Corey Thompson

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A retired veterinarian and ex-cell biologist, Corey spends his time with board games, computer history, banjo music and general useless frivolity. Corey can be found as doccabet on BGG.

Awaken Realms, makers of massively successful Kickstarter projects This War of Mine (2017) and Lords of Hellas (2018), have started a campaign for their new game, Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon from designers Krzysztof Piskorski and Marcin Świerkot. Tainted Grail is a cooperative story driven adventure game which takes place in an alternate, dark Arthurian world, and features amazing art from Piotr Foksowicz. In Tainted Grail, 1-4 players work cooperatively, without turn order, to explore a growing map made of high quality tarot sized cards, in a manner reminiscent of the ground-breaking 7th Continent. These map cards can be flipped over as they are explored, or even replaced with changed versions of the land. Stories come from a printed book of more than 100,000 words, filled with choices, drama, characters and conflict. Each player chooses from one of 4 unlikely outcasts, each with unique stats and abilities which can improve over time, trying to avert the wyrdness from Avalon by healing the fading Menhir guardian statues. Each character comes with its own deck of combat cards and diplomacy cards, leading to a fascinating and unique conflict mechanism for both violent and non-violent interactions. Players lay down a chain of cards, linked by key symbols to first the threat, then to each other. A character can have as many cards in the combat as they like, as long as they are all linked, but if a card in the chain is lost, other cards may fall away. Characters use up energy to perform actions, exploring, fighting or negotiating their way through the campaign, chapter by chapter. Chapters can be playerd in a single session, and a robust system to save and store games is in the box.

Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon Core Game comes with 8 miniatures, 4 boards, 576 standard cards (encounters, items, events, secrets), 100 small cards, 72 oversized cards (maps), 100+ tokens and markers and a 220 page story book, but the stretch goals and add-ons are growing by the moment, dwarfing these numbers. The Kickstarter Campaign for Tainted Grail is set to continue through December 28, and the game should deliver in August 2019. For more information, and a preliminary rule book, check out the Kickstarter web page here, or Awaken Realm’s web page here.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has recently announced the first expansion to Space Base, the popular 2018 dice rolling, card drafting game from designer John D. Clair (Mystic Vale). In Space Base, 2-5 players roll dice, gain resources off of the numbers rolled, then use the resources to buy new cards. All cards go on a cleverly designed player board, taking up the numbers 1 through 12. As players collect new cards, they can gain further resources on other players’ die rolls. This mechanism of income generation off of dice rolls has been used effectively in Machi Koro (2012) and Valeria: Card Kingdoms (2016), but many feel that Space Base has just done it perfectly. The first expansion, The Emergence of Shy Pluto is teased as a “Saga Extension”, and promises to add story elements to the admittedly somewhat themeless game. Pluto includes a series of story based scenarios, which trickle new cards and elements into Space Base “via a narrative structure”. Once all of the stories are added, they become a permanent part of the game for further replays.

Look for Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto in March 2019.

Treedles on the Tree is a cooperative Christmas themed board game currently on Kickstarter from designer Mark Valenti and Erin Dean, featuring art by Sarah Lafser. In Treedles on the Tree, 2-6 players have 10 minutes to find the elusive Wackadoodle, feed him candy canes to get a Star Point. Once the players get 5 Star Points, the Christmas Tree is complete and Christmas has been saved. Players each pick one of the six Treedles, then roll dice to see which colored light they can move to next. One the back of the lights are either Ornaments, which collect at the bottom of the board, or the elusive Wackadoodle. Once a Wackadoodle bird is revealed, players must roll candy cane dice frantically, trying to collect 4 candy canes, so that the Wackadoo rewards them with a Star Point. The players must get all 5 Star Points before they collect 25 ornaments, or before 10 minutes run out.

Treedles on the Tree is based on an animated television idea “the Treedles”, which was to star Icelandic actor Stefan Karl, who sadly passed in August 2018, and the game is dedicated to him. The Kickstarter Campaign for Treedles on the Tree continues through January 2, and the game is expected to ship in October 2019.

Also, of interest, was a little bit more we were able to learn about the designers.

Mark Valenti has written, edited or produced more than 200 hours of family friendly content for television, projects that are seen daily around the world. He wrote the Christmas movie Like Father, Like Santa for the Family Channel, The Christmas Pageant for the Hallmark Channel and the annual Christmas special, Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas Angel for NBC. As Head Writer for Nickelodeon’s LazyTown, he co-wrote the popular Christmas episode “Surprise Santa” and the holiday single, “I Love Christmas.” Mark has written for Back to the Future, Olivia, Gaspard and Lisa, Totally Spies, Julius Jr., Treehouse Detectives, and My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

On the network executive side, he was Story Editor for Nickelodeon’s animated shows including Rugrats, Catdog, Hey Arnold, Rocket Power, and The Wild Thornberrys. Mark also wrote the television movies Menno’s Mind for Showtime, and several film projects for Lifetime. Mark was Creative Manager for a team tasked with re-imagining Disney’s California Adventures theme park in Anaheim. He also served as Creative Manager for Disney Interactive.
Prior to his writing career, Mark was Vice President of Development for John Hughes Entertainment, during the production period of Home Alone, Uncle Buck, Christmas Vacation, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He has authored several books: The Hannibal Twist – A Tom and Huck Mystery, The Wolf and the Warlander, an adventure trilogy, and a coming-of-age comedy, Last Night at the Monarch Motel. Mark began his career as a Production Associate for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, followed by several years as Script Analyst for Ron Howard, Oprah Winfrey and Sydney Pollack’s production companies.
Growing up, Erin Dean played the traditional mass market games, like Monopoly, Life, and Clue. In high school, she was gifted Ticket to Ride and that is when she fell in love with the board gaming hobby.

In the past, she has worked at Pieces: The St. Louis Board Game Bar & Cafe as a Game Navigator, as well as, Genius Games, a St. Louis board game publishing company, as a Video Intern. In the Spring of 2017, Erin released a short board game documentary on YouTube called, “The Board Game Boom,” which now has over 30,000 views.

For the Love of Board Games is Erin’s first book and A book that explores how modern, popular games were created by interviewing the designers behind the games. The book was Erin’s first Kickstarter and it ended up raising over $55,000.

At the recent PAX Unplugged convention, Dire Wolf Digital announced a new Clank! game in partnership with Penny Arcade, Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, coming in Fall 2019. Clank! A Deck Building Adventure by designer Paul Dennen uses deck building mechanics of gain money, buy cards, fight foes, but added movement in a dungeon to the mix. Players had to run quickly through the depths, collect an artifact, then make their way back to the surface, all while trying not to make enough noise (CLANK) to invoke the ire of the beast. Clank! has won several awards, has a spider expansion, a mummy’s tomb expansion, and a version in space, yet still remains at a very respectable #61 in the boardgamegeek top 100. Now the promise of adding legacy elements to this great game is sure to have fans excited. Acquisitions Incorporated, which started in 2008 with the simple idea of “friends having fun playing Dungeons & Dragons”, has become a 20 year podcast and IP with a strong following.

From the press release – “Found your own franchise of the legendary adventuring company Acquisitions Incorporated, and shepherd your fledgling treasure-hunters to immortal corporate glory over the course of multiple games.”

For more information, you can read the full press release from Dire Wolf Digital here.

Wargamers rejoice – the Kickstarter Campaign has just started for the Metro Morph modular card wargaming terrain by Jacob Smith and Crowd Forge Studio. This system uses heavy duty 2mm cardstock pieces, which clip together in innumerable ways to create structures in a 28-32mm gaming environment. The pieces are themed to an industrial sci-fi setting, and come with protective stickers for repeated clip application, as well as stickers to hide clips and edges. The pieces can create durable, large structures which can bear repeated use and heavy wear. After gaming, the clips can be removed and the pieces can be stored flat again. The system can be used to create anything from scattered rubble, complex 2D game boards, to large 3 dimensional multilevel buildings.

The Kickstarter for Metro Morph will continue through December 20, and the final product is scheduled to ship in September 2019.

Cool Mini or Not has just started a Kickstarter campaign for a digital version of Eric Lang‘s 2015 mega-hit Blood Rage (BGG #27). The digital version is being produced by Exozet and looks amazing. Each region of the board looks different, with unique topology, climate and villages. All of the cards and figures are meticulously rendered in 3D, including new miniatures not seen before. The digital game includes network play for up to 4 players, solo play against the AI, and mixtures of the two. One of the most exciting aspects of the Kickstarter is the Physical Viking Pledge, which includes the actual miniatures for all of the new 3D assets along with the digital game. These include four new monsters: the Mountain Giantess, a new wolf called Garm, the Wolfwoman and the Seer Troll. Other models are the new Stag Clan with Mystics, 6 Golden Gods of Asgard miniatures, and new expansion cards for 5 players.

The Kickstarter for Blood Rage Digital continues through December 10, and is expected to deliver digital rewards in December 2019, and physical rewards in August 2019. Additionally, Kickstarter backers will be privy to a closed beta version of the game before release. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page or CMoN’s website.

Floodgate Games has announced the next 3 expansions to their hit dice drafting game by Adrian Adamescu and Daryl AndrewsSagrada (2017). Sagrada, which has 1-4 players draft colored dice to specific patterns on their stained glass board, had its first expansion this year. The 5-6 player expansion added more players, private objectives, and new window patterns. The next 3 expansions, deemed the Great Facade Expansions, will be called Passion, Life and Glory, after the three facades of the Sagrada Familia. A little is known about the Passion expansion, due out “next spring”. Passion will include inspiration cards, which allow once per round or once per game special abilities when drafting or placing dice. New glass dice are clear, wild colored dice, which come with special rule cards. Although the glass dice are extremely powerful, players can only have one on their board at a time. Public objectives specific to the rare glass dice will also be available. Finally, new symmetry public objectives require players to create symmetric patterns on their board. Keep an eye on Floodgate’s website for release dates and more information.

Stone Blade Entertainment has announced that they will be releasing a digital version of their hit deck building game Shards of Infinity in collaboration with Temple Gates Games, makers of the digital versions of Race for the Galaxy  Shards of Infinity designed by Gary Arant and Justin Gary was Stone Blade’s followup to their immensely popular card game Ascension (2010), and hit the blooming deck-building market by storm. Shards has been positively regarded as an improvement on the standard head to head deck building game. In Shards, players fight head to head, trying to deplete their opponents health while improving their own Mastery. Mastery makes a players’ cards more powerful, and at 30 Mastery a player can employ their Infinity Shard, immediately defeating their opponent. The digital adaptation is expected in Spring 2019, on Android, iOS and Steam. For more details, you can read the press release from Stone Blade Entertainment here.

Slugfest Games, makers of all things red hued and dragony, has announced a Kickstarter Campaign to reprint of its first games, the out of print but oft requested En Garde! (2005). En Garde, by designers Cliff BohmGeoff Bottone, and Colleen Skadl, is a card game of thrust, parry, riposte and touche, simulating the back and forth elegant sword fighting of a more noble age. 2-6 players take turns dueling with one chosen adversary, playing back and forth until one player submits. Players lose poise over the game, and a player with zero poise is liable to be eliminated. This Kickstarter is unique in that the game is ready to print, and supporting the campaign will simply pre-order you a print on demand copy of the game. The one big stretch goal is to turn the game into a full print run manufactured release, with improved box, cards, player mats and markers. The Kickstarter Campaign for En Garde continues through December 10, and the print on demand game is ready to deliver in January. If the full print run stretch goal is met, delivery is scheduled for May 2019.

Nemo’s War is a fantastic solo board game from publisher Victory Point Games and designer Chris Taylor, originally released in 2009, but which Kickstarted a breathtaking second edition in 2015 featuring new art from Ian O’Toole. After a successful first expansion last year, which added upgrades to the Nautilus, the publisher has now started a new Kickstarter Campaign for expansion pack #2 Bold & Caring, and #3 Dramatis Personae. In Nemo’s War, players take control of Captain Nemo and his crew from Jules Verne‘s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, exploring the oceans in the Nautilus, fighting war ships, discovering treasures, inciting revolution and overcoming story obstacles. One of the main mechanisms in the game is taking on a motive for Nemo, giving each of these actions more or less weighting in the final scoring. Bold & Caring adds two new motive cards to the game, essentially creating completely new ways to play and score high points. Nemo can now be motivated by Adventure, prioritizing exploration, collecting gemstones and taking further advantage of lull turns.

Alternatively the new Humanist motive gives Nemo a Hospital Machine, and allows “diplomatic attacks” on vessels rather than traditional destruction. Dramatis Personae gives more flavor and abilities to the crew with new adventure cards and a new finale. The Kickstarter Campaign for Nemo’s War Expansions #2 & 3 continues through December 18, and is expected to deliver in April 2019.