$10.00

BoardGameGeek News

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

[1]  Prev «  3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7  Next »  [129]

Recommend
85 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Crowdfunding Round-up: Dwarven Minis, Alien Minis, Monster Minis, Knights Minis & Wooden Wombats

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
• Three years after debuting on the German market, Michael Palm and Lukas Zach's The Dwarves from Pegasus Spiele — a cooperative game based on Markus Heitz' five-book series of the same name — is finally coming to the English-language game market thanks to the introduction of Kickstarter in Germany. (KS link)

While announcing this project, Pegasus marketing director Michael Kränzle wrote, "For you it is a small thing maybe; for us it is huge as Kickstarter Germany just launched today and made it legally possible for companies over here to be part of their global crowdfunding community." Modern day Oprah: "You get a Kickstarter campaign! And you get a Kickstarter campaign! And you get a Kickstarter campaign! Everybody gets a Kickstarter campaign!!"

In addition to the base game, Pegasus is offering (in both English and German) The Dwarves: The Saga Expansion, which adds new components, adventures, quests and game boards to the base game.

• In addition to the Germans on Kickstarter we have Dutch designer/publisher Corné van Moorsel from Cwali with Samara, a worker placement game of sorts in which time is represented by a time track below the buildings and other things that workers can spend their time on. Once all the workers in the current month have been assigned tasks, you slide the time track to the next month to see who can work now. (KS link)

Salvation Road from Peter Gousis, Michael D. Kelley and Van Ryder Games is, according to this light-hearted description from the publisher, "a cooperative game for 1-4 players set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by famine, pestilence, war, and death." (KS link) Would that someone create a game set thirty years in the future that features a non-post-apocalyptic world much like this one (except for the neckjacks) in which everyone's just worried about keeping their job and finding the right college for their daughter Becky? (Everyone's named Becky in the future.)

• Of course a glance at the subtitle of Harbour Bridges from Matthew Thredgold and Ludogix — "The Bridges of Auckland & Sydney" — shows the value of post-apocalyptic environments in terms of imbuing a game with drama. Perhaps you've been searching for a connection game set in that part of the world, though, in which case...here you go! (KS link)

• The latest KS campaign from regulars Eagle-Gryphon Games is for Matt Wolfe's Wombat Rescue, which I've played once in prototype form. It's a tricky take on a racing game with you needing to feed your wombats so that they'll poop scent cubes on the board, which you'll need in order to move more freely as apparently wombats feel twitchy and unsafe if they can't smell their own poop. What are you trying to do in the game? Rescue your baby wombats from the dingo before (insert meme here).(KS link)



Cool Mini Or Not is racking up support $90 at a time for B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss from Víctor Fernández, Gorka Mata and Sergi Solé Pascual, and while some might want to know more about this cooperative fantasy-based castle defense game, I'm mostly curious as to why the game is titled "B-Sieged" instead of "Besieged". You're not protecting the land of B. What am I missing here? Is it just something to mess with people who might search for this game online? (KS link)

• Another miniatures-based, cooperative, tower defense game on KS is Project: ELITE from Konstantinos Kokkinis, Sotirios Tsantilas, Artipia Games and Drawlab Entertainment. What are the odds! One strong difference is that players compete in real time, with rounds being timed at two minutes and players moving and shooting as quickly as they can against the alien invaders based on the dice they roll. (KS link)

• Tom Dalgliesh's The Last Spike from Columbia Games is a revamped version of a design published nearly four decades earlier, and while the game is themed around westward expansion of train networks, in reality the design is more of a stock-market game with players trying to get rich by bringing traffic to the towns in which they're invested. (KS link)

• In its second go on KS, the miniatures strategy game Requiem Vampire Knight from KiniGame has cleared the first hurdle and is now piling on the extras. (KS link)

No Thank You, Evil! from Monte Cook Games seems like a board game version of Scribblenauts, with players creating a story based on whatever ideas seem to work as they make their way through an adventure. (KS link)

• At Spiel 2014, designer Rikki Tahta and his family ran a small booth for La Mame Games and sold — I'm taking a wild guess here — a few hundred copies of Coup: Guatemala 1954, a new version of his bluffing game Coup that allows players to choose five of 25 roles each game instead of using the same five each time. Now a revamped version of this design, Coup: Rebellion G54, is on KS from Indie Boards and Cards and the thing has more than three thousand backers. Better marketing? Better artwork? Better market presence? Better availability for the average Joe? Probably all of the above... (KS link)

• In the microgame Swamped from Benjamin Gerber and Bellwether Games, players collectively control a boat moving through a swamp on a quest for treasure — but each payer also has a secret side goal that might cause them to sabotage the group for individual success. (KS link)

Shadowstar Corsairs from Ryan Wolfe and the intriguingly named 0 hr art & technology has players doing all sorts of things in space that one might expect to do while playing a game: fighting, collecting resources, upgrading their ships. (KS link)

• Along the same lines is Sky Relics from a first-time publisher, with player customizing their armadas in order to claim some of the floating mountains of Targus. (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
Twitter Facebook
24 Comments
Mon May 18, 2015 4:19 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
83 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New Game Round-up: Trains in Munich, Chieftains on the Isle of Skye & Creeps During the Apocalypse

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Lookout Games initially included Helmet Ohley's Trambahn on its 2014 release schedule, and the game is now coming to market in Germany in mid-May 2015, with Mayfair Games scheduled to release it in Q3 2015 with rules in English, French and Italian. Here's an overview of the game:

Quote:
In Munich at the end of the 19th century, the successful new tramway needs expansion, and the two opposing players in Trambahn are competing for the contract.

To do this, in a grid marked by cards players use their cards in three different ways: as passengers on the trams, as suggested stops on new routes to be built, and as money to pay for these routes. When laying out cards for suggested stops, players need to both match colors and build them in ascending order — but they also need to bring passengers to this tram line in order to score victory points for it.

The cards resemble postcards that feature street cars in Munich and historical parts of the city.

• Another title coming from Lookout (in July 2015) and Mayfair (in Q3 2015) is Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King from the design team of Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister. Here's a rundown of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
Isle of Skye is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with soft sand beaches, gently sloping hills, and impressive mountains. The landscape of Isle of Skye is breathtaking and fascinates everyone.

In the tile-laying game Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, 2-5 players are chieftains of famous clans and want to build their little kingdoms to score as many points as possible — but in each game only four of the sixteen scoring cards will be scored.

Thanks to the scoring cards, each game is different and leads to different tactics and strategies, but having enough money is useful no matter what else is going on. Managing that money can be tricky, though. Each turn, each player places two area tiles in front of them and sets the selling price for the tiles. Setting a high price is great, but only so long as someone actually pays the price because if no one opts to buy, then the seller must buy the tiles at the price they previously requested.

In the end, the player with the best kingdom — and not the richest player — becomes the sovereign of the island.

Z-Man Games has sort of announced one of its Gen Con 2015 releases, and I say "sort of" because details are scarce at the moment for Florian Fay's cooperative Apocalypse Chaos, which carries a 2-5 player count on the box but is described as being for 1-4 players by the designer. (Update, May 19: 1-4 players is correct.) All we have to go on right now is a thematic setting and a searing cover that bears the archetypal arched-back damsel in distress carrying heavy weaponry:

Quote:
We are in grave danger. Enemies are swarming around the ship, and they will not go down without a fight. We'll have to work together in order to get out of this one alive. We're going to need a plan, and we need it fast. Let's not let these...things...outsmart us, outnumber us, and certainly not outshoot us! I need you all to do what you do best. Got it? Let's do this!

Twitter Facebook
29 Comments
Sat May 16, 2015 3:50 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
65 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Game 411: TimeBomb

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
While visiting Tokyo Game Market in early May 2015, I managed to do something that I almost never do at conventions: Play a game that was sold at that convention. Typically at cons I speak with designers and publishers about what they're releasing in the future, possibly playing prototypes so that I can talk about these upcoming games immediately or whenever they're officially announced, but this time I played a released, new-to-me game bought at the con. Even comets pass by every few decades, right?

My guide at TGM, Ken Shoda, had only a few titles on his "must get" list, with one of them being the 2014 release TimeBomb from designer 佐藤 雄介 (Yusuke Sato) and publisher 新ボードゲーム党 (New Board Game Party). Ken's description started with "It's a hidden role party game..." and I almost stopped him right there as those types of games are typically not my bag due to me being a terrible bluffer who can neither keep a straight face nor read people, but Ken is a huge Reiner Knizia fan, as am I, and with him buying five copies of the game — three for himself and two for a friend — I thought I'd trust his judgment and buy one for myself. What's the worst that could happen? (Well, the worst would be our plane crashing on the way home because I acquired too many games at TGM, with the weight of TimeBomb being the straw that broke the 747's back, but more realistically, I would waste whatever this game cost and I can live with that.)

I visited a game group in Tokyo the day following TGM, and Ken taught me the game then, with us playing twice with five players. In TimeBomb, each player is either a terrorist or a member of the SWAT team, and you want to set off a bomb or prevent that bomb from being set off depending on who you are.


All of the cards in TimeBomb


To set up, you take as many "Success" cards as the number of players, the single "Boom!!" card, and as many "Safe" cards as needed for the deck to equal five times the number of players, e.g., thirty cards total with six players. Each player takes a secret role card at random, with four SWAT cards being in the mix for six players and three SWAT cards for four or five players. After looking at your role card, look at the five cards you were dealt, then shuffle them and lay them out in a line with the backs being face up. Choose a start player at random.

The start player takes the nippers and "cuts" one of the cards in front of another player. This player reveals the card, then uses the nippers to cut someone else's card. This continues until 4-6 cards have been cut, with this number equaling the number of players. You then take all of the face-down cards, shuffle them, then deal four cards to each player, with players once again looking at their cards, then shuffling them and placing them in a face-down row.

This process continues for at most four rounds. If all of the "Success" cards are revealed before the end of the fourth round, the game ends and the SWAT team wins. If this doesn't happen — or if the "Boom!!" card is revealed at any time — the game ends and the terrorists win.


Ken Shoda (r) is probably lying about something; he lied a lot that day


In case it's not obvious, TimeBomb could be completely dry with people just passing the nippers card back and forth until one side wins or loses, but Ken and the two designers from Saien in the image above (whose name cards I can't find at the moment — sorry!) had played previously, and they started making claims and accusations immediately: "I have only one Success. What about you?" "I have no Success cards, so don't cut any of my cards as you're wasting your time." "You're lying! That's what you always say!" And so forth.

I goofed in the usual way that I do with such bluffing games by volunteering too much information too soon. My best tactic is always to keep my mouth shut so that I don't lie and give myself away, but I didn't do this and was pegged as a terrorist fairly quickly. I never correctly identified my fellow terrorist, but he managed to get someone to keep cutting his cards in the third round and the wire on the bomb was snipped. Boom! Victory for us!

In our second game, I was SWAT and we cruised along decently picking up Success cards until I suddenly found myself holding the nippers and completely unsure of what to do or who was what. Honestly, I'm terrible at these games! Through sheer luck I chose the terrorist who was holding the final Success card (and also the bomb) and cut our way to victory. An accidental win is still a win!



(In the U.S. and Canada, you can call 411 to help you find a person or business, so 411 is sometimes used as a shorthand for information. In "Game 411" posts, I present an overview of a newly released or obscure game to you, the BGG News reader. —WEM)
Twitter Facebook
32 Comments
Fri May 15, 2015 11:15 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
84 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New Game Round-up: Practice Clacks on Discworld, Teach Youngsters to Grow Beans & Discover Factions to Smash Up

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
• Designers Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw from Backspindle Games are taking preorders for Clacks: A Discworld Board Game, with the game scheduled to debut at the Irish Discworld Convention in early October 2015. Here's an overview of the game:

Quote:
Clacks: A Discworld Board Game is based on the "Clacks" semaphore messaging system — the fastest (non-magical) messaging system on the Discworld — featured in Sir Terry Pratchett's novel Going Postal.

Using a semaphore system of shuttered lamps on top of high towers, the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company has revolutionized long-distance communications on the Discworld. Their network of towers covers most of the Unnamed Continent, but now the old postal service is fighting back. Driven by the determination of newly "volunteered" Post Master Moist Von Lipwig, the Ankh-Morpork Post Office has challenged the Clacks operators to a race from Ankh-Morpork to Genua.

Play against your friends and claim the title of Fastest Clacks Operator on the line, or play together as a team to win the race across the Discworld and prove that Clacks is here to stay. In more detail, Clacks: A Discworld Board Game contains rules for a player vs. player game, a co-operative race game against the Post Office, and a children's introductory game.

Preorders by midnight UK time on May 14, 2015 receive an unpainted miniature of Moist von Lipwig. Not sure what you might do with this miniature, but the offer is out there. PHALANX will release a Polish version of this game (Świat Dysku: Sekary) in 2015.

Pegasus Spiele and Passport Game Studios have announced a partnership deal that will bring the eggertspiele/Pegasus titles Grog Island from Michael Rieneck and Hospital Rush from Laursen, Storgaard, and Thomsen to the U.S. in July 2015.

• Whoa, I totally missed the timing on this competition. In April 2015, AEG solicited factions for a future Smash Up release to be titled Smash Up: It's Your Fault, and I tweeted a notice about this call to action. On May 11, 2015 AEG announced the top 32(!) submissions (mechs, kaiju, jocks, hipsters, hippies, etc.), then placed them in brackets March Madness-style, and held daily votes until they settled on four factions today when I'm finally putting up a general game round-up and it's too late to do anything but announce the winners: dragons, sharks, superheroes, and Greek myth. Smash Up: It's Your Fault will now head to design for a release in Q2 2016.

Rio Grande Games will release an English-language version of My First Bohnanza, which debuted in German from AMIGO in early 2015. This new version of the bean-planting classic allows for play with children as young as four thanks to a stripped-down version of the game, then it introduces more complexity through additional bean cards and one new rule at a time. No release date has been announced.

• Also coming from Rio Grande Games is Dominion: Guilds & Cornucopia, which combines the previously separate small box expansions into a single larger box.

• Rio Grande Games has also reacquired the rights to publish Franz-Benno Delonge's TransAmerica in English. The RGG website lists a release date of May 18, 2015, but I've double-checked with RGG on that date, and a more accurate release date right now is "2015".
Twitter Facebook
16 Comments
Thu May 14, 2015 4:19 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
215 
 Thumb up
9.50
 tip
 Hide

Tokyo Game Market • May 2015 I: No Rest for the Restless

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Whenever I visit a large city, especially one outside the United States, I want to walk it. I want to absorb all that I can about the landscape around me, not launching myself from one tourist site to the next but seeing all that lies in between, too, spotting every little difference from what I think of as familiar and natural to rediscover (yet again) that the familiar is familiar only because that's what you've chosen to surround yourself with, sometimes without ever knowing anything else.

This yen gets me in trouble on occasion, such as when my wife and her then best friend were ready to throw me in the Seine after hours on the streets of Paris, with me convincing them to keep walking by making claims that in practice turned out to be not true: "You can see the Arc de Triomphe right there! Just a bit farther..."

Even though I was in Tokyo for fewer than three days to visit Game Market, I indulged this desire as much as I could, walking an hour to a dinner gathering on the Monday evening I arrived, then again early the next morning on the way to Big Sight, the location where Game Market is held, although I grabbed the subway halfway there as I was encumbered with 1,800 dice as a favor to a Japanese designer and wanted to ensure that I could pick up my ticket early in order to record some of the show before it became covered by swarms of gamers.


Big Sight


The strange thing was that the more I saw of Tokyo, the more it reminded me of Utrecht in the Netherlands, where I lived for six months in the mid-1990s: the brick sidewalks, the tiny cars, the bicycle paths, the trim gardens sandwiched between canalish rivers and industrial-looking apartment buildings, the efficient use of every space imaginable due to space being at a premium, the countryside outside the city being divided into rectangular fields by irrigation ditches and narrow paths for farming vehicles. The land where Big Sight is located was land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay, much as the Dutch have carefully managed the creation of one-quarter of their country from the North Sea. I even saw a windmill on the train to Narita Airport, so I'm not sure what other proof I need.

The most delightful thing about walking Tokyo is the layering of decades and centuries in nearly everything around you, like a canvas that's been worked on by generations of artists, with all of their work being visible to some degree. You take it in and marvel at the history that accretes like sand, embedding itself in everything, then (mostly) washing away the next morning and leaving you only with memories.



Gaming Buffet

I tend to approach game conventions the way that I do cities, trying to survey as much as I can to absorb the big picture, to see all that exists so that I can report on it for you, gentle reader, and answer your questions about this or that, but also so that I can try to grasp the breadth of creation. In the work that I do on BGG News, I endeavor to offer as wide a sampling as possible of the games being created, hamstrung though I am by personal weaknesses (e.g., next to no knowledge of wargames) and the harsh whip of Mistress Time.

That effort is sorely tested at game conventions. With every year that passes, and despite me knowing better, I'm still surprised by the number of games that come into creation and disappointed that I can't spend more time familiarizing myself with them. Each year at Spiel, I spend five days surveying the stalls, talking with designers, trying out prototypes of future game releases — and still come away with the feeling of having missed dozens of potential treasures.

The May 2015 Game Market turned out to be worse in this regard, with 365 exhibitors displaying hundreds of games, many in quantities of a few dozen, and everything happening in the space of seven hours. Everywhere you looked, something new and intriguing awaited, with the additional complication for some attendees — such as yours truly — that I could not read the text on most boxes, cards and rulebooks, leaving me to stare at the games as if they were Rongorongo tablets and I could possibly puzzle out their meaning if only I worked at it long enough.

The majority of releases at Game Market are card games of some type, partly because they're small and therefore can be displayed more easily at the minuscule stalls available for exhibitors and partly because they're easy to produce compared to a game with wooden pawns or punch-out cardboard tokens. Name cards — and the exchanging of them — are a cultural touchstone in Japan, and name card producers can just as easily be game card producers. Publisher Tagami Games, for example, released 原始人の晩餐 (Banquet for Early Humans), a game in an AMIGO Spiele-sized card box jam-packed with 160 half-sized cards.

While we all have some degree of familiarity with cards, designers keep finding new things to put on them or new activities to do with them, new ways to hold them or place them or stack them or throw them. One example of this: Six weeks prior to Game Market, designer Shimpei Sato challenged designers to create a card game that consisted of only two types of cards. You could have different artwork on the cards if desired, but if the artwork had a functional meaning, then you were violating the spirit of the challenge. A number of designers released new creations that fit these guidelines, such as Susumu Kawasaki's bluffingish deduction game 15 ○ 9 ×, just as years ago designers took on the ¥500 challenge — a price ceiling that required designers to think small, with Seiji Kanai's Love Letter being one such result (as detailed here), and with the chance publication of that game by AEG and the subsequent shift within the international industry in terms of what's viable making Love Letter the most important release this decade in my eyes.

(Curiously enough, Sato did not himself release a two-card design, instead selling a new start player die at his stand along with copies of Komodo's Jushimatsu and Nanahoshi. How do you use it? Roll the die and see to whom the triangle points. If you're stuck on deciding which game to play, roll it to determine a genre.)



Afternoon Delight

Certainly not all of the new releases from Game Market will be welcomed by everyone. Here's another werewolf spinoff, for example, or another bluffing game that recalls so many of its predecessors, or another game featuring cute manga girls who want to be pop stars. We all have topics and types of games that we can't stand or that we've just seen enough of for our tastes — yet here are still more of them for those fans who can't get enough, who want to see what creative take this particular designer might have on something familiar. What layers have you added to the past this time?


You look around the room at the hundreds of creations, and it's almost unfathomable that this many people have worked this hard to bring evidence of their artistic creativity to the world, to share something of themselves in small quantities that will be seen by 0% of the world population unless you carry out that percentage to eight decimal places — but you just need to start fathoming it because here they are, creating for the sake of creating with most of these publications being produced and sold at terrible margins — sometimes even at a loss — on a per copy basis. In the end, these aren't businesspeople, but artists eager to make a mark with their creations.


Ken Shoda plucks a branch from Mangrove


The designers at Saien, two of the four of whom were at TGM, made the biggest impression on me as I was, and still am, unable to stop thinking about their creations. Trying to express to them the feeling I get from looking at and playing their games, even with the help of gamer and interpreter Ken Shoda, was difficult because I didn't have a good explanation for it myself — but then I hit upon the term "sexy games" and it rang true. When I see their works for the first time, I can't fathom what to do with what they're presenting, yet I can't stop staring because they look so intriguing. The art of their games isn't only in the mechanisms used, but in the graphic design and choice of components — Katteni Shiguyare looks like a pile of children's blocks, Mangrove an office decoration, Hau La a bunch of mutated zipties, Hiyoko Drip a box of Jujubes, Zittia a pile of trash — leaving me dumbstruck by their Duchampian audacity and simultaneously eager to discover whatever the thing actually is.


Another aspect common among Game Market releases is the, shall we say, increased personality in the look of their games, which is likely due to the publisher also being the designer in most cases. You're making the game the exact way that you want it to look, regardless of the costs, so Ouyuuan's Hitohira includes a beautiful printed bag from which you draw the components (which appear to be plastic necklace beads), Power 9 Games' Sheep & Thief has lots of tiny white puffballs for sheep, Kawasaki's ギシンアンキノトウ (Towers of Conspiracy) has odd plastic bits that you plug into the base of a wooden box. The oddness of the components becomes part of the game's charm, something not always accepted in more mainstream publications, as with the potentially roll-y shell bits in Ravensburger's Orongo.


Handmade pottery bits in ダッタカモ文明の謎 (The Mystery of Dattakamo Civilization) from メイカーズポスト


I'll certainly confess to being seduced by the foreignness of the games, by their nature as the "other", with the games featuring a style unfamiliar and exciting to me that Japanese might view as old hat — yet I still believe that these games express stronger personality and a wider range of expression in their artwork and graphic design than can be found in releases from German, American and French publishers, gorgeous as I find all of the French releases to be.

Treasure Hunt

Game Market has grown tremendously from its birth in 2000, both in numbers of attendees, exhibitors and game releases and in its influence on the worldwide market for games. At the May 2015 Game Market, 8,500 people bought an entrance ticket in the form of a game catalog, up from about 7,200 in November 2014 and a far cry from the 400 who showed up for the first Game Market in 2000. The number of exhibitors has grown from approx. 30 in 2000 to 365 in 2015. Game Market started as a once-a-year event, gained a second date in 2010, then a third date in 2012 in Osaka at a show roughly half the size of the one in Tokyo. Ownership of Game Market passed from founder Zyun Kusaba — organizer of the longest-continuing gaming
group in Japan, according to Ken Shoda, with his group having met for more than 1,600 Saturdays(!) — to Japanese publisher Arclight Games in 2010.


Gamers queue in the hall outside the convention at 8:30 a.m.


The slot machine jackpot of Love Letter for Alderac Entertainment, followed a year later by Machi Koro mania, has encouraged non-Japanese publishers such as Tasty Minstrel Games and (Machi Koro licensor) Pandasaurus Games to attend the show in search of titles to publish, with TMG, for example, planning to release Taiwanese publisher Homosapiens Lab's Design Town as Flip City in 2015. (No, Taiwan is not in Japan, but Taiwan Boardgame Design has had a strong presence at Game Market in recent years, and airfare from Taiwan is peanuts compared to flying from the U.S.!)


From left: Chen Chih-Fan, TMG's Michael Mindes, Chen Chien-Tsun, a.k.a. Smoox (link)


French publishers Cocktail Games and Moonster Games were also on hand at TGM as has been the case at many past shows, and Moritz Brunnhofer from German publisher Hans im Glück showed up at TGM for the first time. Japon Brand translator Simon Lindström guided Brunnhofer around for part of the show and wrote about the experience on his blog:

Quote:
I have reasonably fun with King of Frontier, but playing it with Moritz of Hans Im Glück, he pointed out what he found was flaws with the game, and I was quite amazed at his developper ability. I told myself that sure, he should be – he's a pro – but I guess I don't auto-assume that everyone is so skilled at their job. He did like the game though, enough to say that taking a look and developping some parts in it might make it a hit...

After playing KogeKogeDo's The Little Witches and the Mysterious House,] Again, he pointed out the parts he liked, what he didn't like and how to improve them. If I were a game designer, I'd treasure the possibilities of letting him test my games.

From what I've read and from my own experience, thorough development is not something you'll find in huge quantity in most games released at Tokyo Game Market. In most cases the designers are the publishers, and they just have something cool that they want to share, and for most people that differentness is enough.


The line for Stone Garden crossed the width of the convention center


After all, game fans are treasure seekers as much as the publishers are, and they're eager to find and experience that something special. At 10:00 a.m., fans pour through the doors like water from a burst dam in order to queue in front of the New Games Order stand for one of the hundred copies of 枯山水 (Stone Garden) available at the show. This title has received unparalleled publicity in the Japanese mainstream media (for a non-mainstream game), with a celebrity endorsement pushing interest to a fevered pitch. New Games Order is apparently able to create and sell only 100-150 copies per month due to the handmade nature of the rock-like components, something that also pushes the price tag to a relatively astronomical ¥8,200 (approx. US$68), yet with only one hundred copies on hand, gamers paid the price because the only other choice was not to get it at all.


Perhaps not so giant-looking in my hands...


With permission of HABA, Japanese game retailer Sugorokuya had created a giant-sized version of its Rhino Hero that retailed for ¥9,800, and with fewer than twenty copies on hand (out of an entire print run of one hundred) they disappeared into fans' hands in minutes. I initially tweeted that this item retailed for $150, but I think it's closer to $100 — not that it matters since Sugorokuya is sold out for now with more copies due in June 2015 and the owner uncertain as to whether his license allows him to sell the game outside of Japan. Thankfully someone more thoughtful than me did take a picture of this game being played:



Takamagahara's 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations, which was named best new release of the Nov. 2014 Game Market, was in similar short supply. Within fifteen minutes all copies was gone, leaving chumps like me who didn't reserve one out to dry. Along the same lines, only twenty copies of ダイス 木 (Daisuki) had been assembled for the show, so distributor/seller ASOBI.dept had a lottery of sorts, with people queueing, then drawing from a bag to see whether they could purchase a copy. A loser on the draw, I was told that more copies will be available at the November 2015 Game Market. How many copies? We'll just have to wait to find out. (Brandon Bollom did manage to snag a copy of ダイス 木, and he details the game in this BGG blog post.)

Many Game Market publishers take reservations for their titles, but with print runs already being small — 200 copies being one average that I heard for doujin releases, "doujin" meaning something akin to amateur — the number of copies available for reservation is naturally even smaller. Manifest Destiny, for example, took sixty-ish reservations for its biggest release, My Fair Princess, and fewer than forty reservations for its smaller titles. (Unexpectedly Manifest Destiny also had a small English language supply of The Ravens of Thri Sahashri on hand, fewer than twenty copies, and I hadn't seen those announced anywhere beforehand. Yet another aspect of the treasure hunt!) While Manifest Destiny sold a total of 170 copies of My Fair Princess, the print run was in the neighborhood of five hundred copies, and my understanding is that this game will be available for Spiel 2015.

In many ways, this Game Market seems like a springboard for Spiel 2015, at least for some of the "larger", better known publishers at the show. OKAZU Brand was buried behind a stack of Minerva before the doors opened, and everything I've heard indicates that this game will also show in Essen. BakaFire Party had two new games — the real-time puzzle game Reidemiester in which you try to arrange different strings in assigned patterns and the card game Fram Rlyeh, with both titles having English rules and the latter one being a redevelopment of a title from someone other than BakaFire! Good heavens, perhaps this is the future of Game Market, although most likely not.

•••


Okay, I thought that I'd be able to wrap up the entire Tokyo experience in a single report, but I'll write up more about Game Market, as well as trips to Tokyo game stores, in a second post so that I can continue my so-far-failed efforts to rebalance the sleep meter.


What I saw outside Big Sight
Twitter Facebook
34 Comments
Mon May 11, 2015 5:23 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
91 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Live-ish Coverage of Tokyo Game Market, May 2015

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
I'm headed to Tokyo Game Market in a couple of hours, and while I wish I could say that I'm well-prepared for the show, I have no idea what to expect beyond a whirlwind of hundreds of games being tossed around in the seven hours of the show. I've catalogued a few dozen such games on this TGM May 2015 Preview, but that's a few dozen out of apparently hundreds, and I see that new titles are still being added to the Game Market site. Ideally I won't end up like this tree:



I'm filming for some length of time before the show opens, and thanks to Smoox at TBD I'll be tweeting pics of the games on display through the BGG Twitter account, rounding up some of those images later in this space. So much to see, so little time...
Twitter Facebook
11 Comments
Mon May 4, 2015 10:30 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
105 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

New Game Round-up: Crysis Reborn, Traps from Bellinger & More Baseball Highlights from 2045

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
• Time to clean house a bit with announcements from a handful of different publishers, starting with the news that Sebastian Kreutz and Dominik Lau, the designers of Crysis Analogue Edition: The Board Gameannounced in Nov. 2012 from Queen Games with a 2013 release date — have formed their own publishing house, Frame6, in order to release Crysis on their own in 2015.

• Designer Néstor Romeral Andrés has released Arcade, a two-player-only skirmish game that reveals its origins in its title, through his own nestorgames publishing house. In this game, players move a trio of tanks around the modular playing area, trying to blast one another to bits by lobbing shots. Walls prohibit movement in certain spaces, but with the variant rules included in the game, you can blast away walls, cause collateral damage to the floor, stun units, or use triangulation to shoot with greater accuracy.

 


Mike Fitzgerald's Baseball Highlights: 2045 was released by Eagle-Gryphon Games in January 2015, with five expansions already in the bullpen at that time, but now EGG has announced even more for the game series, starting with expansions #6 and 7: Errors! and Big Fly! EGG's Ralph Anderson notes that these expansions, due out late Q3 or early Q4 2015 in coordination with a reprint of the base game, each contain 15 cards and many of them bring new "immediate actions" to the game, with some of those actions being dependent on making a check on the free agent deck. Pinch runner, hit-and-run, forced error, sinkerball, bean ball: lots of familiar baseball terms come into play.

On top of those, EGG is introducing twelve(!) new 15-card starter teams, with four new sets of five veteran players being included. Notes Anderson, "All 16 teams share the same ten Rookies and each have a set of five veterans based on eight sets. The new Starter Teams will be available separately and in various bundles so that fans will be able to include their favorite locations." Here's a roster of the teams that highlight how the veteran players will appear in sets, although they won't necessarily be grouped this way for sale:

Quote:
Original Starter Teams with Veterans sets V1, V2, V3, V4 - These come with the Base Game

BH2045 Starter Team 1: San Francisco - (Veteran Set - V1)
BH2045 Starter Team 2: Los Angeles - (Veteran Set - V2)
BH2045 Starter Team 3: Boston - (Veteran Set - V3)
BH2045 Starter Team 4: New York - (Veteran Set - V4)

New Starter Teams with Veteran sets V5, V6, V7, V8 - NEW

BH2045 Starter Team 5: Chicago - (Veteran Set - V5)
BH2045 Starter Team 6: St. Louis - (Veteran Set - V6)
BH2045 Starter Team 7: Florida - (Veteran Set - V7)
BH2045 Starter Team 8: Milwaukee - (Veteran Set - V8)

New Starter Teams with Veterans sets V1, V2, V3, V4 - NEW

BH2045 Starter Team 9: Atlanta - (Veteran Set - V1)
BH2045 Starter Team 10: Baltimore - (Veteran Set - V2)
BH2045 Starter Team 11: Cincinnati - (Veteran Set - V3)
BH2045 Starter Team 12: Detroit - (Veteran Set - V4)

New Starter Teams with Veteran sets V5, V6, V7, V8 - NEW

BH2045 Starter Team 13: Kansas City - (Veteran Set - V5)
BH2045 Starter Team 14: Philadelphia - (Veteran Set - V6)
BH2045 Starter Team 15: Pittsburgh - (Veteran Set - V7)
BH2045 Starter Team 16: Texas - (Veteran Set - V8)


TRAP! is a "deductive, dice-rolling, card game system" from designer Jeffrey Neil Bellinger and publisher IDW Games, and if you're familiar with Bellinger's earlier designs (Killer Bunnies et al.), you won't be surprised to learn that this system is launching with two titles — TRAP! Nimble Ninjas and TRAP! Zany Zombies — that can be played on their own or mixed together. Details are right now: You play five rounds and try to trap large sets of creatures.

• Designer Michael Schacht has been fiddling with the scoring pad for Zooloretto: The Dice Game and scoring pad "S" can be downloaded to put a twist on the game. Schacht also notes in his monthly newsletter that other new Zooloretto items are in the works such as an even different scoring pad for the dice game and a game for two players. Writes Schacht: "But surely there might be something small in 2015."

Twitter Facebook
31 Comments
Fri May 1, 2015 5:08 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
134 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

Survive in Space, Survive with Dolphins and Survive Preorders from Stronghold Games

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
• U.S. publisher Stronghold Games has declared 2015 "The Year of Survive!", but I strongly suspect — and this might just be me talking through my hat but hear me out — that the declaration relates to certain games that Stronghold owner Stephen Buonocore plans to publish in 2015, starting with Survive: Space Attack!, a space-based reimagining of Julian Courtland-Smith's Survive: Escape from Atlantis! by a trio of designers already familiar with both Stronghold Games and spacey games: Brian, Sydney and Geoff Engelstein. Here's an overview of this game from the publisher:

Quote:
In Survive: Space Attack!, players try to escape from a space station as it comes under attack by aliens. While Survive: Space Attack! is similar to the original Survive! — with players moving their tokens out of a tiled location that slowly falls apart and scoring points for those who survive — additional features of the new game include:

• A double-sided game board that enables a variety of starting set-ups, each with its own challenges.
• Fighter ships that give players the ability to capture and redeploy alien creatures.
• A weapon system of laser turrets that players can use to defend the space station against aliens.
• Special player powers on the tiles that can be combined in various ways.
• Four tile thicknesses to create a 3D look for the space station before it starts crumbling under fire.
• Alien creatures that can evolve to become even more powerful.

Buonocore expects to release Survive: Space Attack! in September 2015, and the base game will be joined by two mini-expansions: Survive: Space Attack! - The Crew Strikes Back!, which consists of twenty crew cards that players can use during the game, each with a unique power, and Survive: Space Attack! - 5-6 Player, which (unsurprisingly) includes extra spaceman tokens so that up to six players can try not to die in the cold vacuum of space. Survive: Space Attack! carries a $50 MSRP, with each expansion selling for $10.



• Also due out in September 2015 is Survive: Dolphins & Squids & 5-6 Players...Oh My!, which collects three mini-expansions — Dolphins & Dive Dice, Giant Squid, and 5-6 Players — for Survive: Escape from Atlantis! in a single $20 package.

• Stronghold Games has also opened preorders for Evan Derrick's Dark Moon (which is due out June 24, 2015) and Michael Keller and Andreas Odendahl's La Granja (which bears a July 2015 U.S. release date). (I'll note in passing that after speaking with the designer and publisher, Dark Moon will stay listed together with BSG Express and not separated. I'm sure that designer Evan Derrick can expound upon this reasoning in blog posts that he plans to write about the evolution of the game to its published form.)

• Other titles due out in 2015 from Stronghold include Among the Stars: Revival, which is both a two-player only game from Vangelis Bagiartakis and Panagiotis Zinoviadis and an expansion for their Among the Stars, and a 30th anniversary edition of Code 777, with both of these titles expected to be available in August 2015.
Twitter Facebook
56 Comments
Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:43 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
65 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Battling Pirates of the 7 Seas from IDW/Pandasaurus and Portal Games

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Pirates are like nitrogen these days, dancing through the air around you and eager to get in your lungs, despite not being good for your health. Witness the announcement from IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games of Pirates of the 7 Seas from Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko, designers of Mysterium. Here's a rundown of the game's setting along with an overview of how it plays:

Quote:
Pirates of the 7 Seas is an innovative, fast and competitive board game full of events from everyday pirate life: plundering, old maps, and horrible gigantic krakens. Adventures, new ports and powerful rituals are waiting for you. Sometimes pirates have to rely on the other pirates, but don't forget that you can get stabbed in the back anytime.

As the waves break on your ship, take a turn for the topsy-turvy motion of the ocean by rolling your ship dice — but remember that where they land on the board means as much as what you roll! Choose to remain an independent vagabond, or maybe cut a deal with a Governor to become all official-like in your pirating ways. Consult with a shaman to curse the other pirates or pay a visit to the cartographer to find a map with some hidden treasure.

In the game, the turn begins with players choosing the character card whose action they want to play — because each character has its own ability to help you get rich quickly — and places it facedown in front of them. When everyone has chosen their character cards, the first player announces the characters one by one. When you hear your character, you reveal your character card and play your adventure, curse, or port card, and everyone gets involved in a new adventure, which usually ends with a grandiose sea battles, or some curse, or finding a new port.

The pirate with the most booty wins the day, but a pirate's life isn't always on the up and up. Savvy?

Nathan McNair from Pandasaurus has uploaded English rules (PDF) for Pirates of the 7 Seas, while Nate Murray from IDW has posted a short video demonstration of the battle resolution. Pirates of the 7 Seas is also being released by Ukranian publisher IGAMES in 2015, and a much longer video of the prototype from 2012 is also available, although you should assume that details have changed in the past three years:


McNair explains that Pirates of the 7 Seas is a role selection, VP engine game: "Standard roles in the game allow you to gain ships (Shipwright or Governor), go on an adventure (attack a convoy), change the active adventure card, gain a curse (attack) card, change the market (different goods in demand for bonuses), or sell goods collected by attacking convoys." If you're the only player to choose a character, then you receive a "gift" on top of the action itself; if you're the first player in the round and the only one to choose the character, you receive a doubleplusgood gift.

The captain action is what brings the "3D Dice Battle System" into play, with each player committing a number of dice to battle after seeing how many merchant ships are in the caravan that awaits plundering. Says McNair, "Ships are hard to come by and either can be purchased for money or gained for free from a Governor of a nation (English, Spanish, Dutch and French), with the caveat that attacking convoys of that nation after accepting ships from that nation will cost you VP." The captain then rolls all the dice in the game lid, with each merchant ship confronting the closest pirate ship; the ship with the lower value is removed from battle (with both ships sinking on a tie), and this process continues for each merchant ship until no merchants or no pirates remain in the water. Says McNair, "Any remaining pirate ships gain their owners a treasure card that can then be sold using the appropriate role."

Wait a minute, though? Didn't I just announce a pirate-themed game in which you throw dice in a game box to resolve battles? Why, yes — yes, I did.

That game is Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek and publisher Portal Games, and I contacted Trzewiczek to learn more about this odd coincidence. "Portal Games bought the license from IGAMES for using this [3D Dice Battle] system in our games in late 2014," he says. "The names of the designers and the logo of the system will be in the rulebook (according to the contract)."

As for the games themselves, Trzewiczek says, "In both games (7 Seas and Rattle, Battle) this system is used and players will toss dice in the box and resolve battles. The rest of the mechanisms in both games are different. 7 Seas is a role selection game about collecting sets of goods and selling them in various ports to earn money; Rattle, Battle is a game where players exchange goods in port to buy upgrades for their fleet and with better fleet sink more merchants (VP)."

He continues, "On one hand it is indeed a little awkward that two companies have the rights to use [the 3D Dice Battle] system and publish games at the same moment. On the other hand it will be interesting how different games were developed with the same starting point. I believe reviewers will have fun!"

Currently both games are scheduled to debut in time for Gen Con 2015 at the end of July 2015, with games reaching stores shortly afterward.
Twitter Facebook
16 Comments
Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:53 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
78 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Crowdfunding Round-up: Adventuring with Orcs, Metagaming with Cards & Not Sitting with Ducks

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
• Time for another runthrough of an unpalatably large number of games undergoing crowdfunding at the moment, starting with the biggest boss in the room: Apocrypha Adventure Card Game from publisher Lone Shark Games, designer Mike Selinker, and the design team for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. The appeal of the game derives from both its relation to PACG and the notion that Apocrypha can be played solo, cooperatively as a team, or in RPG mode with a game master. (KS link)

• Oh, wait, an even bigger boss — but one headed out the door soon — is Orcs Must Die: The Boardgame, which is divided into Order and Unchained varieties that can be played separately or combined. Poor orcs. Not sure what designer Sandy Petersen and Petersen Games have against them, but come 2016 you'll have the opportunity to engage in orc-bashing, too. (Man, I'm correcting many release dates to 2016 while putting this post together. I guess that's what happens when you're funding for the future — the future just keeps getting farther and farther away.) (KS link)

Playroom Entertainment is following its runaway KS success with Unspeakable Words with a deluxe version of Keith Meyers' Sitting Ducks Gallery titled Sitting Ducks Deluxe, with players once again trying to keep their ducks alive in the water longer than anyone else, but now in a more deluxe manner. (KS link)

Requiem Vampire Knight from designers Youri Faja and Antoine Riot and publisher KiniGame consists of three two-player packs that can be mixed and matched so that you can move an army of vampires, ghouls, werewolves or other critters in battle against one or more opponents. (KS link)

Aftermath: The Beginning from Nicolas Fong and Fongomongo Games asks players to provide assistance to others following an earthquake in order to build support for a future presidential run within that country. (KS link)

• Another giant project on Kickstarter is Millennium Blades from giant game designer D. Brad Talton, Jr. and his publishing house of giant games Level 99 Games. Millennium Blades is a deck-building board game based on a fictional collectible card game of the same name, with more than 500 cards in the box — six character sets, six starter decks, ten expansion sets, eight premium sets, and on and on and on. Talton loves to pack a million gameplay and set-up options into everything he publishes, and this game sounds like archetypal Level 99. (KS link)

• Wait, another KS game project that's collected more than $100K? Why, sure, here's the second edition of North Star Games' Evolution along with the Evolution: Flight expansion that adds a dozen new species to this "fight for survival" card game. (KS link)

• And here's another KS game project in six digits: Stonemaier Games' trio of treasure chests that feature "premium, custom-sculpted resource tokens". Personally I can't imagine wanting to dig these tokens out whenever I play a game that provides a replacement opportunity, but I'm a curmudgeon who prefers card games to most anything else, so I'm not the target audience anyway. (KS link)

Champions of Hara from Leaf Pile Media and designers Walter Barber, Ian VanNest and Andrew Zimmermann has 2-6 players exploring the six worlds within Hara and storing energy they've collected in their "Color Attunement Paths" in order to further their efforts toward becoming Hara's savior. (KS link)

• The microgame Ninja Bowling from Odd Hackwelder and his Hacko Games challenges players to toss shuriken (cards) at an opponent's pins in order to claim strikes and prove yourself the ninja bowling champ. (KS link)

The Siblings Trouble is not a ludic version of Flowers in the Attic, but a cooperative storytelling adventure game aimed at families from Pencil First Games and designers Andy Ashcraft, Eduardo Baraf and Kim Robinson. (KS link)

• In Rhodrick Magsino's Alewood, you're trying to chase outlaws out of town, preferably by pushing them along with a bullet or two, and the number of bullets that you can load in your gun is determined by the amount of beer in your pint glass. No, really! (KS link)

• Eric Anderson is looking to self-publish Building Giza, a dice-based game in which you assemble tiny blocks in the comfort of your own home. (KS link)

Bill Shakespeare Is Dead from designer Paul Cosca and Brikenbrak Games is the latest CAH-inspired game of people filling in blanks with words on their cards, but in this case players are doing it to further a play that unfolds as the game progresses. (KS link)

Ion: A Compound Building Game from John Coveyou and Genius Games gives you the elements of the game design right in the title: Use ions in a card game to form compounds. Ho ho, "elements" — I'm a riot, all right. (KS link)

• Spieleschmiede is attempting to fund a German edition of Game Salute's Alien Frontiers Big Box (SS link), while Historia from Giochix.it is getting two more mini-expansions — Capitals and Path of Destiny — through funding on Giochistarter. (GS link)

Colours & Shapes from Products for Robots is a "card game that was inspired by the card games we played as kids". (KS link) I might be feeling a tad simple at the moment, but I'm highly amused by this bit on the KS project:

Quote:
In Colours and Shapes you take on the role of one of the eight colours and shapes;

•Red Triangle
•Orange Oval
•Yellow Line
•Green Square
•Blue Circle
•Indigo Diamond
•Violet Rectangle
•Grey

No shape attached with that last one — just grey. An endless field of smothering amorphous grey. Have fun, kids!

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
Twitter Facebook
32 Comments
Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:00 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

[1]  Prev «  3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7  Next »  [129]

Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.