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Game Preview: Tak, or Retroactive Winner of the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge

W. Eric Martin
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I've long been enamored of The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge that Daniel Solis and his wife organized in 2010. The goal behind that challenge was simple: Create a game to be enjoyed by generations of players for a thousand years.

Okay, the goal was simple to state while not actually being simple at all. The challenge at the heart of that challenge is that you can't create a game that requires you to buy it; you must create a game that will spread organically from player to player, while allowing for each new convert to spread the game easily as well. This means that you can't think in terms of manufacturing or licensing because those elements inhibit the ability of a game to travel easily to new players. You want the idea of the game to spread, so the specific physicality of the bits themselves must be secondary.

While not designed specifically for this competition, designer James Ernest has won it retroactively with Tak, a game reluctantly co-designed with novelist Patrick Rothfuss — and I say "reluctantly" because initially Rothfuss didn't want Tak to become a reality. He had introduced the game in his book The Wise Man's Fear, presenting it as an ancient game in his fictional world but not detailing how to play it. (Ernest also won TTYGDC challenge itself with Take-Back-Toe.)

Ernest, a fan of Rothfuss' work, worked with him to create three Pairs decks featuring characters and the world featured in The Name of the Wind, the first book in Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle series. While preparing for the Kickstarter for Pairs, Ernest asked Rothfuss about making a real game of Tak and Rothfuss refused many times, finally agreeing to talk about the game's background just to get Ernest to stop bothering him. Then as Rothfuss tells it:

Quote:
Later, James told me he wanted to make Tak. He wanted to invent it. He wanted to build the whole thing from the ground up based on my descriptions from the book, and the unwritten stuff he knew I had hidden in my head.

Again, I said no.

"Why not?" he asked.

"Tak is supposed to be my world's version of Chess or Go or Mancala," I said. "I can't ask you to make a game like that. It's like saying, 'you know those games that have stood the test of time for hundreds or thousands of years? The best games ever? Do that, but in my world.' So first off, it's unreasonable for me to ask. Secondly, you can't do it. No one can. And thirdly, if you did somehow manage to pull if off, nobody would give a shit. We're living in the golden age of board games right now. Nobody cares about strategy games like chess anymore." ...

"Just let me try," James said. "Let me take a run at it. If you hate what I come up with, we'll never speak of it again."

So I told him, fine. Fine! Do it. Whatever. Jeez.

Amazingly enough, Ernest succeeded in his goal of creating a modern "ancient" game. The rules for Tak are simple:

• Play on a square grid of any size from 3x3 to 8x8, with 5x5 and 6x6 being ideal. Use a number of pieces appropriate for the size of the board. Include a larger capstone piece for games on a board at least 5x5.

• To win, create a line of your pieces that connects opposite sides of the board.

• On a turn, either place one of your pieces on an empty space or move a stack of pieces that is topped with one of your pieces.

• When you place a regular piece, you can place it flat (allowing it to move or be covered later) or stand it on end to serve as a wall that cannot be covered and doesn't count as part of a winning line. Capstones cannot be placed on end.

• When you move, move the stack orthogonally, leaving behind zero or more pieces on the starting space and dropping one or more pieces on each space visited. You cannot enter a space with a wall — unless the top piece on the stack is a capstone; in this case, you can end movement by using the capstone (and only the capstone) to flatten the wall, turning it into a regular flat piece.

• If you create a line of pieces (flat ones and capstone) that connects opposite sides of the board, you win. If all the pieces have been placed, whoever controls more spaces with flat pieces wins.

Cheapass Games sent me a rough version of the game with beta rules (PDF), and I've played seven times over a single lunch: three times on the 4x4 board and four times on the 5x5 board.

Three moves in on the 4x4 board...

Tak is one of those perfect strategy games in which it's easy to lose (or win) in your first games because you (and your opponent) have no idea what you're doing. You overlook the obvious things that an opponent can do to win out of the blue because you don't even know where to look or what to look for. The rules are simple, yes, but you need to internalize them in order to start defending against attacks and the only way to do that is to play the game and learn from your mistakes.

One final aspect to the rules: On the first two turns of the game, you place one of the opponent's pieces instead of your own. This functions as something akin to the pie rule in Hex that allows the second player to take control of the stone placed by the first player, but is more interesting since (as the second player) you're reacting to the first player while also influencing that player's next move, which will be with the color that you've just placed.

Unfortunately blurry late game

Once the pieces start piling up on the board, you have a lot to consider each turn. The threats are everywhere, and you start working through your head how the mutually assured destruction would unfold if one of you makes the move the other keeps worrying will be made. It's easy to forget about the walls because in some senses that piece is wasted, but at the same time, the wall can neutralize an opponent's attack and protect multiple spaces on the board from one or more threats.

Once you graduate to the 5x5 board and the inclusion of the capstone — the full game, as it were — you discover another level of play, with the capstone serving as the game's queen in how it can warp play around it on the board; the capstone is a black hole that influences everything around it; it's a boot on the opponent's neck that cannot be removed but only shifted so that they aren't choking nearly so badly as you might wish.

I have no idea how many more games can be created that might meet the thousand-year threshold, but it can be done — at least as I view the situation only one year after Tak was created — and I'm curious to see how long the game will survive once only the cockroaches remain behind to play.

Tak on the 5x5 board with a side of mayonnaise for dipping
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Thu May 19, 2016 4:00 pm
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Game Overview: Brix, or Complementary Colors Fight for Dominance

W. Eric Martin
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I posted an overview video of Brix from Charles Chevallier, Thierry Denoual, and Blue Orange Games in late March 2016, then I headed off on vacation without posting it in this space.

Now that I am on vacation once again, I can rectify that error, instructing one and all on the minor challenge of creating a row of four blocks in your color or symbol without helping your opponent too much in the process. Why would you help your opponent? Because you're participating in a competitive three-legged race, with you and your opponent sharing space on the same bricks and therefore always placing both colors in the wall each time you build.

This concept isn't unique as Néstor Romeral Andrés published the similar, but more free-form TAIJI through Blue Panther in 2007, but I'd like to see more of it, if possible. Silly party games like Happy Salmon and Hands have something along these lines in that you score only when you help an opponent score at the same time (while still having only a single winner), but if you can suggest other competitive games with a three-legged element, I'm curious to hear about them!

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Sat May 14, 2016 1:00 pm
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Designer Diary: Tramways, or a New Approach to Picking Things Up and Delivering Them

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I have played Age of Steam more than two hundred times, and I really like the simplicity of this game. You just have to connect hexes of the right colors and move cubes of the same colors to those hexes. There is a mathy mechanism behind the shares auction, but there are no more rules. Easy, isn't it?

But Age of Steam has several faults that I would have liked to remove if I were able to design a traditional train game:

• Building a network on a hex grid does not make sense, by which I mean that breaks the theme of building a rail network. All real city maps are printed on a square grid.

• The more you move a good in Age of Steam, the more money you earn — but there is no real reason to move a cube in a particular direction. For example, in real life if I want to go to the shop by train, I have a purpose for this; there is no particular thematic reason to move a blue cube to a blue city in Age of Steam.

• You gain the same income whether the link crosses one hex or five. In either case, you gain only 1, and that's unfair!

In 2011, I start designing a train game — Tramways — with these three ideas in mind.


As I had already designed tons of Age of Steam expansions, I thought that it would be a tough task to design an original and innovative new train game: "Ugh, there are so many good ones on the market..." In the meantime, I was developing my game Small City, which is basically a city-building game, so my first map for Tramways was my Small City maps — on a square grid, of course.


I wanted to link buildings, and thus where we have goods in Age of Steam, we have passengers in Tramways. They want to go shopping, relax in their homes, or head to work in a factory. For track segments, I cut only straight lines and curves. There were no actions, no auctions; it was just a pipeline game for fun.


On a grid, you can have only straight lines or curves, so you can connect to a single square in only four ways. I immediately thought that my grid was weaker than the hex maps, but I solved this issue by designing two-space rectangular buildings that had six ways to connect to them.


To make the game as simple as possible, I kept only two types of tiles (straight and curved), but allowed players to make a crossroads or to build two curves in opposite corners of the space immediately. After solving the topological issues of the conversion of the hex map into a 90° map, I started working on the aim of the game...

First map of Tramways with Sampo's design

Because I was at this time also working on connecting citizens in Small City to "vote points", I felt that a kind of humanity was missing from my games. Why are we stockpiling victory points without any more interesting purposes? What do citizens or passengers really want in their lives? Why do they want to move?

I kept the idea of earning money when passengers move to a commerce tile, but money couldn't be the ultimate victory points. I needed something greater than this idea. What about happiness points then?

And that's how getting the most happiness points at the end of the game quickly became the goal of Tramways.

Old graphic design of the cards

I noticed that to keep tension in a game, we absolutely need two important things:

• Something that keeps you from getting victory points.
• Something that increases the speed of the victory point engine so that players have the feeling of developing something during the game.

Thus, I needed some negative happiness points — and what greater enemy does happiness have in our lives than stress? That's why passengers who move to a factory increase a player's stress!


Before printing the first prototype of Tramways in 2011, I divided the game into two halves, focused on increasing the speed of the game. In the first half of the game, the players get cards and during the second half of the game, they use them. The more cards they have, the more actions they can take...


Tramways has always been a train game with cards, and these cards are represented as tickets, so handing in tickets to move passengers also feels thematic. Some cards have symbols that allow the players to take actions, but there are always different combinations of symbols on the cards, so you have to choose which symbols to play.

Stress symbol

If you want to take more actions with a single card, you can, but as you use more abilities on the same card, you have to increase your stress level. That's another tradeoff that players must keep in mind: You can use fewer cards if you are willing to accept some stress during the game.


Tramways is a game with only three main actions, but each action is powerful and affects all players because everyone plays on the same map. Should you connect interesting areas to each other, upgrade old buildings, and build brand new lines to create new value in these buildings? Should you build long, expensive, but very beneficial lines, or short and inexpensive lines? When is it most appropriate to upgrade?


Now, how will the players get the cards? I very much like auction systems, but I also think that it is an easy (too easy) way for a designer to balance the game when the designer wants to provide different abilities to the players. It's a nifty mechanism, but overused in so many games. That's why I had to design a completely innovative auction system that took me two years to devise...


The winner of the auction gains stress; I think it makes sense that when you win the auction, you increase your stress because the other players focus their eyes on you and you have to make prompt decisions. I've lived through so many Age of Steam games in which I won the auction, paying more than $10, without even knowing which actions to select.

I also like the idea of the cumulative bids. Each time you bid in Tramways, you have to pay if you want to stay in the auction; you can pay with cash or with money symbols on your cards, but if you do the latter, you will have fewer cards, and thus fewer actions later in the game. Some cards have a negative effect that you cannot avoid when you play the card, so it's important to have as few of these as possible in your deck, lest they pollute it.


In a traditional, route-building train game, position on the map is crucial, so maybe you bid high (even though the cards up for auction are not important) solely because you want to build first! Or maybe you want to avoid some cards/tickets with negative effects (called "consequences") in the game (like voided tickets)? There is always a good reason to bid or to not bid in Tramways.

So much stress! Is there no way to reduce your stress in this game? Easy! Just move passengers to their homes! Fine, good to know, but how do you get happiness points? Move passengers along your rail network; you will receive money from the bank, and the longer the line is, the more money you earn.

Lastly, if money is not the aim, what is money for in Tramways? To stay in the auctions and to get the best cards, but also to buy happiness when you link up leisure tiles.

To be consistent with my other games in the Small City universe, I kept the same "1+2+3+4..." mechanism, which works great here as well. For example, you could spend $15 at the Leisure building to get 5 happiness points all at once, or spend merely $6 to get 3 happiness points.

In the first prototypes of Tramways, our main issues were to balance the action symbols, specifically figuring out how many of each to have and deleting stupid actions. (In the first prototype, passengers could use a boat on a river...) Also, the ability to move passengers required a particular symbol that was present on very few cards, so it was difficult to move passengers and too easy to build — which is strange for a pick-up-and-deliver game. Thus, in 2012 I decided that all cards would be tickets and inherently have the ability to move passengers. Sampo suggested using a magnetic strip on all the cards, and of course I immediately approved because it was so thematic!


In 2013, the game worked great, even if I disliked certain aspects such as some imbalanced actions (upgraded links and upgraded buildings). We also increased the replayability of the game by assembling the board like a puzzle; by printing on both sides, we could generate at least 64 maps for a four-player game. Around this time, I added a fifth player and reduced the number of spaces a little bit. Sampo made some really interesting graphics. Tramways still took place in the same modern era as Small City.


in 2014, CliniC and Small City took up all my time and I could not improve or develop Tramways as much as I would like, but the game was still played by several groups around the world, trying to balance the symbols and the money/happiness tempo. That said, I found some time to design a nice solo variant for the auction system, and I again reduced the number of spaces.

New graphic design of the cards

At the beginning of 2015, Sampo introduced me to Paul Laane and we decided to make a prequel to Small City, placing Tramways one hundred years earlier. I love old-fashioned locomotives from the 1920s, and the art deco style was an obvious choice. We were of one mind with Paul for the cover, and when I saw his first sketch for the box cover, it was love at first sight.


At the end of 2015, we returned to developing Tramways, modifying the aspects I disliked in 2013. We balanced all the actions, we fixed the number of cards and the hand limit, and we cleaned up the rules for the auctions, which were hard to write simply. (Thank you again, Nathan!)


The last improvements were made March 16, 2016, when we changed the maps into modular boards with the two sides offering different difficulty levels. The possibilities are now endless and two games of Tramways won’t ever be the same. (Thank you, David, for this suggestion!)


I hope I kept your attention and made you feel like you designed Tramways alongside me over the last five years. I did not work on it each month, but we found something interesting to improve each month, such as the different progress of the last round that increases the strategy part of the game, the +2 stress when you win the auction of the last round, the development of the hand limit of cards, the number of factories, the increase of stress in the commerce tile, the stress track with the Fibonacci sequence, the rail worker limitation, or finally, the powerful development cards that you can purchase in the commerce instead of taking more money: They have been refined again and again, using several action icons on the same card to optimize everything!


I think I managed to replace the ideal hex map with a tight and tense square grid. It makes more sense to me. Playing tickets to play actions is a great thematic addition to this pick-up-and-deliver game. The players can decide to move passengers to certain places to get special abilities, so the passengers now have a purpose again, and the theme has been improved: It is not just goods moving to abstract places. Building new buildings that have a square size makes more sense to me than building hex cities. And finally, the longer the link, the more you are paid by the bank. That makes sense with the theme of the game, a ticket to a faraway place costs more money than a ticket to the next stop.

Now it is time to design another game: What about solving a crime committed in Small City or burgling the commerce?

Alban Viard
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Fri May 13, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Preview: Animals on Board, or Every Living Thing of All Flesh, You Shall Bring One or At Minimum Three of Every Kind into the Ark

W. Eric Martin
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Ralf zur Linde and Wolfgang Sentker's Animals on Board is built on a cheeky premise: You and others are populating an ark with animals during the time of Noah, but due to Noah's previously agreed contracts, you are prohibited from having pairs of animals once it comes time to launch.

The game doesn't need this premise to exist as the design works well on its own, but the concept gives you a package, a framework in which to think about the game. And as eggertspiele did with Camel Up and its unnecessarily awesome pyramid, the publisher has used simple cardboard to provide players with well-designed bits, specifically four cardboard arks that players use to hold their animal tiles during the game. When you first open the box, you see a few punchboards floating in air and think, "That's it?!" Then you punch out and assemble everything, and suddenly you barely have room in the box to fit it all!

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Fri May 6, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Overview: ButaBabel, or Rising to the Occasion

W. Eric Martin
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Since I'm on my way to Japan at the moment to cover Tokyo Game Market, I thought it appropriate to cover one of the three games that I managed to acquire from the Kobe Game Market that took place in February 2016.

ButaBabel is a card game for 3-5 players from designer Yuo and design circle Kocchiya that consists of only a few rules and plays in only a few minutes. I'm fascinated by Japanese game design minimalism — not that all Japanese game designers exhibit this trait in their creations, mind you, but many do. The games feel like cotton candy in your mouth, almost disappearing as you play them — yet you know something's there, so you try them again and again, curious to find out how the thing works.

I know that a lot of people put an emphasis on playing games for fun, but I lean toward playing games to discover what designers have created. Fun is a good thing, sure, but my concept of fun and yours might not overlap, and in many cases I find fun in the exploration of the game as an artistic object more than an activity. The possibilities of what a game can be are huge, and I love exploring them!

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Mon May 2, 2016 5:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Movie Edition — The Godfather x2, Ghostbusters, Speechless, and Fast & Furious: Full Throttle

W. Eric Martin
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• Both Cool Mini Or Not and designer Eric M. Lang announced many upcoming games at the GAMA Trade Show in mid-March 2016, and one place where those Venn diagrams of game announcements overlapped was The Godfather: The Board Game, which Lang describes as "thugs on a map", with players also having to manage the contents of their hand as anything extra they acquire will end up being handed over to the Godfather as tribute.





• As noted earlier in March 2016, multiple games based on The Godfather films have been announced. The Godfather: An Offer You Can't Refuse from Nate Murray of IDW Games and Nathan McNair of Pandasaurus Games is a Mafia-style hidden role game that sets the Corleone crime family against undercover policemen.





Cryptozoic Entertainment raised more than $1.5 million for Ghostbusters: The Board Game on Kickstarter, so it's not strange at all that they're bringing Ghostbusters: The Board Game II to the neighborhood. At GTS 2016, Cryptozoic's Sara Miguel showed off some of the new gameplay elements to be found in this standalone game.





Fast & Furious: Full Throttle from Jeff and Carla Horger and Game Salute presents players with a street-racing challenge that brings in characters from the movies to provide optional unique powers.





• Okay, I'm cheating here since Speechless the game from Mike Elliott and Arcane Wonders has nothing to do with Speechless the movie, but I posted the overview of the Back to the Future game the other day before realizing that I could pull together this themed post. Oh well.

In any case, Speechless is charades with a twist, with one player performing in silence while everyone else guesses in silence, possibly scoring from others' guesses along the way.

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Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Islebound, City of Iron, Aura, Victory or Death, and Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories

W. Eric Martin
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• Designer Ian Brody has won great acclaim for his self-pulbished Quartermaster General, and now he's taking players into battle in a whole new era in Victory or Death: The Peloponnesian War from The Plastic Soldier Company.





• Speaking of which, France and China join the action in Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories from Brody's Griggling Games. I thought that with the 1980s long behind us, I'd seen the end of misused "Я"s as "R"s, but apparently that graphic element will never go out of style. (I'm not bugged by the graphics in Elysium, but I studied Russian in college, not Greek; sometimes ignorance protects you from outrage.)





• Designer/illustrator/publisher Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games wanted to paint ships, so he designed a game that would give him that opportunity, with the added bonus that characters in Islebound can also be used as characters in his previous game, Above and Below.





• Laukat also talked about the second edition of City of Iron, which includes some elements of a previously separate expansion, thereby messing with our clean and ordered database listings.





• This overview of Michael Orion's Aura from Breaking Games was the one that most had me going from "I know nothing about this game" to "I really want to try this". I'm a sucker for card games, after all...

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Back to the Future, Star Trek: Frontiers, TMNT Dice Masters, Chronicles 1: Origins, and Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!

W. Eric Martin
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• We're not quite living in the future these days given that our hoverboards don't actually hover, so designers Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback and publisher IDW Games are taking us Back to the Future with a card game that has you jumping back and forth across the decades to complete missions with certain well-known characters.





• Designer Dirk Knemeyer from Artana showed off Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!, an expansion for Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents that draws more figures from history onto the playing table.





• Knemeyer also talked about the continuing development efforts on Chronicles 1: Origins that Artana plans to release...at some point. As he mentions in the video, despite making release date promises in the past, the development team is in a "It'll be done when it's done" frame of mind right now and just wants to focus on making it as good as they can.





• Yesterday I posted an overview of Star Trek Panic; now we feature another of the fiftieth anniversary games coming out in 2016 — Star Trek: Frontiers from designers Vlaada Chvátil and Andrew Parks and publisher WizKids Games, with this game similarly being a mash-up of the Trek IP with a pre-existing game, in this case Mage Knight Board Game.





• At GTS 2016, WizKids Games also showed off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dice Masters, the latest iteration in the Dice Masters series from Eric M. Lang and Mike Elliott, with this being a single big box item that includes everything in one go. WizKids' Scot D'Agostino also gives an intro to the TMNT HeroClix Mouser Mayhem! Starter Set. So many turtles! I like turtles!

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Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:49 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Star Trek Panic, Munchkin Marvel, Mystic Vale, Guildhall Fantasy, and Love Letter Premium

W. Eric Martin
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USAopoly announced Star Trek Panic in Feb. 2016 to much excitement, and one aspect of the announcement that I found interesting was the realization of how many companies have a license to produce Star Trek-related games. In addition to this one, Gale Force Nine plans to release Star Trek: Ascendancy (covering fifty years of ST series) and WizKids Games has Star Trek: Frontiers, in addition to its ongoing Star Trek: Attack Wing series. I keep thinking that one company receives a license and has a lock on the market, but clearly that's not the case, as also evidenced by competing Godfather games.





• Just as Star Trek Panic mashes Castle Panic with USAopoly's game license for Star Trek, Munchkin Marvel mashes Munchkin with that publisher's game license for the Marvel Comics universe. However ubiquitous Munchkin already is in game stores, a license like this will introduce the game to tens of thousands of people who never would have heard of the game otherwise.





• Deck-building games might seem old hat at this point, even though the genre is less than ten years old, but Alderac Entertainment Group is introducing a new iteration of the genre in June 2016 thanks to the card-crafting system at the heart of John D. Clair's Mystic Vale. Instead of building a deck (as your MV deck never grows or shrinks from twenty cards), players now build the cards themselves within their deck.

The video below presents an overview of the game, and while setting up for another game demo, AEG's Todd Rowland mentioned that Clair first brought the publisher a sprawling game design that included card-crafting as one element within a much larger whole. Not wanting to bury the lede, they worked together to extract that element and create a game that featured card-crafting front and center. Thus, Mystic Vale.





• Alderac has a history of taking its own games and reinventing them (Doomtown: Reloaded, Thunderstone, L5R — although that was constant reinvention within the same line), and it's doing this once again with Hope S. Hwang's Guildhall, which debuted in 2012 and had one standalone sequel in 2013. Now that first game is being rejiggered as Guildhall Fantasy: Fellowship in June 2016, with two other standalone games — Guildhall Fantasy: Alliance and Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition — to follow in July and August.





Love Letter Premium is not a reinvention of Seiji Kanai's Love Letter, but an expansion of it — in two ways. First, the components are bigger and fancier. Second, the game includes more cards, allowing for up to eight players to compete at the same time. As AEG's Rowland notes on the video, the components that allow for play with up to eight will also be released for the normal-sized Love Letter. What's more, Kanai will be on hand at Gen Con 2016, where AEG will hold a Kanai-centered Big Game Night event.

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Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:18 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Crazy Karts, Robinson Crusoe, Fast & Fhtagn, Heart of Crown, and Naruto Shippuden: The BoardGame

W. Eric Martin
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BoardGameGeek broadcast game demos live for sixteen hours over two days at the 2016 GAMA Trade Show, and now we've chopped up those videos into individual segments so that you can more easily find coverage of the games that interest you. I'm starting to publish these videos on BGG's YouTube channel, and they'll also show up on the proper game pages in the BGG database over the next few days. I'll also highlight some of the videos that we recorded in BGG News posts over the next few days, as with the recent post about Eric M. Lang's Bloodborne: The Card Game from Cool Mini Or Not.

• For us, GTS 2016 started with Marcin Ropka from Portal Games introducing us to Charles-Amir Perret's Crazy Karts, a racing game in which players compete in teams of two, with each teammate controlling half of the operations on their kart but not being able to communicate with their teammate when doing so.





• At Spielwarenmesse 2016, I recorded an overview of 51st State: Master Set with designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, talking about what's changed with the core game and how expansions have been integrated into it. At GTS 2016, Ropka showed off the final look for this game, which is moving closer to production.





• Ropka also talked about the new English-language edition of Trzewiczek's Robinson Crusoe that Portal Games will release in September 2016, with this "Game of the Year" edition featuring a new cover by Vincent Dutrait, fancy-shaped wooden bits, the "King Kong" scenario, thicker character sheets, rewritten rules, and other small changes.





• In early March 2016, I posted a written overview of Naruto Shippuden: The Board Game from designers Nicolas Badoux and Cyril Marchiol, but if video is your thing, at GTS 2016 Rich Gain from Japanime Games showed off the design and explained what you'll be doing in this game world with Naruto and the other characters.





• Japanime Games also showed off the deck-building game Heart of Crown, which debuted in Japan in 2011 from FLIPFLOPs to great acclaim, multiple expansions, and a standalone sequel. As in many DBGs, in Heart of Crown players buy new cards to build an engine, but the long-term goal is to claim one of the available princesses — each of whom has a special, unique power — then build up succession points in order to seat that princess on the throne.





• Jeff Tidball from Atlas Games presented the card game Fast & Fhtagn, his Lovecraftian mash-up with elements of the Fast & Furious movie franchise, with players racing through the city streets while encountering (or avoiding!) obstacles from worlds unknown.

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Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:00 pm
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