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.

Z-Man games has begun releasing details of what has happened following the pandemic that broke out in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

The world is on the brink of total collapse. Already devastated by a terrible plague, much of the globe has gone dark. Small groups of survivors struggle to keep the world alive, but their efforts are no longer enough. The world needs leaders to rise up and find the way back from the brink of extinction. That task has fallen to you. You must find a way or nobody will. You are humanity’s last chance.

Following the format of the many Pandemic games that preceded it, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 again brings two to four players into a high stakes legacy format co-op situation.

Taking place 71 years after the final events of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, humanities very existence continues to be in peril. Only a few known cities still exist at all, and are now being supplied by floating stations in the ocean known as “havens.” For three generations survivors have lived on these havens, but with haven supplies dwindling it’s your job to set foot on land and save whatever cities you can to stop the end of civilization as you know it.

Over a year you and your team search for answers to questions that still surround the plague, while at the same time trying to maintain a supply network. Like in Season 1 and other legacy games, actions in each game will carry over and impact future games, forever altering the world of Pandemic Legacy.

Cities will rise, cities will fall. Characters will learn new skills and gain scars from the horrors they experience. Through the game new rules will come into play and each new development will affect your group’s journey.

 Journey from the Havens to Distribute Supplies

Your team has grown up in the havens your knowledge of the mainland is very limited. The plague has devastated the world you great grandparents knew, and cities have no hope of developing a cure. The few cities that remain need your supplies.

Instead of removing disease cubes, you now must add supply cubes to ward off future plague outbreaks. Balance your time and focus between balancing more cubes with distributing them to the cities that need them most. Drawing infection cards results in cities using supply cubes. You will need to constantly deliver new supplies in order to avoid the city becoming infected. Cities that become infected are a critical threat to you and to your team.

Characters entering a city infected with a plague run the risk of being exposed to it. There’s no guarantee that exposure will lead to any detrimental effects, but it will always be a threat. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when to risk exposure and when to play it safe, letting the infected city fend for itself.

The World Has Changed

The world players find at the beginning of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 has altered drastically. At the beginning of your first game only a small portion of the earth is visible, with access to only the few surviving cities still on the grid. On top of supplying cities you’ll need to explore a world lost to darkness. Make discoveries, encounter new dangers and face new challenges on your search for answers.

With so much infrastructure lost, you’ll have very limited communication, diminished medical technology and a loss of air travel. Sail from port to port, but once on land travel will be slow.

Fall 2017

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is a stand alone game that does not require having played Season 1. Prepare time this fall to save the world with a sneak peek at Gen Con 2017.

A Legacy of Awards

The original Pandemic Legacy has won many awards on the way to the top of the BGG rankings, currently ranked the highest rated game on Boardgamegeek. Selected awards include:

The game also took home an armful of 2015 Dice Tower awards including Co-Op Game of the Year and 2015 Game of the Year.

Z-Man Games has announced plans to release Spynet, a new card game by famed designer Richard Garfield.

As a spymaster your task is to dominate the espionage trade by recruiting undercover intelligence agents to complete missions. Two to Four players can either work alone or with teammates to gather all the necessary information required to recruit agents and disrupt the plans of their opponents in this card drafting game.

Game Play

The deck in play contains agents, funding and missions. Players take turns drafting cards from a series of face down row of cards. A player can look at the first card (or stack of cards if there are multiple cards in that spot in the row) and take the card(s) or return them back to the row. If you put them back you can look at the second stack of cards, the third stack etc. Once you take a stack you add one card to each empty spot in the row of cards as well as to each stack that you looked at but did not choose, sweetening the stack for future players.

Having the knowledge of passed over cards means players will know at least a little about what cards their opponents are collecting. Success in building your agency will require paying attention to what your opponent is gathering while at the same time doing your best to hide your own intentions.

Players can lay down multiple cards in a turn, playing one agent in any of the four espionage fields (tech, infiltration, counterespionage or enforcement), attaching any number of funding cards to boost the power of that agent, and one mission card in each of the espionage fields the player currently has the highest power in. Complete enough missions and you can claim the title of ultimate spymaster.

Spynet is scheduled for a 2017 release.

Richard Garfield & Z-Man Games

Richard Garfield (whose birthday its later this month –  June 26!) is a game designer and mathematics professor who is best known for creating the card game Magic: The Gathering. Garfield is also the designer of the games RoboRally, Netrunner, King of Tokyo, Android:Netrunner, King of New York and many more.

Originally founded in 1999 to publish the card game Shadowfist, Z-Man Games has gone on to publish over 100 additional games including Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy as well as the english translations to Carcassonne and Agricola.

 

 

Days of Wonder has just released the award winning game Jaipur as an adaptation for mobile devices.

Now players can pick up mobile devices and tables to adopt a role as one of the most powerful merchants in Rajasthan in this two player game. Buy, trade and sell commodities for profit while using camels to cash in on end game bonuses. Win two out of three rounds to claim the title of the greatest merchant in the capital of Jaipur, Rajasthan.

The game is now available for mobile devices and tablets both in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store:

Asmodee and Days of Wonder have released a trailer for the app: YouTube Trailer.

Designed by Sébastien Cauchon and originally released as a small box card game by GameWorks SàRL Jaipur received much early critical success, including making it to the prestigious 2010 Spiel des Jahres recommended list. The game has also made the Dice Tower’s People’s Choice list for Best Games of 2009 and Eric placed it on his list of Top 10 Asmodee Games.

                                                                             

Ares Games and Polish board game company Galakta have announced a partnership to begin distributing Galakta products globally outside of Europe.

Ares games will begin distributing Galakta games including This War of Mine The Board GameAge of Thieves, Ragers Champions of the Arena, Zombie Terror, Andromeda, and King & Assassins.

Director of R&D at Ares Games, Roberto Di Meglio, expressed that Ares Games found strong brand alignment between the two companies and the benefits of the Ares Games distribution network:

Ares started developing a strong US and worldwide distribution for our products six years ago, and we now feel we are able to provide a good service to our customers, and to our partner Galakta, by promoting their games together with ours. Games such as This War of Mine The Board Game and Age of Thieves and the rest of Galakta’s releases are very consistent with our product and design philosophy, and we are committed to make them a success in the North American market and around the world.

Galakta owner Dariusz Waszkiewicz is excited to get these games to new markets:

For the last 13 years, we have succeeded in building a very strong position on Polish board game market and a few years ago, we started developing our own titles. We have worked several times with the Ares Games team on some of their great titles, and at the same time, we could see how they were growing outside Europe. We are convinced that thanks to this extended relationship our games will become available to many board game fans all over the World.

The Ares and Galakta partnership first started 5 years ago with Galakta publishing Polish editions of War of the Ring, with additional Polish editions of The Battle of Five Armies and Jolly Roger.

 

 

CMON Limited and Ankama Products have announced the end of their partnership which had CMON Limited distributing Ankama Products in the US.

CMON Limited and Ankama Products originally entered a partnership together to release Krosmaster: Quest. Following the successful release of Krosmaster: Quest CMON Limited went on to also distribute Krosmaster Arena 2.0, Kromaster Collection: Cemetery Park, 75 Gnom’ Street as well as other Ankama titles.

The final game to be released under the current distribution deal will be Gang Rush: Breakout on June 23, 2017. CMON Limited will continue to sell all the remaining stock they have of Ankama Products past the June 23rd date as while supplies last.

CMON Limited did note in their announcement that Ankara Products will have a forthcoming announcement regarding a new US distribution partner.

In 2011 CMON, originally named Cool Mini or Not, entered the board gaming market with games including Zombicide, Arcadia Quest, Kennerspiel des Jahres nominated Blood Rage, Rum & Bones and more. CMON Limited stock can be purchased on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Growth Enterprise Market under stock code “08278.”

Ankama is self described as an “independent digital creation group” whose work includes both digital games as well as board games. Over 85 million accounts have been created for the online game DOFUS that Ankama created in 2004. Since then Ankama has also created physical game products in a move towards transmedia products.

 

Z-Man Games has announced plans to distribute Michael Schacht’s new game Smile. A card game for three to five players, Smile has players working in an environment where all sorts of critters have escaped their enclosures. Players will use lightening bugs as bait (critters love lightning bugs, obviously) to catch more lost critters than their opponents, while being careful to avoid capturing wild critters which will give players negative points.
The light is falling and time is growing short. There’s no telling what sorts of trouble your critters will get into if you don’t find them soon. Gather your lightning bugs and round up the best critters in Smile, arriving soon!
Game play unfolds over ten rounds. In each round players will unveil a number of critter cards equal to the number of players. Players then choose, in order, to stay in the round by placing a single firefly on the lowest value creature or to drop out of the round. When dropping out players take the least valuable critter still available, though gaining the many fireflies possibly now associated with that card. Deception and push your luck elements are in play as each firefly committed brings you closer to a valuable critter while at the same time depleting your store of lightning bugs. Drop out early and stock up on bugs for future rounds and make a dramatic comeback or take an early lead!
Additional rules add to the challenge. If you end up with two critters of the same color in the top-left corner you remove both from the game. This can come in handy for getting rid of negative point critters, or perhaps you can force an opponent to lose two valuable cards?
Michael Schacht is also the designer of Coloretto, Hansa, Aquaretto, Mondo, Mogul and many other games. His game Zooloretto won him the 2007 Spiel des Jahres award.

Days of Wonder has just announced the Whims of the Sultan Expansion for Five Tribes, finally allowing for a fifth player to join in manipulating the tribes in Bruno Cathala’s popular euro-style game.

Days of Wonder’s Five Tribes game feature players manipulating Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Vizier tribe members around the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places that make up Naqala. Despite the fact that players are manipulating tribes, not actually representing one of the five tribes, gamers have long mocked the game for maxing out at four players. The new expansions remedies this and allows a fifth player in on the fun. Whims of the Sultan will include all the necessary components to play five-player games.

In addition to the components for five players the game also introduces Fabulous Cities tiles. Visiting fabulous cities gives players opportunities to win additional glory points  as they fill the requests from the Sultan by completing Whim of the Sultan cards.

Either expansion module can be played alone with the base game or along with the already released Artisans of Naqala expansion.

Components include:

  • 6 tiles
  • 15 wooden tribe meeples
  • 8 camels
  • 1 tent and 1 player’s turn marker
  • 22 Whim of the Sultan cards
  • 2 Djinn cards
  • 1 bid order track and 1 turn order track for 5 player games
  • 1 pad of scoring sheets
  • 1 summary sheet

The game is scheduled for a June release in Europe and and August Gen Con release in North America.

“We’re not the only humans left in this town anymore.” Your Dead of Winter colony is about to get neighbors courtesy of the new Warring Colonies expansion from Plaid Hat Games.

The new expansion features a pile of new content that can expand your existing Dead of Winter or Long Night game including:

  • 15 new survivors
  • 50 new crossroads cards
  • 43 new items
  • 11 new crisis cards

We were suspicious when they arrived across town and set up camp, but we tried to live in peace. No more. They’ve taken too much from us. Too much that we can’t get back. It’s time for revenge. It’s time for war.

Most of the new content will support a new team variant for the game in which two warring colonies will compete for the same limited resources and power. The new variant will combine both the Dead of Winter base set and the Dead of Winter: The Long Night games. As the two colonies battle against each other they will use a new fighting system. Battle might not always be in the best interest of the colonies however, as joint-colony crisis cards force colonies to cooperate and some also force some level of coercion every round.

Not playing with even players? The new odd-man-out Lone Wolf variant adds chaotic balance as the lone wolf pursues their own secret goals in a den by themselves and carrying out missions that will affect both of the other colonies.

The content for the new variants includes:

  • 7 new main objectives
  • 2 combat dice
  • Battle tactics cards
  • Bullet Tokens
  • A combat track

The expansion is designed by Colby Dauch and Timothy Meyer for the game which was originally designed by Isaac Vega and Jon Gilmour.

Dead of Winter Warring Colonies can be used to expand either a Dead of Winter base set or Dead of Winter: The Long Night. Both Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game and Dead of Winter: The Long Night will be required to play the warring colonies variant and the lone wolf module.

Dead of Winter was produced as the first Crossroads game from Plaid Hat Games. The game made all three lists in the Dice Tower Best of 2014 List, peaking at number 1 for the People’s Choice list while also being included on Tom and Eric’s lists. In the 2014 Dice Tower awards the game earned Best Game of the Year, Best Co-op Game and Best Game Theming. Dead of Winter earned the title awards for both Most Innovative Design and Most Thematic Game in the 2014 Golden Geek Awards. The title earned an As d’Or Game of the Year nomination, an Origins Award for Best Board Game nomination among many other nominations in 2014.

Dyskami Publishing has just announced two new Sailor Moon Crystal games. Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge which is scheduled for a late summer release and Sailor Moon Crystal Truth or Bluff to be released later in 2017. Not satisfied with two Sailor Moon Crystal titles, they have already announced plans for additional titles in 2018.

Dyskami Publishing Company President Mark MacKinnon says the company is:

…absolutely thrilled to be producing a line of Sailor Moon Crystal board and dice games for fans of the series. Sailor Moon Crystal offers a dynamic range of iconic characters and rich storylines that makes it an ideal series for adaptation into tabletop games. Sailor Moon and her allies have spanned generations, capturing the hearts of both gamers and anime buffs since the early 1990s and we look forward to bringing them to the gaming table.

The first game to be published, Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge, is a dice and card battle game. Two to Eight players will each choose one of 24 characters to do battle. The box will contain character cards, 24 dice broken into 6 different types, tokens and challenge cards. Portable and playable in large numbers, expect this to be popular at Sailor Moon conventions everywhere.

The second title, Sailor Moon Crystal Truth or Bluff, is a tile based bluffing game for three to ten players. The title will include tile cards, tile holders, tokens, privacy shield and a cloth bag to carry the game in.

The Sailor Moon Crystal series is based on Naoko Takeuchi’s popular manga series which follows the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for fellow Sailor Guardians and the Silver Crystal in order to stop Queen Beryl.

Catalyst Games Labs has announced plans to publish Dragonfire, a Dungeons and Dragons deckbuilding game, in partnership with Wizards of the Coast.

The game will have three to six players selecting their race and traditional dungeon crawling role to form an adventuring party. Form a part of rogue elves, dwarf wizards and half-orc-fighter then equip your characters with spells, weapons and magic items.

Players will begin their adventures along the famed Sword Coast and carry on adventuring across the Forgotten Realms to classic locations like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter and Waterdeep. As they journey players will be able to level up equipment, feats and other characteristics.

The game is built on previous Catalyst design Shadowrun: Crossfire. This isn’t the case of a game being pasted on an existing system though, as the developer’s blog makes clear that the starting point was defining what makes Dungeons & Dragons so Dungeons-ish & Dragons-ish.

From the developer blog:

…back in December, when the design of Dragonfire began in earnest, we spent a solid two weeks meeting every other day with white boards and just talking at a macro level. What makes Dungeons & Dragons, well…Dungeons & Dragons? What’s that ultimate shared experience? … What aesthetic, if missing, would tear out the soul of D&D?

Though no release date has been announced the developers have announced what they are currently planning to put in the box.

Contents include:

  • Dungeon 1 Encounters Deck
  • Dungeon 2 Encounters Deck
  • Wilderness 1 Encounters Deck
  • City 1 Encounters Deck
  • Adventurers 2 Encounter Deck
  • Market Deck
  • Magic Items Deck
  • Character cards
  • Adventure cards
  • Adventure booklet
  • Sticker Sheets
  • Tokens
  • Plastic Clips
  • Rulebook

Expansions are already planned. Catalyst Games seems to be following something similar to the living card game model path of Fantasy Flight Games or expandable card game model of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Fans shouldn’t have to wait long, as the cord game and first expansions are will be sent to the printer simultaneously:

We’re sending multiple releases to print simultaneously with the base game. These additional releases will include such expansions as: Wondrous Cache, a Magic Items deck; Heroes of the Sword Coast, a pack of new character cards that introduce additional classes and races; and Encounters: Dragonspear Castle, the first of our storyline expansions that will include a selection of Encounters, Magic Items, and Market cards, along with a new Adventure that will advance the storyline. Future releases, in addition to those listed above, will include campaign boxes that will not only provide additional materials to enjoy, but will move forward the meta-plot adventure that will weave through Dragonfire!

While no release date has been announced, those interested in the game can follow what looks to be a regularly updated developers blog to track the game development.