RESTORATION GAMES Announces 2021 Lineup
— BJ Rozas
(ed. note: links and photos will be added as they become available)
Justin Jacobson, president of Restoration Games, and Rob Daviau, Chief Restoration Officer, held a press conference with board game content creators and media from their respective offices in Florida and Massachusetts to announce the 2021 lineup of releases, partnerships and Kickstarter projects.
In a move that had been discussed on social media for a few weeks as a result of Target selling Fireball Island copies in prominent areas of their toy departments, the pair announced a new partnership with Goliath Games, including the release of new version of Fireball Island called “Race to Adventure”. Rob Daviau, designer, said the island is a little smaller and the game is a little more streamlined, designed to fit better on the Target shelves and be accessible to a “broader audience” as Justin D. Jacobson put it. The focus is off of the souvenirs, and more on racing around the island collecting treasure, and this new mass market edition has an easier end game trigger. Daviau promised that the major change will be that the game will play “a little bit faster” for families.
The second game in that partnership will be the iconic and much talked about Crossbows & Catapults, coming to Kickstarter in 2022. Crossbows & Catapults is a classic game from the 80s, and there will be two versions: one again for the mass market family gamer and another one geared more toward the hobby market. While it is “very early in design”, according to Jacobson, Daviau discussed the history of the game and its development at Hasbro and what Restoration will do to bring it back to life. While the base game will be “pretty straight forward” for kids, once hobby gamers add in the expansions, the team promises a deeper experience that will “reward good play”, according to Jacobson.
Jacobson updated the status of the very successful Kickstarter project, Return to Dark Tower, with some stats on the development:
- Three years in the making;
- $4.5 million in development costs;
- Two dozen people on the development team; and
- Mass production process has been started;
Daviau said that the project is in the “lights and sounds portion” of the game design, which is “not part of most board games” but is essential to such a visually appealing project. Gameplay is in the middle of playtesting, and testing shows that players will finally the difficulty level challenging. “It’s a game and a world, frankly, that I am really excited about”, said Jacobson. Restoration Games also announced that 9th Level Games will publish an RPG based on the game.
Next up, Jacobson and Daviau provided an overview of what is coming for the very popular racing game, Downforce. A brand new Target exclusive edition is expected to hit shelves in August of 2021. This new mass market edition will have essentially the same game play, art and tracks, but will be slightly scaled down with a smaller box to be attractive to big box shoppers. In addition, the new edition will provide six new powers for the drivers to choose, with an MSRP of $34.95. There are no current plans to provide the new powers for sale outside the Target edition. The Target version is expected to be compatible with all current expansions.
Restoration Games gave an update on the progress of Key to the Kingdom, with “charming artwork” from Andrew Bosley of Everdell fame. The refresh is from Matthew O’Malley and Ben Rosset (Between Two Cities, Home Brewers), and is a lighter, family weight game combining dice movement and card effects, with whimsical text for the story of the heroes. The players will go on a tongue-in-cheek heroic adventure, and the weight will be, as Jacobson put it, in the “milk and cookies” category. The game will play in about an hour and be perfect for families with lots of interaction for the players. Ages: 7+, 2-5 players. No date was announced other than “coming soon.”
A crowd pleaser was the announcement of more Unmatched decks. In Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume Two, Restoration Games returns to the four hero boxed set, this time including heroes like Yennenga, Achilles (and his moody sidekick, Patroclus), the “mischievous monkey king” (according to cultural consultant, Calvin Wong Tze Loon) Sun Wukong, and finally, Bloody Mary, which Daviau promised has some of the most “terrifying” art ever in an Unmatched release, which is apropos for this nightmare of children’s stories, and is from newcomer to-the-series artist Zoe van Dijk. The set is designed by a host of familiar designers, including Chris Leder and Kevin Rodgers (fresh from the amazing Cobble & Fog expansion). Expect Volume Two to hit retail in Q4.
Restoration Games also announced a refresh of a Sid Sackson game, this one called Berried Treasure (pun included for free). Staring Suzanne Sheldon’s favorite dessert (“Pies!”), Daviau described a relatively simple twenty-five minute card game, with a tableau of cards and stacks of sweet treats to choose.
Players will try to have a majority of colors at the end of each scoring round, with what looks like cute raccoon bandits competing for the delicious morsels. The Sid Sackson “secret sauce” to the game (according to Jacobson) is that players with ties in the set collection will receive zero points, so there will be lots of interaction and jockeying between the players. Heather Vaughan, who was part of the amazing art in the Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer set, is back for this release.
Restoration Games also announced a partnership with Acram Digital for a digital version of Unmatched, to come out in December of 2021, and will be available for multiple platforms (including the Nintendo Switch) and support cross-platform play or competition against an AI.
Finally, the team saved the biggest announcement for the end, namely, the long-anticipated, long-awaited announcement that Restoration Games will “refresh” 1986’s classic Thunder Road, in a new version called Thunder Road: Vendetta.
The design was spearheaded by Dave Chalker and Brett Myers. The gameplay has been updated with a more advanced feel and a “grindhouse” vibe, according to Daviau, and will provide lots of kinetic mayhem with car crashes, fire, motorcyles and cliff hangers, but in a dice based straight forward system that allows for a cinematic game experience. Not much about the actual pieces or art were shown by the team other than a lively but short video, but Montreal based artist Marie Bergeron will head up the artwork. Look for the Kickstarter in October of this year.
Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!
— BJ @boardgamegumbo
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