Dice Tower Newsletter

Denis Yanishevskiy

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Denis is an intellectual property lawyer who became addicted to board games in college. He now forces his friends and wife to indulge him as often as possible.

Magic Circle Games is releasing its first game through Kickstarter, and it has players brewing potions!  Cauldron: Bubble and Boil involves 2-4 players growing and collecting ingredients to satisfy their potion recipes in order to fulfill them by game’s end.  Being competent witches and warlocks, players can also steal ingredients from their neighbors, but will suffer corruption for doing so.  From the publisher’s description:

During the game, you will be:

  • recording potion recipes (saving them for until the end of the game) that you will brew for Victory Points.
  • growing the potion’s ingredients in one of your two gardens.
  • picking some ingredients each turn until the garden is completely empty (harvesting), placing those ingredients in your cauldron. collecting a Crone Token (worth 3 Victory Points) each time you empty one of your gardens.
  • casting spells (called hexes) in order to expedite your harvesting, “borrowing” (read: stealing) ingredients from other players’ gardens or even randomly taking ingredients from another player’s cauldron. Often the cost of casting a hex is CORRUPTION! Corruption makes it harder to brew during the potion brewing phase.

Arguably the best part of the game?  It comes with tiny cauldrons to really put you in the Potions Class mood.  Find out more information from the Kickstarter here.  The campaign is set to end on August 25, 2017, and delivery is scheduled for January 2018.

 

Flying Pig Games, magazine and strategy war game publisher (Old School Tactical, Night of Man, and Armageddon War), has released a new issue of its Yaah! Magazine, issue #9.  It comes not only with articles, photographs, and story scenarios for other games, but a full game of its own: Donetsk: The Battle for the Airport.  For more information, check out the Flying Pig Games website here.   From the publisher:

And, once again, we’re back. Yaah! Magazine #9 is another thick issue stuffed full of things like words, pictures we stole off the Internet, die-cut counters, and game maps. How thick? 84-pages thick. Thick enough to discipline your dog, so just sit down and listen.

We’ll lead off with the game, because our surveys say that despite the riveting articles, the pulse-pounding pizzazz of their pretty pictures, and the immersive scenarios, people buy these magazines for the game. This issue’s game is Ryan Kirk’s Donetsk., a squad-level tactical game that simulates the battles for the Donetsk Airport in the Ukraine 2014-2015. You, or someone like you, will control squads, RPG and machine gun teams, BTRs, T-64 tanks, snipers and more, as you attempt to gain control of the airport.  The game comes with four scenarios, 88 sharp-looking die-cut counters, and a beautifully illustrated game map.  Ryan writes an excellent lead in article that will educate those who were unaware of the Russian-backed separatist’s little war with the Ukraine.

Articles? We’ve got your articles right here. There’s a great piece of prose on GMT’s Comancheria by Deborah Malmud, another on Twilight Struggle’s little brudder, 13 Days, written by Nick O’Neill, an insightful piece on one of the most creative slices of gaming released in 2016, Cool Mini or Not’s The Others, by Matt “The Man” Foster, as well as words on Paper Wars Finish Civil War, Col Smitty’s thoughts on The Great War, Eddie Carlson’s take on Monolith’s Conan, and Roger Leroux’s opinion on the amazing deck-building game, Hands in the Sea.

Last, but not least in terms of what we are super excited about, we have solitaire scenarios/RPG/story for Night of Man, scenarios for ’65Old School Tactical, Dead Reckoning, Herm Luttmann’s Stonewall’s Sword, and a King Arthur Variant for Command and Colors: Ancients.

First-time publisher Spherewalker Games is raising funds for a new cooperative tower defense game, Defense of the Citadel.  Apparently, waves and waves of fantasy enemies have a problem with the Citadel, and it is up to players taking on the roles depicted by gorgeously sculpted miniatures to defend it.  The game features a Scenario mode for a short 1-hour game and a Campaign mode that involves building the Citadel itself.  The publisher describes:

Defense of the Citadel is a cooperative hero defense board game. Set in a high fantasy world, enemy forces are marching towards your Citadel in great numbers and only a handful of heroes remain to prevent them from achieving their goal.

Mission & Campaign mode

Players can choose to play set missions for a quick game with predefined objectives and events, or a more traditional defense game in campaign where the map and events are all randomized, and the status of the game carries over to the next round until you reach the final objective.

Crafting & Preparation

Players must make preparation before the inevitable battle to even out the odds. A large variety of options are available to players from crafting items, traps, infrastructure, scouting, rest or even restructuring the Citadel!

The Invasion

During the invasion, players can perform special combat skills through the usage of class skill cards. Players can mix and match different classes skills to create a unique battle strategy of their own. The course of the invasion is randomized through the invasion card deck, with many different events.

Cooperation

The enemy units are controlled by the rules of the game, there are no game masters. The game is a fully cooperative game with many game elements to promote working together, such as with crafting, battles, event choices or helping other player characters who were taken out of action to continue fighting.

Defense of the Citadel has already been funded on Kickstarter and is set to be delivered in August 2018.  For more information, visit the Kickstarter page here.

 

Italian board game publisher dv GIOCHI (most well-known for the BANG! series of games) is publishing a new cooperative deductive game called 3 Secrets.  Boardgamegeek describes the twists that are to come with a hidden informant and mobile app inclusion:

In the cooperative game 3 Secrets, players want to unravel the three secrets of an unresolved case before time runs out. One of the players plays the role of informant and knows the truth about the case: They know which secrets need to be discovered and try their best to help you guess them correctly. The clock is ticking and the clues are scarce, so question the informant to gather useful information and find the solution. If you grope in the dark, the informant can reveal an important clue, but this will cost you precious time! Use your best observing eye, lateral thinking, and deduction skills to unravel all the mysteries of the ambiguous characters that populate this game.

3 Secrets comes with a free app available for download at the Apple AppStore and Google Play.

3 Secrets is for 2-8 players and is only supposed to play in 15 minutes.  For more information, visit the publisher’s page here.

EPOCH: The Awakening is the first game from new company Orange Nebula, LLC and designer Marc Neidlinger raising funds on Kickstarter now.  As described by the designer:

The game begins: thrown overboard after a life of wretchedness, you wash ashore a hostile island ruins — completely alone with nothing except the breath in your lungs and an undaunted spirit. Through your advanced resource management, area control tactics, and freeform action selection, you’ll add companions to your party, acquire bizarre relics, attain potent character traits, and defeat a host of unusual monsters in the ultimate goal of mastering heroic attributes — and regaining honor.
 
In EPOCH, players enter a fantasy world filled with companions who can be recruited to join the quest, relics to be gathered on the journey, and areas to control with influence.  Players managing their influence obtain attributes that may be combined into more advanced character traits.
You may perform 3 actions on each turn in the order you feel is most advantageous: activate a companion, travel to a new location, and interact with a map tile. Many actions require the the use of your influence to gain attributes in a one-of-a-kind heroic attribute alchemy system, which is leveraged to gain the game’s most powerful rewards. For example, you can meditate at a spire to gain inspiration. You can train at a fort to gain strength. But then you can combine your inspiration and strength to gain the courage (inspired strength) which allows you to perform a bounty hunt. There are over 72 unique card abilities that can be merged in unusual ways for potent combinations, and fresh tile placement each game for high replayability.
EPOCH is for 2-5 players and advertises to take 15-30 minutes per player.  Delivery is currently set for March 2018.  For more information, check out the Kickstarter page here.

Coming fresh off of its nomination for the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres (German expert game of the year) award, Raiders of the North Sea is set to disembark on North American shores in wide English distribution by publisher Renegade Game Studios.  Renegade has also announced the release of the game’s expansions in English this coming fall.  Raiders of the North Sea was first released on Kickstarter in 2015 from Garphill Games.
According to Renegade’s press release:

Raiders of the North Sea is set in the central years of the Viking Age. As Viking warriors, players seek to impress the Chieftain by raiding unsuspecting settlements. Players will need to assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey north to plunder gold, iron, and livestock. There is glory to be found in battle, even at the hands of the Valkyrie. So gather your warriors, it’s raiding season!

Raiders of the North Sea is a very well thought out game. The unique scoring, beautiful art, and dynamic game play really draws players in,”  says Renegade President Scott Gaeta.  “We are excited to be the exclusive English partner and bring this Viking adventure to fans thanks to Shem Phillips at Garphill Games.”

“I am really excited to be partnering with Renegade Game Studios to see these games reach a much wider audience,” states Shem Phillips, designer of the Raiders of the North Sea series and owner of Garphill Games.

Look out for the Raiders of the North Sea this summer.  In the meantime, check out Renegade’s website for more of their games.

Today saw the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for a new game from first-time designer Luke Seinen of SAS Creative.  In Carthage, 2-5 players enter the arena of gladiatorial combat in a battle to the (figurative) death.  Armed only with a deck of cards, players will take turns playing action cards from their starting decks to move their gladiator miniatures around the arena and execute lethal moves on the other combatants.  In so doing, players will earn coveted favor from the crowd to better their starting decks with stronger and nastier actions, eliminate weak cards from their decks, or reuse global effects through Theater cards that set the conditions of each turn’s battle.

Each player starts with a basic deck of 10 cards, but can use favor to purchase better and stronger weapons and armor from the card market.  The game ends with pure elimination until the last player standing.  However, eliminated players are never totally out of the game because they can return to the fight as Arena Beasts and wreak havoc on the remaining fighters.

The Kickstarter campaign is set to conclude on June 17, 2017, with delivery of the game scheduled for March 2018.  Check out the Kickstarter for more information.

Fireside Games had previously announced the release of Hotshots, a new cooperative wildfire fighting game from Justin De Witt, who previously brought us Castle Panic.  Initially scheduled for release this spring, the game has been delayed due to manufacturing setbacks and is instead scheduled to hit stores this summer.  Fireside Games estimates the manufacturing process to be completed this month.

As a reminder from Fireside:

In Hotshots, crews of 1 to 4 players take on the roles of wildfire fighters (Crew Boss, Spotter, Swamper, and Sawyer) with special abilities and roll dice on burning terrain tiles to match the combinations shown on the tiles. The more faces they roll, the better they fight the fire. Players can choose to cut Firebreaks, which protect tiles from embers blown by wind gusts, or push their luck to reduce Flames and possibly even generate Reward Tokens. If players bust and fail to match at least 3 of the 6 symbols on the tile, the fire grows. Another option is to maneuver Vehicles (Air Tanker, Helicopter, and Brush Rig) to save the forest.

Flame tokens are added at the end of each player’s turn by the draw of a Fire card, which can bring about light or strong wind gusts, increase the strength of the flames on certain tiles, and start fires. Too many Flame tokens will cause a tile to Scorch and be lost. Losing a terrain tile could also affect the game play. Some tiles are tied to crewmembers’ special abilities, while others help the firefighters and still others cause the fire to spread in unique ways. If 8 tiles or the Fire Camp Scorches, the game is over and the forest is lost. But if the intrepid crew can extinguish the fire, the team wins together.

The press-your-luck mechanic with ratcheting rewards creates a lot of great tension, and the variety of ways to fight the fire makes for interesting choices. The modular tile layout and Fire cards bring high replayability to the game, and the beautiful acrylic Flame tokens provide an enticing table presence.

Look for more press on this game as its release looms closer this summer.  In the meantime, you can visit the publisher’s website for more information here.

Gamelyn Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new big-box game, Heroes of Land, Air & Sea, from designer Scott Almes of Tiny Epic fame.  From the Kickstarter page:

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is a 4X style board game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) for 1-6* players that plays in 2-3 hours (30m/player), and features 80 highly detailed miniatures and over 30 constructs!  *Plays up to 6 players with the deluxe expansion.  It is easy to learn, simple to play, and won’t take up your entire weekend.

The game promotes simple gameplay (players only take two actions per round) and bucket-loads of miniatures and cardboard constructs for the visual and tactile appeal.  There are add-on options to have the miniatures pre-painted as well.  The base game comes with four different factions, while the Deluxe Expansion for 6 players, Order and Chaos, adds four more.

Players will be vying for control over a fantasy realm by exploring an enormous board, building castles and towers to cement their influence and collect resources from the land, and of course, battling with the other factions through Tactics cards.  Each X also comes with its own victory condition, meaning players may be able to choose their style of play, or at least the best way to race to victory.

The campaign is set to end Monday, June 5, 2017, and delivery is projected for March 2018.  Much more information can be found on the Kickstarter page here.