Dice Tower Newsletter

Robert Searing

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USAopoly is continuing their magic streak this year at GenCon. First off is an entry into the magical world of Disney with this version of Codenames, specifically Codnames: Disney Family Version which was being demo’d in their booth. Codenames was a *huge* 2015 hit from designer Vlaada Chvátil. Codenames: Disney Family Edition keeps the Codenames gameplay, while featuring characters and locations from a variety of Disney and Pixar films, with words on one side of the cards and images on the other. As mentioned the game is only being demo’d at the booth and will be available for purchase soon.

Continuing with their magical flare, USAopoly extended their winning streak with the release of the expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle  namely the Monster Box of Monsters Expansion. Before mentioning a single thing about the booth, however, it’s important to note that their demo area was, again, doused in theme with music playing and smoke brewing.

The Monster Box of Monsters expansion is just that, an expansion, and requires the base game to play.

Venture into the Forbidden Forest with The Monster Box of Monsters, the highly anticipated expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Play as Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville or Luna Lovegood as you face frightening creatures and challenging encounters. Beware of any wrongdoing that might earn you detention! Only working together to defeat the evil forces and protecting iconic locations will make the Wizarding World safe once and for all!

Luna Lovegood is now a playable character and can be used in the base game as well

Much like the base game, there is much to be discovered on your own in this game and I don’t want to spoil a thing. Pictured above is a small representation of some of the cards that will be featured. You’ll have to deal with adding “junk” to your deck which will require spells to remove.

Moving right along is Super Mario Bros the Power Up Card Game. In Power Up, players receive, every round, a secret level card at random, with these cards being numbered 1-12. After looking at their card, each player in order can swap their card with the one held by their right-hand neighbor. Will you get something better? Maybe! If someone has a castle card, they’re immune from trade or disasters this round. After everyone has traded or passed, players can play “? Block” power-ups to affect their strength or others. Whoever has the lowest score in a round loses one of their life tokens, and if you lose all four life, you’re out of the game! Both Power Up and Harry Potter are available for purchase at the USAopoly booth.

And if that wasn’t magical enough for you, there’s always Golden Girls…..

USAopoly is can be found in booth 149.

 

 

Blue Orange Games is no newcomer to high-quality games. With hits such as New York 1901 and this year’s Spiel des Jahres winner, Kingdomino, Blue Orange has been diving deeper into the arena of family board games. Well, this year they hit a new plateau with Photoshynthesis. Photosynthesis is a strategy game in where you plant trees and harvest them at the right time to earn points. The sun will traverse the board providing sun points to those trees that have line of site to it (without being in the shadow of another tree).

The game has outstanding components with high-durable trees and beautiful artwork.

The sun shines brightly on the canopy of the forest, and the trees use this wonderful energy to grow and develop their beautiful foliage. Sow your crops wisely and the shadows of your growing trees could slow your opponents down, but don’t forget that the sun revolves around the forest. Welcome to the world of Photosynthesis, the green strategy board game!

Come see this beauty over at booth 1811 at GenCon!

Not only did Fantasy Flight Games announce they will be releasing TI4 at GenCon this year, but the Dice Tower crew was able to get in some play time this evening. The game is expected to retail for $150.

 

Greater than Games has quite a presence at GenCon this year. Specifically, they are launching three new titles this year. First up, to discuss is Spirit Island (also with Branch & Claw expansion). Spirit Island is a cooperative game with a little bit of a twist. In typical coops players join forces to beat some sort of catastrophic calamity. Well, in this game, players are spirits who are trying to ward off invaders from your island.

The Invaders expand across the island map in a semi-predictable fashion. Each turn they explore into some lands (portions of the island); the next turn, they build in those lands, forming settlements and cities. The turn after that, they ravage there, bringing blight to the land and attacking any native islanders present.

The islanders fight back against the Invaders when attacked, and lend the spirits some other aid, but may not always do so exactly as you’d hoped. Some Powers work through the islanders, helping them (eg) drive out the Invaders or clean the land of blight.

The game escalates as it progresses: spirits spread their presence to new parts of the island and seek out new and more potent powers, while the Invaders step up their colonization efforts. Each turn represents 1-3 years of alternate-history.

Not only does Spirit island, from a mechanics perspective, have a lot going for it, but it sports gorgeous and high quality components. From durable plastic cities (that can be used, itself, to represent damage taken by laying the city token on it’s side in various positions) to wooden pawn characters, Spirit Island is chuck full of fun with beautiful artwork. It is designed by R. Eric Reuss and is published by GTG “Fabled Nexus” division. It’s available at GenCon and is a must-have.

Also available from GTG is a Cthulhu themed game from designers Christopher Kirkman, Richard Launius (no stranger to Cthulhu), and Darrell Louder. This game also features detailed and durable miniatures and sports wonderful artwork. This game, unlike Spirit Island, is a head-to-head game where players are cultists trying to summon an ancient evil.

During the game, players use a variable hand of spell cards to do one of two things to aid their cult in their mission: Use the spell’s Astral Symbol to navigate the areas around Arkham on the unique Fate Clock board, or use the symbols in a location’s Astral Column to ready a spell. Readied spells can be cast at any time, but while in a cult’s Spell Reserve their primary Astral Symbol can aid in readying future spells, creating an engine for pumping out more potential power.

Also releasing with the base game will be the Beasts from Beyond expansion which, among other things, will allow the summoning of new Elder Gods: Shub-Niggurath, Ghatanothoa, Dagon, and Yig.

And if this wasn’t enough, Greater than Games is also releasing Lazer Ryderz. What is Lazer Rydersz? Think Tron light-cycle meets X-Wing.

Featured in these four retro-style VHS-like boxes, Lazer Ryderz comes with four different racers (each in their own box with their own race templates).

Lazer Ryderz is a trackless racing game for up to 4 players with light push-your-luck, area denial, and strategy elements. Players construct their lazer paths with various pre-formed punchboard pieces that are placed according to speed and desired direction.

Greater than Games has really hit it out of the ball park this year with some great releases. You can visit them this year at booth 1343.

 

 

Bezier Games has announced that the One Night Ultimate World Championships will occur during GenCon50, specifically on Friday August 18. There will be more than 150 participants, and all possible roles from the game will be filled. Ted Alspach himself will moderate the event, and a live orchestra will be present. And if that is not enough, a new game from Bezier will be announced at the event.

There are only about 20 tickets left to the event as of Sunday, August 6th. Check out the official GenCon50 website for One Night Ultimate World Championships here.

Through the Desert is a classic Reiner Knizia abstract game that has gotten some great reviews and sits at #15 for abstract games.  The game is exceedingly simple to play, on your turn you place two camels of any color you like.  When you place camels you have to match their color to ones already on the board, placing them adjacent to each other.  One restriction is that you can’t place ANY camels adjacent to your opponent’s camels, meaning you can cut off sections of the board with clever placement.

What you are trying to do with these camels is either connect or encircle the watering holes or oasis on the board.  Watering holes are worth 1 to 3 points and oasis are worth 5 points.  You also get bonus points for if you fully enclose an area by how big that area is.  Most points at the end is the winner.

Since this is a reprint of an older game, and part of Z-Man’s Euro Classics line, the art and components have been updated to match modern published games.  They did the usual revising of the rules to eliminate ambiguities, and even created a second side to the board for an additional way to play by adding in the Niger river.  Needless to say, if you like the original or like abstract games, give this one a look when it hits store shelves later this year.  For more info you can head on over to Z-Man’s website.

Arena battle games are nothing new however Ascended Kings caught our eye. Many current games utilize cards for pawns. Ascended Kings is chock full of minis, dice, cards and sports some pretty fancy artwork. Additionally, it’s based upon a graphic novel that will be available to purchase.

Story by Jason M. Allen and Nick Macari, written by Nick Macari, and illustrated by comic legends Renae De Liz & Ray Dillon, artists from A Game of Thrones and The Legend of Wonder Woman. Ascended Kings: The Fall of Empyrnea is a 60-page, fantasy hardcover graphic novel based on the arena combat board game centered around the four kings of Empyrnea. This is the first installment of the Omega Mundus Series. This book is not required to play the board game, but it is a perfect companion to immerse yourself into the Ascended Kings Universe!

Ascended Kings is being published by Incarnate Games and is designed by Jason M Allen. This one almost slipped by us as it only has a few more days left on Kickstarter.

Engage in free-for-all combat to the death, spurred on by slowly encroaching walls of fire. With no player elimination, fallen kings immediately return to the battle as Revenants—powerful dark beings from the fringe dimension—keeping every player in the fight until the four kings’ Bloodstones are united and the ultimate source of power, the Omega Stone, is summoned.

To learn more about the project and fund it you can visit the Kickstarter page here.

Do you like clear water beaches, pools, diving, rock climbing, shows…? Ok, do you like board games? Well, the Dice Tower Cruise is for YOU! Last year was a blast! This year is geared to be even more fun with a second port stop planned. Like last year we will be stopping in Cozumel but this year we’ll be adding in a stop at Costa Maya!

The Dice Tower Cruise adds quite a few amenities not found on your run-of-the mill cruise. There are quite a few shows to check out, including game shows and the Dice Tower Live show. There’s a game room with a HUGE selection of all the newest games. The Dice Tower crew will be mingling around with plenty of opportunity to meet Tom, Eric, Sam, and Zee. We’ll be sailing in December and tickets are bound to go fast (we sold out last year). You can find out more information here.

 

Say goodbye to flimsy department store bags and repurposed drum cases—a new board game bag on Kickstarter is here to upgrade the way you carry your favorite games. The Board Game Garage is stylish and versatile, with the ability to carry everything from the smallest accessories to oversized favorites like Gloomhaven, Scythe, and Conan. The main compartment can fit up to six standard-sized square games!

The bag is padded and comes with side handles and an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying. It also folds flat when not in use. The project funded quickly and stretch goals include a waterproof rain cover and alternative colors. Head over to Kickstarter and check it out!

The 2017 Spiel des Jahres award nominees have been announced. The “Game of the Year 2017” will be selected on July 17, 2017 in Berlin. There were several other games that made it to the jury’s “recommendation” list and they can be viewed on the official announcement here.

Game of the Year 2017 (Spiel des Jahres)

Kingdomino by Bruno Cathala
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Prestigious tile laying for 2 to 4 crowned terrain planners
Magic Maze by Kasper Lapp
Publisher: Sit Down !, Distribution: Pegasus Spiele
Cooperative shopping house break for 1 to 8 hectic heroes
Race to El Dorado of Reiner Knizia
Publisher: Ravensburger
Deck building in the jungle for 2 to 4 fast treasure hunters
Children’s Game of the Year 2017 (Kinderspiel des Jahres)
Captain Silver  by Wolfgang Dirscherl & Manfred Reindl
Publisher: Queen Games
Fast-paced treasure hunting for 2 to 4 sensitive pirates from 6 years
ICECOOL  by Brian Gomez
Publishing house: Amigo Interlaced snips for 2 to 4 ice-cold schoolchildren from 6 years
The Mysterious Forest  of Carlo A. Rossi
Publisher: Iello, Vertrieb. Yikes! & Friends
Adventurous journey for 2 to 4 clever scouts from 6 years
Connoisseur-Enthusiast Game of the Year 2017 (Kennerspiel des Jahres)
Exit – The Game * by Inka Brand and Markus Brand
Publisher: Kosmos
Congenial Knobeleien for 1 to 6 (our recommendation: 1 to 4) creative cryptologists
* “The Abandoned Hut”, “The Secret Laboratory”, “The Grave Chamber of Pharaoh”
Raider of the North Sea by Shem Phillips
Publisher: Schwerkraft-Verlag
Plentiful plundering for 2 to 4 walkers-worshiping Vikings

Image from the English 2nd Printing

Terraforming Mars by Jacob Fryxelius
Publisher: Schwerkraft-Verlag
Planetary project development for 1 to 5 climate changing corporate boards