The next great technological revolution is here. Sentient robots for information, transportation, industry — all at our fingertips. Building them is now the easy part. Programming them has proven to be more complicated. A handful of companies have emerged claiming to pull it off, but only one will win out. Your mission is clear: Procure valuable bots and plug them into your network. They’ll have an effect on your systems. Anticipate it correctly, program your bots effectively, and attract the right investors to win and lead the sentient revolution.
In Sentient, players are tasked with choosing from available robots to program in their factory. Each robot that is added modifies your board and attracts the interest of investors for your company. Program your bots efficiently and collect the support of your patrons to build the most formidable operation.
Description from GTS article:
Sentient is a dice-manipulation game by J. Alex Kevern (World’s Fair 1893, Gold West). As with his other games, Sentient is filled with smart, simple, and rewarding choices. Each turn involves choosing an available bot, adding it to your factory, and deciding how to divide your resources between optimizing your bot and wooing investors. Players who enjoy a satisfying puzzle will appreciate the difficulty in adding the chosen bot to their factory. Each slot has a die on either side that will be modified based on the chosen bot card. But, adding another adjacent bot the next turn will modify the dice once again. The dice at the end of the round will determine how efficiently your bots were programmed and will grant you varying points based on the dice numbers. You may have everything perfectly sorted out — that is, until the last bot you choose changes the adjacent dice. Your plan can crumble and points can easily be lost with an errant decision or wrong choice!
In the cooperative, press-your-luck game Hotshots, crews of 1 to 4 players take on the roles of wildfire fighters — crew boss, spotter, swamper, and sawyer — with special abilities, then roll dice on burning terrain tiles to match the combinations shown on those tiles. The more faces they roll, the better they fight the fire. Players can choose to cut firebreaks, which protect tiles from embers blown by wind gusts, or push their luck to reduce flames and possibly even generate reward tokens. If players bust and fail to match at least three of the six symbols on the tile, the fire grows. Another option is to maneuver vehicles — air tanker, helicopter, and brush rig — to save the forest.
Flame tokens are added at the end of each player’s turn by the draw of a fire card, which can bring about light or strong wind gusts, increase the strength of the flames on certain tiles, and start fires. Too many flame tokens will cause a tile to scorch and be lost. Losing a terrain tile could also affect the game play. Some tiles are tied to crewmembers’ special abilities, while others help the firefighters, and still others cause the fire to spread in unique ways. If eight tiles scorch or the fire camp scorches, the game is over and the forest is lost — but if the intrepid crew can extinguish the fire, the team wins together.
The press-your-luck mechanism with ratcheting rewards creates tension, and the variety of ways to fight the fire makes for interesting choices. The modular tile layout and fire cards bring high replayability to the game, and the acrylic flame tokens provide an enticing table presence.
October 1888: During the construction of the Metropolitan Police headquarters near Whitehall, which would later be known as Scotland Yard, the remains of a body were found. In September, a severed arm had already been discovered in the muddy shore of the River Thames.
There is another murderer roaming the streets of London in Whitehall, amusing himself by spreading the pieces of a poor woman around Whitehall, like some kind of macabre treasure hunt. The identity of this monster and his unfortunate victim are a mystery, the Whitehall Mystery.
In the teachings of the Catholic Church, an indulgence may be granted to relieve sins. In some cases, this might be by doing good works or engaging in meaningful prayer, but in the darkest of times, indulgences were sold to anyone willing to make a significant “contribution”. As the rising families of the Italian Renaissance conspired and plotted to seize control, the indulgence offered a clear conscience for many a questionable deed committed in the name of power.
Indulgence is a trick-taking game for 3-4 players. On their turn, players choose an edict that gives the rule for the hand. The other players then decide if they want to violate the edict by doing the opposite of what it commands. So “Don’t take any Medicis” suddenly becomes “I must take all the Medicis”. Committing a sin can be challenging, but a player attempting it gets the benefit of the indulgence, a token that turns one of their cards into a winning hand. Can you trick your opponents into committing sins without the indulgence? Can you avoid sinning yourself? Whoever can pull that off will end up with a pile of gems and the title of victor.
Ingulgence is a restoration of Dragonmaster, originally published by Milton Bradley in 1981 and designed by Jerry D’Arcey. It was itself a reimagining of D’Arcey’s prior game, Coup d’Etat, and its classic progenitor Barbu. In addition to the retheming, the restoration evens out the game play.
Lazer Ryderz is a trackless racing game for up to 4 players with light push-your-luck, area denial, and strategy elements. Players construct their lazer paths with various pre-formed punchboard pieces that are placed according to speed and desired direction.
Will it be the Galactic Waveryder – the adrenaline-fueled surfer who’s seeking the next great thrill and most radical solar waves? Or the Lazer Shark – always on the hunt for her next prey as she seeks the fabled Blood Nebula to restart her species? Perhaps the Super Sheriff – greatest of the Law Star Rangers who travels to the outer reaches of the known (and unknown) galaxy to bring the universe’s criminals to speedy justice? Or will it be the Phantom Cosmonaut – the ghost from a long-distant era whose true quest is a mystery to those he encounters, but with speed that is without question as he moves in the blink of an eye?
Stop Thief is a family game of logical deduction for 2-4 players. An invisible suspect commits a crime. Only the sounds they make give them away. Listen to the clues and figure out where they are hiding. Play cards from your unique deck to move around the board, sneak through a window, or even get a private tip. Once you have the suspect pinned down, swoop in and make the arrest.
The obvious first step in restoring the classic 1979 game was taking the electronic device and turning it into an app. Doing that allows for better sound quality and a more dynamic platform for different modes of play. Next step was ditching the roll-and-move mechanism and, in general, stripping out some of the luck and adding in a healthy dose of strategy. By replacing the dice with decks of movement cards, it also allows asymmetrical decks, which increases the fun and replayability. Game effects were also added to the suspect cards to further spice things up.
High-stakes bidding on million-dollar race cars. Frantic bets placed in secret even as the cars race around the track. And to the victor, the biggest purse of all. But in the world of motor racing, the margin between victory and defeat can be a single moment: a steep banked turn, tires screaming and spitting out smoke, and the downforce, pressing you down in your seat and keeping you on the track as you make your move inside to pull ahead.
Downforce is a card-driven bidding, racing, and betting game for 2-6 players based on Top Race, the award-winning design by the legendary Wolfgang Kramer. Players first bid to own the six cars in the race, then they play cards from their hand to speed them around the track. However, most cards will also move their opponents’ cars. So figuring out just the right time to play a card is the key to victory. Along the way, players make secret bets on who they think will win the race. Whoever has the most money from their prize money, winning bets, and remaining bank wins.
This is a game whose design needed no attention. Years of play and multiple versions have honed it to near perfection. On the contrary, one of the design challenges was figuring which of the many rules modules to incorporate to create the most fun version. Downforce also adds variable player powers to improve replayability. But mostly, it improves the look of the game to make it gorgeous and easy to play. Special attention was paid to the colors, the layout of the cards, the design of the cars, the details on the board, and more.