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.

Medici (1995) is a classic designed by one of the most influential people in board games, DOCTOR Reiner Knizia, and is the distilled pure essence of an auction game. Players bid their points on collections of goods, some they want, some they don’t, earning more points by set collection of those goods. Period. End of story.  Medici inspired an excellent card game version in 2016, and now Grail Games has announced the third in the family,  Medici: The Dice Game.

Also designed by the good doctor, Medici: The Dice Game is a dice drafting, roll and write game, which retains the simple elegance of the original. 2-4 players will spend their turns over 3 rounds filling the hold of their ship, trying to collect the most valuable goods, as well as majorities in each good type. Once again using the stunning artistic talents of Vincent Dutrait, Medici: The Dice Game is scheduled to hit Kickstarter in November 2019. For more information, check out Grail Games website here.

“Hey everybody, it’s time for MATCH-O-RAMA™! Trade in the usual dice-rolling routine for a game night that will have you looking for lights and cameras—can you dig it?”

Publisher theOP, previously known as USAopoly, has announced the hilarious new game-show-style party game, Match-O-Rama from lead designer Pat Marino (Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game). In Match-O-Rama, 4-8 friends come to the table armed with a dry erase board and a prediction wheel. A category is chosen from the deck of cards, such as “local sports teams” or “classes you hated in high school”. Everybody then writes down answers they feel other players are likely to pick. The prediction wheel allows you to decide if your answer will come up within the next 2 players, or the next 4 four players around the table. The tighter your prediction, the more points you earn. Everybody reveals their answers and points are given. The first player to 35 points wins the whole shebang in Match-O-Rama.

Match-O-Rama is available now exclusively at Target stores. The game comes with 8 dry erase boards and prediction wheels, 100 category cards, and 60 scoring tokens. For more information, check out theOP’s website here.

Exploding Kittens, a simple but funny card game by Shane Small, along with Matthew Inman and Elan Lee, creators of the comic strip The Oatmeal, stunned the board game community in 2013 when it broke records on Kickstarter, earning $8.8M from 219,000 backers. Since then, the company has released several games including the dodge ball inspired Throw Throw Burrito, Bears vs Babies, and the recent Wolfgang Warsch game On a Scale of One to T-Rex. The company is even starting its own convention, Burning Cat, set to premiere in Portland, Oregon in May 2020.

Exploding Kittens has recently announced that it has received investment capital of $30 million from the TCG Capital Management to finance its continued growth. Kittens has said the investment will be used “to develop more games for its fans, expand its IP into live events, build out its team, control more of its production and distribution, and continue to experiment with innovative ideas around gameplay to help further build the community.”

For the full press release please click here.

One of the big hits from GenCon 2019 was Matt Leacock’s spiritual successor to Roll Through the Ages, the roll-and-build game Era: Medieval Age. People loved the tactile nature of gathering buildings and walls, and creating a city to score on their peg board. The one criticism people had about the game was that the yellow player boards were difficult to read.

Eggertspiel has heard the mandate of the people, and is now offering sticker sheets for the game to make the labeling more clear. By visiting the Eggertspiel webpage here, players can have these sticker sheets mailed to them for the cost of postage. The company wants to make it clear that retail versions of the game will be coming with sticker sheets attached, so please only request a sheet if your copy did not come with one supplied. Additionally, when Era was displayed at GenCon, the buildings and pieces were neatly organized on a custom mat. People were so enamored with this mat, that Eggertspiel has now made it available in neoprene through their web store. For more details on the mat, please visit Eggertspiel here

“At this year’s Beach-a-Palooza, Steven has a surefire way to win: Recruit more Stevens from the timeline and have them all front their own bands!”

Steven Universe is an incredibly popular animated series created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network in 2013. In the show, Steven discovers the world of the Crystal Gems, magical beings with a fascinating backstory of escape, betrayal and freedom. Steven Universe has created an amazingly lush world of characters, and now Cryptozooic Entertainment has announced the boardgame  Steven Universe: Beach-a-Palooza from designers Erica Bouyouris (Bosk) and Andrew Wolf (Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle).

In Beach-a-Palooza, 3-6 players take on the role of Steven. Well, alternate versions of Steven from different timelines, to be exact. Each player’s Steven is battling in the Beach-a-Palooza to put together the best band and win the whole show. But beware, because both corrupted and homeworld gems are crashing the party and want to ruin the show. Players draft cards to recruit both their band and their audience, and to generate energy and other effects. Use your fusion powers! Attack and bubble the corrupted gems! Play your cards right, and your band might be the big winner!

Look for Steven Universe: Beach-a-Palooza at your FLGS during the second quarter of 2020.

“Your hands are dirty, the back is aching and the clothes are sweaty, but your work for today is finished! The new mill looms proudly in front of you and the soft groaning and fluttering of the blades sounds like a choir of angels in your ears. Soon the golden wheat of your fields will be ground to valuable flour which will earn you a fortune. “

Lookout Spiele has announced a new title from master designer Alexander Pfister, Expedition to Newdale. Expedition takes place in the same world as the popular game Oh My Goods, a mere 5 years after the events of the Escape to Canyon Brook expansion, but does not require playing the previous card games. Expedition is a campaign story game spanning eight chapters, encompassing 15 hours of gameplay.

In Expedition to Newdale, 1-4 players each take control of a starting coal mine, a player board, and have a hand of 5 cards.  Each turn starts by revealing an event, which not only alters the play for the round, but also dictates how many workers minimum a player has for the round. Workers come in 4 colors, making planning for actions tricky. Players then place action tiles on action spaces, both on the main board and on their personal board. These tokens are numbered from 1-4, and set the order of actions their workers will execute. After planning the turn, more workers are drawn from the bag, which could make previously impossible actions completely doable, adding a push your luck element to the game. Finally, players execute their planned action tokens in order from 1 to 4, spending workers if they have them. However, if not enough workers became available during the random draw, some actions may go uncompleted.

Players will need to plan ahead, push their luck, and set up for a plan B to be successful in Expedition to Newdale. The game itself comes with 3 double sided boards, 4 player boards, one communal action board, over 220 cards, and tons of tokens. Look for Expedition to Newdale to debut at Essen Spiel in October, with full release to follow at the end of the year. For more details, check out Lookout Spiele’s webpage here.

For all those wanting to give back, and happen to be in Germany, publisher Board and Dice is sponsoring a special charity event for those attending Essen Spiel. Called Walk the Halls, the event is a simple one, taking advantage of the single thing most attendees are doing too much of anyway – walking. Anyone interested should first purchase the 10 Euro Charity product from the company here. Then, while at Essen Spiel (October 24-27) use any app or product to count steps, something a lot of you are already doing. Finally, during the last day at Essen, visit Board & Dice at booth C112, Hall2, to pick up a special medal.

All proceeds for the Walk will be going to the charity EFC – The Roman Czernecki’s Educational Foundation. An education focused charity, EFC is best summed up by Igor Czernecki, the Chairman of the Board:

“At the EFC Foundation, we deal with education. Our aim is threefold: we strive to create equal access to education, to promote creative, innovative ways of thinking about education in the light of the challenges of the XXI century, and to broaden its definition to include social responsibility and civic engagement.

We believe that non-governmental and nonprofit organizations have a specific obligation to constantly question the means chosen to achieve their statutory ends. It is hard to come by constructive criticism in philanthropy – there is no market verification or disenchanted voters. A grateful recipient is always at hand. Yet it is precisely the financial and political independence of NGOs that should oblige them to incessantly question how they spend their money. In any subcategory of human interaction with one-another or the environment there is a scale of the good, which can be achieved for one dollar. Yes, it is a subjective scale and yes, its extremities are an ideal, but this does not mean we should not work with this scale always on our minds. Constantly striving for the most good is what makes philanthropy the true ‘love of man’. “

Anyone wishing to spread word about Walk the Halls through social media is encouraged to do so, using the hashtag #WalkTheHallsForCharity. For more information on the event and the EFC, please visit Board & Dice’s webpage or their Facebook announcement.

“You have Died”

Dark Souls (2017) is a cooperative fantasy board game based on the popular computer and console game of the same name. In Dark Souls, players take on character roles, fight minions for souls, level up and collect new equipment, trying to get powerful enough to defeat a giant boss. The game was noteworthy for having beautifully large, detailed miniatures, a detailed and programmed boss A.I., and, like its namesake, for being hard. Characters will die, and if too many succumb, the players will lose.

Steamforged Games has announced 3 new expansions for Dark Souls, each expanding a specific area of the game. The Characters Expansion introduces 6 new character types to the game, each with new equipment, actions and stat progressions. The Characters Expansion comes with 16 new miniatures, cards and boards to support the new characters. Vordt of the Boreal Valley is a new boss, originally tasked with standing sentinel over the gates that lead from the Undead Settlement to the Castle of Lothric. Now a savage and mindless beast, the boss Vordt comes with two behavior decks, one for movement and one for battle. The Vordt expansion also comes with a new boss board, and new level 4 encounters, making it a difficult challenge for experienced players. Finally, The Darkroot Basin and Iron Keep expansions come with 9 new double sided tiles for use in any game.

All three new expansions to Dark Souls are expected to deliver to retail on November 22, 2019. For more details on Dark Souls the Board Game, and its previous expansions, check out the Steamforged website here.

Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier Games today announced the first expansion to Elizabeth Hargrave’s  mega hit Wingspan. Wingspan took the gaming world by force when it hit in early 2019, combining a huge variety of gorgeously illustrated cards with simple, elegant gameplay. Wingspan was quickly the most talked about game, unfortunately making it frequently out of print, and difficult to find. Winning the illustrious Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award probably did not help matters either.

The European Expansion, also designed by Elizabeth Hargrave, still contains the fantastic art by Ana Maria Martinez JaramilloNatalia Rojas, and Beth Sobel. The new birds included in this expansion will use a variety of new abilities, including round-end abilities, more player interactions, and birds that benefit from excess resources. The plan for this expansion, and future additions, it to be seamlessly shuffled into the original cards, creating a larger, more varied game.

Stonemaier has also announced that future copies of Wingspan will include a “swift start promo pack”, which includes a first round walk-through, using specific new bird cards to demonstrate how to play. The back of the Wingspan box will clearly show whether the promo pack is included. This promo pack will be also available for separate order directly from Stonemaier. For more information on the Swift Start Promo Pack, check out Stonemaier’s website here.

The European Expansion for Wingspan will contain a new tray for holding the tremendous quantity of cards, 15 more eggs (purple!), more food resources, and a new scorepad. Pre-orders for this expansion will begin on November 6, and look for the game to hit shelves November 22, 2019. For those lucky enough to attend, limited copies will also be available at Essen in October. For more information, check out Stonemaier’s website on the European Expansion here.

Almost A Game has announced their second game, Space Chase, a cooperative escape game for 1-6 players by designer Robert Fowler. Almost a Game and Fowler previously released the bluffing and memory game Wicked Apples (2016). In Space Chase, the players are being chased by an AI Hunter through the galaxy, all while looking for the elusive Extraction Gate.

In Space Chase, replayability and variability are key. The galaxy is made up of a random 7×7 grid of colorful exploration tiles, adjustable in difficulty. The Hunter can be selected from 3 different AI styles, each with its own abilities and movement patterns. And finally, each player picks a crew from a roster of 11 different crew members, each with its own abilities.

Space Chase will be released at PAX Unplugged this December, and will go to retail shortly thereafter. However, customers can pre-order the game from October 1-31 from Almost A Game.