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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 W. Eric Martin

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New Game Round-up: Field a New Ogre, Knock Blocks in Kaboom, and Create Your Own Boss Monster

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• Designer Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games has announced that sometime in 2016 SJG will release a new "Ogre 6th Edition" in the same scale as the Ogre Designer's Edition, but it "will include only the Ogre map (exactly the same as the one in the ODE), the Ogre rules, and a generous helping of counters to play them". Follow the link for more on this release (the details of which is still in the works) as well as a link to the 6th edition rules, should you feel like proofreading.

• Want more expansions for Boss Monster? Designers Johnny and Chris O'Neal from Brotherwise Games now invite you to create your own as they've taken the Boss Monster card templates and uploaded them on DriveThruCards so that you can create your own or admire (and order) cards created by others.

Looney Labs has moved the release date of Uglydoll Loonacy from April 15, 2016 to March 11, 2016 due to the unusual problem of its manufacturer finishing production far earlier than expected.

• Publisher Blue Orange Games plans to release two quick-playing Roberto Fraga designs to the U.S. in 2016, with one of those — the mad-dash test tube-matching game Dr. Eureka — having first debuted at Spiel 2015 from sister company Blue Orange, and the other — the mad-dash building game Kaboom — having hit Europe first in 2013. Thanks to those debuts, you can watch overview videos of both titles now: Dr. Eureka and Kaboom.

Fireside Games has floated info about a July 2016 release from co-owner Justin De Witt titled Dastardly Dirigibles. Here's an overview of the game from the publisher:

Quote:
Professor Phineas Edmund Hornswoggle, famed airship builder, is retiring and you are an engineer competing to inherit the Hornswoggle factory!

Dastardly Dirigibles features tarot-sized cards that are played in a constant action format in which each time a part is added, ALL players MUST add the SAME part – which may replace an existing one. Build your airship from different parts of nine beautiful suits, while also using special cards to your advantage or to thwart your opponents. The round ends when the first airship is complete — but you score only the suit used most in your airship. The player with the highest score after three rounds wins!

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Mon Feb 8, 2016 5:17 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Falling Through Time into a Past Filled with Electable Turtles

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• As Dustin Schwartz noted in late January 2016, a new year has brought a tidal wave of crowdfunding projects for games both new and not-so-new, such as the deluxe edition of Vinhos from Vital Lacerda and Eagle-Gryphon Games, which one might describe (to invert a phrase) as old wine in a new bottle. (KS link)

• Other items in the category of returning old faces includes The Walking Dead: All Out War, a miniatures game from Mantic Games that pits human survivors against one another as well as against the zombie hordes that reside within Interstate 85. (KS link)

• The combination of miniatures and old faces is also at play in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past from designer Kevin Wilson and publishers IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games. I recall working at K&K Toys in upstate New York in 1990-1991, and one of the hot items that year was TMNT figures (SKU 556555). We would receive shipments from HQ weekly, and whenever we got new boxes of TMNT characters they contained at most one April O'Neil character per 24 figures in the box, which was never enough. Now you don't even get that... (KS link)

• Another game fitting in that same category is Argo, which Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget originally designed in the mid-2000s and which publisher Flatlined Games picked up in 2013. This is Flatlined's second attempt to dock Argo at port, and with a KS goal one-fifth the size of its previous attempt, chances look good. (KS link)

• Miniatures are also found in Todd Sanders' Aether Captains, a one-vs-many design of a zeppelin captain defending against sky pirates that was originally a print-and-play design and which MAGE Company and Ninja Division have pumped new air into for a large-scale production. (KS link)

• A different type of miniatures can be found in Fabulous Beasts, a self-published design from George Buckenham and Alex Fleetwood that blends dexterity-based stacking games with digital tools that automatically handle all of the terrain-based modifiers, turn-based scoring modifiers, and evolution-inducing super-tools that come into play when you crossbreed sharks and eagles, as is demonstrated in the overview video that I recorded with them at Spiel 2015. (KS link)




• Beasts of a different sort await in Dreamwell, which features, well, dreamy artwork from Tara McPherson on a Nick Little design from Action Phase Games in which you need to find some mysterious looking friends. (KS link)

• An otherworldly experience is also at the heart of Karmaka from Eddy Boxerman and Dave Burke of Hemisphere Games as players start the game as dung beetles and attempt to climb the karmic ladder in order to achieve transcendence first. Yes, a race for enlightenment, which is when you learn that racing is futile! (KS link)

• Mattox Shuler's Control from Keymaster Games is based on a similar idea of people traveling through the ages, with the players being time travelers who have somehow fallen into a rupture in spacetime and are now competing with one another to fuel their way out of the time ditch and abandon everyone else in karmic nowheresville. Okay, this is not a real time-travel game, but I suppose this makes sense. (KS link)

• Speaking of falling in a hole and feeling lost and hopeless, Tomas Rawlings and Wonkette's Rebecca Schoenkopf attempt to recreate (sort of) the U.S. election process in Elections of US America Election: The Card Game. If you don't want to act as manager for any of the real 2016 candidates included in the game, you can instead try to land Cthulhu in the White House because...well, why not? (KS link)

• Along similar lines is Greater Evil: The Political Bullshit Game from Jacob Bofferding and Shawn Roberts, with gameplay along the lines of Bullshit fancied up with special power cards that function like commercials from super PACs that pretend like they're not under your control but really are. (KS link)

• For another take on powerful factions within the U.S. electorate we have Richard Gurley's Redneck Invasion, in which players control a faction such as hipsters or soccer parents and try to exert influence over the culture of the town that they all supposedly share and call home. (KS link)

• More overt conflict comes into play in Ken Whitehurst's Polyversal, a 6mm science-fiction mass-combat miniatures game from Collins Epic Wargames that's set "in a plausible-future Earth" in which tanks and recon vehicles roam rubble-filled streets and make it difficult for the rest of us to drive to Target. (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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Mon Feb 8, 2016 3:30 am
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Links: The "Z" in WizKids Now Stands for Zev, and Hasbro and Mattel Talk Merger

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• On Feb. 3, 2016, WizKids Games announced that Zev Shlasinger will "head up its expanded Board Game operations".

Shlasinger, for those who don't know, founded Z-Man Games in 1999, and as noted in the WizKids press release he had an "eclectic publishing philosophy" that led to Z-Man releasing a wide variety of material over the years, from widely-regarded titles like Pandemic and Tales of the Arabian Nights to more obscure releases such as Castle Merchants, Gheos, and (one of my favorite light card games of all time) Escalation. He was willing to take chances by throwing lots of titles at store shelves all at once to see what stuck, and while that led to many titles disappearing under the waters with little fanfare, he also gets credit for introducing the classic Japanese games Fairy Tale and R-Eco to the U.S. market.

Shlasinger sold Z-Man Games to Sophie Gravel, owner of Filosofia Editions, in 2011, but he continued to work for Z-Man — which over time became a brand within the larger F2Z Entertainment — as someone who would acquire and develop new titles. Shlasinger left F2Z in early 2016.

At Spielwarenmesse 2016, I spoke with Gravel about Shlasinger and F2Z Entertainment parting ways. In general, as the years progressed his desire to publish all types of games all at once all the time contrasted with her more reserved approach to long-term development of individual games and game lines. Shlasinger wanted to do more along the lines of what he had done in the past, so in the end they decided to part ways. To quote from the press release:

Quote:
"I plan to continue to bring original and unique ideas to market with the help of the WizKids team," said Shlasinger. "They are very serious about building a board game business and are not afraid of good, fun, original ideas. In addition, WizKids has an amazing portfolio of licensed properties to enhance their board game presence in the industry. I think our combined qualities make a formidable team."

BloombergBusiness reports that Hasbro and Mattel "have held talks about merging". In more detail: "Hasbro approached Mattel about a potential transaction late last year [2015], and the companies have held on-and-off-again talks about a deal, the people said, asking not to be identified as the situation isn’t public."

Okay, that's still not much detail. Any deal might be subject to antitrust review given that "If combined, the companies would have probably about one-quarter of the market in the U.S." There's no truth to the rumor that I just started that the combined company would be called HazMat.

• Following the (possible) ruling of chess being forbidden by Islam, we have a report of 32 "foreigners" being busted for playing bridge in Bangkok. As noted by the Bangkok Post:

Quote:
Finding score books, but no money, police initially speculated that the foreigners were gambling, but transferring cash later between bank accounts. Bridge club officials tried in vain to explain bridge is played only for points...

While they found no financial evidence of gambling, police charged the group with possessing more than 120 playing cards that were not produced by the Excise Department, in violation of Section 8 of the Playing Cards Act of 1943.
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Sat Feb 6, 2016 8:38 pm
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New Game Round-up: Monsters Evolve in New York, Geister Comes to the U.S. & Spies Get Trickier in Russia

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Brian Yu's Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister! from Mattel won the Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2014, but despite that success and many requests for an English-language version, the game seemed destined to remain a German-only title.

Gears may turn slowly at huge corporations, but sometimes they do turn and the now renamed Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters will be released in the U.S. by Mattel in July 2016. This release will bear an alternative cover from Pierô that matches one of the earlier iterations of the cover art, something I highlighted in August 2013 thanks to a great article from the artist about how he and Yu started working together.

• In addition to that title, Mattel plans to release a new design from Marc André of Splendor fame. Here's an overview of Sail Away:

Quote:
In Sail Away, a bunch of Caribbean merchants of questionable repute (i.e., the players) race to pack their ships with goods from the local islands, then move them out — all the while hiring pirates and using any means necessary to get ahead of the competition.

Okay, not much in the way of details for now, but it's a start. Mattel's Nick Hayes notes that the published version is only for the German market right now, but it might contain English rules in addition to German ones. If not, he says, "at the very least we will upload English rules to BGG".

IELLO expects to release King of New York: Power Up! in Q2 2016, so now the monsters in New York can evolve alongside those in Tokyo, should you choose to mix-and-match monsters from one games to the next. What's more, the publisher's description notes that "a new challenger joins them: Sharky". The cover art shown at left is preliminary. Here are sample cards shown in the IELLO catalog:




Wait a sec — Kong's card references Tokyo. What's going on? Let's check out the description once again: "Captain Fish, Sheriff, and their fellow monsters now have two unique sets of evolution cards for both King of New York and King of Tokyo." Well, okay then...

• Alexandr Ushan's Spyfall has been, shall we say, somewhat popular since its debut in 2014, and at Spielwarenmesse 2016 I was able to get an overview of Spyfall 2, which original publisher Hobby World plans to release in Russia in 2016 and doesn't plan to release elsewhere before the end of 2016.




• As for the image in the background, you can see the Master of Orion: The Board Game image more clearly in this tweet I sent from the fair:




Aside from the info above, I know nothing else.
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Fri Feb 5, 2016 3:01 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2016: Pegasus Spiele — The Great Chariot Race, Camel Up Cards, Animals on Board, Yeti & Much More

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Hoo boy, did we record a lot of videos at the Pegasus Spiele stand during Spielwarenmesse 2016? And despite recording as much as we did during that time, we still didn't cover everything as some forthcoming games had nothing more than a box cover to show (which didn't stop us a couple of times) and others were German-language licenses (that we've probably covered from the original publishers) and still others were new but we just didn't have time. We did what we could.

• To start with, here's a teaser for a Matt Leacock title that Pegasus plans to debut at Spiel 2016 in October, a 2-6 player design titled The Great Chariot Race that has components similar to those in Roll Through the Ages. How exactly this all works is not yet public knowledge, but here's what we have for now:





• New items come into play and your tailoring students become more experienced in Rococo: Jewelry Box, an expansion by Louis and Stefan Malz for Rococo.





• As has been the case with many games this season, Steffen Bogen's Camel Up has been carded, shrinking into Camel Up Cards, with players effectively recreating the dice in the original game with cards from their hand.





• Another title that's experienced the board-to-card transformation is Glück Auf from Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling, which will appear in 2016 as Glück Auf: Das grosse Kartenspiel.





• The exact contents of Istanbul: Brief & Siegel, the second expansion for Rüdiger Dorn's Istanbul, are still being developed, but this video presents an overview of what you'll find here — or possibly in another expansion down the road.





• If the portion of floor space devoted to a game is any measure by which to judge — and it usually is — Benjamin Schwer's Yeti is the family game being pushed the hardest by Pegasus. Ideally someone will be wearing a full yeti costume at Spiel 2016 and posing with passersby.





Animals on Board from designers Wolfgang Sentker and Ralf zur Linde, which Stronghold Games will release in the U.S., has a clever cheeky concept at heart, something to which the term "fridge logic" readily applies.





• Finally — at least in this space as BGG's YouTube channel has more — we have the brilliant two-player card game Elements, first published as Khmer by the designers in Team Saien. I've played the original ten times, and it's such a clean, simple design, yet so engaging in how it plays, with each player trying to get into the other's head.

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Thu Feb 4, 2016 4:35 pm
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More Dominion Among Rio Grande Games' 2016 Line-Up

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• In what comes as a further blow for those who were sure that their Dominion storage solution would be sufficient following the unexpected announcement of Dominion: Adventures, Rio Grande Games has announced that the Dominion empire will expand yet again with the release of, well, Dominion: Empires from designer Donald X. Vaccarino. Here's a thematic overview of what's featured in this set, along with a few gameplay hints:

Quote:
The world is big and your kingdom gigantic. It's no longer a kingdom really; it's an empire — which makes you the emperor. This entitles you to a better chair, plus you can name a salad after yourself.

It's not easy being emperor. The day starts early, when you light the sacred flame; then it's hours of committee meetings, trying to establish exactly why the sacred flame keeps going out. Sometimes your armies take over a continent and you just have no idea where to put it. And there's the risk of assassination; you have a food taster, who tastes anything before you eat it, and a dagger tester, who gets stabbed by anything before it stabs you. You've taken to staying at home whenever it's the Ides of anything. Still, overall it's a great job. You wouldn't trade it for the world — especially given how much of the world you already have.

Dominion: Empires, the tenth addition to the game of Dominion, contains 96 metal tokens and 300 cards, with cards you can buy now and pay for later, piles with two different cards, and Landmarks that add new ways to score. VP tokens and Events return from previous sets.

RGG owner Jay Tummelson notes that the release date for Dominion: Empires is May 18, 2016.

• Other titles forthcoming from Rio Grande Games include Tiffin in Q2/Q3 2016 from Rael Dornfest and Jonathan Hager, the description of which relays much in the way of inspiration and little in the way of gameplay:

Quote:
Every day in Mumbai, the bustling financial capital of India, hot lunches are hand-delivered to employees in workplaces across the city. These home-cooked meals, packed in tins called tiffins or dabbas, are picked up and whisked off by bicycle to the train station to be sorted, loaded onto a train car, unloaded, routed, and delivered (again, by bicycle) to recipients at work. Tiffins are carried by multiple dabbawallas, each of whom earns a share of the delivery fee. Out of the over 100,000 lunches delivered every day, only a few tiffins are misplaced every year.

Tiffin is a game based on this experience.

• Yet another Rio Grande title on the horizon is Kane M. Click's Coal Country, which bears a similar release date and this description:

Quote:
Coal Country is rife with corruption, with the many mine foremen "influencing" various aspects of the mining industry in a number of ways. As the boss of your mining company, it's your job to sit at your desk and plot where to send your most influential foremen. By successfully influencing the price of coal, permits, utilities, and construction, your company can expand and boost the profitability of its operations. Your job as boss is made all the more difficult by the ever-shifting nature of the markets, from turn to turn, round to round, and game to game. It is your responsibility to determine when — and how — to act in order to capitalize on a potentially beneficial marketplace. If your mine is not built wisely and safely, a share of your company's profits will be lost after the end-of-year visit from the mine inspector. The mining company that has the most money at the end of the year wins.

• Other titles coming from Rio Grande Games in Q1 2016, according to its most recent newsletter in Dec. 2015, are Dave Mansell's For Crown & Kingdom, Matt Calkins' Tin Goose, and Alan's Adventureland from Alan D. Ernstein.


• Also in the Q2/Q3 2016 timeframe, RGG expects to release Martyn F's Epoch: Early Inventors (which was originally going to be self-published. German publisher HUCH! & friends is releasing new editions of Kris Burm's GIPF and YINSH in the first half of 2016, and Rio Grande will distribute these titles (and future GIPF Project releases) in North America. Santa's Workshop and Joshua Gerald Balvin's Oktoberfest are both due out Q4 2016.

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Wed Feb 3, 2016 6:45 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2016: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, Broom Service: The Card Game, Legends, Make 'n' Break Architect & Memory: Das Brettspiel

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This past weekend I took a trip to Spielwarenmesse 2016, the annual toy fair in Nürnberg, Germany, and I've already uploaded a dozen game overview videos to BGG's YouTube account. Woohoo! Much faster progress than for Spiel 2015 and other recent conventions, partly because I'm not posting all of the videos that we've recorded on BGG News, but instead simply on the individual game pages (and on YouTube itself, of course).

That said, I will highlight some of these videos when I expect interest in the featured game to be higher than average or when I think people will get a kick out of the video itself. We'll see whether I'm right. (Also, I must apologize in advance for forgetting to white balance these videos. Perhaps someday I'll function like a professional in this regard, but I haven't made that leap yet in five years. Sigh.)

• Let's start with an overview of Stefan Feld's The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, one of two "board game to card game" transfigurations to take place from German publisher alea. My ever-increasing smile in this video comes from me thinking than Alban is about to wrap up, but then we keep plowing on with yet more that you can do on your turn. The half-sized cards in this game make a lot of sense as you'll be sprawling all over the table with your holdings!





• The other alea title that we covered was Broom Service: The Card Game from Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister, which unlike TCOB:TCG adheres much less closely to the preceding board game. Only a few finished cards were on display — and none of the expansion material for the board game — but I think this will give you an idea of the "brave vs. cowardly" mechanism taking place in this design.





• I received information from Ravensburger not too long before my flight, so I've entered many of that publisher's titles into BGG's Nürnberg/New York 2016 Preview only since returning to the U.S., including the family game Legends from Knut Happel and Christian Fiore. This design features a time track movement system a là Thebes and challenges players to collect knowledge of legendary events to earn points, while also requiring them to give up some of that knowledge if they actually want to score those points.





• The Make 'n' Break game series takes a familiar concept — do something quickly to complete a challenge — and presents it in all sorts of different ways, with the 2016 offering from Ravensburger being Make 'n' Break Architect, with players now wielding a colored folding ruler and trying to shape to match the images provided.





Memory: Das Brettspiel? By Kramer and Kiesling?! At first I wondered whether I was being punked, but after seeing the thing itself, the design and brand extension makes perfect sense, and the choices made here provide an interesting lesson for game designers.

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Tue Feb 2, 2016 4:37 pm
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New Releases from F2Z Entertainment: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu from Z-Man, Dead of Winter: The Long Night from Plaid Hat, Junk Art from Pretzel & More

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• The biggest news for hobby gamers from Spielwarenmesse 2016 is the soft announcement of Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu from designer Chuck D. Yager and publisher Z-Man Games.

Sophie Gravel of F2Z Entertainment, owner of Z-Man Games, told me that Yager based the design on the gameplay at the heart of Pandemic, with Pandemic designer Matt Leacock then working with Yager to provide development and polishing. In short, players are investigators who want to seal four portals before creatures of unspeakable horror are unleashed or the investigators themselves go insane.

I describe this as a "soft announcement" because this is all the information available for now, with Z-Man Games planning to officially announce the game on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2016.




• As noted in late January 2016, designer Rob Daviau has delivered SeaFall to publisher Plaid Hat Games. A new look for the box was on display at Spielwarenmesse, but the box itself was empty and even the back cover was blank, revealing nothing that isn't already known. (I previewed SeaFall in Nov. 2014 after playing one game on the prototype and interviewed Daviau about the design.)

Gravel from F2Z Entertainment did state that SeaFall will debut at Gen Con 2016, so you can start marking off the calendar if you wish.




• Before PHG gets to SeaFall, though, it will first release Dead of Winter: The Long Night at Origins Game Fair 2016. This title is a standalone expansion to Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game from designers Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega. Again, this title hasn't been officially announced, so that's all the info I have for now.

The cover shown below is a non-final mock-up that probably won't be used, according to Gravel, since at first glance it appears to be a black-and-white version of the DoW cover and therefore doesn't stand enough on its own.




• The F2Z Entertainment label Pretzel Games debuted in 2015 with the beefy (as in massively heavy) Flick 'Em Up!, with that title having a soft launch at Origins 2015 and officially debuting at Gen Con 2015.

In March 2016, Z-Man Games will release a version of Flick 'em Up! with plastic components — with the figures and houses being the same size as in the original game. This version is aimed more at the broad market thanks to its $35 price tag compared to the $70 MSRP on the original, but note that the original version will still be available for those who want to knock wood.

As for the feel of the plastic versus the wood, I can't report on that as we had a lot to cover in our one-hour meeting. Co-designer Gaëtan Beaujannot took one shot, blowing away an innocent cactus, but then he had to split so that I could start said meeting.




• As for what's new from Pretzel Games, that would be Junk Art from Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier, with this title scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2016 in a separate Pretzel Games booth. Gravel says that as with Flick 'em Up! in 2015, Pretzel will feature a giant-sized version of Junk Art at Gen Con 2016. As for what the game is about, here's an overview:

Quote:
In Junk Art, players are presented with junk from which they must create art. Thus the name.

Junk Art contains multiple ways to play. In one version of the game, players pile all of the wooden parts in the center of the table, then are dealt a number of cards, with each card depicting one of these parts. On a turn, a player presents their left-hand neighbor with two cards from their hand. This neighbor takes one card in hand, then takes the part shown on the other card and places it on their base or on other parts that they've already placed. If something falls, it stays on the table and the player continues to build on whatever still stands. Once players have finished playing cards, whoever has the tallest work of art wins.

Gravel says that her original intention for Pretzel Games was to release high quality, all-wood games — one title per year — that would bear whatever MSRP was appropriate given the costs of the material. She says she's been somewhat surprised by the success of Flick 'em Up!, but perhaps some of its success is due to precisely what others might view as a drawback — its craft-like appearance that looks nothing like a standard game.




• Speaking of being crafty, the reception that Flick 'em Up! received inspired Gravel and the Z-Man team to go even further with Matt Leacock's Knit Wit, the packaging and components of which were on display at Spielwarenmesse 2016. Having the Leacock name on the box no doubt makes it easier to experiment with the graphic design and presentation...




• Another graphic design experiment will be seen in Caravan, an Emerson Matsuuchi design due out at Spiel 2016 that will be presented with two completely independent looks. The Spice Road edition and Crystal Golem edition will feature the same gameplay — that is, they're the same game — while having different covers, component artwork, and settings. As for details of the gameplay, I've got nothing as the official announcement will come later.

Having two different covers on Pandemic Legacy was Gravel's idea as she wanted to allow players to be able to run independent games with different groups and better track which game was which. For Caravan, she wanted to go even further, with one game receiving a Eurogame gloss while the other has a somewhat anime-inspired fantasy setting.

Caravan was originally intended to be a release from Plaid Hat Games, but both the PHG crew and Gravel agreed that it fit better as part of the Z-Man line so that's how the game will be released.


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Mon Feb 1, 2016 3:20 pm
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Links: Selling Yourself to Gamers and Publishers, and Knowing When to Kill a Game Design

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• On his Hyperbole! blog, designer Grant Rodiek suggests how game designers can sell themselves — and by extension their games — at conventions:

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When I play my games with people at a convention, I do my best to break down walls as quickly as possible. I immediately start playfully talking shit (pardon my crudeness), I poke fun at people, I crack jokes, and I highlight the cool things happening in the game.

Many publishers say you should let the demoers win, and there's value to this, but I've often found value in executing high level strategies or subtle combos, then explaining it so that people could see how cool the game CAN be beyond that learner's game.

• Designer/publisher Jason Kotarski of Green Couch Games tackles the same topic from the reverse angle, that of designers trying to sell a game — and by extension themselves — to a publisher:

Quote:
As an independent publisher in the tabletop gaming space, I'd much rather work with calm, collected people that I feel like I can be friends with than needy, draining, smelly geniuses. I want to spend time making something I love with people I actually like being around.

Andrei Novac of NSKN Games lists reasons why he killed "one of my beloved projects", W: The Board Game, which includes this gem: "Asking our play-testers if they'd buy the game, less than half said yes while 90% said they'd love to play it." Seems like a decent question to ask all playtesters, although what would move the needle from "play" to "buy" will likely differ from person to person.

• Following Gen Con 2015, Eric Teo from Push Your Luck Podcast had a nice write-up of "Five New Board Games You Should Play" on Kotaku, and I'm only linking to that article just now.

• More recently, Teo has presented Pandemic Legacy to the Kotaku audience: "Pandemic Legacy is all about the decisions that you have made during the game. Etching the results of these decisions into the game reminds you of what you have done. It will feel like you are crafting a game experience that is uniquely yours."

• At Spiel 2015, German podcasters/reviewers Hunter & Cron invited me to appear on their round-up of designers, publishers and ne'er-do-wells, and thankfully they did not require me to speak in German or else I would have been restricted to saying things like "Ich bin eine Ente" or "Die Wasser braucht eine Tasse". What did I say instead? Hopefully things more intelligible than that...

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Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Escape a Dying Solar System, Create Weapons for the Third Reich, and Discover Animals in Taiwan

W. Eric Martin
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• Believe it or not, I have still more overlooked (by me) new game announcements that have been nestled in my inbox for months — typically due to me sending myself a link, then having those links buried by other announcements — so let's break out another handful, starting with a 2016 release from Gabriel J. Cohn and Tasty Minstrel Games titled The Exodus Fleet, which bears this description:

Quote:
What's left of civilization on this planet is being cut into portions by those most prone to cutting. Those of us who want something better...we'll find it somewhere else.

The Exodus Fleet features resource management and tableau building mechanisms along with a highly interactive system of role selection and bidding in which players compete to hire miners, spaceship builders, and other groups to piece together their own fleet to escape a dying Earth. Just building ships and filling them with refugees will score you points, but making sure your ships work together may give you the advantage you need.

Players must decide whether to prioritize building ships within one faction (to score bonus points) or whether it might be better to build ships with synergy for powering their actions. Is it better to spend your resources on more ships or rescuing more survivors off of Earth? Should you gamble on explorers or just take a turn to gather more resources? And exactly how much money does my opponent still have? Can they outbid me for the action I really need to perform? A variety of strategic and tactical dilemmas await...

• Along the same lines is Sol: Last Days of a Star, which brothers Ryan and Sean Spangler plan to Kickstart in February 2016 through Elephant Laboratories. In the game, players need to build multiple spaceships in order to draw energy from the dying sun in order to fuel their ark into the great unknown before being consumed in fire.

Secret Weapons of the Third Reich from Luca Cammisa simulates "the arms race of World War II from the German perspective", with players trying to get projects approved and completed. An excerpt from the game description:

Quote:
Play begins in 1938, one year before the outbreak of world War. At the start, players can only place research groups for their Approved Projects (Project Plants) in the portion of the map representing Germany and Austria. In 1939 and later, the conquests of Nazi Germany allow players to deploy their Project Plants in occupied European territories. But players will have to pay attention to the various locations, because some areas allow only research and development, others only Weapon production, and still others only research and development for U-Boat Projects.

Also, players must operate in a "state of warfare". This means that as time goes on they are more and more subject to enemy Bombardments that can cause a great loss of resources and technologies. In addition, as starting in 1943 Allied and Soviet advances on Berlin make the map progressively smaller, players must face logistical issues never encountered during the early years of the war.

• Australian publisher Grail Games plans to release a new edition of Reiner Knizia's Circus Flohcati in 2016 that features fleas in the art, but not everyone seems keen on the idea of staring at insects while playing this fabulous little game. If you're one of those averse to seeing fleas, check out this 2015 version of the game from Taiwanese publisher TwoPlus Games titled Formosa 生態公園 (Formosa Ecological Park). Instead of fleas, whether cartoony or realistic, this version features animals native to Taiwan, with a different short caption on each of that animal's eight cards.

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Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:00 pm
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