Antoine Fortuin

Bitten by a common house spider, Antoine emerged with the uncanny ability to buy more games than he had time to play. While living in the hills of Tennessee, USA, he tries to balance software development, family, and his multiple, competing hobbies. He hopes to someday discover a pocket dimension in which to store his games.

Zombicide: Invader is the second re-theming of the Zombicide board game system from CMON. The original Zombicide, set in the modern world, did well but not nearly as well as the re-themed Zombicide: Black Plague version. The latest iteration has our survivors out in space fighting Xenos (aliens) instead of zombies. Zombicide: Invader is designed by Raphaël Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien, and Nicolas Raoult with art by Henning Ludvigsen.

This is a standalone, cooperative board game for 1-6 players set in space on a remote, Xenium mining outpost infected with a swarm of aliens controlled by the game itself. As the survivors get stronger the Xenos waves become deadlier. There are civilian and soldier survivors who each have unique strengths in the game. The Xenos are split across Hunters (deadly, fast predators), Workers (numerous but less deadly), Tanks which can take a beating and dish out worse, and the massive Spoiler Abomination which is a walking nightmare.

Zombicide: Invader comes with:

  • 9 Double-sided Game Tiles
  • 72 Miniatures
  • 6 Survivor Plastic Dashboards, Color Bases, and ID Cards
  • 48 Plastic Trackers
  • 6 Dice
  • 125 Mini Cards
  • 15 Mold Cards
  • 50 Tokens
  • 1 Rulebook

The game includes a cool looking Peacekeeper Bot and Falchion Sentry Gun which can mow down hordes of Xenos. The longer the survivors stay alive the tougher they get through the experience they obtain killing Xenos and picking up better gear. The survivor plastic dashboard (based on the ones from Zombicide: Black Plague) makes it easier to track character and associated gear stats.

For an upgraded pledge you can get the Zombicide: Black Ops expansion which includes an elite group of survivors such as the Soldiers of Black Squad and expands the player count from a maximum of 6 to a maximum of 12. The expansion also adds 10 new missions which uses 3 new tiles which contain mold and spawn extra Xenos. This part of the base also contains a new type of abomination called a Juggernaut. To deal with these extra nasties the elite Survivors have access to a Meteor Sentry Gun and XN35 “Crawley” Bot.

For a base pledge of $100 (excluding shipping) you can get the core game while a pledge of $150 includes the base game and expansion. There are some Kickstarter exclusive miniatures at both pledge levels and quite a number of them in the stretch goals. The project has already surpassed it’s funding goal by 250% and there are still 23 days to go until the project ends on Thursday, May 3rd 2018. You can back this project by going to the Kickstarter project page.

The Lord of the Rings: Quest to Mount Doom is a new board game from Games Workshop which pits players against one another in the quest to destroy The One Ring at Mount Doom. Players recreate the epic journey which the Fellowship undertook … except they’re not together. Each player is hunting The One Ring hidden somewhere in Middle-earth without having the other players know that they’ve found the ring once discovered and avoiding the eye of Sauron at the same time. Players can choose from their favorite characters in the Fellowship including Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Frodo and Gimli.

The Lord of the Rings: Quest to Mount Doom supports 2-5 players, aged 10+, and plays in 30-45 mins. The release date has not yet been announced but more information is expected later in the year on the Forge World Facebook page. See the news announcement from the Games Workshop website for more information.

Crystal Clans is a 2-player expandable card game published by Plaid Hat Games and designed by Andrea Mezzotero, Colby Dauch, and J. Arthur Ellis. Players use their unique clan’s armies, of which there are currently 6 to choose from, to compete to gain powerful crystals which hold the power to dominate the world. The first clan to claim 4 crystals wins the game.

If you’re looking to upgrade your game experience, Plaid Hat Games have announced the release of a 26″ by 26″ natural rubber Crystal Clans Playmat with enough space for both players. It features artwork from Martin Abel who is an illustrator from the base set.

Plaid Hat Games have also announced a new online tool, the Card Browser, which is available to explore card and unit strategies in the game. As of now, all of the cards in the base game are uploaded to the browser. Each unit from the Meteor Clan also has a new unit entry to give players a look into the lore of each unit in the Clan. The other Clans will be updated as time goes on.

The first of the Crystal Clan Scenario games, entitled “Blind to the Present”, has also been released.

“The Meteor Clan seeks out an ancient and powerful crystal known as the Time’s Window. In their overconfidence to capture the crystal, the Water Clan strikes and captures three Meteor Heroes! Check out this dynamic scenario written by Jeffrey Berman, the lead playtester of Crystal Clans!” [source]

Visit the Plaid Hat Games website to download the special setup, game play, and variable win condition rules.

Plaid Hat Games have announced that they’re accepting pre-orders for Starship Samurai, their anticipated new game from designer Isaac Vega (known for Dead of Winter and Ashes) with art by Gunship Revolution. Starship Samurai is a 2-4 player game where you lead your clan to victory by securing your claim to the emperor’s throne. Games last about 60-90 mins and is aimed at players aged 14+.

“The heavens erupt in the skies above the streets of Byakko City. Points of light flash briefly as the warp drives of carrier ships blink into existence. The Nova Clan’s forces are caught off-guard as a swarm of Void fighters launch to overtake the bustling capital city. The airspace siege cannons of the Void carrier hammer away at Nova Clan’s defenses, and a shadow falls over the city. Masumune has arrived. The gargantuan samurai mech cuts through the enemy forces with ease, obliterating the few remaining Nova Clan ships as they attempt to warp away to a neighboring system. Byakko City belongs to the Void Clan… for now.” [source]

As the leader of your clan you command massive fleets and powerful mechs which you use to seize key locations and battle other clans. You can also spend political and resource points to manipulate the lesser clans as an alternative path to victory. Each lesser clan you win over strengthens your clan’s supremacy. There are 8 highly detailed Samurai Mech figures which have unique abilities. There are also 8 detailed fighter miniatures and one carrier miniature in the players Clan colors.

If you pre-order the game, either through your local retailer or using the Plaid Hat Games website, you will get fully colored acrylic tokens for each Clan which are used to track the positions on the Alliance Board as well as each player’s Honor Total.

The release date has yet to be announced. Check out the Plaid Hat Games news article for more information.

Fantasy Flight Games have announced three new Dice Binders in which to store your Star Wars: Destiny collection. You will be able to choose from Jyn Erso, Luke Skywalker, or Captain Phasma themed binders which all cater for 44 dice and 44 sleeved cards. These binders are pretty nifty as the plastic trays display each individual die in rows which makes it easy to find the ones you want when playing a card during the game.

Star Wars: Destiny is a collectible card and dice game where you choose a team of iconic characters from the Star Wars universe, build a deck around them, then pitch them in battle against your opponent’s team. The game is for two players, aged 10+, and lasts about 30 minutes.

The Dice Binders are expected to be released in the third quarter of 2018.

There have been a number of product updates from Fantasy Flight Games with some new cycles on the way for their Living Card Games and expansions for their big box games.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a Living Card Game (new, fixed content is released each month) for 1-4 players in which players are investigators in a world inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction. The game has cycles (story arcs) where players create a deck for an investigator which they upgrade through the course of the cycle based on experience which they earn.

The Forgotten Age is the next cycle in which players may choose from five new investigators including Ursula Downs, Leo Anderson, Finn Edwards, and Calvin Wright. The latest article on the Fantasy Flight Games website spotlights Calvin Wright.

Designer, Matt Newman:

“Calvin made his original debut as a promotional investigator for a special Arkham Horror event many years ago. Most players never got the chance to play with Calvin, so we wanted to add him to the official roster of investigators across all of our Arkham Horror Files games. We decided to take this opportunity to expand Calvin’s backstory and themes of sacrifice and altruism that make Calvin unique among other investigators.” [source]

For more details about The Forgotten Age and Calvin Wright read Matt Newman’s article on the Fantasy Flight Games website.

Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition: Sanctum of Twilight Expansion

In Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition, players are investigators in a world based on H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction. The game takes place in various environments which are represented by tiles. Investigators are represented by miniatures which move across the tiles to encounter horrors and look for clues. The game is assisted by a digital application which adds ambiance and controls the flow of the story.

The Sanctum of Twilight expansion adds the Silver Twilight Lodge which is run by the most influential citizens of Arkham. They gather there to do business, plan parades, and lobby politicians … but also to enact secret rituals. The expansion adds two new investigators, Charlie Kane and Lily Chen, as well new spells, items, mechanics, and a new monster. Read the full preview on the Fantasy Flight Games website.

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

A new Rookery variant has been added to A Game of Thrones: The Card Game which encourages a new style of game play. The “Rookery” is a set of twelve cards which players can bring to their game and use to swap with cards in their draw and plot decks. Players can do this after seeing their opponent’s faction and agenda but before they draw their opening hand. In order to celebrate this new Rookery variant a Great Hall event has been added to the 2018 Organized Calendar which will happen after the Regional Championships have begun and will have prize support.

Eight intro decks have also been added to the game representing:

  • House Stark
  • House Lannister
  • House Greyjoy
  • House Baratheon
  • House Tyrell
  • House Martell
  • House Targaryen
  • Night’s Watch

These decks are designed to introduce new players to the game and highlight the unique features of each faction. Each pre-constructed deck contains 69 cards which is broken down into a 60 card deck, a faction card, an agenda card, and 7 plot cards.

Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

Read a new piece of fiction set in the world of Legend of the Five Rings called “Repentance Does Not Come First” by Robert Denton III. The story focuses on the Phoenix Clan who bear the soul of Rokugan and try to do so without losing their own. Earth Scion Isawa Tadaka senses an approaching darkness and has a plan to stop it but at what cost? You can read the short fiction on their website.

This also ties into the Elemental Cycle, the next cycle for the Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game. This cycle will be released as 6 packs over the course of 6 weeks and emphasizes the five elemental rings of Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Void. For more details you can check out their press release.

Based on the teen novel of the same name by Irish author, Garry McElherron, MourneQuest is a cooperative board game for 1-4 players. The game is published by Backspindle Games and designed by Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw (who both designed “Guards! Guards! A Discworld boardgame”). The artists are Alan H. Perry and John Farrelly.

Play takes place in the Mourne Mountains where characters assume the roles of the characters in the books (young Jack Turner and a few friends of the Hawksbeard Clan) and work together to defeat the evil Shimnavore. Along their journey players gather charms, equipment and magical relics to improve their skills and abilities which they use in dice based combat. Bogbeans, and Nightmares like the Banshee, the Changeling, the Merrow, and the Dullahan try to thwart the players before they’re able to reach the big bad. The heroes have different skills and abilities and are harassed by Bogbeans (such as the Snipe, Louse Wort, and Speedwell) in the early game who attempt to steal the items the heroes need to upgrade themselves with. Once the heroes are strong enough they need to cast-out the Nightmares before taking on the Shimnavore.

The game comes with miniatures which are a cross between Chibi and Irish Fantasy for all six heroes and the four Nightmares, while the Bogbeans are represented by standees. The deluxe edition upgrades the Bogbeans to minis and adds more baddies to fight along with another end boss character and other extra content.

The core game requires a pledge of $55 while the deluxe edition, which accounts for 71% of the backers so far, requires a $99 pledge (excluding shipping). The Kickstarter project has reached 85% of it’s funding goal with 367 backers and a week to go with the project ending Thursday, April 12th, 2018. Visit the Kickstarter campaign page for more information.

NBC Nightly News released a 2 minute video clip (access may be limited by geographic location) in which their reporter, Peter Alexander, reports that sales of classic board games such as Monopoly, Operation, and The Game of Life was up by 10% in 2014. This does not take into account hobby games growth during that time. They note that more people are taking a break from their digital devices to spend time with people by playing board games.

Mr. Alexander visits Game Haus Cafe in Glendale, California, a board game cafe where patrons pay $5 to have access to over 900 different board games. He notes that similar cafes are popping up nationwide (in the USA).

“It may sound like child’s play but board games are back, big time. Some might even say this is a golden age of games.”

Sales are up 10% from last year and the industry now garners 1.5 billion Dollars. Monopoly sales are up 15%, Operation is up by 40%, and The Game of life is up 45%. Hasbro’s factory in Massachusetts pumps out more than 27 million games a year and 29 trillion Dollars in play money. The top 9 best selling games in the country were produced by Hasbro.

Towards the latter half of the video they highlight hobby games and the variety it adds for consumers to choose from. They also highlight the Tabletop web series and the 500 000 strong audience per episode it garners.

The video can be seen at the NBC News website.

“You and your brother are peaceful farmers… Or at least you were! Your herds are getting too big for the pasture. Outsmart your brother by placing your enclosures so he can’t correctly place his and show him that you’re the one with a head for cattle in the family.”

Ankama Board Games (known for Krosmaster and Wakfu) is an upcoming 2-4 player game for ages 8+. It’s designed by Christophe Boelinger who is known for Archipelago, Dungeon Twister, and 4 Gods. There isn’t much information available about this game yet but since it only plays in 15 minutes it seems it will be a lighter game.

Asmodee UK have acquired fellow UK distributor, Coiledspring Games. Coiledspring Games was founded in 2004 with only one game and one puzzle but quickly became a leading UK distributor with many products in it’s catalog (including Biblios, Outfoxed and Sushi Go). Following the acquisition, Coiledspring Games will continue to operate as a separate entity and run at arm’s length from Asmodee UK’s current operations.

The change in ownership, effective immediately, sees Coiledspring Games join the Asmodee Group of games companies around the world.

Asmodee UK’s Managing Director, Steve Buckmaster:

“We’re delighted to welcome Coiledspring Games to the Asmodee Group. We’ve always thought very highly of the team and the work they do, so it’s great to have them on board with us.[source]

Coiledspring Games’ Roger Martin:

“We’re very excited to be joining the Asmodee Group and I am sure this will bring with it some big opportunities for Coiledspring Games. Being part of Asmodee presents us with a fantastic platform for future business.” [source]