andrew parks

Follow the adventures of Captain Nemo and the crew of the Nautilus, as reintroduced by C. Courtney Joyner in his novel, Nemo Rising, in Nemo Rising: Robur the Conqueror, from WizKids. It’s a co-operative board game where 1-4 players assume the roles of Captain Nemo, Sara Duncan, Adam Fulmer, or Ulysses S. Grant. Together, they explore either the Undersea Grotto or City in the Sky scenarios. It’s designed by Matthew Cattron, and Andrew Parks (known for Core Worlds and Assault of the Giants), with art by Mirco Paganessi, and Nicoleta Stavarache.

In the Undersea Grotto, players leave the Nautilus to gather supplies while they avoid sea hydras, deep sea scavengers, and the mechanical Kraken. In City in the Sky, they fight against Robur the Conqueror and his army of foot soldiers, war dogs, and steam-powered creations. The game includes various tokens, a game board, custom attribute dice, adventure tiles, hero tokens with plastic bases, and a rule book.

Nemo Rising: Robur the Conqueror is best suited for players aged 14+ and plays in 30-60 mins. It’s expected to release in September of 2019.

HeroClix is currently the most purchased, collectible miniatures game on the market with over 750,000,000 figures. Not resting on their laurels, WizKids are releasing a new strategy game based on the successful HeroClix system. In Marvel Strike Teams, 2-5 players face off in a campaign game of good against evil where the heroes take on the villains. One player is the villainous Mastermind while the rest of the players each take up a hero, in the form of a HeroClix figure, to thwart the Mastermind’s dastardly plans.

The Mastermind can guide the direction of each encounter while the heroes work together using their various powers and abilities to complete objectives, such as infiltrating an enemy warehouse or rescuing hostages. Each hero has unique play styles and the base game includes Captain America, Iron Man, Agent May, and Quake. The villains include Baron Strucker, Winter Soldier, Radioactive Man, and Hydra Soldiers. The environment also plays a part in the game acting as obstacles or weapons at the players’ disposal. While there is a campaign to play through, where players can upgrade their heroes over time, there are also standalone missions available.

Marvel Strike Teams: Avengers Initiative, the first expansion for the game, will also be released at the same time and expands the hero roster with Vision, Black Widow, Falcon, and Agent Phil Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D. The villains will be bolstered by Loki, Ultron, Absorbing Man, and Agent Ward.

Marvel Strike Teams and Marvel Strike Teams: Avengers Initiative are both designed by Andrew Parks (known for Assault of the Giants and Core Worlds), plays in 60-120 minutes, and is expected to released October 1st, 2018.

Quixotic Games has started a Kickstarter campaign for Dungeon Alliance, a new competitive deck-building game from the prolific game designer Andrew Parks. Parks has previously worked on such popular games as Attack Wing, Star Trek Frontiers, and the new D&D game Assault of the Giants. In Dungeon Alliance, up to 4 players each lead a party of 4 heroes into a random dungeon, fighting monsters, gaining experience, and collecting loot. Experience can then be used to buy new upgrade cards for one’s deck. In addition, after a player moves his heroes, each opponent then gets an opportunity to move one monster to hopefully thwart the competing hero’s progress. The Kickstarter campaign comes with 17 hero miniatures, plenty of dungeon tiles, upgrade cards and tokens. In addition to a plethora of stretch goals, Dungeon Alliance has rules for PvP, solo, and cooperative play, and even comes with an option for fully painted hero miniatures.

The Kickstarter campaign for Dungeon Alliance continues until March 1, 2017, is expected to deliver September 2017, and can be checked out here.

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Quixotic Games, developers of Canterbury, are cooking up their second self-published game – Dungeon Alliance. Announced via press release, this newest design by Andrew Parks is a special blend of a tactical, competitive miniatures game mixed with deck-building and wrapped up in a dungeon crawl (for flavor). Players pick teams of four heroes and simultaneously  enter and explore a dungeon, racing to defeat monsters and each other. Each hero comes with three starting cards, contributing to a 12 card starting deck to help adventuring parties fight and survive. Further details as described in the press release:

 “Hero figures explore the modular game board to defeat monsters and overcome challenges. As they do so, they earn XP Tokens that they can flip face down to purchase upgrade cards for their Alliance Decks. With over 200 cards featuring unique art from acclaimed artists such as Chechu Nieto, Jessada Sutthi, Biagio D’Alessandro, and Víctor P. Corbella, the possibilities for adventure are endless!”

It is a very interesting design that seems to build off of the already solid concepts featured in the recently released Masmorra and it’s thematic parent, Arcadia Quest, from CMON. Instead of dice, of course, there is now deck-building which can potentially fulfill a demand as that genre sees some renewed interest from the also recently released second edition of Dominion. Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot more information available for Dungeon Alliance, as Quixotic Games are preparing for the Kickstarter campaign in January of 2017. Until then you can keep a finger on the pulse of this burgeoning title by visiting Quixotic’s website or the game’s newly entered BoardGameGeek page.

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Mage Knight the Board Game was released in 2011 by Wizkids. It was designed by Vlaad Chvátil (Dungeon Petz, Galaxy Trucker, and the recently released and popular Codenames). Mage Knight the Board Game was based upon the previously-released Mage Knight miniature war-game (also released by Wizkids). The board game, however, packaged the theme into a fun exploration game that combined elements of deck-building and dungeon crawling (although based in an outside terrain). There were various missions and play was primarily cooperative (also allowing for solo play). All-in-all, Mage Knight has been one of my favorite games and definitely a keeper.

Wizkids has released several expansions to Mage Knight the Board Game to keep the game fresh and alive however only recently was a new “re-skinning” of the game introduced in the Star Trek universe. Star-Trek: Frontiers, announced last year, has recently been released and is available to purchase. One of the lingering questions has been whether this new release is worth the wait? Is it something that Mage Knight TBG players would want to pick up? Is it tailored to new players? Much like a previous article I did several months ago (comparing versions of the new Star Wars Risk games), I will attempt to illustrate the comparisons and answer, in my own opinion, the questions I raise above.

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Right from the start, Frontiers is boxed quite a bit differently from your standard “box-and-lid” board game. It features fold-out flaps that sport a lid that lifts (rather than detaches). Whether that is to your liking, I’ll have to leave that up to your opinion. Me – I prefer a removable lid. That aside however, the insert for the game is similar to that of its predecessor and is, I must say, amazing. It has removable trays with some of the trays even sporting lids. I realize this may be a minor point, but I was really impressed by the warning label on the rules bag that stated “This is not a toy” and that it could lead to suffocation of little children. Being a father of 8 myself, I thought this was clever (See first image at very top)

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The tiles are exactly the same in quality and thickness – with only the artwork, obviously, being different. That said, the artwork is amazing and the various elements (including the tile backgrounds) are intricately done. Unlike MK:TBG, where movement costs are based upon terrain of plains, mountains, forests, etc – ST:F movement costs are based upon things such as asteroids, planets, black holes, etc.

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An early question I had was as to how they were going to replace mana crystals in the game. Well, they achieved that by using data tokens (pictured on left, above). This was a bit of a stretch for me, personally. White data is meant to represent the “Captain’s Innovation” whereas purple data is meant to represent “risk and improvisation”. Although they don’t look as cool (IMO) to the crystals of MK, they suffice and are of good quality. That they represent “data” took a little getting used to but makes sense thematically and, at the end of the day, it’s just the currency of spells (in this case skills) and such. Below is a picture showing the difference in die sides (Note: I realized, after the fact, that I had shown the blue mana die side twice) with ST:F on the left and MKTBG on the right.

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Of particular interest will be the difference in miniatures. In lieu of the different knights, ST:F presents you with factions (each represented by a different ship and tokens – see below). Borg Cubes (which are an extremely nice feature) are added in lieu of castles/keeps. Players are captains of their own faction (Picard, Sisko, or either of two Klingons -represented by a miniature and associated tokens ). Missing in upper-right is the yellow Defiant/Sisko tokens. Each faction will be composed of both regular and special members (ie Federation officer vs William Riker).

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Play is similar in that turns will be comprised of movement and action with actions being fueled (as mentioned above) by data. Diplomacy can be used to interact with other races that are encountered. Combat will occur with Romulans, the Borg, and various other classic Star Trek enemies. Leveling is similar (using tokens) that will grant extra actions and, bonus tokens, and crew – all based upon gaining experience for your captain. Reputation is gained and lost based upon your actions and all this is marked on the game board (pictured below).

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There’s much much more to this game than using the components listed above. Combat, moving around (flying around), encountering enemies and allies, recruiting members, leveling up – all this just scratches the surface of the depth of the game. I played solo as well as with three of my older boys (cooperatively) and had a blast – and all this after having played Mage Knight. Interesting to us was that, even though “mechanically” the games were identical – thematically, it felt like a completely different experience.

So, should you purchase it? For those that are Star Trek fans – this is a no-brainer, regardless of whether you own MK:TBG. If you have neither and are curious which to pick up, I would suggest choosing whichever flavor of science fiction you prefer – space or fantasy. The big question that everyone’s going to want an answer to is whether to pick this up if you already own MK:TBG. My suggestion would be if you’re a big fan of the mechanisms used in the game, then yes, this is an absolute “have-to-buy”. If you’re more of a fan of the theme than the mechanisms in MK:TBG then this new re-skinning probably will not appeal to you (again, unless you’re a die hard ST fan). In my opinion, this is a gorgeous game and doesn’t, at all, feel like a slopily-pasted on theme just to make a buck. You can definitely tell a lot of time and effort was put in to this re-boot of the game and that cards, factions and enemies were carefully chosen. At first I thought that “Data Tokens” would be hard to swallow – but it really fits in thematically with the actions for which they are fueled.

For me, this is a definite keeper. The game system is fantastic and beautifully mixes deck-building with action-point system with exploration. It will satisfy those that like coop, solo, or PVP gaming!

core worlds digCore Worlds, the popular space-themed deck builder from Stronghold Games and designed by Andrew Parks, is going digital – and they need your support!  Core Worlds is presently being Kickstarted to raise funds to release the game, initially, on the iPad and iPhone.

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“Core Worlds Digital will allow for a new streamlined, interactive, and engaging cinematic experience for all users. Core Worlds Digital will include multiplayer support via Game Center, AI opponents, pass-and-play, tournament play, match play, in-game rewards and limited edition cards that will allow you to customize the look and feel of your empire. Experience the beautiful artwork of the original table top game, intuitive UI and an interactive 3D experience that brings the Core Worlds to life. Core Worlds Digital takes an “easy set up & play” approach that appeals to both avid and casual gamers!”

Presently, only days into the campaign, the project is nearly 25% funded already. To back the project and find out more you can visit their page here.