“Long ago, Easter Island was once a vast continent ravaged by constant volcanic activity. The settlers of the land raised Moai—gigantic monolithic statues—to appease the gods and mend the wounds of the land. Unfortunately, this very act of sealing off craters and geysers wouldn’t cure their island, but instead caused an even greater disaster to unfold…”
Players strive to build the most thriving settlement despite the chaos of volcanic activity and a constantly changing landscape. When players raise Moai the risk of volcanic eruption increases. Eruptions destroy settlements and can remove entire sections of the game board.
In Mage Wars Academy, published by Arcane Wonders, 2-4 players are mages who have completed their studies and will battle mages from rival schools in head-to-head combat. In the latest expansion, a new student has enrolled at the academy who wields the power of legions of the undead as the Necromancer. He can summon skeletons, mummies, and other foul spells which can rend souls from the weak.
The expansion comes with 72 spell cards, game markers, and rules, and all cards are compatible with the Mage Wars Academy and Mage Wars Arena games.
Mage Wars Academy: The Necromancer will release in April of 2019.
Sometimes games are released to very little fanfare, even if they deserve it, and it’s those times that we here at Dice Tower News are probably doing our best work at spreading the word. That’s the case right now with Onitama, which just recently launched on iOS and Android. This popular 2-player game from Arcane Wonders and Asmodee Digital can now be played on the go and against players from all over the world! This is great for fans of the game, as now there’s plenty of ways to challenge yourself against human and AI opponents and it’ll broaden the appeal for the design and the modern tabletop gaming world. If you’re ready to test your mettle on mobile, you can download the app right now on the iTunes and Google Play stores.
“Immerse yourself in an ancient Japanese setting and discover Onitama, an exciting, fast-paced strategy game! Onitama is somewhat reminiscent of chess and rather addictive with its dynamic game mechanic in which warriors face off so their master may win the game. Concentration and luck are the only weapons you’ll have at your disposal! You’ll need to fully master mind and body to defeat your opponents.”
First is RWBY: Combat Ready, a cooperative game for 2-5 players set in the world of the popular animated series RWBY. Each player plays as one of the show’s main characters – Ruby, Weiss, Black, Yang, and Penny – in a scenario against one or more villains seeking to destroy the world of Remnant. With each victory, players earn experience they can use to upgrade their abilities and powers for the next battle. Victory is achieved when all the villains in a campaign are defeated. Each character has her own starter deck of special abilities and powers and unique upgrade cards and ultimate attacks cards. Likewise, each villain is unique and may hove their own objectives and minions to challenge the players. Game components from the cards to player boards contain original artwork true to the RWBY animation series.
RWBY: Combat Ready plays 2-5 players, ages 14+, in about an hour. Contents include scenario book, 5 player miniatures, 5 player tracker scrolls, 5 player starter decks (30 cards each), 5 semblance tokens, 1 play board/villain board, 3 villain decks (26 cards each), 3 minion decks (18 cards each), 18 objective cards, 1 die, 24 plastic upgrade cubes and various chipboard status/damage tokens.
RWBY: Combat Ready was kickstarted last September and with an expected delivery of late July 2018.
Next is Goodcritters, the latest addition to the Dice Tower Essentials line. In Goodcritters, players are animal characters and members of a criminal organization dividing out the loot from their latest heist. The player acting as the boss of the organization determines how to split the loot, but if the split does not satisfy most of the other players, a new boss may be selected to head the organization. Players not only vote to accept the distribution of loot, these criminals may skim loot from the loot pile, rob other players, or guard against such actions to take loot from attacking players. Getting rid of the boss adds more loot to the pile. The crime boss needs to keep enough of his or her gang happy to remain in power, but in the end, the player with the most loot is the winner.
Goodcritters plays 4-8 players, ages 12+, in about 30 minutes. Contents include 140 Loot Cards, 40 Action Cards, 40 Payoff Cards, 1 The Fuzz! Card, 8 Threat Markers, 1 Boss Marker, 16 Payoff Tokens, 9 Plastic Stands, and rulebook.
Learn more about Goodcritters at Arcane Wonders. Look for the game in stores near you in September 2018.
Arcane Wonders have announced the release of Senshi coming May 2018. Senshi is a strategy game, designed by Dan Manfredini (Burgoo, Island Siege, Monkey Lab), for 2-4 players which only takes 15 minutes to play.
“You are a Senshi, a warrior-monk studying diligently at the temple under the tutelage of the current master. You and your fellow students train vigorously every day to improve your mind and body, but your master is ailing, and only one Senshi will become the next master. To prove your worth, you must develop four attributes: Strength, Agility, Wisdom, and Honor. A true master must be strong in all of these, and weak in none.”[source]
Players are competing as warrior-monks to be the temple’s next master. Each player takes a Training Card which they place before them and can then perform either a study, train, or test action. When they use the study action they take an entire stack of tiles to place on their Training Card which is limited to 3 stacks. The train action allows them to take one tile off the top of any stack on the table (including on their opponents’ Training Card) then place this tile in their hand. During the test action the player takes the tile in their hand and places it in their score pile below the Training Card. Then every player takes all tiles matching this one on top of their stacks and places them in their scoring piles.
Play continues until the last stack is removed from the center of the table and all players have a final turn. After counting all tiles in each of the scoring piles the player with the lowest score is eliminated while the player with the highest score is the master and wins the game.
For more details regarding the game and a copy of the rulebook you can check out the product page at Arcane Wonders. Senshi will be debuted at GAMA Trade Show in Reno in March so expect more details regarding the game then.
Arcane Wonders has announced its new 2 player mech on mech combat game, Critical Mass from designer Kevin Chang. Previously known as Starborne, Critical mass is a simultaneous action selection game, where players each secretly pick a combat card from their mech-specific deck, then reveal simultaneously. The combat cards can be offensive or defensive, and each show a speed rating, determining in what order they take effect. Played cards remain in a discard pile until they are reloaded. Each mech has 4 critical systems, protected by Armor plates, represented on the mech board with wooden cubes. The first player to lose all 4 of their critical systems is destroyed. The first release of Critical Mass will feature the mechs Patriot and Iron Curtain, hinting that more mechs will be coming in the future.
Look for Critical Mass in Stores in July 2018. You can check out the press release from Arcane Wonders on their webpage here.
First in our lineup is the dungeon crawl game from Greenbrier Games called Folklore: The Affliction. This is an RPG style board game where you are playing characters trying to investigate and drive back the evil that is gripping the land. The game is themed around the horror genre so you will be fighting things like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more. In an interesting twist for this game, if you are killed you will become a ghost yourself, being able to continue with the party and attack enemies from beyond the grave. The scale of the game is on two levels, with movement between locations being done on a map board with one pawn denoting the whole group. Then when you arrive at a location it will zoom in to all of your characters being on another board representing the location for you to explore and fight monsters on. The game comes packaged with a campaign broken up into smaller chapters that can be played in one sitting, allowing you to tailor the game length to your desires. Look for this horror dungeon crawl on store shelves next month.
Coming later this month is a new game from Breaking Games called Sparkle*Kitty, a quick card game that turns the helpless princess trope on it’s head. In the game you each play a different princess trying to escape from the “Cursed “No Cursing” tower“. Not much else has been released about the game other then it being released later this month, and that the art is fabulous. So keep an eye out for the game and hopefully it’s good.
Keeping with the light-hearted theme we have the next release from North Star Games, Happy Salmon Blue Fish. Those hoping for an expansion to this loud and crazy party game will be a bit disappointed, but if you wanted more players in a single game then look no further. Happy Salmon Blue Fish contains all the same cards and components as the original, only this time the player colors are different than those contained in the original green fish edition of the game. This makes it easy to ramp the player count all the way up to 12, making for a game that is even louder and crazier than before. So if you want to have more players, or just prefer the blue color, look for this edition on store shelves in September.
Wizkids has announced their latest game, and it is the generically named Empires, a new trading and negotiation type game. In Empires, 2 to 10 players will try to expand their kingdom across the land by acquiring support. To get support “by supplying your people with goods; goods are produced when your people work in your territories. Players can gain people, territories, goods, and supporters by winning wars. Wars will be won by the armies raised by paying gold. Gold can be earned by winning wars and by selling goods.” So as you can see there is a lot of shuffling around of resources, but you won’t always have all the resources you need, that’s where the trading comes in. You are allowed to trade anything and everything between players, goods, player powers, people, territories, whatever you have so that you can achieve your goal. So if this kind of game intrigues you, look for it on store shelves in October of this year.
Next we have something that is exciting for Tom Vasel, and that is the impending release of the next game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, Critical Mass. The game used to be known as Starborne, and is a two player card battle game with some deck building. Each player will pick their mech, and each mech comes with it’s own unique starting deck of cards. From there you will play cards against each other attacking, defending, and upgrading. Attacking and defending as self explanatory, and the upgrading action is what allows you to get more cards into your deck. However, as you play more cards you will start to run out, and you don’t get cards back until you do a reload action. As you take hits you will lose armor, lose too much armor and your core becomes vulnerable, allowing your opponent to stun you for a turn. The winner will be the one who destroys all the armor on their opponent’s mech first. Look for this game on the shelves of your FLGS in November.
Finally we have two new games coming from Ankama games later this year in Dino Party and Stellium. Dino Party is a party game at the end of the age of dinosaurs, where you and your friends are trying to grow your herd and get to the protected spaces. But with disasters happening all around you, will you be able to make it? This quick party game will be released next month.
Stellium is a new abstract game where you are creators of the universe in the midst of creating that universe. On a turn you will draw a colorful marble from a bag and place it on the board, aiming to arrange the marbles in specific ways to satisfy contracts. But since this is being done by everyone on the same board, you have to be careful not to setup your opponent to score instead of you. An additional layer of strategy is added with variable player powers, allowing you to place a marble and then manipulate them in different ways. Look for this game to be released in October of this year.
Origins is one of the biggest conventions in the US for gaming, and they have been giving out their awards for the best each year. The different categories include family games, role-playing games, card games, game accessories, board games, collectible games (CCG, TCG, etc.), miniatures, and finally a Game of the Year. Some of the past winners include great games like Codenames, Imperial Assault, and 7 Wonders Duel, so you know bad games aren’t getting these awards. But that’s enough background information, here are the nominees for the 2017 Origins Awards:
Speechless by Arcane Wonders (designed by Mike Elliott)
Role-Playing Game (10 Nominees)
7th Sea: Second Edition by John Wick Presents (designed by John Wick, Mike Curry, Rob Justice, Mark Diaz Truman, Jesse Heinig)
Curse of Strahd by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
No Thank You, Evil! by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Fantasy Flight (designed by Tim Flanders, Corey Konieczka, and Sam Stewart)
Shadowrun-Seattle Sprawl by Catalyst Game Labs (designed by Raymond Croteau, Jason Hardy, James Meiers, O.C. Presley, Scott Schletz, R.J. Thomas, Malik Toms, Thomas Willoughby, CZ Wright, and Russell Zimmerman)
Symbaroum by Järnringen and co-published by Modiphius Entertainment (designed by Martin Grip, Mattias Johnsson, Mattias Lilja and Johan Nohr.
Storm King’s Thunder by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jenna Helland, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire-Special Modifications by Fantasy Flight (designed by Blake Bennett, Tim Cox, Jordan Goldfarb, Sterling Hershey and Monte Lin)
The One Ring: Horse: Lords of Rohan by Cubicle 7 (designed by Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Francesco Nepitello, and James Spahn)
Volo’s Guide to Monsters by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Ed Greenwood, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Kim Mohan, Christopher Perkins, Sean K. Reynolds, Matthew Sernett, Chris Sims, and Steve Winter)