Battlestar Galactica

There are several new space ship expansions available for the Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Game from Ares Games.

In the game, players control Colonial and Cylon spaceships and use maneuver cards for each spaceship, as well as two devices—the control panel, which is included in the Starter Set, and the rotating miniature base in each Spaceship Pack. Each ship is a ready-to-play.

New ships coming out in January include Viper MK, Starbuck’s Viper, Cylon Raider, Starbuck’s Cylon Raider and Scar’s Cylon Raider.

A set of additional control panels is also coming out in January.

You can find out more about the ships here

Ares Games has announced that they will be publishing Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles a combat miniatures game set in Battlestar Galactica universe.

The Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles will be based on the TV series and will include both the “Classical” and “Reimagined” settings. The licensing agreement covers both the classic series created by Glen Larson in the 1970s as well as the more recent series developed by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick which ran until 2010.
The new game has been designed by Andrea Angiolino and Andrea Mainini, designers of both Wings of Glory and Sails of Glory. The game will features miniatures that come fully assembled and already painted. Miniatures will be built into special bases supporting unique game mechanics.
In the game players will take control of one or more Colonial or Cylon ships and face off in both one-on-one dogfights as well as battle through a variety of missions.
The game will be available for preview at GenCon 2018 (August 2-5, 2018) with no firm on-sale release date.

Wizkids has just announced plans to release Doppleganger in 2018, an adventuring-party card game with a traitor mechanic. Wizkids has been on announcing a pile of new games, and Doppleganger can now get added to that last. Doppleganger is scheduled for a May 2018 release. Players aged 14+ will spend 30 minutes figuring out which of the 4-8 players in the game are traitors.

In Doppleganger players are working together to find three Artifacts of Light. Things are never easy for an adventuring party, and in this case one or more of the players are hidden-traitor dopplegangers, trying to stop the party from finding three artifacts.

Wizkids has described the game as having mechanics similar to ResistanceBattlestar Galactica, and Dark Moon. While adventuring in Doppleganger players are invited to join an adventure and secretly throw cards into the pool. Players will also be required to choose which dice to use in the battles they encounter. Cards in the pool will help the adventuring part succeed (a weapon) or fail (who threw in the poison potion?!).

 

Content of the game will include:

  • 107 Cards (Heroes, Items, Quests, Loyalty, Reference)
  • 5 Dice
  • 1 Rule book
  • 1 Dice bag
  • Tokens
  • Damage counters
  • Exhaustion tokens

Two eagerly awaited games are soon to be released and available for pre-order now from one of the industry’s top publishers: Stronghold Games.

dark moon

First up is Dark Moon a game of deception and betrayal in space. Dark Moon is based on a game called BSG Express designed by Evan Derrick that was released as a print an play game. BSG Express quickly became a hit and is said to be the most downloaded PNP game on BGG. Stronghold Games kept Evan Derrick as the designer for Dark Moon which also includes art by Evan and Viktor Csete.

You are a crew member on a deep space mining expedition to Titan, the dark moon of Saturn. During a routine excavation, an “incident” occurs whereby some of the crew become infected with an unknown virus, and become paranoid, deceitful, and violent, trying to destroy the others.

At the start of the game players are divided into two groups: Infected and Uninfected. Each player will know which team they belong to but will not know about the other players affiliation. Uninfected players simply need to survive till the end of the game to win and the infected players secretly attempt to destroy them. This game provides all the paranoia of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) in a fraction of the time and from all accounts I’ve come across so far it is an exceptional game.

Dark Moon plays 3 – 7 people and takes 60 -75 minutes. It should be available from you FLGS/OLGS on June 24th 2015 so if you’re interested keep an eye out or pre-order it today.

granja

Next up is La Granja, which made its first appearance at Essen Speil 2014 published by Spielworxx and was a huge hit. La Granja is designed by Michael Keller (II) and Andreas “ode.” Odendahl and includes beautiful art by Harald Lieske.

In La Granja players will control small farms on the island of Mallorca. Over 6 rounds players will expand their farms by adding fields, farm expansions, market barrows, and helpers while earning victory points by delivering goods to the nearby village.

La Granja is a fascinating game that requires careful planning. Timing and speed is crucial. However, successful players must cope with the uncertainty of events during the game. The player who has earned the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner and new owner of the La Granja estate!

La Granja requires 1 – 4 players to carefully plan and time their actions, keep watch on other players actions, and adjust strategy based on cards and dice. La Granja is considered to be a very approachable and streamlined euro that has already seen great success so no doubt this game will do very well for Stronghold Games. It is one of the most anticipated games to come out of Speil 2014 so if you’re interested definitely keep an eye out for it in July 2015 at your FLGS/OLGS or pre-order it today.

 

*The statements made in Contrarian Corner do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Dice Tower or Dice Tower News. These are my opinions, in the grand tradition of gamers arguing about the hobby, and are just as likely to be brilliant and insightful as they are misguided and wrongheaded. Reader discretion is advised.

Winter of Discontent

The 2014 Golden Geek Awards were recently announced, and while I thought a lot of the nominees and winners were great choices (for the most part- I’ll save that for another Contrarian Corner), I was SHOCKED that Dead of Winter won for most innovative game. It wasn’t just nominated, it won! For innovation. Dead of Winter. Yes, that Dead of Winter. The game that owes practically every design element to Battlestar Galactica. Innovative. Innovative?!

 BGG-Golden-Geek

Now before I dive into this unbelievable failure of board game award-giving, I have a bit of a confession to make. I like Dead of Winter. I have Dead of Winter. I helped playtest it while Plaid Hat Games was developing the game, and while it’s true that playing the same game over and over did burn me out at the time, I respect it for being a challenging cooperative experience with a fun traitor mechanic and evocative theme. It’s a fine example of Amerithrash (I get $1 from Tom every time I say that), but in terms of innovation, I put it right above SpongeBob Monopoly.

Merriam-Webster defines innovative as “introducing or using new ideas or methods” and “having new ideas about how something can be done”. In board games, we know that innovation is more of a continuum than a binary state. Game design stands on the shoulders of previous designs, developing ideas found in other games or other systems of play to achieve something novel. Some games are very innovative, others less so, and outside of straight theft there’s nothing wrong with being on the lower end of the innovation continuum. That said, just as NASA isn’t knocking down my door begging me to lead the next space mission, nor should Dead of Winter be winning awards for innovation. Please save your torches and pitchforks to the end.

Here Be Zombies

There’s no theme in board gaming that is less innovative than zombies. The overuse of this post-apocalyptic storytelling device in popular media is pervasive to the point of complete saturation. There are more zombie games than there were snakes on Samuel L. Jackson’s plane. There are more zombie games than Original Ray’s Pizza places in New York City. There may even be more zombie games than stars in the sky. (That’s just science.)

Crossroads Most Traveled

If Arthur is writing a Contrarian Corner piece about Dead of Winter and Mars was in retrograde, read the following…

Let’s get the Crossroads Cards out of the way immediately. They’re not new. They’re just not. At their core, Crossroads Cards are just situationally-activated event cards. If you’ve played Descent 2nd Edition, the Overlord player has a whole hand of these. They’re called Overlord Cards and they allow him/her to do nasty things to the heroes when they do certain things. How about Magic the Gathering? Many Interrupt spells have situational and/or conditional triggers as well.

But Crossroads Cards offer choices! Okay great. Tales of the Arabian Nights has an entire tome of situationally-activated events that offer choices, albeit nonsensical ones that might leave you confused and married to a ghost. Battlestar Galactica, with its “Admiral/President/CAG/current player chooses” flavor of Crisis cards, covers the same ground as well.

Everything Else

What’s left when you take away the theme and the Crossroads Cards is Battlestar Galactica with a different coat of paint and a slightly shorter play time. Hidden loyalties, a traitor (frakkin’ toasters!), crisis events that are fulfilled with the correct cards and sabotaged with the wrong ones, locations to move to and activate, a morale track that is lowered by character deaths, variable win/loss conditions depending on personal objectives…if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Dead of Winter and Battlestar Galactica need to get a room.

So how did it win? Like all contests, popularity and awareness are everything. Dead of Winter benefited from a ton of hype around those entirely unoriginal Crossroads Cards (which will apparently make appearances in future innovation-resistant games). Thanks to great marketing and earned media from our favorite voices in the hobby, Dead of Winter was nominated in no less than four Golden Geek Award categories, earning runner-up honors for two of those categories and winning the other two. Quite a sweep.

That’s it folks. Rant complete. Snarkiness aside, I congratulate Plaid Hat Games for their well-deserved success with Dead of Winter. They didn’t rewrite the book on cooperative games (obviously), but in the tradition of iterating on the stalwarts that came before, they did an excellent job of designing an experience that draws players in and has them telling stories days after the game ended. Is it innovative? No. Should the Golden Geek Award voters be ashamed of themselves? Probably not. Should the English release of Tragedy Looper have won that award (or Alchemists if you’re being pedantic about release dates)? Yes. Am I going to get off my soapbox now? …See you next time on Contrarian Corner!