David Fair

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David is a Network Administrator for a large public school system, but he spends most of his time playing, reading, writing, and studying board games. He will play almost anything once, but prefers Eurogames, Abstracts, Card Games, and Kids games. David grew up in a military family, and frequently moved around the country, and games were often his way of meeting new people and making friends. They still are.

In 1920’s Arkham, you know what lies ahead of you: The sanity-wrenching horror of Lovecraftian terror. Mythos tales is a deduction game set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft’s quaintly chilling Arkham. Originally published in 2016, Grey Fox Games has produced a 2nd edition and included errata and corrections within to enhance game play.

Players use all the tools they can, sparse as they are, to piece together the macabre truth behind the many mysteries in Arkham. Newspaper articles, allies with knowledge they don’t realize is connected, residents of Arkham, and a map of the city help you follow the clues and find the hidden secrets. Each game you match wits with mad Armitage, trying to uncover the darkness before in time. Can you best him?

Mythos Tales plays in 1-2 hours and is for 1 to 8 keen investigators. There are 8 cases to solve, giving you plenty of hidden mysteries to enjoy. This new version features the same artwork as the original and should be in stores shortly. The first printing received the Dice Tower Seal of Approval.

Gamelyn Games and designer Scott Almes have just launched a new kickstarter for the latest game in the Tiny Epic series: Tiny Epic Zombies. Featuring the ITEMeeples first introduced in Tiny Epic Quest, but this time wielding modern weapons like Katanas, Machetes, various guns, chainsaws, even a rocket launcher. The players can choose to play in one of 5 different game modes (Solo, Co-op, Competitive, Co-op v. Zombie player, and Competitive vs. Zombie player) in a race for players to complete 3 objectives to win the game, but while still keeping the hordes of zombies at bay.

With variable player powers (for both survivors and zombies), a variable setup, and fast, easy gameplay, the game is already funded and breaking through stretch goals. The game is on Kickstarter until February 9th, so check it out, if you dare to face the hordes.

Codenames is already big among gamers, and can even can even be said to be big with a growing number of people that wouldn’t use that word to describe themselves. Well, it’s about to get even bigger.

Codenames XXL is set for release in Q2 of 2018. The primary feature of this version is the larger cards, designed for bigger groups to play more easily, as players won’t be leaning over each other and squinting nearly as much. The original’s cards were 2.6″ x 1.7″, but the new version goes big, not home, with 4.7″ x 2.8″ cards, almost 3 times larger (in terms of card area).

Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death,  from IDW Games, has arrived to Kickstarter. This is the first game featuring the stylistic art of Gris Grimly, best known for his line of darkly whimsical children’s books, the game features his art throughout, and captures well the sinister tone of the story. Game design is by Adam Wyse (designer of Head of Mousehold), and the game has been in development at IDW for the past 2 years after it was a finalist for the 2015 Canadian Game Design Award.

“Players are nobles attending an extravagant masked ball while a plague ravages the country. Players are trying to do what nobles do – feast, dance, celebrate –become as popular as they can. But rumors swirl as the night goes on, and everyone feels oddly nervous each time the clock chimes. The nobles might be wise to spend some time listening to these rumors. It is becoming increasingly clear as midnight approaches that something sinister awaits. At midnight, a horrible figure in the guise of the Red Death appears at the masquerade! It stalks amongst the rooms of the abbey, killing the nobles it comes across. The most popular noble wins… but that only matters if you survive the night.”

Masque of the Red Death is a 60-90 minute competitive deduction game for 4 to 7 players age 14 and up, where players take on the roles of Nobles at a party looking to increase their popularity while fraternizing with their host, the Prince, before the Red Death makes an appearance at midnight. Each player has to be careful to balance their actions between currying favor with the Prince, and trying to uncover which rooms the Red Death will visit, as the highest social standing will only matter if you manage to survive the party, and the night.

Click here to pledge and find out more information about the campaign.

Image from aandpcreative.com

Iello USA has appointed a new Social Media Manager. Dayanna Ramirez is the owner of the Florida-based A&P Creative, a digital marketing agency, and she will now be working with Iello USA to grow the brand in the US, and they will work together to introduce Iello games to more people.

Iello is the publisher of a large catalog of games, that span the gamut from light family games, to strategy games and War Games. In their press release, Stephan Brissaud, Chief Operating Officer of IELLO says, “We are excited to have Dayanna join our US team and bring her expertise and marketing skills to the promotion of our brand.

Council of Four was originally published in 2015 by Cranio Creations, and designed by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini but in early 2018, CMON will be bringing it back to tables everywhere in an updated version with new art, a new box size, and their signature attention to detail. Oh, and of course, miniatures.

Council of Four has 2-4 players taking on the roles of rich merchants seeking to build lavish emporiums within cities in the Three Kingdoms. These Three Kingdoms are ruled by the Councils, each consisting of Four nobles. These Councils are, as might be suspected, easily corruptible and have a very fluid membership, thanks to wealthy merchants such as yourselves. You have to gain permits and build emporiums in the most lucrative locations to win, but don’t neglect the Emperor, as he allows you to build without permits.

With 4 different actions you can take on a given turn, 4 ways to score points, and 8 possible configurations of the modular board, the game offers differing strategies and a variable setup, two things that often lead to a great deal of replayability.

The game plays in 40-75 minutes, and is on the lighter end of the scale, is good for new players, and the new version looks great with pleasing art and well-sculpted minis.

In 1977 RPG’s were still in their infancy when Steve Jackson and Metagaming got together and published one of the first point-based systems out there, The Fantasy Trip. I recall playing it in 1978 or 1979 and being blown away at the flexibility of the system compared to the other RPGs I was familiar with way back then.

Characters in TFT were defined by only 3 stats: Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence (ST, DX, IQ). Humans started with a base of 8 in each stat, and 8 more points to allocate as the player wished. Demi-humans had different starting stats and some special abilities. Action resolution was handled by rolling 3d6 against the relevant stat and attempting to get equal to or lower (after modifiers) than your stat to get a success. It was innovative and successful at the time and my middle school friends and I played often.

Then in 1983, Metagaming shuttered its doors and Steve Jackson was unable to secure the rights to his game, and he began focusing his efforts on a new system that would offer more detail and be more universally applicable, eventually publishing himself as GURPS Basic Set (first edition). This game found even more love and more acclaim for many, many years.

Well, according to this post from the man himself, Steve Jackson Games has finally secured the rights to the eight The Fantasy Trip titles that he wrote. He is still deciding what exactly will become of TFT at this point, but having it back is certainly a cause for players and fans of the game to celebrate.

Haba introduces a bunch of new games coming in 2018, and a new line of games for kids designed to be more active than your typical board games.

First up we have Iquazu from designer Michael Feldkötter and artist Stephanie Böhm. This fantasy game has players carefully managing a hand of cards and trying to hide precious gemstones in a grid behind a waterfall, with the help of the water dragon, Silon. As players place the gems, they score for majorities in rows and columns, and earn tokens that give them bonus actions. Once all the columns are filled a final scoring takes place and the player with the most points wins.

Karuba was published in 2015, and is a well-regarded tile-laying game from Rüdiger Dorn that has 2-4 players (though if you own multiple copies of the game, more can play) simultaneously building paths using the same tiles, racing to make a network on which their adventurers can reach the temples and earn points. In 2017, it gets not one, but two spin-off titles. Karuba: The Card Game has the 2-6 players simultaneously picking and revealing 2 cards from their hand, with whomever plays the cards with the lowest sum losing one of those cards, then using the cards to build a network of paths to connect their adventurers and temples, collecting points and treasures along the way. Karuba Junior is a cooperative family game of tile-laying for 1-4 players in which you and your fellow adventurers race to find the treasures and avoid the tigers before pirates reach the island and nab them out from under you.

Conex is an interesting looking card game for 2-4 players. The cards show a base color, and also have small corners and edges of other colors overlapping onto themselves. Players attempt to overlap those corners with matching cards from their hands, building out a seemingly random mish-mash tableau of cards overlapping at odd angles, all the while carefully planning ahead as they try to earn the most points. The game plays in about 20 minutes and the way the cards are laid appears to be a unique mechanism from designer Prospero Hall.

King of the Dice (how did it take until 2017 for a game with this name to be announced?) pits the players as monarchs in a quest to attract the most desirable citizens to their realms. Each turn they roll dice up to three times, trying to show the potential inhabitants they they have the requirements the inhabitants need to thrive. Their are special cards that can provide you with benefits, but also may hide dragons and village idiots that can bring your kingdom low. This game of press-your-luck dice-rolling comes from designer Nils Nilsson and artist Gus Batts, and takes about 30 minutes to play.

Gold Rush Fever hits the players in the real-time action/party game Boom, Bang, Gold from designer Alexandre Emerit. 2-4 players compete to collect gold nuggets by simultaneously tossing sticks of dynamite (well, wooden facsimiles thereof, at least) into the mine (the game box) in an attempt to blast the gold face-up. They then have one minute and one hand to grab the face-up tiles and put them on their shelf. If they find a special tile (a bat, rat, snake, or ghost) they call “Watch Out!” and other players must put their had on their head and cry out “Help!”. When no face up tile remain, the round ends. There are also special action tiles that give special abilities to players who use them. Twelve rounds of frantic chaos and whoever has collected the most gold wins.

Now we get to Haba’s bread-and-butter, great kids games. My Very First Games: Tidy Up is for 1-3 kids aged 2 and up. It is a cooperative game where the players help Little Tomcat Tiptop put all his toys in the right places so his room is neat and tidy. The game also has matching and competitive modes.

Then we have five new games for kids 3-4 and up. Sleepy Princess: Pile Up (aka, The Princess and the Pea) is for 1-4 kids of at least 3 years old. The players help the Princess stack her bed with many pillows, mattresses, and blankets. Beneath this fluffy menagerie lies the hidden wooden pea. Remove the pieces without falling to win. The game comes with a copy of the classic tale as well. Ben’s Building Site: Dominoes has 2-6 kids aged 3 and up placing cards with 2 images on them end-to-end, matching the symbols at each end to tidy up the worksite and get rid of their cards first. It’s dominoes with pictures and cards to make it easier for kids to play, and a cute theme they should enjoy. Dragon Rapid Fire: Quartets is a card game for 2-6 players of 4 years or more in which they strive to collect 4 matching cards and earn fire crystals. Whoever has the most fire crystals wins. Game play is similar to Go Fish and the card art and components are charming. Wild Animals: Schnipp Schnapp is a speed game where players try to be first to slap down the crocodile when two of the same animal meet at the watering hole. It adds a cute theme and artwork to the classic Schnipp Schnapp game that is popular with kids and parents in Europe. Finderfox for 2-4 kids 4 and up is memory game where you roll a die to move the Felix Finderfox pawn and you have to guess who is hiding behind the bush you arrive at. Good memory and good luck will help you win.

Haba also introduces three new games for kids 5 and up. In The Hearmees the key to the game is the “Clawky-Talky”, a textured pad that the supervisor (each player takes turns being the supervisor) use a stylus on to try to communicate to the other players which tiles are needed to be built this round. Listen carefully and try to deduce what is being drawn so your building builds fastest, because whoever gets done first wins. Dragon’s Breath has up to 4 kids take on the role of adolescent dragons enlisting the aid of Father Dragon and working to melt a column of ice and extract the precious stones encased within. The players start the game by making a structure of “ice rings” filled with precious stones in the middle of the board, as rings are removed by the father dragon, the stones are freed. Players choose each round which stones they will get, trying to predict which will score best each round. Whoever collects the most stones wins. In Floppy Ears you strive to play out all of your floppy ear cards before the others do, but you can only play cards that match the ones hanging on your ears, and you have to remember which colors those are and play them at the right time.

Then we have Dino World for kids six and up. This dexterity game has 2-4 kids trying to capture the most dinosaur cards by pushing new predators from the top of the box onto the prey below. Aim carefully, and make sure you match the symbols so that you go after the right prey! The game has 52 dinosaur cards in 5 different sizes.

Haba is also introducing a new line of active games for young children (the first four games are designed for kids around 4-5 years old, and older), called Active Kids. These games integrate traditional board games ideas like Set Collection and Die Rolling with physical activities that encourage more movement and a less sedentary lifestyle. The line begins with four new titles: Dog Rallye: Active KidsHampeltiere: Active KidsRhino Hero Action: Active Kids, and Socken zocken: Active Kids.

Dog Rallye plays in about 15 minutes and has a tube-shaped bone that the 2-4 players stuff with treats and roll on the floor. Players have to move around on all fours, like a puppy, scrambling to pick up the treats that come out of the sides of the toy bone, then they sort them into the matching colored holes on their lawn section of the board. The first player to get the right doggie treats collected wins.

Hampeltiere gets the kids out of their chairs to act out animals in funny situations. Each round, a different player acts as judge, and flips over a card, while the other players try to copy the movement of the animal on the card. The judge decides who correctly did it first, with that player moving their scoring marker one space. When one players makes it all the way around the track, they win the game. The game should take about 10 minutes to play.

Rhino Hero Action follows on the popular Rhino Hero and Rhino Hero: Super Battle stacking games. In this 10-15 minute game, the Spider Monkeys are collecting slime balls to throw at the city residents, but the heroes are trying to take them out of the city to keep it safe. 2-4 players take turns with each being the Hero while the others play the Spider Monkey Gang. The Hero has to collect their wits, skill, and courage, to gather and move more and more slime balls out of the city each round, while the Spider Monkey Gang tries to prevent the hero from making a complete circuit.

And last in the line (for now), Socken Zocken has the 2-4 players running about in their socks for 10-15 minutes, dropping off one sock in each laundry basket. Those baskets have directions that tell them which basket to run to next. Once they have dropped off all their socks, they have to return to the box in the center and put their hand on the sock monster to claim the victory.