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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

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Crowdfunding Round-up: Powering Through Space for Honorable and Tasty Mutant Queens

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• Designer Corné van Moorsel of Cwali is hitting Kickstarter once again to fund his annual SPIEL release, this being Powerships, a new version of his (in my opinion) excellent racing game Powerboats that keeps the same dice-driven, press-your-luck system but moves the action into outer space. As with other recent Cwali titles, this game will be available solely through crowdfunding or at conventions. (KS link)

• A more traditional "build spaceships and launch them" design on KS right now is Farlight from Nick Sibicky and Game Salute. (KS link)

• You can also build in Castle Dukes from Dominic Michael H. and Medieval Lords as you buy room cards, pillars, tables, and so on, then use those to assemble a three-dimensional castle which will ideally (1) attract guests that start showing up during the game and (2) withstand assaults from a dragon who will also pop up to say hello. If you knock things over while building or otherwise suffer structural damage, you take crumble tokens that reduce your score at game's end. (KS link)

• If you'd prefer to build low instead, Julien Charbonnier's DIG from Mangrove Games is a press-your-luck card game in which you want to dig tunnels in a hill to collect ten gems before anyone else. (KS link)

• "Will you become a hero or an evil scum?" I suppose that you could ask yourself that question at any time, but in this case the question is prompted by Crossroads of Heroes, self-published by Pat Piper. In the game, you represent a virtuous character from one of the five most venerated sects of Chinese Wuxia, and you can train and fight in duels — but if you take too many actions of a questionable nature, you turn evil and must take the dark path to victory. (KS link)

• From the title of 878: Vikings – Invasions of England, you might be inspired to take on the role of said invading vikings, seeing as they get top billing, but in this design from Beau Beckett, Dave Kimmel, Jeph Stahl, and Academy Games — which uses mechanisms similar to those in Academy's "Birth of America" game series — you can also try your hand as the English nobles to, as the press copy goes, "defend your Kingdom and Christendom from the pagan hordes". Top billing doesn't always equal respect, mind you. Despite the focus on the English, versions of the game are available in English, French, German, and Spanish. (KS link)

Nations co-designer Rustan Håkansson is taking you back a bit further in time with Tribes: Early Civilization from Tea Time Productions, with 2-4 players reliving the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages for the safety of their dining room table. Even at the dawn of time, though, man knew all about the 4Xs of gameplay, which you'll find in this game. (KS link)

• We can then slingshot back to the present for Richard Gurley's self-published Urban Tribes, with players representing hipsters, soccer moms, and another modern faction that wants to win City Council seats so that it can build the city as it deems best for itself. (KS link)

LudiCreations is releasing not one, but two new editions of Long Live the Queen, first released in 2014 by Japanese publisher Circle 3D6. In this game, two players compete to place their princess on the throne, either by collecting enough prestige of multiple types or by removing the competition — possibly even through assassination. LudiCreations is offering a version of the game with the original artwork for those who want that as well as a "dieselpunk" edition with new artwork because, as the LudiCreations owner told me at SPIEL 2016, "I like the way it looks." (KS link)

• Sebastian Koziner's Mutant Crops, first released in Argentina as Cultivos Mutantes by El Dragón Azul and OK Ediciones, is a worker-placement, resource-management design from Atheris Games in which all the foodstuff has bizarre powers that you'll try to use to make as much money as possible. (KS link)

• The cooperative deck-building game Aeon's End was a big hit for Indie Boards & Cards and Action Phase Games in 2016, and now those publishers and designer Kevin Riley are back on Kickstarter with Aeon's End: War Eternal, a standalone game that also serves as an expansion for the original release. (KS link)

Grimslingers from Stephen Gibson and Greenbrier Games has the more traditional "just an expansion" expansion in Grimslingers: The Northern Territory, which somewhat nebulously "refines and redefines all aspects of the game, while adding more of what players love", according to the BGG description. (KS link)

• Nicolas Sato's Tiki from Ôz Editions is a quick-playing battle for pineapples — that's right, pineapples — on a 3x3 grid. I recorded an overview of the game while at FIJ 2017 in Cannes, France should you want to see it in action. (KS link)

• In Greg Scratchley and Luke Wilkinson's card game 5ive: King's Court from GameStax, you need to play a card that has a certain action on it in order to take that action and you want all five actions in your court in order to win, but other players' actions might keep that from happening. (KS link)

• Thomas Eliot's Murder Most Foul from Sixpence Games is described as an "infinitely replayable murder mystery dinner party game", which is a switch since those are usually one-and-done. (KS link)

Somme: Life in the Saps is a two-player, quick-playing card game of World War I trench warfare from Aditya Gaggar and reCreatives. (Indiegogo link)

Mission Selfie London from Jacky Declerck and JP Declerck is an odd duck of a game, with its goal being to help young players learn and use English better while playing a game about traveling around London and seeing things during the journey. (Ulule link)

Omen Quest from newcomer Relephor is a trick-taking game of some sort, the description of which isn't entirely clear to me. I get something about managing coins and needing to burn havens to draw more cards or manipulate your hand, but it's a fuzzy cloud of rules that I'm unwilling to wade through. (KS link)

• Let's end with a project that I'm even fuzzier-headed about: Tasty Minstrel Games is on equity crowdfunding investment platform MicroVentures looking for investment in the company itself. Why? Well, I can understand why a company might want people to give it money, but I'm not sure what those giver receive in return. Here's the statement under the "Use of Proceeds and Product Roadmap" header:

Quote:
TMG plans to use the proceeds from this raise for marketing to build up the brand of TMG, manufacturing, and new hires. TMG has a number of different games in its pipeline. There are three games currently in development, including the title Trading on the Tigris. There are 15 games currently in artwork production including Downfall, Exodus Fleet, Samara, Orléans: 5th Player, Okey Dokey, Eminent Domain: Oblivion, Harvest, Crusaders, Pioneer Days, and Homesteaders: New Beginnings, among others.

Okay, sure, but what's in it for me as an investor? TMG owner Michael Mindes is answering questions on the project page, but I'm ignorant of most things related to shares and company ownership, so I'll decline to summarize anything here other than to say I don't get it. (MicroVentures 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 Mar 26, 2017 1:05 pm
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Links: Gamer Fatigue, Exploring Badness, and Undercover Design at the CIA

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• CNN has a short article on how the CIA uses board games to train staffers, based on a presentation at the 2017 South by Southwest festival, with quotes from both senior collection analyst David Clopper and intelligence educator (and freelance game designer) Volko Ruhnke. An excerpt:

Quote:
In "Collection," Clopper's first CIA game, teams of analysts work together to solve international crises against a ticking clock. His second title, "Collection Deck," is a Pokémon-like card game in which where each card represents either an intelligence collection strategy or a hurdle like red tape or bureaucracy.

For instance, a player could lay out a card to collect intelligence via satellite photos, but an opponent could block them by playing a "ground station failure" card. It's meant to mimic situations analysts might run into in their actual work.

• In La Lettura, Michela Lazzaroni attempts to summarize and visualize board game data in a new way:

Quote:
Each game is arranged from left to right by the score, and from bottom to top by year of production. The height of the pieces specifies the maximum number of players allowed, the black triangles identifies the games that can be played solo, whereas the color shows the game’s setting (Ancient History, Middle Ages, Modern History, Industrial Revolution, Contemporary Period, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Abstract).


• Designer Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games writes about "gamer fatigue" and how it might impact the long-term health of the game industry. An excerpt:

Quote:
When people first enter the hobby, they buy games aggressively. If they like something, they'll purchase it right away.

This "honeymoon" period lasts for about 1-3 years. But at some point, a gamer realizes that they can't sustain that pace. They run out of space to store their collection. They realize, via a life event or other need for frugality, that they can't spend so much money on games. They realize that half their collection is still unplayed. Many times, they even start to find new games bland. They pine for a time when games were "better," which tends to align with the exact moment they entered the hobby...

[In] terms of pure buying power, it's the people new to the hobby who are driving the industry's growth. As long as we have more people entering this "honeymoon" period than leaving it, we will see industry revenue grow.

If, for some reason, the flow of new gamers slows, we'll see it in the bottom line. We'll see convention attendance level out and revenue flatten out. It could be for a number of reasons, like the global economy suddenly tanking. Or the hobby hitting a point where board games get so mainstream that the only people discovering it are teenagers who are getting their first disposable income. Or the number of new games per year growing so huge that discovery becomes impossible for all but the biggest game companies and brands.

I get what Gil is saying here, but I'm not sure the numbers would work out that way because it depends on the size of the gamer base that already exists. If that base is large enough, then even if those people buy only a few games annually, collectively that translates into a huge number of games sold. Heck, that's probably what already happens given that most people buy only a couple of games each year, yet mainstream companies stay in business and sell tens or hundreds of thousands of games.

And I don't think that "discovery becomes impossible for all but the biggest game companies and brands" rings true either given the number of folks who search the spaces away from the spotlight for the many, many creations that would never make it to market from the biggest game companies. Heck, almost the entirety of the hobby game industry qualifies as being not by produced by "the biggest game companies and brands"!

• Matt at Creaking Shelves attempts to answer the question "Can games be bad?" by first detailing various qualities that make a game good, then finding quantifiable measures that go against these qualities. An excerpt:

Quote:
To my mind the most important factor is the presence of Quality Decisions, which as noted above draws in a lot of other factors. How do you spot a Quality Decision? I would describe it as one where you sit and think about it, are unsure of the correct choice, and are tempted by multiple (2+) options. These decisions should matter and have some affect on the outcome of the game. Note you don’t have to be thinking about it on your turn, and the best games let you do your thinking during the time between turns.

If a game offered you zero decisions then it would be a bad game. Hell, it would be a film or a book, not a game. But how many decisions are enough? How many decisions are too much? That will depend on the player, and on what sort of game you are playing. In an hour long game, you would want more than one quality decision. That suggests the idea of a “quality decision density”: the number of quality decisions per unit time.

So a bad game would be one where the quality decision density is “too low”. That’s still a little vague, so I would say a game needs at least 1 quality decision per player turn, on average. That ensures you always have something to think about. I’ll allow some flexibility here but it’s a solid starting point. In addition to this, those decisions should vary over the course of the game (if the game is long enough for this to matter).

• On Polygon, Adam Saltsman gives a nice overview of games that have succeeded with his four- and six-year-old children, highlighting one of the key differences to keep in mind when choosing games for this type of audience:

Quote:
The three- and four-year-old players, in our experience, can play tactically but cannot play strategically. What I mean by this is, there is a difference between taking your turn correctly and planning out a series of turns to accomplish a goal. We’re finding our four year-old can engage in a surprisingly complex single turn, but just doesn’t plan over multiple turns. Which is totally fine! But it means that games where opportunistic local play can keep up with long-term strategic play have a broader age range where we can all really play together.

River Dragons, Machi Koro, and Tokaido all get nice shout-outs, and I learned of a new game myself in Latice!

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Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:05 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2017 II: Codenames Duet, The Godfather: Corleone's Empire, and A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game

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Time for another round-up of upcoming games that were on display in the BoardGameGeek booth at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, starting with an overview of Codenames Duet, a cooperative version of Vlaada Chvátil's massive party game hit from 2015. Now two players — or more should you want to play in teams — work together to try to identify all their spies in the field. You think these guys would keep better notes by this point!

I played Codenames Duet once at PAX East 2017 with CGE's Joshua Githens, and the game presents an interesting challenge, especially since three of the spies are shared among the pair of you. This makes it impossible for you to guess only those words that don't show on your side of the card, yet you don't know which three are shared, so you're then considering everything on the board when given a clue — which is as it should be. (One word of advice: Just try to remember when you do identify a spy that's also part of your "half" of the team since that will help you narrow down choices in the future.)

During play, you're both staring at the board and either of you can yell out a clue and a number, but since each of you has spies unique to your side, you can't only throw or receive; you need to do both. Sometimes, though, you're happy for the other player to give a clue as the answers might eliminate something troublesome with a clue that you wanted to give — which mimics the nature of the original Codenames.

As Josh mentions in the video, CGE is still working on the timing mechanism at this stage of their development. We played with a stack of green "found spy" tiles, along with a row of individual spy tiles. When you gave a clue, you'd pick up the stack, cover any spies guessed correctly, then place the rest of the stack on the first individual tile of the row (thus increasing the size of the stack by one). If you need to place the stack back down but no individual spies remain, then you've run out of time and you lose; if you ever place the final tile in the stack and have nothing to put back down, then you win immediately (as the gamemakers presume that you're smart enough to guess any remaining spies on a 1-1 basis at worst).





• At GTS 2017, CMON Limited announced that it had brought on designer Eric M. Lang full-time as Director of Game Design as of April 1, 2017, and we spoke with him at the show about his responsibilities for the publisher and what this entails for future designs from him. Rising Sun was on the table, so we talked about that a bit as well.





• Lang then stuck around in the BGG booth to preview The Godfather: Corleone's Empire, which will be released in July 2017, presumably to avoid the money crunch that gamers will experience at Gen Con 2017. We actually recorded an overview of this game at GTS 2016, but now the design and components are final, so you can see the game as it will hit the market.





• And there was still more from CMON Limited as Lang and Jared Miller stuck around to present an overview of plans for Michael Shinall's A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, part of which will launch on Kickstarter in Q3 2017 and much of which will unwind in monthly batches once the initial starter set hits the market in 2018.

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Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2017 I: Dice Forge, Pyramid Poker, Dinosaur Island, Wasteland Express Delivery Service, and Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

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BoardGameGeek was at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show for two days in mid-March 2017, and we streamed game demos over both YouTube and Twitch for nine hours one day and eight hours the next. Since you possibly don't want to sit through more than seventeen hours of video to find the overviews that interest you, I've started posting the individual game demos on YouTube (in this GTS 2017 playlist) and on the individual game pages here on BGG.

Most of the videos highlight games due for release later in 2017, and while some don't contain much more than a teaser, as with this short clip on Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game





—many of the videos show off the finished look of a game, as with this pre-production proof of Wasteland Express Delivery Service from Pandasaurus Games—





—while others sometimes show the entire game being played, as with this nine-minute video of Pyramid Poker from R&R Games.





Some folks had mentioned that the Dice Forge overview that I shot at FIJ 2017 in Cannes was unclear or didn't give them enough information about the game, so here's another take from GAMA.





As might be expected, many games currently on Kickstarter or scheduled to be funded via Kickstarter showed up at GAMA, as with Pandasaurus' Dinosaur Island. They do have a pandasuarus promo as part of the KS campaign, right? Right?!





We tried a new microphone set-up at GAMA. Instead of having wireless mics that attached to the collars of host and guest — a mic that needed to be placed onto, then removed from each guest — we instead had wireless microphones on tripods that projected over the demo table, yet out of view of the cameras. I feel the guests sound great, while I sound like I'm speaking from inside a large vase, but maybe that's just me hearing my voice outside my head.
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Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:05 pm
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Blast Centipedes, Chase Cats, Fight Creeps, and Rebel Against Damned Dirty Apes

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While in the BGG booth at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, Bryan Merlonghi from IDW Games sprang a huge number of upcoming releases on us. You can watch a runthrough of those games around hour eight of our nine-hour broadcast from day 1 of GAMA, or you can wait until we parse that video into individual game and publisher segments, or you can check out the minimal details presented below.

The splashiest announcement from IDW Games came with perhaps the fewest details, this being a trio of games — Centipede, Asteroids, and Missile Command — based on beloved Atari video games. All three of the games are credited to the design trio of Jonathan Gilmour, Nicole Kline, and Anthony Amato, and all carry the same stats — 2-4 players aged 12+ with a 30-45 minute playing time — but beyond that we have only the claim of them being "fun, intense and fast-paced".



Game display at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show


• In addition to the trio above, Merlonghi gave an overview of Stephen Sauer's pun-filled Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty's Trail, a June 2017 release that features this relatively comprehensive description:

Quote:
Furriarty is terrorizing London, and it's up to Purrrlock Holmes to stop him before he completes his plans and escapes! However, Purrrlock cannot do it alone and you, as a newly inducted Inspector at Scotland Pound, must help bust members of Furriarty's gang in order to help Purrrlock get closer to the bewhiskered baddie that's been bullying all of Baker Street.

In more detail, each player in Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty's Trail draws a hidden suspect card. Players take turns making guesses using a "clock" mechanism about their unknown suspect’s identity. The other players (who can see every suspect but their own) will tell you whether you've got a lead on your suspect; if not, it's a dead-end. Figure out enough leads to deduce the suspect's identity, and you get to snag a clue that leads to Furriarty. Each clue is labeled with a variable number of victory points. Every round, Furriarty pads his way closer to escape, putting tension on the players to guess — quickly! — to solve the case. If you can deduce enough suspects and collect enough paw print tokens, you may be able to overtake Furriarty before he scrams.

Get ready, Inspector, as the game is officially afoot — or a-paw, if you will...

• Another title previewed was Jon Cohn's arena-battle game King of the Creepies, which was originally announced as a Keyhole Games production and which will now be a co-publication between IDW and Cohn's Keyhole Games. This title is also due out in June 2017, and it plays as follows:

Quote:
In King of the Creepies, up to six players try to build their ultimate teams by collecting creepie cards and outfitting them with gear and special abilities to fight in fast-paced battles. Players bet their hard-earned monies in the hope of buying the perfect cards to crush their enemies, but goblins are always hiding just out of sight to cause all sorts of mischief! Bet, bribe, and battle your way through the marketplace and the arena to become the King of the Creepies!

Each round of the game is played in three phases. In the market phase, players buy and sell cards to try to assemble a team of well-equipped creepies. In the match phase, players reveal their chosen combatants, then bet their monies on the outcome; after bets have been placed, a mischief card is drawn, which affects the battle in an unpredictable way. The battle phase is where the majority of the game takes place. Players battle each other using one of thirty unique creepies, using gear, items, and special abilities to help their cause. The winner earns a victory crystal, and whoever collects five crystals first wins!

The game includes a variant ruleset for "poker mode". In this version of the game, players draw an entirely new hand each round and go through a series of rounds of betting before battle, with the combat winner gaining the pot. Players then draw a whole new hand and try again until one player has all the monies!

• Other titles coming from IDW Games include Random Encounter: Seas of the Sea Chicken, a co-publication with Jamie Keddie of Joyride Games; Matt Loomis and Isaac Shalev's tile-laying game Seikatsu, of which we had filmed an overview at Origins in 2016 before the game had been announced; a cooperative Planet of the Apes game for 1-4 players from Richard Launius; and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Showdown from Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu. Merlonghi might have slipped in a few more titles as well, but I think that's enough for now.


Game display at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show
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Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:00 pm
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Flight Slack as Scott Pilgrim, Flip Ships to Defend the Earth, and Fend Off the Fox in the Forest

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Renegade Game Studios announced a trio of new titles ahead of the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, with the most media-friendly one being Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game, a deck-building game from Gloom designer Keith Baker based on the graphic novel series from Bryan Lee O'Malley, which has also been transformed into a film, video game, and animated series. Here's an overview of the game, due out Q3 2017:

Quote:
Being a grown-up is HARD and maybe not worth it? You might rather spend time tweaking your band's set list until it's guaranteed to get you that big gig opening for legit rockstars. Perhaps you're better off dating someone a bit younger than chasing a fairytale romance with the age-appropriate girl (or boy) you met at a party. Maybe the drama constantly engulfing your pals feeds you, even if it is bringing your friends down. And don't adults just sit at desks all day worrying about how bread makes you fat? Do adults ever even get attacked by random robot ruffians determined to pick a fight? Huh. Maybe there is something to getting it together…

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game is a deck-building game that challenges you to grow up and prepare for your finest hour. Players assume the roles of their favorite characters in the Scott Pilgrim universe, each of whom comes with a unique starting deck.

Innovative double-sided cards let you decide whether to solve your problems with hard work and empathy, or whether to embrace the unpredictable world of gratuitous video game violence. Players will face hard choices about whether to fight or upgrade their life with each card placed into the plot line. Defeating the Evil Ex and collecting Power-Ups will help players inch their way towards victory.

• The most eye-catching title among the trio is Flip Ships, with groovalicious artwork by Kwanchai Moriya in full-on Ace Science Fiction Special mode. Flip Ships comes from frequent Renegade design partner Kane Klenko (Covert, FUSE, and the upcoming Flatline), and here's a hint of what you'll find in this cooperative dexterity game:

Quote:
"It was an ambush. That’s the only way to describe it. The mother ship appeared out of nowhere, creating a massive shadow over the city. Within seconds, wave after wave of fighters poured out of it, filling the sky."

"We're launching the ships we have ready, but they aren't much. Our pilots must fight bravely to defend the planet while we ready the rest of the fleet. Explosions fill the sky, and we've taken some hits, but we won't give up. Will you?"

In Flip Ships, players take on the roles of brave pilots defending their planet from an onslaught of firepower. Flip your ships to take out the encroaching enemies and to take down the powerful mother ship before it's too late.

I think we need more details to get a sense of what's really going on, but the demo box at GAMA was empty! Renegade was focusing on the newly released Castles of Caladale and Clank! Sunken Treasures at GAMA, so maybe we'll see more at Origins.

• Rounding out the trio of announcements is The Fox in the Forest from designer Joshua Buergel, with co-publication credit for frequent Renegade partner Foxtrot Games (World's Fair 1893, Lanterns: The Harvest Festival). Two-player trick-taking games aren't common, so it will be interesting to see how this game holds together:

Quote:
Aside from the normal ranked- and suited-cards used to win tricks, in The Fox in the Forest fairy characters such as the Fox and the Witch have special abilities that let you change the trump suit, lead even after you lose a trick, and more.

You score points by winning more tricks than your opponent, but don't get greedy! Win too many tricks, and you will fall like the villain in so many fairy tales...
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Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:00 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Tricking Kings and Dinosaurs to Rebuild Ad-Heavy Hives

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I've attended five conventions in the past six weeks, and plenty of crowdfunding projects have come and gone in the interim. I'd apologize for missing all of them, but in some ways you just have to think of dipping into a stream to sample here and there because you're never going to see them all anyway — not if you want to do anything else, that is. With that in mind, here's what I've scooped up this time:

• In Solstice from Grant Rodiek and Hyperbole Games, a drafting and blind-bidding card game inspired by Frank Herbert's Dune, players vie for control of the throne, while optionally dressing up their game with wooden tokens. (KS link)

• Blind-bidding of a different sort awaits in King's Road from Reiner Knizia and Grail Games, this being a revised version of Knizia's Imperium. In each round, each player chooses three of their eleven cards in hand along with the order in which they want to play them, trying to use these cards to gain influence in the king's many provinces. (KS link)

• Another remake is Divinity Derby from Carlo A. Rossi and Ares Games, with this game featuring the "shared hand" mechanism of Rossi's Hab & Gut. Players bet on which mythological creatures will win a race, with each of them sharing information on the movement cards they hold with their left-and right-hand neighbors. (KS link)

• The revisions continue with Thunderstone Quest, the latest iteration of the Thunderstone deck-building game from Mike Elliott and Alderac Entertainment Group. (KS link)

• A remake of a different sort is Dinosaur Island from Jonathan Gilmour, Brian Lewis, and Pandasaurus Games, with this not officially being a Jurassic Park board game while still being a 1990s-inspired game in which everyone combines ancient DNA to create dinosaurs that populate their own theme park of sorts. (KS link)

Weta Workshop is normally associated with movies, not games, but the design studio had a game world that it wanted to bring to life and it partnered with Cryptozoic Entertainment to make it happen. The world of GKR: Heavy Hitters! features giant, advertising-sponsored robots battling in a post-apocalyptic world in which you're either trying to destroy the opponent or tag enough buildings to make your brand come out on top. (KS link)

• I played a few rounds of Dubai: Rebuild the Ruins from Chris Zinsli, Suzanne Zinsli, and Greater Than Games at PAX East 2017, and despite making horrible choices, I appreciated the challenge of the design. At the start of the game, players take turns placing their workers on three wheels, and on a turn whoever was at the end of the worker chain on the wheel of the current action removes that worker from the chain and places it at the nose of the chain of their choice, with each player then taking actions related to that wheel. Thus, within the confines of a familiar "collect resources and money to build stuff" design, you're challenged to get things working in the right order so that you can build better and faster. The current project is foundering, but I'm sure GTG will bring it back to market in the future. (KS link)

Ladder 29 from Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle and Green Couch Games is a firefighting-themed, (ladder) climbing/hand-shedding game in which players choose a "Hot Spot" card each round that places some kind of condition on them (e.g., runs must be of a single color) and indicates the points they'll score based on when they go out in the round. (KS link)

• Trick-taking of a more traditional sort awaits in Half-Pint Heroes from Roland Goslar, Johannes Goslar, Søren Schaffstein, and Corax Games, with players trying to predict how many tricks they'll win while betting against the predictions of others. (Spieleschmiede link)

• Shin Wong's mafia-themed, dice-placement game Lawless Empire has you trying to meet more of your hidden victory conditions after five rounds than any other player. (KS link)

• To continue with the dice-based section of this post, we have Cara Heacock and Marcus Ross' BEEEEES! from Action Phase Games, a real-time game in which you place dice on hive tiles to grab them from stacks and build a sweet hive for yourself. (KS link)

Cosmic Run: Rapid Fire is a roll-and-write game by Steve Finn of Dr. Finn's Games in which 1-2 players roll dice to move through space, take special actions, and attack one another — unless you're playing a solo game, in which case you're not likely to be firing on yourself. (KS link)

• Another trip to space is offered by MARS WARS from Grant Wylie, Mike Wylie, and Worthington Publishing, with 2-6 players representing Chinese and U.S. space forces who compete for space on Mars, with Martians also laying claim to their own land. (KS link)

• John Wrot! of Gate Keeper Games has new sets of "halfsies" dice — sets of seven dual-color dice — with pledge levels ranging from one to thirty sets. (KS link)

• Another non-game-yet-game-related thing are orc and goblin miniatures from 3dArtDigital. Minis are hot on Kickstarter, right? Not necessarily as this project is solely for the minis and it barely has a presence on KS. (KS link)

• Also in the "that's not a game" category, logical puzzle publisher ThinkFun has hit Kickstarter with its first project: Roller Coaster Challenge. This item fits the model of many of its logic puzzles, with players being presented with a challenge card, then trying to assemble the components into the one correct pattern. In this case, players construct pillars, then add track in order to finish a roller coaster, finding out whether they succeeded by rolling a car down the track to see whether it crashes or not. (KS link)

Prototype components shown at NY Toy Fair 2017


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 Mar 19, 2017 4:37 pm
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CMON Limited Hires Eric M. Lang as Director of Game Design, Announces A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game

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At the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, CMON Limited has made several announcements of note, starting with the news that designer Eric M. Lang has been hired as Director of Game Design. Lang will both continue to design new titles for CMON Limited and lead the publisher's development team. To quote from the press release:

Quote:
CMON's Creative Director, David Preti, has worked with Eric on several projects and explains, "Having Eric as part of the team is huge. Not only is he a friend, but I have worked with him, side-by-side, on projects like Rising Sun, Blood Rage, and The Others and seen the craft and dedication he brings to his work. As CMON's Director of Game Design, I know he will help take the company and its library of games to a new level, and I can't wait for fans to see what's coming up."

CMON Limited has also brought artist Adrian Smith (Blood Rage, The Others, Rising Sun) on staff as Lead Artist.



In addition to expanding their staff, CMON Limited has announced a new game series based on novels by George R. R. Martin. Which novels? Well, the press release doesn't say exactly, but the game series is titled A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, and it bears this description:

Quote:
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game lets players take control of their favorite Houses from the novels — represented by trays of high-quality, pre-assembled miniatures — and lead them into battle against their opponents. Players can recreate their favorite moments from the series or create their own stories. What if the Red Wedding never happened, and Robb Stark assaulted King's Landing? Now fans can find out!

Battles can range from large-scale wars with hundreds of miniatures to simple skirmishes between a few units without complicating the elegantly designed rules. The game features several unique systems, including alternating activations that keep the players engaged; a Rank System that changes a unit's capabilities as the battle rages on; a Tactics System that provides strategic powers fueled by a finite resource each round; and, most importantly, the iconic Heroes, such as Robb Stark and Jaime Lannister, that can change the course of war both on and off the battlefield.

Pretty sneaky there not mentioning Ame-gay of Ones-thray.

CMON Limited plans to launch this series with the Stark vs Lannister Starter Set, which will hit Kickstarter in Q3 2017 ahead of a 2018 release date.

BoardGameGeek is at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show, and CMON Limited is scheduled to be on camera Wednesday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m. Las Vegas time (PDT, GMT -7) should you care to check out this title and others coming from the publisher.
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Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:32 am
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New Game Round-up: Become an Online Detective, Blueprint a Palace, and Build a Roman City

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• With the 2017 GAMA Trade Show kicking off this week, several publishers have announced new games in their line-ups, such as Portal Games' Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame, coming in 2018 from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek and author Przemysław Rymer. Here's an overview of the setting and the basics of the gameplay:

Quote:
In Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame, 1-4 players take on the role of investigators working for the government agency ANTERES. Investigators are given login credentials to the ANTERES online database that contains data about suspects, witnesses, and documentation from arrests and trials related to their case. Players are free to use the investigation manual, ANTERES database, and any other online resources they may find to help them solve the case.

Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame brings classic puzzle-solving gameplay into the 21st century with the introduction of online elements. This story-driven, cooperative game includes five scenarios that can be played independently, or worked through as a complete campaign. The game blends printed elements, with a complimentary online component that allows players to investigate clues through their favorite internet-connected devices.

In a press release announcing this title Trzewiczek writes, "The Fourth Wall is a well-known concept in theatre. With Detective we are breaking this Fourth Wall. We offer an immersive experience like no other. Players are not playing a character who investigates crime, the players are actually investigating the crime. Players have all modern tools available. They are able to search Wikipedia to confirm some information, or check the history of World War II to verify a witness statement. At Portal, we design board games that tell stories and this time once again, we have extraordinary story to tell."

Ted Alspach at Bézier Games is revisiting a familiar location in Germany with The Palace of Mad King Ludwig, in which players collectively assemble a palace blueprint for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, a.k.a. the Swan King. This title will debut at SPIEL 2017, and here's a taste of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
King Ludwig II of Bavaria has called all great architects to design his greatest achievement: a world-renowned palace. Only the best will do! Gorgeous appointments, white stone, surrounded by water, with swans everywhere. Oh, and the Ludwig touch? All the architects must design the palace together. The designer who shows the strongest influence will receive the order to build it.

In The Palace of Mad King Ludwig, each player builds rooms one at a time in a single gigantic palace. As rooms are completed, a moat slowly forms around the outside. Once the ends of the moat connect, the palace is finished, and the player who has contributed the most to the palace wins!

In more detail, this sequel to Castles of Mad King Ludwig shares a few similarities to its predecessor, such as tile-laying, room rewards, and the magic of watching a unique palace take shape through the course of the game, but the gameplay is entirely different, with no auction, a clever endgame timer that graphically builds pressure for players as the moat slowly closes in around the palace, and a twist on resource management with multi-colored swan tokens being used as currency, points, and the keys to new abilities.

Pandasaurus Games has picked up Hisashi Hayashi's Minerva, originally self-published by OKAZU Brand in 2015, for release in North America with a revised graphic design and new artwork by Franz Vohwinkel.

In Minerva, players manage their own cities in the Roman Empire, laying down tiles to build those cities and activating all tiles in the row or column of the tile being newly placed.

• Publishers Nevermore Games and Button Shy Games are partnering to create The Spiel Press, which it dubs "the premiere crafter of strategy roll & write game books", which is probably an easy position to hold given that it is currently the only crafter of strategy roll & write game books.

Why publish these games as books? Because The Spiel Press, according to the press release, wants to do more than simply print a block of identical game sheets. They want to have variation in their roll & write creations, with backstory and storyline events in between sessions of the game. What's more, "the book medium gives designers a lot of flexibility in design from legacy elements to creative use of the pages themselves".

The first two titles from The Spiel Press will be Bryan Fischer's Star Maps, in which a player discovers and charts a series of new solar systems, and Jason Tagmire's Blood Royals, in which the political climate of the land changes several times as you play through the game sheets, meaning that the map geography on the game sheets changes over time.

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Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:38 pm
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Game Previews from FIJ 2017 III: Dice Forge, Jelly Squad, Mysterium: Secrets & Lies, Mafiozoo, and Seeders from Sereis: Exodus

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I'm almost through posting game demo videos recorded at the 2017 Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, France, leading off this time with a trio of games from French publisher Libellud, with Dice Forge coming from company owner Régis Bonnessée.

Dice Forge is a dice-crafting game along the lines of Rattlebones and the LEGO dice games as the faces of the dice can be changed over the course of the game to customize the dice to a player's strategy.

I hadn't realized how softly I was speaking in these three videos until I processed them. We were located in the press area on the third floor of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès where FIJ takes place, with open space all around us and balconies that opened onto the floors below. Everything was peaceful and quiet, so without the buzz of the convention that normally takes place, I was practically whispering...





Mysterium: Secrets & Lies from Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko adds more of the same to the Mysterium base game in the form of new object, location, and characters, along with new story cards that can replace object cards to give the game a tougher challenge.





• Antonin Boccara's Jelly Squad is a frantic dice-rolling game with players trying to collect jelly from the monster that attacked the city so that they can crow about doing more to save people than anyone else. Hold that jelly high, champion!





Mafiozoo is a new version of Rüdiger Dorn's Louix XIV with publisher Super Meeple working the endgame scoring, the power gained during the game, and the setting.





Seeders from Sereis: Exodus is an oddity for publisher Sweet Games, which normally releases tiny boxed games with relatively short playing times. The game originates from a future history derived from Serge Macasdar and Charbel Fourel, one that has the human species traveling to the stars over thousands of years, modifying itself in multiple ways, and encountering others along the way.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:00 pm
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