51st State Master Set

It’s that time of year again, the Dice Tower has announced their nominees for the best games of 2016.  These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2016.  You can see previous winners along with this year’s nominees and their pictures on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.  And now, your nominees:

Best Game from a New Designer  (The game has to be the designer’s first or second published game to qualify for this award)

Best Artwork

  • Arkham Horror: The Card Game – illustrated by Christopher Hosch, Ignacio Bazán Lazcano, Henning Ludvigsen, Mercedes Opheim, Zoe Robinson, and Evan Simonet; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Inis – illustrated by Dimitri Bielak & Jim Fitzpatrick; published by Matagot
  • Islebound – illustrated by Ryan Laukat; published by Red Raven Games
  • Kanagawa – illustrated by Jade Mosch; published by Iello
  • Scythe – illustrated by Jakub Rozalski; published by Stonemaier Games

Best Theming

  • Black Orchestra – designed by Philip duBarry; published by Game Salute
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • SeaFall – designed by Rob Daviau; published by Plaid Hat Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Two-Player Game

Best Reprint

Best Expansion

Best Party Game

  • Codenames: Pictures– designed by Vlaada Chvátil; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Happy Salmon – designed by Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir; published by North Star Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Secret Hitler – designed by Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, & Max Temkin; published by Goat Wolf & Cabbage

Best Cooperative Game

Best Family Game

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, & Andrew Wolf; published by USAopoly
  • Ice Cool – designed by Brian Gomez; published by Brain Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Karuba – designed by Rüdiger Dorn; published by HABA
  • Sushi Go Party! – designed by Phil Walker-Harding; published by Gamewright

Best Strategy Game

  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Board Game Production

  • Conan – designed by Frédéric Henry, Antoine Bauza, Pascal Bernard, Bruno Cathala, Croc, Ludovic Maublanc, & Laurent Pouchain; published by Monolith
  • The Others – designed by Eric M. Lang; published by Cool Mini or Not
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games

Most Innovative Game

Best Game from a Small Publisher  (The published must have published five or fewer games at the beginning of 2015)

  • Arkwright – designed by Stefan Risthaus; published by Capstone Games
  • Cottage Garden– designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Edition Spielwiese
  • Not Alone – designed by Ghislain Masson; published by Geek Attitude Games
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • Vast: The Crystal Caverns – designed by David Somerville; published by Leder Games

Game of the Year

  • Adrenaline – designed by Filip Neduk; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Cry Havoc– designed by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, & Michał Walczak; published by Portal Games
  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Inis – designed by Christian Martinez; published by Matagot
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Just as Essen was getting underway, Portal games gets the convention started by announcing four new games that will be made available in 2017.  Three of these are expansions to existing games and the fourth is a new card game.

scavengers

The First up is the expansion to the 51st State: Master set entitled 51st State: Scavengers from Ignacy Trzewiczek.  51st State: Scavengers is based on a previous 51st State expansion called Ruins.  This re-do brings back favorite cards from Ruins in addition to introducing new locations and a brand new mechanism to the game.  With Scavengers, you’ll have the ability to search the discards and retrieve those valuable cards for use within your State.

Are you willing to scavenge to have the best state?

aftermath

The second up is an expansion to one of the hottest games of 2016…Cry Havoc entitled Cry Havoc: Aftermath.  Cry Havoc: Aftermath expands upon the base game, adding 5 new skills and 3 new structures to each faction.  In addition to the skills and structures, there is a new game mode that allows for a full 5 round game.  This game mode introduces new scoring abilities when an event token is passed instead of its removal, further increasing your options for scoring victory points.

Will your faction be the one left standing in the wake of the aftermath?

undead

The third expansion is for the all new Stronghold Second Edition entitled Stronghold: Undead by Ignacy TrzewiczekStronghold: Undead is a re-balancing release of the original Undead expansion to be compatible with Stronghold Second Edition.  This expansion introduces new rules for terror, casting spells, and gathering mana.  New buildings and abilities for the Defender to help ward off the Attacker on a new map with new routes.

Can you hold back the undead, or will your Stronghold fall?

 

Last but not least is a new game from Marcin Ropka and Viola Kijowska entitled Alien Artifacts.  Alien Artifacts is a 4x style of card game, where you take on the role of an interplanetary corporation exploring uncharted space in hopes to gain knowledge and power.  Alien Artifacts boasts a true 4x experience in under 1 hour!

Does your corporation have what it takes to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate the other corporations?

alien-art

Portal Games has stated that these new titles will follow Portal’s first release of 2017 entitled First MartiansAlien Artifacts will be released at Gen Con 2017. Price and contents will be announced at a later date as well as the details for all other titles.

For more information, you can visit Portal’s website here.

portal germany

Portal Games is opening up a new division of their company based in Germany called Portal Games Deutschland.

This new German-division of Portal Games will be run by industry veteran Benjamin Schönheiter who has worked previously with the German publisher Pegasus Spiele localising games for the German market and working on a German gaming website called SpieLama.de prior to that. The focus of this new division is to bring current Portal Games products to the German market as well as to examine current games from other publishers that can be localised for German consumption.

Portal Games Deutschland will be debuting at Essen SPIEL 2016 with three new products: the new 51st State Master Set, Neuroshima Hex and an unannounced army for Neuroshima Hex. For additional information, visit Portal Games’ website!

51st state

Your goal is to build a new State in this post-apocalyptic world. Whether you command merciless Mutants or brave New Yorkers, your aim is always simple and clear – conquer new lands, incorporate new regions, and destroy everyone who is of no value. How will you achieve this? It’s pretty simple – the highest score wins the game. Pretty novel, huh?

Portal Games is currently running a preorder campaign for the revitalization of their hit card game 51st State in the form of the 51st State Master Set.  51st State is a competitive game that takes place in the unforgiving, post-apocalyptic work of Neuroshima Hex.  In the game, players take control of a faction such as New York, Appalachian Federation, Mutants Union, or the Merchants Guild and, by levying the power of his faction, build a new state: a 51st state.

51st state comp

The core design and mechanisms of the game resemble that of Portal’s popular game Imperial Settlers, which is itself a redesign of the core mechanisms of the original 51st State card game.  The new 51st State Master Set will include a complete redesign of the original version of 51st State, as well as new editions of New Era and Winter, the original expansions for the game.  The boxed set includes:

  • 1 Victory Point Board
  • 200 Cards
    • 88 Base Set Cards
    • 12 Connection Cards
    • 50 New Era Cards
    • 50 Winter Cards
  • 4 Victory Point Markers
  • 1 First Player Token
  • 4 Faction Boards
  • Goods Markers
    • 38 Brick resource pieces
    • 38 Fuel resource pieces
    • 30 Gun resource pieces
    • 38 Iron resource pieces
  • 38 Workers pieces
  • 10 Shield Tokens
  • 13 Bullet Tokens
  • 9 Development Tokens
  • 20 Red Contact Tokens
  • 20 Blue Contact Tokens
  • 30 Grey Contact Tokens
  • 7 Universal Contact Tokens
  • 4 Multiply Tokens
  • 1 Rulebook

The preorders will be closing on this item soon.  To learn more about the details of the game and what’s included in the preorder, visit the Portal Games website here.

February is almost over and more information is slowly starting to materialize about some of the most anticipated releases of the coming year. The latest Portal Games newsletter contains some interesting tidbits about two big names in particular:

51st state master

First, the popular post-apocalyptic card game 51st State is being reborn in the form of a new 51st State: Master Set that combines cards from the original game with cards from both of the expansions, all recalibrated for optimum balance. The Master Set is already available for pre-order on Portal’s website, (here), and although it isn’t a crowdfunding campaign and the game will be published either way, it does offer a system of pre-order rewards and ‘stretch goals’, two of which have already been unlocked, ensuring each copy will come with a 51st State Transfer Book (summarizing all the changes between the original game and the master set) and an original story set in the world of Neuroshima. Portal have also promised that the new rulebook is almost finalized and will be made available soon.

From the return of an old classic to what could potentially turn out to be the hottest new release of the year, the Portal Newsletter also included a link to a recent interview with Ignacy Trzewiczek himself (originally published in Polish here.) about the upcoming title First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet. First Martians, of course, is based on the extremely popular co-op Robinson Crusoe and is the next big thing in the recent trend of App-driven board games. Ignacy cites his experience playing X-Com as a major inspiration and motivation to move ahead with First Martians, because it showed him how useful an app could be in eliminating the boring overhead of games – “managing tokens, moving pieces and all that fiddly work which pulls us away from the essence of the game, from the fun.”

The interview also covers a variety of other topics including the game’s current development progress – the game system is finished, but Portal is working hard to create lots of great encounters, events and campaigns; how First Martians will compare to its predecessor Robinson Crusoe – despite very significant differences, including a huge new mystery mechanic that will be further explained in the coming months, Ignacy expects that players familiar with Robinson Crusoe will be able to jump right into First Martians with minimal rules explanations; and also the current state and expected features of the game app – the app is already fully operational (a necessity, since the game cannot be played without it), and completely manages the adventures, events, et. al. which occur in the game, allowing players to choose between several different game modes and difficulty levels, but some features have not yet been coded, such as the ability to save your current game progress and come back later.

Be sure to read the full interview here.

portal con

Well, it’s more like two new games and a reprint.  First is the reprint of 51st State in 51st State: Master Set, in this complete set you will get 88 cards from the base game and 50 cards from each of the two expansions, which is great considering the expansions have been out of print.  The game has also been re-balanced for a more cohesive experience no matter which expansion  you use and had a bit of an art upgrade.  Pre-orders for the set start today on the Portal Games site with an expected release date in the 2nd quarter of 2016.

Next is a new game called Cry Havoc, from designers Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak, which is a card driven, area control, war game.  There are 4 different factions you can play with varying abilities and units and play takes around 90 minutes, plus the game comes with 54 custom miniatures and over 100 unique cards so it should be a good looking war game.  The release date is set for Gen Con 2016 with a worldwide distribution date in the 3rd quarter.

Last new game is First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, which is a bit of a sci-fi version of Robinson Crusoe.  Like Robinson Crusoe you will be trying to survive in the harsh martian landscape but you will have an integrated app to help maintain the immersion and challenge throughout the game.  There is also a campaign mode that builds on each game as you go along as well as a sandbox mode where you try to survive as long as possible.  The game will be released at Essen Spiel 2016 and then world wide distribution will start in the 4th quarter.

Following is the full press release from Portal Games.

Portal Games announces three new titles for 2016

During a keynote speech at PortalCon 7 on Janyary 23rd, CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek

Gliwice, Poland – January 25, 2016. This past weekend, CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek announced three new titles coming from Portal Games in 2016: 51st State: Master Set, Cry Havoc, and First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet. It was also hinted that there will be a fourth title announced at GAMA trade show in March.

51st State: Master Set marks the rebirth of the 51st State line. This set includes 88 cards from the base game, and 50 cards each from both the New Era and Winter expansions. The whole set has been re-balanced to offer a cohesive experience no matter which expansion you choose to use. With all new layout, and some new artwork, 51st State Master Set is sure to please.

Cry Havoc, from designers Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak is a card-driven, area control, wargame set in a brutal sci-fi world that plays in 90 minutes or less. As with the majority of our games, the players will be in command of one of 4 unique factions with varying abilities and units. The game will include 54 custom miniatures, a large format board, and over 100 unique cards, all with stunning new artwork.

First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, uses the core mechanics of the award-winning Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island and places the players on the inhospitable Martian surface. The immersion experience is further enhanced with an integrated App that will maintain the balance and challenge throughout. Players have the option of taking on a custom Campaign Mode, where each successive game builds on the last, or even an Open World mode where they are free to roam about the Martian surface and explore for as long as they can

“We are very excited about our 2016 line up. With four amazing games and dozens of expansions for games released in previous years, we have no doubt that this year will be the best in the history of the company. With new edition of award winning 51st State, reveals three new titles for Portal Games in 2016. with big strategy game called Cry Havoc, and with revolutionary First Martians, we cannot wait for upcoming months,” said CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek.

The 51st State: Master Set will be released first, in the 2nd quarter. Pre-orders will begin Monday, January 24th, with many surprises in store for fans during the pre-order period. Cry Havoc is scheduled to release at Gen Con and enter worldwide distribution in the 3rd quarter. First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet will be released at Essen Spiel and will enter worldwide distribution also in the 4th quarter. For more information about these games, you can visit our website at http://portalgames.pl

About Portal Games

Portal Games is a publisher of award-winning games such as Imperial Settlers, Stronghold, Tides of Time, Legacy, and Neuroshima Hex. Founded in Poland in 1999, Portal Games has developed into one of the most renowned European game publishers and design teams. Their commitment is to produce only the highest quality Board Games That Tell Stories.