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To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com

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Crowdfunding Round-up: Card Heroes Flow Alone in Land, Air, Sea & Skyways

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• After a false start in February 2017, Gamelyn Games has rejiggered the bits and pieces of Scott Almes' Heroes of Land, Air & Sea — moving components for the fifth and sixth player to the expansion, for example, while consolidating all expansions in a single box — and launched again, garnering more support in a single day than the previous project had seen in two weeks.

As for the gameplay, you represent one of eight fantasy races that's beating on another fantasy race, or possibly several of them. I'm probably overlooking a few details, but that description will get you started. (KS link)

Battle for Biternia from Chris Faulkenberry and Stone Circle Games covers similar ground, with players in this MOBA-style board game each taking a team of four heroes, then beating on one another and destroying towers and crystals. (KS link)

• Polo Schlemmer's Card Castle from SHEL Games also features knights, wizards, and whatnot, but the gameplay is more akin to War and Slap Jack, with players slapping the cards to win rounds of combat. (KS link)

• We'll leave such medieval happenings behind thanks to, conveniently enough, The Flow of History, a Jesse Li civilization game from Moaideas Game Design in 2016 that Tasty Minstrel Games is releasing with new art and a supplementary Deluxified™ version that includes metal bits and other upgrades. A search of the USPTO database doesn't bring up a filing for Deluxified, but perhaps the database isn't updated immediately or that TM is more decorative than real. In any case we've now moved from past to present... (Indiegogo link)

• If you're prefer to build something smaller than an entire civilization, you might look at Jeffrey D. Allers' Skyways from Eagle-Gryphon Games, a city-building game that takes the tile-laying mechanism from Allers' Heartland and has you instead building city blocks, most often pairs of blocks that are connected to one another via a skyway. (KS link)

• For another take on city-building, we have Card City XL from Alban Viard of AVStudio Games, which starts you with a single building — City Hall — from which you will place other buildings — residential, commercial, leisure, etc. — while working toward whichever of the five victory conditions you chose at the start of play. (KS link)

• To create something even smaller than a city, you can go with The White Box from Jeremy Holcomb and Atlas Games, which functions something along the lines of Emperor's New Clothes, except that it describes exactly what it's offerings: a game design workshop in a box, with lots of generic game components being paired with a 128-page book of essays about game design. (KS link)

• Designer Martin Wallace closed Treefrog Games to concentrate on designs that others would publish, with APE Games taking charge of development for Moa, a game in which 3-5 players play as bird species in New Zealand who must defend the land against mammalian attackers such as dogs, weasels, and rats, with each of those mammals attacking in their own way. (KS link)

• More traditionally game-y combat comes in Dead Man's Doubloons from Jason Miceli and ThunderGryph Games, with piratey players taking simultaneous actions to move their ships and captains to steal loot from one another and find yet more loot on an island that they've all just happened to land on at the same time. (KS link)

• Brandon Young's Code Triage from Brando Gameworks hits notes familiar from other games, with players needing to coordinate care in an emergency room to avoid the three ways of losing. Can you make it to the end of your shift, after which it's all someone else's problem? (KS link)

• In 2016 we saw Not Alone from Ghislain Masson and Geek Attitude Games, with one player being an alien creature that tried to take control of others. In 2017, we have the unrelated game Alone from Andrea Crespi, Lorenzo Silva, and Horrible Games in which a single player is the hero who's getting picked on by everyone else, with that hero seeing only tiny bits of the map at a time while the masterminds plot terrible things. (KS link)

• Let's end where we began this week, but in space! Galaxy of Trian: New Order is, as the name suggests, a new version of 2014's Galaxy of Trian from Seweryn Piotrowski and CreativeMaker LLC features eight alien races that are beating on one another, with players trying to control planetary systems (which come into play through double-sided triangular tiles) to get resources in order to grow bigger and beat harder. (KS link)


Buy game parts by the pound!


Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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Sun May 7, 2017 1:05 pm
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Five Tribes Welcomes Fifth Player in Whims of the Sultan

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Practically since the day it was announced, people have wondered why you can't play Bruno Cathala's Five Tribes game from Days of Wonder with five players — which, of course, ignores the small detail that you are not playing as one of the tribes, but rather as someone who manipulates the members of those tribes for your own benefit.

No matter — Cathala and Days of Wonder have finally righted that numerical wrong with the announcement of Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan, which bears this description:

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The Sultanate of Naqala continues to flourish, and the new Sultan has founded five fabulous cities to take advantage of this time of prosperity — but these cities have attracted more competitors than grains of sand in the desert and the fate of the Sultanate will once again lie in the hand of the five tribes and the powerful Djinns.

Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan contains all the components needed to play five-player games of Five Tribes and introduces new fabulous cities tiles. Visiting these cities gives players opportunities to win glory as they fulfill excessive requests from the Sultan by completing "Whim of the Sultan" cards. Fierce competition is to be expected, as controlling these tiles can be a major contributor to a player's final score.

Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan, which carries a MSRP of $30/€25, will debut in June in Europe and at Gen Con 2017 in August in North America. You can download the rules in English, French, and German from the Days of Wonder website.


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Fri May 5, 2017 2:06 pm
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New Game Round-up: A Trilogy of Revivals — The Thing, The Ruhr, and Cartagena

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• In February 2017, USAopoly announced the formation of a new designer collectibles division called Project Raygun, which is intended to pair licensed properties with modern creators to produce collectibles, prints, plush, and other items, including tabletop games. Details on the first such game have been revealed, with Project Raygun partnering with the collectibles company Mondo for a board game adaptation of John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing.

The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31, a game for 4-8 players, bears a description that will likely sound familiar to anyone familiar with the film:

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It is the start of the bleak, desolate Antarctic winter when a group of NSF researchers manning the claustrophobic, isolated U.S. Outpost 31 comes into contact with a hostile extraterrestrial lifeform. Bent on assimilating Earth's native species, this being infiltrates the facility — creating a perfect imitation of one of the Outpost 31 crew. The staff frantically begin a sweep of the base, desperate to purge this alien infection before escaping to warn McMurdo Station that somewhere, out there in the frigid darkness, something horrible is waiting.

In the hidden identity game The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31, you will relive John Carpenter's sci-fi cult classic in a race to discover who among the team has been infected by this heinous lifeform. Play as one of twelve characters as you lead a series of investigations through the facility using supplies and equipment to clear the building. The tension mounts and paranoia ensues as you question who you can trust in the ultimate race to save humanity!

The game will be released in two forms, with the standard edition hitting retail outlets in October 2017. The deluxe edition, which is limited to 1,982 copies, will be sold exclusively through Mondotees.com; this edition features different packaging artwork by Jock, a Mondo print, an enamel pin, and two additional sculpted movers: the Norwegian character and the Palmer Thing.

Leo Colovini's Cartagena, first published in 2000, has long been one of my go-to introductory games because when you boil down the gameplay (which is pretty basic anyway!) the game is Candy Land with hand management. You want to get your pirates to the end of the track first, and to move, you play a card and move a pirate of your choice to the next empty space on the track that has the same symbol as the card played.

Simple, yes? Except that the only way to get more cards is to move backward, and that's when things get complicated. No one wants to move backward when you're supposed to be moving forward, and watching people come to grips with this basic challenge gets me every time. You see them make less-than-ideal moves — inefficient choices, you might say — over and over again, then they start to piece together how to do things better. The lightbulb is on, and it keeps burning brighter as they learn why you might not want to take all three actions on a turn or how to bait someone to take moves that will help you in the future. Like nearly all Colovini games, Cartagena is heavy on player interaction since me occupying one space enables you to jump farther down the track — yet I have to occupy spaces, so how can I keep such assistance to a minimum?

In May 2017, Rio Grande Games will release a new version of Cartagena that includes the base game, components to play Cartagena 2. The Pirate's Nest, and multiple variants. (Piatnik has already released a German version of the new Cartagena in Europe, and In more detail:

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The game includes eight double-sided game boards, and to play the base game you use only six of them. Use more boards for a longer game, or fewer boards (and possibly fewer pirates) for a shorter game. To replicate Cartagena 2, you can flip over three or more of the game boards to create a secondary path that's separate from the first one. Now when you place pirates in the sloop, you can use an action to move the sloop to the start of the second path — and with two paths, you have a harder time making huge jumps from start to finish.

"Morgan" is a variant in which players can now draw cards by moving an opponent's pirate ahead, drawing one or two cards when the pirate stops at the first space that contains one or two pirates; this variant and all others can be used in any version of the game. With the "Filibusters" variant, whenever someone plays one of the twelve cards with a dark background, everyone other than the active player must discard until they have at most seven cards in hand.

Finally, the "Black Magic Woman" variant introduces special powers to the six symbols on the card, and when you play a card, you can use it for pirate movement like normal or use the card' power. You can play two parrots as if they were any other symbol, or use a lantern to look at the top four cards and keep one of your choice. With the gun, you steal a card of your choice from an opponent's hand, with them getting one free draw in return. The treasure chest symbol lets you pick up the treasure chest from the space where you stand, most likely drawing cards from the deck as a bonus, but possibly suffering a snakebite that will have you running back for rum to help you forget the pain!

• Clay Ross at Capstone Games has announced a Gen Con 2017 release date for Thomas Spitzer's The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade, a new version of Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890, which was originally released in 2012 by German publisher Spielworxx. Here's an overview of the game, and what's been added to this edition:

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In The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade, the second game of Thomas Spitzer's historic coal trilogy, you are transported to the Ruhr region in the 18th century, at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Coal, after being discovered in Haspelknecht, is in high demand as cities and factories throughout the region are in need of this coveted resource. The Ruhr river presented a convenient route of transportation from the coal mines. However, the Ruhr was filled with obstacles and large dams, making it incredibly difficult to navigate. Trade coal for valuable upgrades and plan your route to victory along the Ruhr!

In more detail, the players transport and sell coal to cities and factories along the Ruhr river in the 18th and 19th centuries. By selling coal to cities and factories, players acquire unique progress markers. In the beginning, players have access only to low value coal. By selling coal to certain locations, players gain access to high value coal. In addition to selling coal, the players build warehouses, build locks, and export coal to neighboring countries in the pursuit of the most victory points.

This game includes the standalone expansion The Ohio: 1811-1861. In this game, players transport and trade goods along the Ohio River during a time when Ohio was granted statehood and became heavily populated as its industries flourished. The Ohio is played in a manner similar to The Ruhr, but with new and additional elements.
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Thu May 4, 2017 11:39 pm
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New Game Round-up: Deck-Building Comes to Dungeons & Dragons, More Dead Welcome Winter, and Rambo Assaults Your Tabletop

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• I'm a week late to the party on this news, but Catalyst Game Labs has announced the development of a Dungeons & Dragons-based deck-building game called Dragonfire. Here's a short description of the game:

Quote:
In Dragonfire, players choose from a number of races — from dwarf to elf, half-orc to human — while assuming the quintessential roles of cleric, rogue, fighter, and wizard. Equipped with weapons, spells, and magic items, players begin their adventure along the famed Sword Coast, then expand to other locales across the Forgotten Realms, such as Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep in future expansions. Along the way, players level up their characters, opening access to additional equipment, feats, and more. Join the quest, and build your own legend!

Catalyst's Randall Bills is blogging about the development of Dragonfire, which is based on the game engine seen in 2014's Shadowrun: Crossfire. Dragonfire co-designer Jay Schneider has posted on BGG about general changes about a few changes from the original game, but the biggest question for most people is why Dragonfire is for 3-6 players while Shadowrun: Crossfire is for 1-4 players. No word on that yet.

While not yet announcing a release date for Dragonfire, Catalyst does state that it's "sending multiple releases to print simultaneously with the base game. These additional releases will include such expansions as: Wondrous Cache, a Magic Items deck; Heroes of the Sword Coast, a pack of new character cards that introduce additional classes and races; and Encounters: Dragonspear Castle, the first of our storyline expansions that will include a selection of Encounters, Magic Items, and Market cards, along with a new Adventure that will advance the storyline. Future releases, in addition to those listed above, will include campaign boxes that will not only provide additional materials to enjoy, but will move forward the meta-plot adventure that will weave through Dragonfire." Catalyst also states that another Shadowrun: Crossfire expansion is in development.

Plaid Hat Games has announced a new expansion for its Dead of Winter series that allows for up to eleven people to feel uneasy about one another. Here's an overview of Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies, which is designed by Colby Dauch and Timothy Meyer and which lacks a public release date at this time:

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The Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies expansion includes 15 new survivors, 50 new crossroad cards, 43 new items, and 11 new crisis cards, many of which can be used with either Dead of Winter base set. However, to play either the warring colonies variant or the lone wolf module, you need both Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game and Dead of Winter: The Long Night.

In the warring colonies variant, which is for 4-11 players, unique main objectives set two colonies against each other as they battle for territory with a new fighting system that includes tactics cards, bullet tokens, and 12-sided combat dice. New and terrible joint-colony crisis cards force cooperation and coercion every round. New simultaneous turn mechanisms and a sand timer keep things moving at a brisk pace.

With the lone wolf module, which can be used with the warring colonies variant or on its own, one player is on a team all by themselves, hiding out in their lone wolf den and carrying out missions that effect both teams.




Christopher Batarlis and Jim Samartino of Everything Epic Games have announced a licensing deal with Creative Licensing and Studiocanal for the original trilogy of Rambo movies, with a January 2018 launch date being set for a Kickstarter project to fund Rambo: The Board Game, the development of which is currently in progress. Here's what the publisher says about the design for now:

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Rambo: The Board Game is a thematic, cooperative, tactical, miniatures, scenario-based campaign game that allows 1-4 players to experience the events they remember from the film as well as embark on new, never-before-seen missions.

The game provides sealed "legacy-like" mission envelopes that gradually expand the game as each mission is completed. Each mission tells a story and takes the players on a unique adventure to various locations to save POWs, escape a military prison, raid a jungle encampment, defend a secret air base, survive a treacherous jungle, and more! Missions unlock new equipment and tactics to help players customize their experience and allow for high replayability and great tactical strategy. Taking actions and engaging in combat is done without random dice, but with a card-based system in which the player is in control and where every choice can be life or death!

To set up, players choose from an iconic variety of special forces characters each with highly detailed miniatures, including, of course, John Rambo, Col. Trautman, other members of Baker Team, and other companions that Rambo teamed up with over the years. Each hero has unique abilities and customization options that make them valuable during missions. You control how to approach the mission: Do you go in guns blazing? Or do you take a more stealthy approach? Perhaps you set a trap for the enemy? It's up to you to decide and lead Rambo and his team to victory!

Body oil not included
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Wed May 3, 2017 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: Solve Crime in Detective: City of Angels, Return to Between Two Cities, and Don't Perish in Hunger: The Show

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• I thought that I had posted something about Detective: City of Angels from Evan Derrick and Van Ryder Games, but alas I only tweeted a cover. Time to fix that oversight with an overview of this 2-5 player game that will be Kickstarted in Q3/Q4 2017 ahead of a planned release in 2018:

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Detective: City of Angels, set in the dark and violent world of 1940s Los Angeles, is a game of mystery, deception, and investigation for 2–5 players. Most players will step into the shoes of LAPD homicide detectives, hungry for glory and willing to do whatever it takes to successfully close a case, even if that means intimidating suspects, concealing evidence, and hiring snitches to rat on their fellow detectives. One player, however, will take on the role of The Chisel, whose only goal is to stall and misdirect the detectives at every turn using bluffing, manipulation, and (often) outright lies.

Detective: CoA uses the innovative ARC (Adaptive Response Card) System to create the feel of interrogating a suspect. Suspects do not simply give paragraph-book responses; instead The Chisel carefully chooses how they will answer. When Billy O'Shea insists that the victim was a regular at Topsy's Nightclub, is he telling the truth or is The Chisel subtly leading the detectives toward a dead end that will cost them precious time? Detectives can challenge responses that they think are lies but at great risk: If they're wrong, The Chisel will acquire leverage over them, making the case that much harder to solve.

Detective: CoA includes separate, detailed casebooks for both the detectives and The Chisel. Each crime is a carefully constructed puzzle that can unfold in a variety of ways depending on how the detectives choose to pursue their investigations. As the detectives turn the city upside down, uncovering fresh evidence and "hot" leads, hidden suspects may be revealed and new lines of questioning will open up, creating a rich, story-driven experience.

Inspired by classic film noir like The Big Sleep, the works of James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential), and the video game L.A. Noire from Rockstar Games, Detective: City of Angels is a murder-mystery game unlike any other. Will one detective rise above the rest and close the case on L.A.'s latest high profile murder? Or will The Chisel sow enough doubt and confusion to prevent the detectives from solving the crime?



• Other titles in the works from Van Ryder Games include Hostage Negotiator: Abductor Pack 8 (due out at Gen Con 2017), Saloon Tycoon: The Ranch Expansion (which gives each player a ranch board to develop), and The BIG Score, a drafting/press-your-luck game in which you first complete small heists while working your way toward the namesake score at game's end.

• In July 2017, you'll have a new way to place yourself Between Two Cities with the Capitals expansion from Matthew O'Malley, Ben Rosset, and Stonemaier Games. This expansion, like the base game, accommodates 1-7 players, and it consists of landscape mats that give each city a unique layout, districts that give a majority bonus for connecting certain tiles, and civic building tiles that should be adjacent to two specific tile types. Advance copies of this expansion will be available at the 2017 UK Games Expo.

• Also debuting at that convention will be Pim Thunborg's HUNGER: The Show, a Survivor-style board game from Polish publisher PHALANX in which players simultaneously reveal location and action cards each round on a deserted island with the hope of collecting food, finding raft parts, stealing from others, and catching thieves.

• French publisher Superlude Éditions announced a new edition of Hinata Origuchi's Colors of Kasane in 2016, but the title never made it to production. Superlude has now stated that Kimonos, with new art by Naïade, will appear in Q3 2017.

• Another title appearing from Superlude at the same time is Chawaï, a 3-6 player game from Bruno Faidutti about which little has been announced: "Dive into a lagoon in Chawaï and try to bring back the most delicious fish before your fellow fishers can."

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Tue May 2, 2017 1:05 pm
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Origins Game Fair 2017 Preview Now Live

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BGG's Origins Game Fair 2017 Preview is now live for your viewing pleasure, and while these convention previews normally start small and grow immensely in the weeks leading up to a convention, in this case the 2017 preview already contains 95 titles on it and the Origins 2016 Preview topped out at 110 titles.

What does this mean? Did I somehow hunt down a greater percentage of the titles showing up at Origins 2017 than in previous years? What's more likely to be the case is that a larger number of games than in 2016 will be on hand when Origins opens on June 14 in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The number of titles being released each year seems to be ever-increasing, and since Gen Con and SPIEL are already packed to the gills, I'm guessing (but open to being wrong) that publishers will spread out their new releases to Origins as well so that everything doesn't get buried in the rush.

If you're a designer or publisher who plans to have new titles on hand at Origins 2017 — whether new releases or prototypes of games to be released in the near future — and your titles aren't on this preview, please email me at the address in the BGG News header and I'll add your titles to this list.

BoardGameGeek will be at Origins 2017 for all five days, and we will livestream game demonstrations and designer interviews from the show for far too many hours each day. We will set up demo times based on what's listed on this preview (and information about other future releases), and I'll publish the interview schedule on Friday, June 9, which is the last day I'll update the Origins 2017 Preview. Only six weeks until we're live in Columbus — yikes!
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Mon May 1, 2017 7:30 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Hannibal Flippin' Off Barbarian Fantasy Clans of Mars & More

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• Polish publisher PHALANX has been working on a new version of Mark Simonitch's classic game Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage for years. Defunct Canadian publisher Valley Games had released a new version in 2007 when the game was a decade old, then it announced but failed to get to print the standalone spinoff title Hamilcar: First Punic War, co-designed with Jaro Andruszkiewicz and John Rodriguez.

Now PHALANX is bringing that second game to life in a package with Hannibal since the games share some components and can each take one side of the game board for themselves. (KS link) BGG shot an overview video of the design, which was then still in progress, with Andruszkiewicz at Spielwarenmesse 2016 if you want to hear what their goals were for this redesign.





• A game matching Hannibal & Hamilcar dollar for dollar on Kickstarter right now is the twenty-years-younger Clans of Caledonia from Juma Al-JouJou and his own Karma Games. This game is set in 19th century Scotland, with players representing one of eight clans — each with a unique ability — that's attempting to produce, trade, and export agricultural goods and whisky. (KS link)

• If you're drinking whisky, you probably want to get Flippin' Off, which the publisher-to-be describes as "a fun and frantic new bottle flipping game that includes a burping and farting bottle". I'm not sure what else needs to be added to that description. (KS link)

• Hard as it might be to imagine, burping and farting are not game mechanisms in Barbarians: The Invasion from Martino Chiacchiera, Mattia Ciaccasassi, Pierluca Zizzi, and Tabula Game. As with Clans of Caledonia above, this game is for 1-4 players, and it "revolves around worker placement on a 3D rotating volcano where you can perform different actions depending on the position of your workers, area control on a map, and the management of an economic engine". I'm not sure why you're doing anything on a volcano other than moving away from it, but that's why I was expelled from my barbarian homeland as a youth. (KS link)

• Another solitaire game looking for funding right now is Fantasy Defense, a new edition of Yoshiyuki Arai's Defense Three Kingdoms from Mandoo Games and Sweet Lemon Publishing in which humans and elves fight orcs to protect the city. This version adds a two-player cooperative mode, along with new art from Yann Tisseron. (KS link)

One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows from Chris Cieslik of Asmadi Games is also a fantasy co-op, with this game being a standalone expansion for the dungeon delve One Deck Dungeon. You can mix and match the heroes and dungeon bits between games for more variety.
(KS link)

• Another standalone expansion is God Hates Charades: Wrath from God Hates Games, which replicates the gameplay of the original God Hates Charades, but with new cards. In the game, you pair an actor or fictional character with a random situation, then attempt to charade this pairing so that others can guess it. Hilarity ensues.
KS link)

• A similarly freeform design is Sedis from Neal Murthy and Nefer Games, with this being a set of sixty hexagonal tiles with a varying number of pips along each edge of the tile. This article in Houstonia Magazine quotes Murthy as saying "There's been nothing even remotely like it in at least 600 years", which makes it seem like Murthy is unfamiliar with any number of other game systems that have been created during that time period. The Kickstarter project includes guidelines for a few games, but the main pitch seems to be that you can create your own designs using these components. (KS link)

Chimera & More is a new version of Ralph Anderson's Chimera from Eagle-Gryphon Games that now includes nearly twice as many cards so that in addition to playing with three players, you can also play with exactly five. As for the gameplay in this rolling-trick-taking game, each round one player faces off against two (or two against three) to try to play all their cards in hand first. (KS link)

• Unlike the title above, the trick-taking game Boast or Nothing from Yeon-Min Jung and A.ger Games allows for play with four players, as well as three and five, but aside from the enticing-sounding set-up — with players being contestants in the final round of the World Championship of Boasting — the gameplay sounds fairly old-fashioned, with the only difference being a token-ranking stack that determines which card wins when someone plays off suit. (KS link)

• Scott Rogers' Rayguns and Rocketships from IDW Games looks old-fashioned, but that's because the graphic design is straight out of the pulps of old. In the game, players must manage both the Planeteers who are commanding their spaceship and the spaceship itself while trying to blast others. (KS link)

• Néstor Romeral Andrés first published Gardens of Mars through his own nestorgames in 2011, and now new publisher Big Kid Games is releasing it anew. In the game, players draft dice to enable movement on the planet Mars so that they can plant plants in the red dirt of the surface to terraform the surface and (more importantly) score points based on the plants adjacent to their most recent plot. (KS link)

• Dice also help drive the action in Simon McGregor's Konja from Pleasant Company Games, a game in which two players compete to use special powers from travelers, along with cards and tokens, to manipulate dice to cast spell cards and purchase relics. (KS link)

• Finally, we have a title that breaks the connection game I've indulged in to this point, but a title that had to be included for its sheer eyebrow-raising nature. It's A Squirrel's Life was "created by Randy Hecht who rescued an orphaned squirrel named 'Roxy', who in turn inspired him to invent this all-American game both kids and adults will enjoy for years to come", a game designed "to help children develop their math, negotiation and social skills". Few Kickstarter projects include a poem written from the point of view of a grateful squirrel, but this one does. (KS link)

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
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Mon May 1, 2017 4:38 am
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New Game Round-up: Fallout into a Pile of Miniatures, and Can't Stop More Catacombs

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• The tabletopping of video games continues with the announcement of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare by James Sheahan and Modiphius Entertainment, with this minis-heavy game being due out in November 2017. Here's the game info that's been announced so far:

Quote:
In Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, players build their own crew from a wide range of factions, allies, and iconic characters from the Fallout series, then play in apocalyptic games of 3-30 high-quality 32mm scale resin miniatures through a huge variety of iconic scenery and settlement buildings, from the Red Rocket to Sanctuary Hills, Nuka-Cola vending machines and wrecked vehicles. Settlements include buildings, defenses, and resources that impact the crew's army list and abilities in the wasteland.

Fallout: Wasteland Warfare includes an entire narrative campaign arc as well as unique random missions with narrative-style objectives, and crew caps recovered in missions can be used to improve the crew's perks, weapons, gear, and upgrades for the next encounter. In either player vs. player or tournament mode, players try to survive the tabletop wasteland.

The game also comes with a customizable solo-play AI deck to control enemies that play to their strengths and replicate a faction's tactics while attempting a narrative mission or perfecting settlement-building strategy. Players can also team up with a friend to defend a larger settlement or explore narrative missions in cooperative games against AI forces or the post-apocalyptic dangers of the wasteland.


 


• Aron West from Elzra Corp. has passed along a few updates about game availability and future plans. To start, reprints of both Catacombs (third edition) and the Cavern of Soloth expansion should be available "very soon". Second, West will be at Origins 2017 in June, and while he's not exhibiting, we are arranging to demo Catacombs & Castles (on a production copy of the game) and the Catacombs: Wyverns of Wylemuir expansion on camera. Notes West, "I was going to run a Kickstarter campaign for the Wyverns title, but decided to release it directly to retail." Both Wyverns and Catacombs & Castles will be released in German by Schwerkraft-Verlag.

Third, Elzra Corp. no longer uses Impressions for distribution, but instead uses both Alliance and ACD in the U.S., Lion Rampant and Universal in Canada, and Brave New World in Germany, with talks underway for distribution in other European countries as well.

Finally, says West, "We have a number of titles in development, including a card game set in the Catacombs world, an entry-level Catacombs title, and a new dexterity-based game line in conjunction with Jasco Games." Should you want to check out their offerings new and old, Elzra Corp. will have a presence at Gen Con in the Jasco Games booth and at SPIEL 2017 with Schwerkraft-Verlag.

• Designer Tom Lehmann says that the next Roll for the Galaxy expansion will be titled Rivalry — and that's all that he says. No other info for now.

• German publisher franjos will release a new edition of Sid Sackson's Can't Stop in June 2017, with this edition being (I think) its fifth version themed around mountain climbing. And why not given how well the gameplay fits in this setting?


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Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:44 pm
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New Game Round-up: Returning to Sailor Moon, Resetting Fantasy Defense, and Raising an Army of Alices

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• In 2001, Canadian company Guardians of Order co-published a standalone expansion for James Ernest's Button Men that featured characters from the Sailor Moon anime. Guardians of Order had previously released a Sailor Moon RPG in 1998 and the Sailor Moon CCG in 2000, so the partnership made sense, similar to how AEG partnered with DC Comics license holder Cryptozoic Entertainment to produce Love Letter: Batman in 2015.

Fast forward to 2017: Cheapass Games has just launched a Kickstarter for a new button-free version of Button Men, now titled Button Men: Beat People Up, which is due out in October 2017. Guardians of Order's Mark MacKinnon is now president of Dyskami Publishing Company, which has just announced a "North American licensing arrangement with Toei Animation Inc. to design and distribute a line of tabletop board games based on the popular Japanese animation series Sailor Moon Crystal", an anime series based on the original Sailor Moon manga.

The first such title coming from Dyskami, due out Q3 2017, is Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge, a 2-8 player dice game based on — wait for it! — James Ernest's Button Men. Dyskami also plans to release the tile-passing-and-bluffing game Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff in late 2017, with more SMC games to follow in 2018.

I think it's fair to point out that Guardians of Order went out of business in 2006, with many freelance creators accusing MacKinnon of using their work in GoO publications without paying them, then continuing to sell works following the closure of the business, again without paying them. MacKinnon presented his version of what happened to GoO in 2013 when starting Dyskami and attempting to fund Upon a Fable on Kickstarter, with many of those freelancers responding in that same BGG thread.




• One of the many titles distributed by Japon Brand at SPIEL 2016 was Yoshiyuki Arai's Defense Three Kingdoms, a solitaire game in which a player had to defeat an invading army while losing defense forces to attrition in each combat and taking damage when avoiding combat. That game included a competitive two-player mode in which one player would take charge of the attacking forces to make the game's AI a little less A.

Now Sweet Lemon Publishing and Mandoo Games are partnering on a new version of the game titled Fantasy Defense, with the game featuring new artwork by Yann Tisseron, a new cooperative two-player mode, a new setting (with humans and elves now partnering to defend against orcs), and a new "campaign" mode that unlocks new cards after meeting certain criteria in the game.




• To stay with Japanese games this post, let's look at Alicematic Heroes, a new game from Kuro that will be co-published by Japanime Games and his own Manifest Destiny. The game debuts at Tokyo Game Market in May 2017, with Japanime demoing the game at Origins 2017 in June ahead of its U.S. release. Here's an overview of the gameplay:

Quote:
The Queen of Hearts has summoned Alice to rebuild Wonderland, which has been devastated by an invasion of Nothing, which is devouring the dreams of all in the land — but the Queen has mistakenly summoned whole armies of Alices! Dozens of Alices abound, and now they're taking sides and forming teams to see who can put the land back together best.

In Alicematic Heroes, you take charge of one of these teams, and you'll have a handful of Alices to use in your efforts. Alices come in five colors, with each player having a set of player boards in these five colors. On a turn, you first summon an Alice to your kingdom, playing that card from your hand onto the player board of the same color, but only if you can pay the cost in dream power; each Alice has a cost, and you must have at least this many dream cards (yellow) or be able to make up the difference by paying dream tokens. If you can, you immediately use the power — or Megalomania — of that Alice; if you can't, choose another card or lay an Alice face down as a commoner. Playing a commoner doesn't cost anything, lets you draw another card, and builds up the power of one of your five colors, but you don't get a Megalomania bonus and your turn ends immediately.

If you played an Alice, you can then invade a territory in the playing area, which is composed of modular hex tiles. To conquer the territory, you need enough military power (red cards) or supplemental military (red) tokens, and if the territory is not on a hex where you occupy a city, you must have enough food (green cards) or food tokens to reach that space. If you conquer it, you receive a bonus based on the territory's color: military, food or dream tokens; Alice cards; or points. If you conquer a city, you score points and now have a foothold on that hex.

If you lack enough military and food, you can still place the territory under attack and finish it off on a later turn, but another player can potentially conquer it in the meantime.

Mystic forests cannot be conquered until they're surrounded by player-controlled territories, and only the player(s) with the most controlled surrounding territories can then capture the forest, which has a toughness and point value equal to the number of surrounding territories.

The game ends after fourteen rounds, then players score points for having the most or secondmost territories controlled in each hex and for having the most Alices in any of the five colors. Players can also score points for Alice Megalomania effects, and whoever has the most points wins!


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Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:32 pm
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Hasbro Links Round-up: Q1 Revenue, Quarterly Gaming Crate, and Corporate Citizen Status

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Hasbro has issued a revenue report for Q1 2017, noting that revenues are up 2% — $849.7 million vs. $831.2 million — compared to Q1 2016. Net earnings compared to Q1 2016 are up 41%: $68.6 million vs. $48.8 million. These increases follow Hasbro's record-setting 2016, the first year that it topped $5 billion in net revenues. From the press release:

Quote:
"Our first quarter results are in line with our previously communicated expectations and we are well positioned to execute against 2017's rich content slate and diverse new initiatives," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's chairman and chief executive officer. "Revenue grew in the quarter and we drove strong consumer takeaway at retail, both compared to a robust first quarter last year and with a shift of Easter into this year's second quarter. Over the coming quarters, we are supporting significant new initiatives including major theatrical films for both Franchise and Partner Brands."

Quote:
Hasbro Gaming posted 43% revenue growth to $142.9 million driven by Hasbro's diverse gaming portfolio. The strong revenue increase was led by several new games, including SPEAK OUT, TOILET TROUBLE and FANTASTIC GYMNASTICS, digital gaming, and several other gaming brands, including DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, BOP-IT and PIE-FACE. Hasbro's total gaming category grew 10% to $253.3 million.

Hasbro divides its products into four brands — Franchise Brands, Partner Brands, Hasbro Gaming, and Emerging Brands — and some of its game sales hide in the Franchise Brands category, as noted elsewhere in the press release: "Hasbro's total gaming category, including all gaming revenue, most notably MAGIC: THE GATHERING and MONOPOLY, which are included in Franchise Brands in the table above, totaled $253.3 million for the first quarter 2017, up 10%, versus $231.1 million in the first quarter 2016. Hasbro believes its gaming portfolio is a competitive differentiator and views it in its entirety."

• To take advantage of its "competitive differentiator", in mid-2017 Hasbro will debut the Hasbro Gaming Crate. Four times a year, Hasbro will ship subscribers who pay the $50 fee either a party or family-themed game crate that contains three games. An excerpt from a Fortune article:

Quote:
"We've seen the subscription trend and how strong it has become outside of our industry and we thought 'Gamers are into their games and they want to try new games all the time,' said Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of marketing for Hasbro Gaming, in an interview with Fortune. "It is a perfect marriage for the gaming category." ...

Berkowitz explained that the party themed boxes will incorporate more "edgy" games that are ideal for adults, while the family crate is for all different ages and more inclusive. Hasbro built a new separate team within the broader Hasbro Gaming segment that will focus exclusively on the Hasbro Gaming Crate service. The idea is that all the games that will be shipped will be new — so consumers that order the crate won't be getting boxes of Candy Land and Jenga shipped to their homes.

The service is also a way for Hasbro to innovate at a faster pace than is typical for the industry.

In an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer, Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner referred to the Hasbro Gaming Crate as "profitable experimentation" since those who buy the Crates are encouraged to give feedback on the titles, which might then make it into general distribution depending on the results.

What might you find in these new games? Nothing has been announced, but the Fortune article includes this paragraph about how Hasbro turned around its games division after initially trying — and failing — to incorporate "tablet functionality" into its existing game brands:

Quote:
One critical source of inspiration has been viral videos. Hasbro saw the web-driven buzz around the Pie Face game and bought the rights to manufacture and distribute the game after it became a viral hit. Other games that have been inspired by viral videos have included Egged On (based on a gag utilized by late-night host Jimmy Fallon), Flip Challenge (inspired by the bottle flipping trend on YouTube), and Speak Out (also inspired by viral web videos).

CR Magazine has ranked Hasbro first in its annual list of the "100 Best Corporate Citizens", with the companies being ranked in these seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, corporate governance, financial performance, and philanthropy and community support. The "CR" in the magazine's title stands for "corporate responsibility". (ranking PDF)

• By chance, I recently ran across a 2016 article in The Times, a UK-based newspaper, that detailed how "women housed by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford packaged board games for the global toy franchise Hasbro in return for 'pocket money' as recently as 2012". Excerpts from the article:

Quote:
"In the 1980s, Hasbro entered into an agreement with the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford to provide materials for packaging by our residents," said the Good Shepherd Sisters in a statement. "The residents who participated in this activity were regularly given what was then known as their 'Hasbro money envelope'."

The Good Shepherd Sisters said that the order "in no way profited from this commercial relationship with Hasbro, which ended in 2012".

A former factory employee from Hasbro Ireland said her mother had been housed by the Good Shepherd Sisters and had also packaged Hasbro toys, but for "pocket money rather than wages".

The former employee, who asked not to be named, also claimed that the women who worked on the site of the Good Shepherd convent in Waterford worked longer hours than employees in Hasbro’s Waterford factory

Quote:
When asked about its business relationship over three decades with the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford, [Hasbro] said that it had no direct commercial involvement with the order. Instead, the company said, it had a business relationship with Rehab, a charity that aims to help those with a disability in the workforce.

Julie Duffy, a spokeswoman for Hasbro Inc, said: "Rehab in Waterford, many years ago, approached Hasbro to provide small work tasks for the clients they serve. Hasbro viewed this as a community service."

Duffy said that, between 1999 and 2008, Hasbro paid Rehab approximately €25,000 a year.
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