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.

Fans of the classic Avalon Hill game Betrayal at House on the Hill know all too well the pain of loose clips on difficult player boards; those black markers that came with the game never seemed to fit right on the cardboard pentagons. Well fear no more, because Wizkids has announced the Betrayal at House on the Hill Upgrade kit, with 6 new player stat trackers and some pretty spiffy dice. The new character cards are double sided, like the originals, but sandwiched between the sides are rolling stat tracker wheels. The cards come with all new character art and a set of green pearlescent dice, displaying the familiar 0-2 pips from the original game. Look for the Upgrade kits in stores this September 2018.

Button Shy Games has started a Kickstarter campaign for the latest in its Wallet Line of games, Sprawlopolis. Jason Tagmire’s Button Shy is known for amazingly engaging microgames, containing few cards, and finishing production in very short time. Sprawlopolis is a 1-4 player cooperative city building game with only 18 cards, wherein players take turns adding cards to the sprawling metropolis, completing roads and growing urban areas. The rules for each game are created by randomly flipping 3 cards, revealing the scoring goals. In addition, the three cards together give the total points needed that game to emerge victorious. But be careful, because the necessary roads require maintenance, eating away precious points.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Sprawlopolis continues through May 26, and the game is expected to deliver in 3 short months – August of 2018.

IDW Games has started a Kickstarter Campaign for Nickelodeon Splat Attack, an all out food fight board game for 2-4 players, designed by Jonathan Ying (Doom: The Board Game, Star Wars: Imperial Assault). Players control a team of 4 characters from one of Nick’s well known shows, including Hey Arnold!, Invader ZIM, Spongebob Squarepants and Rugrats. Each team has 4 beautifully detailed miniatures, which move around the arena collecting food to throw. Characters get two actions, defined on their player card, and attacking involves rolling a number of dice equal to the character’s aim rating plus the food’s splat value. When a character is hit with food, they must draw a pentomino (think Tetris) “Splatter Tile”, and fit it on the grid on that character’s player board. If the piece doesn’t fit or the board fills up, that character is out, and the attacker gains a SUPER COOL point. Players gain and lose cool points by achieving objectives or getting hit, and the most cool points at the end of the game, when all the SUPER COOL points are gone, wins. As of this writing, Splat Attack contains 5 character teams (including a special TMNT team), 40 food cards, 4 player boards, 45 splatter tiles, dice and tokens. A special 5-8 player version is also available as its own pledge level.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Nickelodeon Splat Attack continues through June 7, and the game should hit backers’ doorsteps by November 2018.

The Spiel des Jahres nominees for 2018 have just recently been announced (see Dice Tower News article here), and for the first time since 2010 the judges have awarded the “Sonderpreis“, literally a special award. The recipient is the innovative Pandemic Legacy Season 2 by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau, published by Z-Man Games. Pandemic Legacy Season 2 uses amazing new mechanics and devices, and blends them with an engrossing story taking place 71 years after the original Season 1, creating a game “all future legacy games will have to be measured” against. Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy Season 1 were both nominated for Spiel des Jahres awards in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

For more information, check out Z-Man Games press release on their website here.

Designer and artist Rudy Priecinsky along with his company Rudy3 Publishing, have started a Kickstarter campaign for Envyra, a 2-4 player simultaneous actin selection, abstract tile game. Envyra starts with a grid of tiles in the center of the table, which come in three colors with a variety of images. The goal is to collect tiles, which can gain the player points, or bonuses for sets of tiles of the same color with unique images. Each player has a player board matching the grid layout of the tiles. In secret, players place 2 cubes on their board, marking which tiles they wish to claim that round. All boards are revealed, and in a serpentine player order (first to last, then back from last to first), players place their cubes on their chosen tiles. As soon as a tile has the required number of cubes (as denoted on each tile), the tile is claimed by either the majority holder, or in the case of ties, whomever placed the last cube. In this way, turn order becomes incredibly important, and makes for some interesting decisions as to which of their 2 tiles a player puts down as their first, then as their second, when play wends back from last to first player. A special game ending tile is mixed into the pile, which when claimed, not surprisingly ends the game. The player with the most points from tiles and sets wins.

The Kickstarter for Envyra continues through May 28, and the game is expected to deliver in December 2018.

According to Reuters, the board gaming super-giant, the 800 pound gorilla, Asmodee is investigating a sale to an unknown buyer. Asmodee, the France based company owned by private equity firm Eurazeo SE, is currently worth an estimated 1.5 Billion euros (almost 1.8 billion US dollars). Among other things, Asmodee owns the board game companies Fantasy Flight Games and  Days of Wonder, F2Z Entertainment properties Z-Man Games and Plaid Hat Games, and the French publishing rights to the Pokemon Trading Card Game and Wizkids!. This includes the rights to some of the most popular games on the market, such as  Catan, Ticket to Ride, and X-Wing. The identity of proposed buyer(s) has not been disclosed at this time, pending further deliberations. For more information, you can read the original Reuters article here.

Renegade Games is bringing Circus Puppy, the newest game from designer/artist Aza Chen (Cat Tower, Shiba Inu House), to North America. In Circus Puppy, 2-5 players draw those familiar, incredibly adorable, folded animal cards we know so well, and follow instructions stacking them on either the high or low stage to earn points. Be careful in this quick playing dexterity game not to let the growing towers falls. Circus Puppy features 45 dog cards in 17 different breeds, 5 stage cards, Shiba Inu Meeples (of course),, two stages (box and lid!), and score cards. You can read more details in Renegade’s press release or on their official webpage for the game. Look for Circus Puppy in Summer 2018.

Fireside Games (Castle Panic, Kaiju Crush) has announced Grackles, an upcoming abstract strategy game for 2-4 players, designed by John Shulters and Sarah Graybill. In Grackles, players take turns placing tiles with colored spots, or using their bird tokens to matching spots on telephone lines. The game continues until the board consists of 5 by 5 tiles, and the player with the most birds on telephone wires is the winner. The game will come with 25 tiles, 45 bird tokens in each of 4 player colors, rotate tokens, and player aids. You can read more about Grackles on Fireside Games’ website here. Expect Grackles at your FLGS in August 2018.

British author S. K. Dinning has started a Kickstarter Campaign for Tabletop Tales, a collection of short stories revolving around the world of gaming. The collection contains 10 stories by various authors, written by gamers, for gamers. Tabletop Tales is the proposed first such volume, with the hope to create more volumes in the future. Stories cover the gamut from classic eurogames, Dungeons and Dragons, train games, zombie apocalypse and many more. S. K. Dinning has previously authored “Ticket to Carcassonne: 21st Century Tabletop Games” and contributes to the compilation under the pseudonym Steve Dee.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Tabletop Tales continues through May 31, and is expected to deliver in August 2018.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced the upcoming release of War Chest, a 2-4 player hex grid game with an easy ruleset but complex strategy. Players draw unit coins from their bag each turn, representing 3 actions they can perform. Cards define how the units move and attack, almost in the manner of abstract games such as Onitama. The game continues until one player has managed to place all of their control markers on the board. War Chest comes in a beautiful box decorated to look like an heirloom old style chest, and is pitched as “an ancient game, newly rediscovered and presented as it would have once been presented to the sons and daughters of kings…” Warchest will come with gameboard, 16 cards, 79 high quality poker chip units, 4 player bags and cardboard tokens. More details are available on AEG’s website here. Look for War Chest in stores in July 2018.