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BoardGameGeek News

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

Archive for W. Eric Martin

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Preview Now Live for Nürnberg, NYC, and Cannes Conventions

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As I've mentioned already, I'm attending the trade shows in both Nürnberg and New York City in February 2017, but I'm also hitting the show in Cannes for the first time, so I've converted our early year convention preview to cover games that will be shown at all three events.

Note that Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg and the NY Toy Fair are both trade shows, which means that publishers are showing games to retailers, distributors, licensors, and other buyers without the product being available for purchase. Heck, the general public isn't allowed into either show, so there's no point in having copies for sale anyway. In most cases, the games shown will be released in the first half of 2017, so think of this preview as a guide for what's to come. Note that most of the games listed on this preview will be from larger publishers (relatively speaking, mind you, given the size of the hobby industry), so not all games forthcoming in 2017 will be included.

Festival International des Jeux in Cannes, on the other hand, is open to the public, with French publishers both demoing upcoming releases and debuting titles at the show. I have no idea exactly what I'll find there, but I've reached out to many publishers that I expect will be there and will keep my eye out for announcements wherever I can.

With that preamble out of the way, I encourage you to visit BGG's Nürnberg/NYC/Cannes 2017 Preview, where you will see the huge SF game Seeders, Series 1: Exodus from Sweet November that will be the first in a series, the transformation of yet another board game to a card game in Scotland Yard: Das Kartenspiel from Ravensburger, the newest iteration of Grzegorz Rejchtman's creation with Ubongo Junior 3-D from KOSMOS, two new editions of old Feld games from alea, and (most exciting to me) the newest game from Kris Burm, LYNGK, which HUCH! & friends won't debut until SPIEL 2017. The preview is relatively short right now, but the 2016 edition topped two hundred games by the time I finished, so it will be sure to grow substantially by the end of February!

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Mon Jan 2, 2017 1:00 pm
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What's Happening on the First Day of 2017 and Beyond

W. Eric Martin
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In early December 2016, I asked what people wanted to see in this space in 2017. Many of the answers were "more of the same" or "focus on new game releases", with lots of support for "more written posts instead of videos" and some support for "more videos", "more general articles" and "come to UK Games Expo" among other, more varied responses. (Many commenters wrote about things that are not my responsibility, such as the remainder of the redesign, so I have nothing to say along those lines.) I'm still trying to work out a weekly publication plan, but I do hope to satisfy most of the desires expressed.

I have started convention plans for Spielwarenmesse, NY Toy Fair, Festival International des Jeux (a.k.a. Cannes), GAMA Trade Show and PAX East, with more to come down the line. Still need to find hotels and by tickets in some cases, but progress is happening. UK Games Expo is probably still a miss this year as I'm already adding a couple of shows and my wife doesn't hate me so much that she wants me away from home all the time.

The convention preview for those first three shows will debut Monday, January 2, 2017 — with another post later the same day sure to produce more immediate excitement and feedback — and I thank Chad Roberts for help with additions to the BGG database to help prepare this preview. I've started a Slack group in which I share raw information early so that others can add game listings to the BGG database, similar to what I have done in this Geeklist; by doing this, I hope to get games into circulation on BGG and in convention previews more quickly. If you want to join the Slack group and help submit game listings to the BGG database, please write me at eric@boardgamegeek.com and let me know. With a dozen or so people in the group, each person would have to take charge of only one or two publishers in order to knock everything out far more quickly than I could on my own.

As for publishing all of the videos and images that I took during 2016 before the end of the year, well, I made progress, but that plan took a tumble when a full glass of ice water tumbled across my laptop in the final days of December. It's hard to work with a blank screen and a non-responsive keyboard! I'm now back in business and hope to finish everything off in the next week or two.

Aldie, Lincoln, Stephanie and I will livestream a chat about gaming in 2016 on Thursday, January 5 at 9:00 p.m. EST (GMT -5). Not sure what channel we'll be on, but I'll tweet a link once we're close to going live.

I did achieve one solid goal: Inbox Zero. I often get behind on responses and news and other things due to messages piling up during conventions and just through my non-responsiveness while I do other things. Now I've cleared the docket and intend to keep it clear, with Chad Krizan acting as my patron saint of inbox cleanliness.

Aside from that, my 2017 patron badge is now in place. AdBlock is active for another year, and it's time to move on to other tasks — or perhaps even play a game...

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Sun Jan 1, 2017 7:06 pm
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Ludonaute's Luma Looms Large on the 2017 Release Calendar

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• French publisher Ludonaute appeared at SPIEL 2016 with Marshal & Prisoners, the newest expansion for Colt Express, but its booth featured something else as well: a tropical-ish atmosphere and the promise of adventures with Legends of Luma.

What is Legends of Luma? That's not exactly clear at the moment. On September 15, 2016, Ludonaute published a cryptic video on Facebook that shows a mysterious figure writing a message, stuffing into a bottle, then tossing it in the ocean — with someone else, perhaps you, finding the bottle before jumping to a "2017" closer. Here's the message that awaits inside:




At SPIEL 2016, Ludonaute gave out passports to Luma, each with an individual number, and invited people to find out which team they'll belong to in this land. (I'm on Team Knowledge; even without a passport, you can discover your team info here.)

How does this all relate to games? Legends of Luma is a series of board games that depict the adventures of a group of heroes while on a journey. Each game can be played separately, but it's suggested that they're linked together into something larger. The Legends of Luma website has a countdown that ends at the start of the game festival in Cannes, France on February 24, 2017, so you can expect to hear more then, but until that time I can share short descriptions of two games that appear to be part of the line, starting with Oh Captain! from newcomer Florian Sirieix, which is due out in Q2 2017:

Quote:
Our intrepid adventurers have sailed on a journey, finding the hidden cave of a mythic monster. There are so many strange things there! The Captain allows the crew to search through the place and bring back to him what they have found, but by bluffing the Captain, they will try to keep the best part of the loot for themselves...

In Oh Captain!, an asymmetric game of changing roles, an adventurer must offer the loot cards they draw to the Captain, telling the Captain something about what the cards contain but not necessarily speaking truthfully. Indeed, some cursed objects can't be spoken of at all by the adventurers.

The Captain, who is safe from being attacked by objects, decides whether the crew member can keep the loot or not, and if the Captain turns down the offer, the crew member can decide to use an object against another adventurer. The latter player can overcome this by calling out a lie, winning or losing a coin based on who is right. The role of the Captain can be claimed by any adventurer who is richer than the Captain, and in the end the richest adventurer wins the game.

The second title is the tile-laying game Nomads expected out in Q3 2017, which bears an even shorter description:

Quote:
Our intrepid adventurers are living with a nomad tribe during their travel through the desert. At night, they set up the camp and fires, then it is time for the stories to be told.

By walking from one campfire to another in Nomads, you collect parts of various stories and try to gather them to form the largest legends.

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Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:00 pm
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Throwback Thursday: What Fresh Alchemy Is This? Element to Return in 2017

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Kalmbach Publishing Co., which acquired Rather Dashing Games in January 2016, plans to release a new edition of Mike Richie's Element on March 1, 2017.

In this game, first released in 2008 by Mindtwister USA, players place element stones on the game board and use the power of those stones to move and create walls, with the goal of immobilizing the opponent. When first released, Element was for two players only; this new version modifies the rules of the original game, with slightly different powers for earth and wind from what I recall, in addition to allowing for games with up to four players. With more than two players, your goal is now to trap the player to your right. Trap anyone else, and you have made them the victor!

I reviewed the original version of Element on Boardgame News on March 4, 2009, so I thought I'd share that piece to describe the original gameplay in detail, after which I'll note changes in the 2017 edition:

•••


Let's kick off this review with two confessions:

1. I know game designer Mike Richie personally as we used to attend the same karate dojo in Rhode Island. I even attended his wedding reception when he married his beautiful bride, Holly. And while he participated in a few of the game sessions that I hosted in the early 2000s, I don't recall him expressing an interest in game design. Apparently I had blocked out sour memories as in one email note late in 2008 he wrote, "Thanks for playing that awful game of mine at your party." No problem, Mike, although I haven't the foggiest idea what your design was.

The past aside, Richie now has a professional release from Mindtwister USA, which is surely a step up from a random prototype shown at a game night. Or at least that's the hope, which leads to the next confession…

2. When I first saw Richie's Element, I shuddered. The faux primitive art, the 1970s earthtones, the huge block of scrolling text a là Star Wars on the front cover — oh, this didn't look promising. Worst of all was the theme: Sorcerers using the four elemental powers of wind, water, earth and fire to do whatever it is sorcerers do. Gem collecting, palace building, and king replacing have all been beaten into the ground by German designers and publishers, but for sheer yawn potential, nothing beats yet another superficial painting of an abstract strategy game with the four elements.

Thankfully the game turned out to be decent and not the train wreck I had feared, with the elements proving to be more than mere coloring in the design.

Your goal in Element is to surround the other player's sorcerer and prevent it from moving. Play starts with the sorcerers nearly head-to-head in the center of the game board and a number of element tokens in their starting positions.

On a turn, you roll four dice: One side has the word "Element," one shows a wild symbol, and the other four each show one of the element icons. Each element has a different effect on the game board, and each element can replace one other: Fire replaces air, which replaces earth, which replaces water, which replaces fire. After rolling the dice, you'll place stones of the proper colors on the game board, replacing other stones as allowed and if you desire to do so. You can also move your sorcerer one space in any direction like a king in chess, with each "Element" word granting you an additional movement. As for what the elements do:

Fire spreads. If you place fire orthogonally adjacent to another fire already on the board, then the space on the opposite side of the existing fire also catches fire, assuming that space is empty or holds air.

Water flows. When you place water orthogonally adjacent to existing water, then you can make those pieces "flow" across the game board, taking right-angle turns as desired or required and putting out fires along the way.

Air enables. Air creates strong winds, so a sorcerer can travel over spaces that contain air in addition to making any other moves allowed on that turn.

Earth sits there and looks pensive. Place three earth stones in a horizontal or vertical line, and those stones can no longer be eroded by air, thereby creating a permanent wall on the game board.


Midgame on the 2008 version of Element


The game play in Element is similar to Knizia's Genesis in that a player's possible actions on a turn depend on the roll of the dice. Since your goal is to surround the other player, ideally you'll roll lots of elements that let you make such plays. At the same time, however, that player is attempting to surround you, so you might need additional movement to get out of potential traps or to create additional space around you by, say, encouraging a river to flow across the board. Over time the board becomes more crowded, with earthen walls creating spots that are permanently out of play, that block the spread of fire and prevent air from coasting you to safety. From the midgame on, you need to assess how much at risk you are each turn. Says Richie, "I've noticed that people tend to simply not notice all of the options on the board at any given time. If there is a serious discrepancy in the level of players, the weaker one will frequently not realize how close they are to being trapped."

To some degree, Element reminds me of Go, a game that I've played only a handful of times, as the game board starts in a nearly empty position. Your goal is to trap the opponent, yet he has so many degrees of freedom that you're not sure how to begin. One fire, one earth – they're meaningless on their own, but you lay them down anyway. As the turns pass, areas of the board start getting cut off. You maneuver your sorcerer a little at a time, trying to keep a path of air nearby so that you can jump to a fresh, unpolluted area as needed. In some ways, the game feels like two disjoint contests as you rarely move your sorcerer to an area where the other sorcerer is or has been; you've been trying to trap him, after all, so why enter an area that's already laced with land mines?


Playing with my exchange student Seung Chan in 2008 or 2009


While Element's game play is solid — at least for those willing to endure the capriciousness of the dice and to keep their plans flexible — the graphic design of the game is a mixed bag. As noted earlier, the cover seems like a throwback to decades past and not in a good way. The sorcerers are chess pieces, most likely used because they could be purchased cheaply, but because they're not generic like meeples and wooden cubes, their presence distracts you from the differentness of Element, from the mechanisms that make this game unique and challenging. The bags holding the glass stones are a classy touch, but they seem out of place given the rest of the graphic design. The rules are packed chock-a-block with text, using twice as many words as needed to get the rules across, so they're less clear than they could be; one plus for the rules, though, are the numerous illustrations that demonstrate the use of the elements and movement of the sorcerer.

In addition to discovering a good game, I've perhaps learned a lesson about judging titles based on their appearance and theme. As Element demonstrates, even the most tired of themes can be used in meaningful ways. Oh, who am I kidding? Down with ugly games about gem collecting!

•••


Ha, what a hater that old Eric was! He even titled this review "Fugly Fun" when he posted it on BGG back in 2009.

Aside from the change in player count, the biggest difference in the 2017 edition of Element is that players no longer roll dice to determine what they have to work with on their turn. Instead a player decides to draw 0-4 element stones at random from a bag, while being able to move their sage 5-1 spaces each turn, with the total of those two numbers equaling five. After a player draws stones, the player places stones and moves in whatever order they like.

Other changes: Earth now becomes a ridge and is therefore non-erodible by wind by placing a second earth stone on top of an existing earth stone, and if you connect this ridge to other earth stones, then those can't be eroded either, slowly creating barriers to movement as a player's sage cannot move diagonally through a pass in the mountains should one of those mountains contain a ridge.

When you stack one wind token on another — or possibly multiple tokens — you create a whirlwind that allows a sage to move multiple spaces by passing over it.

Finally, the graphics have been overhauled by RDG partner Grant Wilson, with a new cover, new component design, new game board design, and non-chess pieces for sages. Hallelujah!

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Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: Running Rebooted Robots in Robo Rally, and Expanding Mysterium and Haspelknecht

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Richard Garfield's new version of Robo Rally from Avalon Hill and Hasbro is slowly leaking out into the marketplace, which is something of a surprise to Garfield himself as he notes in this BGG thread about the differences between this 2016 version and older versions of Robo Rally. Here's a summary of what differs in this version; for more details and an explanation from Garfield as to why he made these changes (and what changes he made that Hasbro didn't implement in the published version), head to the previously linked thread:

Quote:
• Players each now have their own deck of twenty cards, with the same cards in each deck. On a turn, a player draws nine cards from their deck, programs five of the cards, then discards the rest. Two cards says "Again" and repeat the action programmed in the previous slot; one card says "Energy" and gives a energy cube which you can use to buy options.

• Since each player has their own deck, the cards no longer have priority numbers to determine who moves first. Now movement order is determined by whoever is closest to a transmitter on the game board.

• Players start with a hand of three option cards and five energy. Each option card has an energy cost, and you can purchase additional option cards for the cost of two energy each. Players can earn energy by programming it, by being the first to a pitstop, or by starting their turn on a pitstop.

• When players are damaged, they no longer receive one less card for each damage (or have one of their program registers locked) at the start of a round; instead they receive damage cards that will be shuffled into their decks. "Normal" damage from the board or a robot laser gives you "spam" damage. When you program one of these cards, you remove it from play at the appropriate time and replace it in the register with the top card from your deck. Surprise! Other types of damage exist, with a Trojan horse granting you two spam, a virus infecting nearby players, and a worm forcing you to reboot, which gives you even more damage. By playing the damage, though, you remove it from your deck.

Quined Games and Capstone Games are teaming up for Haspelknecht: The Ruhr Valley, an expansion that adds two new "challenging" modules and 21 new development tiles to Thomas Spitzer's Haspelknecht. This expansion is due out late April or early May 2017.

• In February 2017, Ares Games will release Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain Starter Set, with this standalone game from designers Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia allowing players to recreate duels between Axis and Allied planes in the skies over Britain in mid-to-late 1940.

Libellud will release a second expansion for Mysterium in 2017, with this item consisting of six new characters, six new locations, six new items, and other items yet to be revealed.

Mayday Games has picked up Thorsten Reichwein's Five Seals of Magic, first released in 2014 by Hobby World and Igrology, and plans to Kickstart a new version of the game in February 2017. For an overview of this game, here's a demo video that BGG recorded at SPIEL 2015.
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Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:00 pm
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Pics from Tokyo Game Market, December 2016 II

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Time for another round-up of photos from the December 11, 2016 Tokyo Game Market, courtesy of Jon Power, who attended the show with a press pass on behalf of BGG.

For those who don't know, Jon has worked with translators to create Japanese-language submission forms for game, designer and publisher listings on BGG to encourage more participation by JP designers and publishers on this site, and I greatly appreciate those efforts. I know that I couldn't do much of anything on a Japanese game site, so it's been great to see his efforts since mid-2015 bring about more game listings and activities. In some ways, this effort reminds me of when I first immersed myself in hobby games in the early 2000s, with user translations needed in order to play the German games I was ordering (blindly in many cases) from Adam Spielt and other online retailers. Exploring this new (to me) world is exciting, partly because I have no idea what to expect and mostly because I love the exploration process itself. So much to discover!




FLIPFLOPs publishes the wildly successful Heart of Crown deck-building game series, which debuted in Japan in 2011 and which will see the base game released in English in early 2017 from Japanime Games. At TGM in December 2016, FLIPFLOPs was showing off a new battle-type TCG titled Legions! (the logo of which I keep reading as "Legtons!"), with visitors able to get a deck sheet and a quick start guide, with the sheet needing to be cut and sleeved in order to try out the game.





Sunset Games had both original titles and imports from U.S. publishers such as Columbia Games and...Out of the Box Publishing? Must be old stock given that OotB is no longer in business. My knowledge of wargames is minimal, much less my knowledge of Japanese wargames, so I don't have much to offer here.





Gamifi Japan started in 2013 and has more than two dozen games in its catalog, but it has a BGG listing only because I just threw up a page for The Queen and Shoe Makers. Progress?




The relationship between Group SNE and cosaic is unclear to me, but they're almost always listed together on the Game Market website and their logos often appear together on games, whether for original titles or games originally published in Germany or elsewhere. So many mysteries in this market...




From left to right, booths for トイドロップ (Toy Drop), 温泉駅伝/水滸伝マラソン=ブダ・カフェ=, and Saashi & Saashi. Note that these are double-wide booths (e.g., C05-06), and a single booth would be half the length of one of these tables.










An assortment of role-playing games, with some of the Cthluhu-based games having a far different look than those in the U.S. Note also that many of these RPG books are cheap, with ¥500 equalling US$4.25.




The Taikikennai Games booth demonstrates one of the problems of TGM that will be familiar to any convention goer. Those six games on display would cost ¥10,500 to purchase, or about US$90. Even if the total were $10, though, you multiply that by 550 exhibitors and you're looking at five grand to pick up everything on display, never mind actually having time to play everything.

You're in the midst of a swirling whirlwind of more potential good things than you can possibly imagine, and at a certain point your mind starts to shut down. You can't even begin to contemplate what the actual size of the Japanese gaming market is, let alone the worldwide gaming market. Hundreds of thousands of colorful boxes end up in new hands each year, and at a certain point you just sit back and think, man, I hope everyone's having fun out there.
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Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:00 pm
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New Game Round-up: WizKids Brings You Farmers, Ravens, Knights, Robots, Giants, and Undead Creatures of an Unspecified Nature

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• In October 2016, I published an item about WizKids partnering with Lookout Games to create upgrade kits for the revised edition of Agricola.

These kits, which are due out May 2017 and carry a $25 MSRP, have now been revealed in more detail, with each Agricola Game Expansion (name possibly not final) including five pre-painted miniatures that can replace a player's wooden bits in the base game and twenty new cards designed by Agricola creator Uwe Rosenberg, with some number of the cards being exclusive to each of the six expansions. The miniatures are the same in each upgrade kit, with the color highlights (blue, red, yellow, green, tan, purple) changing from kit to kit.




• Other titles coming from WizKids in 2017 include The Banishing from new designer Sean Rumble, which is due out in March. I know nothing other than this brief game description:

Quote:
A dark void has opened, and undead creatures are attempting to enter our world. You have come together as guardians who must work together to force the undead back through the void. However, the longer it takes, the stronger the undead become, threatening to overwhelm all.

In The Banishing, players collect cards from the Void to form melds to cast unique spells and effects in an effort to complete the ritual of Banishing, which will hurl the undead back through the Void. Players must work together to create those melds, as well as to protect and heal each other from attacks by the undead in order to succeed.

Daryl Andrews and Stephen Sauer, who have worked together previously on Caffeine Rush and The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands, are the designers behind Tower of London, a 3-5 player game expected out in April 2017, the cover of which may or may not be complete as it seems dark and unfinished to my marketing eye. Here's what you're doing in the game:

Quote:
In Tower of London, players fight for control of the tower using their influence to occupy different buildings and gather ravens. Each turn, players play two cards: the first card determines which building their Beefeater (guard) goes into, and the second card has a special power that triggers from the perspective of the Beefeater just placed.

At the end of a round, certain areas of the tower are scored based on who controls the majority of buildings by having the most Beefeaters in each. The game ends at the end of three rounds or when a player collects seven ravens, in which case the game ends immediately.

Tournament at Camelot is the second title from Karen Boginski and Jody Barbessi, who previously created the gorgeous Renaissance Wars for U.S. Games Systems (a game I don't recall previously but which I included in a crowdfunding round-up in March 2015). They're joined by Ken Shannon on this 3-6 player trick-taking game due out in May 2017. A summary:

Quote:
In the time of King Arthur, knights displayed their skill and prowess at tournaments held throughout the land.

In Tournament at Camelot, you play as a legendary character who is battling opponents with weapon cards: arrows, swords, deception, sorcery, and even alchemy. The more you injure your opponents, the better you fare in the tournament. However, even the most injured characters can make a complete comeback with the grace of Godsend cards and the aid of their special companions.

This trick-taking game ends when one opponent has been injured to the point of death. The player with the most health is then declared the tournament victor!

• I feel like I've posted a lot of robot combat games in the near past — possibly the distant past as well — and it's not clear from the description of Dicebot Megafun, due out June 2017, how it might differ from any of those other ones, but we have six months in which to await more details than this:

Quote:
In the future, robots battle it out to the amusement of humans, and in Dicebot Megafun players are the robots who must reach into the junkyard to grab dice displaying various parts and place them on their robot sheet. Each player places six parts dice onto their sheet: five in the body area and one in the head.

Then players simultaneously choose weapon cards to play, which require the parts retrieved from the junkyard. Each weapon card has a cost in parts to pay as well as speed, direction of fire and damage, and an occasional special text ability. Some weapon cards include uzis, lasers, rifles, bombs, jammers, viruses, blue shells, shields, etc. Be the first robot to win three combats!

For advanced play, each player is given a special ability activated by kill points, which are acquired by dealing the final blows to robots in combat.

• Finally, in the category of old news not covered here previously: The Dungeons & Dragons-based Assault of the Giants board game, which WizKids announced in June 2016, will be released in two versions instead of one. At the time of announcement, the game was listed with a $100 MSRP, but it turns out that the regular edition of the game — one with the twelve giants miniatures in a single color — will retail for $80, while the premium edition will include fully painted miniatures for a $120 MSRP. Whichever version you get, the miniatures range in size from 60 mm to more than 90 mm.

WizKids lists a February 2017 release date for Assault of the Giants.


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Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:00 pm
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Pics from Tokyo Game Market, December 2016 I

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I missed out on the Tokyo Game Market that took place December 11, 2016 due to family obligations, but BGG adminion Jon Power — who has been overseeing the addition of Japanese games to the BGG database for the past eighteen months — did attend the show, taking hundreds of pics in the eight hours that he was there. The show itself lasts only seven hours, mind you, seven hours in which you can barely acknowledge the more than 550 exhibitors present never mind actually seeing the games and figuring out what they might be, but BGG was able to get a press badge for Jon, thereby granting him 14% more time in which to race around snapping pictures. Here are a few shots from among the hundreds that he took, with more to come in the week ahead.





As usual, Tokyo Game Market took place at Tokyo Big Sight, the largest convention and exhibition center in Japan, which is located on the northwest shore of Tokyo Bay. Multiple events take place here during each TGM (and probably most other days as well, but I haven't visited outside of fair days), and each show occupies more and more space inside Big Sight given the constant increase in exhibitors.




Most exhibitors have a small selling area approximately five feet wide on a long table that's shared by multiple exhibitors, and you can see one such table in the middle of this image. Many of them decorate their space with cloths and signs, then use racks to give them vertical space in which to display games or a poster that gives the basics of gameplay.

Separately, these exhibitors might have a demo table, and these tables are in the foreground of the image. Even with the short duration of the game fair, these tables see a fair amount of use, but because most games exhibited at TGM last thirty minutes or less, turnover is quick. You don't have time for a two-hour game when that would consume almost a third of the entire show!




Companies on the periphery of the exhibit halls tend to have a larger demo space, as with Yamato Games, which debuted Sweets! (I bought Yamato's intro-level deck-builder Bird of Happiness in May 2016 and have played it solo a few times. Need to play it with others, then film an overview. So much to do!)




Here's an experience you encounter again and again at TGM: A relatively new publisher (グランドアゲームズ / Grand Door Games, which I believe first released a title in May 2016) with a professional-looking game that draws you in closer until, alas, you see Japanese text on the cards with no English rulebook in sight. What could this be? What's happening in Captain Dice? No time — move on, move on!





Booth displays at TGM are mostly non-existent, even for an established publisher such as New Games Order. Again, the show lasts only seven hours on a single day, so for the most part you think of this as a pop-up convention, dropping the cloth on the table, fitting as many games as possible on the available surface area, then filling holes from the boxes behind the table until it's time to pack up and come home.




New Games Order had new versions of both Basari and Can't Stop, with the latter having a foldable board that allows for a small box size. Shelf space seems to be precious in Japanese homes, so everyone aims to have the smallest box possible.

More to come...
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Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:00 pm
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Fleeting Flickers of a Flick 'Em Up: Dead of Winter Trailer

W. Eric Martin
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Is everybody filled with the holiday spirit? If not, perhaps this teaser video from Pretzel Games for Flick 'Em Up: Dead of Winter will help you embrace the spirit of the season, that is, one of unending hunger and gnawing on bones.

That said, Flick 'Em Up: Dead of Winter will be released in mid-2017, so the only winter in sight will be in the southern hemisphere. Whatever — I suppose "dead of winter" is more of a state of mind than a physical condition, and with the proper outlook we can enjoy being dead of winter no matter the time of year.




For those who want something more solid on which to attach thoughts of games, here's a shot from SPIEL 2016 of some prototype components from the game, which is still being developed:


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Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:14 pm
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New Game Round-up: Renegade Game Studios — Avoiding Flatline, Slapping Monsters, Building Doghouses, and Collecting Books

W. Eric Martin
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Renegade Game Studios and designer Kane Klenko have worked together previously on FUSE and Covert, and in April 2017 they will partner again for Flatline, a cooperative dice game set in the same universe as FUSE. Details are brief for now:

Quote:
In Flatline, players must roll their dice and work to combine them with other players in order to properly treat arriving patients. Every round, players race against a one-minute timer and must deal with the needs of wounded crew members as well as other emergencies within the ER. Time is running out!

• Another Klenko/Renegade item due out in 2017 is Slap It!, a quick-playing game for 2-8 players who try to slap monsters as they come out of a portal — but only the right ones! — based on the roll of dice, which can change the rules for who needs to be slapped.

• As noted in November 2016, RGS has signed Kalle Malmioja's Honshu for release in North America, with the game due out in March 2017.

• Renegade has already released two titles from Aza ChenKitty Paw and Doggy Go! — and in March 2017 those will be joined by Shiba Inu House, a real-time game in which players race to assemble cards that show a doghouse roof and left and right sides into complete doghouses that match the 1-3 doghouses showing on their goal cards.

• The publisher is also has a title coming from Adam P. McIver, with him wearing a designer hat this time. This title is currently listed in the BGG database as Ex Libris, but Renegade's Sara Erickson says that they're still working on the game and will have an official name later, with the game due to be released in 2017. Here's the current description on BGG:

Quote:
In Ex Libris, you are a collector of rare and valuable books in a thriving gnomish village. Recently, the Mayor and Village Council have announced an opening for a Grand Librarian: a prestigious (and lucrative) position they intend to award to the most qualified villager! Unfortunately, several of your book collector colleagues (more like acquaintances, really) are also candidates.

To outshine your competition, you need to expand your personal library by sending your trusty assistants out into the village to find the most impressive tomes. Sources for the finest books are scarce, so you need to beat your opponents to them when they pop up.

You have only a week before the Mayor's Official Inspector comes to judge your library, so be sure your assistants have all your books shelved! The Inspector is a tough cookie and will use her Official Checklist to grade your library on several criteria including shelf stability, alphabetical order, and variety — and don't think she'll turn a blind eye to books the Council has banned! You need shrewd planning and cunning tactics (and perhaps a little magic) to surpass your opponents and become Grand Librarian!
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Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:00 pm
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