Dice Tower Newsletter

board game

stratego waterloo

Relive and refight the Battle of Waterloo by leading your troops on as either Emperor Napoleon or the Duke of Wellington. Will you succeed in punching through Wellington’s lines before the arrival of the Prussians or will you, as Napoleon did, “Meet your Waterloo”?

The Jumbo Group (based in the Netherlands) has announced a new version of the classic game of Stratego to celebrate the upcoming bicentennial remembrance of the Battle of Waterloo.  This new version, aptly named Stratego: Waterloo, is at its heart the familiar game of hidden identities and a simple battle mechanism.  However, the game is striving to be much more.

Stratego: Waterloo will include three methods of play: a basic version, a standard version, and an expert version.

In the basic version, the winner is the first player to sever the lines of retreat of the other player.  The game is also lost if a player loses his commander and commander in chief, losing his or her ability to perform actions.

stratego waterloo board

In the standard version, the winning conditions are the same except for the following additional condition:

If the Napoleon or Wellington piece is captured, the game will automatically end, resulting in a decisive victory for the player who still possesses his Commander in Chief! The same victory condition as in the basic version is still valid: if a player succeeds in occupying the lines of retreat of his oppenent, then he will have won a decisive victory!

The expert version of the game works to appeal to the more serious war gamer and those players that, after having played the standard game a few times, are still in search of yet another challenge.  This version strives to maintain the same level of fun as the previous two versions of play yet attempts to follow the historical reality of the battle.  In addition to the regular expert mode, additional scenarios are included to make play more specific and thematic.

Some of the major additions to the classic game of Stratego include a custom battle die, action cards, and a third faction.  The battle die allows for varied results for conflicts in which both sides have equal attack power.  Action cards provide an intriguing new element to the game, offering additional movement and battle options.  What’s more, there are now three factions: the French army (blue), the Allied army (red), and the Prussians (black).  In the game, “players choose if they wish to play the French army (Blue) or the Allied army (Red). The French player has at his disposal 47 pieces. The Allied player only has 45 pieces, but after the 12th turn can count on the arrival of the Prussian reinforcements (Black) consisting of 13 pieces.”  (Taken from the game manual, page 36.)

The game includes the following components:

  • 47 x Blue pieces
  • 45 x Red pieces
  • 13 x Black pieces
  • 1 x Game board
  • 1 x Battle die
  • 2 x Hill tiles
  • 2 x Mud tiles
  • 3 x Building tiles
  • 15 x Manoeuvre Cards
  • 6 x Line of Retreat cards
  • 12 x ‘Weakened’ blocks
  • 6 x Building counters
  • Occupied building
  • 3 x Ownership flags
  • 1 x Turn counter

The game is slated for publication in March of 2015 and promises to be a fresh, deeper experience than its classic predecessor.  You can learn more about this game and read the rules offered in four different languages on the Jumbo Group website, or you can also find out information at Bordspellenwereld.nl.

catan 5th ed

In the 20 years since Klaus Teuber revolutionized game design with the original Settlers of Catan, a worldwide fandom has developed around the game. The original game, plus its expansions, have sold more than 22 million copies and has been translated into 30 languages.

The influence of Mayfair Games’ Settlers of Catan on the world of tabletop gaming is irrefutable.  Now, after 20 years of the game’s success, Mayfair Games has announced that the game’s name will be officially changed to simply Catan.  What’s more, they will be releasing a 5th edition of the game, along with all of its expansions and 5-6 player extensions.  The new edition will be fully compatible with the 4th edition of the game, yet with fresh and intriguing new artwork.  Additionally, there will be a new clarified rules set, which will be the official tournament canon and will be available in PDF form online when the new edition is released.

For more information on this new edition, visit the Alliance Alert for Game Trade Magazine article here.

old school tactical

Fast and furious battles for 2 players. Tanks, planes, artillery, machine guns, and the soldiers to man them. All in 16 pages of rules.

Flying Pig Games is currently running a Kickstarter for their latest project, Old School Tactical.  This will begin a series of fresh, tactical war-games that utilize the “Old School Tactical” (OST) system, designed by Shayne Logan, and is characterized by “attack-factor-minus-defense-factor-equals-firepower combat.”  Another aspect of OST’s rule system is the impulse system, which requires gamers to decide which among their myriad of units to activate.

old school tactical map

OST simulates, through an easily-learned game system, small unit engagements on the Eastern Front during 1941-42.

The base game comes with:

  • 2 sheets of 3/4” unit, weapon, and condition counters
  • 1 sheet of 7/8” vehicle counters.
  • 2, large 30″ x 41″ mounted game maps, hexes are 1″.
  • 18 Luck cards, such as Shell Shocked, Evasive Manuevers, Field Repair, and Tank Hunters.
  • 36 Unit data cards.
  • 24 scenarios.
  • 16 page color rule book.
  • 4 dice.
  • box.

The primary funding goal for this project is $16,000, and currently over $15,000 has been raised.  For more information and to back this project, visit the Kickstarter page here.

fifth element

Quintessential: The Fifth Element (quin•tes•sen•tial/ kwintə’ senCHəl/) 1. The fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies 2. The essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form

In the ancient Greek world, the material world was comprised of four basic elements: earth, air, fire, and water.  Aristotle spoke of a fifth element, also known as the quintessential, called Aether.

fifth element bidding

In the game of Quintessential: The Fifth Element, players are working with the four basic elements to create the fifth element and ultimately the Philosopher’s Stone.  They accomplish this using their lab workers and element dice to build element pools through worker placement, engine building, and bidding mechanisms.  The element dice consist of six types: earth (green), air (yellow), fire (red), water (blue), an anti-element, or wild (black), and the fifth element itself (white).

The game includes the following components:

  • 1 Box
  • 80 Six Sided Die – Each die represents an element. These are also used as a bidding tool in parts of the game (see The Rules)
  • 10 Yellow = Air
  • 10 Green = Earth
  • 10 Red = Fire
  • 10 Blue = Water
  • 25 White = 5th Element
  • 15 Black = Anti-Element
  • 51 Cards – 31 Formula cards, 7 Claimable cards, 10 Personal Multi-Forge and Dismiss cards, 3 Biddable cards
  • 25 Tokens to represent laboratory assistants in a players color 5 Red 5 Green 5 Yellow 5 Blue 5 Black
  • 1 Starting Player Token

Quintessential is for 2-5 players and plays in 45 minutes.  The primary funding goal for this Kickstarter project is $27,000, and approximately $5,000 has been raised currently.  For more information or to support this project, visit the Kickstarter page here.


Matagot has announced a new addition to their Select Collection, Barony.  Designed by Marc André (Splendor), and illustrated by Ismaël Pommaz (Archipelago), Barony is a game in which players assume the role of one of four barons who, with their armies of knights, must colonize the most rich and fertile lands and defend them against the opposing barons.  Each player strives to climb the stairs of power with the ultimate goal of becoming the new king.

The game contains:

  • 36 Territory tiles
  • 1 score board
  • 1 First Player token
  • 112 wooden pawns:
    - 28 knights 20 cities
    - 8 strongholds
    - 56 villages
  • 84 tokens
    - 4 Score
    - 80 Resource

Barony is for 2-4 players ages 14 and up and plays in 45 minutes.  The game is scheduled to be available to the public in May of 2015.  For more information, visit the Barony game page on Matagot’s website, or the game’s page on Board Game Geek.


chez geek

Picture From Tabletop Gaming News


A well-known friendly-local-game-store in Québec, Chez Geeks, was recently targeted by the Québec Board of the French Language, whose role is to keep Québec’s French heritage alive.  The store was targeted primarily for its advertising and selling of English-only board games and an English-only website.

Jared Miller of Tabletop Gaming News interviewed one of the co-owners of Chez Geeks, Giancarlo Caltabiano, and discussed the issue at length.  In the interview, Caltabiano briefly describes the store and the services they offer, encouraging gamers to check it out both online and in person.

He then goes on to explain Québec’s Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, its purpose and how it has been used to target his store, specifically with Article 54: “English only board games that do not have a French equivalent ‘that require non-french vocabulary for their operation are prohibited in the Quebec market.’”  Also notably discussed in the fact that video games have been excused from this law.

chez geek 2

Picture From Tabletop Gaming News


Caltabiano states:

“I do understand that [the Québec Board of the French Language] want to protect their language, heritage, and the Quebec people, and I’m all for it, UNLESS these laws actually HARM us in the guise of protection. Article 54 was last amended in 1997. Since then, online sales and commerce has increased…Article 54 would, in fact, inadvertently close my store down, and Quebecers would STILL get the English only games online, effectively giving our money to another province or country. So, in my views, Article 54 (along with many others like it prohibiting English only ads of English only board games) not only DOESN’T protect Quebecers, it’s downright detrimental to them.”

To read this article in full, visit TGN’s website here.

halfsies dice


For all you die-rolling fanatics out there, this Kickstarter project might just be for you! John Wrot has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund some new two-toned die in sizes of your traditional role-playing set (D4, D6, D8, 2xD10, D12, D20).

All Halfsies Dice are two-toned, semi-translucent, have a pearlescent swirl effect, and are professionally manufactured in high impact resin with smooth corners for a clean and balanced roll every time.

Right now the available sets are Mithril, Orichalcum, and Adamantium. Other sets will be announced as unlockable stretch goals and determined by backer voting. To learn more about the project you can visit the Kickstarter page here. Myself, I wound up backing the project and purchased 2 sets (one for me and one for my wife). They pretty much trump what I’ve got right now and I’ll be looking forward to casting my vote for a new color!

thedicetower logo

Congratulations to Eric L, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Prior to posting this I emailed Eric with instructions on how to claim his prize.

Every week we, at Dice Tower News, give away a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Cool Stuff has the best selection of board games around and at killer prices. We’d like to thank Cool Stuff for donating the certificates. We’ve given away over $300.00 since starting!

All you need to do to win is register to DTN by filling out the very simple form on the right. Every week we will randomly draw a name to win.

Thank you to everyone who has registered. We appreciate your support!


around the board

Do you live in Spokane, WA? Do you want to support the growth of the board game cafe movement? Hopeful entrepreneur Jennifer Hart is raising money through Kickstarter to do exactly that. “Around the Board” Gaming Cafe hopes to begin operation April 1st of this year, with a full gaming space, food (sandwiches) and caffeinated beverages (espresso) to keep her clientele happy.

Currently Hart has the space already picked out and is in the process of having it renovated to her gaming-focused specs:

What’s unique about this space is I will have a Where’s Waldo Wall, a large chalkboard wall for Pictionary, 4 built in table top games; Chess, Checkers, Backgammon and Scrabble. I will offer many of the classic board games, some strategy games (MTG, Hero Clix) and more, There will be seating for around 50. All the decor inside will be board game themed.

around the board inside 2

Hart notes she is making a conscious choice to avoid cover charges and hopes that will set her cafe apart from similar venues.

My concept will be a little different because there will be NO Cover. I plan on hosting tournaments, having trivia night, and other events. All ages are welcome, completely Family Friendly.

Instead, Hart will make all her money through the sale of consumables, games and clothing featuring an already-designed storage logo.

The project hopes to raise $8,500 dollars to be used to buy cafe equipment, furniture and some of the board games. The store itself is already taken care with funds from outside the kickstarter. There doesn’t appear to be any stretch goals, and the backer rewards are quite modest (mostly relating to food and drink vouchers at the cafe) so backers are definitely supporting the creation of a business instead of buying a product. Hart is also asking for board game donations to help offset those costs.

Take a look at Hart’s Kickstarter for more info.

Image is NOT official nor from Upper Deck

Image is NOT official nor from Upper Deck

Jason Brenner from Upper Deck confirmed that a Predator expansion will be coming to the popular Legendary Encounters Alien game in a succinct teaser post over at Boardgamegeek.com on January 27.

“You want Predator…..You got it in July. See you at GenCon”.

You can follow the thread at BGG here.