Dice Tower Newsletter

Asmodee

Fantasy Flight Games has announced plans to release a Revised Core Set for Android: Netrunner The Card Game. Along with a revised core set will come significant changes to tournament play.

Based on the original card game by legendary designer Richard Garfield, Android: Netrunner The Card Game remains an asymetrical two player card game set in a dystopian Android future where subversive netrunners face off against the monolithic megacorps in an effort to control data.

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same

The concept of Android: Netrunner remains the same. one player assumes control of a monolithic megacorporation and it’s near infinite resources. A second player take on the role of a “runner,” a cybercriminal attempting to bypass the megacorporation’s defenses and steal data. Corps gain points by advancing agendas, while runners steal points by stealing agendas from the corps. Both sides attempt to gain their points through clever card play and use of hidden information.

What cards are available to you and to your opponent set the stage for this showdown. The Revised Core Set will include 247 player cards, 133 Corps cards and 144 Runner cards to do battle with.

What’s New?

While the Revised Core Set creates a new entry point for Android: Netrunner, it does not introduce any new cards into the game. Players who own the original Core Set along with the Data Packs available in the Genesis Cycle and the Spin Cycle will already own everything available. While card art and quantities of cards vary from those in the Core Set and Data Packs, the actual card abilities and text will remain the same.

Changes to Tournament Play

With thousands of cards now in the Netrunner universe, the incredible growth of the game has also created a card pool so large it has created a barrier to new players and in developing new strategies. Similar to other LCG and CCG formats, Netrunner Tournament Play has introduced a system refresh system that will mean older products will no longer be tournament legal as new cards are introduced.

For Netrunner Standard Play, five to seven cycles of Data Packs will be the limit to what is now legal. Whenever an eighth cycle would be added to the standard pool, the two oldest cycles are rotated out of Standard Play.

The new changes to legal play take effect October 1st. Effective October 1st tournament play will consist of the new Revised Core Set and the following expansions:

  • Creation and Control
  • Honor and Profit
  • Order and Chaos
  • Data and Destiny
  • Terminal Directive (player cards only)
  • Lunar Cycle Data Packs
  • SanSan Cycle Data Packs
  • Mumbad Cycle Data Packs
  • Flashpoint Cycle Data Packs
  • Red Sand Cycle Data Pack

5 Years of Running

Android: Netrunner the Card Game has only been around for the past 5 years, released in 2012. While a reimplementation of the original 1996 Netrunner game by Richard Garfield, the 2012 edition proved much more popular. Award for the new game included:

Dice Tower Top 10 lists that have featured the revised game over the past 5 years include:

Asmodee is celebrating the 7th anniversary of 7 Wonders, originally released in 2010, with two new mini expansion packs.

The first expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Leaders Anniversary Pack Expansion is an expansion to 7 Wonders: Cities, which was released in 2010 as the first 7 Wonders expansion. This anniversary pack will include at least fifteen new leaders to include in games of 7 Wonders. Characters from history will include Gorgo, Cornelia, Enheduanna, Roxana, and more. 7 Wonders Leaders added Leader cards to the base game. At the start of every game, each player drafts a hand of four leaders and can pay money to play one leader at the start of each of the three Ages.

The second expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Cities Anniversary Pack Expansion, is an expansion to the 7 Wonders: Cities expansion, which was released in 2012. The expansion pack will include at least fifteen new cities. City cards will include a memorial, customs, counterfeiter’s office, smuggler’s cache, and more. 7 Wonders: Cities was the second expansion for 7 Wonders. City cards were a new type if card in the game and aggressively increased the interaction between players in games.

7 Wonders & Many Awards

When released in 2010 7 Wonders was an instant hit, finding both popular and critical success. A sample of awards includes:

The game continues to make regular appearances on Dice Tower Top 10 lists, especially those focussed on higher player counts. Dice Tower Top 10 appearances include:

Games for Five Players – The People’s #1 game
6 Player Games – The People’s #1 game
7+ Player Games – The People’s #1 game

 

 

Ticket to Ride Designer Alan Moon appeared at the Dice Tower Live Show at GenCon 2017 to announce that the next Ticket to Ride Map Collection Volume 6 will explore France and the Old West.

Dive into thriving French culture during impressionism and the Industrial Revolution; street cafes, “Starry Night”, Paris Boulevards, and Notre-Dame. The French railroad system is a blank canvas just waiting for your masterful strokes. However, before you can start claiming routes, you’ll need to lay the track! Watch for your opponents, though, because they might claim the route you just spent so much time building… 

France

Ticket to Ride France takes players back to the era of impressionism and the Industrial Revolution. On this map no path is certain, as before claiming a route you first need to built the tracks and choose the colors that will be needed to actually claim the route with your trains. This mechanic is completely new to the Ticket to Ride franchise.

Ticket to Ride France follows the traditional choice of draw train cards, draw route cards or claim a route. In this expansion when a player draws train cards they also choose a route of track bed to add to the board. The board includes endless options for routes, but placing track bed for future routes will cut off many other route options other players may have wanted to lay beds for and the laid piece will also determine the color of the train cards that will be required for the route.

 

Old West

The flip-side of the map crosses the ocean to take players to the Old West for a map that holds up to 6 players. Each player will claim a home city their network will start from. The first route you claim must extend out from your starting city. All subsequent routes must also connect back to your home city or cities you have already built connections to. There will be no more reverse route building — you can never claim routes that aren’t already connected to your network.

Once a route card is completed a player can take one of the three city tokens they start with players can play two additional cards to claim the city.

After a player claims a route, they may place one of their city markers in either of the cities in the just completed route by playing a pair of cards of the same color (Locomotives can be used to replace one or both of these cards). Each city can only have one City Marker so two players cannot both con- trol the same city. Players will need to choose routes carefully, as every time a route is claimed that leads to a city controlled by one of their opponents the opponent will be the one to score the points.

What’s in the Box?

Volume 6 box contents include:

  • Maps of France and the Old West
  • 64 Track Pieces
  • A new set of trains
  • 18 Cities
  • Alvin the Alien Marker
  • Tickets & Rules for each Map

Rules are available now for both the France and Old West maps. The expansion will be available at Essen in late October and in early November in North America.

The Ticket to Ride Legacy
Released in 2004, Ticket to Ride is one of the biggest selling modern board game, and one with a rich legacy as an award winner. A select list of awards includes:

Hungry for more T.I.M.E. Stories? The Sixth expansion, Estrella Drive, is slated for a 4th quarter release this year and drops players into 1980’s Hollywood. This time of vice, violence, luxury, and celebrity is an intriguing departure from previous expansions which have focused on much older periods of time. Yet what makes T.I.M.E. Stories scenarios special is that they tend to stray far from the ordinary for their setting. There’s some paranormal-esque shenanigans afoot and it’ll take some trained eyes to get to the bottom of it. As described via the Asmodee product page:

“The location of the anomaly appears to be a luxurious villa in the California hills. Science in the 20th century was incapable of correctly identifying time alterations, so the mansion is believed to be haunted by many natives of this era. […] Take careful note of these fissures in the time stream, but remember their true source lies in the damage being done to the Time Line, not in the supernatural.”

 

While 80’s Hollywood and “ghost” stories don’t immediately sound like they mix, part of the fun of this exemplary cooperative game is showing how one strange turn can pan out in the long run. Estrella Drive‘s fresh theme, while intended for mature audiences only, is enough to make the storytelling pop for a series where storytelling has been it’s greatest strength. Fans of the series who want to continue on their journey have something to look forward to this holiday season. For more information on this release and future T.I.M.E. Stories releases, please be sure to check out Asmodee’s official product page and news feed.

Not too long ago, Asmodee North America announced that they, and all the companies owned by them, would be switching distributors to be exclusively with Alliance.  This news got some mixed responses as it was considered to be a good business move, but others thought trimming down to a single distributor was a bad idea.  Arcane Tinmen is in the camp of “bad idea” as they have ended a long standing partnership with Asmodee North America and Fantasy Flight Games in order to continue distributing through multiple channels.  This went into effect immediately so you shouldn’t see much change in how you get their products, and you can read the full press release below for more info.

Arcane Tinmen maintains broad distribution in the States

Arcane Tinmen has decided to discontinue their business cooperation with Asmodée North America (ANA) in order to maintain a broader distribution network of their products in the United States market. The change will go into effect on August 1st 2017.

Arcane Tinmen will continue to have its products distributed through many main distributors in the US, including Southern Hobby, ACD, GTS and PHD. Arcane Tinmen is thankful for many years of fruitful and prosperous relations with Asmodée NA, and Fantasy Flight Games before that.

Asmodée NA recently announced that they would be going from five distributors to an exclusive partnership with Alliance Game Distributors.

Michael Stehr Lilhav, CEO of Arcane Tinmen, states;
“I recognize that this is a solid move for Asmodée and their business, but the future for Dragon Shield and other Arcane Tinmen accessories lies within the wider distribution network.”

Michael Stehr Lilhav adds that Arcane Tinmen is thankful for the many years of partnership the company has had with Asmodée, and that he wishes both companies plenty of good fortune on each of their separate future paths.

Arcane Tinmen is known for their wide range of gaming accessories and high quality trading card game protection products. With the world renowned quality-brand Dragon Shield, Arcane Tinmen has been an important player in the gaming industry for decades.

Captain Sonar has been an absolute hit this year, which is surprising for a game that requires 8 people to get the full experience.  So Asmodee wants to roll with the punches and has announced a family version of the game simply called Sonar.  In this version of the game your crew size is cut down to 2, meaning a full game only needs a much more manageable 4 people to fill every spot.  Half of the roles and a lot of extras steps have been removed and you just have two positions, the captain and the radio operator.

The radio operator has the same role as before, listening to the other team’s captain as they move to try and determine where they are on the map.  For the captain, they will announce the movement as well as mark off energy on their board as they move.  When you get enough energy you can do things like activate sonar, run silent, or launch a torpedo.  Running silent means you can move a space without announcing it, sonar makes your opponent to reveal either the column or row they are in, and firing a torpedo has you picking a coordinate to try and damage your opponent.  First sub that takes two damage loses.

Hopefully the fun and feel of the larger game is still contained in this trimmed down version, but it does take the teamwork aspect of the big game down a notch, so we will have to wait and see.  You can pick up a copy of Sonar later this fall, so until then you can read more about it on Asmodee’s website.

Asmodee Digital continues to expand it’s library, this time with favorite kids game Spot It!.  The game will be called Spot It: Duel! and will feature the familiar and easy to learn gameplay of the card game, but now in a head to head mobile game.  In the game you will be able to collect different characters called ‘Dobbles’, some of which will have special powers, and challenge people all over the world.  Plus, as you gain more in game currency you will be able to unlock different arenas, essentially the theme for the cards, and even additional cards for the different arenas.  There is even a challenge mode that will introduce new rules and ways to play, netting you special rewards when you master them.  So if you are a fan of the speed matching game in real life, the app will allow you to take that fun wherever you go.  If you aren’t a fan of the card game, this app may not change your mind, but it has enough bells and whistles that it can still be a fun game.  You can get the game from Google Play or the App Store today.

Asmodee and Space Cowboys have announced three new escape room titles to the popular Unlock! line of games. The three original Unlock! games created one hour escape room experiences with just a deck of cards, using a unique mechanism of card numbering and combining. The House on the Hill puts the players in a haunted house with a mysterious Book of the Dead. The Nautilus’ Traps has players escape a submarine at the bottom of the sea during a sea monster attack. The Tonipal’s Treasure involves a period hunt for pirate treasure on Tonipal island, however at the start you have been arrested and imprisoned by the Governor.

Read the full press release from Asmodee here, and look for the three new Unlock! games in Q4 2017.

The big question in the board game industry right now is how to drive people to brick and mortar stores, and the current trend seems to be to institute a Minimum Advertised Price policy or MAP.  So far we have had CMON and Iello both adopt such policies, and now two more companies add their names to the list; HABA and Asmodee.  Asmodee’s policy is similar to CMON’s in that no product can be sold for less than 20% of it’s MSRP, online or in stores.  What is good about this policy change is that in adopting a MAP, Asmodee has removed the restrictions to online sales, so online stores can now start carrying Asmodee products easily again.  HABA’s policy is a little more strict in that all products must be sold for MSRP, and the only ones that can be discounted are the products that have been discontinued.

Will instituting these unilateral policies be good for the industry or will it lead to the bubble popping?  We will just have to wait and see.

Asmodee has posted detailed information about Cities of Splendor, the long awaited first expansion to their 2014 mega-hit and multiple award winner, Splendor. Designer Marc Andre and Space Cowboys are back at it in Cities of Splendor, which actually includes 4 mini-expansions: The Cities, The Trading Posts, The Orient and The Strongholds.

  • The Cities replaces Nobles Tiles with double-sided City Tiles, which functionally act the same, but unlike the Nobles players must claim a City Tile in order to win the game.
  • The Trading Post adds some engine building to Splendor by adding the Route to the Orient board. On this board, players can claim achievements, gaining special abilities such as additional Prestige Points, or the ability to claim more gems.
  • The Orient adds 30 new Developments Cards, which add unique new powers. These new Orient cards sit alongside the normal Development Cards, giving tons of new options.
  • Finally, The Strongholds adds a new mechanism to Splendor increasing player interaction. Players now have plastic Stronghold Towers which reserve a Development Card for their own exclusive purchase. When a player claims a Development Card, they may also either place a Stronghold, or remove an opponents’ Stronghold. Additionally, if all 3 of your Strongholds sit on the same card, you may claim it by right of conquest!

Cities of Splendor will be released at GenCon 2017, and will be in stores the same week (August 17-20). You can read Asmodee‘s press release here.