Catalyst Game Labs will release a number of traditional board and card games this year, ranging from casual party games to strategic war games. A company representative also hinted at the possibility of getting back into the mix in talks to acquire WizKids Games properties such as HeroClix.


Merchants is the North American release of Handelsfursten, created by Reiner Knizia and published by Pegasus Spiele in Germany. A resource-management German-style game for two to four players, Merchants takes about half an hour to play and will be out late Q2/early Q3 with an MSRP of $20. 


Two other casual games, Paparazzi and High School Drama, are also planned for release later this year (see “Catalyst Enters Casual Game Biz”), featuring an innovative packaging method that allows players and retailers to sample each game’s rules.


Catalyst’s first boardgame offering, Balance of Power, is a diceless board game set in post-Napoleonic Europe and designed by new designers Brent and Brian Knutson. Each player manages his armies marching across Europe while also taking on the role of a king, general, or banker, each of whom exerts power over the other in a rock-paper-scissors-type dynamic. Balance of Power releases in late Q2/early Q3 with an MSRP of $40.  Catalyst Operations Manager David Stansell-Garner described it as "a game styled like Risk, except it removes the random element--there's no dice."  He said the company "discovered it at Toy Fair, and have it in production already, we liked it so much." 


At GTS, Catalyst also indicated that the company was still “very interested” in re-igniting talks to acquire WizKids Games properties, following the recent news that an earlier deal between Topps and an unnamed company fell through (see “HeroClix deal Collapses”). “I still think that HeroClix still has a very strong, very loyal following,” said David Stansel-Garner, Catalyst’s Operations Manager. “It’s got a lot of potential.”