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Tidal Blades: Banner Festival expands the aquatic world with a standalone trick-taking board game

Market Day mayhem.

Human, reptilian and amphibious merchants compete during the Banner Festival, which is the setting of an upcoming board game in the Tidal Blades series.
Image credit: Mr. Cuddington/Druid City Games

Fishy, character-based board game series Tidal Blades is branching out and exploring a less-dire part of its world with the upcoming board game Tidal Blades: Banner Festival. The competitive trick-taking title will launch straight to retail and boasts short, concentrated play sessions alongside the series’ trademark art style.

Banner Festival is the design of JB Howell and Michael Mihealsick in coordination with Druid City Games and published by Lucky Duck Games. Two to five players will compete as merchants taking part in the titular Banner Festival, an annual event for Tidal Blades’ island setting, which is full of food, competition and fun.

The mercantile muscling plays out via a trick-taking mechanic wherein players will add a card from their hand that displays a suit and a number. The colour of the suit and numerical order of cards will determine who takes actions and in which order as they race seacrafts along the central track, collect banners from successful sales or activate the special abilities on their chosen cards.

For more trick-taking fun, watch Meehan and Liv play the beloved two-player card game Fox in the Forest.Watch on YouTube

This will take some strategy but also a bit of luck. The highest and lowest card in the order will be able to use special actions, while the middle players will only collect banners. Deciding when to deploy a powerful but expensive card could mean the difference between a sweeping lead or an embarrassing defeat.

As players travel around the circular dock plaza that holds the festival, the priority of the five suit colours will change and toss up the previous order as new strategies come into focus. An entire session only takes about 30 minutes to complete, which is mighty short compared to previous titles in the Tidal Blades series. While not the shortest board games out there, expect the action to blaze forward from round to round.

Speaking of Tidal Blades, the heroes who protect the islands from external threats will show up on cards illustrated by spousal artist duo Mr. Cuddington. They have lent their signature style to the aquatic fantasy world along with other board games, such as Santorini (one of our best 2-player board games), Charterstone and Brass.

The board state for Tidal Blades: Banner Festival, which is designed for sessions lasting around 30 minutes as players race to collect the most banners in a trick-taking competition.
Image credit: Mr. Cuddington/Druid City Games

The board game will also feature components similar to those found in other Druid City joints, including the squishy fruits - though Banner Festival trades oranges for what look like plump little star fruit this time around. The other 65 tokens, which include the watercraft, banners and markers, will all be composed of wood.

Tidal Blades: Banner Festival will open for pre-orders in the near future - Dicebreaker has reached out for more information and an exact date - ahead of a direct-to-retail sale. The sequel to the main board game series, which combines RPG elements with board game mechanics and trades a traditional board for a story book, recently finished a crowdfunding campaign that clocked just shy of $1,000,000.

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