Robert Searing

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It’s that time of year again – the time for the Dice Tower and it’s contributors to vote for the games worthy of an award among a variety of categories, not the least of which is the best game of year. These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2018.  You can see previous winners, along with this year’s nominees, on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.

Best Family Game of the year

Fireball Island
Gizmos
Reef
Space Base
My Little Scythe

Best Artwork

Everdell
Root
Grimm Forest
Cerebria
Rising Sun

Most Innovative

Chronicles of Crime
Nyctophobia
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
KeyForge
The Mind

Best Reprint

Fireball Island
Brass Lancashire
Endeavor: Age of Sail
High Society
The Estates

Best Strategy

Root
Teotihuacan
Brass Birmingham
Coimbra
Underwater Cities

Best Production

Rising Sun
Fireball Island
Everdell
Brass Birmingham
Grimm Forest

Best Expansion

Scythe: Rise of Fenris
Terraforming Mars: Prelude
Roll Player: Monsters and Minions
Great Western Trail: Rails to the North
Root: The Riverfolk

Best Game from a Small Publisher

Root – Leder Games
Chronicle of Crime – Lucky Duck Games
Underwater Cities – Delicious Games
Vindication – Orange Nebula LLC
Obsession – Kayenta Game

Best Cooperative Game of the year

Chronicles of Crime
Just One
The Mind
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Stuffed Fables

Best Two-Player

KeyForge
War Chest
Duelosaur Island
Haven
Mythic Battles: Pantheon

Best New Designer

Wolfgang Warsch (Quacks of Quedlinberg, The Mind, & Ganz Schon Clever)
David Cicurel (Chronicles of Crime)
Catherine Stippell (Nyctophobia)
Ivan Lashin (Smartphone Inc.)
Tim Eisner (Grimm Forest)

Best Party Game

Just One
Decrypto
The Mind
Drop it
Trapwords

Best Theming

Western Legends
Root
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Stuffed Fables
Chronicles of Crime

Game of the Year

Root
Teotihuacan
Chronicles of Crime
Underwater Cities
Brass Birmingham
Western Legends
Rising Sun
Architects of the West Kingdoms
Everdell
The Mind

Dice Tower News has previously reported about a board game television show in production- namely Above Board, created by actor/producer/director Travis Oates. The show will combine intelligent journalistic humor (think Daily Show or Last Week Tonight) with sketch comedy and features all the inside jokes and strange personalities that make our industry so special. Segments of the show are filmed with a live studio audience, and the Dice Tower community (that’s you, guys) is being given advance notice to become a part of history. If you are going to be in the Los Angeles area on May 1-3, you can be part of the audience for the next 6 episodes of Above Board. Just to sweeten the pot a bit, there will be game giveaways, food and general frivolity. Rumor has it that our own Tom Vasel may be present, as well as other surprise guests..

All the details are in the call for audience members below, so make sure to hit that phone hotline – I’m sure the show will fill up soon.

Renegade Games has announced they are bringing the English version of
Aza Chen‘s (Cat Tower) adorably cute Bubble Tea (2016) to Western shores. In Bubble Tea, 1-5 players start with 2 cup cards, decorated with a 3×4 square grid, and a set of clear overlay ingredient cards.

Welcome to the most popular bubble tea shop in Taiwan, where you’ll find rich, delicious milk tea filled with chewy pearls and jellies! To make an unforgettable drink, you’ll need to pay attention to crucial elements. More bubbles, less sugar, just the right amount of ice – all of this will make the drink taste different. Sounds good, right?

One player then rolls the ingredient dice, and everyone races to use the clear overlays to create a legal drink using all of the ingredients rolled. The first to complete their boba tea wins a customer card, and the first to impress 3 customers wins the game. Alternatively, the customer cards have drinks of varying difficulties players can attempt to create. Look for Bubble Tea this June at your FLGS, and for more information check out the Renegade Game web page here.

We recently experienced how Ticket to Ride could be just as fun trimmed down via Ticket to Ride: New York. Well, on the heals of it’s success, Days of Wonder has announced Ticket to Ride: London.

TTR: London will be a standalone game similar to it’s New York predecessor. It will be a bit bigger than the New York map and feature new bonuses to achieve.


In this fast-paced Ticket to Ride game, players race one another to claim the most important bus lines and complete their Destination Tickets, connecting Districts in the capital of the United Kingdom. The elegantly simple gameplay of this stand-alone version of Ticket to Ride is ideal for both beginners and seasoned players.

You can find out more by reading the official press release here.

Tsukuyumi: Full Moon Down is known for its asymmetrical strategy, deep game play, and immersive story.  Set in its own unique world where the moon has crashed into the Earth, causing chaos, devastating mankind, and mutating several species, the game features almost unlimited variability – no two games will play the same. Five diverse factions, each with their own special powers and capabilities, coupled with a terrain tile set to change the game board, and the different game modes like the mission oriented two-player mode and the six-players battle royale with the expansion are a recipe for high replayability.  The highly thematic game was well received by gamers and reviewers alike when it was published last year, but something seemed missing. Minis!  The original game used standees with full color thematic artwork for all the factions and types of figures. 

The new Kickstarter campaign will feature over 140 miniatures, including a few Kickstarter exclusives, such as the Legendary Oni.

The expansion, Tsukuyumi: After the Moonfall, is also receiving new miniatures, but it will include an all new faction: The Jade Sentinel (pandas!).

The Kickstarter campaign features a handful of special items, includes two new factions: The Fireborn (dragons) and Lords of the Lost Sea (blue wales).

If you already have the game, the Kickstarter campaign does have an option to back an upgrade, providing owners with all the miniatures for their game and ALL expansions.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through April 12 with an expected delivery of January 2020.  To learn more, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

Congratulations to Gary P, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Just prior to posting this announcement, instructions were emailed on how to claim his certificate.

Thank you to everyone that’s subscribed to our news (each week we’ll award a $10 CSI gift certificate to a random subscriber)! We hope that you’re enjoying the content provided and that it’s been informative.

We’d also like to express our gratitude towards Cool Stuff Inc for providing the gift certificates! We’ve given away hundreds of dollars so far! You can visit Cool Stuff’s web site here.

Pocket Box Games, as they sound, are games designed for and packaged in small plastic boxes that are easily transported so you can bring them with you anywhere.  How big are the boxes?  They measure a mere 4.25 inches in one direction, 7.25 inches in the other, and only 2 inches thick.  This puts it in the same size class as the Tiny Epic series of games, meaning they will be highly portable and you could easily bring several of them without much effort.  But enough about the box, what about the games?

The games they are packaging in these boxes are what really bring back the 80’s as they are reprinting classic SJG titles for these boxes.  The initial titles (not including stretch goals) are Illuminati, Ogre, GEV, Battlesuit, Car Wars, Truck Stop, and Crash City.  Also since they are wanting to really relive the time, they are making minimal to no additions or changes to these games so they will play like they did back in the day, although with a “2019 Reproduction” stamp on components so you can tell editions apart.  However, they did depart from the original in one way, and that’s the price.  Each pocket box game will cost you $20 plus shipping, with discounts for buying in sets of 4.  Also available are just empty pocket boxes themselves, that way if you have the original but the box is beat up and busted, you can just get the new and improved box at $10 per pair of boxes.

So if you are looking for some gold from Steve Jackson Games’ past in a brand new box, check out the Kickstarter page today!

Crypto-currency is pretty big right now, and mostly only a part of the financial world, but could that same kind of technology be used for board gaming?  Cryptogogue thinks the power of the blockchain can be leveraged for a trading card game to completely change the landscape of the game.  How it would do that you ask?  Well the blockchain is basically a list of records that is public and wide spread that records transactions between parties efficiently, permanently, and makes them easily verifiable.  With that you could apply it to a trading card game to create an environment where you can trade and sell cards all over the world from your very own home or FLGS, while reducing the possibility of fraud to nearly zero.  Add in a print-on-demand system and you can then take these digital cards into the real world and play with them.  There are even more benefits where you can take physical cards and scan them into the digital space, and you would be able to easily search records to see what cards were used by players in a tournament per say.  Overall this technology could change TCGs dramatically, but it first has to be tested with a game.

That is the second part of Cryptogogue’s plan, they will be leveraging this system in a new trading card game called Volition, a spiritual successor to the now dead game The Spoils.  The Spoils was a well received game and if not for bad timing in seeking more funds (they sought financing right before the 2007 financial crash) might still be in play today.  Volition will be a more streamlined and improved game and is said the be “accessible like Hearthstone,” yet more “skill-heavy, like The Spoils and Magic: The Gathering“.  Volition will only be hitting beta this year in the first quarter, but if things go well you may be seeing more of the game as it is deployed.  You can find out more information from the interview on CryptoSlate, or you can go join Volition’s forums to get in on the action.

For those of you anxiously awaiting the second printing of Jonathan Ying’s Bargain Quest, you can now also look forward to a brand new expansion, too! This fun little game of adventure and capitalism will offer even more must have items for heroes to choose from.

In Bargain Quest, players take on the role of shopkeeper trying to attract adventuring heroes to their shop over their opponents.  Each player will secretly draft from a deck of items to place in their shop windows and then help equip their heroes for an upcoming ad  kkiventure. Players earn money to upgrade their shop and hire employees based on how their hero fares in battle.

The Black Market expansion will offer players more heroes, employees, and play modes.  A new shipment of items will also be available to entice heroes to battle the new monsters.

Gather up to eight of your friends to see who can run the most successful shop with the most gold and prestige.  Renegade Games will be releasing the Black Market expansion in May 2019. Don’t worry if you missed out on the Kickstarter for the base game. It will be available through Renegade Games once the Kickstarter fulfillment is completed.

 

With the new year comes new game announcements, and AbacusSpiele isn’t holding back on theirs.

First on the list is the next game in the 3 Secrets line, this time called Crime Time.  In the 3 Secrets game there is one person who is the informant and knows the truth behind the crime, and it’s up to the rest of the players to question them to get clues.  Get enough clues and you can reveal the 3 secrets and solve the case!  Not much has changed with this new one except for the setting, which this time has you playing time traveling cops, going back in time to solve the mysteries of the time.  This game will be available in February of 2019.

Pearls is a new hand management style game where you are divers trying to dive for the most valuable pearls.  But the more valuable the pearl is, the fewer there are, and when you surface you only score the cards showing the same number and color.  But don’t just chuck the lower value pearls, those can be combined into necklaces for bonus points, helping you getting closer to victory.  Do all this within a 10 card hand limit and you just might win the game.  This game will be available in March of this year.

Next we have the latest in the Deckscape line, and that is Deckscape: Behind the Curtain.  In this version of the game you are the recipient of tickets to see the final magic show the great Lance Oldman.  As the show goes on you start to figure out the tricks behind his magic, but then the show takes a surprising twist!  Now you have to uncover all the magician’s secrets if you want to escape.  Look for this to be available in February of 2019.

Next we have a re-implementation of the game Dancing Eggs, called Crazy Eggz.  This is a fun kids game where you will be grabbing and trying to hold on to a bunch of eggs, but where you have to hold them is determined by the roll of a die.  Will you they be between your knees?  In the crook of your elbow?  Will you have to cluck or be silent?  You will have to roll the dice and do what they say until you can hold 5 eggs and be crowned the winner.  This is the latest release they announced so far with it coming out in May of this year.

And finally we have a trio of Sherlock games called Death on the 4th of July, Last Call, and The Curse of the Qhaqya.  These are deduction games similar to 3 Secrets, but this time no one knows the truth and so you will all have to figure it out together.  Everyone will have a hand of clue cards and on your turn you will decide if you want to play it out on the table, or discard it.  Played out cards are clues that you have collected and can help you solve the case or, if they end up being irrelevant, lose you points at the end.  You are free to talk about any of the cards you have in your hand, but while they are in your hand the information you can give out is incomplete and may not give the full picture.  Solve the case and catch the killer before he gets away!  Look for all three of these to be available in February of 2019.