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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

Archive for W. Eric Martin

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Tides of Time to Flow from Portal Games

W. Eric Martin
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When you think of Portal Games, grandiose game designs tend to come to mind such as Neuroshima Hex! and Stronghold, Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island and Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy — board games that seem to hold entire worlds within themselves, board games that want you to inhabit those worlds, board games that (yes) tell stories, board games that bear subtitles that threaten to shatter under their own weight (much as with this sentence and its many clauses).

While that's often the situation with game releases from Portal, the company has released a number of smaller designs over the years such as (the still somewhat involved) Witchcraft from Michał Oracz and Ignacy Trzewiczek and the abstract strategy game Glik from Adam Kałuża. While those games are ancient relics in today's on-the-run game industry, Portal is not finished with small designs, with the 18-card microgame Tides of Time from first-time designer Kristian Čurla scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2015 and reach retail outlets in August 2015. Here's an overview of the gameplay:

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Play as an ancient civilization as they prosper and collapse through time. Build gigantic monuments, raise impenetrable fortifications, and amass vast knowledge as the ages pass. The greatest civilizations will leave their mark long after their collapse. From times long forgotten to times recently lost, civilizations will rise and fall as the tide of time carries them.

Tides of Time is a drafting game for two players. Each game consists of three rounds in which players draft cards from their hands to build their kingdom. Each card is one of five suits and also has a scoring objective. After all cards have been drafted for the round, players total their points based on the suits of cards they collected and the scoring objectives on each card, then they record their score. Each round, the players each select one card to leave in their kingdom as a "relic of the past" to help them in later rounds. After three rounds, the player with the most prosperous kingdom wins.

In a press release announcing the title, Portal Games' Ignacy Trzewiczek says, "Kristian approached me at Essen Spiel with a prototype and when we played it, I knew immediately that it was a perfect fit for Portal Games. The play is more streamlined than our usual games, but each decision is rich and difficult. Each choice, you must choose between building your Kingdom or sabotaging your opponents plans...and sometimes, you can do both with a single action!"

Tides of Time is for players aged 8 and up with a playing time of 10-20 minutes and a $12 MSRP.
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Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:00 am
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Alspach and Worthington Unleash One Night Resistance

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You know which game is super popular and has fans that constantly rave about its wonderfulness? Don Eskridge's The Resistance. You know another game that fits this same description? One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Ted Alspach's take on Akihisa Okui's One Night Werewolf.

And now like two soulmates who were separated at birth and never knew about the existence of one another, those two games have been magically combined as One Night Resistance by Alspach and Resistance publisher Indie Boards and Cards, with the game already having blown past its Kickstarter funding goal in a matter of hours. Here's a rundown of the design that somehow convinced Debbie Harry to become part of the Resistance universe:

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One Night Resistance is a super fast game of secret identities for 3 to 10 players that combines all the deductive and chaotically fun elements of the One Night Ultimate Werewolf series with the structured game play of The Resistance. The result is a very addictive game that is easy to learn and will be played over and over again.

Every player starts with a specialist role and an ID (either spy or resistance). At night the spies reveal themselves to one another — assuming any exist, that is, as at all player counts between zero and three spies are in play — then all players complete their specialist action in a clockwise order (removing the need for a rigid script/app and reducing the potential to accidentally reveal your role). Specialist actions include gathering information, switching roles, and helping players in their attempt to identify the spy before the the day is over. If a majority of players identify the spy, the resistance wins — but if the spies remain hidden, they win!

Alspach has written a designer diary about how Travis Worthington, owner of Indie Boards and Cards, approached him with the challenge of combining these two game worlds, and that history goes live on BGG News on Monday, April 20, 2015.
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Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:20 am
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First Look at The Infinite Board Game

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Today is International TableTop Day, as decreed by Geek & Sundry, the folks behind Wil Wheaton's TableTop series of game demonstration videos, and you may or may not be participating in a TableTop event right now. (If you are, then it's probably your turn, so put down your phone and make a move!)

Me, I'm planning to play a few games with my family, but I thought that I'd also take the time to show off The Infinite Board Game, a collection of piecepack games being released by Workman Publishing on September 22, 2015.

As I noted in this Aug. 2014 BGGN post, Workman contacted piecepack creator James Kyle about assembling a collection of piecepack games, and Kyle then passed my name to Workman as I had created a proposal for such a project in the mid-2000s. That project is now nearing completion, with Workman editor Daniel Nayeri and me (and others) checking the final proof of the text in mid-April and the project then going into production by the end of April.

The Infinite Board Game includes a 160-page softcover book that includes rules for roughly fifty games, with each game having a double-page spread (and more pages when needed) that lays out the rules, includes diagrams and set-up information, and is dressed up with a fun illustration. In the book, the games are divided into categories such as classic, solitaire, and dexterity. The Infinite Board Game comes packaged with a redesigned version of the piecepack; I haven't seen the test versions of the pieces in person, but the image below shows a mock-up of the piecepack components (as well as the book), and I love the look that Workman has chosen. Very curious to see this project on shelves in the months ahead and find out what people think about the collection!

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Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:50 pm
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Ares Games Pits Players Against Poseidon, Pirates & Premature Previews

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• Italian publisher Ares Games has three new titles in the offing, two of which put you on ocean waters in time for Gen Con 2015 and a third that consists of little more than a title for now in terms of public information.

To start with, Ares Games extends its Euro game line with Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon from Leo Colovini, who also designed or co-designed the other two titles in that line (Incognito and Aztlán). I'm a huge Colovini fan for reasons that I'll expound upon once I finally post an overview of Hot Tin Roof — the short version: his simple designs allow for confusion, cleverness, complexity and catastrophe — so I'm curious to see how he'll pull this one off. Here's an overview of the setting and goal:

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The war is over, and the Greek ships are trying to return to their homeland after a long absence. They need to reach the Sacred Island to present offerings and prayers to the gods, but the irascible Poseidon will use all his power to prevent them from getting there.

In Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon, one player takes the role of Poseidon, God of the Sea, while the other 1-4 players become navigators in search of the Sacred Island. Gameplay takes place on two copies of the same game board that are separated by the game box so that they are not visible to one another. The Poseidon player throws powerful storms against the Navigators, driving them off-course and confounding them so that they cannot reach the Sacred Island in time. Only Poseidon knows the real position of the ships as indicated on his copy of the game board.

The navigators must sail through endless storms, blind to all around them, trying to gather clues to their whereabouts to stay on course. They also track the position of their ships on the game board, but the positions indicated are only a best guess — and they can become increasingly inaccurate as the game progresses.

The navigators must use their wits to stay on course and reach the Sacred Island before the end of the game, while Poseidon wins by preventing them from reaching their destination.

• Designer Fréderic Moyersoen loves to split players in his games into two sides, as in Nuns on the Run, Van Helsing and (of course) Saboteur, and he's doing it again, at least to some degree, in Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy & Mutiny. This card game for 4-10 players warns you about such divisions right in the title. Mutiny! As for what you're doing in the game, here's an overview:

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In the card game Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy & Mutiny, you're a crew member aboard a pirate ship and have just elected a new captain. This man will lead you toward either fortune or disaster — and thankfully no matter what course of action he takes, if you don't agree with his choices, you can always start a mutiny and become the next captain yourself...

Each turn, the captain chooses a destination for the ship, a target that it will attack. Once the ship is attacking, the players (more or less!) co-operate to defeat their victim, then they divide the treasure amongst themselves — but your gold is never secure until you bury it on Treasure Island.

As you carry out the attack, unrest is always brewing in the kettle. Each time the captain makes a choice, it's possible for one of the other players to call "Mutiny" and try to overthrow him to become the new captain. And when the mutiny begins, you need to decide how to use your cards during the mutiny and the looming battle. How much will you co-operate when you assault an enemy, and what will you keep to yourself to prepare for when the next mutiny starts?

As is fitting for a pirate, your greatest desire is for gold, and you'll do anything to reach your goal. In the end, whoever collects the most gold becomes the richest pirate in Tortuga!

As noted previously, these two titles will debut in the U.S. at Gen Con 2015, and they're due out in stores in Q3 2015.

• The final future Ares Games release for now is a co-publication with Gremlin Project, an Italian board game design studio that previously collaborated with Ares Games on the giant cooperative battle game Galaxy Defenders. The two designers of that game and its impending expansions — Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace — are also the designers of Sword & Sorcery, the only description of which I have for now is "a cooperative board game based on a mystic fantasy universe". Needless to say, more details will come in the future.

Or maybe they won't. Maybe this is all you'll ever hear of the game before it shows up on a shelf unexpectedly and looks all swordy and sorcery-y to your unsuspecting eyes. We'll see...
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Dirty Detectives, Cemetery Fights & Zombicide Through the Ages

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• You can't keep a good zombie down, especially when they sell like hotcakes, which might be the reason why Cool Mini Or Not and Guillotine Games have announced the next title in the Zombicide series — Zombicide: Black Plague. Here's an overview of the game from the publishers:

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Zombicide: Black Plague takes the zombie apocalypse into a fantastical medieval setting! The arcane powers of the Necromancers have unleashed a zombie invasion in the age of swords and sorcery, and it's up to your group of straggling survivors to not only stay alive during these dark times, but to take back the realm and punish those responsible for the apocalypse!

Zombicide: Black Plague allows you take control of paladins, dwarves, knights, and magicians, wielding powerful swords, crossbows, and even magic spells to defeat the zombie hordes and its Necromancer overlords. The classic Zombicide rules have been revamped for this new incarnation of the game, while still retaining the nonstop action, tense atmosphere and easy-to-learn rules that made Zombicide a classic. Equip your survivor with equipment like chainmail armor or shields to defend against the undead, pick up spell books to perform fantastic enchantments, or light up a pool of dragon bile to create an all-consuming inferno of dragon fire!

Take on the zombie invasion from the medieval streets to secret vaults that create quick passages through the citadel (and often hold special artifacts). Chase down the elusive Necromancers to keep them from multiplying the zombie masses. And tackle a whole new set of missions through which your group of survivors will become the heroes of the land (or the last victims of the zombie massacre).

• To continue with the dead as our gaming subject matter of the day, let's note that Upper Deck Entertainment has announced a partnership with Ginger Ale Games to release Bring Out Yer Dead from Arron Watts, a title that GAG had tried (and failed) to crowdfund in 2014. GAG notes that it had planned to relaunch on Kickstarter with a scaled-back game without wooden coffin tokens and non-tarot-sized cards, but now the game will be published as originally planned, with the game debuting at Origins Game Fair 2015 and reaching retail outlets in June 2015. As for what you're doing in the game, an overview:

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Bring Out Yer Dead is a morbid game of grave family plots.

As the head of your family, you must get the "dying" members of your family into the best plots in the city's newest cemetery. Each day the Grave Keeper brings the cart around the city and you must vie to get your family members in the cart before other families do. But be careful! The Grave Keeper is a lazy guy and any coffins he can't fit in the cart are tossed aside in the river; he'll never bother to bury them at all!

Get your recently departed family members buried in the best plots in the cemetery to gain influence in the city. You may even have to resort to some early morning grave swapping — or you could just rob the graves of all the jewelry you can dig up...it isn't like they're going to need it anyway! Influence is everything! The player with the most influence at the end of the game wins.

And a game demonstration from GAG's Max Holliday in the BGG booth at Gen Con 2014:



• Can we find a third game dealing with death in some manner? Of course we can! Dirty Detectives is a microgame from designer Floyd Pretz and publisher Project Danger that happens to be looking for funding on Kickstarter right now along with another pair of microgames. (I normally pen all the crowdfunding games in a single post, but I wanted to stay on self-imposed theme today. Sorry!) Here's how you play:

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In Dirty Detectives, everyone has been assigned to solve the same murder, but solving murders is hard work, so instead each detective is going to try to frame someone for murder. Each time a player touches a piece of evidence, they learn what it is, but unfortunately now that evidence points to their involvement in the crime!

The games uses 17 cards, 16 of which are laid out in a 4x4 grid with the 17th card in the active player's hand. Each card has an arrow on the back of it, and during play these arrows point at the players.

On a turn, you have the one extra card in hand and pick up any card from the board. You choose one of these cards and place it face-down in the empty space with the arrow pointing to you; to end your turn, pass the card still in hand to your left-hand opponent, who now takes their turn.

On your turn, you can also make an accusation. To do this, name a weapon and a motive, then pick up two cards pointing to the same opponent and look at them. If these cards match what you said, reveal these cards to everyone because you've just won the game; if you're wrong, however, place these cards facedown once again, but now pointing at yourself.

Each card also has a special reveal benefit. When you place a card facedown on the board pointing at yourself, normally only you know what that card is; if you reveal the card, everyone now knows what it is, but you get to do the reveal benefit on that card, e.g., looking at cards without pointing them at yourself or rotating cards to point at opponents.
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Thu Apr 9, 2015 6:31 pm
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Links: Lessons for Designers and Publishers, Obscure Hot Games & Do That Haiku That You Do So Well

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• Looking to pitch a game to a publisher? Perhaps you should check out Daniel Solis' "5 Pitching Lessons from Tabletop Deathmatch (so far)" in which he elaborates on lessons such as these:

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—Present the game you have on the table right now.
—Public information slows down decisions. Decisions slow down a pitch.

Perhaps this advice seems obvious, but better that you learn the obvious things beforehand instead of afterwards.

• On College Humor, Ryan Creamer and Dennis Flynn suggest that you sympathize with — or perhaps mock? I'm not sure — "7 Childhood Board Game Characters With Horrible Shitty Lives".

• On Polygon, Charlie Hall asks "Is Exploding Kittens, the most heavily funded game in Kickstarter history, any good?" And since the gameplay pretty much matches the description presented during the KS campaign, I'm not surprised by the answer.

• Want to find "the hottest new board games"? Then you had best check out this write-up from Ross Hyzer in The New Yorker to get all the details on Great Houses of Europe, How Splendid! and Invite Your Friends: A Board-Game Adventure, which is described below:

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Experience the excitement of playing a board game in this incredibly accurate simulation of what it's like to be a board-game player. First, struggle to establish an elusive Quorum of Players. Then, use your Player token to place your player's Tokens on the board's Board while you roll dice to gain your player Points and spend points to determine your player's Dice Rolls. Features exquisitely detailed fractal miniatures. Winner is the winner who Wins without making the other Players decide never to play board games ever again.

• In a postmortem of his Bad Medicine Kickstarter campaign, designer/publisher Gil Hova offers a few lessons for those running crowdfunding games, such as "Have most of your art done, but not all of it" and "It's not enough to offer a good game; you must offer a good product" — and this second one is kind of funny because from my POV many Kickstarter campaigns seem to be nothing but product. Perhaps I'm just being cynical though...

• On her Twitter account, Brittanie Boe of GTS Distribution and GameWire launched a #BoardGameHaiku hashtag on April 7, 2015, and many people have taken up the suggestion/invitation, including yours truly:

Quote:
Investment mocks me;
Poor color choices in hand,
Lost cities await...

And now this fun activity has turned into a contest of sorts as Rhea Friesen, community manager at Steve Jackson Games, has offered prizes of Hipster Dice to six haiku creators, with Brittanie choosing three and me choosing three. If you want a chance to win, please submit your #BoardGameHaiku in a comment below and feel free to tweet it with the hashtag so that Brittanie will see it, too.

Please recall that haiku consist of 17 syllables in three lines, with a 5-7-5 pattern. Deadline for entry is midnight EDT (GMT -4) on Sunday, April 12, 2015.
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Thu Apr 9, 2015 3:53 am
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Asmodee Brings Forth Olympians, Warriors, Dinosaurs, Space Pirates, Regal Aspirants, Line-Jumping Bugs & Nationalistic Dice

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Sometimes it's complicated to write about Asmodee releasing this game or that on the market because in most cases Asmodee is distributing the game, not publishing it. Why this matters is because you'll probably want to know about the publisher overseeing the game's development and production to know whether or not to look it over in more detail. The seven games listed below, for example, are all being distributed by Asmodee in North America, Europe and elsewhere, but they originate from four publishers with wide-ranging differences in style and graphic design. With that out of the way, let's get to some details.

Elysium from Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert and Space Cowboys was released in France in late February 2015 to coincide with the game festival in Cannes, and the North American release date has now been set at May 28, 2015. I recorded an overview of the game at Spielwarenmesse 2015 and wrote a long preview after playing the prototype at BGG.CON 2014. I'm looking forward to digging into this one again.

• As noted in this BGG News post, Space Cowboys has two other titles due out in 2015 — Route 666 and Time Stories, with both scheduled to debut at Spiel 2015 in October — but I'm not sure when those will reach retailers.

• Rustan Håkansson's Nations: The Dice Game from Lautapelit.fi debuted in October 2014, with approximately five hundred copies of the game rushing into the hands of early purchasers at Spiel 2014, but delays with dice production have kept the game from wider distribution up to this point. That hurdle has now been cleared, and Asmodee expects to have this game available through retailers in Q2 2015.

• Aside from the occasional monster game like Abyss (an expansion for which is coming in 2015), French publisher Bombyx tends to release card games in small tins, as with Frédéric Henry's Cardline: Dinosaurs, which debuted in France in August 2014 and is due out in English in Q3 2015. This title uses gameplay familiar from Henry's Timeline series or other Cardline titles, with players trying to rid themselves of cards in hand by deducing or guessing where to play dinosaur cards in their hand in relation to other cards already in play.

Minuscule from Lee Ju-Hwa takes his betting game Dark Horse, released by Korean publisher Magpie in 2014, and converts it into a betting game about bugs, specifically the insects featured in the Minuscule video series, one episode of which I've included below. In the game, players start with two betting cards, line up the insects, then take turns playing action cards to move them into the order they want — but naturally not everyone wants the same order. Minuscule is due out Q2 2015.



• We'll close with three titles from Matagot, which tends to create immersive and graphically elaborate games. Guillaume Blossier's Ultimate Warriorz debuted from French publisher Pulsar Games in 2011, then disappeared from the market; Matagot has picked up the license and revamped the graphics and rules for this simultaneous-play, dice-driven character battle game. I recorded an overview video of Ultimate Warriorz at Spielwarenmesse 2015, and the final production is due out in June 2015.





• While at Spielwarenmesse 2015, I tweeted the cover image of Marc André's Barony, which is due out in June 2015, but the game itself wasn't on display. Barony deviates somewhat from the Matagot formula by having streamlined rules that distill the gameplay to small actions, but that seems appropriate given that André is the designer of Splendor. As for the gameplay, here's an overview of what you're doing:

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In Barony, players are ambitious barons trying to extend their dominion over the land! Who will succeed and become the new king?

At the beginning of the game, players create the board at random with nine tiles per player; each tile is comprised of three hexagons, with each hexagon being one of five landscape types: forest, plains, field, mountain, lake. Players then each place three cities on the game board, with a knight in each city. They then take turns in clockwise order, with each player taking exactly one action from the six possible actions:

Recruitment: Add two knights to a city, or three knights if the city is adjacent to a lake.
Movement: Move one or two of your knights one space each. A knight can't enter a lake (blub), a mountain with an opposing pawn, or any space with an opponent's city or stronghold or two knights of the same opposing color. If you move a second knight into a space with an opposing pawn or village, remove those tokens and take one resource from the village owner.
Construction: Remove one or more of your knights from the game board and replace each with a village or stronghold, gaining one resource token matching the landscape under the structure.
New City: Replace one of your villages with a city and earn 10 victory points (VPs).
Expedition: Remove two knights from your reserve, placing one back in the box out of play and the other on any empty space on the edge of the game board.
Noble Title: Discard at least 15 resource points, then upgrade your title: baron to viscount, then count, marquis and finally duke.

Once any player has gained the title of duke, finish the round, then tally the VPs, with players scoring for resources still in their possession, their rank in the game, and the number of cities they built. Whoever has the most VPs wins.




Metal Adventures from Lionel Borg, due out in June 2015, feels like a more traditional Matagot title, and while I recorded an overview video at Spielwarenmesse 2014(!), the game has apparently changed a bit since that time, so this description might serve you better:

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Space pirates are battling for honor, glory and wealth! Join them in their exploration of the universe and their quest for victory. Players will explore, challenge each others, and engage in short-term or long-term alliances, but there will be battles and mighty spaceships involved. In Metal Adventures, you'll use cards to explore, enhance your ship and your crew, and live up to bold challenges. There will be negotiations, battle tactics, and the uncertainty and risk that really make a pirate's life.

During the game, each player uses a fancy four-wheeled astrolabe to track their power (which can be improved via equipment), damage (which reduces power), glory (which is how players win), and the "judgement of pirates" (which affects glory).

On a turn, a player either rests (gaining money and repairing their ship) or else travels (paying to do so), battles (either starships, planets or opponents), and optionally takes the "tour of pirates", visiting one of the ten planets in the game and taken the action available there. Each player holds two trophy cards, and when they meet the conditions on one of them, they can reveal it to earn credits, glory or both. They can gain support (single-use cards) and equipment (providing power adjustments and possibly other special abilities), keeping at most four of these improvement cards at a time.

Players can negotiate alliances and trade anything but glory, and while they must keep their word for immediate exchanges and actions, they can break promises or alliances in later turns, although doing so requires them to suffer the "judgement of pirates", thereby affecting their glory count. Collect four such points, and they can no longer ally with other players or give or receive assistance.

When a player has nine or more glory points or the space deck contains two or fewer cards, the game ends and whoever has the most glory wins.

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Wed Apr 8, 2015 4:43 pm
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New Game Round-up: Fast and Furious on the Table, Real-Time Deckbuilding in the Caribbean & Martin Wallace in Zombieland

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• Following on the heels of Cryptozoic Entertainment's Ghostbusters revival, here's yet another movie-franchise-turned-board-game: Fast & Furious: Full Throttle, from Jeff and Carla Horger (designers of GMT Games' Thunder Alley) and Game Salute. The description doesn't offer much in the way of gameplay, but here it is:

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The parking lot is pulsating with the sound of a hundred different rhythms. People crowd around several cars, each a unique work of art and a powerful beast. Some are tricked out imports from Japan, others are pure American muscle, and someone has brought the latest European beauty. Not all of them will take to the street tonight, but some will be putting it all on the line for a mix of cash and respect.

This is a game of making the cool-headed move or spinning out of control! Drive smart and smooth by managing your hand of cards well, or look for an edge, take a risk, and bank it all on one flip of a card! Either way, full throttle speed is the goal because you're a driver with special talents. You've souped-up your car with all manner of upgrades. This race is yours!

Fast & Furious: Full Throttle is a game of hand-management. Discard cards to change gears, play sets of cards to move and have your hand size decreased through speed penalties.

• Even with all the web-scanning that I do and email that I receive, I still miss the launch of tons of new games, as with Bert Menting's self-published Puerto Diablo, which was funded on Kickstarter in late 2014 and is due out in March 2015. Puerto Diablo is a real-time deck-building game, which is the first time that I've heard of this combination of mechanisms:

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The setting is the Caribbean 1663. Four nations try to establish themselves on the various islands. Power and money are the goals. On lower levels people try to survive, and achieve personal gain wherever possible. This is the game of those people, who need to overcome challenges, together, but when the opportunity to back stab arise, they will!

The players start with a deck of characters and skills and will improve this deck during the game. The players need to cooperate because they cannot solve most challenges of the game alone. However, this is not a cooperative game... Alliances will be short lived. Heartless betrayal can win you the game, but could also turn against you at the worst possible moment.

The game starts with improving the deck of the player, and in the second half, the players will start to buy victory points. These can be gained if a player has gathered a lot of experience in one of the eight game specializations. Because players face challenges together, they will discuss who is going to help. During that, important, phase of the game, the players can play action cards (skills) whenever they want.

Puerto Diablo has no player turns — you act when you want to!

Pretzel Games, a division of F2Z Entertainment Inc. (which also owns Z-Man Games and Filosofia Édition), has launched a website to highlight video of and components in its first release — Gaëtan Beaujannot and Jean Yves Monpertuis' Western-themed disc-flicking scenario-driven game Flick 'em Up!. The site also features a list of stores and events where you can try the game ahead of its August 2015 release.

As I noted in a Dec. 2014 BGGN post, I tried one of the ten scenarios — rescue the Sheriff's daughter from a gang of bandits — in April 2014, and it was great fun, taking all of the tension of something like crokinole and throwing it onto a larger, more open playing area with players hamming it up as they embodied their roles.

• And this might interest me more than anyone else, but artist Vincent Dutrait notes on Facebook that he's now finished work — almost 150 illustrations! — on the medieval fantasy scenario for Manuel Rozoy's Time Stories, which was supposedly definitely locked in for Gen Con 2015 from Space Cowboys, but which has now been pushed back to October 2015 for Spiel. Sigh.





• The funny thing about Time Stories' delay, though, is that Space Cowboys has another title in the offing for 2015, a combination you might never have expected to see: a Martin Wallace zombie design titled Route 666. Here's a short description, followed by a video featuring Space Cowboys' Croc, who starts talking about Route 666 at the 7:00 mark, referring to it as a "party game for hardcore gamers".

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In Route 666, each player leads a team of five survivors through a hostile land infested by zombies. Their backpacks are filled with food, weapons, bullets and maps of their surroundings. You have to be careful with these meager resources as the team will enter increasingly dangerous areas as the game progresses. Zombies of all types await, with cannibals, anti-personal mines and radioactive wastes also being among the hazards awaiting the players. Who will survive the zombie onslaught?

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Tue Apr 7, 2015 6:00 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Groping in the Dark for Vikings, Wizards, Animals & More

W. Eric Martin
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This might be hard to believe, but in the BGG News post that went live just a few days ago I didn't exhaust the list of games undergoing crowdfunding. I know, right? In fact, I heard from quite a few people that I had missed this game or that, such as Shem Phillips' Raiders of the North Sea, a Viking design from his own Garphill Games (KS link) or the completely different Viking game Norsaga from Kevin Bishop and Meromorph Games in which players are Viking poets who try to create sagas from their cards in hand (KS link)

• Travis Hancock's card game Salem has no relation to Joshua Gerald Balvin's crowdfunded-in-2012-but-still-not-released card game Salem — other than the setting, of course, and the nature of witches being hidden among the players in the game — but man, you probably want to avoid such coincidences when you're running a c.f. campaign. (KS link)

Earth Encounters from Taylor Walker and Lawrence Walker bills itself as an anti-trivia game because the questions you need to answer are about meaningful topics, not trivial ones — but you're still answering questions to advance, so...trivia? (KS link)

• Despite what you think when you first hear the name, Matthew O'Malley's Knot Dice are indeed dice, with these homophonically-challenged Celtic-inspired dice can be used in multiple games. (KS link)

• Andrew Rouse's Dexikon from Eagle-Gryphon Games is a deck-building word-spelling game that's accompanied by a detailed four-part designer diary blog on BGG that includes an overview of how Dexikon is not like Paperback. (KS link)

• Isaias Vallejo's Valeria: Card Kingdoms from Daily Magic Productions is a deck-buildingish, tableau-building game in which your cards on the table can be activated by die rolls on both your turn and opponents' turns. (KS link)

• After building a kingdom, perhaps you'd like to take one down in TJ Dunbar's Castle Assault, a tower defense card game with a cover that perpetuates the notion that the finest fighting gear for ladies keeps the midriff exposed to ensure that nothing inhibits their ability to swing a sword. (KS link)

Arcasam: Beat the Dragon from Lukas Litvaj is the first KS project I've seen from Slovakia, which probably means just as much to you as that one from Denmark that I mentioned last time, but there it is. Slovakia representin'! In the game, you're trying to collect stuff and beat the dragon, as advertised. (KS link)

• You'll find friendlier critters to play with in Push a Monster from Wolfgang Dirscherl, Manfred Reindl and Queen Games, a game in which players try to ease monsters onto a platform without knocking anything off while making it likely that others will push off something on their turn. Michael Schacht's memory game Chef Alfredo is part of the same KS campaign. (KS link) (Disclosure: Queen Games hired me to edit the rules for these two games. —WEM)

Paws: Devious Dogs versus Crafty Cats from Steven Fields and 2GeeksGaming is an old school card-shedding game. (KS link)

• Yet another animal-based game thing on KS is Pixel Glory: Pets, a Kickstarter-only expansion for Frank Alberts and Russell Ng's dungeon-crawling card game Pixel Glory. (KS link)

• A more souped-up animal battle can be found in Wizards of the Wild from Dan Schnake, Adam West and CrossCut Games, with players as animal wizards who use custom dice to acquire and cast spells. (KS link)

• And we can move from animal wizards to plain ol' human wizards in Wizard's Academy from Gregory Carslaw and 3DTotal Games, a cooperative scenario-driven game of "magical experimentation". Oh, wait — some of those wizards are also animals. Nevermind! (KS link)

• Kory Jordan's Touchy Feely from Eleventy Games is a party game that you play in the dark — but it's not that type of party game so getcher mind outta the gutter. People receive cards with tasks on them, the lights go out, they try to do the tasks, then lights on for scoring. (KS link)

Neon Sanctum from Grenade Punch Games is a card-based RPG that a user described to me as "a cross-over between role-playing and card game because almost all the player actions are in some way tied to the cards they have in their deck". Continues this user: "I think the mechanism is really creative and novel and the game deserves more attention than it's currently getting, in particular from board gamers who would not play pure pen-and-paper RPGs, but who enjoy story-driven thematic games." The game is listed on RPG Geek, but it does seem appropriate enough to include here. (KS link)

Deadzone: Infestation is the latest iteration? expansion? spin-off? of the Deadzone miniatures title from Mantic Games, but looking over the project I'm not even sure what Deadzone: Infestation is. Just a mission pack? What are all these figures? Are they separate expansions? Pick and choose add-on items? I'll confess that the BGG database is sorely challenged by such games and could use a bit of RPG Geekness in terms of how it handles such game systems. (KS 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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Mon Apr 6, 2015 6:00 am
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New Game Round-up: Science for Humanity, Churches for Carcassonne & Fluxx for the TableTop

W. Eric Martin
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• In April 2015, U.S. publisher Atlas Games plans to release Three Cheers for Master from Daniel Windfeld Schmidt, and the game description gives you a feel for the setting, if not the gameplay:

Quote:
Master has been blue lately. It's just not the same now that all lands known to evil have been conquered — and when Master's blue, it's the minions who suffer.

As a lieutenant in Master's army — a foreminion — it falls to you to cheer him up. Not the easiest task, even in the best of times. But then it hit you: What better way to cheer Master up than a cheerleading competition?

Whichever foreminion builds and scales the most impressive tower of war-hungry minions in Three Cheers for Master will surely win Master's heart. What could possibly go wrong?


• On Facebook, Horrible Games has teased Dungeon Fighter: Rock and Roll, offering only this image and an April 2015 date (for release? for more information?).


• In late 2014, Cards Against Humanity released a 30-card Science Pack expansion for the 2014 Bay Area Science Festival, and now that pack is available through the CAH online store, with proceeds from sales funding a Cards Against Humanity Science Ambassador Scholarship for women who are pursuing college degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. On Think Progress, Jessica Goldstein describes the development of the Science Pack and the origins of the scholarship program.

• Another expansion pack being released for a long-lived best-seller is the Fluxx: International TableTop Day Expansion, which will debut on April 11, 2015, which happens to be International TableTop Day. What are the odds! This pack consists of five Keepers, four Goals, and one Action, and it's one of many promo things in the TableTop Day retail kit available to participating retailers.


Carcassonne: Burgen in Deutschland is a mini-expansion for Carcassonne from German publisher Hans im Glück. Yes, another one! It's almost like people really like Carcassonne and keep buying lots of extra stuff for the game, which then encourages HiG to make even more. Almost. Here's an overview of this expansion, which is available through HiG's online shop only through April 11, 2015, with the expansion not available again until Spiel 2015 in October:

Quote:
At the start of the game, each player receives one (with 4-6 players) or two (with 2-3 players) of the double-sized castle tiles. During the game, a player can choose to place on their castle tiles instead of the regular tile in hand, with tile parts needing to match as usual; when the player places it, they can place a meeple somewhere on the tile. If the meeple is in the main castle, the tile counts as a cloister and is worth 12 points when completely surrounded. If a castle or road is completed during the game and part of that structure is on a castle tile, then the castle or road is worth 3 additional points, no matter who placed the tile.

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