W. Eric Martin
• Ravensburger is now distributing a number of its titles directly in the U.S. instead of going through licensing partners, and it expects English-only versions of Asara and Sealand to be available in January 2012. The Castles of Burgundy is being released in an English/French version (unlike the previous trilingual edition), and Ravensburger's Anka Schmollinger notes, "We just received stock of The Castles of Burgundy so that should be available a little bit sooner than the rest." (Actually The Castles of Burgundy is already available on Amazon.com, so it should be available through other retailers soon.)
• Speaking of Ravensburger, the company has released Electronic Labyrinth in the U.S., but the game is currently available only at Barnes & Noble bookstore. (B&N lists the publication date of the game as Sept. 29, 2011, but I first saw the game in store the first week of December. In any case, thought I'd mention this game's release for those not eager to wander the German labyrinth.) Anka Schmollinger says that the game will be available through other retail outlets starting in January 2012.
• Asmadi Games has posted English rules (PDF) for Aaron Belmer's Sanitarium. (Note that the rules are not final as they currently lack illustrations and play diagrams.)
• Zombicide, a cooperative game of zombie fighting that includes ten scenarios and modular map boards that allow for more, is the first title from Guillotine Games and due to debut at Gen Con in August 2012.
• Cryptozoic Entertainment has created a special game for twelve-year-old Eric Martin and others who want to relive their glorious days of youth immersed in the D&D Player's Handbook with little thought of, you know, actually playing the game. In Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre, you create three-card spell combinations in order to blast opponents into tiny, bite-sized pieces – not that such destruction will necessarily stop them, however, as Dead Wizard cards can keep the disembodied in the game to mess with those still living.
• Cryptozoic has also announced a Q2 2012 release date for Food Fight: Snack Attack, a forty-card expansion for its Food Fight card game with more punny names and special-powered food.
• Jolly Roger Games has gone to print with a second edition of Founding Fathers from Jason Matthews and Christian Leonard, with the changes being better card stock, fewer typos (and ideally none, of course), and one changed rule, as noted by artist Josh Cappel. JRG's Jim Dietz says that he'll have one hundred extra card decks available (for $1.50 plus shipping) for anyone who wants to upgrade their first edition copy of the game. Dietz says if all goes well, the game will be available on February 1, 2012.
• Mayday Games expects to receive a reprint of Eaten By Zombies! the week of December 12, 2011.
• Want more twists for your Agricola games? Then coat the wooden pieces with LSD. No, don't do that – instead randomly draw one of the Agricola Ereigniskarten (event cards) at the start of the game to change the playing conditions for everyone. These cards were released one by one at German gaming events throughout 2011, and while the cards are in German and tough to come by, you can just handwrite your own and get back to licking the wooden pieces without delay.
• More board and card game projects on Kickstarter:
–Designer John Clowdus has turned to KS for the second edition of Omen: A Reign of War (Small Box Games, KS link), with levels of just the extra bits for those who already have the game, the complete package for those just discovering Michael “Riiven” Ng's sweet art, and a special level at which you can have your likeness painted on a Soldier card. Personally I'd like to get this for my son just to see what a three-year-old soldier would look like...
–Vanessa Simek has the two-player dice game Bare Your Fangs (KS link) in which players finally (no, not really) settle the long-standing conflict between whether vampires or werewolves are better able to open a tin can with their chompers. I expect to see snakes in the expansion, then perhaps my friend Craig Maher, whose eyeteeth are more fanglike than anyone else's I've ever seen.
–Designer Elizabeth Northcutt presents Lunch Box (KS link), "a patent pending, educator recommended children's health and fitness board game that has been in development since 2007". Uh oh. "Lunch Box reaches out to our children through a fun and educational board game, bringing health and fitness back to the forefront of their daily lives." Oh my. "This game is so much FUN you will not even realize that you just learned what a 'Whole Food' is and which foods are the best choices for you to live a Healthy Lunch Box Lifestyle!" Oh, good gravy - really? That old canard? You'll be having so much fun that you won't even notice we've extracted your appendix!
I can't stand this type of marketing speak, as if it's impossible to present meaningful and useful information about health and nutrition to youngsters in a way that sticks with them without first luring them into a bear trap of fun and excitement. Saturday morning cartoon producers would always make similar arguments about providing life lessons and model ways of living because Goober the Gopher took a bite of apple before burying his enemies in a mountain of dirt. Ridiculous. Are we really going to have a game like this presented to kids with a straight face, especially when corporate sponsors can buy a spot on the game board for $10k? Oh, wait, the Kickstarter goal is $130,000 for 3,000 copies of the game. Nevermind – we'll never see this in print. Carry on...
–Lemonade Stand, from designer Trevor Cram and Mayday Games (KS link), has the look of 1970s Schoolhouse Rock! with adorable little munchkins doing ever-so-precious childlike things like playing jacks and yes, running a lemonade stand. The KS project has many details of the game play.
–Now this is an odd one, "this" being a Kickstarter project for Terra Evolution from Mindwarrior Games, specifically for "one of only 275 copies of the game left in circulation worldwide". Mayday Games is the company hosting this KS project, which is essentially a preorder system along the lines of what Mayday tried to do with Kingdom Builder in September 2011. The games have already been produced and are apparently in transit to the U.S. as the anticipated availability date is January 2012. I recall that Mindwarrior Games sold out of English-language copies of Terra Evolution at Spiel 2011, but apparently it had extra copies in the warehouse back home or otherwise not handy during that convention. In any case, here it is.