BoardGameGeek News

To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com

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Gen Con 2015 IV: Monarch, The Undercity, Vault Wars, Bad Beets, Nevermore and Wits & Wagers Deluxe

W. Eric Martin
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• While Codenames took the top spot on Geekbuzz during Gen Con 2015 — and did not surprise anyone by doing so — Monarch from Mary Flanagan, Zara Downs, and Max Seidman took the #2 spot and had many people wondering what the game was about, especially since it was available only for previewing and preordering (as Kickstarter backers had not yet received their copies). Flanagan dropped by the BGG booth to present an overview of the game.





• The award for table hog at Gen Con 2015 might go to The Undercity from Privateer Press as the game board and components dwarfed the tables that it occupied during the show.





• Designer Justin Gary is known for playing Magic: The Gathering and designing Ascension, but he's become smitten by microgames and decided to design one of his own in Bad Beets, which he describes in shorthand as a combination of Love Letter and Coup.





• Designer Ben Harkins from Floodgate Games offers a mash-up of his own, with Dungeons & Dragons and the television series Storage Wars coming together to create Vault Wars with co-designer Jonathan Gilmour.





Nevermore from Curt Covert and Smirk & Dagger Games has great inspiration: Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, with Covert suggesting through this design an origin story for how this jerky raven came to be.





• For the tenth anniversary of North Star Games' Wits & Wagers, the company has released a more fancy-schmancy Wits & Wagers Deluxe that upgrades the components with poker chips and other changes. NSG's Nick Bentley notes in the video that more than one million copies of the game have been sold at this point.

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Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:15 am
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Gen Con 2015 III/Spiel 2015 Preview: Codenames, The Prodigals Club, Tash-Kalar: Nethervoid, Galaxy Trucker: Missions, & Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

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Vlaada Chvátil is a game design wizard, and his Codenames from Czech Games Edition was the hit of Gen Con 2015, with the game selling at a good clip and being played all over the convention center late into the evenings, with people playing not just once but over and over again. I played the game three more times yesterday and am still amazed by how clever and engaging the design is. New people showed up while we played, and we had them join the game in progress and kept going, with those people wanting to play again immediately.

In any case, if you haven't heard of the game yet, here's an overview recorded at Gen Con 2015:





• What else is coming from Vlaada and CGE in 2015? Galaxy Trucker: Missions, due out at Spiel 2015 in October, takes elements from the Galaxy Trucker app and allows you to add them to the GT base game. Paul Grogan explains...





• At Spiel 2014, CGE released the Everfrost expansion for Vlaada's Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends, and a new demon faction will join the game at Spiel 2015 in Nethervoid.





• In Vladimír Suchý's Last Will from 2011, players race to dump their financial holdings as quickly as possible. In The Prodigals Club, due out from CGE at Spiel 2015, Suchý revisits this world of the crazed English well-to-do, with players now needing to destroy their reputation and political standing in addition to their finances — and if you want to, you can combine the two games to have even more to do.





• The biggest title coming from CGE at Spiel 2015 is Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization, a reworking of Vlaada Chvátil's Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization from 2006. CGE's Petr Murmak gave a rundown of what they've focused on with this new version and how it ties into their digital release of the game, which it expects to publish before the end of 2015.

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Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:17 pm
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Spiel 2015 Preview: Bauza and Cathala Explain 7 Wonders: Duel

W. Eric Martin
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The Gen Con and Spiel conventions have been blending together in recent years, with some publishers debuting games at Gen Con only to debut them again two months later at Spiel — and why not since the conventions cater to almost entirely different audiences? But some publishers are sticking with the more familiar practice of demoing a game at Gen Con in preparation of a launch at Spiel, with Repos Production doing so for 7 Wonders: Duel, an Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala design due out in October 2015.

Why wait? Because the developers at Repos want to take every second that they can to test and retest the design, to look at every icon on every card and ensure that it all works together. I recall talking with Thomas Provoost about 7 Wonders: Cities when that expansion was in development, and he would explain why the effect on this card was changed in response to such-and-such an effect on a card from the Leaders expansion and this card's cost was changed due to the B side of one of the wonders and so on. Bauza relayed similar stories at Gen Con, with the Repos team continually testing (as shown in the tweet below), Provoost calling him up to explain why something needed tweaking, etc.


So while the details of the game itself were still being finalized at Gen Con 2015 — meaning, the game hadn't yet been sent to the printer — the nature of the gameplay is clear, and Cathala and Bauza spent a few minutes presenting an overview of the game, which I described after a test game at Origins 2015 as "75% 7W w/ the 25% new stuff being ideal for the 2p game". Yes, 7 Wonders for two will become a reality in just a couple of months...

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Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:31 am
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Gen Con 2015 II: Legends of Andor, Steam Time, Tumult Royal, Thieves!, New Bedford & Deck Building: The Deck Building Game

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• Time for another half-dozen game demonstration videos from Gen Con 2015, including a few that serve as teasers for Spiel 2015. To start, Ted McGuire from Thames & Kosmos — the North American branch of KOSMOS — talked about the Legends of Andor expansions New Heroes and The Star Shield that will debut in English in November 2015.

McGuire also mentions that Die Legenden von Andor: Die Reise in den Norden will be released in English in 2016 as Legends of Andor: Journey to the North, in addition to much more material being in the works for Andor.





• In the preview slot, we have Rüdiger Dorn's Steam Time, which is being released by KOSMOS at Spiel in Germany and before the end of 2015 in the U.S. I don't know about you guys, but I'm excited to have such games demoed at Gen Con 2015 simply because we never have enough time at Spiel to demo everything that we want!





• The final title from KOSMOS, and another Spiel 2015 release, is Tumult Royale from Klaus and Benjamin Teuber. A non-Catan game!





• Calliope Games was another publisher that previewed a forthcoming release at Gen Con 2015, with the game in question being an English-language version of Thieves! from Dutch designer Richard de Rijk.





• Christopher Badell is best know for Sentinels of the Multiverse, but he has other talents as well, such as deck-building — or should that be deck-building? I'm not sure, but those two worlds collide in his Deck Building: The Deck Building Game from Greater Than Games.





• What's this? Another previewed game at Gen Con 2015?! I thought we were covering only newly released games at that show, but apparently we bent our own rules, with Nat Levan's New Bedford from GTG also getting camera time. Slap our hand and make us skip desssert...

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Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:24 pm
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The Spiel 2015 Preview Is Now Available

W. Eric Martin
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The Spiel 2015 Preview is now live on BoardGameGeek!

For those who haven't immediately clicked away to look it over, I'll note that the Spiel 2015 Preview is launching with 414 game listings on it — five more than the Gen Con 2015 Preview ended with just a few weeks ago. Sheesh! The Spiel 2014 Preview topped out at 590 listings, and I'm thinking that this year's preview has an outside shot at 700 listings given the way things have been going. (For comparison, the Gen Con 2014 Preview had only 298 listings on it, which means that it grew by more than one-third in 2015.)

Spiel 2015 opens in 59 days (or 58 depending on where you live, or fewer depending on when you're reading this), and over the next eight-plus weeks I plan (fingers crossed!) to publish at least one Spiel 2015 game preview each day in some form or another: an interview with the designer or publisher, a designer diary, a game overview based on my personal playing experience (as some publishers have sent me advance review copies of their games), a preview based on an early look at the rules, an interpretive dance, etc. First up on August 11 is an explanation of 7 Wonders: Duel from designers Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala, which we recorded at Gen Con 2015. After that, who knows?

If you're a designer or publisher who will have a title at Spiel 2015 and that game isn't on the Spiel 2015 Preview, email me at the address in the BGG News header at the top of the page with this info:

• Your booth number at Spiel 2015 (e.g., 2-M112)
• Games that you will debut at that show
• Other games released in the months prior to Spiel 2015 that will be available there
• Games that you will preview at Spiel 2015 ahead of a future release date (along with the anticipated release dates of those games)
• Prices (and discounted convention prices if any) in Euro for the games you will sell

I'll then update the Spiel 2015 Preview with this info.

As noted in the preview header, please refrain from posting "Which booth?", "What's the price?" type of comments since they trigger subscription notices and likely aren't ever seen by the publisher in question. Besides, I aim to add those details anyway over the next two months, so we have time to spare before getting to the "total panic" stage in our Spiel preparations. For now, though, it's time to ride the crest of this oncoming wave of game releases and take a few moments to relax...
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Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:36 pm
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Gen Con 2015 I: Tides of Time, IS: Atlanteans, Munchkin Gloom, Three Cheers for Master, Jolly Roger & Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot

W. Eric Martin
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• Gen Con 2015 finished just a few days ago, but Aldie has already finished chopping up and processing some of our four-day livestream broadcast into individual game demonstration videos. The best thing about these videos is that you're often able to see the designer of the game present their own creation; the worst thing is that you're sometimes in the video and don't want to hear yourself talk. (This last sentence probably won't apply to more than a few of you reading this post.)

Let's start with Portal Games' largest title at the show: Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot, with designer Ignacy Trzewiczek presenting the game himself.





• Trzewiczek also showed off Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans, an expansion for one of the runaway hits of Gen Con 2014, Imperial Settlers. More IS factions are coming, as he notes at the end of this clip.





• The third Portal Games release at the show was Kristian Čurla's Tides of Time, the design of which still amazes me with its tightness.





• Jeff Tidball from Atlas Games presented an overview of Three Cheers for Master from designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt.





Gloom is ten years old, and designer Keith Baker keeps figuring out new ways that players can live out the miseries of their characters, with Munchkin Gloom taking the familiar adventurers from that Steve Jackson Games title and making them suffer for your amusement.





• Italian publisher Ares Games had new releases for Sails of Glory at Gen Con 2015, but a 5-10 minute demonstration video isn't necessarily the best format for such a game. Instead Ares' Roberto Di Meglio and Jim Long presented Fréderic Moyersoen's card game Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy & Mutiny.

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Thu Aug 6, 2015 5:43 am
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Gen Con 2015: Legendary Firefly, Ever-Growing X-Wing & The Return of Runebound

W. Eric Martin
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Gen Con 2015 is over, and Aldie has already started processing the 100+ game demonstration videos that we recorded in the BGG booth and elsewhere during the show. I'll start posting those in batches soon, but in the meantime let's do a quick rundown of some of the news and announcements that came to light during the show.

The biggest news of Gen Con 2015 was undoubtedly the purchase of Plaid Hat Games by F2Z Entertainment, owner of the brands Z-Man Games, Pretzel Games and Filosofia Éditions, but I already covered that, so let's move on to game news.

•••


Each year during Gen Con, Upper Deck Entertainment throws a party for all of its volunteers and whatever media people catch wind of it, and Jason Brenner typically announces something to look forward to at next Gen Con. Given that Upper Deck was releasing Legendary Encounters: Predator and its booth looked like this —


— it wasn't a surprise to find the movie Predator running on the bar's multiple TV screens. But after a while the movie stopped, and this image popped onto the screen instead:


People didn't notice at first, then they started pointing and whispering and "Really?"-ing, and finally Brenner took the microphone and announced that Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China was coming in 2016 and confessed to liking the film just a little bit and possibly having mild interest in seeing this release come to light.


That's the sum of information released

Brenner also announced a new title by Ryan Miller titled Pack of Lies, then he ended by mentioning that with Firefly: Shiny Dice already under the Upper Deck brand, it would be a shame to stop there, thus 2016 will also bring Legendary Encounters: Firefly.


There's a reason people shouldn't take pictures in bars


•••


KOSMOS showed up at Gen Con 2015 for the first time thanks to its North American Thames & Kosmos, and it showed off the forthcoming Spiel 2015 titles Tumult Royale and Steam Time — with demos of both recorded in the BGG booth — in addition to talking about Legends of Andor and its English-language expansions.


Prototype components, in case it wasn't clear

The big question that people have had about the Andor expansions New Heroes and The Star Shield is whether they'll be compatible with the Fantasy Flight version of the base game. Thames & Kosmos president Ted McGuire told me that since the FFG version of Andor was produced in Germany at the same location as the forthcoming base game and expansions (as well as all German editions of the game), everything should be 100% compatible. McGuire also noted that the Andor base game has been completely retranslated from scratch.



•••


As usual, Fantasy Flight Games CEO Christian T. Petersen held his annual InFlight report on Friday during Gen Con to discuss the company's efforts in the past year and reveal a few surprises coming in the next twelve months. This year he did a bit more than that since 2015 is FFG's twentieth anniversary, with a year-by-year history of the company that featured a representative release from the year in question, along with an unnumbered sales revenue graph. Did you know that FFG started as a publisher of European comics that had been translated into English? And now they're going to add beach balls to their product line?



Alpha and not omega of FFG's history

The biggest news from FFG was the announcement of a new edition of Runebound, something that fogged many glasses in the room. FFG's international marketing manager Anton Torres presented an overview of this game in the BGG booth, anticipating the objections that players might have to this new version and trying to make a case for it. I'll publish this demo video as soon as it's available. For now, an image from the FFG display booths:


The announcement of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game mirrors the history of FFG itself since the original Warhammer Quest debuted in 1995. We also recorded a demo of this game.


Star Wars: Imperial Assault continues to the next movie in the original Star Wars trilogy with the Return to Hoth expansion due out in late 2015. Other smaller expansions will round out Imperial Assault with all the characters that you might ever want to use.




Most of the other announcements related to existing product lines in the FFG catalog, so I'll let those pics stand on their own:









Okay, Fury of Dracula is a standalone game

In yet another sign that nearly everything will return to market if you wait long enough, FFG announced a new edition of the Eon Games title Hoax, which was first released in 1981.



•••


As always, the four days of Gen Con flew by more quickly than you'd expect, leaving you not enough time to do all that you might want to do. In the end, whatever your hopes and expectations, you pack up what you need and head home...


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Wed Aug 5, 2015 5:49 pm
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Spiel 2015 Preview: An Apology

W. Eric Martin
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I have promised multiple times to publish BGG's Spiel 2015 Preview on August 3, 2015, but I must delay publication until next Monday, August 10, 2015. I apologize for this and feel terrible for not following through as planned. As for why I'm delaying publication, (1) I was sick for about ten days in late July and it was hard to work during that time and (2) despite me having attended multiple Gen Cons and knowing better, I thought that I'd be able to finish work on the Spiel 2015 Preview in the "off hours" at Gen Con 2015. What a fool I am.

This coming week I'll knock out the messages from the forty or so publishers still sitting in my inbox, set up new game pages, upload images, etc., in addition to doing a few other things on the to-do list, and we'll go live with the Spiel 2015 Preview in seven days' time. Sorry!

Edited to add: In case you are a publisher or designer who will have games at Spiel 2015 and you have not previously sent me information about what you'll have at the show, I invite you to add to my workload. Please send me the following information by email to the address in the BGG News header just above:

• Your booth number at Spiel 2015 (e.g., 2-M112)
• Games that you will debut at that show
• Other games released in the months prior to Spiel 2015 that will be available there
• Games that you will preview at Spiel 2015 ahead of a future release date (along with the anticipated release dates of those games)
• Prices (and discounted convention prices if any) for the games you will sell

If your games aren't already listed on BGG, please check out these details on how to submit them, designers and publishers to the BGG database. If the games aren't listed in the BGG database, I can't link to them in the Spiel 2015 Preview — and if you're not listed in the Preview, then we can't schedule time with you in the BGG booth to broadcast and record demonstrations of your games! (Note: Not all publishers are promised spots in the BGG booth due to the overwhelming number of games due to be released, but showing up on the Spiel 2015 Preview is the first step.)

With Spiel 2015 opening on Oct. 8, I'd like to finish updating the list by September 30, so submissions after that date aren't guaranteed a spot on the list. Sooner is better!
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Mon Aug 3, 2015 8:03 am
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Around the World in 10 Projects

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It wasn't that long ago that Kickstarter was restricted to U.S.-based project creators, but as it slowly opens up to more of the rest of the world (18 countries and counting), board game publishers and entrepreneurs from all over are wasting no time using the platform to get their crowdfunding projects in front of board gamers' eyes and wallets. This week's selection of projects is a veritable world tour, so grab your things, Passepartout, we've a schedule to keep!

• Let's start in the midwestern United States, shall we? Nat Levan's New Bedford was originally put up on KS back in a damp, drizzly November 2014 by U.S. publisher Dice Hate Me Games, but the campaign was cancelled after a disappointing start. After a few months in drydock, the game is back on KS for its second voyage and appears to have really got the wind in its sails this time. The theme seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair; I'm in the former group, given that Moby Dick was my favorite classic novel when I was a kid. (KS link)

• While we're in the US, let's head north and check out Fleet: Wharfside from Eagle-Gryphon Games, a spinoff of the award-winning card game Fleet from Michigan-based designers Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback. Wharfside is #8 in the publisher's new E•G•G series. Mechanically speaking, it's set collection; thematically, it's about the bustling dockside activity that occurs when your fishing fleets return from plying the waters of Ridback Bay. Riddle and Pinchback continue to be one of the most prolific design duos in the industry. (KS link)

• The final project on the U.S. leg of our tour is Ninja Camp, from Action Phase Games and designer Adam E. Daulton. The art style follows the trend of anthropomorphized animals as ninja-in-training, Kung Fu Panda style. It's a familiar narrative, too, as the wizened martial arts master is trying to knock some sensei into his young apprentices. Players are competing to be the last ninja standing on an ever-shrinking modular board. I really have only one question: Would a time-lapsed gameplay video qualify as a training montage? (KS link)

• Northward and across the Atlantic Ocean lies Denmark, reportedly the happiest country in the world. Danish designer and self-publisher Jacob Lindborg is bringing you Hipster, his card game of anti-trendiness. Hipsters are the butt of jokes the world over, it seems. (I'd include a hipster joke here, but you've probably already heard it, on vinyl.) Will you play as John-John the foodie or Pepper-Maria the blogger? Throw your kroner at this project if you're into irony. (KS link)

• A plane flight due east will land us in Winnipeg, Canada, for a visit to Sean Scott Garrity and Baksha Games, his publishing outfit. Garrity's fifth design, Time Jockeys, is his latest KS venture. The project video takes the mockumentary approach, with Garrity looking believable as a weathered time traveler laying bare the secrets of his invention. A year ago, there was no time travel "genre" in board games, but it's been exploding of late. If you decide that getting all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey is your cup of tea, I wish you an Excellent Adventure. (KS link)

• Finland is hardly known as a hotbed of spy action, yet from there it is that Finnish publisher LudiCreations has launched its new global offensive — err, KS campaign — for Garden Party, the second expansion for [redacted]. The expansion adds a seventh player along with other new game elements. The base game, which has been hard to obtain in Europe, is also being made available through the campaign, as are the obligatory Nutella recipes. (KS link)

• A 2,000-km drive southeast and we're in the Czech Republic, home to publisher Czech Board Games. If you know what the term "shuffle-building" conveys, then you likely have a good idea of the premise behind Jan Vaněček's two-player card game Shuffle Heroes. Similarities to Smash Up aside, there's a deck deconstruction element that allows you to remove cards from your opponent's deck. Lovecraft would be proud. (KS link)

• The penultimate stop on our jaunt through Europe is Madrid, Spain. Lisandro Nembrini and Gonzalo Rodrigo, a pair of soccer enthusiasts living in the home city of one of the sport's best teams, have designed Soccer City, which promises to be a detailed soccer sim. The game's been available in Spain since 2013, but the KS campaign is for a revised edition available in both English and Spanish. (KS link)

• Madrid is also the home of Alchemical Crystal Quest, the lone miniatures project in this article. The game is from publisher Mystical Games and designer Pablo Miras. Interestingly, the project reached its funding goal early in the campaign, but a string of cancellations brought the pledge total back well below the funding goal and the project was cancelled. This points to an interesting trend in consumer behavior — insta-backing to ensure an early bird slot, only to later evaluate the project on its merits and reconsider the pledge. (KS link)

• Of all the sights on the trip, none are quite so novel as what we'll encounter in Warsaw, Poland. Artur Olek decided to blend game design with functional utility by creating beach towels that double as playing surfaces for minimalist dexterity games. Thus was born Gato, the gaming towel, which comes in four styles. The only components needed for Football/Soccer, Motor Race, Curling, and Gladiators' Fight are a handful of bottle caps. "Find your beach", indeed! (KS link)


Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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Sun Aug 2, 2015 1:15 pm
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Video: BGG at Gen Con 2015 - Day 2 Wrap Up with Stephanie Straw

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Note: This was recorded using Periscope which only allows vertical recording. We've used Periscope so we can give you these quick updates while our other equipment is not available.
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