Pamela Simms-Borre

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Mild-mannered copywriter by day. Rampaging Gloomhaven resident, dungeon delver, Cthulhu cultist, by night. No really, I'm just a gaming mom. Originally from California, I have lived in Denmark for far too long. Find me on BGG via the username LuluChia.

Warhammer Quest Blackstone Fortress by Games Workshop is an adventure board game that puts players in the heart of an unfolding mystery in the 41st Millennium. The game is a stand-alone sci-fi, dungeon crawl board game using the Warhammer Quest brand and format.

Players take on the role of a group of explorers delving into the labyrinthine halls of a vast and ancient space station. Everyone must work together, balancing strengths and skills to have any hope of survival.

To start, each player picks an explorer and starts on the adventure. Your characters will grow, develop and pick up new gear between runs, with each journey offering greater rewards – and greater dangers. With each expedition, you will discover powerful “archeotech” and learn more of the Blackstone Fortress’ closely guarded secrets, including, perhaps, the location of its greatest treasure.

Warhammer Quest Blackstone Fortress can be played solo, or with up to four friends, with the fifth player controlling the hostiles. It is a legacy game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe with a “pause game” mechanic. At the end of each expedition, the players return to the nearby port city of Precipice to rest, recuperate and trade their loot for resources that will aid in their next adventure.

Details & box contents

1-5 players
Ages 12+
120-180 minute play time

Like most good dungeon crawlers, there is a lot in the box:

• 44 brand-new, colored plastic Citadel Miniatures
• 16 page rules booklet
• 24 page background booklet
• 16 page combat booklet
• 24 page precipice booklet
• 16 page datasheet booklet for using all miniatures in games of Warhammer 40,000
• 40 board tiles
• 234 cards
• 70 counters and markers
• 28 dice

Watch some Dice Tower coverage of the Warhammer Quest series of games.

IDW Games and Nickelodeon have joined forces to create Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ninja Pizza Party, a fast, fun card game for 2-6 players.

You’re the chef of honor at the party but you have your work cut out for you. These turtles are pizza-scarfing machines and they like their pizza extreme! Players race to create non-traditional pizzas for the Turtles and their friends. Work fast and be creative. Satisfying these heroes means using crazy ingredients like toasted marshmallows, banana slices, cheese puffs, popcorn and more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ninja Pizza Party is delivered in a collector’s tin and includes 60 pizza slices with a wide range of crazy topping choices. Designed by Prospero Hall (Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, Hullabaloo) for fans of all ages, get ready for action in the kitchen and make a pizza for your favorite Turtle! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ninja Pizza Party will available in March 2019.

Avalon Hill has announced the launch of the newest board game in the Axis & Allies series – Axis & Allies & Zombies. Introducing zombies adds a fun, modern twist into the iconic World War II strategy game.

“It is 1941, and the world is at war. The Axis war machine is crushing everything in its path, while the Allies are rallying together to mount a heroic stand. And then zombies show up.”

Axis & Allies & Zombies includes an introductory scenario to provide new players with an easy-to-setup prelude, as well as quick-start rules for more experienced players to jump right in. The game also includes an expansion for the Axis & Allies 1942 board game.

Box contents

• 1 Game Board
• 1 Battle Board
• 5 National Setup Charts (one for each power)
• 70 National Control Markers
• 12 Custom 6-sided Combat Dice
• 6 Custom 6-sided Zombie Dice
• 50 Plastic Unit Stacking Counters
• 210 Plastic Miniatures (including 30 all-new zombie figures)
• 60 Cards
• Paper Money
• Rulebook (including quick start rules)
• Introductory Scenario
• Also includes an 80-card expansion deck for the Axis & Allies 1942 board game!

Axis & Allies & Zombies is designed by Wizards of the Coasts’ award-winning designers and developers – Mike Mearls, Scott Van Essen, Ryan Miller and Mons Johnson. The game is for 2-5 players, ages 12+ and it plays in 60-180 minutes. Axis & Allies & Zombies is available now.

Visit The Dice Tower for coverage of the Axis & Allies Series.

All Manor of Evil, by Kolossal Games, is an interactive game of larceny, hidden agendas and Lovecraftian horror for 1-6 players.

The game takes players inside the mind and abode of H. P. Lovecraft. Players enter the house looking to steal ancient relics but have they bit off more than they can chew? During the escapade, unseen forces awaken and madness stirs – will anyone survive to escape with the loot? Beyond the larceny at hand, each player has a secret agenda of their own. Some want only to survive the night, while others wish to call forth an elder god eager to devour the players… or the world.

All Manor of Evil is played over a number of game rounds. Each Round has three phases.

Select Actions
Players simultaneously select one of their four action cards each round. Each Action card has a Title, Initiative Order, Card Action and Room Action. Then, all players simultaneously reveal their cards. Any players who selected the same Action Card as at least one other player take a Madness Token from the supply.

Action Cards are resolved in initiative order with the lowest number first. If more than one player chose the same card, those players resolve their actions in clockwise order starting at the Lantern (first player) token.

Resolve Actions
When resolving an Action Card, first resolve the Card Action and then the Room Action. Room Actions require the player to steal a relic from one of the rooms on the Manor Board. Players MUST steal a relic from one of the rooms listed on their Action Card if possible. If the rooms don’t have a relic, there is nothing to steal.

The Madness Value and Relic Value on each of the Relic Cards will be considered at the end of the game.

Players will only know the values on the top card of each player’s Cache. The uncertainty of just who has the most madness adds to the tension of the game!

Once a relic is stolen, place or remove Awakening Tokens, gain or lose Madness Tokens and resolve any indicated special effect on the card.

End of Round
After all players have resolved their action cards, the round ends. Players check to see if any Elder Gods have six or more Awakening Tokens and if so the game ends. If not, the player with the Lantern Token passes it to the next player in clockwise order and the next round begins.

Game end
A game of All Manor of Evil ends when one of three game-ending conditions are met. At that point, each player reveals their Role Card and all abilities are resolved. Assuming that the thieves have not destroyed the world by awakening several of the ancient gods, the remaining players will total their Madness and Relic Values. Total up the Madness Tokens and the Madness Value of all cards in each players’ Cache. The player with the most Madness has delved too deep into the dark and unknown and is eliminated. The remaining players will then compare the total value of stolen relics to determine who among them was the most successful looter.

All Manor of Evil is the 2nd Mikro campaign from Kolossal Games and the 9th overall campaign from Kolossal Games. The Kickstarter campaign runs until November 16 with delivery planned for July 2019.

Have you ever wondered how and why cooperative board games work? Well if so, this new book – Meeples Together: How and Why Cooperative Board Games Work – is for you. From Gameplaywright, the publisher of The White Box, the book is written for people who play, discuss, critique, design and just generally love cooperative board games.

Meeples Together is a 384-page, 6″ × 9″ trade paperback with more than 150 illustrated figures. It is also available in digital editions, including a tablet-optimized PDF version, an Epub version, and a Kindle (.mobi) version.

What’s in the book?

Meeples Together contains 14 chapters about the nature, mechanics, theory and frontiers of cooperative gaming. It contains 14 in-depth case studies of cooperative gaming’s greatest hits — from Pandemic and Battlestar Galactica to Contract Bridge. These case studies are used to demonstrate the concepts and ideas presented in the chapters.

Top level table of contents

Foreword by Matt Leacock
Chapter 1: The Basics of Cooperation
Chapter 2: Styles of Competition
Chapter 3: Styles of Teamwork
Chapter 4: Styles of Cooperation
Chapter 5: Cooperative Systems
Chapter 6: Challenge Systems
Chapter 7: Players Facing Challenges
Chapter 8: Players Undertaking Tasks
Chapter 9: Adventure Systems
Chapter 10: A Theory of Cooperative Gaming
Chapter 11: A Theory of Challenge Design
Chapter 12: When Games Go Wrong
Chapter 13: The Psychology of Cooperative Gaming
Chapter 14: Assembling the Puzzle
Appendix I: The Basics of Game Design
Appendix II: Game Design Dilemmas
Appendix III: Game Design Types
Appendix IV: Game Design & Social Theories
Appendix V: Cooperative & Teamwork Game Synopses & Reviews

Meeples Together is already fully funded and the Kickstarter campaign runs until November 18th. Stretch goals include extra case studies and a soft-touch cover, among others. Unfortunately, the campaign is not yet internationally friendly but depending on funding, it might become a possibility.

Pencil First Games has launched its ninth Kickstarter – Skulk Hollow – a 2 player, asymmetric tactical combat game. Players take the roles of either a band of Foxen heroes or a towering behemoth of a Guardian.

One player represents a guardian trying to eliminate the smallfolk who corrupt their once pristine creation. The other player represents a band of Foxen heroes bent on vanquishing the guardian in order to protect their people and homes.

Players use action cards to move their units, summon and use special abilities. Play starts on an initial world map, but progresses to the Foxen player leaping onto the Guardian player board and taking out different parts of the character.

The Guardian wins the game by either eliminating the Foxen King, or by gaining enough Tribute. The Foxen Heroes win the game by eliminating the Guardian.

Skulk Hollow offers the following:

  • One vs many asymmetric combat
  • Action on the Kingdom board as well as full-size, Guardian game boards
  • Dual Purpose Cards that provide a wide range of movement and ability powers
  • Unique Foxen Nobles and Guardians with a varying range of tactics and dynamics
  • Epic Meeples!

Gameplay

Both players have the same turn structure: the Main Phase followed by a Cleanup Phase.

During the Main Phase, the active player may take as many actions as shown by the action limit on their player mat. Each action consists of playing one card or preparing. They may also spend power to take additional actions. Actions may be taken in any order.

Play Card: Play one card from their hand.
Prepare: Discard one card from hand and draw two from the deck.
Spend Power: Remove one power cube from the guardian player mat or any hero unit card to take an additional action.

During the Cleanup Phase, when the active player has taken all of the actions that they wish to take, or have no more actions available, they allocate power and refill their hand.

Skulk Hollow is already fully funded and working its way through a list of Stretch Goals. All Kickstarter Backers who pledge for Skulk Hollow will also receive the Ancient Relics Mini-Expansion free. This expansion will be available for sale on BGG, at Conventions, etc, but will not be packaged within the base game.

Skulk Hollow plays in 30-45 minute and the suggested age is 8+.

Cloudspire is a MOBA-style tower defense for 1-4 players by Chip Theory Games (CTG), the makers of the Too Many Bones Series. Cloudspire, which is already fully funded on Kickstarter, takes place in the floating realm of Ankar and tells the story of a war to acquire a powerful and rare energy known only as “The Source”.

Players control one of four unique factions in a battle to destroy and steal source energy from their opponents. Every race has their own unique units and heroes as well as the ability to bid and draft mercenaries for hire. The four factions are:

• The Brawen – an industrious, ambitious race of giants
• The Grovetenders – cousin to plant live, forced into the war
• The Heirs – a bird-like race that believes that controlling Ankar’s islands is their birthright
• The Narora – believe that that controlling The Source is their calling

PvP

The main objective in the PvP version is to destroy your opponent’s fortress. Armies are placed either individually or in stacks to conceal powerful units until the last possible moments. Heroes are controlled individually and may join the tide of battle or choose to explore points of interest in search of resources. Heroes can be levelled up to lead armies into battle with advanced and upgraded skills.

As armies and minions approach enemy bases, they’ll need to deal with Spires – powerful defense towers that can be built around the board. Players fight for control of build sites and acquire new spire schematics to build an impenetrable defense and hold off their enemies. Players can even upgrade their home base to unlock new strategies and abilities.

Solo/Co-op

Cloudspire features a full on Solo/Co-op scenario book, full of unique solo setups and a full story narrative to follow along as you move through the game. A variety of base and bonus objectives will make every scenario a unique challenge.

Like other CTG titles, the production value of Cloudspire is planned to be extremely high. Neoprene mats, heavy chips and PVC waterproof cards are hallmarks of CTG games.

Cloudspire will also follow other CTG titles, in its distribution method. After Kickstarter, Cloudspire will only be available directly via Chip Theory Games.

Various pledge levels are available via the Kickstarter, including one for the base game only as well as one with some expansion material and an extra faction. There’s a ton more information on the Kickstarter page and the campaign runs until November 9th, so go check it out.

Steve Jackson Games has announced a second expansion to Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 – Savagery and Sorcery. This 112 card expansion introduces two new antagonists – the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons.

Space Wolves are elite Imperial soldiers, sworn to follow the ideals of Fenris and their commander, Leman Russ. The Thousand Sons have accepted the gift of sorcery from their evil god, Tzeentch, and are spreading Chaos throughout the galaxy. Although both expansions combine well together, you don’t need the first expansion – Faith and Firepower to enjoy this one.

Munchkin Warhammer 40,000: Savagery and Sorcery is designed by Andrew Hackard and features classic Munchkin art by John Kovalic. It is scheduled for release in Summer 2019.

Great stats but one big drawback characterizes the new Fire Clan while the Light Clan is based on the fortune of prayer. Both new clans are coming soon for Crystal Clans by Plaid Hat Games.

The Fire Clan

Like many fire-based entities, this clan burns bright and fast. Consume, the clan-specific ability of the Fire Clan, requires you to discard the bottom unit from any squad led by a unit that has Consume at the end of your turn. This even includes single unit squads! However, there is no requirement that a unit with Consume leads its squad, so you can avoid this penalty with some clever squad-building.

On the other hand, maybe you should lead with a unit with the Consume ability – they do have some fantastic abilities.

Meldien, one of the heroes of the clan has an ability, Intense Burn, which allows you to instantly destroy the top enemy unit (unless it has more than 8 defence) when you move into its zone.

The common unit, Ashen Assasins, is quick, and reasonably priced for their stats. They have the Ashes to Ashes ability, which allows them to lead a squad that has +3 attack for each hero unit in your discard pile.

Searing Guards don’t have Consume and don’t add much to a fighting force on their own, but their ability essentially makes their numbers infinite. Searing Guards can help you secure empty crystal zones and setup a score. These guards are also instrumental to the Searing Songstresses, who gain strength for each Searing Guards unit on the battlefield.

The Light Clan

Do you feel lucky? Who cares! If you play the Light Clan you don’t need to rely on luck you can use the power of Prayer.

You can remove a Prayer unit in your hand from the game to gain 1 initiative or to search your draw pile for a card of your choice and put it in your hand. Your prayer is answered, but there are two big drawbacks. First, you just dumped a card from your hand, so you will need to replenish sooner rather than later. Second, you’ve reduced the size of your deck, which could cause a reshuffle (and your opponent gaining a free crystal) to occur much more frequently.

Servants of the Light aren’t great fighters but they do have Prayer. Their Enter the Light ability allows you to get some use out of them first, since whenever they are destroyed you may elect to place them back on top of your draw pile. This allows you to save their Prayer for when you really need it. They also work well with the Priestesses of the Light’s Beyond ability, which allows you to reveal up to 3 units from the top of your deck and grants an extra attack. If you stack your deck just right, the Priestesses can deal a whopping 12 attack!

Shimmerstone Clerics can use their Barrier to protect the rest of their squad from receiving damage, often giving you a second chance at destroying an enemy squad. Radiant Paladins have Revive, which allows you to return a common unit from your discard pile to your draw pile every time the Radiant Paladins are activated.

You can pre-order the Fire Clan and the Light Clan now.

Learn more about Crystal Clans by watching some Dice Tower coverage.

Fantasy Flight Games has announced two new expansions to enhance your Star Wars™: Legion army – the Rebel Specialists Personnel Expansion and the Imperial Specialists Personnel Expansion.

Both expansions give you an alternative to the more well-known heroes, like Leia Organa and Darth Vader. Non-unique Rebel and Imperial officers, not as widely celebrated as other commanders, contribute to the cause nonetheless, making your armies more flexible with their ability to be deployed in two different ways.

These minis can be added to a specific unit as its leader, inspiring the troops in that unit to new heights. Alternatively, they can take on a larger role, becoming a cheap substitute for your other commanders. In this case, they can benefit your entire army by filling the role of commander, spotting targets for your other units or helping them take cover.

Each of the expansions contains everything needed to incorporate these specialists into your Star Wars: Legion units.

“Four finely sculpted specialist miniatures, including an officer, a comms specialist, a medical droid, and an astromech droid stand ready to support your units, while three new command cards give you the chance to further hone your battle plan and plot your strategies. Finally, an array of upgrade cards let you further customize your units, turning them into crack teams of soldiers.”

The Rebel Specialists Personnel Expansion and the Imperial Specialists Personnel Expansion are being released in the first quarter of 2019. Both can be pre-ordered now.

Watch some Dice Tower coverage of Star Wars: Legion.