Michael Korson

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There’s been a lot of anxiety lately in the board game community regarding a 25% tariff on Chinese imports proposed by President Trump’s administration that would include board games, board game components and accessories – and one Game Publisher has decided to do something about it!

Chip Boyd and Neil Gilstrap of Happy Gorilla Game Studio will be heading to Washington D.C. to appear before the U.S. Trade Representative on June 24th to testify about the impact that the proposed tariff would have on Kickstarter campaigns and game publishers that are currently in mid-fulfillment and are facing having to pay these tariffs as soon as their games shipment hits the dock. Chip and Neil also plan to advocate for a change in the tariff’s wording that would diminish the overall impact the tariff would have on mid-fulfillment Kickstarters. No word if their testimony will be shown on C-SPAN or not.

In addition to their advocacy efforts, Happy Gorilla Game Studio has also launched a second Kickstarter to help defray the potential tariff costs for their War for Indagar campaign, which is currently in fulfillment and shipping from China now (literally, it’s on the boat). The campaign offers an opportunity to grab a copy of War for Indagar, if you missed out on the original campaign, or some additional miniatures, both of which will be fulfilled using surplus stock from the current incoming shipment (so no need to launch another Kickstarter campaign to cover the tariff costs for this campaign too). Note that Happy Gorilla Game Studio assures backers of the original War for Indagar Kickstarter that it will fulfill, regardless of the success of this new campaign.

Details about the Happy Gorilla Studio Kickstarter campaign can be found here.

Fans of heroic rodent campaign games, rejoice! Plaid Hat Games has announced that ‘Aftermath,’ the latest entry in the Adventure Book Game series, is now available for pre-order.

Designed by Stuffed Fables and Mice and Mystics designer Jerry Hawthorne, Aftermath is set in a world where humans have mysteriously vanished, leaving common animals like mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other small creatures to inherit the Earth. Across 27 story-driven mission, Players will take on the role of one of these animals and must explore suburban ruins in order to scavenge for food and other resources to provide for their colony while also being on guard against predators.

The game promises dynamic card play that will allow players to complete a wide variety of actions and also will include a mechanic for players to choose whether to use combat or diplomacy to resolve various threats. Finally, similar to Dead of Winter, each player will have a personal goal to accomplish in addition to the main objective.

The list of contents, pre-order and other information about this upcoming release can be found here.

Cooperative Game Scheduled for Fall Release

There has been a disturbance in the Force as a rare, non-FFG Star Wars-themed game has been announced today. USAopoly (who also goes by the name ‘The OP’) and Disney Consumer Products UK have publicized the pending release of Star Wars: Dark Side Rising, a new cooperative card and dice game that is set during the events immediately prior to and during Star Wars: A New Hope. The game is designed for 2-4 players for ages 10 and up and has an estimated game time of 45 minutes.

In this light strategy game, each player will lead their own Rebel cell, led by their starting Team Leader (either Captain Cassian Andor, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker or Hera Syndulla), as they work together to recruit other iconic characters (such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Admiral Raddus) and prevent the construction of the original Death Star to thwart the Empire’s overall plans for domination of the galaxy. A custom-sculpted 3D Darth Vader bust is featured on the game board that commands the Imperial forces trying to either wipe out the Rebels or make the Death Star operational. The Rebels win by defeating enough Imperial agents before the Empire is able to either successful bring the Death Star online or eliminates too many of the Rebellion’s assets.

The game will be released in the European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) regions in the fall. It is unclear from the announcement whether this game will be exclusive to the EMEA regions or will receive a North American release at a later date. However, The OP has stated that Star Wars: Dark Side Rising was designed specifically for EMEA.

Admittedly, the look of the game from the images released and the described game-play sounds very similar to The OP’s earlier board game Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War. The shared use of the term ‘Rising’ in both titles also suggests that Star Wars: Dark Side Rising may be the latest entry in a unofficial board game series begun with Thanos Rising.

Star Wars: Dark Side Rising will also be showcased at the UK Games Expo as well as DISTOY 2019 in London.

More information about this release is available here.

Fantasy Flight Announces Event for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Fantasy Flight Games will be letting players take their fellowship deep into the depths of the ancient halls of the Dwarves in ‘The Mines of Moria,’ a recently announced event at GenCon for its living card game The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

In The Mines of Moria, players will be able to play with a new expansion pack of 78 cards that features new quests and encounters, as well as twists on familiar cards with new and unexpected abilities. Using the 7 new quest cards and 14 new encounter decks (consisting of 5 cards each), players will be able to design their own custom adventure for their exploration of Moria. Players have increased flexibility with how they design their scenario, with the quick-build option having players simply select 5 encounter decks or the advanced-build which allows players to select 35 individual encounter cards from the various encounter decks, giving even more options for customization.

Creatures that the players will face include spiders, cave trolls, goblins, The Watcher of the West Gate and others familiar from the novels, as well as new creatures such as savage werewolves.

In addition to the standard cooperative mode, players can also now choose to play competitively, with two or four players competing individually or in teams of two to be the first to overcome their opponent’s designed scenario.

Registration for this GenCon event is live now, with tickets priced at $30 per seat. More information about this event can be found here.

The Nominees for the 2019 Spiel des Jahres Awards were announced on May 20th, 2019. The ultimate winners of this year’s awards will be announced on July 22nd, 2019 in Berlin.

The nominees for each respective category (along with their designer(s)) are:

Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year):

Just One (Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter)

LAMA (Reiner Knizia)
Werewords (Ted Alspach)

Kinderspiel des Jahres
(Children’s Game of the Year):

Fabulantica (Marco Teubner)
Go Gecko Go! (Jurgen Adams)
Valley of the Vikings (Marie and Wilfried Fort)

Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur – Enthusiast Game of the Year):

Carpe Diem (Stefan Feld)
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game (Ignacy Trzewiczek, Przemysław Rymer, Jakub Łapot)
Wingspan (Elizabeth Hargrave)

In addition to the nominees, the selection jury also published a list of recommended games/honorable mentions for each award category.

The official announcement regarding the 2019 nominees can be viewed here.