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ACD Games Day 2014 I: Time in an Abyss, Monsters in a Smash Up & Dirndls in Tanto Cuore

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Abyss
• In late May 2014, BGG flew me to ACD Games Day in Madison, Wisconsin, an event run by U.S. distributor ACD Distribution to show upcoming games to its retail customers and to news guys who go poking their heads into such things. Unlike conventions such as Spiel and Gen Con, ACD Games Day is fast, consisting of a welcoming event on Wednesday evening, five hours of an exhibit hall, four hours of open gaming on Thursday evening, and two mornings of seminars. I tweeted a ton on the BGG feed while at the event and thought I'd compile thoughts and images in this post, with videos to come later once I finally cut out the extraneous bits.

One highlight from the show was trying out Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier's Abyss, due out from Bombyx in time for Gen Con 2014 in August. All of the art in Abyss is gorgeous; major props to Xavier Collette for such nice work.

The gameplay is also compelling, putting its own spin on money management and set collecting. The short version: On a turn, a player reveals cards one at a time across the top of the game board; cards come in five colors and five values (1-5), with few of the high valued cards. After each card revealed, the player can stop, take that card and end his turn; if he does this, all other revealed cards are placed face-down in a pile for their color. If the player doesn't take the card, other players can purchase it in clockwise order. The first card bought in a round costs 1 pearl, the next one 2 pearls, etc. If the player reveals a monster card, he can fight it to collect a reward or pass, raising the reward value for next time. If he reaches the end of the card row, he takes that final card for free along with a pearl, and the other cards are placed with their color.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Instead of revealing cards, a player can take all the cards of a single color stacked on the board and add them to his hand or he can acquire one of the gods on display. The cost for a god is represented by a number, a color (or all colors), and (possibly) one or more bubbles; a bubble shows that you need to also pay with a color other than the indicated one. In the top image below, I had to discard cards with a sum of at least nine, with at least one card being yellow and two other colors being included as well. The bottom image shows examples of the special powers you'll find on most gods.

You score points from gods (shown in the upper left) as well as from temples (that you acquire via keys from gods and other actions), from pearls, and from other things. One interesting point system comes from you keeping the lowest-valued card of each color when you acquire a god — but this card replaces any higher-valued card that you've acquired previously. Thus, you're conflicted when it comes to acquiring new gods as you don't want to dilute the points you've already collected, but sitting on just those points probably won't win you the game.

I didn't get to play a full game of Abyss due to certain people needing to, you know, work at that convention, but such is life.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Board Game: Winter Tales
• The second edition of Winter Tales from Fantasy Flight Games should be available, paradoxically, in June 2014 as the game is now in transit to the U.S.

Japanime Games plans to release Tanto Cuore: Oktoberfest, the fourth edition of this game with it being both a standalone design and an expansion for other TC games, in October (duh!) 2014. Japanime's Eric Price mentioned that this edition came about due to strong sales in the U.S., with Oktoberfest not being released in Japanese.

• Here's part of a banner for Legendary: Marvel Villains Deck Building Game, coming in July 2014 from Upper Deck Entertainment. I failed to get information about this title or the Firefly Dice Game that UDE plans to release in November 2014 due to UD's Jason Brenner being involved in a near midair collision, then being forcelanded in the wilds of Colorado, then stranded on the tarmac for hours the next day before finally arriving at the con who knows when. Sheesh! If nothing else, I have learned not to travel with Brenner...

Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game – Villains

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Alderac Entertainment Group had many current and upcoming titles on display, including the highly anticipated Doomtown: Reloaded — but the cards were sealed and the game wasn't available for a test run in the evening due to a focus on shorter games (by all publishers at ACD's request) to show retailers as many different games as possible. Pity.

Smash Up: Monster Smash was on display, albeit with wrapped cards so I could get a shot only of whatever was on top. Monster Smash should be available at Gen Con 2014 in limited quantity with the game reaching stores in September or October.

Board Game: Smash Up: Monster Smash

• Okay, let me break this into (at least) two posts and get back to you with more later...
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