The year is 2015: four powerful civilizations have discovered new land and are now setting out to explore, cultivate and conquer it. Each people has its own powerful abilities, which it uses not only to trade peacefully and obtain raw materials but above all to displace its opponents. And so, dear game friends, it all began – with the publication of Imperial Settlers from our partner Portal Games.
Even if the small, cute-looking settlers will soon continue – the latest expansion Rise of an Empire will appear at the beginning of next year – it became easy after the Amazons, Atlanteans, Aztecs and of course the four peoples of the basic game, barbarians, Japanese, Romans, and Egyptians at some point too narrow in paradise. And so Settler’s father Ignacy Trzewiczek decided to develop a new, independent game in the same universe.
No sooner said than done – in October 2019 at SPIEL you were able to examine his brand new work for the first time. In keeping with the name, Empires of the North, six Nordic clans from three different peoples await you in the base game, whom you can accompany through good and bad times, rough and mild winds, through stormy and calm seas on their forays to new lands.
The problem, you have probably already guessed, the other players are also on their way as new clan leaders. And so it happens that you sometimes even compete with a clan of your own people. But resources in your homeland are scarce, so build new locations and discover new islands to sail to and pillage. But no matter how don’t come home empty-handed!
But before you set out to sea or order your new favorite game from a retailer you trust, we would of course like to introduce you to the different clans. Let’s start with the Ulaf clan: The Ulaf clan are feared Vikings. As members of this horde, your everyday life consists primarily of destruction, looting, and conquering. Your Viking heart will beat faster! <3 But remember, if you choose the looting strategy, you may end up with axes left over, but as a Vikings, you surely know what to use them for! 😉
The men of the Heidel clan are unmistakable: red hair, dangerous-looking Vikings … and often swaying from side to side with a mug in hand. Because after their work is done, the Heidel men like to have a beer or two in the tavern.
Nevertheless, they are battle-hardened and relentless Vikings – if you make sure that they don’t indulge in too many jugs and drinking horns or destroy ships profusely. However, on the other hand, you should make sure that there are as many taverns as possible because nothing spurs the Heidel-Clan boys on more than a good party with roasted meat and of course lots of beer.
The Nanurjuk are always on tour, because they are a clan of travelers, always looking for new settlement areas. It is all the more important to recognize when the time has come to leave a place behind. Because after expanding the location cards and collecting their resources, you have to say goodbye to some locations at the appropriate time and set off for new shores. But new countries and places are already waiting to be discovered, settled, and used by you. Up, up!
The Inuit warriors of the Pamuk clan are perfectionists – with them you strive for constant development of your places. So, collect points for certain types of cards and carry out the discover action as often as possible to draw cards from your clan card deck and find the missing pieces of the puzzle.
With the Glenn Clan, copying your own locations is your greatest strength. Because clearly, the more ice cream parlors there are in your realm, the better – of course! You draw your strength from the beautiful things in the life of the conqueror – music, rugby, balloon rides, and of course your beloved pet. So why set off on your own when you can wait until an opponent plays the appropriate card on his discard pile and then takes it to his own people with “camel theft”?
It is well known that savings are best kept under the pillow … or in pots, in the garden, under the bank … The clansmen of the MacKinnon clan also know this. Because with them everything revolves around the love of money. Once they have accumulated some wealth, the empire becomes more powerful and, above all, richer every round thanks to interest. You should consider the first rounds as investments that will ultimately pay off through immeasurable wealth, um of course, through victory! 😉
But the more the clans from the north discover, the more other peoples stand in their way. And so the clans of the base game have long since grown: With the first expansion, Empires of the North: Japanese Islands, two new clans from the Japanese people come into play:
The Saikoro clan is known for its outstanding merchants who do a good job Never miss business with a foreign civilization. But be careful, you should never owe them a favor! The Umineko clan, on the other hand, consists mainly of hardworking dock workers. You always have the very best access to exotic spices and fabrics and the right nose for when it is worthwhile to bring these exquisite goods to men or women.
With the second expansion, Empires of the North: Roman Banners, two new Roman clans have entered the floor – the Flavian clan and the Trajana clan. You don’t know Trajana yet? She is a master of expansion and all clans tremble before her legions. But of course she is also capable of multitasking and also keeps an eye on the economy in all of her domains. In doing so, she never loses sight of the focus: monuments that her clan members are allowed to erect in her honor.
The Flavian clan, on the other hand, focuses on its core competence: Rome! But there he goes to great lengths and builds all the great buildings in the city. The Flavian clan has almost become the foundation of the eternal city itself and survives all fires, epidemics, and volcanoes. Come what may, the building must go on!
The third expansion, Empires of the North: Barbarian Horde, was recently released. Get ready for wild warriors, yes, where did you come from? The Urvart clan has distributed its spies all over the world. And whoever has his eyes everywhere, is known to notice a lot. No knowledge is safe from him. And so the Heidel clan is just trying to keep the recipe of their beloved beer a secret, while the Glenn clan is already fighting to keep grandma’s ice cream recipe secret.
The second barbarian clan, the Boudicca clan, on the other hand, is easier to understand. His mission is to build boats, build boats and, you guessed it, build boats! As pirates they sail across the world’s oceans and repeatedly come across clans who are on the move without protection – it’s their own fault! But are you looking for the good close by or striving far away for even more exotic goods? You have to make this choice! But no matter how you decide, we wish you a lot of fun with the cuddly, knobbly, and yet insanely scary peoples from Empires of the North!
We have had the gyroscopic skill game Ghost Adventure in our range since November last year (and currently even reduced it by 10% in our online warehouse sale!). To all of you who want to click away now, because games of skill are not for you, let me tell you, this one is different! First of all, in Ghost Adventure you don’t compete with your fellow players, but you play and win or lose all together.
Regardless of whether with up to four players or in the solo version, your goal is to guide a spinning top over several game boards and to complete tasks and missions. To do this, you always hold one of the game boards in your hand and maneuver the (hopefully) rotating top over it.
Each of the game board sides has depressions that you have to cross or circle through. But each side also has its special features: Poisonous pools, holes that threaten to swallow you, but also teleport fields or hidden potions that help you if your top stops.
So far so good, but now it’s getting tricky: Not only do you have to circle a certain path on a game board, but you also have to bounce the top, change the game plan and sometimes even turn your game board on its back in the middle of the course.
Sounds impossible? One or two of our colleagues thought that too, but lo and behold, it works! Everyone who followed our Let’s Play game during SPIEL. digital now knows what we are talking about – even those who didn’t know how to play became real fans!?
If you’re still skeptical that you’ll be able to do this, don’t worry: In the Ghost Adventure game instructions, you will find a training mission that you can play yourself in the game box. So you don’t have to worry that your spinning top will spin off the game board! After that, at the latest, you will be well equipped to complete the game’s 56 missions.
These lead you through the four-game boards with a total of eight worlds – from the village of mice to the field of rabbits to the cave of the northern spirit, to the swamp of the fairy Mab and much further! If you can’t imagine exactly what to expect, take a look at the video from our partner Buzzy Games:
But with Ghost Adventure not only the gameplay is something very special, the theme of the game is also truly extraordinary. We hope you are sitting comfortably and comfortably with a cup of tea, coffee, punch or whatever your drink is, because we would like to tell you the adventurous story of a courageous ghost mouse:
“Once upon a time there was an enchanted forest where a people of forest animals lived. The stone statues of the ancestors watched over their little forest kingdom and the animals of the forest lived happy and contented in peace and harmony for many solstices.
But one-day countless ships approached the coast of their empire: the wolf warriors of the north had come and they were armed to the teeth! They destroyed the statues of the ancestors and captured the guardian spirits who lived in them. The forest dwellers were desperate! When the terrible spirit of the north appeared with its monstrous assistants, their fate seemed sealed.
But a guardian spirit was able to escape: a little ghost mouse. Robbed of its magical powers and armed only with its magical top, the ghost mouse was forced to flee to the shelter of the forest. At the end of her tether and discouraged, she finally arrived at the owl fairy’s house.
But the wise owl saw what the ghost mouse really was – the last hope for the animals of the forest! And so the owl fairy took care of the mouse until it began to turn again and, full of courage, set out with the owl to save the people of the forest! ”
How was that? No, no, the ghost mouse story has only just begun! But now you come into play because we are excited to see how your story continues. Tell us your version of the story! You can either orient yourself to the comic book adventure booklet, which is enclosed with the Ghost Adventure and which reproduces the story of the ghost mouse in pictures, or you can tell us your own version of the story completely freely.
There are no limits to your creativity – whether in a few sentences or in a longer version, we want to know how your story with the ghost mouse continues! And the three storytellers, whose stories excite us the most, can also look forward to a copy of our bewitched pupil’s game Abra Kazam! looking forward.
The Hansa Teutonica Big Box will appear in November. This is a new edition of the game that was originally published by Argentum Verlag in 2009. It also contains all the enhancements published so far. Editor Klaus Ottmaier, who has a very special bond with this game (more below), sums up why this modern classic should not be missing on any game shelf: “The direct and positive player interaction thanks to the unique displacement mechanism stands out in particular. It cannot be compared to any game and therefore cannot be replaced by any other. “
With the Hansa Teutonica Big Box, another game with a historical theme joins Celtic this year in the Pegasus program. But what exactly is it about now? Hansa Teutonica is Latin and means “German Hanseatic League”. In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, the Hanseatic League was a union of trading cities.
At its wedding, it comprised more than 200 cities in northern Europe. Numerous names such as Hansaplatz and Hansastraße are still reminiscent of the famous association of cities. And places like Hamburg and Bremen still bear their membership not only in their name but also as an additional “H” in their license plates. So if you have always wondered why, for example, Lübeck’s license plate is “HL”: It stands for the Hanseatic City of Lübeck.
The word Hanse, which is no longer in use today, comes from the Old High German Hansa, which means something like “followers” or “crowd”. In the course of the Middle Ages, small associations of merchants slowly emerged into the powerful league of cities that became famous as Hansa Teutonica. Combined in this way, the traders were able to represent and enforce their interests at the destinations together and thus ensure that their trade routes remained safe.
Mainly by the seaside cities like Hamburg and Lübeck, but also inland cities like Cologne or Dortmund were part of the association, whose area of influence extended from the Baltic Sea area to London and Novgorod in Russia. Many cities gained great wealth and influence through their membership in the Hanseatic League.
Hansa Teutonica is not quite as powerful as the historic Hanseatic League, but the Kennerspiel has not left its players indifferent – not when it was released in 2009 and still not today. By 2011 it had won the Dutch game award and the Golden Geek Awards for the “Best Strategy Board Game” and for the “Board Game of the Year”. It was also recommended for the Austrian game award and game of the year. At the moment the game is listed in sixth place among the best games at H @ ll900 – almost a central register for games in this country. And his position at BoardGameGeek is also impressive: 135th place among more than 100,000 other games worldwide.
But what does this popular game about a powerful dealer community have to do with Pegasus Spiele? The link is our head of the game editorial team, Klaus Ottmaier. (You already got to know Klaus in our detailed interview with him. If you don’t know that yet, take a look at our blog post Behind the Scenes – Interview with Klaus Ottmaier, Head of the Game Department.) Hansa Teutonica is the first game ever, that he has overseen as an editor. It is therefore very important to him.
In 2009 Klaus worked on a temporary basis in the Cologne game store “Spielbrett”. A short time before, the store had taken over the distribution of the Cologne-based small publisher Argentum Verlag. So Klaus became part of a game of games with the publisher’s co-founder Roman Mathar. When, after one evening, nobody could be found to test the existing prototypes further, Klaus stepped into the breach without further ado.
The task: to have a game ready for publication by SPIEL‘09 in Essen – not even ten months later. But none of the prototypes was able to inspire after extensive test rounds and so Klaus was empty-handed in March and only seven months left until the trade fair. Fittingly, he was given a list of the winners of the authors’ competition from the Hippodice Spieleclub e.V. Of course, other publishers had long since secured most of the games on the list.
The winner Noblemen was already gone and so Klaus could not secure this title, although he tried for over a year. (Incidentally, the publisher who had already secured the game was – exactly, Pegasus Spiele! The game was published by us in 2012 when Klaus had already switched to Pegasus as editor).
But Klaus was still interested in one of the other games on the list of winners, one of the best six and still available! And after a few tests, it was clear to him: This will be the title for SPIEL 2009 for Argentum Verlag. Over 70 test games followed.
The adjustment screws were kept on and the fine-tuning improved until, in close cooperation with the author Andreas Steding and the illustrator Dennis Lohausen, the “Competition of Dealers” finally became Hansa Teutonica. As already mentioned at the beginning, it was very well received by the gaming community. Klaus says: “For me personally, this development was very special and clearly laid the foundation for me to be able to turn my hobby into a job.”
The east extension and the Britannia extension were also very popular with fans. When the rights to the game were returned to the author in 2019, it quickly became clear that Pegasus Spiele would try to get a new edition. And that Klaus takes over the editing again.
But what makes this connoisseur game so special? First the basics: three to five of you slip into the role of medieval merchants for 45 to 90 minutes. By cleverly placing your subordinates on the game board, you try to set up trade routes and networks between the northern German Hanseatic cities. For successfully established connections, depending on the route, you can set up additional trading offices, expand your skills or collect special points.
If you connect Hamburg with Lübeck, for example, you can improve your income property. To do this, you take one of the merchants from your player board, thus increasing your available merchants at the same time and unlocking the new level of the income ability. You are trying to fill lucrative trading routes with your traders as quickly as possible. Because you can only redeem it if you have completely occupied a route with your dealers. So it’s bad if your teammates simply nestle in “your” route.
And this is where the special displacement mechanism comes into play, which Klaus has not seen in any other game since 2009: You can displace the other players’ dice from a place on a trade route at any time. However, you do not only have to give up additional dealers for this, but your fellow players can immediately use their displaced dealer and another one on the card again. You think twice about whether you want to give your competitors this boost.
In the game you are never limited to just one strategy. “Many different paths can lead to victory and you will always discover new things after many games,” emphasizes Klaus. You are always faced with the next exciting decision. Do you oust your teammates and give them a boost? Do you focus on trade routes that will earn you more points or those that will improve your skills? Or do you want to set up better commercial branches for a large network?
The Hansa Teutonica Big Box also contains all of the previously published expansions to make your games even more varied so that even the most enthusiastic, frequent gamers don’t get bored. If you are familiar with the basic rules, you can bring the emperor’s favor into play – immensely expensive but permanent privileges or additional points at the end of the game, which you can buy from the emperor himself in order to gain further advantages. The box also comes with two other game boards, which also add more rules to the game. The Eastern Hanseatic League shows a map from Dresden to Danzig, which also includes sea routes.
Munchkin – a little word that conceals endless worlds, countless treasures and more or less cheerful surprises behind every door. But stop, let’s start from the beginning: a long, long time ago (2001 to be precise!) It all started with a small inconspicuous card game by Steve Jackson Games. In Germany, Munchkin saw the light of day for the first time in 2003 with the help of Pegasus Spiele.
And one thing was already clear then, this game is about the dark side of (human) existence. As Munchkins you make countless dungeons unsafe, you don’t stop at more or less dangerous monsters, you plunder their treasures and sometimes you even stab your buddies in the back. Whether world or space, whether the closest dungeon or distant worlds, nothing and nobody is safe from you – be there!
But how do you become a star Munchkin? It’s best to rummage through the entire dungeon and grab everything you can get your hands on – regardless of losses! (Of course, that’s just kidding. Munchkin is a pitch-black, satirical card game that targets everything and everyone – yes, everyone, including you – but you know you’re the best! No matter who you are, what you do thinks how you look or what you like to do with whom, we hope that with Munchkin as well as with our other games, nothing but fun and joy in playing together will bring to your gaming table.)
The basic game begins with each of your playing cards receives (surprise!). With a little luck, you might even get a class or a race and cool items. And then you can start exploring the dungeon: The bravest Munchkin among you starts and reveals a card. If it is a monster, you have to fight it, if it is another card, you are (maybe) lucky and may take it into your hand. Unless it’s a curse, then it hits you. No matter how much you plead and beg, he’ll meet you. The curse knows no mercy!
If there is a monster behind the heavy, creaky wooden door of the dungeon, then things get hairy, because if you can’t defeat it, you face “bad things” depending on the mood of the monster. But hey, at least you have a chance in this case!
But even if things are supposedly going well, there is still one tiny catch: your teammates. Because they can make common cause with the monster at any time. Needless to say, in most cases, this will turn out badly for you. But suppose you manage to defeat the monster and your annoying teammates, then fame and honor are waiting for you.
All right, and lots of treasures and you can move up a step. If you reach the tenth level first, you have won the game. But that is secondary to the grueling fun that awaits you while you fight your way through the dungeon.
So much for the basic game principle with which you (just like generations before you have already done) can have many hours of fun and excitement with the base game. But let’s be honest, at some point your main dungeon just gets too narrow and the once so creepy “insurance agent” wrestles a weary smile from you, similar to when the real version rings your doorbell.
And because Munchkin all-father Steve Jackson felt the same way, he strived for more! And so the Munchkin world has grown steadily over the years and decades. In the meantime over 80 Munchkin titles have appeared and we still don’t have enough! Ultimately, the further you penetrate into the universe of Munchkin, the more riot you can make there.
And just think of all the treasures you can get! Each of the Munchkin pieces brings new elements and previously unknown classes and races into the game. Here you can be who you always wanted to be. Or well, at least insofar as you draw the right cards …
First of all, there are the nine expansions for the base game. So you can continue to beat up “plutonium dragons”, “potted plants” and the good old classics and at the same time discover totally crazy combinations in crazy dungeons. Like Munchkin Jurassic Snark. There you fight nasty prehistoric monsters. Or may it be lizard people & centaurs or raging steeds? Bet you had no idea what was in the depths of the dungeons under your gaming tables?
Or do you prefer it hot? No not that, the other is hot! Then off to the kitchen with Munchkin Lively cooks, where nasty monsters like “Schales Bier” or “Trutofu” await you. And as if that weren’t enough, nasty curses like “fat-free” or “unsweetened” hit you. But there are also delicious rewards waiting, the food markers, with the help of which you can reach the gourmet Olympus, pardon me, the tenth level. As soon as you have a set together, there is a bonus for your balanced diet with an industrious star alias an industriousness level.
But even those of you who, inspired by one or the other zombie film, have an appetite for brains, no problem – Steve Jackson heard you and launched the Munchkin Zombie series. So strap on your “glowing claws”, lift your “arm” (no, not your own …), and off you go. There are again terribly nasty monsters waiting for you as a walker, but also bright spots like the “bone-dry humor” and seven horrible undead forces that could not harm you in real life!