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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

Archive for Convention Reports

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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Movie Edition — The Godfather x2, Ghostbusters, Speechless, and Fast & Furious: Full Throttle

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• Both Cool Mini Or Not and designer Eric M. Lang announced many upcoming games at the GAMA Trade Show in mid-March 2016, and one place where those Venn diagrams of game announcements overlapped was The Godfather: The Board Game, which Lang describes as "thugs on a map", with players also having to manage the contents of their hand as anything extra they acquire will end up being handed over to the Godfather as tribute.





• As noted earlier in March 2016, multiple games based on The Godfather films have been announced. The Godfather: An Offer You Can't Refuse from Nate Murray of IDW Games and Nathan McNair of Pandasaurus Games is a Mafia-style hidden role game that sets the Corleone crime family against undercover policemen.





Cryptozoic Entertainment raised more than $1.5 million for Ghostbusters: The Board Game on Kickstarter, so it's not strange at all that they're bringing Ghostbusters: The Board Game II to the neighborhood. At GTS 2016, Cryptozoic's Sara Miguel showed off some of the new gameplay elements to be found in this standalone game.





Fast & Furious: Full Throttle from Jeff and Carla Horger and Game Salute presents players with a street-racing challenge that brings in characters from the movies to provide optional unique powers.





• Okay, I'm cheating here since Speechless the game from Mike Elliott and Arcane Wonders has nothing to do with Speechless the movie, but I posted the overview of the Back to the Future game the other day before realizing that I could pull together this themed post. Oh well.

In any case, Speechless is charades with a twist, with one player performing in silence while everyone else guesses in silence, possibly scoring from others' guesses along the way.

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Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Islebound, City of Iron, Aura, Victory or Death, and Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories

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• Designer Ian Brody has won great acclaim for his self-pulbished Quartermaster General, and now he's taking players into battle in a whole new era in Victory or Death: The Peloponnesian War from The Plastic Soldier Company.





• Speaking of which, France and China join the action in Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories from Brody's Griggling Games. I thought that with the 1980s long behind us, I'd seen the end of misused "Я"s as "R"s, but apparently that graphic element will never go out of style. (I'm not bugged by the graphics in Elysium, but I studied Russian in college, not Greek; sometimes ignorance protects you from outrage.)





• Designer/illustrator/publisher Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games wanted to paint ships, so he designed a game that would give him that opportunity, with the added bonus that characters in Islebound can also be used as characters in his previous game, Above and Below.





• Laukat also talked about the second edition of City of Iron, which includes some elements of a previously separate expansion, thereby messing with our clean and ordered database listings.





• This overview of Michael Orion's Aura from Breaking Games was the one that most had me going from "I know nothing about this game" to "I really want to try this". I'm a sucker for card games, after all...

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Back to the Future, Star Trek: Frontiers, TMNT Dice Masters, Chronicles 1: Origins, and Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!

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• We're not quite living in the future these days given that our hoverboards don't actually hover, so designers Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback and publisher IDW Games are taking us Back to the Future with a card game that has you jumping back and forth across the decades to complete missions with certain well-known characters.





• Designer Dirk Knemeyer from Artana showed off Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!, an expansion for Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents that draws more figures from history onto the playing table.





• Knemeyer also talked about the continuing development efforts on Chronicles 1: Origins that Artana plans to release...at some point. As he mentions in the video, despite making release date promises in the past, the development team is in a "It'll be done when it's done" frame of mind right now and just wants to focus on making it as good as they can.





• Yesterday I posted an overview of Star Trek Panic; now we feature another of the fiftieth anniversary games coming out in 2016 — Star Trek: Frontiers from designers Vlaada Chvátil and Andrew Parks and publisher WizKids Games, with this game similarly being a mash-up of the Trek IP with a pre-existing game, in this case Mage Knight Board Game.





• At GTS 2016, WizKids Games also showed off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dice Masters, the latest iteration in the Dice Masters series from Eric M. Lang and Mike Elliott, with this being a single big box item that includes everything in one go. WizKids' Scot D'Agostino also gives an intro to the TMNT HeroClix Mouser Mayhem! Starter Set. So many turtles! I like turtles!

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Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:49 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Star Trek Panic, Munchkin Marvel, Mystic Vale, Guildhall Fantasy, and Love Letter Premium

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USAopoly announced Star Trek Panic in Feb. 2016 to much excitement, and one aspect of the announcement that I found interesting was the realization of how many companies have a license to produce Star Trek-related games. In addition to this one, Gale Force Nine plans to release Star Trek: Ascendancy (covering fifty years of ST series) and WizKids Games has Star Trek: Frontiers, in addition to its ongoing Star Trek: Attack Wing series. I keep thinking that one company receives a license and has a lock on the market, but clearly that's not the case, as also evidenced by competing Godfather games.





• Just as Star Trek Panic mashes Castle Panic with USAopoly's game license for Star Trek, Munchkin Marvel mashes Munchkin with that publisher's game license for the Marvel Comics universe. However ubiquitous Munchkin already is in game stores, a license like this will introduce the game to tens of thousands of people who never would have heard of the game otherwise.





• Deck-building games might seem old hat at this point, even though the genre is less than ten years old, but Alderac Entertainment Group is introducing a new iteration of the genre in June 2016 thanks to the card-crafting system at the heart of John D. Clair's Mystic Vale. Instead of building a deck (as your MV deck never grows or shrinks from twenty cards), players now build the cards themselves within their deck.

The video below presents an overview of the game, and while setting up for another game demo, AEG's Todd Rowland mentioned that Clair first brought the publisher a sprawling game design that included card-crafting as one element within a much larger whole. Not wanting to bury the lede, they worked together to extract that element and create a game that featured card-crafting front and center. Thus, Mystic Vale.





• Alderac has a history of taking its own games and reinventing them (Doomtown: Reloaded, Thunderstone, L5R — although that was constant reinvention within the same line), and it's doing this once again with Hope S. Hwang's Guildhall, which debuted in 2012 and had one standalone sequel in 2013. Now that first game is being rejiggered as Guildhall Fantasy: Fellowship in June 2016, with two other standalone games — Guildhall Fantasy: Alliance and Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition — to follow in July and August.





Love Letter Premium is not a reinvention of Seiji Kanai's Love Letter, but an expansion of it — in two ways. First, the components are bigger and fancier. Second, the game includes more cards, allowing for up to eight players to compete at the same time. As AEG's Rowland notes on the video, the components that allow for play with up to eight will also be released for the normal-sized Love Letter. What's more, Kanai will be on hand at Gen Con 2016, where AEG will hold a Kanai-centered Big Game Night event.

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Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:18 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Crazy Karts, Robinson Crusoe, Fast & Fhtagn, Heart of Crown, and Naruto Shippuden: The BoardGame

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BoardGameGeek broadcast game demos live for sixteen hours over two days at the 2016 GAMA Trade Show, and now we've chopped up those videos into individual segments so that you can more easily find coverage of the games that interest you. I'm starting to publish these videos on BGG's YouTube channel, and they'll also show up on the proper game pages in the BGG database over the next few days. I'll also highlight some of the videos that we recorded in BGG News posts over the next few days, as with the recent post about Eric M. Lang's Bloodborne: The Card Game from Cool Mini Or Not.

• For us, GTS 2016 started with Marcin Ropka from Portal Games introducing us to Charles-Amir Perret's Crazy Karts, a racing game in which players compete in teams of two, with each teammate controlling half of the operations on their kart but not being able to communicate with their teammate when doing so.





• At Spielwarenmesse 2016, I recorded an overview of 51st State: Master Set with designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, talking about what's changed with the core game and how expansions have been integrated into it. At GTS 2016, Ropka showed off the final look for this game, which is moving closer to production.





• Ropka also talked about the new English-language edition of Trzewiczek's Robinson Crusoe that Portal Games will release in September 2016, with this "Game of the Year" edition featuring a new cover by Vincent Dutrait, fancy-shaped wooden bits, the "King Kong" scenario, thicker character sheets, rewritten rules, and other small changes.





• In early March 2016, I posted a written overview of Naruto Shippuden: The Board Game from designers Nicolas Badoux and Cyril Marchiol, but if video is your thing, at GTS 2016 Rich Gain from Japanime Games showed off the design and explained what you'll be doing in this game world with Naruto and the other characters.





• Japanime Games also showed off the deck-building game Heart of Crown, which debuted in Japan in 2011 from FLIPFLOPs to great acclaim, multiple expansions, and a standalone sequel. As in many DBGs, in Heart of Crown players buy new cards to build an engine, but the long-term goal is to claim one of the available princesses — each of whom has a special, unique power — then build up succession points in order to seat that princess on the throne.





• Jeff Tidball from Atlas Games presented the card game Fast & Fhtagn, his Lovecraftian mash-up with elements of the Fast & Furious movie franchise, with players racing through the city streets while encountering (or avoiding!) obstacles from worlds unknown.

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Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:00 pm
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Eric M. Lang Rhapsodizes about Bloodborne: The Card Game from Cool Mini Or Not

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• Many games were announced at the 2016 GAMA Trade Show, with the one causing the most excitement being Bloodborne: The Card Game, a card game coming from Eric M. Lang and Cool Mini Or Not. Lang described the game in some detail on camera while BGG was livestreaming from GTS, and I nodded along as best I could given that I know nothing about video games and had never heard of Bloodborne previously. That video is included below, and for those who prefer the written word, I present this gameplay summary:

Quote:
Based on the Chalice Dungeons in the video game Bloodborne — the expansive sewer and lost city areas that sprawl below the great city of Yharnam, where horrifying creatures reside — players in the card game Bloodborne compete to kill monsters and take their blood.

In general, Bloodborne is a game about risk management with a bit of group think, inventory management/upgrades, and tactical play. Each turn, one monster chosen at random attacks players, who fight back as a team, with everyone playing a card from their hand simultaneously to attempt to kill the monster. Players collect blood from the monster, assuming it dies, based on how much damage they dealt. Monsters can fight back with exploding dice that can potentially deal infinite damage.

Players can fight as long as they want, but if they die in combat, they lose their progress. Players can opt out of fighting to bank their blood and save it permanently. Collected blood counts as victory points.

Says designer Eric M. Lang, "My goal with Bloodborne was to channel the intensity and frustration of the video game into a contest between players. Lots of death."

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Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:23 pm
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Stronghold Games on Bear Valley, Stellar Conflict, and Working with Publishing Partners

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• Unlike at Spielwarenmesse, at NY Toy Fair I record only a few videos because (1) I'm on my own, which makes it tougher to record things, (2) publishers at the fair tend to focus on mainstream-friendly games rather than hobby games, and (3) publishers with hobby games were recorded at Spielwarenmesse (such as Asmodee and IELLO) or have nothing more than demo boxes to show off (such as Upper Deck).

That said, I did make plans to meet Stephen Buonocore in order to preview a couple of titles coming from Stronghold Games, starting with Carl Chudyk's Bear Valley, a card game in Stronghold's Pocket Line that seems quite unchudykian at first glance — and possibly even at second glance. I'll need to actually play the thing a few times to know for sure, but that will come later. For now, here's an overview of the game:





Bear Valley is due out in the U.S. in April 2016 at the same time as game #3 in Stronghold's Pocket Line: Stellar Conflict, which is a re-imaging of James Ernest's ye olde Light Speed in the Among the Stars universe, with players building a fleet and fighting a battle in minutes.





• While at NY Toy Fair 2016, I also took the time to ask Buonocore to elaborate on Stronghold's "strategic partnership" with eggertspiele, which was announced in Feb. 2016, and the general practice of how and why publishers partner with one another.

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Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:12 pm
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New Games at Cannes 2016: Forging Dice, Raiding Tombs, Fighting Meeples, and Saving the President

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Let's continue my coverage from afar of the Festival International des Jeux, the annual game convention in Cannes, France that ran Feb. 26-28, 2016.

Libellud had probably the best game fair that a company could have, releasing Loony Quest: The Lost City (a highly-anticipated expansion for a well-regarded game), showing off Mysterium: Hidden Signs (ditto, and due to release in June 2016), and winning As d'Or (France's game of the year award) for its version of Mysterium. (Pandemic Legacy won the As d'Or in the expert game category, while Master Fox won in the children's category.)

For our purposes, though, we're looking at another prototype that Libellud was demonstrating in Cannes: Dice Forge from Libellud's own Régis Bonnessée. Here's a short description:

Quote:
In Dice Forge, players try to acquire resources, seize mythical objects, fight legendary monsters, and gain victory points, and they do so by crafting the dice that they roll throughout the game in order to give them better results and lead them down the path to victory.

Each player starts with two dice in Dice Forge, and as the game progresses, players can upgrade the faces of the dice to give them more coins, more points, and other benefits.

I played a prototype of Dice Forge at Spiel 2015 and saw the game again at Spielwarenmesse 2016, and since both of those versions differ from the "work in progress" image shared by Libellud (shown below), I'll keep quiet about the details of gameplay since things are likely still being developed. The gist, though, is that you're dice-building — along the lines of what happens in Stephen Glenn's Rattlebones — but the game features the typically lush fantasy setting found in other Libellud releases. I highly enjoyed playing and look forward to seeing what the final design might be like.




The Red Joker, a publisher previously known only for Guardians' Chronicles, was showing off the game and expansion La Vallée des Rois and La Vallée des Rois: L'Éveil de Nyarlathotep from designers Pascal Bernard and Pierre-Olivier Barome, which were crowdfunded on Ulule in December 2015. Here's an overview of these titles, which are intended for two players:

Quote:
A magical medallion from the last Egyptian excavation has attracted the attention of two famous adventurers — Tara Wolf and Montana Smith — who then decide to explore the Valley of the Kings in search of hidden treasures.

While playing La Vallée des Rois, they will be surrounded by good companions who might help them avoid deadly traps and withstand the wrath of the gods of Egypt, but in this quest, only one adventurer can reap fame and wealth...

Quote:
La Vallée des Rois: L'Éveil de Nyarlathotep is a 32-card expansion that transforms La Vallée des Rois into something of a different game as now one of the adventurers leads a cult and plans to use the treasures found in the tombs to carry out their evil plans, while the opponent tries to stop him with the help of a handful of scholars and courageous investigators.

Each player has a deck of ten specific cards that includes allies, traps and equipment, from which they draw one card per turn. The three papyrus received by the cultist player early in the game does not come from the usual papyrus, but six "Cthulhu Mythos" papyrus that cite terrible deities and avatars such as Nyarlathotep Yig or that cast spells causing death and madness.

Two tombs are replaced with alternate versions, and terrifying creatures borne from a mythology of ancient evil gods await players.

Helvetia Games showed two prototypes of games that it plans to release in 2016: Carnaval from Jeremie Fraile and Guillaume Ettori, in which the wizard players use ghosts and minions to haunt various worlds and gain terror or victory points, and Serena, a small family game from Gilles Roudeilla.

Blue Cocker Games unveiled Max Valembois' Meeple War in which meeples serve as actual-sized battle vehicles in the four kingdoms of Lilliput.

Devil Pig Games demoed Yann and Clem's Kharnage, a 2-4 player fantasy-based "king of the hill" battle for domination (points) due out in 2016.

Geek Attitude Games showed off its intended Spiel 2016 release: Save the President, Save the World from designers Cyril Besnard and Alain Fondrille.

Quote:
July 4th in the United States of America — on this day of celebration of national independence, the impossible has happened. An inter-dimensional rift has opened outside the White House, triggering a 9.02 earthquake and devastating the area. Menacing creatures have poured through the rift, animated by evil intentions to rule the free world. The White House staff has been taken out by the quake, power is working only intermittently, the Secret Service is helpless to stop these creatures of chaos from walking into the Oval Office.

Our greatest symbol of freedom is about to fall — and with it the free world — until across the rubble fall the silhouettes of a few individuals, White House tourists who are ready to stand as the last bulwark against the destruction of our society, standing behind the single slogan: "Save the President!"

Save the President, Save the World is a cooperative game in which players try to do just that.



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Tue Mar 1, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Games at Cannes 2016: More for The Grizzled, New Looks for Tikal and Amun-Re, and New Kimonos for the Emperor

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Believe it or not, I am not at the Festival International des Jeux, the annual game convention in Cannes, France. I'm hitting most of other large conventions in 2016, but I still haven't made it to Cannes yet. Some day...

In any case, I have been following announcements and posts from afar. Here's a round-up of some of the forthcoming games being shown at this event, whether in early release or in prototype form:

• To start with what might be the most anticipated item, Sweet November debuted Les Poilus: Aux Ordres!, an expansion for The Grizzled from Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez that introduces solitaire rules, new rules for two players, and mission cards that allow for game scaling based on player experience. Mission cards come in easy, normal and hard difficulty levels, and based on the experience of the players, you set up a deck of missions. Each round, the mission leader draws two of these cards, then decides which one to attempt. These missions might affect the number of starting cards in a round or allow players not to lose a round due to a specific condition, such as night or rain.

I haven't seen word of an English-language edition of this expansion, but BGG will be livestreaming game demos from the GAMA Trade Show in mid-March 2016, similar to what we do at Gen Con and Spiel, and we have an appointment with Cool Mini Or Not to show off five titles yet to be named, so we'll see. (Update, Feb. 29: Yes, it will! See this comment.)

Volumique debuted in late 2015 with World of Yo-Ho, a game in which players must use their smartphone to represent a ship on a map, making game choices on the screen that then carry over into the shared experience on the board.

At Cannes 2016, Volumique showed off another game that merges the digital and real world playing spaces: Fearz, by Anja Wrede and Bruno Faidutti. In this simultaneous play design — which can be played solely with cards, solely on a tablet, or with a combination of both — players try to recognize the fears expressed by others based on the conditions depicted on their hidden cards.




Super Meeple showed off its new version of Reiner Knizia's Amun-Re, which will be released in France in mid-March 2016. Tasty Minstrel Games will release this version in English.


Bricks old and new


And here's a first look at the new version of Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling's Tikal, which Super Meeple also plans to release in 2016. (This version will not have an English-language edition as Rio Grande Games still holds those rights to Tikal.)




• In 2014, I recorded an enthusiastic overview video of Colors of Kasane from Japanese designer/publisher Hinata Origuchi. Now Superlude Éditions has brought on artist Naïade to work on a new version titled Les Kimonos de l'Empereur.




• Superlude Éditions also plans to produce French-language versions of James Ernest's Pairs (under the title Jour de Chance) and Thorsten Reichwein's Five Seals of Magic (under the name Archimage).

• In Q2 2016, Sit Down! plans to release Goths Save the Queen from Vincent Bonnard, which plays as follows:

Quote:
In Goths Save The Queen, two teams (2-vs-2) are fighting to save the Queen hidden in the middle of the table. Each team is composed of one player giving orders and another one trying to understand which order has been given.

To give an order, the player chooses a card and flips it onto the table to reveal two orders on its back, with no clue about which one is the right one. The second player checks the battlefield, then tries to choose the right order with a card in hand while the order-giver selects a card of their own. When both teams have chosen their cards, all of them are revealed, and if both cards match on a team, then the order is carried out. Some examples of orders: loading the artillery, firing with the artillery, progressing toward the Queen, looking at hidden cards in the middle to find the Queen, and avoiding traps...

Of course, within a team it is absolutely prohibited to make any sign or say anything to help the partner to guess the card that has been played.

When playing 1-vs-1 or 1-vs-2, the game is a bit different: The single player team cannot play the same order twice, one turn after another. If you have multiple boxes, you can compete in a 3-vs-3 or 4-vs-4 format.


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Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2016: Bunny Kingdom, Oceanos, Cry Havoc, Dynasties, Cacao: Chocolatl, Costa Rica, Fight for Olympus, and the Future of Mayfair Games

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• Time for the final round-up of videos from Spielwarenmesse 2016, which means that we have processed and published everything in less than three weeks from when the show ended. Whoa, that's a first. As I've noted in other such round-ups, I'm not posting every video in this section, but each video does appear on its respective game page and all 118(!) of them can be found in a Spielwarenmesse 2016 playlist on YouTube.

First in this round-up is Richard Garfield's Bunny Kingdom from IELLO, which will debut at Spiel 2016. As IELLO's Matthieu Bonin notes, this is a card-drafting game with a difference as players draft locations on the game board in which to place their bunnies, draft city cards to build on the board, draft resources to provide more goods for their bunnies, and draft scoring cards for the end game.

As an aside, I love the way Matthieu pronounces "bunnies". I think I need to make that my ringtone...





• IELLO has another drafting game in Antoine Bauza's Oceanos, due out in August 2016. The twist in this game is that the cards you draft over three rounds represent your findings in the ocean at different depths.





• I've already posted two videos highlighting upcoming titles from Portal Games, and now here's an overview of Cry Havoc from Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak, which features a simple, yet wildly ingenious battle resolution system, along with (would you expect otherwise?) four unique factions that players can control.





Hans im Glück wasn't quite sure whether to talk about Matthias Cramer's Dynasties on camera as the game is still under development, but in the end they decided to go for it, and now you can get a taste for what's coming in this game that has you pairing up in order to (ideally) get the better of your partner down the road.





• Phil Walker-Harding's Cacao from ABACUSSPIELE received an overwhelmingly positive response from players, and for 2016 the designer and publisher offer Cacao: Chocolatl, an expansion of four modules that can be added to the game individually or in any combination.





• The non-final cover at right showcases Costa Rica, the title of which is also not final but the design of which is. This Brett Gilbert and Matthew Dunstan design, to be published by Lookout Games in Europe and Mayfair Games in the U.S.,





• Matthias Cramer appears a second time on this list with Fight for Olympus, the next title in Lookout Games' two-player line, in which players spend cards to play cards in order to punch damage through to their opponent.





• As is the custom for these conventions, the final three videos posted are the first three that we shot. That's a bit of "good news bad news", I suppose, as I am clearly more awake and perky in this interview than I am in clips from day three.

In any case, Alex Yeager from Mayfair Games spent a good chunk of time at Spielwarenmesse 2016 talking with me about the future of Mayfair post-Catan: how the company will function, what you might see in the future, and why the loss of one game line — even one as large as Catan — doesn't signal their end of days.

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Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:35 am
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