Dice Tower Newsletter

Asmodee

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.

Following the passing of board game designer Allan Calhmer in 2013, a piece of board gaming history is up for auction right now as part of his estate sale. The first edition of the game Diplomacy was printed as a numbered print run of 500 copies, and the copy up for auction right now is number one of those first  500 editions. The auction ends April 2, 2017 at 9:05 PM EST.

The copy was found in a mailing box with a return address of “Diplomacy,” located in Boston, Mass. Postmarked July 21, 1959, the contents of the auction including, per the auction listing:

The game board
A box of wooden game pieces
3 Conference Maps

“Diplomacy – Rules of the Game” which is 6 stapled sheets (sheets 2 thru 5 are 2-sided).  The back side of sheet 5 is stamped “THIS IS SET NO. 1 OF THE FIRST EDITION, OF 500 SETS” (the number “1” is handwritten in ink pen).

Also in the box is a “Sylvania Signal” newsletter dated November 21, 1958 with an article about Mr. Calhamer and his new game.  This was no doubt put in the box many years ago and will be included.

Diplomacy is a legendary negotiation game with no elements of chance. Per the Avalon Hill game description:

At the turn of the 20th century, the seven Great European Powers engage in an intricate struggle for supremacy. Military forces invade and withdraw, shifting borders and altering empires with subtle maneuvers and daring gambits.

Form alliances and unhatch your traitorous plots as you negotiate and outwit—in a delicate balance of cooperation and competition—to gain dominance of the continent! In Diplomacy, your success hinges not on the luck of the dice, but your cunning and cleverness.

Top Game For Ruining Friendships
Diplomacy has made many Top Ten Lists on the Dice Tower including:

Top 100 Games 2015
Stress-Inducing Games
Political Games
Top Ten EPIC games
Top Ten Mean and Nasty Games
Best Political games
Best Convention Games
Games That Have Stood the Test of Time
Stress-Inducing Games
Mean and Nasty Games

Diplomacy is likely most famous for being one of the friendship killer board games. The game was Tom’s original number 1 pick as the top Mean and Nasty Game.

Google “top friendship destroying board games” and any thoughtful list usually results Diplomacy taking the top spot. Top Tenz list of Top Board Games (for Ruining Friendships) describes the game mechanics:

There’s zero random chance in Diplomacy, so if your friends decide you need to be eliminated there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. And while you hate them for it, you know you would have done the exact same thing to them. At that moment comes the realization that, deep down, you were never really friends at all.

Quinton Smith from Shut up and Sit Down’s list of The Top 5 Board Games That Really Will Ruin Friendships also gives Diplomacy the top rank and warns: “Buy Diplomacy at your own risk. I will absolutely not be held accountable.”

Ruined Friendships By the Numbers
Diplomacy has always been recommended as best with 7 players, that means a combination of 21 friends are usually playing the game. With 9,336 logged plays on boardgamegeek, that makes approximately 65,352 ruined friendships since 1959.

There’s no way of knowing how many friendships were ruined by the very first copy of Diplomacy, but this is your chance to both own a piece of board gaming history while at the same time clearing 6 contacts out of your phone.

Asmodee has posted four new scenarios, free for download, for the recent Conan board game by Monolith Games. The new scenarios feature the same excellent stories, artwork and depth as the originals. Additionally, the new scenarios make use of the recent expansions Yogah of Yag, Crossbowmen and Kushite Witch Hunters. The new scenarios are:

  • Conspiracy in Khauran (4 players) by Tony Berart – Uses Crossbowmen
  • Yogah’s Rebirth (4 players) by Ben & Peps – Uses Yogah of Yag
  • Yara’s Trap (2 players) by Tony Berart – Uses Yogah of Yag
  • The Cursed Mirrors (3 players) by Tony Berart – Uses Kushite Witch Hunters

For more details about the new scenarios, go to Asmodee’s website here.

Conan the Barbarian, the Cimmerian, has seen a huge resurgence lately in both video and board gaming since the release of Conan Exiles and Conan respectively. The latter, having only been released a handful of months ago, now has a cool new expansion coming the second quarter of 2017. Nordheim will take players to the frozen north, where Aesir and Vanir hang out with giants who make a living being menacing and prone to smashing things. As described by Asmodee on their product page:

 “Through four scenarios deeply inspired by Robert E. Howard’s short story, The Frost-Giant’s Daughter, you and your friends will battle atop snowy, blood-drenched fields; cross swords with giants; and travel snow-covered forests in pursuit of the legendary Frost-Giant’s daughter.”

The expansion comes with 24 miniatures, a double sided-game board, a scenario book, and more cards, tiles, and tokens. A new dual-weilding hero is also included to partner with Conan as he charges headlong into more hordes and perils. All of that looks to be quality ice-ing on the cake for fans of the dauntless barbarian.  Plus, what game this year hasn’t been improved by the inclusion of vikings? Be sure to visit the product entries on Asmodee’s site for more information on this expansion and future Conan products.

Unlock, the card based room escape game released by Asmodee and Space Cowboys, is already getting accolades in the form of the Game of the Year award from International Games Festival.  This bodes well for the game, and with two introductory/demo scenarios already out for free, setting this game up to really take off.  The first three full scenarios of this now award winning game will be in stores soon!

Unlock! Wins Game of the Year As d’Or for 2017!

Brand-new, card-driven, escape room game from Space Cowboys picks up most prestigious award at the International Games Festival.

Paris, France

Unlock! Escape Adventures, the brand-new, card driven, escape room game from world renowned designer Cyril Demaegd was recently awarded“Game of the Year As d’Or for 2017” at the annual International Games Festival in Cannes, France.

Unlock! Escape Adventures is a new, card based game for two to six players from French studio Space Cowboys, where players find themselves in mysterious surroundings with minimal clues to help them escape! The free Unlock! Companion app (available to download from the App Storeor Google Play) is fully integrated into the game, keeping the pressure on with a countdown timer, providing valuable clues, and rewarding you for deciphering secret codes!

“All my thanks to the Festival des Jeux As d’Or jury for selecting Unlock! as their Game of the Show! We are extremely proud to have received this honour, which rewards the whole team for their hard work and dedication,” said Cyril Demaegd, Game Designer at Space Cowboys.  “Personally, I am a huge fan of escape room games involving thematic riddles and the pressure of the clock, and we’re thrilled that we were able to recreate the escape room experience in a cooperative card game.”

Eager fans keen to check out the award-winning Unlock! Escape Adventures can now download “The Elite,” a free demo scenario, that includes basic game rules and a brief tutorial, via www.spacecowboys.fr/unlock-demo.

Plaid Hat Games has announced two new Deluxe Expansions, an organized Ashes Tournament and the next in the series of Ashes Organized Play products for the Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn.

The Law of Lions & The Song of Soaksend

The next two expansion decks for the Ashes series will be the Law of Lions and the Song of Soaksend.

The Law of Lions

She is the commander of the pride, the follower of the  path, the righteous judge and the merciful servant. She  emboldens the virtuous and strikes fear in the heart of the  transgressor. She is Odette Diamondcrest. Her quill  wrote  Lordswall’s law. Her sword protected its gate. Her word  sent forth its crusaders. She will see the world  restored to  divine order.

The Song of Soaksend

An ancient song binds its silvery strings to every living  soul.  Namine adds her voice to this unending melody.  She  plays the strings and subtly alters the song to her  will. She  changes the tempo from a calm wind to a  crashing storm.  She and the people of Soaksend know  this song and live  serenely within its melody. Woe unto those that cannot  hear its beauty.

Both of these decks will be sold as deluxe box sets and will include 10 new dice in each box. Each box will have storage space for decks, 10 dice and game tokens.

The two Deluxe Expansions are slated for release in late spring / early summer 2017.

Organized Play Kit

To support “The Law of Lions” and “The Song of Soaksend” Plaid Hat Games has announced they will release the second Organized Play Kit at the same time as the two new factions release. The new kit will contain enough prize support and material for four tournaments of play.

The War Within Tournament

Together with parent company Asmodee, Plait Hat Games will be supporting a series of tournaments at local game stores billed as “The War Within.”

“The War Within”. Through a series of tournaments hosted by local game stores, players will have the opprotunity to determine the looks and abilities of an unnamed Phoenixborn. The “War Within” event is meant to represent her internal struggle, and how she wants to approach the war that she must soon be a part of.

The War Within Tournament will be available at participating game stores starting next month.

More Ashes Announcements Coming Soon

Plaid Hat Games has informed Ashes fans that they will be announcing additional decks in the coming weeks as well as information about a revised edition of the base game.

Asmodee has announced a new bluffing game titled “Oh Captain!“. Designed by Florian Sirieix and published by LudonauteOh Captain! is a game for 3 to 6 players, featuring a heavy dose of deception and treachery.

“The goal of Oh Captain! is to gather as much treasure as you can to sell to a group of Nomads who currently inhabit the island you’re stranded on. One player is designated as the Captain at the start of the game while the rest become explorers. Players then select an adventurer to represent them in the game, each with their own unique ability and a stockpile of gold coins. The Captain tries to collect as much valuable treasure from the adventurers as possible, while the explorers try and hide the best items for themselves.”

Oh Captain! is scheduled for release in Q2 2017.

Markorama Games, a game store located in Franklin, New Jersey, has sent out a letter to their customers and friends explaining that they unfortunately must close their store due to Asmodee‘s policy of not allowing brick and mortar stores to sell their products online.  In the letter they state:

“In January 2016, Asmodee changed their policies and forbid brick and mortar stores from selling online. We tried complying with this policy but within a few months got into a huge financial crisis and needed to do something or close the store. We decided to continue selling online for as long as we could and try to dig ourselves out of the financial hole we dug ourselves into. A few weeks ago, Asmodee discovered we were selling online and ordered us to cease and desist. We are currently complying with their policy, but as a result, we have no choice but to close the store.”

The full text of the letter is on Markorama’s Facebook page.

The Asmodee policy was described in an overview blog on BoardGameGeek (BGG).  There are also several active forum threads on the DiceTower forums on BGG discussing this policy in general (here and here).  Tom Vasel talked about it on DiceTower Podcast #440 at minute 55:40 where it was the question of the week which includes comments from several other reviewers.