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Crowdfunding Round-up: Delve and Loot Manhattan, Untold Minutes to Halloween

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• After an intense dose of combat-driven games in the c.f. round-up last week, let's see whether we can find games featuring other subject material this time around, starting with Hand of Fate: Ordeals from Barantas and Australian publisher Rule & Make, with this being a tabletop version of the digital deck-building game of the same name from Defiant Development. In this game for 1-4 players that can be played either competitively or cooperatively, players roam the land to gather new equipment and increase their abilities while fighting minions and overcoming ambushes before going after the bosses. (KS link)

• Okay, that was a failure. How about Dark Dealings: Dwarven Delve from Peter Gousis, Michael D. Kelley, and Nevermore Games, with this being an expansion to Dark Dealings, a game in which you're an evil overlord under siege by heroes. The expansion moves the action underground, with you now trying to ward off eviction by dwarves through the use of "goblin- and troll-powered defenses". (KS link)

War of the Nine Realms from Robbie Munn and Wotan Games is unlikely to be combat free unless someone has grossly miscalculated what to title their game, and indeed this tile-based game pits players against one another in tactical skirmishes, with players using the powers of different realms, each with their own characters and abilities, with each realm also having a choice of heroic (raw power) and epic (tactical advantages) play styles. (KS link)

• Hey, here's a combat-free crowdfunding project! Hang 12 from Tim Roediger and Grail Games is a press-your-luck party game in which during each round you're presented with a question about one of your fellow players. You answer this question with "true/false" or "A/B" depending on the type of question; if you guess correctly, you start a scoring wave of 1 point or increase the value of your current scoring wave, while if you guess incorrectly, your wave crashes and you'll have to start surfing anew. Instead of answering, you can score your current surf, and whoever scores 24 points first wins. (KS link)

• Another party game looking for funding comes from Andrea Meyer of BeWitched Spiele, who has a new expansion for her singing-based game Hossa! titled Hossa! Lobgesang (translated as "Hossa! Canticle"), with this consisting of cards that depict 64 items and categories from the world of religious songs. Meyer notes that in response to requests from choir leaders, she's printing the material on postcard-sized cards and laminating them so that they can be used outside by large groups. (Startnext link)

Loot & Recruit from Derek, Justin, and Stephanie Lynch and Vile Genius Games is a deck-building design in which players acquire action cards and goblins, then attempt to stack goblins and defend said goblin stacks while knocking down the stacks of others. (KS link)

Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama marries the look of Daniel Solis' Kodama: The Tree Spirits with the gameplay of Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby's Avenue, which was released by Aporta Games at SPIEL 2016. This design features the same gameplay as Avenue on the A-side of its game board — with path cards being revealed turn by turn so that players can attempt to connect buildings on the board, with each path needing to be more valuable than the previous one so that you can continue scoring — while the B-side has a variable set-up that gives you new starting configurations. Additional scoring tweaks come through decree cards that have been added to the game. (KS link)

• Brandon Tibbetts' The Manhattan Project from Minion Games has been well-received, and now the design team has moved the action forward two decades with The Manhattan Project 2: Minutes to Midnight, with players representing superpowers that need to develop deployment systems for their nuclear weapons. Scoring takes place four times during the game, with players needing to manage strategic bombers, ballistic submarines, ICBMs, and short-range missiles deployed to third world nations. (KS link)

Rory O'Connor of The Creativity Hub has been publishing Rory's Story Cubes for more than a decade, with the dice meant to encourage and develop storytelling skills in whoever picks them up (assuming that picking them up is followed by rolling them, then telling a story). Now O'Connor has teamed with John Fiore on Untold: Adventures Await, a larger storytelling game in which you can use any and all Story Cubes to tell a grand story that goes through the highs and lows of classic stories. (KS link)

• In the more traditional dice-based game Project Nos from Peter Newland of Mind the Gap Studios, players draft modification dice and cards, then compete in a real-time drag race — on their table, mind you. (KS link)

• Dutch publisher Quined Games is crowdfunding the SPIEL 2017 release of Angelo de Maio's Halloween, a game that challenges you to be the best demon lord that you can be, with that task requiring you to make use of ghosts in the best ways possible. (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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Sun May 28, 2017 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: Monks Brewing, Detectives Chasing, and Devil Pigs Teasing

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• Apparently it's time to start covering titles that will debut at SPIEL 2017 in October as eggertspiele has revealed the final cover for Heaven & Ale, a design by Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt that puts you in charge of monks in a brewery. In more detail:

Quote:
You have been assigned to lead an ancient monastery and its brewery. Now it's your time to brew the best beer under God's blue sky!

The fine art of brewing beer demands your best timing. In order to get the best results of your production, you have to provide your cloister's garden with fertile resources and the right number of monks helping with the harvest — but keep your brewmaster in mind as he is ready and eager to refine each and every one of your barrels!

In Heaven & Ale, you have to overcome the harsh competition of your fellow players. There is a fine balance between upgrading your cloister's garden and harvesting the resources you need to fill your barrels. Only those who manage to keep a cool head are able to win the race for the best beer!

• Norwegian publisher Aporta Games will debut Destination X from Bård Tuseth and Kristian Amundsen Østby, with the name calling to mind the hunt for Mr. X in Scotland Yard, although in this game it's enough to peg the country in which the spy is located in order to rack up a victory. Here's an overview:

Quote:
Destination X is a game of one-against-many: One player takes the moderator role as a spy on the run, while the remaining players are detectives who must cooperate and use their deductive skills and geographical knowledge to track down the spy and identify their secret destination.

At the beginning of each round, six destination cards are placed face up on the table. The spy secretly chooses one of the destinations, and flips to the chosen country's page in the handbook. Each detective is given three informant cards, and in turn each detective must play an informant to get information about the spy's secret destination. The spy must find the relevant information in the handbook and answer truthfully. The informants may provide information on various aspects such as population, industry, religion, history, economy, and so on. After a detective has played an informant, the detective must also eliminate one of the destinations on the table.

At any time, the detectives can decide to guess on the spy's destination. If they guess correctly, the detectives win the round; otherwise the spy wins. The spy also wins if the detectives run out of informant cards, so the detectives must manage their resources well and not spend too much time or else the spy will manage to get away. The first side to win three rounds wins the game.

• Designer J. Alex Kevern is becoming a regular with Renegade Game Studios, with his Sentient due out in Q3 2017 and the freshly announced Atlas: Enchanted Lands coming in Q4 2017. Here's an overview of that latter game:

Quote:
Atlas: Enchanted Lands is an elegant card game set in a world of fairies and magic. Play cards to reveal a certain place and time — and place your stake in one of the two. Explore a location at dawn, day, sunset, and night, or see what the whole land looks like in the dark. Each card offers two choices, and it's up to you to uncover the world that awaits.

In more detail, players are challenged to predict the time or place that will be uncovered first. Cards laid on the board will complete sets. Depending on the cards chosen by the players, sets of similar cards or numerically ascending cards will be revealed, granting points to the players that deduced the correct combination.

Fully Baked Ideas, the adults-only imprint of Looney Labs, will release Adult Mad Libs: The Game on June 22, 2017, with this design featuring the same gameplay as Andy Looney's Mad Libs: The Game but with racier or more suggestive words. Adult party games are a thing, yo!

• On Facebook, Yann and Clem from Devil Pig Games have posted the following image with no comment other than "GRUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIK!", which is precisely the sound made by a devil pig and not at all helpful in terms of enlightening others as to precisely what deal has been made between DPG and Games Workshop. Questions have been asked; I'll let you know if responses come, but in all likelihood something will be announced during Warhammer Fest 2017, which takes place May 27-28.



Update, May 24: Devil Pig Games has now posted an overview page for Heroes of Black Reach, which bears this description:

Quote:
On June 19, prepare for war! The Heroes System Tactical Scale expands beyond the Norman bocages to the very stars into the universe of Warhammer 40,000!

On the world-hive of Black Reach, an Ork Waaagh! breaks, jeopardizing this sector of the galaxy!

You will soon be able to help the Ultramarines in their merciless fight against the Warlord Zanzag and relive the grim adventures of Captain Cato Sicarius and Sergeant Scout Marines Torias Telion!

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Wed May 24, 2017 5:05 pm
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Crowdfunding Round-up: Combat and Miniatures Galore!

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• Will you be cruel or merciful? That's the question Indie Boards & Cards is using to pitch Path of Light and Shadow, a design by Travis R. Chance, Jonathan Gilmour, and Nick Little in which you're rewarded for pushing toward one end or the other of that scale. Neutrality is not a plus because then you're seen as a wishy-washy hand wringer and won't maximize your points. Followers want decisiveness! (KS link)

• While Path has aspects of area control on a map, it's only a "dude on a map" game since you have only one dude. Clash of Rage from Frédéric Guérard and La Boite de Jeu adopts the more familiar formula of placing many dudes on their map, with players both trying to overcome a failing elvish empire and other competitors for the remains of that empire. (KS link)

BGG shot an overview of Clash of Rage while at the game fair in Cannes in early 2017. Components shown are not final, of course.




• Want even more face-smashing action? Luke Seinen's Carthage from SAS Creative is a 2-5 player arena combat game with a deck-building element. Should you be eliminated from play in a game with more than two players, you can come back to life as a sabertooth tiger or another beast to attempt to get revenge for your former human self. (KS link)

Magitics from Norbert Kiss and A-games is also an arena combat, but one set in a fantasy realm in which players can use spells and magic items in addition to more traditional figure-based combat. (KS link)

• I feel like A.E.G.I.S.: Combining Robot Strategy Game from Zephyr Workshop has been around forever since I've included it on two Gen Con previews, yet the game won't be released until January 2018. Funny how that works. Here's a short description of the game from the Kickstarter project: "We love strategy games, and noticed there was a severe lack of combining robots and simple strategy games. We decided to change that..." (KS link)

• Even more combat comes your way courtesy of Phil Vestal, Eddie Zakoor, Anneke Zakoor and newcomer Shadow Squirrel Games with the 1-7 player game Wanted Earth, in which players must defend the Earth against several invading alien races — unless players want to play as those races, that is, in which case the game becomes 100% less cooperative and you can play as a frog whose tongue is longer than its body. (KS link)


Evolutionarily unlikely


Tradewars: Homeworld – Exterra Edition from Kristopher R. Kycia and Outer Limit Games presents the mirror image of the game above, with humans leaving Earth to colonize other worlds under the leadership of four megacorporations. Naturally you and the other megacorporations can't play nicely, so you'll need to build a fancy deck and manage your resources well in order to show them up. Solitaire rules are included in case you want to head spaceward on your own. (KS link)

Diceborn Heroes from Keith Donaldson and his Diceborn Games seems like an old-school RPG-style co-op dice chucker, and I can't think of much to say about the game beyond that. (KS link)

Deadly Premonition: The Board Game from newcomer Rising Star Games is a deduction-driven card game based on the video game Deadly Premonition. (KS link)

• Given the huge number of games with miniatures in this round-up, I thought I'd also mention the crowdfunding campaign for the Skirmish Box from Dog Might Games, this being a fancy wood box with a metal plate under the felt bottom so that your miniatures with magnets will not get tossed around in the box when you travel with them — and should your miniatures not have magnets on them, well, Dog Might will sell you magnets as well. Problem and solution in one step! (KS link)

• We'll close with Barker's Row from Steven Aramini and Overworld Games, which has the amusing scoretrack of "rube" meeples being placed in your grandstand. Yes, your goal is to put butts in seats. In the game, you draft and play cards to use their powers and attract those rubes, but with each attraction you play, you have to work harder to attract more rubes in the future — just like real life. (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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Sun May 21, 2017 6:41 pm
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New Game Round-up: The Empire Rises, Roosters Go Rushing, and Ruins Inhabits New Scavengers

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• I've been writing about Tokyo Game Market for the past week or so (and tweeting dozens of pics from that show), but plenty of other game announcements have taken place during this time, such as Fantasy Flight Games' announcement of Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire, with this prequel(?) expansion including "eight new leaders, thirty-six plastic miniatures, five target markers, two attachment rings, three new dice, and more than one-hundred new cards" to incorporate elements from the movie Rogue One into the earlier game.

• On Facebook, Lookout Games has posted two images of a prototype from Michael Kiesling titled Riverboat: entlang des Mississippi (Riverboat: Along the Mississippi), with the earlier, March 2017 image referring to the game as one of their "summer novelties", but nothing has been announced definitively, so I'll leave this as a teaser for now.

• The video game Deadly Premonition is being made into a board game, specifically Deadly Premonition: The Board Game. The website for the game has almost no information on the design, but that's because it served to countdown the launch of a Kickstarter funding project that has already netted $120K. As for the gameplay, here's a short description:

Quote:
Deadly Premonition: The Board Game is a detective-themed 2-4 player card-based board game inspired by cult sensation video game Deadly Premonition and set in the mysterious town of Greenvale, following the Murder of Anna Graham.

In Deadly Premonition: The Board Game, you and your fellow detectives must take on the task of protecting the innocent, incriminating the guilty, and working out who might not be who they say they are. With a hidden killer amongst the detectives, the race is on to identify a suspect as an accomplice in order track down the true killer.

• Designers Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat originally self-published Gaijin Dash! for Tokyo Game Market in 2016, and now Mayday Games has licensed the design for a U.S. release in Q4 2017 as Rooster Rush.

I recorded an overview video in May 2016 if you want the full details on the game, but in brief players are trying to cross a busy road and not be hit by traffic. On a turn, you spin colored tokens that represent vehicles, and you want to slap the matching-colored card that you feel won't hit you — but the safety of that lane in the highway won't be determined until the token stops spinning and lands on SAFE or UNSAFE. Collect three unsafe results, and you're out of the game; score eleven points or be the last one standing, and you win.

• On June 7, 2017, Portal Games debuts 51st State: Scavengers — an expansion for 51st State: Master Set based on the older 51st State expansion Ruins — in Poland and Germany, with the English-language expansion coming to Europe on June 14 and North America on June 28. The expansion includes new and old cards, with players now being able search the discard pile for valuable locations in order to reuse them for your own purposes.
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Wed May 17, 2017 3:29 pm
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New Game Round-up: Titles at Tokyo Game Market 2017 – Mini Rails, Animal Village, and Dungeon of Mandom VIII

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• Not all of the publishers with new games scheduled to be at Tokyo Game Market — which next takes place May 14, 2017 — are from Japan. Many Taiwanese publishers show up with new games as well, sometimes with those games having Japanese editions on the market before editions in any other language!

One such title debuting at TGM is Mark Gerrits' Mini Rails from Moaideas Game Design. The current game description is the briefest of takes, but ideally I can record an overview video while at the show since this title will undoubtedly be available at SPIEL 2017 as well.

Quote:
Mini Rails distills the essence of the stock-buying and track-laying game genre into a tight experience that can be finished under an hour.

The game includes only two types of actions — "Buy Shares" and "Build Tracks — and you must carefully decide how to best use them. You must do each action exactly once per round, and which company you choose affects the turn order on the next round.



Oink Games first released Masato Uesugi's Dungeon of Mandom in 2013, with this game being a sort of press-your-luck dungeon delve in which players essentially boast about tackling a dungeon with less and less equipment (learning about some of creatures lurking inside the dungeon while doing so) until finally only one person remains standing — then this chump sets off into the dungeon to see whether they survive or not. If you don't make it, you're wounded, and a second wound eliminates you from play. Be the last player standing or successfully navigate the dungeon twice, and you win.

French publisher IELLO licensed the design and released Welcome to the Dungeon in 2015, with this game including four heroes and more pieces of equipment to give players more variety. They followed this title in 2016 with Welcome Back to the Dungeon, with Antoine Bauza serving as co-designer to add another four heroes and yet more equipment and monsters to the game.

Now with Dungeon of Mandom VIII, which debuts at TGM in mid-May, Oink Games is putting everything in one box with new artwork. I imagine that this title won't receive distribution in the U.S. and Europe due to the licensing deal with IELLO, but that's something I hope to find out.




Tetsuya Iida from Yamato Games typically includes English rules with purchases at TGM — assuming that you ask for English rules, that is — but right now only the Japanese rules are available for Animal Village, so I've cobbled together this short description for now:

Quote:
Animal Village is a worker-placement style game played solely with cards in which players try to cultivate both crops and sheep to score points.


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Fri May 12, 2017 1:05 pm
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New Game Round-up: Titles at Tokyo Game Market 2017 – Path to Yaaru, z3r0d4y, Spirit of Totem, and Korocchi!

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I'm headed to Tokyo Game Market in mid-May 2017, so I've been compiling a (short) TGM preview of titles to which (you and) I might want to pay attention. This preview has only a few dozen titles on it — just a smattering of what you can find on the Game Market website — but since I don't speak Japanese, I've tried to highlight titles that I might actually have a chance of playing. Here are a few of those games, with (I hope) more being added to the list over the next week:

Tomoki Motohashi's z3r0d4y, a.k.a. Zero Day, from Takoashi Games is a one vs. many design in which the admin tries to beat the 1-3 hackers and the hackers (assuming there's more than one) try to defeat one another while also besting the admin. In more detail:

Quote:
In z3r0d4y, the admin aims to fix vulnerabilities in a computer system before hackers steal too much information.

The admin wins by acquiring a certain number of progress tokens based on the number of players, and to make progress, the admin must perform "operations" multiple times successfully while avoiding interference from hackers. To do so, the admin will rely on timing and must secure sufficient credits.

Each hacker wants to steal information before others can do so (and before the admin fixes the vulnerability, of course), and once a hacker steals a certain amount of information tokens, they win the game immediately. To do this, they need to gather information, interfere with the admin's operation, and install virus proxies.




Path to Yaaru is the latest from Fukutarou, designer of Wolf & Hound, Familiar's Trouble, and Festival of Thousand Cats, through the publishing circle Fukuroudou. Here's a short description of the game from the designer:

Quote:
Path to Yaaru refers to the Egyptian heavenly paradise of the Fields Of Aaru.

This is a card-drafting game set in Ancient Egypt in which you head to Yaaru, the promised land, with help from the Egyptian gods. The card-drafting system has a twist in that you may not freely pick any card. Hence, while advanced players may plan deeply beforehand to control the later stages of the game, beginners may simply focus on the current state and pick from the smaller choices. Who would be the first to Yaaru, passing the obstacles alongside the path?

With cute illustrations, the game should appeal to a broader audience. The game is published in Japanese, with English rules available online.

Spirit of Totem is a card game from Junction+ that debuted at Tokyo Game Market in May 2016 and will be present again in May 2017, with this card game being available with either full-sized (88mm x 63mm) cards or half-sized (63mm x 44mm) cards. That option isn't something you see every day — although Blue Cocker Games had a quarter-sized(!) version of its new card game ARGH at FIS in Cannes — but it's something that can happen more easily in Japan, I suppose, given the possibilities of short-run publishing that the prevalence of name cards makes possible.

As for the gameplay, here's a summarization of the English rules:

Quote:
In トーテムのこころ (Spirit of Totem), players attempt to create a totem pole from cards before anyone else. Most cards depict one or three color-coded spirit icons at the top of the card, with the colors being repeated at the bottom of the card as well; a few cards picture a thunderbird, and these cards are used to top a totem or cast a spell.

Each player starts with two cards in hand, and on a turn first draws one card, then plays or discards one card. When they play a totem card, they can start a totem or add to a totem — but when adding to a totem at least one of the colored marks on the card being added must be placed in the same column as the card being covered, even if this means the card being placed doesn't line up exactly with the card below. If the top card shows red, yellow, blue, and you want to add a yellow, brown, blue, then you can line up the yellow marks or the blues, but not both.

When a player plays a thunderbird, they can cast one of the four spells in play, after which that spell is placed face down until all four spells have been cast, after which they're all revealed once again. The spells are "Wind blows left/right", "Zap", and "Gift". The caster of the wind spell chooses a height above the first level, then all cards at the level and above are shifted one column left or right, depending on the wind. If parts of a totem have no support, then those cards are discard. Zap removes the top card in a player's totem, and Gift requires each player to pass one card in hand left and the other right.

As soon as a totem consists of at least four cards and the top card is centered with the bottom card (regardless of the positioning of the intervening cards), the player can top the totem with a thunderbird card to win the game. If the player has an earth totem on top — that is, a card showing the same spirit icon in all three spots, then the totem doesn't need to be aligned to be topped with a thunderbird.

トーテムのこころ also includes rules for solo play, with the player needing to build totems of 7, 8, 9, and 10 cards without the use of spells in order to win.




Korocchi! by conception's Shimpei Sato is one of those real-time pattern-recognition games that most everyone I play with hates, possibly because I'm usually good at them and leave others starting at their socks. Hmm, hope that doesn't sound too conceited. Something in my brain clicks for these designs, and I've played a lot of them, and as I've learned time and again, if you do anything long enough, you do get better at it. In any case, here's a description followed by a video showing the traditional "pause-pause-pause-pounce!" effect:

Quote:
In Korocchi!, you try to find the correct card that is determined by two (or three) unique dice, and whoever touches the correct card first score points. Each of the two dice in the basic game has two pieces of information:

• Color die: Shows you the outside color and inside color.
• Shape die: Shows you the outside shape and the inside shape.

Three different creatures (cat, bat and obake) are depicted on the cards, with these creatures appearing in three colors. Each card depicts one large creature in one color holding a tiny creature in another color. By pairing the two dice, you know precisely which one card to touch from all those face up on the table.

For an additional challenge, you can roll the third die as well. The faces on this die might just show that you play as normal scoring one or two points, or it might show the shapes or colors being reversed — which means you need to look for the opposite card (sort of) instead.

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Mon May 8, 2017 3:22 pm
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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

W. Eric Martin
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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

W. Eric Martin
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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:

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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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