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The GAMA Trade Show is an annual closed trade show for members of The Game Manufacturers Association. Each year, hundreds of retailers, publishers, manufacturers, distributors, and other industry professionals get together to connect and showcase games.

This year, Catalyst Game Labs is showcasing Jarl: The Vikings Tile-Laying Game, coming Summer 2015. It appears to be quite similar to The Duke, another tile-laying strategy game by Catalyst Game Labs. In both games,  players move their tiles around the board to capture opponents (similar to Chess). Unlike chess, each piece can move in two separate ways, determined by the side of the tile facing up. After a tile is moved, the tile is flipped over to show the other side.

In Jarl: The Vikings Tile Laying Game, which is Catalyst Game Labs’s first game based on the drama TV Series Vikings, the objective is to capture your opponent’s Jarl, or chieftain.

 

Mage Wars is a huge hit for Arcane Wonders and designer Bryan Pope. Released in 2012 the game helped put the company on the map and solidified its position as a premier head-to-head skirmish card game pitting magic user vs magic user. Think of it as a card driven system (like Magic: the Gathering) that is played on a tactical board adding a huge spatial component. As apposed to Magic: the Gathering there are no sets and releases to collect, only the core game and several expansions adding new magic user types, all with no redundancy of cards. The core has not changed very much between reprintings, just rulebook spiffings and a couple of card erratas, but the fourth reprint will have one huge nomenclature change. To differentiate from a new upcoming play style Mage Wars core, which is Mage Wars as we currently know it, will now be know as Mage Wars: Arena. According to the Mage Wars website preview, this reprint will include:

  • 2 New Spellbook designs
  • New Arena Board design
  • Alternate Art for Bear Strength, Dispel, Dissolve, Minor Heal and Rhino Hide
  • New Artwork for Battle Fury, Force Push, Hand of Bim Shalla, Teleport, and Temple of Light
  • Plus, 14 additional spell cards have been added to make spellbook building easier, including Dispel, Dissolve, Force Push and others.

If you already own Mage Wars and have no need for the redundant components (Action Markers, spell books, extra cards for multiple deck builds, etc) then beyond the smaller box and new board, there will not be much need for you to pick this up. If you are brand new to the game or want an easy way to pick up the extra cards and components, this new reprint is the way to go.

mage_wars_academy_2_neuf3i  

Why make the distinction of Arena title? Well because there will be a new way to play Mage Wars. One of the gripes of the core game is its steep learning curve and long playing times. Enter: Mage Wars: Academy. Think of this new system as a better way to get new players into the world of Mage Wars and also a way for veterans for fans of Arena to grab even more options for their combatants in the core game. As Arcane Wonders puts it, Academy:

will be a 2 player starter set that comes with 2 Mages, 2 Spellbooks and a new gameplay design that is completely “board-less” offering players more portability and faster gameplay (Games average 20-30 minutes) all for roughly half the price of the current Core Set!

Expect the Arena core reprint in April 2015 and the new Academy products around Q3 but one can hope for a Gen Con sneak peak!

For more information for both Mage Wars product lines, visit the Arcane Wonders website.

P.S. There will also be Mage Wars: Arena Battlegrounds expansion that will feature a Domination mode, but that is for a different place and different time my friend!

HABA is a board game publisher that specializes on children’s games. This week at the GAMA trade show they announced a couple of games.

Monster Laundry

This great little game will have you stringing lines across to make sure that you get all of your monsters properly hung up.  You can expect this title out soon.

Animal Upon Animal Mountaineers

If you love the popular Animal Upon Animal game, some new animals to use as part of it.  Instead of the classic animals like crocodiles and snakes you’ll have billy goats, cows, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, all manner of other creatures.  This title should be available soon from HABA USA.

Battle Arena Show is a new miniatures game from Koti Games in which players will control fighters from “all parts of the world and every conceivable age.”

From the press release it appears this will be a tactical combat game which recreates a television show where the fighters are striving to become Battle Arena Master by being victorious in various death matches. Koti Games says the concept of this game was inspired by Multiplayer Online Battle Arena videogames including League of Legends and DOTA 2.

Koti Games has released a pretty slick looking YouTube video (here) for Battle Arena Show. If the miniatures end up looking anything like their concepts you can rest assured the game will look fantastic.

The press release indicates the game will be for two to six players. However it goes on to say the players will be split into two teams which does leave one to wonder if this is not another case of a publisher taking a two player game and forcing higher player counts on to it. Only time will tell.

The Board Game Geek page (here) for Battle Arena Show is still in the early stages of construction but it does indicate the game will play in 120 – 180 minutes and will include dice rolling, hand management, variable player powers, and an action point allowance system.

Interested individuals can look for Battle Arena Show to go up on Kickstarter on April 7th of this year.

The 2007 hit from Curt Covert and Smirk & Dagger Games Cutthroat Caverns will be receiving its fifth expansion. This has been confirmed at GAMA Trade Show. Previously, via a post on the boardgames enthusiast’s website BoardGameGeek, the designer had hinted the expansion:

is dedicated to the Incarnation type encounters – with a host of new ones including Death himself. We are also developing special relics imbued with the powers of the incarnations and if one is gained by defeating an Incarnation in their ‘Realm’ it cannot be taken from you (and is otherwise stripped from someone else if it is already in play). The expansion will also have a new adventure book.

It will be a hard push for those involved to get this product out for Gen Con of this year but if not, then expect it soon after.

Also at GAMA, Smirk & Dagger Games announced a new game, a card drafting game titled Nevermore. According to a post on their Facebook page:

In Smirk and Dagger’s upcoming card game, Nevermore, those who fall become transformed. They live out the rest of the game as Ravens, unable to win, as they struggle to regain their human forms – yet still able to bring doom to others. Some will succeed. Others will be ravens, forevermore.

Ok, anyone who can bring a work of Edgar Allen Poe to the boardgames table has me a-tapping at their door! Look for the Raven delivering in late Spring.

For more information on Cutthroat Caverns follow this link to its BoardGameGeek entry. For the latest on Nevermore hop over to Smirk & Dagger Games’ Facebook page.

 

Tabletop roleplaying games your thing? How about card games based on a popular RPG? Well Paizo has you covered.

At GAMA Trade Show Paizo, the company responsible for the popular fantasy RPG Pathfinder, revealed more of its plans for its Pathfinder Battles miniatures lines. According to Paizo:

The world of Pathfinder comes to life on your tabletop with Pathfinder Battles, an ongoing line of prepainted plastic miniatures produced in cooperation with WizKids, Inc. Drawn from the award-winning illustrations of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and produced with the highest-quality standards in the miniature business, Pathfinder Battles fantasy miniatures set a new standard for hassle-free tabletop gaming!

With the most recent release named Iconic Heroes this partnership is not only putting out new sculpts of some of the most familiar faces from their Pathfinder universe for use in the RPG, they are also including exclusive “Boon” cards to be used with the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (PACG) series. The first set includes six miniatures (with the same amount of cards for PACG) and is available now. Sets #2 and #3 of the Iconic Heroes series are due in April 2015.

Speaking of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Paizo announced the third core set at GAMA. This set is titled Wrath of the Righteous and will include:

  • More than 500 cards featuring a new set of boons for your characters to collect, and never before seen monsters and barriers of a decidedly abyssal nature.

  • 7 character classes, including the all-new arcanist, cavalier, inquisitor, and summoner.

  • The Worldwound Incursion Adventure Deck, a 110-card deck that begins the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path.

  • A complete set of 6 polyhedral dice, including the first d20 in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

You hear that, the series noted for not including the fabled d20 has brought one in! If the trend of the past two releases hold true, expect to see a Gen Con 2015 release for this product.

To read more about the Pathfinder Battles: Iconic Heroes sets look here. To read more about the third core set for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game look here.

Good job Paizo for bridging that small gap between the RPGer and the boardgamer!

Some of you may have read our previous article about John Wrot’s  (now successful) campaign to raise money for his “Halfsies Dice” project. Well, he’s actually giving away dice today and this, during the final week of the campaign.

Exactly 1 year ago today, my Wife and I woke up to an earthquake! (True Story). We realized it was also Saint Patrick’s Day, the Feast Day of the patron Saint of Ireland. We like Saint Patrick, A) he’s awesome, and B) we’re Irish. So this was a significant moment… the earth moved on this day. In more ways than one.

One year ago today, on Saint Patrick’s Day, just after that earthquake, we found out that we were pregnant. Yes, one year ago today we found out about the existence of little John Wrot! the 2nd!  aka: “The Heir.”  Needless to say, it was one of the greatest moments of our life.

In honor of our son, and to teach him generosity from a young age, we want to give away free dice. It’s just that simple.

halfies die

To learn more about the project and the details on the free dice you can visit the Kickstarter page here.

 

tumblin dice

Tumblin’ Dice has actually been around for quite some time. For those not familiar with this fun “dexterity” game this version is being reprinted by Eagle-Gryphon Games and developed by creator Rick Soued. It’s similar to shuffleboard however,  in this case, you’re flicking dice on a multi-tiered and unique wooden game board.

This new version, available to Kickstart here, will feature several new versions and has a variety of stretch goals including a variety of die, cool custom variants, and more!

So why back this version?

Unique Gameplay! – Bring the fun of yard game classics to your living room. Perfect for a rainy day or an evening in!

  • Get a great price! Only $55 for early backers. If our funding is successful and this game is released for sale to the public, this game will retail for $79.99.

  • Stretch Goals - Will be included to make your Kickstarter version of the game that much better.

  • Bundled Deals! - ADD-Ons with TERRIFIC prices on other Eagle-Gryphon games featuring DICE can be added to any pledge.

tumblin dice 2

 

Tumblin’ Dice is bound to be a favorite family hit. It’s easy to learn and fun for all ages. More importantly, if you pledge within the first 72 hours, you’ll get in for $4 cheaper than everyone else. Head on over to Kickstarter here for more information about the project!

BoardGameGeek News editor W. Eric Martin has provided a preview of the much anticipated Pandemic Legacy. Unless you have been bunkered down in preparation for a true apocalyptic viral spread, you have heard the buzz behind this game by Z-Man Games and designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau. Just in case you have recently tuned into boardgaming news, Pandemic Legacy is a stand alone game which can be viewed as a marriage of the original Pandemic game (designed by same Matt Leacock and largely responsible for the popularity of the cooperative game format) and a new “present actions and game results affect future gameplay” mechanic first introduced in Risk Legacy. According to Martin’s article and to help gauge how widely this new installment is anticipated:

On March 12, 2015, Z-Man Games announced that as of that date it had received preorders for 52,000 copies of Pandemic Legacy, its Spiel 2015 release from designers Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau that will debut in ten languages around the world on October 8, 2015.

Martin’s article from BGG news provides a hands-on sneak peek at gameplay. Martin was able to play the full game with one of the designers, the owner of Z-Man Games as well as one other who is involved in the distribution of the game to major retailers. In short, this Legacy format of Pandemic plays quite similarly to the original but is played over “Months.” Where the game begins to differ from the original is that cities on the map now have trackers on them indicating how many times an outbreak has occurred. As more outbreaks occur in the same city, bad things happen such as riots, which in turn can make future gameplay mechanics such as research and movement more difficult.

The “Legacy deck” is also new and provides setup instructions which change depending on prior games’ outcomes. “Scars” now affect characters, which replace the roles from the original, and remain between games. All changes seem to be tied directly to the Legacy format and leave core mechanics familiar to those already acquainted to the classic Pandemic game.

Some outcomes affecting the map or characters will require stickers to be place on the respective components to track the changes between games. Those familiar to Risk Legacy will appreciate this mechanic. How “well” or “poor” the outcome of each game will determine how many times you play the game to complete a campaign and the level of difficulty of each game.

I do not know about you but the idea of this beloved  co-op game being mutated (virology pun intended) into a new form where outcomes in one game affects future plays has me ready to don my hazmat suit and flip some cards anticipating the next disaster!

Check out W. Eric Martin’s article over at BGG news here.

 

 

Stone Blade Entertainment, the publisher of the Ascension deck-building game, has announced the release of a new family-friendly card game, Bad Beets.

Bad Beets, designed by Justin Gary (Ascension), is a short bluffing game for 2-5 players, where players need to finish their beets (through eating them, feeding the dog, etc) before leaving the table.

To read the full article, see here.