Dice Tower Newsletter

Greg Burbidge

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Born in the wilds of northern Canada, Burbidge spent his early professional life as a gold miner before making his way into the art and culture field in Atlanta and then Calgary (both Olympic cities!). In his spare time, he enjoys playing board games, spending time with his wife, Christina, and creating art with textiles, a hobby that intertwines his interests in mathematics, sheepherding and wearable art.

Sony Pictures is currently negotiating for the rights to adapt “Catan” into a movie. Apparently the studio is looking forward to turning Catan into a possible franchise, and is fast-tracking the film towards production. Could Knights and Seafarers follow in the future, or will the franchise pivot towards attracting 5-6 additional moviegoers?

If negotiations are successful, Gail Katz would produce the film. Katz has produced hit movies including Pawn Sacrifice, The Perfect Storm, In the Line of Fire, and Air Force One. Variety first reported in 2015 that she had acquired the rights.

“We’re excited to be working with Sony to bring the iconic world of Catan to life,” Katz said. “As huge fans of the game, we’re struck by the endless possibilities of stories that it could inspire. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to work in a world beloved by millions of people, and expand its story for the screen.”

Katz would be joined on the producing team by Dan Lin. Lin’s credits include The Departed, Terminator Salvation, Sherlock Holmes, The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, and recent horror movie blockbuster remake It. Upcoming releases will including The Lego Movie Sequel, Aladdin, and Godzilla 2. Jonathan Eirich

Blaise Hemingway has been tapped to write the screenplay. Blaise has just one released film as writer, 2006 short film The Bracelet. Hemingway is credited as writer for two additional films in pre-production, Ugly Dolls and an untitled Playmobil Movie.

(Settlers of) Catan

Catan, designed by Klaus Teuber, has sold over 25 million copies worldwide and is available in 38 different language. It was often credited as launching a renaissance in board game design following its 1995 release. It spawned a seemingly endless stream of expansions, including the recently 2017 release Catan: Legends of the Sea Robbers.

In the original Catan 2-4 players try build settlements, cities, and roads in an effort to dominate the island of Catan. On each turn a pair of dice are rolled to determine what resources are produced on the island. Players whose cities and settlements are adjacent to resource producing hexes collect resource cards and spend them to build up their civilization in an attempt to get 10 victory points and win the game.

In 1995 Catan, then still referred to as Settlers of Catan, won the coveted Spiel des Jahres award and in 2001 was inducted in two the Originals Hall of Fame. A partial list of awards won includes:

Fantasy Flight Games has begun following the antics of your favorite Arkham Horror investigators in a new series of novellas as they confront the unknowable horrors that drive people to madness. Hour of the Huntress, the first title in the series, is available now.

In addition to the story, each novella will also come with a full-color insert filled with notes, fliers, newspaper clippings, book excerpts, letters and more that the investigators in the book have used to find their clues. Each novella will also include five exclusive cards for us in Arkham Horror: The Card Game. The cards will feature one rules card, one alternate art investigator and alternative art mini-card, and two investigator signature cards that feature the “replacement” keyword that allow you two use them in place of the normal signature card.

You’re possibly already familiar with the investigators through their impressive work in Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition), and the Arkham Horror: The Card Game LCG.  The new novellas will follow the investigators popular in all these games into rich new stories.

Heavily influenced by the work and world of H.P. Lovecraft, the new novellas are also set in the roaring 20s, placing investigators in New England where they investigate the truths revealed when the thin veil between our world and another constantly shifts. Unlike so many Lovecraft novels, the protagonists in these stories are willing to face this danger and see just how immortal the old ones really are.

Hour of the Huntress

The first novella features “Jenny” Barnes.

Guinevere “Jenny” Barnes never guessed that she would be returning to America so soon, or under such circumstances. Arkham, Massachusetts, is a far cry from Paris, but after her sister’s regular correspondence became increasingly deranged—then ceased entirely—Jenny couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible had happened to Ozzie. As Jenny begins the search for her sister, she quickly realizes that Isabelle isn’t the only girl in Arkham who has gone missing. How might the disappearances be connected? And why do the flyers for the local harvest festival depict the face from a medallion Jenny sent to her sister?

Written by Dave Gross, the novella follows Barnes on her quest to find her missing sister in the mysterious town of Arkham.

CMON is set to release Richard the Lionheart by designer Andrea Chiarvesio and artist Stef Kopinski this November. The game is designed to play in 60 minutes with 2-6 players aged 14 and up.

While the King is away, the prince will play.

The Crusades have summoned Richard the Lionheart to the Middle East. Back home in England, John Lackland is trying to consolidate his power, recruiting the Sheriff of Nottingham to his side. Opposing them is Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. What will be left of Richard’s Kingdom when the Crusades are over?

During the game players will chose to align themselves with either Robin Hood or John Lackland. Once aligned players will spend their turns traveling across England while attempting to earn Prestige points and influence the far off Crusades. When (or if) Richard returns he will take stock of his kingdom and will declare whoever earned the most prestige points the winner.

Andrea Chiarvesio has worked on several successful titles including Hyperborea and Kingsburg. Artist Stef Kopinski has worked on games that include The Others, Warhammer 40,000: Battle for Macragge, and the upcoming CMON Game of Thrones title A Song of Ice & Fire.

As with many CMON titles the game includes a small pile of well designed miniatures. Contents of the game include:

16 Highly Detailed Plastic Miniatures
10 Character Dashboards
240 Influence Cards
England Board
Crusade Board
Reserve Board
15 Edict Cards
18 Event of the Crusade Cards
6 Player Aid Cards
7 Faction Skill Tokens
First Player Token
1 Game Round Token
6 Ship Tokens
60 Coins
60 Prestige Point Tokens
6 House Tokens
Rulebook
Richard the Lionheart is currently scheduled to be released on November 17, 2017.

Fingersmiths by co-designers Dennis Ku and Daniel Rocchi was declared winner of the 8th annual Canadian Game Design Award (CGDA) at FallCon 2017 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Finalists for the 2017 award included:

  • The Builders of Babel by Fabien Haond
  • Like a Boss By Adam Wyse
  • Fingersmiths by Dennis Ku and Daniel Rocchi

The CGDA was created to promote, showcase and foster Canadian talent in game design

The Road to the Canadian Game Design Award

The road to the CGDA award is a long one. By the end of May designers must send a complete ruleset and a short video with an overview, rules summary and pitch for the game. A team of volunteers judges across the country read through the rules and watch the videos, scoring submissions on Presentation, Theme, Mechanics, Rules, and Overall Appreciation.

Finalists submit prototypes which are sent to teams of judges in at least three cities in Canada who play the games and score again on those same criteria of Presentation, Theme, Mechanics, Rules, and Overall Appreciation. The criteria is described as follows:

  • Presentation: We don’t expect a final product in terms of graphic design. Aim for functionality. In other words, does the presentation functionally impede or facilitate game play?
  • Theme: Is the theme original/interesting? Does the theme come through in the rules and game play? Do the mechanics match the theme?
  • Mechanics: Mechanics will be evaluated based on novelty, game-driven arc, interesting decision points, efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Rules: Rules must be clear, unambiguous, easy to comprehend. Are the Setup, Player Turn and Scoring Descriptions clearly identified? Are the rules well organized? Are there sufficient examples and diagrams?Treat your ruleset as you would your resume. Using this analogy, you need a good resume (rules) to get a job interview (a request for prototype playtesting).
  • Overall Appreciation: General impression of cohesive whole. Judges will be tasked with answering the following questions: Does the game “work”? Is the game exciting/fun to play? Does this game make you want to play it again and again? Would you buy this game? How does this game rank compared to other entries?

Final scores in these categories are compiled and the winner is announced each year at FallCon.

The History of the Canadian Game Design Award
The FallCon Gaming Society and The Canadian Warmers Group had been supporting the gaming hobby in Canada since 1985 when Back to the Future ruled the big screen and the Nintendo Entertainment System finally was released in North America). In 2010 the Society and Group took a further step in supporting the hobby by launching the cross-country design award challenge.

Past Award Winners
This is the CGDA’s 8th year. Past winners include:
  • 2010: Roberta Taylor – Octopus’ Garden
  • 2011: Matt Tolman – Undermining
  • 2012: Paul Saxberg – Coven
  • 2013: Joseph McDaid – Windfall: Gateways
  • 2014: Gavan Brown & Matt Tolman: Super Motherload
  • 2015: Ben Hesketh & Graham Davis: Video Game Studio
  • 2016: Sebastien Bernier-Wong & Peter Gorniak: Sloops!

Other finalists have included Steampunk Rally (runner up in 2014) and Quarantine (finalist in 2013). Winners have been picked up by publishers including Z-Man Games, 8th Summit, Valley Games and Roxley Games.

Winners of the Canadian Game Design Awards have not included Curling or Crokinole, which seem like real oversights. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving anyway!

The 7th Continent has returned to Kickstarter along with a big box expansion, and has broken the $1,000,000 mark in just over 5 hours. This is especially fast consider the game is listed as having a play time of 1,000+ minutes for 1-4 players aged 12+. The project took just minutes to fund, and by the end of the first afternoon has already unlocked 10 stretch goals.

Artist/Designer Ludovic Roudy and designer Bruno Sautter continue to publish as Serious Poulp and will likely spend all their waking hours designing detailed cards for tiny explorers to wander through.

The original 7th Continent Kickstarter successfully funded in September 2015 with an estimated ship date of October 2016, though that was almost a year late with an actual shipping date closer to September 2017. Shipping dates for the reprint of the game are an optimistic March 2018 for the base game and October 2018 for the new expansion.

The latest kickstarter provides an opportunity for board gamers to pick up a copy of the game, currently at the top of the hotness list on Boardgamegeek, which isn’t currently available in retail distribution. The kickstarter also introduces a big box expansion for explorers both new and old.

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

The What Goes Up, Must Come Down expansion available in this kickstarter introduces two new curses and a whole new way to explore the 7th continent:

The curse, “A Prison of Clouds”, will send you on a whirling adventure OVER the 7th Continent!

Aboard your hot air balloon, you’ll soar over the continent thanks to an innovative wind management system, which will lead you to new, unexplored tracts of land…

You can land at any time by taking the Terrain card with the same number as your current Sky card, allowing you to continue exploring on foot. When you wish to take off again, simply make your way back to the card where you landed and your aerial adventure continues.

Take care though, as each trip will tax you. Hunger, confinement and violent winds will test your nerves.

Make short trips and improve your piloting abilities if you want to stand a chance of lifting the curse that keeps you trapped in this hopeless land.

While the curse “A Prison of Clouds” takes you high above the continent “The Veins of the Earth” will take you deep below in a subcontinental delve.

The new expansion comes in a box equal in size to the original box. The new box is large enough to store all the cards, including expansions, even when sleeved. It also includes:

  • 3 Storage trays
  • 250+ cards
  • 1 Hot Air Balloon miniature (+ alternative cardboard standee)
  • 1 Barge miniature (+ alternative cardboard standee)
  • 7 new Dividers
  • 1 rule sheet

A copy of the base game is required for this expansion.

The 7th Continent

The 7th Continent base game is a cooperative game for 1-4 players, with heroes exploring and surviving on the continent recently discovered off Antarctica.

It’s the early 20th century. You have decided to sail back to the newly discovered seventh continent to attempt to lift the terrible curse that has struck you since your return from the previous expedition.

A massive box of cards provides a continent to explore and expand one card at a time, as well as a seemingly endless series of event cards which will help unfold the story during your exploration. It would be nearly impossible to finish this 1000+ minute game in one session, so developers have created their own video game style save system.

 

Unlike other board games, The 7th Continent will take you through many, MANY hours of adventure as you explore the continent to lift your curse… or die trying! To make this manageable, the game includes a simple yet effective save system that allows you to quickly interrupt the game at any time and have it ready for your next session, just like in a video game.

The original kickstarter had 12,103 backers provide €1,224,220 to bring this project to life.

In 2017 Kingdomino won the coveted 2017 Spiel des Jahres award. Designer Bruno Cathala and artist Cyril Bouquet have returned to the -domino world with Queendomino. Blue Orange Games is scheduled to release Queendomino in October at Spiel Essen 2017.

In the award winning Kingdomino players took on the role of  a Lord seeking new lands in which to expand their kingdoms. Players took dominoes with a combination of the games’ 4 terrain types and built out their kingdom, ensuring that at least one of its sides connected to a matching terrain type already in play. When taking the tile they will place, players also choose what tile they will place in the next round. More valuable tiles will provide a later spot in turn order in the next round.

The game ends when players have (ideally) completed a 5×5 grid. Some tiles contain crown symbols on them. At the end of the game players multiple each of their connected terrain types by the number of crowns in that connected terrain area.

Queendomino builds on these simple mechanics. Tiny knights earn your coins. Use the coins to buy pieces from the marketplace which you can place on the new red terrain to improve your kingdom… unless another player has already played the dragon and destroyed that piece from the market! Place tower pieces in your kingdom in an effort to earn the Queen’s favor.

While Queendomino is a stand alone sequel to Kingdomino, the two games can be combined to allow 4 players to play towards a 7×7 grid or for 6 players to play towards a 5×5 grid.

Francis Fukutama might have declared The End of History in his 1989 essay, but apparently Z-Man Games didn’t get the notice. Z-Man games has announced they are releasing  remastered edition of the 1991 Avalon Hill classic History of the World by designers Gary Dicken, Steve Kendall and Phil Kendall. The game is scheduled for a late 2017 release.

Once again players will will take control on the grand scale that made the original game a classic. Running from the very dawn of civilization to the 20th century through multiple epochs, players will need to spread their empire across the globe. Fierce battle and unpredictable calamities will test even the most veteran player, but those who score the most points will be remembered throughout history.

The remastered edition maintains gameplay from the original title while adding a newly illustrated board and new components.

Gameplay

Played out over 7 rounds and running from the ancient 3000 B.C. Sumerians to the pre-WW1 Germany each player will control a new rising empire. At the end of every epoch players will score points for all of the units of their color on the board both from the current empire they control as well as any previous empires units they controlled that remain on the board.

During each of the epochs players will marshall armies and send them towards the very edges of the known world, head towards unoccupied territory or battle with other players. New terrain will score points, but control all of a single colored region and you’ll be rewarded even more greatly. Success in invasions will be determined by dice rolling. The invader rolls two, the defense one, and whoever has rolled the highest individual dice value claims a win.

Invading territory won’t be the only path to victory. Each empire has unique abilities in addition to whatever armies they start with. Secure resources, build monuments and use all of your empires traits to your best advantage in order to score points.

A History of History of the World

Originally published by Ragnar Brothers in 1991, History of the World has worked it’s way through several english iterations. Compendium Games re-released the game in 1992, Gibsons Games in 1993 followed by Avalon Hill in 1993. An 8 year break took place before Avalon Hill/Hasbro released the game again in 2001.

Fantasy Flight Games has announced plans to release a Revised Core Set for Android: Netrunner The Card Game. Along with a revised core set will come significant changes to tournament play.

Based on the original card game by legendary designer Richard Garfield, Android: Netrunner The Card Game remains an asymetrical two player card game set in a dystopian Android future where subversive netrunners face off against the monolithic megacorps in an effort to control data.

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same

The concept of Android: Netrunner remains the same. one player assumes control of a monolithic megacorporation and it’s near infinite resources. A second player take on the role of a “runner,” a cybercriminal attempting to bypass the megacorporation’s defenses and steal data. Corps gain points by advancing agendas, while runners steal points by stealing agendas from the corps. Both sides attempt to gain their points through clever card play and use of hidden information.

What cards are available to you and to your opponent set the stage for this showdown. The Revised Core Set will include 247 player cards, 133 Corps cards and 144 Runner cards to do battle with.

What’s New?

While the Revised Core Set creates a new entry point for Android: Netrunner, it does not introduce any new cards into the game. Players who own the original Core Set along with the Data Packs available in the Genesis Cycle and the Spin Cycle will already own everything available. While card art and quantities of cards vary from those in the Core Set and Data Packs, the actual card abilities and text will remain the same.

Changes to Tournament Play

With thousands of cards now in the Netrunner universe, the incredible growth of the game has also created a card pool so large it has created a barrier to new players and in developing new strategies. Similar to other LCG and CCG formats, Netrunner Tournament Play has introduced a system refresh system that will mean older products will no longer be tournament legal as new cards are introduced.

For Netrunner Standard Play, five to seven cycles of Data Packs will be the limit to what is now legal. Whenever an eighth cycle would be added to the standard pool, the two oldest cycles are rotated out of Standard Play.

The new changes to legal play take effect October 1st. Effective October 1st tournament play will consist of the new Revised Core Set and the following expansions:

  • Creation and Control
  • Honor and Profit
  • Order and Chaos
  • Data and Destiny
  • Terminal Directive (player cards only)
  • Lunar Cycle Data Packs
  • SanSan Cycle Data Packs
  • Mumbad Cycle Data Packs
  • Flashpoint Cycle Data Packs
  • Red Sand Cycle Data Pack

5 Years of Running

Android: Netrunner the Card Game has only been around for the past 5 years, released in 2012. While a reimplementation of the original 1996 Netrunner game by Richard Garfield, the 2012 edition proved much more popular. Award for the new game included:

Dice Tower Top 10 lists that have featured the revised game over the past 5 years include:

Asmodee is celebrating the 7th anniversary of 7 Wonders, originally released in 2010, with two new mini expansion packs.

The first expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Leaders Anniversary Pack Expansion is an expansion to 7 Wonders: Cities, which was released in 2010 as the first 7 Wonders expansion. This anniversary pack will include at least fifteen new leaders to include in games of 7 Wonders. Characters from history will include Gorgo, Cornelia, Enheduanna, Roxana, and more. 7 Wonders Leaders added Leader cards to the base game. At the start of every game, each player drafts a hand of four leaders and can pay money to play one leader at the start of each of the three Ages.

The second expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Cities Anniversary Pack Expansion, is an expansion to the 7 Wonders: Cities expansion, which was released in 2012. The expansion pack will include at least fifteen new cities. City cards will include a memorial, customs, counterfeiter’s office, smuggler’s cache, and more. 7 Wonders: Cities was the second expansion for 7 Wonders. City cards were a new type if card in the game and aggressively increased the interaction between players in games.

7 Wonders & Many Awards

When released in 2010 7 Wonders was an instant hit, finding both popular and critical success. A sample of awards includes:

The game continues to make regular appearances on Dice Tower Top 10 lists, especially those focussed on higher player counts. Dice Tower Top 10 appearances include:

Games for Five Players – The People’s #1 game
6 Player Games – The People’s #1 game
7+ Player Games – The People’s #1 game

 

The universe of Small World by Days of Wonder is expanding again. In the latest expansion by original Small World designer Philippe Keyaerts and T. Alex Davis 3-6 players will take flight to inhabit islands in the sky. This expansion is scheduled for a release at Esenin October, followed by a December release in North America

Seven new races and powers will be available in the new expansion. New races as well as all previously released races will now have the opportunity to fight to control additional territories in the sky.

It was a lovely spring morning; Giants were getting new tattoos and the rest of the Small World  inhabitants were preparing for another day of conquest. An eerie silence settled on the lands as a huge shadow glided over forest and mountain. Had the Wizards accidentally given their flocks of sheep flight again ?

All eyes turned to the horizon as an archipelago of Sky Islands floated over Small World… and realization dawned at the same time as the sun. New lands meant new riches! Within a few hours, the most enterprising races were swarming up a Giant Magical Beanstalk and a Stairway to Heaven on their way to wealth. The battle for the Sky Islands had just begun…

Featuring a double sided board, players will choose to add two or three islands in the sky with the new board as well as utilizing the original board which will be set for one fewer player (example – the original board would be set for 3 players if playing a four player game).

Access points via beanstalk and stairway are created between the Sky Islands and the regular board in different regions. A race standing on one of the access points can attempt to move into a sky island space with a matching symbol. Control all the regions on a Sky Island and gain an additional coin at the end of your turn.

The full ruleset is already available for download.

Box contents will include:

  • double-sided game board
  • 7 Fantasy Race banners
  • 94 Matching Race tokens
  • 4 Lost Tribe tokens
  • 5 Zeppelin/Burning Region tokens
  • 5 Trade Pact tokens
  • 3 transformed Drakon tokens
  • 2 Lightning Bolt tokens
  • 2 Cannon tokens
  • 2 Access point to Sky Islands tokens
  • 1 “END” token
  • 1 Summary Sheet
  • rules booklet

A storage tray is included in the expansion to hold new races, powers and tokens.

Award Winning Franchise

While only 8 years old, the game already has 16 expansions, which makes sense given the popularity and critical success of the game. The original Small World game won many awards when released in 2009 including:

Small World has shown up on many Dice Tower Top 10 lists, including:

Games Best for 3 Players– People’s choice #1
Top 100 Games 2015 – Eric Summerer #8