, the artwork is done by the amazing Marie Cardouat (the artist that did all the work for Dixit). That alone almost sold me on the game as I love her Dixit. Players will construct three-dimensional rides for their steampark. The game will build up before you and I’m really curious to see how that works. Sounds awesome. Finally, the game will have some fast-paced dice action. All players roll their dice at the same time to try to build theme park attractions.  I’m not exactly sure how it will work, but I’m promised that the action-choosing mechanic will be fast-paced and competitive. Players can re-roll their dice as often as they want, but the longer they take, the more an advantage their opponents will have.

Steampark isn’t only about building rides; players must also manage employees, invest in advertising, satisfy different types of guests, and keep the park waste under control. This reminds me of playing the old Rollercoaster Tycoon and Sim Theme park video games. Steampark sounds like it’s hitting on a lot of great gameplay mechanics and boasting some superb component quality here. If it ends up half as awesome as it sounds, I won’t be able to wait to get my hands on this one.

Game Images (click for larger):

Steam-Park-ComponentsSteam Park - Original artwork - The Love Castle Steam Park - Artwork - Stand 1 Steam Park - Original artwork - La Montagne Russe

King of Tokyo: Halloween

2-6 players,  ages 8+, 30 minutes
King of Tokyo - Halloween - BoxSince IELLO has let the cat out of the bag on their Facebook page today, I can talk about it too now. Coming in October is the newest expansion for their hit game King of Tokyo. Halloween will come with 2 new monsters: Pumpkin Jack and Boogie Woogie. The game will also come with 12 new power cards for the original monsters, Costumes! That’s right, your favorite monsters can play dress up in this Halloween Expansion. Finally, the expansion will come with a exclusive card for the new King of Tokyo stand alone game coming in 2014.

Game Images (click for larger):

King of Tokyo - Cards CostumesKing of Tokyo - Halloween - Boogey Woogey King of Tokyo - Halloween - Pumpkin Jack

 

And that’s what’s new and in the pipeline from IELLO this year. They have some solid new releases out right now, but I’m really looking forward to their upcoming titles. I hope they make their expected fourth-quarter release dates, especially for Steampark. Be sure to check back around the end of the year as I hope to have a lot of reviews for you to pour over and help you decide which titles to spend your hard-earned money on.
Thanks again to Matthieu Bonin of IELLO for taking some time out of his busy Gen Con schedule to talk with me.

So which title are you most looking forward to getting your hands on?

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Of the games listed, I think I’m most interested in Steampark. Theme is different than other games I have, and I love the concept of building a park in three dimensions. Plus, I love the art! Definitely a must-try.

  2. Just played 3 Little Pigs the other day with my 5 and 7 year olds. The game has too much luck for my tastes, but I think the kids enjoyed it. Plays quickly – only 20 minutes with explaining rules to the kids. One thing that didn’t happen enough was the wolf blowing down houses (might have just been the randomness of the dice rolls).

    I am sure that we will play it again.

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