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.

War for Chicken Island is a new dice and card driven, area control, and take-that Kickstarter project from designer Ivan Escalante (Necronomicorp) and Draco Studios. 2-4 players each take turns helping to set up Chicken Island, a land of limited space, tight resources, and too many chickens, then each receives a brave chicken leader, a hand of cards, some starting resources, and 5 custom dice. On their turn, after gaining cards and rolling dice, players can build war machines for their army, travel across the land, and wage feathered war. The dice can add actions, regain resources, recover lost chickens or gain bonuses. In battle, defense and offense are compared, cards are played to add to the numbers, and the losing side takes a humiliation token from the winner. Players who manage to humiliate the most enemies emerge victorious. War for Chicken Island comes either with standees, or with a separate box of delightful chicken miniatures, including their nightmare inducing war machines. The Kickstarter Campaign for War for Chicken Island will continue through December 28, and the game is expected to deliver in October 2019.

Eagle-Gryphon Games has started a new Kickstarter Campaign for the reprint of Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age (2014), the followup to Matt Leacock‘s Spiel nominated Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age (2008). The Bronze Age had some pretty big shoes to fill for a followup, and The Iron Age did not disappoint, being designed by heavyweight Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy). Roll Through the Ages is a roll and write game, where 1-4 players roll custom dice, yahtzee style, and fill in spaces on their score pad for points. This new edition of the game comes in a more compact box, with wooden peg boards with pegs, 6 custom Empire dice, 1 Fate Die, and the previous Mediterranean expansion has been fully integrated into the score sheet. The Kickstarter Campaign also includes “personal stretch goals” – backers can receive free games, such as Dead Man’s Chest or SIXeS, depending upon how much they end up pledging to the project.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age continues through January 2, and the game is expected to deliver in February 2019.

Wizkids Games has just announced the new social deduction game Chiyo’s Secret from designer J.B. Howell (Reavers of Midgard). In Chiyo’s Secret, players are trying to determine the identity and location of the wanted lovers Chiyo and Fusanobu in feudal Japan. One player takes on the role of Motonaka, the lovers’ son, trying to save his parents and help their escape. The rest of the players are either Allies, seeking to capture the pair for execution, Usurpers trying to lure Fusanobu into a trap and seize power, or Betrayers trying to betray the Daimo and use the pair as a gift for the Shogun. Players gain information by moving locals between establishments, or by questioning Motonaka, who may lie about his parents once per game. Players roles, excepting Motonaka, are secret, so exact intentions are unclear. The game ends when a player has met his or her winning conditions. Chiyo’s Secret is due to be released in February 2019, but for more information check out WizKids’ web page here.

Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new free expansion for their companion app to Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2005), Road to Legend. Road to Legend allows up to 4 players to play this miniatures-laden grand-daddy of all dungeon crawls completely cooperatively, with the app placing monsters, showing the map, and making eventful decisions. Embers of Dread is the new expansion for Road to Legend, and it adds a mad cult conspiracy, trying to awaken an ancient dragon lord. Embers also includes the “morally nebulous” city of Riverwatch, whose members would be happy to pad your coffers at the cost of sacrificing your fame. Embers of Dread requires the Descent Core box to play, as well as the physical expansions Lair of the Wyrm and Labyrinth of Ruin. Embers of Dread is available now for iOS, Android and Steam, and for more information check out the press release from Fantasy Flight here.

Awaken Realms, makers of massively successful Kickstarter projects This War of Mine (2017) and Lords of Hellas (2018), have started a campaign for their new game, Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon from designers Krzysztof Piskorski and Marcin Świerkot. Tainted Grail is a cooperative story driven adventure game which takes place in an alternate, dark Arthurian world, and features amazing art from Piotr Foksowicz. In Tainted Grail, 1-4 players work cooperatively, without turn order, to explore a growing map made of high quality tarot sized cards, in a manner reminiscent of the ground-breaking 7th Continent. These map cards can be flipped over as they are explored, or even replaced with changed versions of the land. Stories come from a printed book of more than 100,000 words, filled with choices, drama, characters and conflict. Each player chooses from one of 4 unlikely outcasts, each with unique stats and abilities which can improve over time, trying to avert the wyrdness from Avalon by healing the fading Menhir guardian statues. Each character comes with its own deck of combat cards and diplomacy cards, leading to a fascinating and unique conflict mechanism for both violent and non-violent interactions. Players lay down a chain of cards, linked by key symbols to first the threat, then to each other. A character can have as many cards in the combat as they like, as long as they are all linked, but if a card in the chain is lost, other cards may fall away. Characters use up energy to perform actions, exploring, fighting or negotiating their way through the campaign, chapter by chapter. Chapters can be playerd in a single session, and a robust system to save and store games is in the box.

Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon Core Game comes with 8 miniatures, 4 boards, 576 standard cards (encounters, items, events, secrets), 100 small cards, 72 oversized cards (maps), 100+ tokens and markers and a 220 page story book, but the stretch goals and add-ons are growing by the moment, dwarfing these numbers. The Kickstarter Campaign for Tainted Grail is set to continue through December 28, and the game should deliver in August 2019. For more information, and a preliminary rule book, check out the Kickstarter web page here, or Awaken Realm’s web page here.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has recently announced the first expansion to Space Base, the popular 2018 dice rolling, card drafting game from designer John D. Clair (Mystic Vale). In Space Base, 2-5 players roll dice, gain resources off of the numbers rolled, then use the resources to buy new cards. All cards go on a cleverly designed player board, taking up the numbers 1 through 12. As players collect new cards, they can gain further resources on other players’ die rolls. This mechanism of income generation off of dice rolls has been used effectively in Machi Koro (2012) and Valeria: Card Kingdoms (2016), but many feel that Space Base has just done it perfectly. The first expansion, The Emergence of Shy Pluto is teased as a “Saga Extension”, and promises to add story elements to the admittedly somewhat themeless game. Pluto includes a series of story based scenarios, which trickle new cards and elements into Space Base “via a narrative structure”. Once all of the stories are added, they become a permanent part of the game for further replays.

Look for Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto in March 2019.

Treedles on the Tree is a cooperative Christmas themed board game currently on Kickstarter from designer Mark Valenti and Erin Dean, featuring art by Sarah Lafser. In Treedles on the Tree, 2-6 players have 10 minutes to find the elusive Wackadoodle, feed him candy canes to get a Star Point. Once the players get 5 Star Points, the Christmas Tree is complete and Christmas has been saved. Players each pick one of the six Treedles, then roll dice to see which colored light they can move to next. One the back of the lights are either Ornaments, which collect at the bottom of the board, or the elusive Wackadoodle. Once a Wackadoodle bird is revealed, players must roll candy cane dice frantically, trying to collect 4 candy canes, so that the Wackadoo rewards them with a Star Point. The players must get all 5 Star Points before they collect 25 ornaments, or before 10 minutes run out.

Treedles on the Tree is based on an animated television idea “the Treedles”, which was to star Icelandic actor Stefan Karl, who sadly passed in August 2018, and the game is dedicated to him. The Kickstarter Campaign for Treedles on the Tree continues through January 2, and the game is expected to ship in October 2019.

Also, of interest, was a little bit more we were able to learn about the designers.

Mark Valenti has written, edited or produced more than 200 hours of family friendly content for television, projects that are seen daily around the world. He wrote the Christmas movie Like Father, Like Santa for the Family Channel, The Christmas Pageant for the Hallmark Channel and the annual Christmas special, Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas Angel for NBC. As Head Writer for Nickelodeon’s LazyTown, he co-wrote the popular Christmas episode “Surprise Santa” and the holiday single, “I Love Christmas.” Mark has written for Back to the Future, Olivia, Gaspard and Lisa, Totally Spies, Julius Jr., Treehouse Detectives, and My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

On the network executive side, he was Story Editor for Nickelodeon’s animated shows including Rugrats, Catdog, Hey Arnold, Rocket Power, and The Wild Thornberrys. Mark also wrote the television movies Menno’s Mind for Showtime, and several film projects for Lifetime. Mark was Creative Manager for a team tasked with re-imagining Disney’s California Adventures theme park in Anaheim. He also served as Creative Manager for Disney Interactive.
Prior to his writing career, Mark was Vice President of Development for John Hughes Entertainment, during the production period of Home Alone, Uncle Buck, Christmas Vacation, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He has authored several books: The Hannibal Twist – A Tom and Huck Mystery, The Wolf and the Warlander, an adventure trilogy, and a coming-of-age comedy, Last Night at the Monarch Motel. Mark began his career as a Production Associate for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, followed by several years as Script Analyst for Ron Howard, Oprah Winfrey and Sydney Pollack’s production companies.
Growing up, Erin Dean played the traditional mass market games, like Monopoly, Life, and Clue. In high school, she was gifted Ticket to Ride and that is when she fell in love with the board gaming hobby.

In the past, she has worked at Pieces: The St. Louis Board Game Bar & Cafe as a Game Navigator, as well as, Genius Games, a St. Louis board game publishing company, as a Video Intern. In the Spring of 2017, Erin released a short board game documentary on YouTube called, “The Board Game Boom,” which now has over 30,000 views.

For the Love of Board Games is Erin’s first book and A book that explores how modern, popular games were created by interviewing the designers behind the games. The book was Erin’s first Kickstarter and it ended up raising over $55,000.

At the recent PAX Unplugged convention, Dire Wolf Digital announced a new Clank! game in partnership with Penny Arcade, Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, coming in Fall 2019. Clank! A Deck Building Adventure by designer Paul Dennen uses deck building mechanics of gain money, buy cards, fight foes, but added movement in a dungeon to the mix. Players had to run quickly through the depths, collect an artifact, then make their way back to the surface, all while trying not to make enough noise (CLANK) to invoke the ire of the beast. Clank! has won several awards, has a spider expansion, a mummy’s tomb expansion, and a version in space, yet still remains at a very respectable #61 in the boardgamegeek top 100. Now the promise of adding legacy elements to this great game is sure to have fans excited. Acquisitions Incorporated, which started in 2008 with the simple idea of “friends having fun playing Dungeons & Dragons”, has become a 20 year podcast and IP with a strong following.

From the press release – “Found your own franchise of the legendary adventuring company Acquisitions Incorporated, and shepherd your fledgling treasure-hunters to immortal corporate glory over the course of multiple games.”

For more information, you can read the full press release from Dire Wolf Digital here.

Wargamers rejoice – the Kickstarter Campaign has just started for the Metro Morph modular card wargaming terrain by Jacob Smith and Crowd Forge Studio. This system uses heavy duty 2mm cardstock pieces, which clip together in innumerable ways to create structures in a 28-32mm gaming environment. The pieces are themed to an industrial sci-fi setting, and come with protective stickers for repeated clip application, as well as stickers to hide clips and edges. The pieces can create durable, large structures which can bear repeated use and heavy wear. After gaming, the clips can be removed and the pieces can be stored flat again. The system can be used to create anything from scattered rubble, complex 2D game boards, to large 3 dimensional multilevel buildings.

The Kickstarter for Metro Morph will continue through December 20, and the final product is scheduled to ship in September 2019.

Cool Mini or Not has just started a Kickstarter campaign for a digital version of Eric Lang‘s 2015 mega-hit Blood Rage (BGG #27). The digital version is being produced by Exozet and looks amazing. Each region of the board looks different, with unique topology, climate and villages. All of the cards and figures are meticulously rendered in 3D, including new miniatures not seen before. The digital game includes network play for up to 4 players, solo play against the AI, and mixtures of the two. One of the most exciting aspects of the Kickstarter is the Physical Viking Pledge, which includes the actual miniatures for all of the new 3D assets along with the digital game. These include four new monsters: the Mountain Giantess, a new wolf called Garm, the Wolfwoman and the Seer Troll. Other models are the new Stag Clan with Mystics, 6 Golden Gods of Asgard miniatures, and new expansion cards for 5 players.

The Kickstarter for Blood Rage Digital continues through December 10, and is expected to deliver digital rewards in December 2019, and physical rewards in August 2019. Additionally, Kickstarter backers will be privy to a closed beta version of the game before release. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page or CMoN’s website.