Robert Searing


galaxy trucker digi

If you missed the update last month, Czech Games Edition provided an updated to the digital port of Galaxy Trucker and announced the upcoming digital Through the Ages.  CGE states that they want “To make everything we develop as polished as possible. So although the game is almost ready for release now, we decided to revise and improve our online multiplayer system, because we believe that comfortable and stable multiplayer is essential for any digital boardgame implementation.” The expected release of Galaxy Trucker has been pushed to September 2014 and is being developed for Android, Windows, and iOS.

    Picture Courtesy of Happy Mitten Games

    Picture Courtesy of Happy Mitten Games

    Grant Rodiek (Farmageddon, Sol Rising, Battle for York) opens up and discusses “raising the bar.”

    The soul of a designer,” Rodiek states, is “when a game is pitched, self-published, or on a shelf, should be at peace. Rejection should come from customers who don’t enjoy this type of game, or publishers for whom the game isn’t the right fit. But, you should not be restless, uncertain, reckless, or overly introspective.”

      trains route bonus

      Alderac Entertainment Group posted a little more information on their upcoming expansion, Rising Sun, for 2012’s Trains.  Trains: Rising Sun is designed by Steve Ellis (II) and Hisashi Hayashi and will come with Bonus Cards that will “claim more points by completing specific routes,” cited on their Facebook post.

      character meeples

      Meeple Source currently has a Kickstarter for 23 custom character meeples designed to be used with Scott Almes’ (Kings of Air and Steam, Martian Dice) recently funded Kickstarter micro-game Tiny Epic Defenders from Gamelyn Games.

      For people who follow board game releases on Kickstarter, this new campaign may sound like déjà vu. Back in March, Meeple Source had a Kickstarter campaign where you could buy custom character meeples for game like the then-recently-Kickstarter-funded micro-game Scott Almes’ Tiny Epic Kingdoms.

      hero meeples

      Tiny Epic Defenders is a cooperative micro-game where 1 to 4 players work together to defend their capital city from waves of enemies. Every round, players flip cards from a deck that allows either the players or the horde of monsters to attack. After the entire horde is defeated, players must take down the “Epic Foe” to win. Detailed rules for the game can be found online.

      Tiny Epic Defenders is due to release in March 2015. The Kickstarter for the character meeples ends this Sunday, and should be delivered in February 2015.

      Picture Courtesy of Dice Hate Me Games

      Picture Courtesy of Dice Hate Me Games

      T.C. Petty III is a game designer of 2012’s VivaJava: The Coffee Game and last year’s dice variant, VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game.  Last week he posted an interesting article on tumblr, ‘7 Reviewer Tactics That Could Kill You.’

      Petty states that “This, my dear readers, is a list of traps and logical fallacies for reviewers to avoid; some helpful criticism that may jog your creative muscles or make you swoon with indignation.”

      castle panic bday banner

      If you are in the Austin, Texas area this coming weekend, Fireside Games will be at the Emerald Tavern Games and Cafe on Sunday, July 27.  They will have demos of all their games and giveaways so check out their website for more information.

      Also on their site, Fireside announced that on Saturday, September 13 they will be hosting a day long celebration of Castle Panic’s 5 year birthday in Austin and “wherever you are.”  More information can be found here.  To help you party anywhere, Fireside put together a Host An At-Home Castle Panic Party kit.


      Coming Soon from Mindware Games.

      qwirkle expansion

      Qwirkle Expansion Boards

      These new double-sided expansion boards will feature powerful star tokens that allow you to remove a tile from the board and add it to your hand and other opportunities for points by connecting starter tiles.

       castle blast

      Castle Blast

      In this medieval dexterity game, players armed with wrecking balls attack their opponents’ castles and attempt to retrieve treasure, defeat the dragon, and, of course, save a princess.  Tokens are earned for each successful feat and the first player to three wins.  Components include 26 solid wood blocks, 1 wrecking ball, and 12 tokens.

      chip up

      Chip Up!

      This is a dice game where players roll dice and steal chips.  The dice will tell you which colors are fair game to steal and can be stolen from the pot or other players.  There is a “push your luck” mechanism that adds risk to achieve the tallest stack of chips.  When the pot is empty, the game is over.  Components include 1 action die, 1 color die, and 44 chips.

      cart before horese

      Cart Before The Horse

      In this solo, puzzle, brainteaser game for ages 8 and up, players use deductive reasoning to arrange illustrated chips in the right sequence by following clues.

      find your way gnome

      Find Your Way Gnome

      Another logic puzzle game for one player, this maze has a player connecting gnomes and homes of matching colors to find the correct patch home.  Each set includes 50 double-sided wipe-off cards (100 puzzles rated easy, intermediate or hard), 2 dry erase markers, full-color instructions and a sturdy storage tin.



      This construction game comes with a 3-D frame playing board. Players take turns trying to balance the 12”-long playing sticks within the frame without causing a crash. It’s a creative challenge that pits players against each other while putting their own building abilities to the test. Components include 50 wooden sticks, base pieces, and 1 die.

      qbitz extreme

      Q-bitz Extreme

      In this game for 2 to 4 players, each get their own Q-bitz Extreme board with 16 cubes, and race to be first to replicate the curving pattern to win the card. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.  Components include 80 pattern cards.

      qbitz solo

      Q-bitz Solo: Orange & Magenta

      Q-bitz Solo is a solitaire challenge or can be used to add another player, a new color and additional pattern cards to the original Q-bitz game.  Components include 20 new pattern cards, a wooden tray, 16 cubes, and a travel tin.

      dungeon fighter big wave

      Fantasy Flight Games posted a preview of their upcoming expansion to the dexterity dice game, Dungeon Fighter: The Big Wave.  The setting of this second expansion will introduce new watery monsters and equipment.

      Featuring the legendary Black Lagoon Creature, oxygen tokens (that track player’s breath), and healing spells, designers Aureliano Buonfino, Lorenzo Silva, and Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino will still get players caught in the tide with a new choking ability and a new hero, Jack Parrot.

      The Big Wave is currently available for pre-order and is expected to release soon.

      star realms mats

      White Wizard Games will be releasing play mats for Star Realms next month.

      Star Realms, designed by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, is a spaceship combat deckbuilding game that offers all the thrills of traditional trading card game style combat, combined with the fun of a deckbuilding game. Play powerful ships, destroy enemy bases or blast your opponent directly on your way to victory!

      The new Star Realms War World and Battle Mech play mats provide the perfect surface for playing Star Realms with 2-6 players!

      star realms mats 2

      spiel_des_jahres 150

      Spiel des Jahres 2014

      Last week’s Dice Tower Awards went so well that it’s not surprising that other organizations have jumped on the bandwagon of naming a game of the year. No hard feelings though, I’ve heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

      But seriously, the Spiel des Jahres (German for Game of the Year) is probably the most important award of gaming. Without this award, the gateway greats that introduced most of us into this hobby (like Ticket to Ride, The Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Dominion) may not have reached the level of popularity that they currently have. And now, joining that list of classics as this year’s Spiel des Jahres winner is Steffen Bogen’s Camel Up. This game about betting on racing camels beat the other well-received nominees’ Marc Andre’s Splendor and Concept by Gaëtan Beaujannot and Alain Rivollet.

      The other big award that was given out was the Kennerspiel des Jahres, which is given to the best strategy game. Rüdiger Dorn’s Istanbul, a game about trading rupees with the help of your assistants in the Turkish city formerly known as Constantinople, won this award over Mac Gerdts’ Concordia, and Rococo by Matthias Cramer, Louis Malt and Stefan Malz.

      If you’re interested in any of these games, the increase in publicity from these awards often causes them to become more widely available. For example, Z-Man Games has announced that they will be releasing Camel Up in North America before the end of the year.

      kickstarter logo

      The Kickstarter Gold Rush

      The theme of the old west is deceptively popular. On one hand, western themed games don’t seem to rake in nearly as much funding in Kickstarter projects as the zombie genre. Zombicide consistently makes well over a million dollars per campaign, and other recent games within the genre also are impressively well-received. For examples, check out the Kickstarters for games like Zombie 15’, Escape: Zombie City, and even smaller games like We Are Dead.

      On the other hand, the article with the highest view count last week (other than the Spiel des Jahres announcement) was about the new western themed game on Kickstarter Wanted: The Outlaws. At the time of writing, the small game has been a modest success. Last week, Tom Vasel reviewed Spurs: A Tale in the Old West, which was another successful Kickstarter game. In an interview with Sean Brown, the president of Mr. B Games, he seemed surprised by how well the Spurs was selling. So, although these games may not receive the funding and press that more popular and bloated genres do, it’s worth noting that a lot of gamers are still interested in finding the next Bang!
      thedicetower logo2

      What’s New with the Dice Tower?

      1. Sometimes we have to admit things about ourselves that other people may not like. Case-in-point: Tom Vasel loves destruction. Last year when Board Game Breakfast first took off, Tom’s initial opening sequences in videos were innocent enough. He would do something simple, like pour milk in a bowl of dice or Ticket to Ride trains. As time went by, those cheap thrills weren’t exciting enough. He began to boil Memoir ’44 army men over the stove and smear jam over Marvel Dice Masters cards. Some people have not taken it so well.

      In last week’s Board Game Breakfast, Tom defended his “misuse” of components. While Tom has talked about his component drops in previous videos, his most recent explanation does an excellent job of describing why he cooks his components, as well as his views on the value of games. You may not agree with what he says, but it is an interesting argument. Also, he’s probably never going to stop. So at the very least, if Tom ever invites you over to play a board game in the morning, you know that you probably shouldn’t let him make you breakfast.

      2. Tom Vasel hosted a special Q&A segment this week, and a lot of the questions he answered focused on the big events that would be coming up within the next few weeks. Perhaps the most exciting event to look forward to is Gen Con, which will be taking place from August 14 to 17. You can look forward to a lot of previews of new games and interviews with designers, similar to the content that the Dice Tower offered during Origins Gaming Convention last month. In the more immediate future, the long-awaited Top 100 lists from frequent Top 10 and Miami Dice co-host Sam Healey and Zee Garcia will begin to be recorded this week.

      Speaking of Top 10 list, a few hints were given about what to expect within the next few games. The Top 10 Fantasy Games was already recorded in front of a live audience during the Dice Tower Con. Other upcoming Top 10 include the top Queen Games and the Top 10 Milton Bradley games. Also Tom’s lips are still sealed about a Musical Episode that he’s been hinting at for a long time. Forget turning components into sandwiches, if you’re looking for game-related spectacle, you should keep a look out for that episode.