Origins Game Fair 2015 Preview
W. Eric Martin
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The Origins Game Fair takes place June 3-7, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio, and this Geeklist highlights titles that, to the best of my knowledge, will (1) debut at Origins 2015, (2) be newly released just before the convention, or (3) be available in demo/preview form. To add titles to this list (or send me general game news for coverage on BGG News), please write to me at wericmartin AT gmail.com. Thanks!
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Board Game Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment
• Booth 507
151. Board Game: Firefly: Shiny Dice [Average Rating:5.52 Overall Rank:14643]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 5
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 12 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Firefly: Shiny Dice lasts three rounds, and whoever has the most points after three rounds wins. In each round, each player takes one or more turns. On your first turn in a round, you roll all fifteen dice — seven crew dice (brown), three passenger dice (white), and five bad guy dice (black) — then place them in the appropriate places on your display. Crew members and passengers all have unique abilities, some of which involve the option of rerolling dice.

After any rerolls, you reveal your mission for the round. If you have dice on your board that match the numbers given at the top of the mission, then you're unaffected by the bold line — Bushwhacked, Gorram, etc. — immediately underneath. Otherwise, you might be forced to end your go after the current turn, forced to take an additional turn, or affected in some other way. After revealing and resolving the mission, the bad guys strike:

  • Each Badger die holds one supply die.
  • Each Saffron die moves a crew/passenger die of your choice to the cargo hold.
  • If Niska dice are present, KO a crew/passenger die of your choice.

After this, you then use any remaining crew and passenger dice to defeat the bad guys, which generally require one point of damage to defeat. Remove them all, and you score 1 VP for each type of bad guy defeated, with half-points for each supply delivered; fail to remove them, and you score no points for the defeated bad guys. If you clear the turn, you can opt to take another turn — rolling all the bad guy dice and all non-KOed crew and passenger dice — or end your turn. If you opt to continue, but then fail to defeat the bad guys, you lose all the VP that you earned previously on that turn.

After three rounds, whoever has the most VPs wins.

Other Information: • Available for demo games at Origins 2015 ahead of its release in mid-2015.

Previewed on BGG News based on a playing of the prototype at Origins 2014.
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Board Game Publisher: Van Ryder Games
152. Board Game: Salvation Road [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:4369]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 8
Playing time: 45 − 75 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

In Salvation Road, the players control 4 to 8 characters struggling to survive in a barren wasteland.

A set of Heroes, exceptional individuals, are holed up in a barricaded Compound, protecting a group of young, old, and wounded Survivors. The desert around them is filled with the shattered husks of buildings, and with marauding gangs of bandits. The Survivors are doing their best to keep the Marauders at bay. Some have even been recruited by the heroes to help search through this wasteland, scavenging Resources.

The good news is that they've heard radio broadcasts from a settlement called Salvation, which claims to be a safe haven with plenty of food and water. The Characters need to save up enough Resources to make the long journey down the dangerous highway, in hopes of reaching safety from the Marauders.

Can they survive long enough to get themselves, and the people under their protection, to Salvation?

Salvation Road is a co-operative game for 1 to 4 (up to 8 with a Scenario) players that plays in about an hour. In the standard game players are assigned 2 Characters (1 Hero and 1 Survivor). Both Characters are useful but you must deal with the Survivor's limitations and exploit the Hero's strengths to succeed. While scavenging resources in a post apocalyptic wasteland may sound easy, try doing it with the marauders on your tail, wounding you every chance they get.

Other Information: • Co-designer Peter Gousis will have the Salvation Road prototype on him at Origins 2015, and if you're interested in checking out the game, contact him by email (MVPBoardgames@gmail.com) or Twitter (@MVPBoardgames) to arrange a meeting place and time.
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Board Game Publisher: Z-Man Games, Inc.
• Booth 807

• At Origins 2015, Z-Man Games will have a number of promotional items available for some of its games, such as Clash of Cultures: Civilizations – Aztecs, The Battle at Kemble's Cascade: Cetus (a promo boss), and the Onirim Mirrors and Sphinx, Diver and Confusion promos. These promos are free with the purchase of the base game/expansion with which they are associated or $5 if you want to purchase them on their own.


Cetus awaits...
153. Board Game: Abracada...What? [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2095]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Abraca...what? is a family game of deduction and spellcasting. On your turn, you try to cast one of the spells you have in front of you — but it's harder than it looks because only the other players can see which spells are available to you! So with cunning wit, clever logic, and a little luck, you have to determine which spells to use against your competitors. Watch your magic words, though, because if you try to cast the wrong spell too often, you'll lose the game!

Other Information: • Price $35

• Available for demo games and purchase at Origins 2015.
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154. Board Game: Cacao [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:515]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Cacao is a tile-placement game that immerses players in the exotic world of the "fruit of the Gods". As the chief of your tribe, you must lead your people to prosperity through the cultivation and trade of cacao — and to do that, you'll need to put them to work in the best way possible.

In the game, each player has an individual deck of square worker tiles, with the number of workers on each side of the tile varying from tile to tile. The playing area starts with only a couple of jungle tiles in play: a cacao field and a small market; two jungle tiles are laid face up, and the remaining jungle tiles stacked as a draw pile.

On a player's turn, he places one of her worker tiles on the board adjacent to one or more jungle tiles already in play, then (if two worker tiles are next to an empty space) adds one of the jungle tiles to the playing area in this space. Her workers then get busy and deliver the results of their effort: If you placed workers next to a cacao field, you receive one or two cacao markers per worker; if they're next to a market, you can choose to sell one cacao marker per worker at the listed price; if next to a well, you receive water; if next to a temple, they stand and look good until the end of the game; and so on. He then refills her hand from her personal deck to three worker tiles.

Once all players have used all of their worker tiles, the game ends. Players score (or lose) points based on their water supply, and each temple rewards whichever players sent the most workers to it. In the end, whoever has collected the most gold wins.

Other Information: • Price $35

• Available for demo games and purchase at Origins 2015.
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155. Board Game: Lords of Scotland [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1516]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 35 minutes
Suggested ages: 12 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Introduction

The throne lies empty and the clans are restless. As a lord of Scotland with land, men and money at your disposal, now is the time to lay your claim. But you are not alone. Your rivals have been waiting for just such an opportunity themselves and they are poised to act. With the clans of Scotland ready to follow the strongest leader, it is up to you to win the loyalty of the clans first. If you can demonstrate your prowess in battle to enough clans, then the rest will fall in line behind you. Do you have the audacity and cunning it takes to be crowned king?

How to Play

You acquire the support you need to win the game by winning skirmishes against your rivals. A skirmish is five consecutive rounds of play. During each round of a skirmish, you have the opportunity to either build up your army by playing cards from your hand or recruit clans to fight for you by drawing cards from the recruit pile. At the end of the five rounds, each lord gets to claim a supporter in order of highest strength army to lowest. Then you discard all the clans you mustered and begin a new skirmish. The game ends when one lord reaches forty or more points worth of supporters and claims the throne. If you hope to be the one to do so, you will need to know when to commit your forces to battle and when to regroup to fight another day.

Design Notes

Lords of Scotland borrows design elements of Three-Dragon Ante, Condottiere and Havoc: The Hundred Years War and sets the action in the interregnum period of Scottish history surrounding the wars for Scottish Independence. The gameplay is broken up into five-round skirmishes which are conducted in a turn based clockwise fashion. During each skirmish, the ability to activate more special card powers by going first is balanced by the knowledge of what strength card you need to play to win by going last. Throughout the game there is a general pressure to use resources to make immediate attacks of opportunity, balanced against the need to collect resources for long-term strategic advantage. Lords of Scotland scales well to the number of players with most victories being determined in the final skirmish.

Other Information: • Price $20
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156. Board Game: Sylvion [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:883]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 2
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

The mad Fire Elemental lord is out to burn down the dream forest. Attacking in waves using Fire Elementals, your only defense are trees and fountains and those animals brave enough to offer aid before scurrying away to safety. Using a unique drafting system and combining it with a tower defense game, will you be able to keep your forest green?

Sylvion is a tower-defense type game in which attacks come down four rows and in waves. You build a deck using a unique drafting process and play cards from your hand by paying with other cards in your hand. You can play cards to the rows like fountains and trees or play animals for instant effects or to manipulate the enemy decks of cards. When all the waves have finished, you must have kept the heart of the Sylvion verdant, or else the whole forest of the Oniverse will be destroyed.

This game can be played in an introductory style, advanced mode, and includes two expansions and an appendix for further challenges and complexity.

Other Information: • Price $25

• Comes with the promo expansion Sylvion: Below Ground, which is free with purchase of the game or $5 if purchased individually.

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157. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:42]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 40 − 100 minutes
Suggested ages: 12 and up
Categories:
Mechanics: Show More »
Language:
English
Description:

In 1271, 17-year-old Marco Polo started on a journey to China with his father and older brother. After a long and grueling journey that led through Jerusalem and Mesopotamia and over the "Silk Road", they reached the court of Kublai Khan in 1275.

In The Voyages of Marco Polo, players recreate this journey, with each player having a different character and special power in the game. The game is played over five rounds. Each round, the players roll their five personal dice and can perform one action each turn with them. The five main actions are shown on the bottom part of the board:

  • Get resources with 1-3 dice, depending on the value of the resource (camels, pepper, silk, gold). The first player for each resource gets them for free; the later ones have to pay according to the value shown on the dice.
  • Take one resource of your choice and two camels. Each player sets the minimum value for the future dice.
  • Earn money, with any one die netting you five money.
  • Purchase orders: The value of one die unlocks the orders up to that number (shown on the spaces) and allows you to buy one or two of those orders. Orders are refreshed and placed at the beginning of each round. To fulfill an order, players have to spend resources for victory points, other resources, camels, and more.
  • Travel: Two dice are placed to unlock the distance that can be traveled on the upper part of the board, that is, the map. Here, the traveler piece of each player starts at Venice and can decide between several routes eastward, all the way to Beijing. When a traveler stops at a city, they place a marker there, giving them access to a different additional action for the rest of the game.

After five rounds, the game ends with players receiving victory points for arriving in Beijing, fulfilling the most orders, and having reached the cities on secret city cards that each player gets at the start of the game; these points are added to the VPs gained during the game.

Auf den Spuren von Marco Polo should not be confused with Marco Polo Expedition, which had the same German title.

Other Information: • Price $60

• Debuting at Origins 2015.
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