Abyss was an instant board game hit on its release in 2014. Combining unbelievable art from Xavier Collette with the sublime gameplay from master designers Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier, Abyss managed to transport players into a fantastical and political underwater world. The gameplay in Abyss is a wonderful collection of push-your-luck card collection, resource management of stunning pearls, and card set creation, all simple in their own right but interwoven into a magnificent strategic board game still loved to this day (currently #338 on BGG). The first expansion to Abyss, Kraken, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim, adding the two edged sword of dark pearls. Now, Studio Bombyx has given Abyss fans two new toys to drool over – the second expansion Abyss:Leviathan, and the new card game Conspiracy: Abyss Universe, both coming to western shores this November.

Leviathan replaces the accumulating threat track from the original card game with a border board filled with tremendous monsters. While pulling cards during exploration, if a monster is drawn, the player now has an opportunity to fight a Leviathan on the board. Certain Lords and Allies can give benefit to killing these monsters, and the player with the most kills will earn an extra 5 points at the end of the game.

Conspiracy: Abyss Universe is a card game in the Abyss Universe, sharing similar gameplay and more of that delicious Xavier Collette art. 2-4 Players use Abyss-like cards to create a reverse pyramid, starting with a row of five cards and working down to one. Two matching keys or 3 total keys on cards allow the player to take Location Cards, which add abilities and points. Pearls have their role in this game as well, and the player with the majority of pearls on cards immediately takes the Pearl Majority Card. The game ends when a player has completed their pyramid; groups of connected cards of the same color score points equal to the highest scoring card in the group. The Pearl Majority Card adds 5 points, and the player with the largest colored group scores an additional 3. Highest score claims rightful rule of the depths. For more details, check out Bombyx’s webpage here.


Asmodee has announced an exciting set of games which will be released in December in their Advanced, Core and Family game lines, making them perfect for Christmas presents.

abyss kraken

Abyss Kraken (Advanced Game Line)

Abyss designed by Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier set in an undersea world of giant sea creatures will get an expansion called Kraken. Xavier Collette who did the evocative artwork for the base game which won the Dicetower Award for Best Game Artwork 2014 has done the artwork for Kraken.

“The new ally race, the Kraken, are wild but will earn you black pearls. New Locations allow you to raid the loot deck for treasure.”


Raptor (Advanced Game Line)

Raptor is an asymmetrical two player game by Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti where one player controls a team of scientists tracking down the Raptor babies of the opposing player. This is a fast paced card driven game where the scientists try to capture the Raptor babies whilst evading the mother Raptor.

Zombies vs Cheerleaders (Advanced Game Line)

Zombies vs Cheerleaders is a two player game from Richard Toquet with the Cheerleaders controlled by one player and the Zombies by their opponent. Using an action point system and card based powers, the Cheerleaders aim to defeat the Zombie horde whilst the Zombies try to eat one of the Cheerleaders.

“It will take all your brain power…or lack there of, to win this hilarious, horror-filled battle!”

kemet ta seti

Kemet Ta-Seti (Core Game Line)

Hemet Ta-Seti designed by Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage is the first expansion for the Game Kemet, where players battle each other’s Egyptian tribes for control of temples and territories.

“The shadow of Ta-Seti lingers on the black soils of Kemet. Where new and terrifying creatures come into play.”

colt express horses

Colt Express – Horses and Stagecoach (Family Game Line)

The popular Colt Express game by Christophe Raimbault where you are robbing a train and shooting your way to victory gets an expansion called Horses and Stagecoach. Just like the base game this contains 3D cardboard playing pieces which adds to the theme and makes the game look so enticing on the table.

“Horses will allow you to move around the train and to the Stagecoach to nab one of the Hostage characters. Hostages can earn you ransom, but many of them will give you a negative effect as well.”


Crossing (Family Game line)

Crossing is a simultaneous action selection game by Yoshiteru Shinohara where players try to collect the most gemstones.

“Each round, players square off in a duel. You can grab Life Stones from mushrooms as they appear or steal Stones from your opponents’ stash.”



Dice Tower Con 2015 has come and gone and so we now look forward to Essen and the flood of games coming out then.  But before that, we have the winners of the Dice Tower Awards for games released in 2014 to announce:

Most Innovative Game – Tragedy Looper
Best Two-player Game – Star Realms
Best Strategy Game – Five Tribes
Best Small Publisher – Star Realms by White Wizard Games
Best Party Game – Spyfall
Best New Designer – Alchemists by Matúš Kotry
Best Game Theming – Dead of Winter
Best Game Reprint – Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary Edition
Best Game Expansion – Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture
Best Game Artwork – Abyss
Best Family Game – Splendor
Best Board Games Components – Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Best Co-op Game – Dead of Winter
Best Game of the Year – Dead of Winter

You can look at the list of winners as well as all the nominations over on the Dice Tower website or you can watch the awards on Youtube at the Dice Tower’s channel


A cooperative castle defense board game with 70 miniatures, where mighty Heroes have to withstand the siege of an Abyssal horde!

CoolMiniOrNot is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss, a castle-defense game for 1-6 players where players work cooperatively to defend the Citadel of Modhelm from the Abyssal Hordes using their mighty heroes and castle defenses.

besieged board

In B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss, the Council has given the Messenger a quest: he must successfully escape the besieged citadel by slipping past the amassing enemies, after which he must find a very powerful artifact and return to the citadel with it to destroy the invading Abyssal Hordes.  The players control select heroes, tasked with ensuring that the Messenger escapes the Citadel safely and holding out on the castle walls until the Messenger returns.

In a game round, the heroes act first.  Each hero will have 3 actions he or she can take, including gaining resources, repairing buildings, fighting enemies, or using the catapult in the middle of the castle to fire on the invaders.  Then the Abyssal Hordes act, moving in to attack the citadel.  Monsters will move and attack differently based on 3 different zones positioned outside the city walls.

A copy of B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss includes the following components:

  • 24 Standard Krohn miniatures
  • 8 Elite Krohn miniatures
  • 16 Standard Gargoh miniatures
  • 8 Elite Gargoh miniatures
  • 8 Mölen miniatures
  • 6 Hero miniatures
  • 202 cards
  • 115 tokens
  • 8 dice
  • 6 Hero dashboards
  • 6 colored Hero bases
  • 4 double-sided enemy boards
  • 1 citadel board with rotating catapult tile
  • 1 Seasons Sheet
  • 1 Cards Sheet
  • 1 Avatar of the Abyss token with plastic stand

This project will fund on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.  For more information and to support this project, visit the Kickstarter page here.



The Dice Tower released their 2014 Gaming Award nominee list. Here’s the official press release:

April 21, 2014

The Dice Tower Network is proud to announce the nominees for the best games of 2014. A jury of more than fiftyy Dice Tower staff, prominent bloggers and reviewers went through all the games released in English in 2014, and chose the five best in each category – with ten games nominated for best game of the year.

The winners of each category will be announced on June 26th, at the Dice Tower Convention in Orlando, Florida. Congratulations to all the publishers and designers who were nominated, and we hope that gamers will have a list of truly excellent games to seek out and play.

See the complete listing with pictures at http://www.dicetowerawards.com

Best Reprint

* Ca$h ‘n Guns, 2nd Edition – Asmodee/Repos, Ludovic Maublanc

* Doomtown, Reloaded – AEG, Dave Williams & Mark Wootton

* Medina – Stronghold Games, Stefan Dorra

* San Juan, 2nd Editions – Ravensburger, Andreas Seyfarth

* Ticket to Ride, 10th Edition – Days of Wonder, Alan R. Moon

Best Party Game

* Ca$h ‘n Guns, 2nd Edition – Asmodee/Repos, Ludovic Maublanc

* Clusterfight – Game Salute, Sam Liberty & Kevin Spak

* Good Cop, Bad Cop – Overworld Games, Brian Henk, Clayton Skancke

* Spyfall – Hobbyworld – Alexandr Ushan

* Strike a Pose – R&R Games, Sébastien Decad

Best Artwork

* Abyss – Asmodee, Xavier Collette

* Alchemists – CGE, David Cochard

* Battle of the Five Armies – Ares Games, Lucas Graciano, Jon Hodgson, Fabio Maiorana, Francesco Mattioli, Ben Wootten

* Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Fantasy Flight Games, Henning Ludvigsen

* Imperial Settlers – Portal Games – Thomasz Jedruszek

Best Components

* Arcadia Quest – Cool Mini or Not, Eric Lang, Fred Parret, Theiago Aranha, Guilherme Goulart

* Colt Express – Asmodee / Ludonaut, Christophe Raimbault

* Star Wars: Imperial Assualt – Fantasy Flight Games – Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying, Justin Kemppainen

* Splendor – Asmodee / Space Cowboys – Marc André

* Xia: Legends of a Drift System – Far Off Games, Cody Miller

Best Two-player Game

* Battle of the Five Armies – Ares Games, Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi, Francesco Nepitello

* Dice Masters – Wizkids, Eric Lang, Mike Elliott

* Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Fantasy Flight Games – Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying, Justin Kemppainen

* Star Realms – White Wizard Games, Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle

* Warhammer 40K: Conquest – Fantasy Flight Games, Eric Lang, Nate French, Brad Andres

Best Cooperative Game

* Dead of Winter – Plaid Hat Games, Isaac Vega, Jonathan Gilmore

* Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deck Building Game – Upper Deck, Danny Mandel, Ben Cichoski

* Pandemic: the Cure – Z-man Games, Matt Leacock

* Shadows of Brimstone – Flying Frog, Jason C. Hill

* Witness – Ystari Games, Dominique Bodin

Best Strategy Game

* Five Tribes – Days of Wonder, Bruno Cathala

* Imperial Settlers – Portal Games, Ignacy Trzewiczek

* Kanban: Automotive Revolution – Stronghold Games, Vital Lacerda

* Panamax – Stronghold Games, Gil d’Orey, Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro, Paulo Soledade

* Xia: Legends of a Drift System – Far Off Games, Cody Miller

Best Expansion

* 7 Wonders: Babel – Repos Productions, Antoine Bauza

* Cyclades: Titans – Matagot, Bruno Cathala, Ludovic Maublanc

* Mice & Mystics: Downwood Tales – Plaid Hat Games, Jerry Hawthorne

* Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice – Z-man Games, Jens Drögemüller, Helge Ostertag

* Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture – Stonemaier Games, Alan Stone, Jamey Stegmaier, Morten Monrad Pedersen

Best New Designer

* Splendor – Space Cowboys – Marc André

* Heroes of Normandie – IELLO Games, Yann and Klem

* Paperback – self-published, Tim Fowers

* Alchemists – CGE, Matús Kotry

* Xia: Legends of a Drift System – Far Off Games, Cody Miller

Best Family Game

* Camel Up – Z-man Games – Steffen Bogen

* Diamonds – Stronghold Games – Mike Fitzgerald

* King of New York – IELLO – Richard Garfield

* Splendor – Space Cowboys – Marc André

* Spyfall – Hobbyworld – Alexandr Ushan

Best Game from Small Publisher

* Medieval Academy – Blue Cocker Games, Nicolas Poncin

* Paperback – self-published, Tim Fowers

* Run, Fight, or Die! – 8th Summit and Grey Fox Games, Richard Launius

* Star Realms – White Wizard Games, Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle

* Xia: Legends of a Drift System – Far Off Games, Cody Miller

Most Innovative Game

* Alchemists – CGE, Matús Kotry

* Dead of Winter – Plaid Hat Games, Isaac Vega, Jonathan Gilmore

* Golem Arcana – Harebrained Schemes, Jordan Weissman, Seth Johnson, Michael Mulvihill, Brian Poel

* Tragedy Looper – Z-man Games, BakaFire

* Spyfall – Hobbyworld – Alexandr Ushan

Best Theming

* Alchemists – CGE, Matús Kotry

* Castles of Mad King Ludwig – Bezier Games, Ted Alspach

* Dead of Winter – Plaid Hat Games, Isaac Vega, Jonathan Gilmore

* Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Fantasy Flight Games – Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying, Justin Kemppainen

* Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deck Building Game – Upper Deck, Danny Mandel, Ben Cichoski

Game of the Year

* Alchemists – CGE, Matús Kotry

* Dead of Winter – Plaid Hat Games, Isaac Vega, Jonathan Gilmore

* Dice Masters – Wizkids, Eric Lang, Mike Elliott

* Five Tribes – Days of Wonder, Bruno Cathala

* Imperial Settlers – Portal Games, Ignacy Trzewiczek

* Kanban: Automotive Revolution – Stronghold Games, Vital Lacerda

* Splendor – Asmodee / Space Cowboys – Marc André

* Star Realms – White Wizard Games, Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle

* Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Fantasy Flight Games – Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying, Justin Kemppainen

* Xia: Legends of a Drift System – Far Off Games, Cody Miller


league of gamemakers banner

Theme should be more than just inserting zombies, Cthulhu or scenery from the southern pacific into your otherwise well-developed board game. Designer Christian Strain at the League of Gamemakers brings some thoughts to the subject in “Stepping Up Your Game’s Theme.”

We have the opportunity as designers to make whatever we want, but in the end, we have to make sure others want it too. We are world builders. Build a world that is unique and interesting enough to make others want to explore it.

Picture Found at League of Gamemaker's Website

Picture Found at League of Gamemaker’s Website

Christian started his quest after realizing his pirate game in development might have a theme too well-trod to make it stand out in the ever-expanding board game world. With plenty of other pirate games already on the market, he wondered what else was out there. A suprise early morning call to legendary designer Bruno Cathala provided plenty of insight into the development of Abyss.

Bruno: During one year, we discussed about a lot of potential times, but without finding something exciting enough…

Until we had THE idea… Instead of allowing players to develop their civilisation in a concrete world, based on Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, etc, what if we created a complete new world. A kind of forgotten world, based only on our imagination. Something like if Atlantis have survived in the deepness of Oceans, with a completely unknown civilisation… Yes, this was exciting, and not too much exploited in games.

Christian then goes on to analyse theme in his own efforts at game development.

We created a new world when we made Asking for Trobils. I have to say, that designing the world was the most fun part for me as a designer. I can’t wait to dive into the next world.

Christian’s conclusion…don’t get too invested in an intial cookie-cutter style theme and instead try to find something no one has ever tried before. For anyone hoping to add something new to their game to grab the eye of gaming consumers, the post is a must read.



Asmodee has announced their October and November game releases.  Many of these games were made available or announced at Gen Con and/or Origins.  But are only hitting the retail channel now.  Read the press release below.



Internal unrest brews among the court of the Abyss. The warlike Crabs bring chaos against the wise mages of the Jellyfish while the merchant Shellfish wage trade wars against the insidious Squid politicians. Can you recruit the allies you need to master the lords of the Abyss? Venture to Abyss, where players must battle monsters, recruit allies, and sway the great lords of the deep. The right hand of ally cards will let you control the lords who will help you seize the kingdoms of the Abyss. Be careful of your foes, though, because treachery abounds in the lands under the sea!

Abyss is a game of development, combination and collection in which players try to take control of strategic locations in an underwater city. To achieve this, players must develop on three levels: first by collecting allies, then using them to recruit Lords of the Abyss, who will then grant access to different parts of the city. Players acquire cards through a draft of sorts, and the Lords of the Abyss acquired on those cards grant special powers to the cardholder but once you use the cards to acquire a location, that power is shut off, so players need to time their land grabs well in order to put themselves in the best position for when the game ends.

  • 2-4 players
  • ages 14+

dixit daydreams

Dixit: Daydreams

In Dixit, each round one player takes on the role of Storyteller, choosing one card from his hand, then telling a story, singing a ditty, or otherwise doing something that in his opinion is associated with the played card. Each other player then chooses one card in her own hand and gives it to the Storyteller in secret. These cards are shuffled and revealed, then players vote on which card was played by the Storyteller. If either no one or everyone votes for the Storyteller, then he receives no points; if he received some votes but not all of the votes, he scores based on the number of votes received. Each player who submitted a correct vote or who received a vote on her card submission also scores. After a certain number of rounds, the player with the most points wins.

Dixit: Daydreams is an expansion for Dixit that contains 84 new cards beautifully illustrated by Frank Dion.

  • 3-6 players
  • Ages 8+
  • 30 minute play time

timeline americana

Timeline: Americana and American History


From the first Stetson hat to the unveiling of the first iPad, America’s history and its popular culture have gone hand in hand. See if you can remember when the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth, or when Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic. American popular history was never so much fun!

Timeline: Americana takes the players through a historical tour of the popular history of the country. Each player has a hand of cards, and they take turns placing those cards correctly into the growing timeline. Guess correctly to get rid of all of your cards and win the game!

2-8 Players
Ages 8+
15 minute play time


  • 110 double-sided cards
  • Rulebook

American History

Which happened first, the Salem Witch Trials or the foundation of Harvard College? Was Watergate before Woodstock? Sure, it’s easy to know whether the discovery of America came before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but how well can you remember everything that happened in between?

In Timeline: America History, players have hands of cards and take turns attempting to place the cards correctly into the growing timeline. Easy at first, but rapidly growing more difficult, Timeline: America  History will test your knowledge and help you learn the history of the nation.

2-8 Players
Ages 8+
15 minute play time


  • 110 double-sided cards
  • Rulebook

lords of xidit

Lords of Xidit

The Black Southern Host has arisen, corrupting the hearts of the indigenous creatures. Afflicted by a mysterious sickness, they are attacking human cities. The last remaining hope for restoring peace to Xidit lies with the Kingdom’s noble heirs, the Idrakys. As one of them, you must roam the Kingdom recruiting brave soldiers and reclaiming threatened cities. Your bravery will not go unrewarded: accumulate wealth, send bards to sing your praises, and build Sorcerers’ Guilds!

Lords of Xidit features simultaneous programming and an elimination-based scoring system that leaves no room for complacency! In more detail, at the end of the game players compare their influence in one category and the player with the least influence is eliminated and his pieces removed from the board; players then compare influence in another category, with a player again being removed. The order of elimination is randomly determined at the start of play, forcing you to thinking in different ways each game.

Prepare to ride out, Idrakys, and forge your legend!

  • 3-5 Players
    Ages 14+
    90 Minute Play Time


  • 75 figurines
  • 75 guild stories
  • 60 sovereigns
  • 100 bard tokens



The mythical realm of Hyperborea was ruled by an ancient civilization that used magical crystals as their main source of energy. With time, the Hyperboreans became greedy, and their search for power in the deep made the crystals unstable, causing earthquakes, mutations, droughts and floods. Hyperboreans just dug deeper, and only a few wise mages, foreseeing the inevitable, built an unbreakable magical barrier. When the unharnessed magical energy was unleashed from the deep, the Hyperborean civilization was destroyed in a single day, only the magical barrier preventing the disappearance of life from the whole land.

Over centuries, six rival realms were born from the ashes of the Hyperborean civilization: the militarist Red Duchy; the Emerald Kingdom and its death-delivering archers; the Purple Matriarchy fanatically worshipping the goddess of life; the skilled diplomats and merchants of the Golden Barony; the Coral Throne with its efficiently organized society and finally the secluded and enigmatic Celestial Reign.

The fragile peace between the different realms was not intended to last. One day, the magical barrier suddenly collapsed. A whole new land stood in front of the six kingdoms, still haunted by the old Hyperboreans turned into harmless but ominous ghosts, full of ruins to discover and cities to explore. Each realm is now sending its best warriors and explorers to Hyperborea in order to achieve dominance over their rivals, but which will prevail? Brutal strength or deep understanding of science? The discovery of valuable artifacts in the lost ruins or the retaking of long, lost cities? Only you, as the leader of one of the factions, can lead your people to the ultimate dominance over Hyperborea!

Set in a mythical land of the same name, Hyperborea is a light civilization game for 2 to 6 players that takes 20-25 minutes per player. The game begins at the time when the magic barrier protecting access to the mythical continent of Hyperborea suddenly falls.

Each player takes the role of the leader of a small kingdom situated just outside the now open to be conquered and explored land. Her kingdom has limited knowledge of housing, trade, movement, warfare, research, and growth, but new and exciting powers are hidden in Hyperborea. During the game, this kingdom will grow in numbers and raise armies, extend its territory, explore and conquer, learn new technologies, etc…

The game’s main mechanism, which can be described as “bag-building”, involves you building a pool of “civilicubes”. Each cube represents specializations for your kingdom: war, trade, movement, building, knowledge, growth. Grey cubes represent corruption and waste, and players will acquire them by developing new technologies. Power corrupts by its own definition, and the more complex a society becomes, the more waste it generates. Each turn, players draw three random cubes from their bags, then use them to activate knowledge (technologies) they own. But be careful, with great power also comes great responsibility.

2-6 players
Ages 14+
20 minute play time


  • 1 Market board
  • 4 indicator tokens
  • 4 Dice
  • 60 Bank Investment tokens
  • 39 erasable company tiles
  • 7 erasable “x 2 income” company tiles
  • Roughly 200 bills
  • 1 Timer
  • 5 erasable markers
  • 1 rule booklet

colt express

Colt Express

On the 11th of July, 1899 at 10 a.m., the Union Pacific Express has left Folsom, New Mexico, with forty-seven passengers on board. After a few minutes, gunfire and hurrying footsteps on the roof can be heard. Heavily armed bandits have come to rob honest citizens of their wallets and jewels. Will they succeed in stealing the suitcase holding the Nice Valley Coal Company’s weekly pay, despite it having been placed under the supervision of Marshal Samuel Ford? Will these bandits hinder one another more than the Marshal since only the richest one of them can come out on top?

In Colt Express, you play a bandit robbing a train at the same time as other bandits, and your goal is to become the richest outlaw of the Old West. The game consists of five rounds, and each round has two phases:

Phase 1: Schemin’- Each player plays 2-5 action cards on a common pile, with the cards being face up or face down depending on the type of the round. Instead of playing a card, a player can draw three cards from her deck.

Phase 2: Stealin’- The action cards are carried out in the order they were played, with a player’s best laid plans possibly not panning out due to mistakes and oversights!

The game takes place in a 3D train in which the bandits can move from one car to another, run on the roof, punch the other bandits, shoot them, rob the passengers, or draw the Marshal out of position. The train has as many cars as the number of players, and each car is seeded with gems, bags of loot or suitcases at the start of play. Players will plan ahead and play cards to steal the most loot, shoot their opponents, move around the train and elude Marshal Ford. Will you be the richest bandit in the outlaw gang?

  • 2-6 players
    Ages 10+
    40 minute play time


  • 6 Train Cars
  • 1 Locomotive
  • 10 terrain elements
  • Assorted Loot tokens
  • 17 Round Cards
  • 1 Marshal pawn
  • 13 Neutral Bullet cards
  • 6 Character cards
  • 6 Bandit pawns
  • 60 Action cards
  • 36 Bullet cards

asmodee days


Announced today in various news sites, including Forbes, Days of Wonder (publisher of games such as Small World, Ticket to Ride, and the recent hit Five Tribes) is merging with Asmodee (publisher of 7 Wonders and Eclipse).

By merging with Days of Wonder, Asmodee increases its exposure to the US game market, and it also gets access to the company’s award-winning portfolio, which includes Small WorldShadows Over Camelot and the Ticket to Ride series. Days of Wonder has also made major strides creating digital versions of its games for iOS devices and personal computers.

Days of Wonder will continue to operate with its current team as an independent brand and studio within the Asmodee Group, according to the company, and will continue its mission to release a limited number of new games with high production values. Adrien Martinot, who has led the company’s European sales and marketing operations for the last 7 years, will be the new head of the studio; current Days of Wonder CEO Eric Hautemont and vice president Mark Kaufman will continue in an advisory role to Asmodee CEO Stéphane Carville.

I found it interesting that Bruno Cathala had a recent release with both companies (Five Tribes and Abyss) at Gencon.