Elder Sign: Omens of the Pharaoh

Elder Sign: Omens of the Pharaoh is an expansion for Elder Sign, a dice game for one to eight players filled with Lovecraftian horrors. Based on the Dark Pharaoh expansion for the Elder Sign: Omens app, a team of investigators must join an expedition into Egypt to stop the rise of the Dark Pharaoh Nephren-Ka!

In Omens of the Pharaoh, the investigators will discover that there are some mysteries best left buried. An archeological expedition in the deserts of Egypt has brought your team of investigators face to face with the threat of the Dark Pharaoh, Nephren-Ka, who seeks to once again stalk the earth after being struck down centuries ago. The Lightless Pyramid game mode lets the investigators travel back and forth between Cairo and Dashur to gather supplies and gain special gameplay advantages by advancing the party’s Expedition. Gather powerful Relics to bolster your chances of stopping Nephren-Ka and explore Hidden Chambers to reveal the powerful Elder Signs that you’ll need to stop the rise of the Ancient One!

The Lord of the Rings The Card Game: The Crossings of Poros 

The Crossings of Poros is the sixth and final Adventure Pack in the Haradrim cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

For several of Middle-earth’s heroes, the end to a long and difficult journey through Harad is nearly within sight. These heroes have survived a shipwreck and a desert crossing. They have tamed Mûmakil and allied themselves to a tribe of good-willed Haradrim. They have battled Orcs and Wargs. They have confronted Giant Spiders and wicked Southrons. And they have freed their friends from one of the Dark Lord’s dungeons. But now the friends they have freed are slowing them down. The heroes know the Orcs and Wargs will soon return—and in greater numbers. The Southrons will want their revenge. And there are still many miles to cross before they reach the safety of Gondor.

With its sixty cards (including a new hero and three copies of each new player card), The Crossings of Poros challenges you and your heroes to find your way through the final stretches of Harad. Will you lead your company through the desert? Or will you ask them to weave their way through the rocky hills of the Ephel Dúath? Both paths bring their own dangers, and it falls to you to safeguard your heroes, their allies, and their hope for freedom.

Indulgence – Back in print!

Once of our favorite trick-taking card games is back! In every hand the desired tricks change, and every hand has a different way to “shoot the moon!”

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.

Indulgence 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. Dragonmaster enjoyed lavish production, with oversized cards, art by the incomparable Bob Pepper, and some nifty interlocking gems for keeping score. In addition to the retheming, the restoration evens out the game play. The original game suffered from a runaway leader problem in which an early power play with the dragon card all but assured one player’s elimination from contention and gave the other a big leg up. The indulgence token replaces the dragon card to make it more accessible, less powerful, and easier to understand. It also increases the number of contracts from 5 to 20, and ups the deck to 36 cards.

Down Force – Back in print!

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 (also seen in Daytona 500 and Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix). 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.