Dice Tower Newsletter

Eddie Guida

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I'm an engineer manager by day, board game entusiast by night. I will play most anything once but I love adventure style games and cooperative games, which might explain my unnatural love for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game series of games. I can be contacted on BoardGameGeek.com under the user ID "burke4865"

Tower defense games seem to be all the rage right now with several having popped up on Kickstarter, so Z-Man decided to bring in a game from Hobby World.  The game is called Bastion, and the forces of evil have never been this organized before, so it is up to your and your fellow heroes to protect the castle.  The enemy is relentless and so each turn more will be added and be pushed closer and closer to the castle.

You will have to manage your mana, spells, and artifacts as well as you can to be able to defeat the oncoming horde.  You will have to spend mana equal to the monster’s strength and match it’s color to be able to defeat it.  As you defeat monsters they will grant you extra abilities or powers to be able to better defend the castle.  Work together, properly utilize the structures in place, and coordinate effectively, and you may just save the day.

Look for Bastion on store shelves in the second quarter of this year, and you can read more about the game on Z-Man’s website.

Upper Deck is getting ready to release another new game, this time it’s a drafting game called Dungeon Draft.  Not much has been released about it yet but I imagine it will be similar to Lost Legends as you will be drafting cards to outfit your hero with better gear to fight monsters.  The game will come with 200 cards and boasts only a play time of 30 minutes for 2 to 5 players.  Look for more information to come out as the game’s release in September comes closer.

Next is the second big expansion to a hot game, and that’s Orleans: Trade and Intrigue.  This expansion will include “new place tiles, a new “beneficial deeds” game board, a new and challenging set of events, and trade contracts. The “Intrigue” introduces ways to hinder your opponents’ progress or even allow you to take over your opponents’ achievements.”  Look for this expansion to hit stores in September of this year from Tasty Minstrel Games

Last is not a game but dice for use in your games, well, maybe for use in your games.  These are the Polyhero Dice – Warrior Set, dice that are shaped like the different pieces of equipment a warrior would have like gauntlet d10s, a helmet d12, or a sword d6.  They may not be the best rolling dice, but they are highly unique looking dice, and they come in a case that can hold 90 sleeved cards.  Look for these on store shelves soon from Game Salute.

USAopoly has been stepping up their game lately, and this time it’s the creation of a new division that will focus on higher end collectibles and games associated with them.  They are “about tapping into our emotions from our youth when thinking of our favorite toys, movies and experiences.”  

Initially they have some lines planned out for new vinyl figures like Forbidden Tikis, Iconauts, and The Tower Squad as well as other items that will be coming out later this year.  Also being talked about are partnerships with companies like MONDO and Slideshow to bring the licenses they own into the mix and release new products for them.  Needless to say I think this new direction for USAopoly could provide us with some solid new games on brand new IPs.  You can head to the USAopoly site to read the full press release.

Green Ronin, publisher of the Mutants and Masterminds RPG, along with Greater Than Games, publisher of Sentinels of the Multiverse, are working together on a new game.  This new game will take much of the mechanics of the Sentinels of the Multiverse game and place it firmly in the Mutants and Masterminds RPG universe, titled Sentinels of Earth-Prime.  This means a whole new line-up of heroes, villains, and environments as well as new storylines to explore in this new game.  As a fan of Sentinels of the Multiverse, I am very looking forward to more original superheroes in a similar game type, hopefully with enough changes to make the two games distinct and worth owning both.

The current plans are for the game to be Kickstarted in April and then published in 2018 by Green Ronin.

Brotherwise Games, publisher of the 8-bit dungeon building game Boss Monster, has announced their next game, Unearth.  It’s going to be a dice-placement game designed by Jason Harner and Matthew Ransom, with art by Jesse Riggle.  In the game you are exploring the ruins of the great cities of old, trying to claim them as your own and build up places of power to restore a bygone age.  Play will use a set of 5 dice for each player, three 6 sided, one 4 sided, and one 8 sided die, each representing different explorers.

So far the game sounds great and more information will be released as time goes on, so look forward to it’s launch in August!

New releases continue to be announced, and this time around we have a game that everyone is looking forward to.  That game is the latest in the legacy style games, Charterstone, from Stonemaier Games and set for release in September of this year.  Charterstone aims to take the legacy system and use it as a way to fashion a truly unique game that once you are done can be played over and over.  Another interesting aspect to this game is that there is no rulebook, you just start playing the game and it will teach you the rules as you go along.  I am very much looking forward to this game, although with tempered enthusiasm after Seafall failed to live up to expectations.

Next is the reprint and update to 5th edition of Alien Frontiers, the dice worker placement game that put Kickstarter on the board game map.  Not much was said about what has changed, but I imagine little errors and updates were made to create this new edition.  Also being released will be the Factions expansion as well as all 7 of the mini expansions for the game.  Look for all of these on store shelves at the end of the year in December.

Another new release to retail is the notoriously difficult video game become board game, Dark Souls.  Currently it’s only the base game getting a release date right now but if you missed the Kickstarter, you will be able to start your Dark Souls collection in April.  I have no doubt that as time goes on, all the expansions sets and such that were unlocked in the Kickstarter will hit retail so we will have to be patient for those.

Next is a much needed reprint, and that is the second edition of Amun-Re, a classic game from well known board game designer, Reiner Knizia.  Tasty Minstrel Games will be publishing this edition and will feature updated art and tweaks/revisions to rules and board from the first edition.  Look for this game to hit store shelves in March, so brush up on those pyramid building skills in the mean time.

Then we have another Kickstarter game hitting retail and that is the wonderfully blue (color not mood) game called Lisboa.  In Lisboa you are the nobles of the city trying to rebuild after getting hit by multiple disasters at once, effectively leveling the city.  You will be building buildings, restarting commerce, and influencing others to re-open the new Lisboa.  Look for this game from Eagle – Gryphon Games on store shelves later this year in June.

After that we have a new expansion for the Tasty Minstrel game Flip City, called Flip City: Wildness.  This expansion takes you out of the city into the great outdoors, where you can further develop your city and offer your residents a way to get away from it all.  This expansion come with 78 new cards, enough that you can play with this expansion by itself, or combine it with the standard game for even more variety.  Look for this on store shelves in March of this year.

And finally, we have a new entry from IDW in the 8-bit inspired Random Encounter series of games called Random Encounter: Seas of the Sea Chicken.  The game is billed as “part poker, part tactical combat” and features all new cards and even some new mechanics compared to the previous game.  However, even with these new changes, the game is still fully compatible with the first game so you will be able to play with one or both of them at the same time.  Look for this game on store shelves in May.

 

[UPDATE: Lisboa was listed as releasing this month when actual date is in June]

Zen Bins has made a name for itself as an inexpensive and yet effective storage solution for collectible dice games like Dice Masters and the newly released Destiny.  Both have a need to be able to not only store some cards, but also a good number of dice to field with those cards. In Destiny’s case, tokens as well.  So Zen Bins is Kickstarting an update to their previous system with spots for tokens to be stored along with the cards and dice.  An interesting add-on that they have to offer this time around is the blinder, this allows you to keep your dice hidden so that they aren’t visible to your opponent until the game starts.

Having used their previous model to store my Dice Masters I can say that they are very good quality for the money and do exactly what they set out to do.  So Destiny players should check out their Kickstarter page and pledge for a set.

The Creativity Hub, the folks behind the popular Rory’s Story Cubes line, have plans for the new year that include new games and some new people.  The new people being brought on board are Patrick Nickell, founder of Crash Games, and Michael Fox from the Little Metal Dog Show podcast.  Both of them have many years of experience in the gaming industry and the Creativity Hub hopes to leverage that experience as they oversee the game development process.  And we will get to see if the change bears fruit as two new game releases are slated for this year that will be overseen by them.  Nothing is known about them as of yet but they will be showcased at the New York Toy Fair and other game fairs as the year goes on, ending with their release at Essen.  So keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available, and wish both Patrick and Michael the best of luck in their new positions.  You can read the full press release from The Creativity Hub below.

PRESS RELEASE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13th, 2017.

The Creativity Hub has built a reputation these past few years for designing intelligent, playful games that are full of heart. Rory’s Story Cubes® is connecting millions around the world through the power of storytelling, while The Extraordinaires® Design Studio is helping children develop the empathy and creative thinking skills they need to navigate an increasingly complex and divided world.

It’s easy to become complacent, but the world is ever changing. With that in mind, we have set ourselves a design challenge for 2017, to build upon what we’ve done in the past and push our mission further. We plan to develop game titles that bring people together, challenge assumptions and encourage players to view themselves and the world around them in new ways.

And we’re really, REALLY excited.

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“We never set out to become game designers; we just wanted to share Rory’s Story Cubes® with the world. However, its runaway success has taught us many lessons about game design, manufacturing and what it takes to create a successful play experience.” – Rory O’Connor, co-founder of The Creativity Hub

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With that in mind, we are proud to announce that Patrick Nickell (Founder of Crash Games) and Michael Fox (Little Metal Dog Show) will be joining us, bringing with them their years of game industry experience to this brand new direction for the company.

Patrick and Michael will be responsible for overseeing the game development pipeline, starting with two brand new releases at this year’s Essen Spiel in Germany.  We’ll be previewing these new games to a select few at shows and conventions in Europe and the United States, beginning with the New York Toy Fair later this week. If you’d like to check them out, you can contact us to organise interviews.

We will also be drawing on their experience to further develop retail and distribution channels in North America for The Extraordinaires® and StoryWorlds™ product lines.

Once again, we’re really excited. We’re planning to explore new concepts and create new things that are rarely seen in the world of tabletop gaming, and that is what drives us. We can’t wait to show you what we’re working on, and hope you’ll join us for this incredible journey.

Dice Tower Con has just launched it’s brand new website for the sixth year of the convention.  The new website offers loads more information and links to help you know what to expect from the convention and how to take full advantage of it.  You will see info like both Eric Lang and Ignacy Trzewiczek being special guests of honor at this year’s convention, an event schedule for the convention, and even a list of the games in the library.  Also as the time for the convention draws closer you will start to see links appear for things like the flea market and the math trade that happens each year at the convention.  Needless to say, the new site is a nice upgrade over the previous site so be sure to take a look, and if you hurry you might be able to get a ticket to the convention if you don’t already have one as there are still a few left.

As the board game market has boomed this has become more and more a common question for game stores as they try to carry all the new games being released.  And the short answer is that they can’t carry everything, so they have to pick and choose.  Like a gamer whose collection has reached maximum physical size, it now becomes a matter of if the next new game is better than what you have already.  Tom Vasel uses this philosophy on his game collection, and game stores now have to do the same with their finite amount of retail space.  But what does this kind of thinking do to the market?  Unfortunately this may make it harder for the little guy to break into the brick and mortar stores because they have to prove their game is worth taking up that valuable real estate.  What used to be carried because it was good now can’t because they have to make room for things that are great.

Gary over at Black Diamond Games ponders this question as well, giving an insider’s perspective, so give his article a read.