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 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.

Business was for up front. Party was left for the back… until now. A new Kickstarter mixes business and party together with a series of d20 silk neckties. Each tie is covered with d20 images and will be available in black, red or royal blue.

This Kickstarter ends Sunday May 20th at 10AM MDT. As of April 17th the project was only $87 short of the funding goal. It’s more than likely that this July elegant gamers near you will be sporting their d20 ties to both business meetings and cocktail parties.

Pledge levels are available for one, two or three ties with an estimated delivery date of July 2017. The project features one stretch goal. If the funding level hits $3,000 backers will receive a survey to add an additional color option; purple, gold, silver or green.

A newcomer to Kickstareter, this is Kaleb’s first project created and there are no recorded Kickstarters having been backed before. One stealthy backer verified the project creator via Etsy and has since backed the project, which is a great sign of support. The project creator noted that the overseas factory has a 100% on time record.

 

Ticket to Ride players are about to have a new entry point into the classic train network building universe with Ticket to Ride: Germany. This time potential railroad tycoons will use an illustrated map of late 19th century Germany to lay the foundation for their tiny plastic train empires. European customers and conductors can pick the game up in June, while North Americans can catch the caboose in August at Gencon.

Players can collect valuable Passenger Meeples from cities around the board to score points. This mechanic was also seen in the Märklin Edition of the game. In addition players will want to connect destination cities on both short and long routes to gain victory points.

Unlike the past few expansions, this game will be a complete entry point into the Ticket to Ride line, with everything needed for 2-5 players to play inside the box. Contents include:

  • A map of Germany
  • 225 colored Train Cars
  • 110 Train Car Cards
  • 89 Destination Tickets Cards
  • 60 Passenger Meeples
  • 1 Cloth Bag
  • 5 Scoring Markers
  • 1 Rules Booklet
  • A special Globetrotter Bonus Card.

The Popularity of Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride has been the entry point for many gamers. Just a few of the Dice Tower Top 10 lists that include Ticket to Ride include:

The original Ticket to Ride has actually been included in over 30 of the Dice Tower Top Ten lists. With such strong pedigree and a history of popular expansions, Ticket to Ride: Germany is likely to make a splash when it enters the market later this year.

Fantasy Flight Games has already started expanding the Runewars Miniature Game with Guardians of the Deepwood. Though the base has just barely hit stores already the Latari Eleves Army is already getting armed and ready for battle. Speedy and ferocious, one of the most powerful of the Terrinoth forces join an ever expanding battle. Fantasy Flight is expecting the Latari Eleves Army Expansion to hit retailers 3rd quarter (Q3) of 2017.

The Latari Elves call the Amyhelin Forest home. The largest forest in Mennara, the massive trees of Amyhelin stretch from Terrinoth in the North and west of the Ru all the way to the southern ocean. While the elves have built cities and palaces in and around the trunks of the Deepwood, the return of an old foe has pulled them into the battle for Terrinoth once again.

The Latari Elves enter the battle with four new units and eight new figure sculpts which is enough new content to field a full army in one of the battles of Terrinoth.

The Deepwood Archers

Are there any other archers with the mobility and range of the infamous Deepwood Archers? For years these archers have protected the Aymhelin Forest, now they join you in battle using shift actions to match enemy movements to position themselves perfectly for attach. With three different shift options they will be efficient and speedy in the battlefield, always in the perfect position to strike.

The Leonx Riders

Another new unit is the Leonx Riders. Passionate and rough, these riders will operate alone or in small family groups. Turning the tide of any battle, the Leonx Riders will serve as the calvary for your Latari Elves army. When making a melee attack the riders can use two surgeries to add a hit. Unique Surges is a new mechanic in the game, and can only be used once per combat, adding a mortal strike to a melee attack up to once per combat. Moving rapidly with three march options, a shift, and five blue modifiers, nobody will be safe.

Ariana of Summersong

Champion on the Leonix Riders will be Ariana of Summersong. Ariana will be commanding riders into battle with a Moonblade and Mount Wildcat. Ariana will be adding a mortal strike to all melee attacks, in addition to her Impact 2 keyword which will strike two panic tokens into the heart of her enemies. Ariana will whip around the battlefield with three march options and give white modifier options along with a green shift modifier allowing for a 4 speed march.

The Aymhelin Scions

The final new unit joining you in battle will be the Aymhelin Scions. While Aliana represents speed, the Scions represent the power of the Latari Elves. Living trees, the Scions are “the will of the forest made manifest.” The command dial of the Scions features both ranged and melee attacks, making them a threat from all angles. A shield icon modifier adds to defensive actions while the red hit modifier will add to offensive strikes. Two charge options allow the Scions to throw immobilizer tokens onto anything the Scions collide with… or that collide into it. A stun token added using two surges during melee or ranged attacks makes the Scions that much more dangerous.

Tactical Advantage

In addition to new units, new keywords and mechanics are also being added with this expansion. Latari elves will take advantage of the Overgrow keyword when overgrowth tokens are placed on environment pieces on the map. The Lethal keyword, as the name suggests, adds additional hit points to a damage pool. On the defensive side Protect keyword will remove damage from the pool before being assigned.

With plenty of new tactics and units to explore, Fantasy Flight Games looks to be expanding the Runewars Miniature Game universe rapidly.

Geek & Sundry have just partnered with Campaign Coins to create a series of gaming metal coins based on the popular TableTop board game show. King of the Castle Games Company signed a licensing agreement with Geek & Sundry to release the coins. Now Tom can finally replace all the paper money he loathes with some quality metal coins!

Mark Morrison of Campaign Coins discussed the coins as being the next level of components for the celebrities that frequent Will Wheaton’s TableTop show:

On TableTop, Wil and his friends show what is so wonderful about board gaming: getting together and having fun. Adding metal coins to the mix adds an extra level of immersion. It’s the way they clink!

Wil Wheaton offered plenty of praise for the design that designer Daniel Solis came up with for the coins:

Daniel is such a wonderful designer, and Campaign Coins are so beautifully crafted. I’m just thrilled to have them coming together to make something special for TableTop fans.

Daniel Solis designed the coins, so they can almost be guaranteed to have long-lasting appeal. Solis and his wife are the founders of the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge. The challenge was a $1,000 competition to create a game that could be enjoyed for the next 1,000 years, encouraging designers to think about eh sustainability and universality of games, designing for longevity. Solis has done graphic design and layout for a variety of both board and role playing games.

The final designs Solis created for the coins are very much in keeping with his preference for classic design, featuring timeless motifs, styles and shapes intended to be suitable for any board game regardless of the genre. The coins are clearly marked in dominations with a different size for each demonization, and are produced in a flat design for easy stacking.

Imprinted with standard tabletop game images, the dominations of the antique finished coins are marked and minted as:

  • copper 1 coin with imprinted with a meeple
  • silver 5 coin imprinted with a hand of cards
  • bronze 20 coin imprinted with a D20
  • gold 100 coin imprinted with a table and board game

The back side of each coin includes the TableTop logo.

The coins are available now. Keep an eye out on the current season of TableTop, with new episodes being released now through June 7 2017, for coins to make possible appearances.

Ares games has announced a series of changes to their popular World War 2 game Wings of Glory, including a new Starter Set and a new format of airplane releases: Squadron Packs.

Battle of Britain Star Set

The Battle of Britain Starter Set will be a new entry point for the Wings of Glory game. The set will include four pre-painted ready-to-play models, rulebook, scenario book, counter, rulers and console boards. Axis and Allies will square off with the four planes included in the set: two versions of the Supekrmarine Spitfire MK.I and two versions of the Messerschmitt Bf.109 fighter.

WW2 Squadron Packs

Along with a new starter set comes a new way to expand the game. WW2 Squadron Packs will each feature one ready-to-play pre-painted model and a decal sheet to mark the plane from any of a series of famous squadrons. Each pack will also include a base with game stats, altitude stands and a deck of game cards.

The first wave of Squadron Packs will be:

The new Wings of Glory Starter Set and Squadron Packs are expected to release in the second quarter this year (Q2 2017).

About Wings of Glory

The Wings of Glory system allows gamers to recreate aerial combat during World War I and II. Players use both card decks and miniatures to recreate famous flight battles. Controlling one or more airplanes, players will take to the sky in aerial duels or to accomplish missions such as recon, bombing runs or escort other planes.