Dice Tower Newsletter

board game


Coup: Reformation Expansion

Reformation is an expansion to 2012′s Coup that was funded on Kickstarter back in April for $254, 133.  Designed by Rikki Tahta, Reformation adds some new cards and rules for factions and team play and does require the base game to play.  With Coup: Reformation, each player must declare himself either Protestant or Catholic and can target only members of the other faith. Conversion is possible, however, for yourself or for another player by paying a charitable donation to the Almshouse. Like all factions, once you have eliminated the other sect, you just descend into in-fighting, so there’s still only one winner and no second place.  Components include 15 character cards and 10 faction cards.

dragon slayer

Dragon Slayer

Designed by David J. Mortimer, this fantasy, dice, press your luck game.  Each player is a Dragon Slayer and competing against each other in the Dragon Hunt.  The twist is that players can challenge and passing or failing will lead to rewards.  Dragon Slayer was funded on Kickstarter in May for $66, 740.

steve jackson games

I had the pleasure of talking with Leonard Balsera and Brian Engard at Steve Jackson Games.  They gave me a great look at a couple of their upcoming releases, Mars Attacks: The Dice Game, Knightmare Chess, and the now mainstream Hipster Dice.

When I asked Balsera and Engard about Hipster Dice, I felt like I was missing something.  “Don’t want to waste your time with Hipster Dice,” says Engard as we move into an overview of Mars Attacks.

Mars Attacks: The Dice Game


Mars Attacks: The Dice Game is built on the dice rolling engine found in Zombie Dice.  Designed by Sam Mitschke and Philip Reed, players are Martians looking to destroy cities and get their pictures taken at monuments across the world.  Each of these custom dice have three symbols: ray guns, nukes, and martian heads.

Cards are shuffled and split into even piles.  The top card of each pile is turned face up and represent cities around the world.  Each city will have a number of ray guns needed to  destroy that city.  Players want to get those ray guns before rolling too many nukes and busting out.  Martian heads can be re-rolled or used for taking pictures at monuments as they come up.

The game is for three to six players and plays under 30 minutes.


hipster dice

Maybe Hipster Dice is a new way to play chess?

Knightmare Chess (Third Edition)

Designed by Pierre Cléquin and Bruno Faidutti, this third edition includes cards that were initially released in 1994′s Knightmare Chess and 1998′s Knightmare Chess 2.  Knightmare Chess is a deck of 158 cards that will change the rules of regular chess in different ways.  For example, one card allows a bishop can move through other pieces.  The rules can create a handicap allowing less experienced chess players to hold their own against a more experienced player.  Each of the cards features artwork that was painted by Rogério Vilela and the game includes two blank cards for custom rules.

Car Wars

Announced back in May and releasing soon is the reprint to Car Wars.  Scott Haring will be Line Editor for the reprint and he will be updating some of rules from the original full game.  Stay tuned for more information.

In closing, I pitched a few random questions to both Engard and Balsera.

Joseph:     Chips – Regular or Wavy?
Engard and Balsera:     Wavy.

Joseph:     What’s your favorite movie?
Engard:     V for Vendetta
Balsara:     Big Trouble in Little China

Joseph:     What’s your favorite movie quote?
Engard:     I prefer the term “Artificial Person” myself. -Bishop, Aliens
Balsera:     The entire script of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Joseph:     And finally, how many fish can you name in thirty seconds?
Engard and Balsera:     Koi, Goldfish, Redfish, Bluefish, and Carp.

- Joseph Barber

lost realm

Fantasy Flight Games announced The Lost Realm, a fourth deluxe expansion to the Lord of the Rings themed living card game.  This expansion will come with 165 cards and focus on the wilds of the North.  It will introduce two new heroes, some allies, rewards for engaging enemies.

lost realm cards

In their announcement, lead developer Caleb Grace states:

…that not only was this a fun theme to explore, it opens a lot of exciting new possibilities in the game. While many of the game’s most successful strategies focus on maintaining a low threat in order to avoid engaging multiple enemies at once, the Rangers work very differently. They actively seek out their foes and gain strength from being engaged with them.

The expected release for this expansion is early 2015 at this time.

switching tracks components

School is almost back in session and as everybody knows, there are good teachers and there are bad teachers. If I could take classes with anyone, I’d be inclined to sign up for a class taught by the tastefully ridiculous Dr. Watts from the Switching Tracks Kickstarter video.

Switching Tracks is a pick-up and deliver game by Kris Gould (Jet Set, Buccaneer Bones) for 2 to 5 players. The objective of the game is to complete 5 contracts, which are delivery goals that are visible and available to each player. When a player delivers the goods designated by a contract, then that player claims the contract and nobody else can score it.

Of course, there is more to the game than just moving goods around the board. Aside from using your delivered goods to complete contracts, you can also spend those goods to buy upgrades. You can increase your movement speed, carry capacity, or you could hire more switchmen, who allow you to alter the track connections on the board. By completing contracts, you can build new offices that alter your train’s abilities in unique ways.

The Kickstarter will be ending very soon on Tuesday, August 19 and is expected to be shipped in late November. For more information about how the game plays, check out the rules page or the attached video.

cryptozoic logo 150

Currently Available From Cryptozoic

Coming Soon

conquest of speros

Conquest of Speros

In this fantasy, territory building game designed by Aaron Belmer (Sanitarium), each player is a General working to expand their race and dominate the kingdom.  Using area control and resource domination, each race will scour the landscape and take control of powerful Artifacts buried among the land.

Conquest of Speros was funded on Kickstarter in May 2014 for $36,143.  The game is for 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, and a play time of 30 minutes.

lost treasure

Conquest of Speros: Lost Treasures Expansion

Lost Treasures expands Conquest of Speros, providing four new Generals with new abilities, twenty-four new locations, and 2 Ancient Artifacts.

still dawn

Till Dawn

Till Dawn is designed by Richard Launius (Arkham Horror, Elder Sign), Jason Maxwell (Agents of SMERSH), and Mike Wylie (Hold the Line, Victoria Cross) and comes in a thematic coffin shaped box.  In this card game, players are vampires hoping to acquire the most blood tokens before retiring to the safety of their coffin.  The deck of cards contain feeding cards, vampire hunters, and events that jeopardize each vampire.  Each turn a player reads the card aloud and pass the rest to the next player, resolving the card.

The game was funded on Kickstarter in April 2014 for $46,703.  Components include 100 tokens and 120 cards, is for 4 to 8 players, and a play time of 20 minutes.

draco magi

Draco Magi

Designed by Richard Launius and Robert Burke (Battle for Souls, Cartoona), this fantasy card game will have players competing to acquire gems for their “Spell of Succession.”  In each round, players will send some of their dragons from the deck to the battlefield.  At the end of the round, the player with the most dragons on the field will claim the gem.

Draco Magi was funded on Kickstarter in February 2014 for $95, 564.  Components include over 120 cards, the game is for two players, ages 12 and up, and a play time of 30 minutes.

metallic dragon pack

Draco Magi: Metallic Dragon Pack

This expansion for Draco Magi features 24 Foil Metallic Dragon Cards.

empire vs rebellion

Star Wars: Empire vs. Rebellion

Announced in June, this new two player card game will continue the struggle between the Rebellion and the Galactic Empire.  This is a fast-paced, strategy game of card and resource management.  Players will use resources and their heroes to control the outcome of key events.

between the shadows

Star Wars LCG: Between the Shadows Deluxe

Also announced in June, this deluxe expansion will contain twenty-six new objective sets and two special, “Limit 1 per objective deck” sets.

star wars dice bags

Star Wars Dice Bags

Previously announced as well, these themed dice bags are 6.25″ x 9″, each featuring Star Wars imagery on black velour and seals with a polypropylene drawstring.

mayfair games logo

Mayfair Games reports that they will have the following Designer Demos running this year at GenCon 2014.  You can find them in the Mayfair Booth (#117) in Hall J.


5-6pm – James Ernest – Lords of Vegas / Lords of Vegas UP!


1-2pm – James Ernest – Lords of Vegas / Lords of Vegas UP!
1-3pm – Kane Klenko – Mad City


10am – 2pm – Phil Chase – Theophrastus
1-3pm – Kane Klenko – Mad City
1-4pm – Nicholas Trahan – Villainy
3-4pm – James Ernest – Lords of Vegas / Lords of Vegas UP!


Victory Point Games is releasing Trifecta, an abstract card game for two.  Designed by Zoran Dobrijevic and funded on Kickstarter back in March 2013.

In Trifecta, players take turns adding a card to one of six rows.  If a row has five cards and the total value is between 21 and 26, the owner of the row gains a point and then the row is emptied.  If the total is not between 21 and 26, then the row is emptied and no points are given.  The first player to score three rows is the winner.  Components include 45 cards.

trifecta card

agents of smersh ult

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? They were these children’s books where you took the role of the main character in a fantasy world setting out on some big quest. Often, you would get the chance to choose how to act and depending on what choices you made, you would be told to go to a specific page of the book that would react to the choices that you’ve made. 8th Summit’s Agents of SMERSH is like that, only in board game form.

In Agents of SMERSH you and up to three other players are spies during the Cold War era trying to take down the evil Dr. Lobo and his four associates. The game features a scenario book with over 1,500 encounters. As you play the game, you’ll be told to read specific entries from the scenario book. You then react to the encounter and different things happen depending on what you do. It’s similar to the storytelling game Tales of Arabian Nights, but with more of a focus on strategy.

Designer Jason Maxwell said that not much has changed going into the second edition. A few typos have been fixed and some encounters have been rewritten for clarity. The Dr. Lobo track has been shrunken down a little, and there have been slight adjustments made to the coloring of some icons. The biggest change has been the addition of 60 new encounters. Maxwell explains:

“The Scenario Book has 60 new “entering the base” encounters with a completely unique method of choosing which are read by the player based entirely upon a player’s skills. Every player gets one of these encounters.”

“Players use the Scenario Booklet no matter if they have won or lost the board game. This is a micro game that happens after playing the board game. Losing the board game in most cases will have consequences. And again, losing against Dr. Lobo will have further consequences in future scenarios. There will be a few surprises. That being the case, I’m working to make the scenario book replayable as well, but for the most part the biggest fun will be had by playing it through the first time.”

agents board

The Kickstarter offers bundles for the game and the expansion for the people who have yet to experience the thrills that Agents of SMERSH has to offer. For those who already have the first edition, you have another chance to get the promos that were available in the game’s previous Kickstarter campaigns, as well as the revised encounter book, the new Dr. Lobo track, and more. The Funding period ends on Monday, September 1 and the game is expected to ship in February 2015.

For more information, check out our review and the Agents of SMERSH 2nd Edition Kickstarter page.