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.
Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new age: a new age of Twilight. Twilight Imperium, that is, in the form of a fourth edition of the epic 4x space strategy game that has been loved and celebrated in the gaming industry for many years. This new edition celebrates 20 years of this epic space opera board game of expansion, diplomacy, and war to control the galaxy, best explained in this excerpt from the official release:
For twenty years, the custom space operas created by Twilight Imperium have thrilled gamers like nothing else. Now, Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition builds on the grand space opera found in previous editions while streamlining rules and putting player interaction center stage…Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition aims to be the most complete version of the game ever printed. Seventeen playable races are included in the game, offering a wide variety of starting faction options. Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition brings a galactic space opera to your table, and no two games will ever be the same.
This new version of the game will include 350 plastic units, 51 system tiles, 561 command and control tokens, 80 action cards, 50 agenda cards, 40 objective cards, 59 planet cards, 184 technology and technology upgrade cards, 41 promissory note cards, and much more.
TI veterans will likely be asking (as I did!) what the main differences are between TI3 and TI4. Some of the main changes include a stunning new graphic design and layout, but with the same great and familiar artwork flavor. Additionally, changes will be seen in game mechanisms such as Trade, Technology, PDS Units, Space Docks, Politics, and the Imperial Strategy Card, to name a few. FFG has anticipated the question of specific changes to the game in their product description, which can be read here.
The game is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2017. To read the entire article that announces the new version of the game, click here.
Ares Games has opened up pre-orders for a Limited Edition of the War of the Ring expansion Warriors of Middle-earth. This edition includes higher quality components such as 48 hand-painted figures in special deluxe packaging and a limited edition certificate of authenticity. A minimum of 1,200 copies and maximum of 2,400 copies will be printed and sold by pre-order only for $129.90 ($154.58 including VAT for copies shipping inside the EU) plus postage and packing.
Warriors of Middle-earth is the second expansion for War of the Ring Second Edition board game. It brings Ents, Dead Men of Dunharrow, Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Corsairs of Umbar, Wild Hilmen from Dunland, and Giant Spiders, previously featured only as special Event Cards. They become essential part of the game, with unique figures and specific abilities to be combined with new mechanics to open up new strategies when playing the War of the Ring.
Pre-orders will close on August 21st (or when 2,400 copies are pre-ordered), and will be serviced on a first come, first served basis, with a strict limit of one copy per customer’s address.
Visit the Ares Games page to pre-order your copy!
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.
Dawn of the Archmage continues the rich fantasy world of Archmage Origins. Once the rulers of Sorcado, mages have fallen from power. Challengers arrive from every corner of the land. Knighted Paladins, land-hungry Lords… all seek to dethrone the mages. But mages don’t go down easily. It’s time to fight back!
SolarFlare Games announces their latest Kickstarter project, Dawn of the Archmage, a miniatures skirmish game in which each player controls a mage from a school of magic. Each player will be summoning powerful monsters to the battlefield and pitting them against the other players in battle. The winner of the game will rise above the other mages, ascending to the rank of Archmage.
Here’s a look at more from the press release for Dawn of the Archmage:
Each mage uses summoning powers to bring new and dangerous creatures to the battlefield. Expending massive mystical energy, their battle grows in frenetic power as monstrous beasts fight for the mages who control them, seeking to destroy all challengers in a magic-fueled frenzy.
In addition to summoning fearsome creatures to fight, mages possess a selection of powerful spells. With a single word, the battle can shift. Manipulating odds, controlling movement, and countering rival spells, the mage’s strategy will determine the supreme ruler of Sorcado.
The battle rages everywhere. Modular map tiles allow the mages to customize the battle area. Large, sprawling battlefields or close, confined ones… the fight is different every time. Will it be the Arena? The Forest? The Ruins? Or even Underground?
Dawn of the Archmage goes live on Kickstarter on August 1, 2017. The project features two separate pledge levels, the first including one copy of the game, and the other including a copy of the game as well as the card game Archmage Origins.
Dawn of the Archmage is for 2-4 players ages 8 and up and plays in 40-80 minutes. For more information on the project, visit the Kickstarter page here.
Spin Master Games has partnered with Wiggles 3D Games to produce and sell the retail version of 5-Minute Dungeon. 5-Minute Dungeon is a co-operative, real-time dungeon crawling card game for 2-5 players that plays in 5 minutes, and was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year with almost 8,000 backers.
The retail version has an all-new cover in a unique hourglass-shaped box and comes with:
- 200 player cards (5 decks of 40 cards each)
- 50 dungeon cards (40 door cards and 10 challenge cards)
- 5 double sided player mats (10 heroes total)
- 5 boss mats
As expected, the retail version doesn’t include the extra content added during the campaign (the Kickstarter deck, Baby Barbarian figurine, and 2 Kickstarter boss mats), but still has the same high quality components as the Kickstarter edition.
The game is available for purchase now on Target.com.
For more information and updates on the game, visit the 5-Minute Dungeon Kickstarter Update page.
Quick on the heels of the release of Not Alone at Origins last month, an expansion has been announced, Not Alone: Exploration. In this first expansion, new Hunt cards will be available for the Creature, new Survival cards will be added for the Hunted, and 10 new Location cards are added for the planet Artemia. The location cards can be played on their own, or they can be mixed in with the Locations for the base game, giving Not Alone an almost infinite combination of places to explore.
Not Alone is published by Stronghold Games and designed by Ghislain Masson. It’s an asymmetrical game in which one player plays as a Creature trying to hunt down the other players that have crashed on the planet Artemia. The Hunted explore the planet by selecting a Location card and revealing it simultaneously, but only after the Creature uses Hunt cards and power tokens to stalk the the survivors and predict the location(s) that they are exploring. Captured explorers lose willpower and move the Creature closer to a total assimilation victory. Savvy (or lucky) explorers that don’t get captured are able to use the ability of the location they went to, sometimes revealing new locations on the planet, and thus reducing the changes of being captured by the Creature. It’s an intense, immersive, thematic card game with guessing, bluffing, hand management, and a pinch of deck-building that plays great with 2 to 7 players in 30-45 minutes.
Come visit the planet Artemia again, if you dare, in NOT ALONE: Exploration, which will release later this year.
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.
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