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Origins Game Fair 2016 X: Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea, Seikatsu, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game, and Love Will Tear Us Apart

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• We featured many games on our 2016 Origins Game Fair livestream, and the one that excited me the most was Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea from designer Nicholas Fortugno and publisher Killer Snails. I'm not saying this is the best game shown in our booth, but it was the most unexpected in both subject matter and the publisher's approach in bringing the game to market.



And whatever you think of the game, you really should watch the video of these killer snails. Amazing!





• Everything old comes back again, right? That's probably why zombies resonate so well in the public culture; you inherently understand the principle of zombies because you see someone wearing wide-flared bell bottoms or hear about a remake of some movie that struck you as ghastly even as an undiscriminating teenager and wonder, "Why is everyone into this stuff once again?"

Admittedly pop-culture zombieism is sometimes a plus, and the return of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to game tables after more than a decade's absence will likely excite some percentage of former and current fans. Here's an overview of this title, which Jasco Games will release on October 28, 2016.





• We had a fair amount of unscheduled time at Origins, but thankfully the hall is filled with exhibitors and designers, so we were often able to pull people on camera to talk about something other than the game release most immediately on their mind. Here, for example, Ryan Bruns of Mayday Games talks about his experience of game conventions as an exhibitor and how little of a show he actually sees, especially at Gen Con — which opens five weeks from today!





• We also found time to demo a few games that hadn't even been signed, such as the tile-laying game Seikatsu from Isaac Shalev and Matt Loomis — although from the whispering voices that I heard at Origins 2016, you'll probably be seeing this title on tables sooner rather than later.





• You might have noticed pummeling sounds in the background of our Origins 2016 videos. Directly across from the BGG booth was a fenced area in which people beat on one another with foam swords and other weapons. To explain the pummeling in more detail, Stephanie invited someone from the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society on camera to talk about what they do, both at Origins and at other events.





• We closed Origins 2016 with a mammoth conversation with designer/publisher Matt Fantastic of Prettiest Princess Games, who explained Love Will Tear Us Apart in the first couple of minutes of this 48-minute video (!) and I finally played the game on camera in the final few minutes when Stephanie Straw arrived back in the booth after touring the convention hall. Probably NSFW, but I will humbly suggest that this video is well worth your time.

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Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 IX: Kung Fu Zoo, Kreo, Battlestations, Dark Souls: The Board Game, and Heroes of Land, Air & Sea

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Charlie Price's demo of Kung Fu Zoo — a dice-flicking game of caging animals and using special powers — in the BGG booth at Origins Game Fair 2016 ended with Aldie saying, "I want to back that for two copies" — but Aldie backs a ton of games on Kickstarter so that might not mean anything to you.





• As with The Grizzled, Julien Prothière's Kreo is a cooperative game that was first released in France by Sweet November, but has now been picked up by Cool Mini Or Not for release in English. Other than those similarities, however, the games play nothing alike, with players in Kreo serving as Titans who are trying to assemble a world.





• Designer Jeff Siadek of Gorilla Games explains what's changed in the second edition of Battlestations, which is being released twelve years after the original. In the game, players are still trying to keep their spaceship intact and moving through space, gaining experience as they do in this RPG-like board game.





• Scott Almes and Gamelyn Games are giving "tiny epic" a brief rest and instead focusing on a giant 4X fantasy experience in Heroes of Land, Air & Sea, which won't be out until 2017 but which you can get a taste of right now.





Dark Souls: The Board Game was a smash hit on Kickstarter, but what is the game itself about? Co-designer Richard Loxam from Steamforged Games visited the BGG booth at Origins 2016 to demo some of those details.

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Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:26 am
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Origins Game Fair 2016 VIII: Wasteland Express Delivery Service, ManaSurge, Herbaceous, Salem, and Tau Ceti: Planetary Crisis

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• I keep hoping that we'll get a wave of post-nonapocalyptic games — you know, games in which people do fun things and enjoy decades of a satisfied existence among neighbors who are equally filled with the joys and frustrations that result from modern-day life, but apparently I'll have to wait a bit longer for such things as right now we are previewing Wasteland Express Delivery Service from the design trio of Matt Riddle, Ben Pinchback and Jonathan Gilmour and the publishing duo IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games.





• "A game of hot potato with fireballs" — that's the short description of Frank Sronce's ManaSurge from Daily Magic Games' Isaias Vallejo.





Herbaceous is a press-your-luck set collection game from Steve Finn and Eduardo Baraf of Pencil First Games with great looking art from Beth Sobel in which you're trying to score different sets of herbs by mooching from the communal supply in addition to collecting your own plants.





Joshua Balvin's Salem has been in the works for years, having funded on Kickstarter in 2012 but making it into the public for the first time at the 2016 Origins Game Fair, with Passport Game Studios having come on board as a production partner.





Tau Ceti: Planetary Crisis from Stan and Mike Strickland and Outer Limit Games aims to give you a 4X experience in space.

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Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 VII: Defenders of the Last Stand, Fate of the Elder Gods, Shark Island, Superhero Solitaire, and Gloomhaven

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• Designer Richard Launius turned up at the BGG booth three times during the 2016 Origins Game Fair to talk about upcoming titles, including his take on the post-apocalyptic genre with Defenders of the Last Stand from 8th Summit.





Fate of the Elder Gods — another Launius design, put together with Chris Kirkman and Darrell Louder of Greater Than Games — has you trying to bring about the end of the world by summoning your Elder God before anyone else can summon theirs.





• Our Launius trilogy ends with an overview of Shark Island, a co-design with Pete Shirey from Upper Deck that pits one shark player against everyone else in the water and on the shore. Can the shark create enough terror in time to win?





• Are you ready to fight crime and defend the forces of good while putting red cards on black cards? If so, then have a peek at Superhero Solitaire from Robert Kouba and 8th Summit's Jason Maxwell, which transforms the solitaire game Klondike into a special-powered bash-up.





Isaac Childres' Gloomhaven from Cephalofair Games takes the prize for "longest demo video" at Origins 2016, but the game has a lot to show off and is hugely anticipated, so it was good to bank that time at the show. (Lesson learned for Gen Con since it's good not to feel too stressed to shove in every game possible when you want to highlight something people really want to see.)

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Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 VI: Tyrants of the Underdark, Imperial Settlers: 3 Is a Magic Number, Catacombs & Castles, Sausage Party, and Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk

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• My lack of knowledge about Dungeons & Dragons is on full display in this overview of Tyrants of the Underdark, the first D&D board game from Wizards of the Coast publishing partner Gale Force Nine — although as Jean-Paul Brisigotti explained at Origins Game Fair 2016, much of the design came to GF9 via Lords of Waterdeep designers Peter Lee and Rodney Thompson.





• Ignacy Trzewiczek' Imperial Settlers from Portal Games had a new faction announced for it during Origins 2016 — Aztecs, with this announcement by way of Poland — but at Origins itself one day prior to that announcement we took a look at the 3 Is a Magic Number Empire Pack.





Aron West from Elzra showed off the disc-flicking game Catacombs & Castles and explained how it compares to their similar-but-not-that-similar Catacombs.





• I love real-time games, but I've found few people in my area who dig them as much as I do, so it was with great relish that we welcomed Mike Selinker to the BGG booth to give us a taste of Sausage Party from Lone Shark Games. Click on the link below for a spicy preview.





• Selinker also presented the much anticipated Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk, which Avalon Hill will release in October 2016 in time for holiday spooking and playing.

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Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:30 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 V: Arkwright, Haspelknecht, Salvation Road, The Fog of War, and The Dragon & Flagon

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Sydney and Brian Engelstein — two-thirds of the design team of The Dragon & Flagon from Stronghold Games along with father Geoff — visited the BGG during Origins Game Fair 2016 to jump on tables, swing from the chandelier, and explain how to play the game.





• Brian Engelstein then stuck around to explain The Fog of War, a Stronghold Games title credited to Geoff E. on which Brian E. apparently did much playtesting and development work. I'm not sure what constitutes a "credit threshold" in the Engelstein household; perhaps the family can explore that topic in a future Ludology episode.





Peter Gousis, co-designer of Salvation Road with Michael D. Kelley, thanked me for publishing this video the day that copies started arriving to Kickstarter backers from Van Ryder Games, but I think that coincidence is solely on them. In any case, here's how you're trying to survive the post-apocalyptic wasteland this time.





Capstone Games is debuting on the U.S. market with a new edition of Stefan Risthaus' Arkwright, a title first released by Spielworxx that then vanished as its short print run was snatched up by gamers. Capstone has made a few additions to the design to provide more play variety in the long run.





• The next project coming from Capstone Games is a new edition of Thomas Spitzer's Haspelknecht, which was the third title in his coal trilogy, but the first from Capstone since it serves as an introductory experience compared to the other two designs.

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Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 IV: Mystic Vale, Dominion: Empires, Clout, Morocco, and Heir to the Pharaoh

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• The Dominion empire that Donald X. Vaccarino and Rio Grande Games has constructed over the past decade is impressive, and it expands still further with, um, Dominion: Empires, which RGG's Jay Tummelson took the time to introduce to us at the 2016 Origins Game Fair.





• At Origins 2016, Patrick Nickell of Crash of Games announced a license for a new version of Clout from Jesper Myrfors and Paul Peterson, with this new version being non-collectible and possibly having myriad other changes before its anticipated Q4 2017 release.





• After watching this overview of Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback's Morocco from Eagle-Gryphon Games, I am once again curious as to why they have a vendetta against juice vendors. What's the story here?





• Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! That's (sort of — okay, not really) what you're getting in Alf Seegert's two-player game Heir to the Pharaoh from Eagle-Gryphon Games.





• John D. Clair's Mystic Vale from Alderac Entertainment Group ended up topping the GeekBuzz chart at Origins 2016. Find out what's going on in this non-deck-building game that feels exactly like a deck-building game...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 III: Hero Realms, Fish Frenzy, Tin Goose, Swipe Out!, and Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft

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Star Realms has been a big deal for White Wizard Games since its launch in 2014, and now co-designers Rob Dougherty and Darwin Kastle are trying to go even bigger with Hero Realms, which adds in special character packs, boss enemies, and a campaign mode.





Swipe Out! from R&R Games is a quick, silly family game that stands out mostly because the designer — Oswald Greene — has been involved with numerous Grand Theft Auto titles and is now transitioning to family games since he has a family of his own.





• A Sherlock game not based on deduction? Seems impossible, but Diego Ibañez's Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft from Devir Americas exists and we demoed it on camera, so however improbable it must be the truth.





• Patrick Nickell of Crash of Games announced in late May 2016 that he had obtained the rights to release a new edition of Finca, and if the wood bits shown here in the unrelated Fish Frenzy by Brett J. Gilbert are any indication, the new Finca will look as chunky and woody as the old one. Aside from ogling the bits, you can also learn something about how Fish Frenzy plays from this video. Dual purpose!





• Of the handful of titles that Rio Grande Games' Jay Tummelson presented in the BGG booth at Origins Game Fair 2016, Matt Calkins' Tin Goose was the one he was most excited about, talking about it twice as long as anything else. Learn what's going on in this (group)thinky design...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 II: Adrenaline, Codenames: Pictures, Menu Masters, Hive Mind, and Running with the Bulls

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• Let's keep rolling with our coverage of the 2016 Origins Game Fair, starting with an overview of Adrenaline from Filip Neduk and Czech Games Edition, which sounds like the most Euro-y first-person shooter board game possible.





• Vlaada Chvátil's Codenames has proven to be a surprising success for CGE, selling more than 400,000 copies in less than a year on the market, and at Gen Con 2016 the sequel/standalone expansion Codenames: Pictures will be released, challenging players to transmit information to their partners in new and not-so-new ways.





• You're challenged to follow the recipe in Menu Masters from Jordan Weisman, Zach Weisman, and Calliope Games, but in order to do that you need money, need to be first at market to have first choice of goods, or crowd the market so that others can't afford what you want.





Running with the Bulls from Paul Peterson and Calliope Games is like a Pachinko machine come to life — except that it's on a board, with you as the balls and the bulls as bigger balls that will crush your spines and remove you from play.





• Calliope Games released a bit of info about Richard Garfield's upcoming Hive Mind prior to Origins 2016, and I immediately jumped to the question of whether this is a redesign of Garfield's nearly two-decades-old What Were You Thinking? The answer: Yes and no, but mostly yes.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:00 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2016 I: The Networks, Liars' Dice, Trick of the Rails, Dreamwell, and Days of Ire: Budapest 1956

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BoardGameGeek livestreamed game demonstrations, designer and publisher interviews, and ice cream taste-testing for five days at the 2016 Origins Game Fair, and despite that event having ended only on Sunday, June 19 — a mere four days ago — BGG owner Scott Alden has already processed much of that video, transforming it into dozens of short clips that will end up on the individual game and publisher pages in the weeks ahead.

You can watch the entire five days of video — complete with false starts and random nonsense — on BGG's Livestream channel. Alternatively, you can watch for all of the individual videos to appear on our Origins 2016 playlist on YouTube, with select videos appearing in this space. With Gen Con and Spiel not too far off, I'll try not to fall too far behind in posting them so that I can keep up on other things as well.

Thus, to start we'll have Keith Blume talk about the who, what, when, how, and why of Richard Borg's Liar's Dice being reintroduced to the North American market via L4 Studios and Mr. B Games:





• Mr. B Games is also partnering with Terra Nova Games to release a new edition of Hisashi Hayashi's trick-taking rail/stock card game Trick of the Rails:





• Yet another co-production with Mr. B Games is Days of Ire: Budapest 1956 with Cloud Island, with this one vs. many design representing a conflict not normally covered in the game world.





• Designer/publisher Gil Hova of Formal Ferret Games has been hopping around the world to show off The Networks, and now the game is out in its finished form, wowing many gamers who got it to the table at Origins 2016.





• Designer Nick Little of Action Phase Games shows off Dreamwell, a trippy tile-based game of meeting friends and making sets.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:00 pm
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