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"

Steve Jackson Games has announced their upcoming release schedule for the month of September.  The first two entries are Munchkin Shakespeare and a demo pack called Staged Demo.  Munchkin Shakespeare  will be the same as the one that was Kickstarted not too long ago, just minus the Kickstarter expansion which was exclusive to the campaign.  So you will get the deluxe box, custom die, game board, and all 168 cards included in the Kickstarter copies.  Allowing you to play Mucnhkin with some theatrical flair

Staged Demo is both an expansion pack and a demo kit.  This pack takes 17 cards from the Munchkin Shakespeare Deluxe game with alternate art done by Lar deSouza.  The cards included are all that you need to do a short demo of the game for your friends, and then you can take the cards and add them to any Munchkin game you currently own.

Last we have Muertoons, formerly known as Muertoons Mix-up, a short little card game based on the cartoon of the same name.  Gameplay is similar to those like Crazy Eights or Uno where you are playing down numbered cards, and the first person to get rid of all their cards is the winner.  A simple game with a cartoon-y theme that would be great for younger kids.

To read more about this game and the others, you can check out the Daily Illuminator post from Steve Jackson Games.

Here we are again, time to highlight a couple of Kickstarters we found this week.

First on the list is a game from The Creativity Hub called Untold: Adventures Await.  This is an RPG, story telling hybrid game that puts to use the many different sets of Rory Story Cubes that have been released to date.  It’s described as throwing yourself into your favorite TV series, but instead of just watching you are now creating the story that unfolds.  This is especially true because several dice sets have been released that are based on popular television IPs like Batman, Scooby Doo, and Doctor Who.  Whichever set of Rory Story Cubes you use will give you the framework to your story, and the game will guide you through the rest from the danger appearing to the final showdown.  Play will take about 60 minutes and you can reuse your created characters in later games, akin to continuing your TV series.  So if this sounds interesting to you, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Next is a game getting an art overhaul and deluxified courtesy of TMG called The Flow of History.  This is a bidding/auction style card game where you are trying to build the best civilization out of them all.  In the game you will be buying and playing cards from 5 different ages, with each card having it’s own special ability.  Some cards give you icons, others give you resources based on those icons, and so on.  The game ends when the card “The Future” shows up in the market or is acquired directly, at that point you count up culture icons, each being worth a point, and any end game scoring bonuses to determine the winner.  What makes this version deluxe compared to the retail is the larger box, molded plastic tray, folding market board, and metal resource tokens.  So if a card based civilization game interests you, or you want a deluxe version of the game, check out the Kickstarter page.

Finally we have Archmage Origins, the latest card game from SolarFlare Games.  In the game you are battling your follow mages in an effort to collect the strongest army and be crowned the archmage of the realm.  To do that you will use a similar board setup and play style to that of a popular two player game, Targi.  In the game you will set out a 4×4 grid of face down monster cards, each having different strengths and abilities.  On your turn you can peak at a card to see what monster is there, next you have the option to swap it with another card, and then you play one of your mage cards around the edge of the board.  After everyone’s mage cards have been played, all the cards flip over and each monster card is resolved, totaling the value of mage cards in the column and row it occupies.  Whoever has the higher value gets to add the card to their army, and once all the cards have been given out, the highest valued army wins.  With some good looking art, simple and quick gameplay, this light filler game is worth a look.  Check out their Kickstarter page today, which also includes a tease to the next game in the same universe.

Origins is one of the biggest conventions in the US for gaming, and they have been giving out their awards for the best each year.  The different categories include family games, role-playing games, card games, game accessories, board games, collectible games (CCG, TCG, etc.), miniatures, and finally a Game of the Year.  Some of the past winners include great games like Codenames, Imperial Assault, and 7 Wonders Duel, so you know bad games aren’t getting these awards.  But that’s enough background information, here are the nominees for the 2017 Origins Awards:

Family Games (6 Nominees)

Role-Playing Game (10 Nominees)

  • 7th Sea: Second Edition by John Wick Presents (designed by John Wick, Mike Curry, Rob Justice, Mark Diaz Truman, Jesse Heinig)
  • Curse of Strahd by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
  • No Thank You, Evil! by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Fantasy Flight (designed by Tim Flanders, Corey Konieczka, and Sam Stewart)
  • Shadowrun-Seattle Sprawl by Catalyst Game Labs (designed by Raymond Croteau, Jason Hardy, James Meiers, O.C. Presley, Scott Schletz, R.J. Thomas, Malik Toms, Thomas Willoughby, CZ Wright, and Russell Zimmerman)
  • Symbaroum by Järnringen and co-published by Modiphius Entertainment (designed by Martin Grip, Mattias Johnsson, Mattias Lilja and Johan Nohr.
  • Storm King’s Thunder by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jenna Helland, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
  • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire-Special Modifications by Fantasy Flight (designed by Blake Bennett, Tim Cox, Jordan Goldfarb, Sterling Hershey and Monte Lin)
  • The One Ring: Horse: Lords of Rohan by Cubicle 7 (designed by Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Francesco Nepitello, and James Spahn)
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Ed Greenwood, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Kim Mohan, Christopher Perkins, Sean K. Reynolds, Matthew Sernett, Chris Sims, and Steve Winter)

Traditional Card Games (8 Nominees)

Game Accessories (4 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage Organizer by The Broken Token (designed by Greg Spence)
  • Dungeon Morph Dice Adventurer Set by Inkwell Ideas / Q-Workshop (designed by Joe Wetzel, Dyson Logos, Matt Jackson, Shane Knysh, Tim Ballew, Dave Millar, Sigurd Johansson, AJ Stone)
  • Flip ‘N Tray Mat Case by Ultimate Guard (designed by Adrian Alonso)
  • Improved D Total by Gamescience (designed by Dr. A.F. Simkin, Col. Louis Zocchi, Frank Dutrait)

Board Games (10 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage by (designed by Eric M. Lang)
  • Clank! by Renegade Games (designed by Paul Dennen)
  • Cry Havoc by Portal Games (designed by Grant Rodiek, Michael Oracz, Michael Walczak)
  • Feast for Odin by Z Man Games/Asmodee (designed by Uwe Rosenberg)
  • Islebound by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
  • Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight/Asmodee (designed by Christopher Burdett, Anders Finér, Henning Ludvigsen)
  • Scythe by Stonemaier Games (designed by Jamey Stegmaier)
  • Star Wars Rebellion by Fantasy Flight (designed by Corey Konieczka)
  • Terraforming Mars by (designed by Jacob Fryxelius)
  • World’s Fair 1893 by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games (designed by J. Alex Kevern)

Collectible Games (5 Nominees)

  • Yu-Gi-Oh Breaker of Shadow Booster by Konami (designed by Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Pokémon XY11 Steam Siege Booster by Pokémon USA (designed by The Pokémon Company)
  • Magic the Gathering: Kaladesh Booster Pack by Wizards of the Coast
  • Marvel HeroClix: Uncanny X-Men Booster Brick by WizKids (designed by WizKids)
  • Cardfight Vanguard Fighters Collection by Bushiroad

Miniatures (5 Nominees)

  • Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team by Games Workshop
  •  Konflikt ’47 by Warlord Games (designed by Clockwork Goblin Miniatures)
  • Dragon Rampant by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine
  • TANKS by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine (designed by Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates)
  • Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames (designed by Andy Chambers and David Lewis)

As many bargain hunters know, just recently Marbles, makers of games and toys that help develop your mind, had to declare bankruptcy, close it’s stores, and sell off it’s assets.  As part of going bankrupt the label and it’s IPs were put up for sale, and Spin Master jumped at the chance.  With this acquisition the Marbles brand will continue to design and produce high quality games and toys, but under the label of Spin Master.  Founders of both companies were happy with the deal as Spin Master acquires a high quality games and puzzle creator, and Marbles gets to continue their mission of developing games and puzzles that help the brain.

For more information you can read the press release on PR Newswire site.

Cartagena is an older game designed by Leo Colovini and is often described as a gamer’s version of Candy Land.  To play the game you will play a card from your hand and move one of your pirates forward, similar to the kids game.  But you have a finite number of cards, and in order to draw cards back up you have to move one of your pirates back.  This creates lots of choices because as you get your pirates out, you have less options and so you have to plan for that.  If you don’t properly plan you may end up unable to take the actions you want.  First person to get all their pirates out is the winner.

Now Rio Grande Games is reprinting this classic but also updating it and including the squeal game, Cartagena 2: The Pirate’s Nest, right in the box.  The art has been overhauled and several new variants have been included in the box to make the game feel fresh.  So if you want to get your hands on the new Cartagena, look for it on store shelves later this month.

Star Wars Rebellion is one of the hot two player games out right now, and so Fantasy Flight Games couldn’t help but expand the game to encompass more of the Star Wars universe.  Coming in the third quarter of this year is an expansion to the game called Rise of the Empire.  This box adds a bunch of new things to the game, a lot of which was inspired by the events and characters in the Rogue One movie.  You will be able to deploy Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor to find the Death Star plans and the empire will now have Director Krennic on their side with his Death Troopers. You will also get lots of new vehicles like the Interdictor, the U-wing, and the nimble TIE Striker.  There are also additional scenarios to play that allow you to play out the events of Rogue One, more from the original trilogy, and even key moments of the Star Wars: Rebels TV show.  Needless to say if you are a fan of the base game, this expansion will make it all that much better, check out FFG’s preview for more information.

Fantasy Flight Games continues to expand it’s Imperial Assault line with three new figure additions, Maul, Emperor Palpatine, and Ahsoka Tano.  Lets first talk about Maul, who is not in his prime anymore like in episode 1, he has been cast aside by the Sith and so no longer bears the Darth name.  So now you have a rogue force user who is out for revenge and fueled by rage, which is reflected in his abilities.  He is a formidable fighter and hard to deal with, plus with his falling out with the Sith he can be played as either with the Empire or with the mercenary faction.  Either way you better watch out for him.

Next is Emperor Palpatine, the powerful Sith master who orchestrated an entire war in order for him to seize power.  With his presence he is able to command others to attack, and he is able to tempt the heroes and cause them to falter.  But the biggest thing is that he brings with him his signature attack, Force Lighting.  This move will hit one figure for 3, weaken them, and hit anything adjacent to them for 1, making this a deadly attack.  I bet Empire players will be drooling over this figure.

Last is Ahsoka Tano, a fan favorite character and certainly well equipped to join this game.  The name of her game is maneuverability, having a speed of 4, the ability to gain extra movement points when she activates, and an ability that launches her 6 spaces away.  But if she jumps into a fight she still has some moves as her twin sabers allow her to re-roll her attack dice, or the defender’s defense dice.

You can read more about each pack on FFG’s website, then look for them on store shelves in the third quarter of 2017.

This past week Temple Gates Games has released the digital implementation of the popular card game, Race for the Galaxy.  This means you will now be able to take the game with you wherever you go as well as letting you play solo, without a variant, against AI players.  The layout and look of the game are excellent, with all the info you would need in a Race game right there are your fingertips.  Plus some highly desirable features were announced at launch, including:

  • 2 – 4 player with network multiplayer
  • Asynchronous and real-time multiplayer modes
  • Advanced neural network AI by Keldon Jones
  • Five starting worlds and ninety settlement and development cards
  • Free promo pack included: New Worlds with six starting planets
  • Gathering Storm and Rebel Vs. Imperium expansions available immediately

This app will be great for new and veteran players of the game alike, allowing new players to learn the game (and all those icons), and the tough AI will challenge veteran players.  So if $7 doesn’t seem like a stretch for this game, then head on over to the App Store for iPhones, and the Google Play store for android users.

Infinity has been a tabletop sci-fi war game staple for over ten years now, and so they decided to expand the game into a new format, a board game.  This game, called Aristeia!, will take place in the same universe and so will have some commons elements to it’s bigger brother, but won’t just be a port of the bigger game.  So far not much as been revealed other than character art, a board with hex spaces on it, and a delivery date of late 2017.  You can head over to the Aristeia! website to check out the launch trailer and sign up for updates, but we will have to wait for more info to come out.  Good news is that if you are going to GenCon or Essen, you will be able to demo the game at the Corvus Belli demo areas.

Welcome to the first edition of the Wallet Kickers series of articles where each week we will cover a couple different Kickstarters in one article.  There will still be other Kickstarters highlighted on their own, but here you will get some rapid fire coverage of other Kickstarters we like.  So without any more delay, lets so what we’ve got.

First is a campaign for a one versus many game called Alone.  This is an interesting game in two ways, first is that the many in this game are the “evil” players who move and activate the monsters.  The other is that there aren’t traditional turns in the game, it’s always the hero’s turn and the evil players will interrupt him with reactions to his different actions.  The game also creates tension for the hero because he can only see as far as his flashlight will shine, meaning only a few corridors will be visible at any given time.  But not to worry, you have your trusty radar to help you find your objective, and along the way you will find useful items to help you stay alive.  But the real question is, can you survive when you are all alone?  Head over to the campaign page to pledge for your copy.

Next is a new board game being made by Lucky Duck Games, in partnership with Mobigame, called Zombie Tsunami.  Now you aren’t being deceived, this is indeed a campaign to fund the board game version of the popular phone app.  In the game you are leading your own zombie horde, and as the street cards are revealed you will be performing actions dictated by the card.  It could be teaming up to move a vehicle, picking between eating a civilian or bombing your opponents, and even having to make your zombies jump.  Just like the game there will be crazy stuff happening, upgrades to purchase, secret ability cards, and different ways to increase your horde.  Have the biggest horde after third trip down the street to be the winner!  So if you would like a copy of this app turned board game, check out their campaign page.

Another game being Kickstarted is a card game boasting the ability to play the game 240 different ways, Card City XL.  In Card City XL you are using the ‘I split, you choose’ mechanic to dole out cards to each player in the game.  They in turn will add those cards to their city, and if you built right, also allow you to add more cards from the reserve to your city.  But what goal are you building towards?  That is what you have to determine at the beginning of the game, picking a difficulty level (easy, normal, advanced), your victory condition (economic, happiness, commercial, etc.), and then if you want to use a variant or not.  Each different combination will give you a different way to play the game, adding up to 240 different combinations you can play.  So if you want a tight city building card game with variety of gameplay, give this campaign a look.

Last, and by no means the least, is Galaxy of Trian: New Order, a giant re-implementation of the original game Galaxy of Trian.  This is a 4X style game where you will be using the double sided triangle tiles to expand and explore the universe.  Then as you find planets, nebula, and various other celestial bodies you will begin to exploit them for resources.  Resources which you can then turn around to build space stations and research stations, and even upgrade the abilities of your race.  Finally you can fight other players for control of these valuable resource supplies in order to make sure you come out on top.  Because whoever has the most credits and resources at the end will be the winner.  You can check out the campaign page for more info, and to see the piles of minis you will get if you back this game.