The Board Game Bazaar was held Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. This is a popular event with long lines down the halls. It is well organized, though and (surprisingly) people walk into the room in an orderly manner, which is amazing considering all the games just waiting to be bought (such control!). The seller table spots fill up every year, so you know there will be lots to choose from. Here's a short video showing some of the tables during set-up, plus footage of attendees streaming into the room. At the end of the video there is a particular game featured; I wouldn't buy it, even for the flaming fun — the cover gives me nightmares even in one glance.
MeetMax Games is a new venture. The idea is to take what people love about board games and create a platform on which to run that is viable for groups of 10 to 50 people playing simultaneously and interactively. The games developed could be used for corporate or school entertainment.
All games are real time and played person to person (i.e., not individually against a computer). Shared screens allow players to keep track of game progress. Personal devices are not used. Technology is used only for the administration required for a large group to play in real time. (It's more of a background handler for things like keeping score, keeping track of trades and bids, placing workers, etc.) Games require no prior knowledge or experience. Rules usually take under two minutes to explain, but still allow for different gaming experiences and include some unique game mechanisms possible only with large groups and simultaneous play.
Currently MeetMax Games' clients are mostly tech and finance companies who hire them for a team activity — an alternative to bowling, paintball, or other typical team outings. Eventually the company wants to make this accessible to schools, churches, and more.
MeetMax ran two sessions at BGG.CON, both for fun and as an experiment to get feedback from players, with three or four games in each one-hour session. A prize was given out for the winner of each session. Five games already developed for the platform include:
*Treasure: A short discovery game. Figure out clues in order to find your teammates and a hidden treasure. *Ships: A fast-paced negotiation/press your luck game with a bit of resource management and virtual worker placement. *Settlement: A light civilization development game. Trade resources and collaborate to grow your character and develop the new world. *Potions: Sid Sackson's classic Haggle re-themed. Trade information and ingredients to brew the strongest potion. *Balloons: A light-hearted chaotic movement and coordination game. Launch and keep as many hot-air balloons afloat as possible.
Board Wargamers Meet & Greet, and Introduction to Board Wargaming
A meet-and-greet for wargame enthusiasts was held Wednesday evening. They typically discuss games they would like to play during the convention and organize schedules for game play. The Introduction to Board Wargaming sessions were 20-30 minute presentations, given by Christopher "Doc" Cummins, publisher at Strategy & Tactics Press and CEO of Decision Games, on basic concepts and terms of board wargaming. The presentations were followed by a demonstration using enlarged versions of Decision Games' mini-games.
Decision Games hosted the Wargamer Meet & Greet as well as two Introduction to Wargaming sessions featuring enlarged versions of our mini-games Eagle Day (Battle of Britain, 1940) and Phobos Rising (Rebel Commandos on Mars).
Fun Fact: In 2018, Decision Games is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Strategy & Tactics Press celebrated the 50th anniversary of Strategy & Tactics magazine in 2017. For more information, see the Exhibit Halls section.
Designer/Publisher Speed Dating
As the name implies, this is a quick date between publishers and designers. Will they meet that special someone, get together, and eventually produce offspring? Hopefully by the time the SPIEL rolls around? This annual event is free, but attendees are allowed to present to publishers only if they were pre-approved. (This year’s sign up was open until October 31, 2017.) The event was held Wednesday and Thursday nights for two hours, with 12 tables each night. According to the rules, only nearly complete, fully tested games with a working prototype were acceptable. Games submitted in previous years or games already successfully crowdfunded were not allowed. More rules were posted in a Google document. (Information from James Mathe.)
The name of the hunt was Puzzle Your Way Across the USA. There were 50 puzzles, one for each state, and a 51st meta puzzle, that is, a puzzle that you solve with the answers from the other 50. We had 98 teams of four this year. That's the most number of teams ever for a puzzle hunt. Normally Aaron and I figure out some sort of scoring system so that after the two hours are up we can declare a winner. But this year we didn't do that. This year there were no winners — or rather, there was no first place or anything.
Instead, the answer to the meta puzzle directed you to a penthouse room. You were then allowed to enter that room if you had the correct password. And in that room, on the full size refrigerator, were around one hundred hand-carved fridge magnets. These were made by Aaron and his wife Kate. Everyone on your team got a magnet, so with 100 magnets that meant we could reward 25 teams, though there were some teams of two and three, so I think we ended up giving out magnets to 26 teams. The final answer for the puzzle hunt was the word "Brotherhood", so the magnets we made were hearts. As I said, they were hand carved out of wood, then hand painted; each one was essentially unique since Aaron made them one at a time. They ranged in size, but they were all about the size of, like, a homemade cookie — about 3" by 3", give or take.
We normally run the hunt at exactly two hours from when I stop doing my introduction / instructions, but this year we told people to get there early and surprisingly everybody did, so we were able to give everybody about 2 hours and 20 minutes, which was nice, since we wanted as many teams to get to the end as possible.
Oh, when we ran out of heart magnets, we gave away heart lollipops so that teams would still get something if they made it to the end. No one could check any of their answers with us; if you solved the puzzle, you knew you had solved it, so because there was no... operation or game control Central, you could keep solving if you wanted to after the time was up. Because of that, when the time was up, Aaron and I went to the Final End Game Room and stayed there for another hour, greeting teams that still wanted to play.
We announced up front that when the hunt was officially over, we would keep the final part of it open for another hour in case people wanted to keep solving. These numbers aren't entirely accurate, but we're pretty sure somewhere around 30 to 35 teams solved within the time limit, and another 20 or so teams finished in the extra hour that we gave people afterwards.
Forty-nine of the puzzles were just a single sheet of paper, but we had one dexterity game that was a miniature golf challenge. We had bought a 12' by 7' children's rug that had a map of United States on it. We called it the Golf of Mexico. You had to hit a ball from the Gulf of Mexico to one of six states on the map depending on how you rolled a D6.
Not Really a Fun Fact: Dave: "It's funny, but until you asked me, it didn't strike me that we really had no weird, wild, crazy, funny stories this year. Or rather, if there were any, they never got to me or Aaron."
A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch, by Catan Studio and Fantasy Flight Games was described in Exhibit Halls Part 1, with more photos
A Column of Fire released in the U.S. at BGG.CON. It was released in Germany simultaneously with the book by Ken Follett of the same name. It is a Euro-style game with a strong indirect conflict element. Players each start with a set of six different colored dice. Each turn they roll their free dice. During their turns, players use up to two actions: choose a character and use the rondel. When they choose a character, the die goes on the character and counts down each turn from the number that was originally rolled; when it reaches 0 the character gets discarded and the player gets the die back to use again. To use the rondel, the player moves their player token around to the selected die's color and gets that benefit. When a player selects a character, a token is placed in the religion space track, which can trigger a conflict between the Catholic and Protestant religions. Conflicts create victory points for the winners and reduce benefits for the losers. Victory points are gained in other ways as well (e.g. via resources collected). The player with the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner.
Imhotep: A New Dynasty, an expansion to Imhotep, is due to be released in mid-2018. This will add additional site boards, more market cards, as well as introducing god cards and chariots (pieces).
Fun Fact from Phil Walker-Harding, game designer, and Tom Wetzel, Customer Service: "In true board game expansion form, Phil Walker-Harding did not have an expansion in mind when designing Imhotep (streamlining the game with [all the] best ideas possible). But when KOSMOS asked him to come up with more site boards, he rose to the challenge. Inspired by his own games, the new site boards incorporate ideas from since published games by Phil as well as full prototypes that haven't been published (yet?)"
Mountains of Madness released at SPIEL '17. The game was inspired by the popular novel At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. Players have to cooperate to reach the top of the mountain, then escape safely, but themountain has more than one trick up its sleeve. In horror, you realize that the higher you fly, the crazier your teammates become. Each step you take, the leader must gather the necessary equipment from all other players to keep on flying.
Fairy Tile will be released February 2018. Develop the Kingdom of Fairy Tile by putting new land tiles in play and moving the princess, knight, and dragon across different places such as mountains, forests, and plains. Help them have extraordinary adventures by accomplishing objectives written on the pages of your book. As soon as you complete an objective, develop your story and read the page of your book aloud. Be the first to read all the pages of your book to win the game.
Fun fact: Stephan Brissaud, CEO of IELLO: In spite of the Thomas Fire during Christmas 2017, a 3.8 earthquake in January 2018, and a mudslide that blocked 101, the Santa Barbara office of IELLO is still standing.
Iron Curtain released in October 2017. This is a cold-war era 20-minute card driven, strategic war game based off of Twilight Struggle. It simplifies the board game into two basic game mechanisms: command actions and event actions.
Valerian: The Alpha Missions just released. Based on Luc Besson's movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, it is a mission-based, tile-driven cooperative board game. Players are agents working together to complete missions while evading the aliens. The objective is to get 20 mission points before the aliens get 20 tracking points.
Fun Fact: In two of Ultra PRO Entertainment's cat games they used photos of real cats. For You Gotta Be Kitten Me they had a Facebook contest; people submitted their cat photos and they turned one into a promo card for the game. For Battle Kittens they asked staff and friends to submit their cat photos then selected several for cards in the game.
Card (L) based on cat photo (R) taken by cat's owner Josh Williams, Ultra PRO Entertainment Sales Account Manager
Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer was released August 2017. Play is similar to the Marvel Legendary line of games, but set in Sunnydale in the Buffy universe. In this game there is a light track and a dark track that affects heroes and villains differently, depending on where the markers are in the tracks; each are uniquely affected. There are courage tokens, which add flexibility: a plus one to recruiting or attack. Multiple tokens may be used at one time and they may be split between recruiting and attacking on a turn as desired. The cards have actual photos from the TV show.
Dark Legacy: The Rising is planned to be released in Q3 2018. This is a role-playing card game (RPCG) that combines elements of popular trading card games and traditional role-playing games into a chess-like strategic game. Each player is a part of the game as a character who gets to customize their deck to their character. It has a leveling-up system and uses a D20 mechanism. The D20 is both your casting resource as well as your hit accuracy. The playmat is a key component in game; it limits the number of cards you may put down, so you must manage them wisely.
Fun Fact: Dark Legacy was created because the designer Bryan Tillman was challenged by his students at the Art Institute of Washington, who said that it was impossible to create a game with substance in 11 weeks. He said "Challenge accepted!" and created this game. Bryan is a comic book artist by trade; he has even worked for Marvel, DC, Image, and others.
Klondike Rush was released August 2017. This is an economic game in which players invest in mining companies with the goal of making the most money by the end of the game. Each turn a player puts a company card up for bid (once around). Then the player may build any mines from previously won company cards and/or the one they won this turn, earning goods on the mine space(s). Company cards may also have orders that may be fulfilled by goods; they yield some amount of money. Players have a cash out card that may be used during the game to get the current cash value of all their stocks in money. There is also a cash out round at the end of the game. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins.
Empires of the Void II has a planned release of Q1 2018. The designer took the basic concept from the original Empires of the Void and added new mechanisms, basically revamping the game. This is a space exploration, civilization game. The board has seven spaces for planets. At the beginning of the game the board is seeded with seven planet tiles (out of nine) according to a some rules. The corresponding cards for each of the planets on the board are shuffled into a draw deck. Cards have multiple uses: battle, technologies, and actions. Players are trying to get the most points through conquering, gaining technologies, allying with plants, and constructing buildings. The deck is the game timer, with one scoring round (card) about halfway through the game and a final scoring round at the end.
Fun Fact: Ryan Laukat, the game designer and artist of both the above games, taught himself 3D modeling in order to design the miniatures included in Klondike Rush and Empires of the Void II.
Information from Isabella Long, Convention and Retail Coordinator.
Divinity Derby was released December 2017. Players take on the role of a mythical god placing bets on the creatures flying around Mount Olympus. Divinity Derby is a fast-playing card-driven game with an original card-sharing mechanism; each player plays with two hands of cards, sharing a cardholder with each neighbor so that limited information is available for each bet made and for the racing rounds.
Hunt for the Ring is an asymmetric hidden movement game releasing January 2018 (with exclusive copies for sale at BGG.CON). One player takes on the role of Frodo Baggins — the Ringbearer — who must bring his hobbit friends from their home in the Shire to the sanctuary of Rivendell, where the fate of the One Ring will be decided. The Ringbearer must escape the chase of the Nazgul, the terrible Ringwraiths, controlled by up to four other players. The Ringwraith players work together to find Frodo and recover the One Ring for their Dark Lord, while the Ringbearer secretly tracks his path first from Hobbiton to Bree, then from Bree to Rivendell, on a double-sided game board.
Fun Fact! Both of the above games' pieces were sculpted by the famed Bob Naismith, along with the rest of the War of the Ring games. This way Hunt for the Ring fits in with the rest of the line for a clean and timeless look.
Information provided by Hunter Shelburne, Community Manager.
Super Kitty Bug Slap released December 2017. This is a dexterity and matching game to prove who has the fastest paws. Players are trying to match the color, shape, or bug on their card with the cards being flipped on the table, then slap them as quickly as possible. It works for kids learning to match colors and shapes, or for adults looking for a chaotic party game.
The Munchkin Collectible Card Game releases February 2018. It combines the world of Munchkin with a brand new design from Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson. Choose one of six different heroes: Orc Bard, Human Wizard, Elf Thief, Dwarf Cleric, Centaur Warrior, or Halfling Ranger. Each starter set comes with two unique heroes and is completely playable for two players out of the box. You can expand the game with additional randomized booster packs, each containing 12 cards. While the game is set in the world of Munchkin, the mechanisms are different, e.g., there is bluffing, which can shift the tide of battle. This also gives fans the two-player Munchkin experience they've been asking for.
Fun Fact: Each hero in the Munchkin CCG has a different artist, who also created the art for all of that class' cards. John Kovalic did the art for all of the neutral cards, as well as some alternate art rares!
Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn was released November 2017. Civilization: A New Dawn is a turn-based strategy board game. As leaders of competing nations, players must expand their domains, gain new technologies, and build wonders in order to rise above all others and shape the world to their own vision. By balancing their nation's pursuits, leaders can build a new society greater than any that has come before and guarantee that their people will not only survive, but thrive. Though Fantasy Flight had previously released a game called Sid Meier’s Civilization, this game is a completely new and different design. Both will continue to be supported going forward.
Legacy of Dragonholt was released November 2017. Legacy of Dragonholt is the first narrative adventure game set in the Runebound universe. This game's story turns players into heroes and takes them to the edge of Terrinoth where a mysterious death has occurred. Players have the opportunity to design their heroes, then journey to the far reaches of the realm where they will attend balls, battle goblins, and end the reign of an evil count who threatens to usurp the rightful heir of Dragonholt.
Fun Fact: Legacy of Dragonholt features a number of Easter eggs, some of which cannot be found simply by playing the game as instructed. One of these will even lead players to an entirely new location, featuring characters inspired by members of the development team at Fantasy Flight Games. Players can also find an achievement list on FantasyFlightGames.com, encouraging them to play in unique ways and pursue a variety of in-game goals.
Majesty: For the Realm was released December 2017. Set during the Middle Ages, Majesty: For the Realm is a game of strategically selecting who you want to work your lands. Each game, you recruit characters to perform jobs that generate gold for your kingdom. Some characters work better with others, opening many paths to victory.
SpyNet was released October 2017. This is a card game in which each player takes the role of a spymaster, seeking to recruit agents from different branches of espionage to complete missions and dominate the world of undercover intelligence. The real trick is to strike a balance between recruiting agent and mission and deploying them to the field. For every agent recruited, there are dozens out there working for the enemy, so each spymaster will have to recruit carefully in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Fun Fact: Each of the twelve special agents in SpyNet is named based on a theme, unique to their branch.
Stuffed Fables is due to be released February 2018. This is the first "AdventureBook Game", which features a book that acts as your rules reference, story guide, and game board, all in one. In the game, players take on the roles of stuffies seeking to save the child they love from an evil mastermind. Make daring melee attacks, leap across conveyor belts, or even steer a racing wagon down a peril-filled hill.
Crystal Clans is due to be released in Q1 2018. In Crystal Clans, two players go to battle with unique armies. Leading their squads across the battlefield, players compete to gain crystals that hold the power to dominate their world. Six clans stand ready to battle for dominance, including the adaptable Water Clan, the peaceful Flower Clan, the relentless Skull Clan, the innumerable Blood Clan, the wise Meteor Clan, and the unyielding Stone Clan. Each clan's cards can be used in multiple ways, giving you more options and adding surprise to each battle. The first clan to claim four crystals wins.
Unlock! Escape and Unlock! Mystery Adventures were released in 2017; Unlock! Secret Adventures is coming in Q2 2018. Unlock! is a series of cooperative card-based escape adventures for up to six players. Each Unlock! game consists of sixty cards depicting objects, maps, and puzzles that can be activated, solved, or combined in an effort to access other cards and areas. The free companion app tracks the time allotted to win the game, while also offering hints and unlocking new, and necessary, elements. When the players believe they have figured out the code to escape each adventure, they will input the number into the app and escape the danger, or lose even more time in finding the real sequence.
Fun Fact: There are currently four completely free Unlock! scenarios available to download and print at from here on Asmodee's website.
Some information provided by Elena Christensen, Social Media and Public Relations, Asmodee North America.
Secrets was released August 2017. Your team is in dire need at the beginning of the game, but it's hard to know who your allies are. Each turn, secretly send a character to an opposing agency. That player is free to take them in or to send them back to you. Find your teammates, fool your enemies, and become the most influential agency. But beware the hippies as they could very well save the world.
When I Dream was released November 2017. This is a party game in which the players, in turn, take on
the role of a dreamer. At the beginning of each round, one player takes on the role of the Dreamer and "falls asleep", wearing a cloth mask. The other players are secretly dealt their role cards determining what kind of spirits they are: good, naughty, or tricksters – changing sides as the game goes on. A round lasts 120 seconds in which the spirits are drawing dream cards depicting a specific element of the dream, trying to describe them to the dreamer using one word each. The dreamer can guess what the element of the dream is at any time, placing the card to the good spirits team side if the guess was correct and in the naughty spirits pile if it was not. At the end of the round, the Dreamer and the good spirits get a point for every card in the good spirits pile and the naughty spirits get one point for every card in the naughty spirits pile. The tricksters get points according to how well balanced the two teams were at the end of the round, gaining extra points if they managed to equally balance the two piles. Then the dreamer must use the words they guessed and tell a story about their dream for extra points before they open their eyes.
Fun Fact: Before the game was released, Repos strapped a camera and a large balloon to a copy of When I Dream and sent it into the Earth’s stratosphere. You can watch the video below.
Dome Crushers has a planned release of January 2018. It is the first in Floodgate's line of two-player games. It is a head-to-head, arena battle card game. Players have symmetric decks with multi-modal cards, i.e., they may be used for their abilities or for their attack value. After each battle (four cards) is resolved, players remove their "attackers" (cards) from their deck. The loser turns them face down; the winner turns them face up. At the end of the game, the face-up cards score points for their attack value. The other cards are put back on the bottom of the deck. The game ends when either player cannot refresh up to four cards.
Sagrada was released in May 2017. This is a puzzle/pattern matching game with colorful transparent dice. The boards represent stained glass windows; the players are each building their own with dice. The game uses a snake drafting method for dice selection each round. During the game, players each fill in a patterned board with their selected dice, following rules for placement, such as only a 2 die can be placed on a 2 space, only a red die can be placed on a red space, and dice of the same number or color may never be adjacent.
Fun Fact: According to designer Daryl Andrews, the Sagrada game mechanism is based on the Five Color Theorem from graph theory, used in practice on postal maps.
DC Comics Deck-Building: Confrontations released November 2017. This is a team 2v2 deck-building game featuring Super Heroes vs. Super-Villains. Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Zatanna take on Lex Luther, Black Manta, Circe, and Felix Faust. One innovation is cards with "Assist", which you may play during your teammate's turn to help them. The game is a direct attack game in which you are trying to take down your opponents' characters, each getting progressively more difficult to beat. The game also comes with rules for two- and three-player games.
Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Melee at Murdershroom Marsh released November 2017. This spell building standalone/expansion to the Epic line features new keywords and new thrills. "Everlasting" treasures stay in play even after your wizard dies. "Cantrip" cards can be played from your hand at a cost of discarding two cards of a certain type. "Bad Trip" cards resolve twice if your spell contains four or more different glyphs. Half the Deliveries in the set are Creatures while the other half are "Duel-Glyph" Deliveries. Cantrip and Duel-Glyph will help to aid you with your Bad Trips.
Fun Fact: Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Melee at Murdershroom Marsh contains vanity cards featuring the past three Gen Con Champions. Look for the ridiculous trophies in the art to find them.
Twilight of the Gods was released September 2017. This is an expandable card game in which two players control two different deities from the world's many pantheons. The goal of the game is to reduce the other player's deck to zero. Players may summon creatures, cast spells, and use their unique deity power. In order to pay for costs, players need resources. Resources are acquired by trading cards in your hand with your opponent. All resources have a trap on them, which may be activated by an opponent by other card effects.
Chariots of Rome is due to be released in Q1 2018. It is a race game in which players control a charioteer with a unique ability. Players run two to four laps (depending on how long a game the players want). The player who comes in first wins. Each player has a play mat that tracks stress on the chariot, speed (slow, medium, fast), and tactics points (used to perform attacks on opponents or to try to reduce the stress the player's chariot takes). Going faster is more dangerous but lets you move further. There is also a fate deck that affects global play.
Fun Fact: Petra at Victory Point Games: "We actually playtested Chariots of Rome on three different race tracks! In addition to the Circus Maximums that is included with the game, we also made playtest tracks for the Circus Minimus (a smaller, narrower oval) and Talegadus (a sprawling four-corner track with a hazardous back-straight partially consumed by a recent natural disaster). If we ever do a major expansion for this game, we hope to include them."
And now for a break to check out the view from my hotel window… isn't it lovely?
Information provided by Peter Przekop, Gale Force Nine Games.
Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks was released December 2017. The game is a semi-cooperative dice management game. Each player is a different regeneration of the Doctor, all of whom are racing the Daleks (and each other) to Gallifrey. To progress their TARDIS through the web of time, Doctors will go on adventures and face dilemmas. During an adventure, a Doctor may recruit new companions. Companions grant a Doctor more dice for their pool and allow a Doctor to exchange and modify their dice. While each Doctor is trying to reach Gallifrey before the other, no doctor wants to see the Daleks succeed when a Doctor fails to resolve a dilemma, so a bit of cheerful cooperation and assistance is encouraged. Following the release of the core game, GF9 will release a series of expansions, adding more doctors to the game starting with fan-favorites Fifth and Tenth Doctors.
Firefly Adventures: Brigands & Browncoats is due to be released in Q1 2018. It is the first in a series of adventures games from GF9. In Firefly Adventures, players take on the roles of the crew of Serenity, working together to make sure the Job gets done. The Crew will face off against various cowboys and thugs, who stand in their way. A game can be played as a standalone adventure or linked together in a series of heists and misadventures to tell a grand tale of misbehaving in the Verse. Future expansions will add more crew and passengers, as well as additional adventure locations and foes.
Fun Fact: Firefly Adventures: Brigands & Browncoats borrows some iconography as well as the popular paper money from GF9's Firefly: The Game. While two separate games, GF9 is looking forward to mods from the fan community on BGG combining the two games where select jobs from the original game are played out in adventures.
Bob's is a non-landed game shop, i.e., he does not have a storefront nor does he sell online. He carries small publisher games, Kickerstarter projects, out-of-print games, and other games you wouldn't normally find at a game store. Bob Allen, owner, works with brick-and-mortar game stores to throw "gamerware parties" where the store owner/manager chooses a number of games to have demoed at their store over a particular weekend. Game sales are on live consignment.
Fun Fact: Bob Allen has been featured in three games as characters in card art... with more to come.
Fog of Love was just released as a Walmart online exclusive. This two-player game is a romantic comedy in a board game. It is a semi-cooperative game, which may be won by zero to two players. Players play through a set number of chapters, laying down scene cards from their hands, resolving each in turn. Once a specified number has been reached, the next chapter is played. Some cards have 2 to 4 choices; players select a poker chip with the letter corresponding to the choice they want. This usually means players put a token of their player color in the personality dimensions' area, which is made up of six double-sided arrows. Players have trait goal cards that can be met by these tokens. At the end of the game, each trait goal card is worth 5 points if they have been met or -3 if not. There are other elements to the game as well.
Fun Fact from the designer: The designer Jacob Jaskov made Fog of Love for his wife Lotte because he wanted to play more board games with her. Lotte became so involved in evaluating and guiding the development process that she burned out on playing the game with Jacob. Now she wants to play it only with her girlfriends as they don't ask her to evaluate every detail. It's still a game she loves.
Information from Steph Hodge, Marketing Coordinator.
Pie Town was pre-released at BGG.CON and Pax Unplugged, with a retail release in December 2017. This is a dice worker placement game to collect ingredients and make pies for victory points. There is an element of deduction as you try to figure out your opponents secret ingredients. If you do this quickly enough, then there still might be time to start making their secret pies to gain top points. You will spend turns collecting, baking, and training the interns. You have to send your pies to be judged for points, too.
Fun Fact: Pie Town was originally based on Julian's Pies from southern California. Renegade Games spent a whole week testing games and eating Julian's Pies before coming across a Julian's Pies-themed game at an Unpub that next weekend. It was a blast and delicious from the start!
Kepler-3042 was pre-released at BGG.CON and Pax Unplugged, with a retail release in December 2017. This is a space exploration game in which you are moving around the board, landing on planets which you can then colonize. It's a tight game of managing resources and actions to help boost your technology tracks to gain the victory points needed to win. There is no combat in the game, but a fast race to get to the planets you need to help complete your final goals.
Fun Fact: All the characters are real people who helped contribute to the first version of the game. Kwanchai Moriya took the original contributor images and re-imaged them to fit with the new art he created while keeping them true to the original photos. Expertly done!
Information provide by Peter Vaughan, Director of Development at Breaking Games.
Asking for Trobils was re-released October 2017. This edition has a lower price point, new artwork, and a few tweaks.
Rise of Tribes is due to come out Q2 2018. This is an area control, civilization game with a stone age theme. The game comes with custom dice. The action board has four action choices with a row of three die spaces at the top. The spots will always be filled with three dice. On a player's turn, they get two dice to roll, one die for each of their actions. A player may select an action on the board (there are other choices as well) by sliding one of their action dice in on the left, popping one out on the right that gets placed on another space in that action's area to show that the action was done. The design on the dice left in the row dictates the specifics of the action. For example, if a player wants to move on the hexagonal map (where they gather resources, grow their tribe, etc.), they use the move action: two moons showing on the dice allows the player only 2 movement (normal movement is 4), two suns means 6 movement. Players may get cards (Lead action) to help them gain developments (worth one point plus give some advantage) or achievements (2 to 4 points). The winner is the player to get to 15 points first. The game comes with a beginner and an advanced mode (adds asymmetrical powers).
Fun Fact: Peter Vaughan on Rise of Tribes dice: "Evolution of dice! We started with fire. Well, actually, we started with pips, then numbers, and when we got to cave paintings, we were looking for the best symbol to represent a low/neutral/high result. We ended up with the classic moon and sun, and left the middle blank as a contrast to the icons. Alternate fun fact, also about the dice. We wanted to get the etching right away in the prototypes, so we went to a local laser cutter in California who made all of our custom dice. He was so passionate about the dice he eventually offered symbol feedback and became a big backer of the game. (Bob Schremp at Prawn Designs, LLC)."
Information by Jessica Davis, Director of Marketing & Sales at Artana.
Tesla vs. Edison: Duel had a soft release at Gen Con 2017 but saw its first full convention release at BGG.CON 2017 after fulfilling to Kickstarter backers. By drafting three assistant cards over three rounds, players use their actions to impact area control, region availability, and a PR track while using an optional portfolio action each turn to further swing area influence. Variable player win conditions require players to be aware of what each player is working towards for an instant win at the end of each round. If both or neither player reaches their instant win conditions at the end of a round, then play continues to the end of the third round. Ties are broken by the PR track because popularity matters in the War of the Currents, the historical reference for Tesla VS Edison: Duel. Game play is for two players, one AC vs one DC player, and lasts 20 to 30 minutes.
Speakeasy Blues from the designers of Sagrada, Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu, was available for prototype play at the Artana booth while the successful Kickstarter campaign was live during BGG.CON 2017 this year. Speakeasy Blues is a dice-drafting, action selection, tableau builder set in the era of prohibition in which players attempt to run the most prestigious speakeasy in 1920s New York City. Set collection of ostentatious yachts or cars and famous guests add prestige to your personal speakeasy based on actual people and watering holes of the era, but you need illegal hooch to buy your goods and keep your guests happy. Nefarious criminals of the time offer such beneficial actions but will cost you prestige if seen in your club. Balancing these elements is key to winning the game.
Fun Fact: Jess, Marketing and Sales Director for Artana, enjoyed BGG.CON 2017 so much that she plans to keep her viking-themed bracelet on until BGG.CON 2018. So far, it's holding up well...
Information provided by Brooke Schwartzman, Public Relations & Social Media Manager.
Stuff Happens released in Q4 2017. This is a family game, which includes 200 PG-13 friendly event cards. Players will read some really messed up stuff on the cards, then rank them based on how bad they really are. Is a third-degree sunburn better or worse than seeing your father naked? Is it worse than dropping your phone in the toilet? Once you have ranked a card, if our Misery Index agrees with you, you get to keep it. Correctly rank ten cards and you win. Available exclusively at Walmart.
Fun Fact: Stuff Happens was created by former SNL writer Andy Breckman. He actually consulted a team of experts to rank the Misery Index on each card.
Shark Bite released Q3 2017. Get ready to have a REEL-Y good time with Shark Bite! (Author's note: Reel-y sorry, that was not my pun.) Players take turns rolling the die and fishing for sea creatures. With 12 sea creatures, the die indicates how many fish you need to catch. Throughout the game, the anticipation grows as players wait for the shark to jump. The object of the game is to be player who catches the most fish.
Fun Fact: Sharks can detect the electrical impulse emitted by a standard AA battery one mile away.
Rising Sun is due to be released in Q1 2018. This is the spiritual successor to Blood Rage. Eric M. Lang, the designer of both games, began designing Rising Sun even before Blood Rage was finished, so although the games are quite different, they have a similar feel. As he describes it, "two different albums from the same band". This is a political war game, with heavy negotiation, role selection, and a bluff oriented combat system. One thing it shares with Blood Rage is you can rent monsters for the course of the game. Eric's aim was to make the game easy to learn; you should be able to learn it in about ten minutes.
Bloodborne: The Card Game – The Hunter's Nightmare is due to be released in Q1 2018. This expansion to Bloodborne: The Card Game doubles the number of items, bosses, and monsters from the core game and adds two new key mechanisms: death tokens, which further penalized players for dying, and runes, which give players a new starting power. A player's runes give them a direction over the course of the game.
Fun Fact from Eric Lang, Game Designer: "If you die in Canada, you die in real life." (Note: Eric is from Canada, so he knows.) Eric's original intended career path as a teenager was to play guitar in a heavy metal band. He took part in several battle of the bands, one in which he came dead last. Not to be discouraged, he continues to play guitar and drums to this day.
Riverboat was released at SPIEL '17. This game includes many popular game mechanisms, such as set collection, area majority, role selection, and worker placement, blended together for tense play that rewards efficiency. Using coins wisely is a big part of the game.
We will be releasing an update of Al Nofi's Imperium Romanum with full-color graphics and enlarged counters and maps. We will also be releasing D-Day at Iwo Jima, the fourth volume in the D-Day series. A new naval folio series (Dreadnaughts and
Battleships) as well as four new mini-games (Vikings, Rogers’ Rangers, Conquest of Hawaii, and Red Eagles) will be releasing at BGG.Spring in May 2018.
We will be launching a new magazine in February, Strategy & Tactics Quarterly. This magazine has a new format not seen before in military history magazines: a single in-depth subject by one author, 116 pages with about 20-22 maps and diagrams, plus a 26" x 19" map poster. This magazine is a stepping stone for military history magazine readers who are interested in going beyond stories to examine and understand the how and why of military history. We evaluate the strategies, forces and leaders. We analyze the actual operations and maneuvers as well as alternative plans and possibilities. A "Lessons Learned" section summarizes how the topic and outcome influenced later events and why certain principles and techniques are still important today. We also include an annotated bibliography for further reading as well as an overview of other media and games on the topic. The new magazine will be available by subscription as well as at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores, newsstands, and retailers in the U.S. and around the world.
Topics will range across all eras, look at individual commanders as well as famous units, weapons and tools of war, battles and campaigns, etc. The topics for the first four issues are:
Issue Release Date Topic
1 Spring 2018 Julius Caesar 2 Summer 2018 America in WWI 3 Fall 2018 Battle of Stalingrad 4 Winter 2019 World War III What-ifs
Fun Fact: In 2018, Strategy & Tactics Press will publish 22 issues of four magazines. Totaling all the articles, columns, and map posters, that is over 2,000 pages including nearly 500,000 words and over 360 maps.
There's so much more that goes on at BGG.CON! Attend the annual Battling Tops, play some Rock Band, go head to head in Peter Sarrett's team Game Showdown, gather with other newbies at the Orphans and First-Timers Meet-Up (hosted by Team Geek), or participate in the annual Game Show (because it is so popular, there were two time slots; teams of four compete in a massively-multiplayer game show). And finally there's the...
Closing Ceremonies and Prize Giveaway!
Ah, the closing ceremonies... so sad it's almost over. This is a very popular event as you can see by how packed the room gets. (Maybe, possibly, having to be there in person to win games might have something to do with it.)
Included in the registration packet, every attendee received a ticket for the drawing on Saturday night. This year there were about 70 prize packages — many stacks of games were given away!
Check out the racks of stacks (R side). Geek minions in silver jerseys are lined up to help hand out the games as numbers are claimed. Don't come to us, we'll come to you!
Lainie Theys, keeping the Geek minions in line
Jeff Anderson works really hard to get all this coordinated. Good thing he has lots of help from Team Geek! Does anyone know who that Scott guy is standing next to him? I didn't catch his last name.
Eric M. Lang's job is to "digitally" show what numbers are being called; that's why you see him with his hands in the air. He's gotten pretty good at it over the years.
It might be a bit confusing when they are in the same room, what with the glasses, beards, and same names. Here's a side-by-side photo to keep them straight: W. Eric Martin, BGG News; Eric M. Lang, Game Designer. Wow, it's a good thing they wore different shirts.
Matthew Monin (L) always has a smile. W. Eric Martin (R) waiting for the news to happen.
One of the prizes was this collection of game posters — perfect for decorating the game room walls. (Or maybe the living room??)
Not so fun fact: There was no custom Crokinole board this year. The person who painted them in the past has retired. Sadly, there are no plans for future Crokinole boards either. Well, there goes my chance to win a beautifully painted board. I'm sure it would have happened this year. Sigh.
How long do you think they can keep holding those games up like that? I say we find out! Maybe let the winner take home one of the stacks?