Corey Thompson

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A retired veterinarian and ex-cell biologist, Corey spends his time with board games, computer history, banjo music and general useless frivolity. Corey can be found as doccabet on BGG.

Coreball: The Zero Gravity Sport is a new miniatures game for 2-4 players currently on Kickstarter from Burning Games, and designers Helio de GradoCarlos G. Q., and Mauricio Gomez. In Coreball, players take control of a team, each focused on a certain play style, from the aggressive SpaceSharks to the control oriented BullBugs. There are even Mercenary figures that can be hired for a job beyond your team. Team characters take actions, attacking each other, grappling for control, stealing the ball, or even hacking each other’s suits, depriving the opponent of abilities. The game takes place on a clear board, into which is slotted a tile detailing hazards, obstacles and momentum boosts. This tile changes every round, reflecting the ever shifting conditions in space. Be careful, momentum in Coreball is conserved, so it is easy for players to knock others out of the arena, or fly off the edge on their own. Coreball comes with 6 circuit tiles for the floating board, more than 100 tokens, 4 dials, and gorgeous miniatures for 2 teams plus Mercs in the base set. Expansions add another 2 teams, the advanced TechnoTicks, and the team oriented and hyperlinked Preachers. The Kickstarter Campaign for Coreball continues through May 16, and the game is expected to deliver in February 2020. For more details, check out Burning Gameswebpage on Coreball here.

Haas Games has started a Kickstarter Campaign for the highly political board game Zoocracy by designer Simon Haas, featuring spectacular art by “the Mico” – Mihajlo Dimitrievski. In Zoocracy, 2-6 players each take control of a political party at the zoo, bribing animals and promising benefits to other players, in order to advance their political agenda. Different animal types contribute food and votes to their allied players. Parliamentary positions are earned, critical for gaining support on votes, and positions within the government, such as prime minister and secretary of defense are distributed. But be careful, the opposition party can call for a vote of no confidence and oust the current party from power. The player with the most completed political goals at game end is the winner. Zoocracy is a strategic, social game reminiscent of Junta and Diplomacy, giving insight into real world political practices. The Kickstarter Campaign for Zoocracy continues through May 7, and the game is expected to deliver September 2019.

Haas Games has started a Kickstarter Campaign for the highly political board game Zoocracy by designer Simon Haas, featuring spectacular art by “the Mico” – Mihajlo Dimitrievski. In Zoocracy, 2-6 players each take control of a political party at the zoo, bribing animals and promising benefits to other players, in order to advance their political agenda. Different animal types contribute food and votes to their allied players. Parliamentary positions are earned, critical for gaining support on votes, and positions within the government, such as prime minister and secretary of defense are distributed. But be careful, the opposition party can call for a vote of no confidence and oust the current party from power. The player with the most completed political goals at game end is the winner. Zoocracy is a strategic, social game reminiscent of Junta and Diplomacy, giving insight into real world political practices. The Kickstarter Campaign for Zoocracy continues through May 7, and the game is expected to deliver September 2019.

Every year, American Mensa Mind Games holds a marathon 40+ hour judging competition, looking for the best in board games. The 300+ judges then pick 5 games to win that years’ coveted Mensa Select awards, worthy of displaying the Mensa Select Seal. The winning games for 2018 are:

Azul from designer Michael Kiesling and Plan B Games, Next Move Games. Azul is an abstract tile selection game for 2-4 players using gorgeous Bakelite type pieces, emulating the ceramic decorative frescoes of Portugal.

Constellations: The Game of Stargazing and the Night Sky from designers Dante Lauretta and Ian Zang, and Xtronaut Enterprises. In Constellations, 2-4 players use scientifically accurate star cards to populate the sky with real constellations.

Ex Libris from designer Adam P. McIver and Renegade Game Studios. In Ex Libris, 1-4 players create a library of books with cards, making sure to keep the volumes in alphabetical order, and taking advantage of their librarians wants, needs, and special abilities.

Photosynthesis from designer Hjalmar Hach and Blue Orange Games. Photosynthesis is a strategic, cut-throat 2-4 player abstract game of seed scattering, tree growth and sun collection, with a rotating sun and stunning cardboard arboreal standees.

Raiders of the North Sea from designer Shem Phillips and Renegade Game Studios. Raiders of the North Sea is a worker placement viking game for 2-4 players which manages to add simple changes to the standard mechanisms, turning the whole genre on its head.

Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker is a new social deduction game for 5-8 from Renegade Game Studios and the design team responsible for the popular Clank! series of games, Dire Wolf Digital. In Oathbreaker, one player is the King, while the others are secretly either loyalists, looking to keep the current king in power, or conspirators, seeking chaos. Missions are started, and each player secretly contributes influence cards to the cause, either fulfilling the requirements or jamming up the works. Players who contribute the most cards to a mission can place their house sigil with that pile. The cards in each mission are shuffled, and it is determined if the mission succeeded, aiding Order, or failed, leading to Chaos. Nobles who added their sigil to a mission can gain special rewards. The King can grant special decree cards to players, either helping or hindering whomever seems deserving. Look for Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker in stores this June, and check out Dire Wolf Digital’s web page for more information on this new title.

Corvus Belli and Vallejo Hobby Colors have entered an agreement to produce specialty paint packs for the popular future miniatures game, Infinity. Vallejo is already well known in the hobby world for making high quality paints and accessories, so the 8 new paint sets should make followers of the Infinity Game system very happy. These new sets also include an exclusive miniature, as well as a step by step guide for painting each faction.

The first paint packs for Panoceania and Nomads factions will be available in June. Throughout 2019 four more paint sets will be released. All sets will be available through distributors, specialized retail stores and Corvus Belli online store.

Look for the first new set this June, which should include Panoceania and Nomads factions, followed by 4 more sets in 2019.

IDW Games has announced Tonari, a new 2-4 player tile collection game from master designers Bruno Faidutti (Diamont, Mission: Red Planet) and Alex Randolph (Inkognito, Twixt), featuring delightful art from Kwanchai Moriya. In Tonari, a hex board is randomly filled with gorgeous acrylic tiles, and a fishing boat is placed in the middle. Players take turns moving the boat, collecting tiles as they go. The tiles may be sets of fish or shellfish which can grant or remove points. Additionally, skill tiles can be collected, giving bonus abilities, manipulating tiles on the board, or changing tiles in a players pile. The unique “hook” in this game is that a players’ final score is the sum total of their own score and that of their neighbor to the left. Look for Tonari at your FLGS in August 2019.

The award winning card game Love Letter (2012), by designer Seiji Kanai, has been the poster child and gold standard for the burgeoning genre of microgames. With only 20 cards, Love Letter is easy to teach, easy to carry and can fill just a few minutes of gaming satisfaction anywhere, anytime. Now Z-Man Games has announced a new version of this classic, which includes two new character cards to shake up game play. The Chancellor (#6) allows players to draw multiple cards, keeping one and placing some on the bottom of the deck.

Did you find yourself constantly asking who was still in the round? Now you won’t have to worry about that! Once a player is knocked out of the round, they’ll flip over the character reference card to reveal a broken wax seal. A quick glance around the table will tell you who is still in the round and whose letter didn’t quite make it.

The Spy (#0) gives players a more valuable win for a round, that is if no other players have also played the Spy. This new edition also includes handy reference cards that flip to reveal a broken wax seal, when a player is eliminated from a round. For more details and pictures, check out the story from Z-Man here.

The Baloise Group has announced Sarah’s Vision, a cooperative resource management, story-driven game for 1-4 players, by designer Anthony Howgego. In Sarah’s Vision, the players have control of the Agency, and it’s main AI Sarah during an idyllic future 150 years from now. However, things are falling apart, and mysterious events are threatening to drive society back to the reckless days of the early 21st century. Players need to protect High Potential Individuals (HPIs), using the limited resources of the Agency, through 20 tumultuous events.

Only the Agency stands in their way. You take on the role of Agency operatives, dedicated to keeping people safe in the future and enabling them to live their lives freely, surrounded by a sense of ease in this complex, constantly changing new world. The key lies in a few High Potential Individuals (HPIs). They have the ability to create a new technology called the MindNet that will move the world closer to “Singularity”, but this also makes them targets. The Agency is responsible for ensuring the best possible outcome for society of the future by keeping these citizens safe.

Each round, an Event Card places 3 danger cubes on HPIs, but if at the end there are no more than 4 danger cubes in each player characters’ zone, the Agency has come through victorious. Sarah’s Vision is a story heavy cooperative game which emphasizes one thing – collaboration is required above all. Sarah’s Vision is available now, and for more information check out Baloise’s excellent web site on Sarah’s Vision here.

Kolossal Games and designer J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard, Flotilla) have have started a Kickstarter campaign for Papillon, a tile laying and area control game about butterflies. In Papillon, 2-4 players bid for turn order using a pool of caterpillars, then draft tiles containing flowers from a central grid. The drafted tiles must be placed with matching edges, creating a tableau with patches of colored flowers. When a flower patch is complete, players can place a butterfly clip on the giant 3D cardboard version of that flower. Points are earned at the end of the game by area control of each flower type.

It has to be noted that the components in Papillon are striking, from the butterfly clips and garden gnome meeples, to the complex but beautiful cardboard flower structures. The Kickstarter also includes an expansion, Beyond the Meadow, with predators, new wildflowers, and new goal cards. The Kickstarter Campaign for Papillon continues through April 17, and the game is expected to ship in January 2020.

Ginger Snap Gaming and designer Darren Terpstra have started a Kickstarter Campaign for the deck building, miniatures combat game Ignite. In Ignite, up to 8 players each have 3 miniatures on a square grid board assembled from larger tiles. Using standard deck building mechanisms, players move their miniatures through various terrains, attack their opponents, and buy new cards for their deck when in town. Each card can be used for its abilities or for collecting Honor, the card purchasing power in the game. The terrain types actively modify abilities – it is difficult to move through snow, lava kills characters, it is more difficult to fight in forests, and acid forces players to discard cards.

When a player has lost all of their units, they begin spawning water minions from their starting position, but they no longer use their deck. This allows players to stay involved (playtesters have gotten as many as 3 trophies through smart water minion play), as well as helping speed up the end game. 

The large scale (55mm) detailed miniatures have a unique system to track damage – daggers are slotted into the backs of the minis. Ignite comes with 18 oversized miniatures, 36 game board tiles, 75 starter cards and 510 battle cards; With the Freeze Expansion, over 1100 cards are in the game. Randomizer cards and dividers are also included. The Kickstarter Campaign for Ignite continues through May 2, and the game is expected to deliver in May 2020.

Ginger Snap Gaming and designer Darren Terpstra have started a Kickstarter Campaign for the deck building, miniatures combat game Ignite. In Ignite, up to 8 players each have 3 miniatures on a square grid board assembled from larger tiles. Using standard deck building mechanisms, players move their miniatures through various terrains, attack their opponents, and buy new cards for their deck when in town. Each card can be used for its abilities or for collecting Honor, the card purchasing power in the game. The terrain types actively modify abilities – it is difficult to move through snow, lava kills characters, it is more difficult to fight in forests, and acid forces players to discard cards. The large scale (55mm) detailed miniatures have a unique system to track damage – daggers are slotted into the backs of the minis. Ignite comes with 18 oversized miniatures, 36 game board tiles, 75 starter cards and 510 battle cards; With the Freeze Expansion, over 1100 cards are in the game. Randomizer cards and dividers are also included. The Kickstarter Campaign for Ignite continues through May 2, and the game is expected to deliver in May 2020.