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Odin's Ravens Flies Again, Courtesy of Osprey Games

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Let's set the WABAC machine to 2013: A new edition of the long out-of-print two-player game Odin's Ravens from Thorsten Gimmler was announced, and many huzzahs were heard. A funding campaign was launched on Kickstarter and fulfilled to the tune of $22,559 — then project founder Seth Nemec from Works, Ltd. disappeared and no one ever received a thing.

Now UK publisher Osprey Games has picked up the license, announcing a new edition of Odin's Ravens (MSRP $24/£17) with art from Swedish fantasy artist Johan Egerkrans. In a press release announcing the title, Gimmler says, "I am very proud that my game will once again be available, and excited by the opportunity to present a reworked version of the rules that I think old and new fans will enjoy. I love the artwork from Johan Egerkrans." I agree — the new look of the game is far more professional and attractive that what was shown from Works, Ltd.

As for those who previously backed the KS from Works, Ltd., Osprey Games' Games Manager Philip Smith says, "While we have no connection to the Odin's Ravens Kickstarter, the simple fact is that a lot of people who supported the game had been stung. Right from the start of our discussions, we knew that we wanted to do the right thing by those backers, and I am very pleased to be able to say that we are going to be offering a free copy of the game to anyone who backed the Kickstarter. Regrettably, we do have to charge shipping, but we're delighted the backers can finally get the game they deserve."

Osprey's Joseph McCullough adds, "We felt that by taking on the game, we took on a bit of the responsibility of its history." Osprey plans to announce how backers can receive their copy closer to the game's February 2016 release date.

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Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:30 pm
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Ticket to Ride Keeps Rolling to the United Kingdom and Pennsylvania

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At Gen Con 2015, the North American branch of Asmodee held its annual press event to highlight a number of forthcoming releases from the publishers that it distributes: Doctor Panic from Repos Production, Kemet: Ta-Seti from Matagot, T.I.M.E Stories (sigh...) from Space Cowboys, and many others. Being the in-touch news guy that I am, I had heard of nearly everything on display at the event — except for the one thing that we could not take pictures of because the artwork was not yet finished. So frustrating! Thankfully, I could still write a bit about it:




Today, Days of Wonder has officially unveiled (taking a breath) Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania, a double-sided game board from designer Alan R. Moon that works as an expansion for either Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe. Some details about the gameplay in this item:

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The United Kingdom half of this map collection introduces the concept of technology to TtR. At the start of the game, players can build only one- and two-train routes and only in England. By spending locomotives (i.e., wild cards), players gain the ability to build routes three trains long or longer, in addition to being able to build ferries across water or build train routes in Scotland, Wales and elsewhere. Players can also buy bonus cards that allow them to score extra points for taking certain actions during play.


In a press release for this collection, Adrien Martinot, General Manager at Days of Wonder, said, "You need Locomotives to buy Technologies, but you also need them to claim vital routes on the map. Finding the proper balance between your Technologies and the expansion of your railroad network is the key to victory!" With locomotives being so key for this map, the expansion includes a new set of 116 train cards for use with the UK map with a slightly different ratio of trains to locomotives compared to the base game. The UK map, designed for 2-4 players, also has 57 tickets and 47 technology cards.




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The Pennsylvania half of this map collection adds a share mechanism to the basic TtR game. Each time that a player completes a route, they claim a share of one of the companies depicted next to that route. At the end of the game, whoever holds more shares of a company than all other players receives points as a reward.

Yes, those who have wanted a touch of Union Pacific in their Ticket to Ride can finally have their wish, with the PA map — designed for 2-5 players — having 50 tickets and 60 share cards.

Oh, and before anyone complains about the spelling on Pittsburgh on the PA map, be sure to check out this history of how the city's name has changed over time. For the years in which Ticket to Ride is set, the names are spot on. As for the placement of the cities, well, I'll let you figure that out for yourself.

Ticket to Ride: UK/PA, which carries a $40/€35 MSRP, debuts at Spiel 2015 in October, with a European release shortly thereafter and a release elsewhere in the world by the end of November 2015.



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Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Convoy Rides Again, Colosseum Reborn & Revolver Reloaded

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Portal Games plans to release a second edition of Ignacy Trzewiczek's The Convoy in Q4 2015, with this new edition being titled Neuroshima: Convoy to emphasize its place in the world of Neuroshima Hex. For this new edition of the game, "confusing icons were replaced with clear text describing the card action, and gameplay was streamlined by removing the special abilities of individual city boards", according to a press release from Portal. As for what the game's about, here's a summary:

Quote:
Neuroshima: Convoy is an asymmetric two-player card game set in the post-apocalyptic world of Neuroshima. One player commands the convoy of powerful robots, and his goal is to reach New York and turn it into ashes. The player has a deck of 35 cards: robots of Moloch (such as the Gauss Cannon, Clown, or Juggernaut), modules to attach to the robots (Network module, Kasparov module), and special cards (such as Push back, or Move). He plays those cards in the cities he passes while moving toward NY, trying to turn human settlements into dust while preparing for the final battle.

The other player commands the Outpost troops, attacking the convoy and trying to slow it down. The Outpost deck also contains 35 cards: soldiers (such as Runner or HG), buildings (such as Bunker or EMP Cannon), and many special cards (Move, Retreat, Medic). The Outpost has to win a few battles, slow down the march of Moloch as much as possible, and prepare to welcome robots in New York City.

• I thought that I had posted about this item already, but apparently my immersion in Gen Con 2015 only made me think that I did. What am I talking about? U.S. publisher Tasty Minstrel Games has obtained the rights to Wolfgang Kramer and Markus Lübke's Colosseum, and it plans to release an "Emperor's Edition" of the game. In the words of TMG's Michael Mindes, "This will be something like a collector's edition at a higher price and with higher quality components. With the cost of manufacturing being so high on such a game, we will be Kickstarting the game", with that Kickstarter launching on Oct. 27, 2015.

• Rob Daviau's V-Wars from IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games is due out Dec. 18, 2015, according to ACD Distribution.

• I wrote about J. Alex Kevern's Daxu from White Goblin Games in May 2015, and the Dutch publisher has a number of other releases in the works — twenty in all for the Benelux market — with most of those being Dutch versions of games from other publishers.

As for games in which it controls the look of the finished product, here are four games on the horizon from WGG, starting with a new edition of Néstor Romeral Andrés' tile-laying game Hong, previously self-published through nestorgames. A short description: "Two players – MORE and LESS – share a common pool of identical squared pieces depicting two dragon heads and one dragon segment. A hong is a straight line of one or more segments with a dragon head on each end. The MORE player must create as many hongs as possible, while the LESS player must prevent that many hongs from being created." This edition of Hong features new artwork, a double-sided game board (Castle and Garden), and a mini-expansion (Lair of the Seven Great Dragons).

White Goblin Games also plans to release a new version of Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget's Kheops, which first appeared in 2008 in an edition from Tilsit that few people probably ever saw. This new edition incorporates several rule revisions while featuring new art from Josh Cappel. An overview of the game:

Quote:
In Kheops, players are rival architects taking part in the building of the great pyramid. In turn, player place tiles (rooms and corridors) and pawns (workers, priests, mummy, and even pharaoh) on the pyramid building site. Of course, some tiles have special features, like sarcophagi or curses. There are even rumors of rotating corridors and secret networks.

When the pyramid is built, the player controlling the longest networks is named Pharaoh's architect, while his rival is fed to the crocodiles.

Two other items coming from WGG in 2016 are expansions for Mark Chaplin's Invaders and Revolver 2: Last Stand at Malpaso, this latter title being co-designed by Leigh Caple. More specifically, Revolver Expansion 2.1: The Savage Guns is now due out in early 2016.
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Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:00 am
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Crowdfunding Round-up: A Rogues' Gallery of Repeat Creators

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It wasn't until I had penned this entire post that I realized every single project mentioned is from a repeat creator. Miles Beckett calls this breed of person a "serial entrepreneur" and writes about how success begets success. While he's not specifically talking about crowdfunding — or board games — the principle would seem to apply. Does this mean the KS scene is starting to consolidate? Are first-time creators at a bigger disadvantage than they were, say, two years ago? Enough philosophizing — on to the games!

Red Raven Games is (out)back with Dingo's Dreams, the publisher's tenth project since appearing on the crowdfunding scene nearly four years ago. For the first time, erstwhile one-man band Ryan Laukat is publishing someone else's design. That someone is veteran Alf Seegert, who describes the game as a cross between Bingo and Labyrinth. In case you couldn't tell from the signature brushstroke style and characteristic orange hues, Laukat is still handling illustration duties. Dreamy! (KS link)

• If you're more into felines than canines, check out Cat Tower, a dexterity stacking game. The game was originally self-published in Taiwan by designer Aza Chen in late 2013. Roughly two years later, the game has been picked up for US distro by IDW Games / Pandasaurus Games, and they've turned to KS to see which way the cat jumps in the North American market. It's the first game I can remember to sport its own product jingle! (KS link)

One Night Ultimate Vampire is the latest addition in the hit social deduction series from Ted Alspach and the familiars at Bezier Games. It functions as a standalone game but is also fully compatible with One Night Ultimate Werewolf. The box has 14 new roles and rules for "epic battles" — villagers vs. werewolves vs. vampires. Now Bezier just needs to get ahold of General Mills, so we can get official Count Chocula and Fruit Brute roles. Thank me later, Ted. (KS link)

• Maybe classic Universal monsters aren't your style; what about the under-the-bed variety, à la Pixar's Monsters, Inc.? That's the vibe I get from Flippin Monsters by designers Erin McDonald and Christian Strain. It's the newest offering from Kraken Games and the first to live up to the publisher's name, with the inclusion of a kraken. The gameplay flips the script by mashing together set collection, memory, and deck-building in an unconventional way. (KS link)

• In what may be among the unlikeliest of pairings, designer Richard Garfield has teamed up with KS juggernaut Queen Games to bring you Treasure Hunter, a game of drafting and blind bidding. It's the designer's first brand-new design to be published since mid-2013. Doesn't seem that original, but perhaps it's got some of that Garfield magic. Will it translate to a breakout hit? Make your predictions in the comments. (KS link)

Level 99 Games and designer D. Brad Talton, Jr. have committed a lot of resources to the BattleCON card game system, their flagship product and the game that launched the company onto KS over four years ago. Having put out several expansions and a new entry-level box set, they're taking the next logical step: digital. BattleCON Online is coming to PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. If you were worried for the future of BattleCON when the new EXCEED fighting system was announced, fear no more! (KS link)

• In Elad Goldsteen's Prime Time, you get to roleplay as the tycoon of a television network. This newest title from Golden Egg Games, despite its euro sensibilities, looks to provide fertile ground for all sorts of pop culture references. Illustrator Naomi Robinson has lent her skills to the game's art and graphic design. The KS video is uncommonly watchable and well produced — no doubt because it was put together by Paul Grogan. KS creators, hire that guy! (KS link)

• There's talk of the death of the microgame, but don't tell that to David Miller, who is publishing Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse through his subQuark imprint — and this one really is about as micro as you can get as it fits into a tin you'd normally find holding Altoids. This is David's second project for his unique Mint Tin series of games, and, if the funding level is any indication, it certainly won't be the last. (KS link)

• A couple of years ago, Tasty Minstrel Games funded a spate of microgames, even batching them together in production. Now, Minion Games looks to be attempting something similar. Sun, Moon, & Stars is a game of deduction from Eric Jome, one of Minion's minions who has contributed to the development of several of their titles over the years. The game will be batched in production with Perspective, which funded earlier in August 2015. (KS link)

• Jason Tagmire of Button Shy has carved out his own niche in the microgame scene. He's currently running a campaign for the three newest titles in his rapidly growing portfolio of "wallet games": Smoke & Mirrors (Chip Beauvais), Fever Chill (Kenneth Thompson), and North South East Quest (JR Honeycutt). All three games have 18 cards or fewer. The pitch is simple; open up your wallet and Jason will give you his. (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 23, 2015 6:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Portal Unleashes Hunters and Steel Police, Lion Games Delivers Heroes and Aliens, & Sit Down Mashes Goths with Royalty

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• Portal Games is expanding its offerings at Spiel 2015 with an expansion for Theseus: The Dark Orbit, a new faction titled Hunters from Theseus base game designer Michał Oracz and Andrzej Sosnowski, a fan of the game who had an idea that Portal liked and wanted to develop. Here's a summary of how the Hunters work:

Quote:
Theseus: The Dark Orbit – Hunters, the second faction expansion for Theseus, contains a faction that employs trickery and subterfuge to their advantage. Hiding in the shadows, the Hunters can steal bonus cards and upgrade tokens, use enemy cards through hacking, and remotely trigger their own action cards. The Hunters also have the unique ability of leaving Theseus by hiding in their capsule just outside the space station.

Theseus: The Dark Orbit – Hunters debuts at Spiel 2015 in October and is due out in the U.S. in late November 2015 with a $19 MSRP.

• Portal Games also plans to release the 3.0 version of Neuroshima Hex! Steel Police — the same army as released in 2012, but with new graphics to match the current version of Neuroshima Hex! — in October 2015.

• At Spiel 2015, Belgian publisher Sit Down! will have Ekö, an abstract strategy game from Henri Kermarrec in which 2-4 players construct towers and villages and try to take out one another's Emperor.

• Sit Down! will follow this design with the decidedly less serious Goths Save The Queen, a team-based game in which players try to match their orders with those of their teammate in order to advance, load artillery, etc. so that they can save the Queen first.

Adam Kwapiński's Heroes from Lion Games and REBEL.pl was released in mid-2015, with this title being the first fantasy-based game from Fabryka Gier Historycznych (which created the Lion Games imprint to distinguish their offerings). The generic Heroes name represents the legendary approach to the subject matter, with the players inhabiting a fantasy world and using classic elemental powers to confront classic fantasy creatures.

• The next title from Kwapiński and Lion Games, Nemesis, presents players with another classic genre situation:

Quote:
You are a part of a crew sent to explore distant planets and find valuable minerals. Your ship is heading back towards Earth, but suddenly the system wakes you all from hibernation. You soon find out that you are not alone on board Nemesis... You enter a deadly game.

In Nemesis, you take a role of a spaceship crew member (navigator, mechanic, medic, etc.), exploring the rooms on the vessel called the Nemesis (drawn and located randomly on the board) and aim to complete your secret goal. However, all the players share the main goal: Return to Earth safely, avoiding or fighting various forms of alien life appearing on the ship each round. You must work together, but if a character dies, they are not eliminated from the game; instead they join the alien side and start playing against the rest of the team. The game combines cooperation with bluffing, backstabbing and typical elements of an s-f survival horror adventure.
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Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:21 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Short Campaigns, Open Road Gaming & Cthulhu Everywhere

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Gen Con 2015 crowded out the crowdfunding round-ups in this space to some degree, but now it's time to clean out the inbox and discover which projects you might see in print in 6-12 months time, starting with Ed Marriott's Scoville: Labs from Tasty Minstrel Games, a tiny expansion for Scoville that has racked up more than $50k in backing thanks in no small part to the base game also being available, too. (KS link)

• Like Scoville: Labs, Shem Phillip's Flee The Scene from Garphill Games is a short run project, giving only fourteen days to decide whether you want to be a thief who steals and fences museum goods. (KS link)

Perspective from Andrew Voigt and Minion Games runs only twelve days on KS, and this microgame challenges players to make the backs of the double-sided cards in hand match their individual goal card, and they do this by playing the action on the front side of the cards, trying to flip and move cards in their hand or their partner's hand to get things in order. (KS link)

• We have twelve days; can we go shorter? Of course we can! John Clowdus from Small Box Games has another short-run project on KS (eight days!) with Hordes of Grimoor, a two-player conflict-driven text-on-cards kind of design, as is his forte. (KS link)

The Midnight Legion: Operation Deep Sleep (KS link) from C. Aaron Kreader and Studio 9 Games is more choose-your-own-adventure game book than board game, but I love the premise, so here it is:

Quote:
You are an android agent who had been activated after hundreds of years of stasis. Your scheduled mission is still centuries in the future, but your underground base has been invaded and you are needed to defend it.

Unfortunately, it will take time for your memories to return. As you fight, trick or sneak your way up from the lower levels to the surface and your memories begin filtering back, you realize that your mission is not what you thought it was — and you may not be who you think you are.

• Nembrini and Rodrigo's Soccer City is on KS for another go — a rematch, as it were, with the result of this funding game coming down to the wire. (KS link)

MAGE Company has shot Reiner Knizia's Res Publica into the future with Res Publica: 2230AD, which moves all of the trading action into space. Somewhat randomly, this makes me wish that the characters were all pigs so that I could then follow this game listing with this video:


Well, apparently I posted that video anyway — and quite a timely one, I think, with the imminent return of Luke Skywalker to the screen before the end of 2015. I can only hope that Captain Link Hogthrob has a cameo. (KS link)

• As a trick-taking fan, I feel compelled to mention Cabaret, from designers Patrick Dillon and Adam Whitney and publisher Know Chance Games, but since I'm posting a c.f. round-up, I probably would have mentioned it in any case, as with many of the other games in this post. The hook in Cabaret is that you are not allowed to follow suit, and you can't play, you have to throw in one of your mimes, with players scoring for mimes whenever someone runs out. Other stuff scores, too. (KS link)

• The role-playing game Hipsters from Jacob Lindborg appears to be coming up as short as the pants found on said hipsters. And in case you doubted that this was a RPG, here's the pull text from KS: "Hipster [sic] is a pretentious board game of betrayal, intrigue & popularity amongst friends. Who will pretend to be the best hipster?" Because everyone wants to be a hipster, yes? No, I guess not. (KS link)

The Cards of Cthulhu: Beyond the Veil Expansion from Ian Richard and Dan Verssen Games brings Nyarlathotep into play. Good ol' Nyarlathotep. By chance we shared a taxi ride to the airport once, and she proved to be much nicer than I thought she'd be. (KS link)

• The Great Old Ones also show up in Cultists of Cthulhu from Thomas Eliot and Sixpence Games, with most of the players trying to keep a cultist in their midst from pulling whatever scheme will pull dark oozing forces to our world. (KS link)

• Wait, a third Lovecraft-inspired game is on Kickstarter right now? Really Chaos of Cthulhu from Darth Rimmer and Imp House challenges players to assemble Elders from the dice they roll and manipulate, and since this cover is the most rockin' one out of the three, that's what I'm highlighting. (KS link)


• Oh my goodness, Cthulhu has infected everything, with Theomachie: Cthulhu Mythos being an expansion for the German edition of Theomachie from Fabryka Gier Historycznych. That concept makes sense, but if we ever see an announcement for Cthulhu Qwirkle, we'll know that the trend has peaked. (Spieleschmiede link)


Nyarlathotep appears here, too; her royalty checks must be nice


Biergarten from Andrew Sallwasser and Steamboat Gothic Studio is a card-laying game that cannot be played in an actual biergarten as the cards are not coasters and will be ruined. (KS link)

Loaded Up & Truckin' from Joseph Roush and Nothing Now Games is thankfully not about drunk driving, but a pick-up-and-deliver game with players in charge of trucking companies in the U.S. (KS link)

• Perhaps the previous game can be combined in some way with Roadkill Rivals from Matt Graff and Pygmy Giraffe Games, in which you're driving through the U.S. southwest trying to create as much roadkill as possible. (KS link)

• Adam E. Daulton's Ninja Camp from Action Phase Games plays out like a super-powered Hey, That's My Fish!, with players moving their animal ninja around the dojo card field and claiming the moves on which they land. (KS link)

• Tom Rohlf's The Voting Game is a familiar-sounding party game in which you're trying to vote on who has accused you of doing particular things. (KS link)

• James Vining from Plow Games is trying to fund the 3-6 player WWII strategy card game Last Front. No, really! I'd be curious to see a WWII theater patron card game titled "Down Front!" Maybe some day... (KS link)

• Finally, designers Tim Walsh and Peggy Brown are attempting to fund a documentary about Operation designer John Spinello following a successful campaign in 2014 to raise funds for a real-life operation for the little-known designer. (Trivia question: How much was Spinello paid for the patent to Operation? The answer is given in the funding campaign.) (Indiegogo 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 16, 2015 2:00 pm
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From Mage Knight to Star Trek: Frontiers with WizKids Games

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Space adventure is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vlaada Chvátil's Mage Knight Board Game, but WizKids Games is willing to bet that it can change your mind about that with Star Trek: Frontiers, a game from Star Trek: Attack Wing co-designer Andrew Parks that takes the core of Mage Knight and shoots it at warp speed into the Star Trek universe.

Here's an overview of the setting and game play:

Quote:
A contested region of space accessible through a known wormhole has drawn the attention of powerful forces throughout the galaxy. Both the Federation and the Klingon Empire, who share a delicate alliance at this time, have recently built outposts in the region — but now news of grave troubles brewing in the region has prompted both the Klingons and the Federation to investigate immediately.

Command your ship, recruit new crew members, earn experience points, and use your skills to confront the challenges of the Star Trek universe. Explore and face a variety of challenges on a randomly built space map using the venture tile system first introduced in the award-winning game Mage Knight.

Star Trek: Frontiers is designed for 1 to 4 players with multiple competitive, cooperative and solo scenarios. Work together to defeat hostile ships or compete to explore and uncover hidden mysteries. Players need to overcome obstacles to expand their knowledge and use their leadership as they adventure in order to be victorious in their exploration!


In a WizKids press release announcing Star Trek: Frontiers, here's what the two designers involved had to say:

Quote:
"Like the Mage Knight board game, Star Trek: Frontiers allows players to explore areas that are new and different each time they play. I can't wait for Star Trek fans to start commanding their Federation and Klingon ships as they encounter Romulan Warbirds, send carefully chosen away teams down to unknown planets, and challenge the might of the Borg," said Frontiers game designer, Andrew Parks.

"The Star Trek universe opens up a huge variety of thematic options for a designer, and I specifically hope fans of Star Trek will enjoy the work that Andrew has done to bring the system to the world of Star Trek," said Vlaada Chvátil, creator of the original Mage Knight.

Star Trek: Frontiers is due out February 2016 with an $80 MSRP.
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Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:50 pm
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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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Vampires Prepare for Their Ultimate One Night

W. Eric Martin
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Designer Ted Alspach has a long history with werewolves, dating back to 2007's Ultimate Werewolf: Whitebox Edition in which he took the familiar party game Werewolf, a.k.a. Mafia, added new roles, and gussied up the system in a fancier package. UW:WE was succeeded by Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition in 2008, then Ultimate Werewolf: Deluxe Edition in 2014 — and along the way he branched out from werewolves to include other classic monsters from the night, including the Blob, Frankenstein's Monster, and (of course) The Count.

In 2014, Alspach also released One Night Ultimate Werewolf, a licensed and revamped version of Akihisa Okui's One Night Werewolf that boiled down the Werewolf experience to lots of nighttime activity followed by a single vote that determined the fate of the village. This was followed by the standalone expansion One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak in 2015, and for 2016 Alspach is stretching out from werewolves to vampires once again, this time with One Night Ultimate Vampire. Here's the story background:

Quote:
Your sleepy little town has a problem, and this time it's not the furry kind. Vampires are roaming the streets looking to add to their numbers, while the village braces itself against the fanged assault. Some of those vampires have special powers, like the Master who can't be killed if a fellow vampire protects him, and the Count who prevents other villagers from waking to do their night actions. A lone Assassin carefully chooses a target and attempts to coerce the village into doing his dirty work for him.

But things aren't quite so desperate for the village, for they have several residents with special abilities: A Priest can remove vampirism from anyone who is attacked (and is himself immune). The Marksman can uncover information about two different residents in a single night. The Pickpocket steals, the Gremlin switches things around, and Cupid causes two people to fall madly in love...all things that somehow manage to help the village.

One Night Ultimate Vampire plays along the lines of ONUW and ONUWD, with each player taking a hidden role card, taking some action at night, then strongarming one another to try to get people to vote the "right" way — but in addition to the role cards, players now have "Marks" and these Marks move around during play. In more detail from Alspach:

Quote:
At the beginning of each game, each player receives a Mark of Clarity, which is placed face down near your role card. During the game, many of the roles have the ability to exchange your Mark for another one: The Vampires give a player the Mark of the Vampire, adding them to the Vampire team but leaving their original ability intact. The Assassin gives a player the Mark of the Assassin, which identifies their target. The Diseased gives one of the players adjacent to her a Mark of Disease, which will cause anyone voting for that player to lose.

All of this takes place as soon as the sun goes down...at dusk. Just before night, players get to examine their Marks to see if they have changed. Then other roles like the Marksman, Pickpocket, and Gremlin do their night actions (some of which involve viewing and switching marks).

ONUV can be combined with ONUW or ONUWD or both, and the app assistant that runs through the roles and serves as an automated moderator will be updated to facilitate play this way.

Alspach notes that while ONUV is due out at retail stores in January 2016, backers of the forthcoming Kickstarter campaign will have their copy shipped to them months earlier.

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Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:00 am
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Munchkin Consumes Oz, Kittens, Christmas, Hipsters and More

W. Eric Martin
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More is coming for Munchkin from Steve Jackson Games, but you probably already knew that, didn't you? Munchkin is like oxygen, constituting 21% of the gaming atmosphere and providing the means to start fires in gaming forums whenever it's raised as a topic.

Whatever your feelings, though, lots of people love Munchkin and SJG is only too happy to introduce new titles to that universe, such as Munchkin Oz, which allows players to travel with — or become — characters from the L. Frank Baum books, and Munchkin Hipsters, which is a thirty-card booster of non-hip hipster things that can be added to any standalone Munchkin game.

Strangely (or not), both titles are exclusives with particular retail partners. Munchkin Oz is available solely through the Target retail chain in the U.S., with some stores carrying the game now and August 2015 being the chainwide release date, and Munchkin Hipsters is with online retailer ThinkGeek. SJG has done such exclusives previously, with Munchkin Legends debuting in Target in 2013, then becoming available to the entire market in 2014.

Additional Munchkin titles in the offing include Munchkin Christmas Lite, a scaled-down standalone introductory game for 3-4 players that retails for $10; Munchkin Kittens, a thirty-card booster pack for any standalone Munchkin game; and Star Munchkin Cosmic Demo, which is both a 17-card booster for Star Munchkin and a rigged demo to lead others through how to play the game.

Finally, in May 2015 folk rock band The Decemberists handed out a promo card for Munchkin titled "Hireling: Cavalry Captain", the design of which is based on a song on one of their albums. As SJG's Brian Engard explains, band member Chris Funk is a fan of Munchkin, so he contacted the publisher and this promotional card, which the band handed out at concerts, is the result of their collaboration.

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Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:00 pm
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