Dice Tower Newsletter

Asmodee

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.

Z-Man Games has just launched a beautiful new redesigned website here. Of particular interest on the website is an interview with Steven Kimball, head of Z-Man Games. Z-Man has gone through a lot of changes in the recent year, including acquisition of their parent company, F2Z Entertainment, by the game giant Asmodee, and the more recent merging of Asmodee’s Windrider Games division into Z-Man Games. In his interview, Steven looks at his history with Z-Man Games, and where the studio is heading in the future. As a further teaser, the interview gives just a few tasty tidbits about the upcoming Pandemic Legacy: Season 2.

In news that is as surprising as the sun rising this morning, Asmodee has acquired another long standing “game” line, Rory’s Story Cubes.  Rory’s Story Cubes is not really a game per se, they are sets of dice that have symbols on each side with a theme, like Doctor Who, Batman, or the more generic Actions.  Each set of dice can be used in a story telling type activity where you roll the dice and tell a story based on what was rolled.  Even more recently a Kickstarter was launched to create a full board game around this story telling usage of the dice.  All of this now will fall under the purview of Asmodee and will be distributed by them worldwide, allowing for the dice sets to reach an even wider audience then before.  The folks at the Creativity Hub will still be involved a bit in development of new sets, but the design and release of them will be chiefly done by Asmodee.  You can read the announcement on the Rory’s Story Cubes website.

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:

Family Games (6 Nominees)

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)

Traditional Card Games (8 Nominees)

Game Accessories (4 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage Organizer by The Broken Token (designed by Greg Spence)
  • Dungeon Morph Dice Adventurer Set by Inkwell Ideas / Q-Workshop (designed by Joe Wetzel, Dyson Logos, Matt Jackson, Shane Knysh, Tim Ballew, Dave Millar, Sigurd Johansson, AJ Stone)
  • Flip ‘N Tray Mat Case by Ultimate Guard (designed by Adrian Alonso)
  • Improved D Total by Gamescience (designed by Dr. A.F. Simkin, Col. Louis Zocchi, Frank Dutrait)

Board Games (10 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage by (designed by Eric M. Lang)
  • Clank! by Renegade Games (designed by Paul Dennen)
  • Cry Havoc by Portal Games (designed by Grant Rodiek, Michael Oracz, Michael Walczak)
  • Feast for Odin by Z Man Games/Asmodee (designed by Uwe Rosenberg)
  • Islebound by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
  • Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight/Asmodee (designed by Christopher Burdett, Anders Finér, Henning Ludvigsen)
  • Scythe by Stonemaier Games (designed by Jamey Stegmaier)
  • Star Wars Rebellion by Fantasy Flight (designed by Corey Konieczka)
  • Terraforming Mars by (designed by Jacob Fryxelius)
  • World’s Fair 1893 by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games (designed by J. Alex Kevern)

Collectible Games (5 Nominees)

  • Yu-Gi-Oh Breaker of Shadow Booster by Konami (designed by Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Pokémon XY11 Steam Siege Booster by Pokémon USA (designed by The Pokémon Company)
  • Magic the Gathering: Kaladesh Booster Pack by Wizards of the Coast
  • Marvel HeroClix: Uncanny X-Men Booster Brick by WizKids (designed by WizKids)
  • Cardfight Vanguard Fighters Collection by Bushiroad

Miniatures (5 Nominees)

  • Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team by Games Workshop
  •  Konflikt ’47 by Warlord Games (designed by Clockwork Goblin Miniatures)
  • Dragon Rampant by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine
  • TANKS by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine (designed by Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates)
  • Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames (designed by Andy Chambers and David Lewis)

AEG as of late has been all about their Thunderstone Quest Kickstarter, which is understandable given that it reboots a highly popular game, but they still have other games coming.  One of those games coming soon is the second edition of Oath of the Brotherhood, a worker placement style game set in the world of pirates.  As aspiring pirates you want to join the Brotherhood, but in order to get in you have to impress them by completing missions.  Missions are completed by spending the supplies you acquire, and those supplies also have a second use by giving you special abilities when you use them outside of missions.  At the end of the game, whoever has the most victory points is the winner.  Look for this game in May of this year.

Next, for the dice enthusiasts among us, Rory Story Cubes is coming out with several new themed dice sets.  The new sets are Moomin, Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, Doctor Who, and Adventure Time.  Each set comes with 9 dice, and each die has 6 different symbols on them relating to the theme of the set, like ghosts on the Scooby Doo set or K9 on the Doctor Who set.  These are fun dice to collect, and are also fun to roll and try to tell a story with.  Look for these to hit store shelves in June.

Next is the latest expansion from Asmodee for their king of the hill game, Kharnage, called Tricks and Mercenaries.  This new expansion adds some units to the base game, giving you some more variety within your armies, but also introduces the Kradwallon deck.  This new deck is full or mercenaries with strange abilities and brand new action cards that anyone can recruit into their armies during the game.  These new events and units aren’t your typical units so expect hte unexpected when you pull them into the fold.  Look for this expansion to hit stores in the third quarter, and until then you can check out the preview on Asmodee’s website.

Last we have from Brotherwise Games their Boss Monster release for the year, Boss Monster: Implements of Destruction.  This new set of cards brings more items into the game with 24 new item cards that can be claimed, and even explorer items for 5-6 player games.  Also included in the set will be 5 new bosses to add to your roster, giving you even more variety to choose from.  This new set will debut in June at Origins, and go into wide release later this summer.

Ticket to Ride players are about to have a new entry point into the classic train network building universe with Ticket to Ride: Germany. This time potential railroad tycoons will use an illustrated map of late 19th century Germany to lay the foundation for their tiny plastic train empires. European customers and conductors can pick the game up in June, while North Americans can catch the caboose in August at Gencon.

Players can collect valuable Passenger Meeples from cities around the board to score points. This mechanic was also seen in the Märklin Edition of the game. In addition players will want to connect destination cities on both short and long routes to gain victory points.

Unlike the past few expansions, this game will be a complete entry point into the Ticket to Ride line, with everything needed for 2-5 players to play inside the box. Contents include:

  • A map of Germany
  • 225 colored Train Cars
  • 110 Train Car Cards
  • 89 Destination Tickets Cards
  • 60 Passenger Meeples
  • 1 Cloth Bag
  • 5 Scoring Markers
  • 1 Rules Booklet
  • A special Globetrotter Bonus Card.

The Popularity of Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride has been the entry point for many gamers. Just a few of the Dice Tower Top 10 lists that include Ticket to Ride include:

The original Ticket to Ride has actually been included in over 30 of the Dice Tower Top Ten lists. With such strong pedigree and a history of popular expansions, Ticket to Ride: Germany is likely to make a splash when it enters the market later this year.

Here we have a trio of new game announcements from some notable names in the industry, Asmodee, CMON, and Plaid Hat Games.  First we have Asmodee and Space Cowboys with a new edition of the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective game, which was last printed by Ystari back in 2015.  This new edition contains the same ten cases as before, however, they have retranslated and revised all the cases so the solutions and clues in some of them will have changed from the Ystari version.  So while it may not be much new content for the owners of the original, this still brings the game back into print for those wanting a mind melting challenge.  Look for this new edition on store shelves in the third quarter of this year, and you can check out the preview on Asmodee’s site.

Next from CMON we have the announcement of the next game in their Zombicide line, Zombicide Green Horde.  They are staying in the middle ages with this one and so will be a sequel to the wildly successful Zombicide Black Plague.  The terrors will be numerous and overpowering for our warriors in this game, but together they just might be able to pull through.  “If Zombicide: Black Plague gave you nightmares, Zombicide: Green Horde will make them come true.”  You can see the announcement for the game on CMON’s page, and look forward to the Kickstarter later this year.

Finally we have a new game being developed by Plaid Hat Games called Crystal Clans.  This is going to be a two player tactical card game in a similar vein to Summoner Wars with different armies, card based units, and included maps to deploy on.  However, in the comments of the announcement they have stated that is where the similarities end, and that Crystal Clans is going to have fresh new mechanics to make it stand out.  The game is being designed by Colby Dauch, Andrea Mezzotero, and J. Arthur Ellis along with illustrations by the talented Martin Abel.  You can check out the announcement on Plaid Hat’s site to see some of the excellent art being put together, and then prepare yourself for it’s planned fall release.