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I noticed this week that the strategy guide I wrote for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game 2nd edition was downloaded over a 1000 times, so I decided to post a 2nd edition of the guide itself - somewhat revised, streamlined and edited. Should be a smoother read and ever so slightly shorter.
Res Publica: 2230 AD
The Best in Board Games - In 5 Minutes or Less!
Aug 1, 2015 - Issue #272
For a more visually attractive version and see all the Great Additional Content of this issue please visit http://todayinboardgames.com/272
News & information from game publishers
*WizKids Promotional Product Licensing Agreement Amendment: Releasing Select Products for Resale - WizKids Games
*cardboardedison:The executive director of GAMA joins the Gaming Careers podcast to discuss...
- The Game Crafter News
*Galaxy Defenders Season 2: Get ready for the new expansions! - Part 3 - Ares Games
*Kings of Israel in Africa! - Funhill Games
*Gen Con Day 1 - Cryptozoic
*Take Up Your Destiny - Fantasy Flight Games
*Privateer Press is Live at Gen Con! - Privateer Press
*July 31, 2015: New Releases For July - Daily Illuminator
*The Game Crafter Community Game Night is Tonight! - The Game Crafter News
*Gen Con - Day 2 - Cryptozoic
*The Ways of Westeros - Fantasy Flight Games
*Creature Feature - Privateer Press
*August 1, 2015: Car Wars: The Card Game Revs Into Gear - Daily Illuminator
*Time to Escape - Fantasy Flight Games
*Syzygy Begins - Fantasy Flight Games
*Witness the Spread of Evil - Fantasy Flight Games
*The Road to Winterfell - Fantasy Flight Games
*Hoax - Fantasy Flight Games
*Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game - Fantasy Flight Games
*SEE MORE AT BOARDGAMEDATA.COM
In the Game
Interviews, strategies, opinions,
reviews, previews, walkthroughs, and more...
*Gen Con 2015: Five Games That Impressed Me on Day One - The Opinionated Gamers
*Gencon Bonanza Good Cop, Bad Cop Bombers and Traitors Interview - Bower's Game Corner
*The GenConmen, 2015: Day One - SPACE-BIFF!
*BoardGaming.com Unboxes: Amber Route - BoardGaming.com News
*Bountytown by Victory Point Games Review by Maurice Fitzgerald - Club Fantasci
*Video: BGG at Gen Con 2015 - Day 1 Wrap Up with Undead Viking - BGG News
*Marvel Dice Masters: Age of Utron Review - play board games
*The Rise Boardgame-Like Games and the Platform Paradox - Big Game Theory!
*Cauldron Review - with the Chief - Dice Tower
*Creators Cast: Suzanne Sheldon! - Scott King
*The Emperor loves skulls - Tiny Wooden Pieces
*At Gen Con 2015! - Father Geek
*Gen Con 2015 Day 1 Recap - With Kae - Initiative : Tabletop
*Just Got Played Episode 22: Patchwork by Mayfair Games - Just Got Played
*Board Game Review: Notre Dame - Classic and Still Fantastic - Giant Fire Breathing Robot
*The Dusty Dragon #7: China - iSlayTheDragon
*Steebin's Top 5 Gen Con Games - League of Nonsensical Gamers
*Res Publica 2230 AD - 2D6
*Kickstarter Blitz #19 - Boards and Bees
*Gritty Space Opera Gladiators - Across the Board Games
*Scars as Backstory - Dice Monkey
*Throwback Thursday: Crude: The Oil Game (McMulti) - Board Game Prices
*Issue #271- GenCon is Here! - Today in Board Games
*New Reviews Added to the Deseret News Reviews Page - The Discriminating Gamer
*Flick 'em Up! from Z-Man Games offshoot, Pretzel Games - Purple Pawn
*Gencon 2015 Bonanza Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shadows of the Past - Bower's Game Corner
*The GenConmen, 2015: Day Two - SPACE-BIFF!
*Board Games on kickstarter (Jul 30) - BoardGaming.com News
*Top Ten Ridiculous Components in Games - Dice Tower
*Gen Con 2015 Day 1 Recap - With Raine - Initiative : Tabletop
*Kelly B's Top 5 Gen Con Games - League of Nonsensical Gamers
*Res Publica: 2230 AD Game Review (prepublished version) - Father Geek
*Magic Duels: Origins now available on Steam and Xbox One - 2D6
*Board Game News Brief: July 29, 2015 - Board Game Prices
*2015 Diana Jones Award - Purple Pawn
*Gencon 2015 Bonanza Pathfinder Occult Adventures - Bower's Game Corner
*Xanadu Review - with Zee Garcia - Dice Tower
*Smee's Top 5 Gen Con Games - League of Nonsensical Gamers
*Gen Con 2015 Day 2 Recap - With Raine - Initiative : Tabletop
*SEE MORE AT BOARDGAMEDATA.COM
Today In Board Games Is:
Roger Hicks (Editor)
Charlie Ecenbarger (Contributor)
Michelle Mazala (Contributor)
Chris Meeusen (Contributor)
Diana Echevarria (Contributor)
Res Publica: 2230 AD
Res Publica: 2230AD is an update to Reiner Knizia's classic set in the future, where races migrate through Space searching for new areas in which to settle. Intensive trading brings together strong Races, encourages new settlements and promotes the development of civilization. Each turn is divided in three different phases: Trade, Display and Draw cards. Each player at his turn can make a trade offer and each player in turn responds in kind. Using the cards through trading and drawing players work to acquire five identical race cards in order to build a Space Station (which increases the number of cards you can draw each turn) or five identical technology cards in order to build a City (which gives Victory Points). See Res Publica 2230AD on Kickstarter now and reserve your copy for just $20.
Promote your Kickstarter project or game here: Get more information on marketing packages.
*Conan: Rise of Monsters - $250,000.00
*Chaos of Cthulhu - $25,000.00
*The Contender: The Game of Political Debate - $15,000.00
*Res Publica: 2230AD - $4,000.00
*Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game - $25,000.00
*Ponyfinder: Forgotten Past - $3,000.00
*Crit or Shoot d20 - $3,000.00
*Integrated Wargame Buildings - £500.00
*Last Front: The Strategy Card Game - $15,000.00
*Shootout! The High Noon Card Game - $5,869.00
*Legend of the Elements - $1,600.00
*Know Thy Neighbor... The Hilariously Naughty Party Game - $12,000.00
*Scandalous The Naughty Drawing Game - $10,000.00
*Sky Dynasty Strategy Card Game - $19,000.00
*Lore - $14,375.00
*RPG coasters - $2,500.00
*Heroic Onslaught : Interactive Card Game - $28,000.00
*Eastwood 20 Old West Gunslingers - $500.00
*Winds of Fortune - Naval Strategy Board/Card Game - $16,000.00
*SEE MORE AT BOARDGAMEDATA.COM
Curated By Cardboard Edison
*"It can be really useful to take a break from a design now and then. Banging your head against a brick wall will only get you so far, and sometimes taking a step back will help you realize there's a door right next to where you were standing." - Teale Fristoe
*"Early in your design (hopefully before you start) know what you want the game to be. It helps when making decisions later about cuts." - Peter Gousis
Articles for designers, publishers, and other industry professionals
*Where Is Chevee? - Chevee Dodd
*Celestispiel 2015- Playtesting and Game Design in California - League of Gamemakers
*The 54 Card Guild is a design exercise focused on the limitations of a single deck of... - Cardboard Edison
*How Brett Gilbert Makes Games - And He Games
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Don't forget to check out the site for updates and more content! http://todayinboardgames.com/272
What a long, hot, soppy experience this July has been! Finally gone, but not forgotten. Mainly because of all that accursed heat and humidity it left behind! Didn't anyone ever teach July to pick up after it was done playing? Now August is probably going to swoop in, take one look at the mess, and follow suit. This is why I am proposing a large wall be erected by this time next year in order to shut July out. It will need to be at least as tall as 31 days, so we can make sure that not even one little itty bitty hour of the ordeal gets over and into our hair. The width will span the circumference of the Northern Hemisphere, since I'm told everyone to the south of us is already used to feeling uncomfortably overheated. With this wall we'll just keep on enjoying the slightly milder climes of June, and then in about 60 or 70 days we can take a wrecking ball to it. Simple as that, really.
And what have I been playing in order to beat the heat, you ask? "Surprisingly little!" is my humiliated reply. In an unfortunate series of events that we'll call "JULY BEING DUMB," I have been rather busy with other, far less important tasks, such as being responsible and experiencing life outside of cardboard fantasies (which, I'll tell you right now, is not nearly as worth it as some would have you believe). Ah well, I will endeavor to enlighten you all on the four measly games I did manage to get to the table, and for now, that will have to suffice. Perhaps if we get that wall built in 2016, we can all sit in its cool-ish shade and celebrate with a big pile of new board games. Let's make it happen, people!
ViceroyFirst played in 2015:
When Viceroy first showed up on Kickstarter, I supposed at a glance that it resembled something like a 'Keyflower Express' of sorts, and was happy to back because of it. Now, after several first-hand experiences with it, I'm rather glad to say that the assumption was not entirely baseless, yet neither was it entirely exact, and both of these things being true make me very happy to have it in my collection now. Viceroy is very much a tableau builder, where players build a "pyramid of power" by placing allies into 1-5 tiers, receiving the benefits of each ally depending on their placement within this hierarchy. It costs the least to place a card in the bottom row, and the modest benefit received reflects this. Conversely, spend more time and resources placing the card higher up in the fourth or fifth tier and reap the powerful rewards that come with such a lofty echelon.
In Viceroy, every round begins with a simultaneous auction with 4-8 cards on offer. Each card is placed beside one of four colors of gemstone, indicating the type of payment required to purchase them. Players bid a single gemstone of the color that corresponds to the card they wish to buy. If multiple players bid the same color with only one card available, all bids are lost and the process repeats itself. There are three chances to procure a card-- if players are unable or unwilling to, they pass and receive three gemstones from the bank for their loss. Once the auction phase is complete, players can then install up to three of their cards into their pyramid, immediately paying for the cost and receiving any benefits from those cards. In addition to character cards, there are also laws, which offer special abilities or end-game scoring opportunities. One of the things that really sets Viceroy's auction phase apart from other games is the fact that players can openly discuss their intentions before bids are set in stone. I like that the rulebook leaves it as open as that. Whether or not the players partake in open discussion, diplomatic or not, truthful or duplicitous, adds a lovely layer of excitement and uncertainty to the proceedings. In my experiences, half of the players were content to state exactly which cards they were going after and what color they were planning to spend, while the other half remained in a state of sly, stone-faced silence. Yet, even with just one player willing to divulge information, the chances for wasted bids were dramatically reduced-- just as, I suspect, with far less altruistic participants, the odds of being sidetracked or betrayed could potentially skyrocket. It's nice to have as open-ended of an opportunity for player interaction as this, especially since the standard auction format isn't my most favored board game mechanic.
Does this base make my pyramid look fat?
Once the auction phase is complete, players move on to the actual installation of cards into their pyramid. This seemingly simple act of placing cards can be a wonderfully exhausting challenge, mainly due to the gemstone color fragments that appear at the bottom center, top left, and top right corners of each card. While it is perfectly legal to place a card so that a blue gemstone corner matches up with a yellow corner of a neighboring card, it isn't always the wisest or most lucrative choice to do so. If a player can complete a gemstone of a single color with three different cards, they not only receive a gemstone of that color from the bank immediately, they also score points at the end of the game for it. Add specific multipliers for a particular color with this in mind and attempting to build a pyramid with as many reds or greens as possible can really pay off in the long run. Viceroy gives the player a significant number of things to be mindful of, despite its rather simple and straightforward structure. Add to this the fact that gemstones are of a finite supply and the need for shrewd management becomes the cornerstone of successful planning, purchase, and placement.
While it's not a perfect game, there's a lot to admire in Viceroy. It's a handsome-looking affair, to say the least, featuring a wealth of options as well as a healthy supply of hypotheticals to keep one on one's toes. Seeing the various pyramids around the table slowly grow and take shape over the course of the game is a real treat, but most rewarding, naturally, is the actual formation of your own dynasty, timing and tailoring it to gemstoned perfection like some kind of fantastical John Forsythe with a penchant for jewel-fueled machinations. See, because I mentioned a "dynasty," get it? John Forsythe was the-- oh, forget it. Look, I'm going after that Poisoner card because I need it, okay? The Poisoner is mine.
CarcassonneFirst played in 2015:
Ah, Carcassonne! A true Car-ca-classic! You'll forgive me if my words start to skew towards the sentimental, but Carcassonne was indeed my first foray into the glorious world of "Euro/German/Modern/Designer" board games. 15 years on and still it remains a solid design, a worthy stepping stone into deeper, more ridiculously fecund depths of the hobby. I enjoy playing Carcassonne now just as I enjoyed playing it the first time I was taught it. While other gateway games like Catan or Bang! have dwindled a bit in their overall esteem, Carcassonne continues its simple tile-laying tradition without so much as a single flinch from jaded criticism. That's not to say it's a consummate game-- I've yet to find an experience that is-- but boy howdy is it dependable. Spend just five or ten minutes learning its rules and rest assured that you will get exactly what you come for each and every time you return to it.
Welcome to the land of pointy castles!
In Carcassonne, players take turns choosing and placing a random terrain tile into a communal tableau, matching fields to fields, roads to roads, and city walls to city walls. Once the new tile is placed in a legal fashion, the player has the opportunity to affix one of his or her meeples to a certain portion of it, claiming that field/road/city/cloister as his or her own and hoping to score points from it when it is completed. Scoring is perfectly straightforward. Roads are complete when they end at a village or city gate. The longer the road is, the more points are given to the meeple who owns it. Cities, once completely enclosed by walls, give each player who has a meeple within them 2 points for each tile involved. Cloisters give 9 points when there is a tile touching all 8 adjacent spots. Fields score end-game points for every completed city that is built within them.
There are many things that make Carcassonne a perennial favorite. It is basic enough to remain family-friendly and has the ability to resonate with young children all the way up to the elderly relatives who "just like to watch while you kids have fun." It is both selfish and sympathetic; all players work together to build out the land, but each person is still striving for the most victory points at the end of the day. Roads are a relatively private strategy, while cities are inherently dependent upon multiple people to complete. The game can be played as politely as it can be cutthroat, harmonious ownership just as valid a strategy as denial of majority. For as elementary as the ruleset is, fantastically intricate subterfuge can and will appear. A seemingly harmless city can be started half-way across the map only to grow and spread over multiple turns until it finds its way into a crafty consolidation of several smaller, formerly independent castles. Huge risks can be taken, massive payoffs achieved. Backs can be stabbed and victories can be shared, and all from the bizarrely improvisational architectural stratagems of Carcassonne.
There are about a half a billion expansions and add-ons to Carcassonne, but I don't know why you'd ever really need a single one. To me, Carcassonne is like a nice glass of wine or a pair of comfortable shoes: you don't really need to be an expert to appreciate their utility, and no amount of whip cream on top of either is going to improve your enjoyment of them. Carcassonne is what it is. A simple tile-laying game that has a wide and evergreen appeal. Each rule exists for a reason, is clean, intuitive, and completely unburdened by that beast so prevalent in modern gaming: complexity for complexity's sake. It's good to step back from time to time, to take a break from the baffling and brain-burning behemoths, and enjoy the simple pleasures of laying down in a field and pretending to be a farmer.
If you think about it, the Wild West sure is a strange thing to romanticize. Of course, if you think about anything for too long it becomes strange. Like the word "strange." Strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange strange and now it's lost all meaning and looks like a foreign word. But more to my initial point, I've never completely understood why the Wild West is so well-loved. It's strange because I love the Wild West just as much as the next cowpoke. I really do. All of those sunset-painted canyons and cliffs and mesas, all of those hoofbeats and gunshots and whistling of politically incorrect arrows. It's enough to make a body up and Go West, young man. I find it fascinating, exhilarating, and frankly, a relief that I never actually had to experience any of it first hand. See, everything's tamed nowadays. There isn't much of the world that hasn't already been at least a little bit civilized with running water or a Starbucks on all corners, or a Google Corporation looking into providing the area with free wi-fi. There are no two ways about it: for most of us, the present is pretty darn urbane. A glimpse into a time when bullets flew at the slightest provocation and gold dust was readily on hand seems like prime entertainment in our eyes. The fact that other countries coo over the concept of the American West is probably enough evidence to prove that it's a nigh-universal appeal. Human beings love the idea of antiquated people in big floppy hats breaking laws. We love to get excited and outraged over it, or, at the very least, mildly self-righteous and more than a little smug. It's escapism in its dirtiest, grittiest, spitooniest form.
It's no surprise that the Wild West has been bottled and sold in a great many number of board and card games. Some revel in a heavily cartoonified version of the era, while other titles tend to focus on the seedier, more "realistic" aspects of things like brothel management and Syphilis Points. Enter Flick 'em Up!, which is most definitely from the former school of rootin' and tootin'. Adorability abounds! One look at the components will tell anyone as much. This here's a dexterity game, filled with all sorts of little wooden cowboys and cacti and main street structures like saloons, general stores, and more. The get up is nothing short of impressive.
For extra set dressing use the silica gel packets as tumbleweeds.
In Flick 'em Up!, players form teams of good guys and baddies, flicking discs and bullets into props and opponents in an attempt to achieve one of the ten scenarios on offer. The premise is as simple as the gameplay: on a turn, a player may move a cowboy (by replacing the meeple with a flickable movement disc and skittering it across the landscape to a more convenient position), shoot his or her gun (by taking a small grey disc and pew-pew'ing it into the faces of his unfortunate foes), or enter one of the buildings that line the main playing area and make up the perimeter of the "game board." Scenarios range from the introductory "first team to topple three of the opposing team wins" to even more thematic and ridiculous concepts, such as "flick the barrel out from under the condemned man's feet, hanging him from the gallows he is currently (and quite precariously) under."
It's all good fun, without even a little bit of syphilis to boot. Flick 'em Up! is utterly ridiculous, and it is rather taken with the idea of being so. This is a good thing. I don't know of a single dexterity game that takes itself seriously. Dexterity games are the games that cause massive, ecstatic cloudbursts of "OHHHHhhhh!" from across the room every five to ten minutes. Dexterity games are the games that bring people over to the table in equal parts confusion and attraction, the games that cause passersby to do double-takes and linger awhile. They're infectiously fun and childishly silly and that perfect fun-for-the-whole-family feel. They take a dismally dark idea, like the cold-blooded murder of a good-hearted man with a wife and daughter at home and reduce it down to a little wooden meeple with a cardboard hat flopping over on top of a fake cactus and eliciting cries of triumph and defeat from the giants overhead.
Here's a great tip for prospective players of the game Kohle & Kolonie: when suggesting it to a group of people, just go all out and say the full name in German. Sure, you might come off sounding a little pretentious by saying "Kohle und Kolonie" in front of your non-German friends, but you will also reduce the risk in your non-German friends thinking that the game is Colon Colony and therefore have a much, much higher chance of actually getting it to the table. Just a friendly bit of advice that was not at all born of actual, first-hand experience! Of course, one could always use the initial disgust of Colon Colony as a means to make the real title appear more attractive. Once the interested party has perished the thought of sphincter-related goings-on, they may very well find the idea of consolidating coal mines in the Ruhr region of 19th century Germany a welcome--exciting, even!--theme by comparison.
I will admit quite freely that I first became interested in Kohle & Kolonie based on its art. I find it gorgeous and delightfully dreary. I think the cover is perfect in conveying its theme and the pithead tiles appropriately dingy. I say all of this completely unironically even after having lambasted all the bilious brownness in Shipyard. Luckily, after researching it a bit more, it sounded like it could very well be an interesting play as well as an interesting look. It took a good 3-5 months of sitting on the shelf, but I finally rounded up three other players and we took a stab at it at quite literally the eleventh hour of the final day of July. Having emerged from the blackened shafts of ignorance sometime around 2am, I am rather pleased (albeit exhausted) to say that the game is indeed an interesting one, in both the aesthetic and utilitarian sense.
Flames! Flames on the side of my mine!
In Kohle & Kolonie, players buy up small mines within North Rhine-Westphalia, employing the local workforce and putting their personal miners and engineers to work at processing and refining plants. In addition to the general area control portion of the game, there is also the Coal Trust, who acts almost as a dummy player and buys up unpurchased mines each round. After the first third of the game, players then begin to consolidate these small mines, bidding to retain ownership of the larger mines that are created in key areas on the map in order to score bigger points and continue income. With only 2.5-3 actions in each of the five rounds, there is constant struggle between buying more mines, safeguarding them against disaster, building settlements and traveling along rail lines, upgrading pithead tiles, and vying for majority in regions. This, of course, is only the briefest of generalizations.
The fact of the matter is that Kohle & Kolonie is a real doozy to explain in full, or even in passing, so I'll not bore you with the details (that is an unintentional mining joke because: 'bore'). While it takes a Herculean effort to both teach and learn due to utterly confusing iconography and bewilderingly similar terminology, once the game actually begins to click and all of its little idiosyncrasies are committed to memory, it actually plays surprisingly smooth. There are grey cubes that are workers, and player-colored cubes that are miners, and slightly larger player-colored cubes that are engineers, and all three of their icons seem to be a portrait of the selfsame behardhatted man with only the subtlest differences in stature. Steam engines are not trains, which are also present in the game (and definitely not steam engines). Steam engines--not trains---are represented as little black houses, which are not really houses, which are also not to be confused with little player-colored houses, which ARE houses, and considered settlements, which can only be placed after workers are depleted, but can house miners, but not engineers, which can travel along the train tracks (miners, that is, not engineers) but not the steam engines or mines. The player-colored cubes on the actual mines themselves are not at all miners, but player-colored cubes, so don't move them like miners, and definitely don't move them like workers, because they're not those, either. They're also not engineers, and you only have three of those, and even though they're engineers, they're not those kind of engineers, so don't place them on steam engines--sorry, I mean trains.
Despite its complexity and confounding argot, I found that I really enjoyed Kohle & Kolonie. It's a peculiar brand of engine-building that undulates instead of growing exponentially. There is something to be said about savvy planning as well and seizing opportunities when they appear, and it is this dynamic management in both the long-term and the short--term that makes the game engaging. Due to the consolidations and threat of disaster to your mines, there are always benefits and drawbacks to expanding too quickly or even too slowly; an intriguing balance to aim for all throughout the game. Kohle & Kolonie might look austere, sound discombobulated at first, but underneath its soot-smeared exterior lies a very neat and tidy game.
* * *
Right. Well, there are our meager write-ups for the end of July. Sure, it wasn't much, but I hope the fact that they're all nicely tanned and glistening from beach-related sweat will be of some service to you. I never would've thought Carcassonne could look that good in a bikini, but it just goes to show you that nothing beats constant protein shakes and a rigorous workout routine.
Until next time, happy games!
Brand New Deck (from True Love's Kiss from Disney's Enchanted)
This one is about constructing a deck for a card game - either a CCG or LCG. I've only really played Android: Netrunner, so the song's mostly from my experiences of that game, but I tried to make it more generic.
Monza e Brianza
With the GenCon (and more importantly the GenCant ) I forgot about updating with my last two plays.
Played the second scenario with 4 players. Pretty easy, Gimli with an axe managed to keep the big enemies at bay, Eowyn took care of the big of exploring, green deck kept everyone healed up and full of cards, purple deck was a jack of all trade.
I also tried the first scenario with the green deck. Drawing 2-3 card a turn was incredibly powerful and I got response for everything the encounter decks threw at me.
Next time I'll switch to a two colors deck.
Note: This was recorded using Periscope which only allows vertical recording. We've used Periscope so we can give you these quick updates while our other equipment is not available.
Because some people asked, I thought I’d post some observations and pictures from the MegaCon Booth at Gencon.
This year’s booth is much better than last. They have a single space with demo and retail all together. Last year they had two booths across the aisle from one another and made for a disjointed experience.
My initial impression is these guys are non-stop busy. I have stopped by at different times through the first two days and each time the booth is packed with activity. MegaCon has brought additional resources to the booth so they can adequately staff the different areas and pods in the booth.
They have pretty much all their products represented in the booth, Mercs TT, Myth, Recon, Conquest, and Emergence Event all have demo stations. They have some Banner Saga information back in the retail area along with several cases of miniatures. One case has all the Myth miniatures painted with a shelf dedicated to completed JM sculpts. If you’re at the show, be sure to check those out. They also have a case with all the Recon miniatures (many of them painted). The collection is quite impressive and anyone who went all in with RECON will have a metric ton of plastic to paint (and I thought the Bones KS had serious plastic painting opportunities). I noticed the new Myth JM map at the back of the booth too – that was neat to see in person.
I’ll post my pictures at the bottom of this blog entry, but first some observations:
Looking at the presser for Banner Saga and some of the other content in the booth, it appears that this game is pretty far along from a production standpoint. Most booth employees are drawing people’s attention to the announcement and is clearly an important future IP for MegaCon.
RECON is not final and they are not demonstrating the complete game at the show. I know there is a bunch of speculation on where the shipment is and when backers will receive. I spoke with the MegaCon team directly and my takeaway is the shipment hasn’t made it to the US at this point. MegaCon will not comment on directly where it is, only to say when it his US distribution center they will update the community. Until that milestone, there are too many variables outside MegaCon control and they don’t want to set false expectations.
They are demonstrating Myth on 3D terrain. They did this last year too. Looks neat and I wonder if someone is making this in retail. I’ll see if I can get details on this at the booth today or tomorrow.
I will be there today and tomorrow and if there are questions people want me to ask, please post them here.
This past weekend I hosted my house con for the second year. It is just a three day event where we play games and I fire up the grill. We had ten gamers over the weekend with two out of town guests.
We started on Thursday night with a five player game of Mare Nostrum. It was the first game for most of us at the table. Nick South as Babylon got out to an early lead, but then the Egyptian and Greeks countered by invading the Middle East. It was at that time with an empty Athens that Caesar invaded to try to steal the win.
Carthage quietly kept building and was able to achieve victory a turn before Rome could finish the Greeks off. It was definite a game that I would play again. It scratched an itch for a light civ style game.
The next day the group started a game of Clash of Cultures. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this game. It was better than Sid Meier's Boardgame and stuck with the elements of the original computer game. I believe that Japan was the civilization that won this game.
It was a four player game, so Nick and I played a few scenarios of Hold the Line. Nick won the battle of Princeton with sharp shooting and a solid red line.
I Returned the favor by taking down his Brits in the Battle of Quebec. The French defenses were breached, but we regrouped and laid down withering fire on the British lines. They were never able to expand the breach.
Kevin and Leeland played a game of Polis while I was grilling. The report was that Sparta was victorious. The game was light and had some good choices according to Lee.
That evening a group played Historia, while I participated in a game of War of the Ring. Chris and I led the Free People's, while Nick and Travis took on the role of the Shadow. The Shadow was able to just nearly wipe out all Elves. We saw a sucker move and tried to take two Shadow fortresses. I really think that is chasing fools gold, but Mike who started out as my co-commander wanted to try this line of play. It went south fast. When Chris did get there, we finally got the Fellowship moving, but fell short on Mount Doom as the last Stronghold fell.
Chris and Nick the squared off in some Wings of War action. The Red Baron shot down the American Ace in a dogfight that lasted several passes.
Saturday began with a three player game of Bruges. It was a neat game with some good choices for players. I am more of a war gamer, but would play this again. The depth is not what I look for in a game, but it makes a good filler between the longer games that I prefer.
We then moved on to a six player game of Warrior Knights.
The game was neat with lots of chrome. It took a while for the five of us to learn the rules. Nick was able to win after I had led most of the game. It has some neat elements as planning your strategies with the cards for each season, but not sure the time commitment is worth it.
We then moved on to a group playing Forbidden Stars, which I know nothing about and our games of Elysium and Imperial Assault. Elysium was fun and light, but Imperial Assault was great. I am a Star Wars fan from the first movie I saw at the old theater on our town square in the mid 70's. The first scenario was a hoot as it had the feel of an AD&D adventure with me playing the Empire. I looked at it more along those lines rather than "winning". I was able to take out a character, but could have completed my mission earlier. It didn't make sense to me so, I chose to try to take on the role of Imperial thought.
We finished the weekend with another game of Clash of Cultures, Twilight Struggle and Unconditional Surrender. I played the game of Clash and it was my first experience with the game, so as I said earlier, it won't be my last.
Twilight Struggle saw James win as the U.S. Over a stron Soviet come back after a tough start.
This was a great weekend. I hope to try and do more blog posts over the year.
Escape: The Curse of the Temple - 9.0 - Game of the Month - Most Thematic
Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a great way of adding suspense to simple dice rolling. Putting the players in a situation where they must rush through this temple, collecting jewels and trying to find the exit, is stressful, but mostly just plain fun.
Biblios - 8.9 - Game of the Month Runner-Up - Best Art
Biblios is a great card game which mixes up a couple of my favorite mechanics, auctions and set collection. The "gifting" phase is really unique and feels good, deciding whether to take that first card you see, or hoping something better comes up for you, but not for your opponents... And then that whole feeling of if you should put it in auction and hope you get it later. I really like that. The auction is really good too. Switching between paying gold for cards and then paying cards for gold, definite fun. There's a lot of great things going for this one and I enjoy it extensively.
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game - 8.8
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game is a great game in a small package. I really enjoy games where the cards have multiple uses, in this case ingredients and special powers. The flow of the game is perfect. Pick two cards, brew, play a card into your brewery or pass. I like that there's almost always something to do. If you can't brew, you can usually play a card in your brewery. Very rarely do you feel it's a must to pass. Clever and fun game.
Rattlebones - 8.8
Rattlebones is an incredibly original and extremely enjoyable roll and move game. That's right. You're just going to be rolling and moving, but you're actually going to be having a lot of fun. The way the dice are manipulated through the game, with actually changing their sides, is really fascinating. Changing up strategy (yea, actual strategy in a roll and move game), is pretty important, as is catching some good luck here and there. I was really impressed with this one.
Where's Bob's Hat? - 8.6
Trick taking games are the bread and butter of my collection. I just can't seem to get enough of them. Let's go ahead and toss Where's Bob's Hat? in as one of my new favorites. I really like how, as the game continues, more cards are dealt out making bids more important. Bidding that you'll get the least tricks is worth only five points and if you miss out, big whoop...you lose five points. However, mess up your bid in round 12, you're going to be losing 16 points. Great trick taking game!
Design Town - 8.3
Design Town is incredibly clever for a game which uses only 5 types of cards. It's in how these cards work though, that's really amazing. Building your engine takes a good amount of time though and may slog the game down slightly. However, once you've got some good cards in hand (and flipped over those damn Residentials) you'll be in the swing of things. This one is a great little deck builder.
Camelot: The Court - 8.2
Camelot: The Court is great game that takes a good amount more strategy than I thought it might to win. Setting yourself up and screwing over your opponents are a must in order to score high without giving your opponents too many points. Since there are six cards in hand, you always have something you can do so that makes it interesting as well. While the game is kind of bland to look at, the gameplay makes up considerably for it.
HomeStretch - 8.2
HomeStretch is a really fun horse racing game where players not only bet on the horses, but also have a stake in them, pushing their luck and hoping they not only win their bets, but win the race with their horse. I really like how everyone has their own meta-game going on. Betting on your own horse and having it win the race nets you a lot of money, but it's not always easy to pull off. Spreading your bets around actually can work in your favor sometimes, especially if you're behind in the game. Helping another player to let their horse win if you bet tons of money on it, can surprisingly boost your bank. All in all, lots of fun and a lot more going for it than a basic "bet on the horses to win" game.
Korrigans - 8.1 - Best Quality
Korrigans is a great, light weight game which reminds me a lot of classic games, with a good amount more of gameplay to be had than those of yesteryear. The whole production is really beautiful and something to behold from start to finish. I also really like the randomness of both the game itself and when it will end, as well as where the game's end will take place. As long as you're not looking for much strategy, this one is right up there with some of the better luck-based games.
Parade - 8.1
Parade is a crazy, wonky little game that's a ton of fun. It definitely brings out the "Alice in Wonderland" theme due to how strange it plays. I really enjoy the simplicity mixed with the strategy. Good little card game for sure.
Deep Sea Adventure - 7.9
Deep Sea Adventure is a really fun game. I'll start by saying it's WAAAAAAY smaller than what I thought it would be, but big things come in small packages. I really like the idea of having a modular board and how carrying treasures "weighs you down" in a way, meaning your trip back to the submarine is slower and also takes up more air. It's really a push your luck game all the way. Deciding to go further down into the sea or turning back to the submarine are crucial decisions that make this game great.
The Sheep Race - 7.8
The Sheep Race is a fun take on the racing game genre. I really love how the breathing works and how a player can force a sheep to become exhausted in order put the sheep out of the race. Breath is extremely important and really makes or breaks the race for the players. It's a little bit too long for what it is, but in that time, you'll most likely be enjoying the movement of those cute little sheep.
Spit It Out! - 7.8
Spit It Out! is like a simple trivia game turn upside down. Giving wrong answers is key, except for a couple times during the game. That's where your brain will just give up on you, it seems. It's usually fairly easy to say stuff wrong, and as long as it's in spirit of the question, that's the way to do it. However, when you need to answer your second and fifth question correct, the brain doesn't like to work with you. Lots of fun, silly moments to be had with this one for sure.
Seven7s - 7.3
Seven7s is a pretty interesting game. I like how it's a deck of 49 cards, 7 cards of 7 suits and 7 numbers each. I like how each of the suits has a special power that's unique and can changed the game. What I don't like is the "Ages of Man" card. It's a clever card though and can push the game along well however, we had a player who constantly played them in their own column, which kept taking out the high cards. While most games tend to end in the low to mid tens, we had a game end with 5 being the high score. He single-handedly broke the game. Other than that, pretty cool little game.
Flea Market - 7.0
Flea Market is a fun dice chucking game that plays quickly. It's one of those games where it really comes down to sheer luck. Buying an item or not buying it only matters depending on how the dice come up. A good game that is fun to bring out if you've got 20 minutes to spare.
Ultimate Warriorz - 6.5
Ultimate Warriorz is a simple, pure combat game that plays quickly. That's a good thing since it really doesn't have much substance. I enjoy that each character has a couple of unique powers and different sizes and life pools. It also seems very well balanced with no character seeming to have any real advantage over another. The problem for me is that it's just sort of "bleh". I just wish there was more to it than just "fight each other". Not really my cup of tea, but I would play it again if in the right mood.
Canyon - 6.0
Canyon is a little too long for what it is. As well, at three players, this is not good. There's just so much more to it with more people. I would never play this with four or less. However, even at 5 or 6 players, it's just not much going to it. I like how each round there are different numbers of cards dealt out. However, there are rounds where just one card is dealt...one. I don't know. I just didn't really care for it. I wouldn't turn it down, but we better have at least 5 when we play it.
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