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W. Eric Martin
U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games has announced "a comprehensive licensing partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd. for the worldwide rights to publish card, roleplaying, and miniatures games set in the popular Star Wars universe", and the first two titles to appear under that license will be Star Wars: The Card Game and X-Wing, both due in early 2012.
Star Wars: The Card Game, from Nate French and Corey Konieczka, is a cooperative card game in which 1-2 players controlling Rebel forces try to defeat Imperial missions run by a randomized Imperial encounter deck specific to whatever mission they are attempting. With a second base set of 200+ cards, the game can be played by up to four players. Star Wars: The Card Game is a Living Card Game system – one of several from FFG and the second cooperative one after The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – and Fantasy Flight plans to release monthly 60-card Force Packs to provide new missions, new characters, and more.
X-Wing is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game with detailed painted miniatures for two players, one controlling the Rebel X-Wings and the other the Imperial TIE fighters.
The news announcement mentions that Fantasy Flight Games will "be announcing additional Star Wars card, roleplaying, and miniatures games in the coming months" and as a number of BGG users have already pointed out, this wording specifically seems to preclude the release of any board games using the Star Wars material.
W. Eric Martin
• Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater has an interesting column on resource management in game design - that is, the management of resources available to a designer for a particular game. From his point of view, most games are one-shot deals in which a designer has little to no expectation of a sequel or expansion seeing print, so he includes whatever seems best at the time, but as a game succeeds and grows over the years – think Carcassonne, El Grande, Dominion and of course Magic itself – the designer(s) must take a long-term view as to how game mechanisms are used and developed in the game.
• If you're interested in Battleship Galaxies and are headed to Gen Con 2011, you could do worse than to attend an informal game play and Q&A event with the game's designer, Craig Van Ness at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Indianapolis from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 in Grand Ballroom 2. Says Laura Trani, who represents Hasbro through Hunter Public Relations, "We'll be providing snacks and drinks and doing a giveaway of some Battleship Galaxies copies and some model ships. Anyone who's interested in the game should feel free to stop by."
• Eric Franklin, who demoes games for Asmodee at Gen Con, reminds con attendees to play nice with the volunteers and to be aware of what they can and can't do.
• On Go Forth and Game, Tom Gurganus interviews A.J. Porifino of Van Ryder Games, publisher of the deck-destroying game Organized Chaos.
• In a June 2011 column on Meepletown – late link, I know – Derek Thompson contemplates player-controlled game-end conditions and why they sometimes fail for him. I'm typically a fan of such conditions because they give you one more tool in the game to use to your advantage, assuming you know how to do so, of course.
• On The New Yorker website, Blake Eskin writes about his experience playtesting Starry Heavens, a life-sized board game created by Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi with people as the players/pawns that debuted at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to tie into its "Talk To Me" exhibit that opened in late July 2011.
W. Eric Martin
• Moonster Games has posted images of the "Dragoon" clan from Gosu: Kamakor, due out late August/early September 2011 in Europe and one month afterwards in North America.
• Flying Frog Productions has released English rules (PDF) for Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game.
• Ystari Games posted sample illustrations from its new version of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective on its blog, mentioning a release date of late 2011 or early 2012.
• MTV Geek reports that at Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego, Steve Jackson Games revealed that it will release a Munchkin booster pack in Q2 2012 based on the web series The Guild.
• Looney Labs is releasing two promotional postcards on September 30, 2011: Star Fluxx: Android Doctor to tie into the release of Star Fluxx on the same day, and Fluxx: Press Your Luck, which can be used in any version of Fluxx.
• New games in the BGG database include:
-----* Alba Longa, from Graeme Jahns and Quined/Tasty Minstrel/HUCH – This game is not about one's desire for Jessica Alba, but rather about competition for dominance in early Italy. Technically, this is not a new game as the design was one of four winners of the 2009 Concours International de Créateurs de Jeux de Société, but now Dutch publisher Quined Games has picked up the title and further developed it, with two co-publishers also releasing the game.
-----* Lord of the Rings: Nazgul, from Brian Kinsella and WizKids – The players are all minions of Sauron and must work together to keep the Ringbearer from reaching Mount Doom. If they do, the player with the most VPs wins. If not, then they fall with their master...
-----* Frigiti, from Andrea Meyer and BeWitched Spiele – A combination dice/word game with bluffing elements
-----* [thing=103723]Merchant of Death[/thing], from Steve Finn through Doctor Finn's Card Company – Players use their agents to confiscate crates of weapons at various locations around the world.
-----* Prepotent, from Tom Russell and Numbskull Games – Due out before the end of 2011, this game combines horse breeding, betting and racing.
-----* Cookie Fu: Grandmaster Chi Battles, also know as Cookie Fu Fortune Decks, from Bryan Kowalski and Blue Kabuto – These decks come in three flavors (Chocolate Ox, Vanilla Hare and Coconut Monkey) that match those of the Cookie Fu dice game, but these decks can be integrated into the dice game or used on their own in a fast two-player combat game. Cookie Fu Fortune Decks will debut at Gen Con 2011, which opens in early August.
(This diary is a companion piece to the one from Mike Elliott that ran on BGG News in early July 2011. Enjoy! —WEM)
One fateful evening in 2009, Mike Elliott called me:
"Dice-building game," he said.
"A mana pool that attacks!" I responded excitedly. And two days later, we had a game.
Okay, that's a stretch, but not too much of one. The term "dice-building" came very late in the development cycle, as "deck-building game" wasn't even part of common gamer parlance back then. We didn't quite finish the game two days later, but much of the game you may be playing soon came together over one amazing weekend and two excited designers in perfect sync.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
My Quarriors design story is one about inspiration. Mike already wrote an excellent article about our collaborative process and our adventures in getting this baby published, so I thought to indulge in a more philosophical take on this game's design.
Prelude: An Ode to Polyhedrons
I'd been wanting to get serious about designing a dice game for years. I love the little guys; the sensation of rattling them between your cupped hands, the thrill of anticipating the result, the escalating drama as they clatter on the surface. Will they, or won't they?
As a gamer, few game components deliver an experience as visceral as dice. There's magic in them bones, and I love those primal gaming moments where everyone draws a collective breath while surrendering to the unknown. I wanted to make a game that delivered those moments exclusively.
Before working on Quarriors I'd been playing around with a dice mechanism that I called a "chaotic mana pool". I'm a big fan of old school D&D, and one of my big inspirations came from a book called The Tome of Magic that introduced my young gamer self to the idea of "wild magic" – that is, access to great power with the risk of quirky, random side effects.
The idea of a pool of dice representing a mana pool that could not be fully controlled was compelling to me. I'm a big believer in games as a vehicle for players to tell each other stories, and the aberrations generated by a mechanism like this would often be memorable. In today's saturated entertainment marketplace, I place a high value on that quality.
How's this, Eric? Pool-y enough for you?
The Shoulders of Giants
When Mike approached me with the idea of dice-building, I was instantly sold. Both of us could visualize the general play pattern within minutes, which I feel is very important to the success of a design.
And of course, a strong part of Quarriors' resonance stems from a degree of familiarity. In my opinion, we owe some good gaming karma to Dominion, which informed the backbone of our drafting and pool-improvement model. Without it, our game would likely have been a hard sell as it would have seemed too unfamiliar for many publishers to risk such a large production budget on.
I personally owe as much credit to Magic: The Gathering, one of my favourite games (and one that Mike was a lead designer on for ten years!), which influenced many of my ideas for how we'd tie together the summoning and combat system.
Both Mike and I had several other influences, but none were as direct as those above.
Quarriors is one of those games whose design process is almost boring to talk about chronologically because it came together so fast and organically. Most of our first ideas turned out to be the best, even after stress testing a bunch of alternatives early in design.
Mike wanted us to use a dice bag as the "deck" from which you draw and cycle through dice, and I must admit that I was a bit skeptical ... until two seconds after drawing my first "hand". Our game turned conventional wisdom on its head; the fiddliness of grabbing for your dice turn after turn was a feature, not a bug. After a ton of playtest games, neither of us ever grew tired of it – and we were playing with my awful photoshop-art stickered dice!
I pitched the "mana pool that attacks" mechanisms, and we immediately agreed they were a good fit. I loved the feel of creatures "popping" out of your mana if you chose to spend it, and the decision of "buy or summon" turn after turn played very well. Sometimes the choice was easy, at other times agonizing. I highly value that kind of variance in decision quality as I grow tired of games that are either always easy or always hard. Our pacing was greatly to my liking.
All of these design choices and their consequent executions came together in about six hours. I've been designing games professionally for about twelve years, and this seldom happens. (My last such awesome experience was with FFG's Warhammer: Invasion card game, and even there a few mechanisms needed significant change later in design.) Every time Mike and I strayed from our original path, we asked ourselves: "Is this more awesome, or just different?" The original game always held up as the better experience.
The Power of Variance
Back when we were designing the initial Quarriors prototype, deck-building games were a new concept. Mike had just finished Thunderstone, and I was working on a larger game with deck-building elements, but the marketplace was wide open. We both speculated that within a few months there would be a ton of short card games in this category and at least one "epic" game with roots therein.
My guess was that designers would be attracted to the strategic appeal of Dominion, and we would see more expert level games than casual. I strongly wanted a game that introduced more variance in game experience (which to some hardcore players would translate to simply "more luck"). Mike also strongly agreed, and we made a pact to hold true to our conviction.
Every time either of us would think of changing the game to be more purely skill-based, we'd ask, "Is it more fun?" The answer was always "No". We tried one variant that I recall was even more challenging than Dominion, but I found unexciting.
In Quarriors, those who play better will win more often, but we carefully engineered the game to avoid being "broken between skill levels". We wanted the game to stand out in the field as "casual-friendly, but surprisingly strategic". The occasionally swingy turn is a calculated part of that equation, and we were careful to try to make sure those types of games ended more quickly.
Game length, you'll find, is pretty variable as well. Apart from learning games, most won't last much longer than half an hour (not counting setup and teardown), but some can be over quickly. As expansions roll out – we are in planning for expansions through the end of 2012 as of this writing – this variance will increase even further. I feel this unpredictability adds to the excitement of the experience.
At the end of the day, we realized this game would not be popular with absolutely everyone, but our conviction was to make the most pure fun game in the category. I love playing it and can only hope you agree.
The Q in Team
I would be remiss not to talk about a critical part of the Quarriors equation: WizKids. As Mike wrote in his article, this game was shown to many publishers, many of who really loved it, but the challenge of actually producing it was daunting to say the least.
WizKids went crazy for this game from the first time we showed them the prototype at Gen Con 2010. I remember making the quip, "We love it, too, and good luck producing it!" Justin Ziran, our first champion of the game, smiled and retorted, "Leave that to us."
Sure enough, a few months later we got an email from Bryan Kinsella to say he'd figured out a way to make a product even more elaborate than my pie-in-the-sky prototype, and it would retail for less than $60 USD. I was stunned, and Mike grinned like a kid at Christmas. When they showed us PDFs of the prototype, my excitement level skyrocketed; after two years, this game would finally see the light of day!
Another thing that impressed me about WizKids was its dedication to the game itself. Two weeks after Gen Con, Wilson Price called to ask questions that arose during their first fifty games. Fifty games! We were immediately convinced to take their suggestions and comments extra seriously, and I think the attention to detail has really paid off.
I've been very lucky in my career, having worked with amazing publishers like Fantasy Flight Games and Wizards of the Coast that are staffed by talented and passionate people. WizKids was no exception; Mike and I thrived under its endless support, challenging us when needed but ultimately trusting in the designers' vision. Together, we made a game I'm extremely proud of and can't wait to get into the public's hands.
...Come out and Play!
I developed a generic fantasy IP for the game while it was in design, with the feeling that players would face a slight learning curve with the format (dice-building), and we did not want a complex theme to get in the way. One of us – I don't remember who, so I'll blame Mike – came up with the inspiring title "Fantasy Dice".
It was WizKids that gave us the Quarriors IP. And I have to admit that I, like many upon first encounter with the title, was skeptical. This changed rapidly for me when I informed my various playtest groups, and they adopted the name instantly. People who had played Fantasy Dice for over a year instantly forgot the old name and never went back, even those who didn't like the name at first! You can't buy that kind of stickiness, and I was unequivocally convinced.
The art style, however, I found to be almost universally loved. It fits the casual, fun-loving vision of the game to a tee and adds to the atmosphere in play.
Gen Con 2011 is right around the corner, and I can't wait to play this game in the "real world". If you are attending, drop by the WizKids booth and play. If you want to be challenged, play Mike (who is a beast at this game), and if you want to win, play me.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the game I've been going quazy with anticipation waiting for!
W. Eric Martin
• Late news from late June 2011: Martin Wallace's Boże Igrzysko – the Polish version of Wallace's God's Playground from Phalanx Games that can accomodate 3-4 players – won Gra Roku 2011, Poland's Game of the Year award, based on the results from a jury of 14 people. The other games nominated for the award were 7 Wonders, Cyclades, Fauna, K2 and Prêt-à-Porter. As I've said before, I love this cover - so distinct and powerful.
In addition, more than 1,300 gamers voted on their favorite game of the year and chose Warhammer: Invasion (HT: Mirosław Gucwa)
• David and Angela Taylor from Seriously Board interviewed designer Reiner Knizia, using both questions of their own and those submitted by fellow New Zealanders. You can listen to the interview on the Seriously Board website.
• Italian publisher Cranio Creations has released a PDF of the new cards in Horse Fever for those who own the first edition of the game. (HT: Andrea Ligabue, who points out that wooden horses for the game are also available)
• Designer Michael Schacht has unveiled the latest new map for China in his "map-a-month" plan that runs through June 2012 in the online play section of his website, and the featured area is Greece:
This map was created in 2006 by BGG user Sight Reader, then revised by user BFG in 2007. Thankfully, Schacht switched the colors of Achaia and Argolis so that the two green sections are no longer adjacent; I played a few tests games on the Greece map and kept visualizing the greens as a single area. Every small detail counts...
• Designer Jeffrey Allers writes about the importance of not starting a game at the beginning.
• Going Cardboard documentary director Lorien Green highlights an announcement from Merz-Verlag regarding Spiel 2011:
Once again the steady growth being seen in the international games market will be reflected at the world's largest trade fair for social gaming. This year a further hall is being added to accomodate the increasing number of people who come to the fair. The additional hall (hall 7) will house the part of the fair where board and card games are exhibited. This will bring the overall total of exhibit halls in use at the fair to 11.
Hmm, yet one more location where I failed to change my mailing address...
• If you're feeling crafty, Mary Prasad has republished her 2008 Boardgame News article on how to create game bits out of polymer clay on Opinionated Gamers.
• In Q2 2011, Hasbro reports that worldwide net revenues in "the Games and Puzzles category decreased 12% to $231.3 million".
W. Eric Martin
For all those who have complained about the "graphic uniqueness" present in Carl Chudyk's Glory to Rome, now's your chance to put your money where your mouth is as Cambridge Games Factory has launched a Kickstarter project for a "Black Box" edition of Glory to Rome that uses the Heiko Günther redesign that has been kicking around on BGG.
What's more, Carter notes that Günther is "joining the Cambridge Games Factory leadership team as Creative Director", which suggests new looks for CGF titles down the road.
If you pledge at the $175 level, you even receive a "handwritten letter of apology for bad art from Ed" Carter, CGF's Managing Director. What a bonus!
W. Eric Martin
German publisher Abacusspiele has unveiled its plans for Spiel 2011 in October, starting with a new version of Reinhold Wittig's Spiel.
While "Spiel" means "game", the word also means "play" (the verb, not the noun). Spiel encompasses both meanings as the box includes rules for multiple games, while Wittig has encouraged players to create new ways to use the dice to create games of their own. This latest version of the game, previously published both by Abacusspiele and independently by Wittig's own Edition Perlhuhn, includes 121 dice (fewer than other versions) and a funky dice tray / game board combination that also serves as storage.
Also new for Spiel 2011 is the latest title in the Anno Domini series: Süden, with players being challenged to organize events related to "the south" (which is defined in various ways) chronologically.
Promotional items from Abacusspiele for Spiel 2011 include:
• The traditional new animal for Michael Schacht's Zooloretto. No word on what it might be, but I'm guessing wallaby because it's fun to say.
• An special board (#20) for Schacht's Valdora.
• Possibly a bonus item for Schacht's Gold!, which was released in early 2011.
• Details on a blocking variant for Alan R. Moon's Airlines Europe that, in the words of Abacusspiele's Matthias Wagner, "should make the board/routes slightly tighter".
Speaking of Airlines Europe, Wagner notes that a Polish edition of the game is now out from G3 Poland, while Hobby Japan will release a Japanese version once it receives copies already in transit and Filosofia will release a French-only version in September 2011 for France and Canada.
Wagner has also uploaded rules (PDF) on BGG for playing Airlines Europe with six players. Says Wagner, "We got a lot of feedback from gamers who already enjoyed Airlines Europe's predecessors: Airlines and Union Pacific. Some of them missed the option for a sixth player. As the game was designed for 2-5 players and we were afraid of balance/playtime/control/more rules by adding a sixth player, we skipped that option." After further playtesting with six players, however, Abacus realized that the game works fine (albeit differently) with six and requires only two changes. Here's the rule summary:
-----1. Place six share cards in the stock market instead of five.
-----2. Deal each player six cards at the start of the game instead of eight.
Finally, Wagner mentioned that since Abacusspiele has no current distributor in the U.S. and not all of its releases have had a standalone English-language edition (and some that have are now out of print), the publisher has worked out a deal in which online retailer Funagain will carry the following titles: China, Valdora, Valdora Extra, Valdora Extra: Board #19, Zooloretto Mini, Hansa, and an unreleased small promotional item for Hansa.
W. Eric Martin
Since BGG News kicked off in January 2011, I've been reprinting articles, previews and columns from Boardgame News. Sometimes the reprinted piece ties into current news (such as my 2007 interview with Ed Carter at Cambridge Games Factory), sometimes a reprint fills what would otherwise be a blank space, and sometimes one or more readers request something that disappeared when BGN went poof.
Today's reprint, my BGN column from February 9, 2010, is an example of the latter, thanks to Anders Tyrland, one of four brothers in the newly founded Swedish publisher Ticking Clock. Michael Mindes of Tasty Minstrel Games had linked to this column in his blog, noting that I discuss "a topic that is extremely important for rules and rules editing. If you want to publish or be published, make sure you read this and fix up your rule books." Anders pinged me when he couldn't find the column, so here it is again, for the edification of all publishers. —WEM)
In early February 2010 I played the published version of Stefan Feld's Macao for the first time, and while I found the game intriguing in the usual alea/Feld manner of not knowing how everything fits together on the first play and making somewhat random moves that may or may not pan out (see In the Year of the Dragon, Notre Dame, Rum & Pirates), the other players and I were confounded by card text that exhibited a common grammatical problem, namely non-parallelism.
Parallelism, also known as parallel construction, is the practice of words, clauses and phrases agreeing with one another when they are used in series in a sentence, e.g. "I came, I saw, I conquered." The verb in each clause is in the simple past, which allows a reader or listener to process the meaning of the sentence more easily than she would with something like "I came, I saw, I was conquering." (Let's ignore for the moment that the two sentences don't mean the same thing – I'm considering structure for now.)
We tend to overlook non-parallelism in casual speech – "I'm going shopping, taking in a movie, and will see you tonight" – but such mismatches strike the ear abruptly when encountered in more formal situations. Take this example from Macao's back cover: "Who will have the best plan and can acquire the most prestige by the end of the game?" While not incorrect, the "will have" and "can acquire" are jarring. Far better would be this sentence: "Who will have the best plan and acquire the most prestige by the end of the game?"
Wobbly sales text on the back of a box may affect whether someone purchases a game, but it won't affect the game play – unlike the non-parallelism on Macao's building and person cards, which could. Half the cards use the imperative –
• Take 1 black AC.
• Return 1 blue AC to take 1 GC.
• Pay 1 GC to move your ship up to 4 spaces.
– while the other half use the second person pronoun "you":
• You take 2 GC.
• You take 1 GC for each ware tile you deliver.
• You need not return the AC to activate one card, but you must have the necessary AC in your action cube supply.
• For each 3 of any AC you return to the general supply, take 1 GC.
(For those who haven't played the game, "AC" means "action cube" and "GC" means "gold coin," and yes, if you don't like cube-pushing games, you should not attempt to play Macao.)
In some cases, non-parallelism is not jarring or confusing. "Take 1 black AC" and "You take 2 GC" will be clear to anyone who speaks Eurogame – but why are they different? "Take 1 black AC" and "Take 2 GC" would be better. The advantage of parallel construction is that once readers start to read and interpret text, they can use the same "mental framework" for everything else that fits the same pattern. Adopting the imperative for every building and office card would fit the way that the cards are meant to be used during the game: I use the card and am then directed to do something, whether that something is taking action cubes, scoring points, earning extra money, or moving my ship more spaces. (Note the parallel construction – taking, scoring, earning, moving.) With a parallel construction, you don't have to pause to reinterpret a sentence that doesn't fit the expectations already presented to you by other materials within the game.
In some cases adopting the imperative would require slight changes in the card text. The second card, for example, might read, "Take 1 GC for each ware tile you delivered this turn." The third card is trickier, but could read, "Take back the AC for one card that you activated this turn." Or perhaps "Activate one card for which you have the necessary AC in your action cube supply, but keep the AC instead of discarding them."
The main problem with the non-parallelism in Macao is that players can misinterpret how cards are meant to be used, despite the note on the back page of the rulebook "that the rules are intended to be read and followed with reason and normalcy". Take the last non-imperative card described above, the Prospector: "For each 3 of any AC you return to the general supply, take 1 GC." The format of this card matches that of the second one – "You take 1 GC for each ware tile you deliver." As written, this latter card sets up a condition that can be fulfilled multiple times for the remainder of the round – deliver a ware, take 1 GC. The former card has a similar structure – return 3 AC to the general supply, take 1 GC – but the two are not meant to be equivalent.
The German cards pictured above may be parallel, but their text isn't.
We realized our error only two-thirds of the way through the game when the Noble came up. (The Noble's power: "For each 2 GC you give to the bank, take any 1 AC.") "A-ha!" we said at the same time. "The Noble clearly isn't meant to give you AC when you pay GC for prestige as that would be far too powerful, so the Prospector must work the same way – which means Joey has been inadvertently cheating since turn three. Asterisk game!" (For the record, I caught up to Joey despite his cheaty, invalid lead and won by a few points. No asterisk needed!)
How should the Prospector be written? "Return any number of AC to the general supply. For each 3 AC that you return, take 1 GC." This direction matches our expectations: Choose this card, then do this. You have one chance to take the action, with nothing spilling over into the remainder of your turn.
Rules writing is difficult – I know as I've edited rules for a number of companies – but the goal of rules writing isn't: You want the rules to be invisible to players. The players should not have to interpret what a rule means or decide which interpretation is correct. Yes, this goal is tough to achieve, but by doing the hard work up front, you can make everything easier for those who want to play your game.
W. Eric Martin
I've been approached with reports that Italian publisher NG International, which publishes games under the Nexus Games brand, is in trouble and liqudating stock. My request for information from Andrea Fanhoni, PR rep for NG International, bounced with this message: "This mail address is not active anymore." Hmm.
Additional inquiries brought reports from two sources, one stating that Nexus Games publisher Roberto Di Meglio is no longer with the company and the other stating that reports of liquidation are correct. I'm still awaiting official confirmation of these reports from a NG International representative as well as information about what might happen with current stock, the company's current line of games, and the fate of games announced in February 2011 and the Wings of War line; Nexus Games had announced in June 2011 that it was taking over distribution of the line in English from Fantasy Flight Games, but now...?
Flying no more?
W. Eric Martin
• Dice Hate Me Games has announced a third release for 2012 – VivaJava: The Coffee Game from T.C. Petty III – and the game description sounds pitch-perfect for a Starbucks advertisement, which is the point, of course:
'''''VivaJava: The Coffee Game''''' is all about finding that perfect blend of beans to create the next best-seller in the coffee houses and kitchens of the world.
Players send their researchers to hot spots around the globe to gather the perfect bean. This may bring them into contact with other players who are also on the hunt, creating a crucial choice: Go it alone and continue to research, or join forces with that opponent, hoping to combine beans from both player's bags and share the score with a superblend. Going it alone with research can often prove useful as players spend time in the lab developing abilities that grant them an advantage. However, in ''VivaJava'' the bold taste of victory will go only to those players who are able to balance solitary research with cooperation amongst their fellow gamers.
The rich depth of varying strategies and social play will satisfy most players' thirst for unique gameplay, but ''VivaJava'' has even more brewing. This flexible game can accommodate up to 8 players, and through smooth simultaneous actions, play is quick and constant with little downtime.
Would you like a brownie or cookie to accompany that drink? Dice Hate Me Games will demo VivaJava and its forthcoming first release Carnival at the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, PA on August 5 & 6, 2011.
• Designer Bernd Eisenstein has created a BGG page for his Spiel 2011 release from his own Irongames: Pergamemnon. Here's a brief description from Eisenstein:
They were the most powerful nations of their time: the Carthaginians, Romans, Hellenes, Egyptians and Persians. Pergamemnon assembles all of these peoples for an epic showdown. Each side may also conjure mythical creatures in order to influence the battle in its favor to gain the victory.
Pergamemnon is a deck-building game of direct conflict, with clashes between the most powerful nations of antiquity – thus including plenty of interaction!
• Asmadi Games has launched a Kickstarter project for the finished production run of Eric Reuss' Fealty, previously released in a limited-edition handmade version. On a side note, the Kickstarter page mentions a forthcoming second expansion for Innovation.
• In a blog post on BGG, designer Tony Boydell lays out plans for a second edition of his Paperclip Railways, first released at 2011 UK Games Expo, with revised graphics, a better box, and a small rules tweak. Surprised Stare Games plans to have 200 copies of the Full Express edition available at Spiel 2011, along with upgrade decks for those who purchased the earlier version of the game.
• Matt Worden, designer of the 2010 GAMES Magazine Game of the Year Jump Gate, has a new title due out August 2011 called Dicey Curves, with the game being a die-driven racing game in which players need to create dice combos in order to keep their car moving. Worden expects to release Dicey Curves in mid-August 2011, wit hthe game being available in demo form at Gen Con 2011.
• High Noon Saloon is a game from Cliff Bohm, Geoff Bottone and SlugFest Games in which players battle it out in a saloon to be the last one standing. The game will be demoed at Gen Con 2011 in August in its final version.
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