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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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From Mage Knight to Star Trek: Frontiers with WizKids Games

W. Eric Martin
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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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Gen Con 2015 V: Runebound (Third Edition) and Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game

W. Eric Martin
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U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games had a number of surprise announcements, as is its custom, at Gen Con 2015, with the biggest of these being the revamping and relaunching of Runebound — now in a third edition — scheduled for release in Q4 2015.

The new combat system in Runebound that requires players to flip tokens to determine results seems to be incredibly divisive among players (who for the most part have not yet played this new edition of the game), and in this game demo recorded in the BGG booth at Gen Con, FFG's Anton Torres both explains this new system and anticipates the many objections to it.





One of the other announcements from FFG was for Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, a cooperative game of dungeon exploration due out in Q3 2015, which is the twentieth anniversary of the original Warhammer Quest from Games Workshop. In this video, Torres presents a detailed overview of the game:

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Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:30 pm
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Spiel 2015 Preview: Potion Explosion, or Chemical Crush

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Another representative of the international game publishing contingent at Gen Con 2015 was Lorenzo Silva from Horrible Games, who stopped by the BGG booth to show off the publisher's Spiel 2015 release Potion Explosion, co-designed by Silva, Stefano Castelli and Andrea Crespi.

One look at the gameplay — with players removing ingredient balls from the grid to try to create explosions of matching colors — and you'll immediately be reminded of various mobile apps. Interesting to see that style of gameplay filter into slightly more involved tabletop games (more involved than the apps, that is), especially since Potion Explosion is not a solo gaming experience, but something for 2-4 players. I don't know whether such gameplay could attract "outsiders" who don't normally play tabletop games, but I'm curious to see what happens.


Cover artwork minus logo


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Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:26 pm
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Gen Con 2015 IV: Monarch, The Undercity, Vault Wars, Bad Beets, Nevermore and Wits & Wagers Deluxe

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





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





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





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





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





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

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

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

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





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





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





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





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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





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





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





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





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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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





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





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





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





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

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

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

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

•••


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


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


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


That's the sum of information released

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


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


•••


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


Prototype components, in case it wasn't clear

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



•••


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



Alpha and not omega of FFG's history

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


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


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




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









Okay, Fury of Dracula is a standalone game

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



•••


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


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Wed Aug 5, 2015 5:49 pm
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