Dice Tower Newsletter

board game

Kickstarter just launched a new way to find projects they like with the ‘Kickstarter Gold’ label, so lets get to some projects that may not be gold, but are at least silver.

First up is a board game based in the popular 7th Sea RPG setting and that is War of the Cross. War of the Cross is a “dudes on a map” type game similar to Risk, but plays very differently in that negotiation and alliances are key parts of the game.  Each round has five steps to it beginning with negotiation, then orders, alliances, movement and battle, and finally spoils.  Negotiation is where everyone at the tables negotiates and discusses the moves they will make on the board, this includes forming alliances verbally for that turn.  From that phase you then place your orders secretly under your units and pick who you will ally with that round.  If you both pick each other then you ally, fighting together as well as making it impossible to attack each other for that round.  The fighting is deterministic with the army committing the most supplies being the winner.  Winning the fights get you territories, points, and more supplies to use in later fights or to bid on story cards that give you special powers.  First player to 25 points is the winner.  So if this style of game sounds interesting, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Next we have a cooperative miniatures game called Human Interface – Be a Better Human.  This is both a stand alone game and an expansion to a previously Kickstarted game called Human Interface – Nakamura Tower.  This new game maintains the cyberpunk setting and has you trying to escape form a black site prison that you were all thrown into.  You will have to work together and fight both on the physical and the virtual fronts as you try to overcome the defenses and modified cyber soldiers blocking your way.  Through the use of adrenaline cards to perform spectacular feats, and ‘Can Do’ cards to resolve battles, Be a Better Human is shaping up to be an interesting game.  If you like this kind of cooperative style dungeon crawl game, check out the Kickstarter campaign today.  And you can even back for an additional expansion module called Blood on the Floor for more characters, monsters, and tiles.

Looking for a light-hearted 4x game that is all about rabbits, well then Rabbit Island might be what you are looking for.  The game plays out in three phases which have you exploring and laying out new tiles, building to convert camps into towns and cities, and finally scoring for what you conquered.  The exploring part of the game is typical tile laying, but the tiles are uniquely shaped which allow for easy recognition of where you can place them, as the sides of the tile have to fit together path to path.  Building has you playing cards to move and spending carrot tokens to build towns and cities.  Did you run out of carrot tokens?  Then stop by event spaces or carrot patches to refill on those all important tokens.  In the conquer phase you will earn points for the towns you built and at the end you earn bonus points for the most carrots and the biggest harvest field.  So if you are in the mood for this kind of 4x experience, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Up next is not a game, but a book about gaming called GameTek: The Book.  Listeners of The Dice Tower will no doubt recognize that the book is named after the segment put out by friend of the Dice Tower, Geoff Engelstein.  This book compiles ten years of the GameTek segments into one single place, updating and illustrating them, creating a bit of a board game reference book on the math and science of gaming.  The book will be broken up into seven sections; Game Theory, Math, Psychology, Science, Game Mechanics, Psychology Games, and History, with essays and examples of each.  So if you want to support an exceptional member of the board gaming community, or if you can’t get enough of the math and science of board games, check out the Kickstarter today!

Last for have a project that has been certified as Kickstarter Gold, and that is Rival Realms, a two player variation on the deck building game Fantastiqa.  The art of the game carries over with very whimsical and magical depictions of things, but the game itself is now very different.  Gone is the focus on deck building and now the focus is squarely on the exploration aspect the bigger game offered.  On your turn you can use cards to either discover new areas, or to explore an area on the board already.  But exploring comes with a drawback because you have to discard cards into your opponents discard in order to do so, giving them access to cards they may not have had before.  There are also quests that you are working towards and the first person to achieve the quest gets to take the card, the second person to achieve it gets nothing.  Play keeps going until all the quests have been claimed, and then whoever has the most points is the winner.  Check out the Kickstarter page if this sounds like a good two-player game for you.

Magic the Gathering is going to be celebrating it’s 25th anniversary next year and so there are lots of new things coming down the pipe in celebration.  To kick it off they have their Community Mananger Nate Price interview several folks about the upcoming Hour of Devastation and Ixalan sets that will be releasing in July and September respectively.  Also being announced are:

To read the full announcement you can head over to the Magic the Gathering site to help stoke that hype train for all these upcoming releases.

Hot on the heels of the announcement for the Tomb of Annihilation setting for Dungeons and Dragons, Wizkids have announced a new game and expansion.  The new game was the rumored Adventure System game from before, and now we know it’s Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation Adventure System Board Game.  This game will be released later this summer and will feature cooperative campaign play like in the previous games and will focus itself on the new setting.  The biggest change though has nothing to do with gameplay though, but the minis, and that is the addition of a deluxe version of the game.  So like with the Assault of the Giants game, you can purchase a standard game with unpainted minis, or the deluxe game for fully painted minis.  Either way I am looking forward to this new game in the Adventure System line.

The expansion that was announced is the next set for the Dice Masters game, Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Tomb of Annihilation.  This will expand the Dungeons and Dragons section of the game will more heroes, monsters, gear, and spells from the new setting.  Best of all there is also a new basic action card you can get that will change gameplay significantly.  You can look for this set to release this fall, and you can head over to the Wizkids site to read more about everything being released.

As convention season is in full swing, new game announcements are going to be coming fast, so lets get to it.  First up is a new expansion to add to the innovative card crafting game, Mystic Vale, called Mystic Vale: Mana Storm.  This expansion continues the trend of adding more of what you want, more cards, leaders, and advancements, while still adding something new to the game.  This time around it’s leaders that can be upgraded, giving them more powerful abilities, and amulet tokens which are just like mana tokens except that have unique powers associated with them.  So if you enjoy Mystic Vale, I am sure this expansion will just make the game that much better.  Look for it on store shelves in October of this year.

Next is a monster pack for the second edition of King of Tokyo featuring King Kong.  While this isn’t as exciting, except for the fact you can have a three way monkey showdown now, what is also coming in the box is a new way to win the game.  What way is that you ask?  Well, I don’t know, but we will all find out when this pack hits stores in October of this year.

Next we have the big box expansion for Legends of Andor that finishes out the epic story, Legends of Andor: The Last Hope.  Krahder has ended his raid, and in the process has kidnapped many of the citizens of Andor, so it is up the heroes to rescue them.  They will venture beyond the Gray Mountains to fight the hordes of skeleton warriors with Krahder leading them.  Eventually you will work your way to Krahder himself to defeat him once and for all, bringing the overarching story of Legends of Andor to it’s conclusion.  While the German version of the game has been released, the English version of the game will be released in October of this year.

After that is the latest set in the BattleCon series and that is BattleCon: Trials of Indines from Level 99 Games.  This set brings an additional 10 fighters into the game with more new combos, moves, and strategies to give you greater variety in your BattleCon games.  This game was previously Kickstarted back in October of last year, and so this year will see it’s fulfillment to backers, and retail release.  No firm date yet is given but they do expect the game to ship this year to both backers and retailers, so look forward to it.

Finally we have an expansion to the popular tile based Cthulhu war game, Shadows over Nomandie, called Desert Wrath.  In this set it takes you out of the typical theaters of war for the time and sends you to Egypt.  There you will “follow the adventures of the Section M and accompany Captain Harris Badger and the Corporal Akhee Singh in their fight against the Black Sun in search of the legendary city of Irem“.  This expansion includes the new Section M faction as well as the typical new units, spells, heroes, etc. that you come to expect in a big box expansion.  So if you enjoy the game, and don’t mind the change of scenery, then this expansion will just bring more variety and replayability to the game.  Check your local game store in late July for this expansion.

That isn’t a typo in the title, Z-Man Games has announced a new game called Junggle, with two G’s, designed by Bruno Faidutti and Anja Wrede.  This game promises to give you five games in one using just a deck of cards and a single card showing the hierarchy of all the animals.  With these two components they have come up with different styled games, like a push your luck game called King of the Jungle.  In this variation you have cards out on the table face down, and one by one you will look at face down cards on your turn.  What you are doing is trying to figure out what animal will be left that is highest up in the hierarchy.  This is hard to figure out because animals are scared away by the things directly above them on the hierarchy, so those top animals may be scared off and left with someone near the middle of the ladder.  Either way if you manage to figure it out first, you win.

Another variation is a bluffing style game called Jungle Party.  In this version of the game you have two face-up cards, constituting your party, and two cards in your hand.  On your turn you draw a card and then pass one of your three hand cards to another player face down.  They then have to decide to keep it or give it back to you, and whichever choice is made, the recipient has to flip the card and add it to their party.  Like before if the animal is directly above them in the hierarchy they will be scared off or scare off other members of your party.  First person to collect five of the same animal at the end of their turn is the winner.

So that is two out of the five possible variations, and more will be revealed on the Z-Man Games website as the release date gets closer.

As the industry continues to move towards more support for the brick and mortar stores, USAopoly has launched their own Retailer Support Program.  For this program retailers can sign up to receive promotional packages which will include “an assortment of buttons, posters, postcards, window clings, digital and social media assets, bookmarks and promo cards“.  They will be coming out once a quarter, starting in July, and each box will contain all the promo items released for that quarter so no need to pick and choose.  But what I think retailers will like the most about it is that this box will come at no cost to them, as in USAopoly is offering them for free.  The box coming in July will feature promo items for the following games:

Retailers can head over to the USAopoly site to sign up, while the rest of us can read the announcement and patiently wait for our FLGS to get them.

What came as a surprise to most people on social media, today Geek Chic changed it’s homepage to a simple announcement that Geek Chic will be shutting down.  The full text is as follows:

It is with great sadness that I must announce Geek Chic has ceased operation.  Despite heroic efforts by many, this outcome is out of our hands.  While I am certain there are many outstanding questions, we are currently limited in our ability to respond. I will update this page with appropriate contact information and procedures as they become available.

I am forever indebted to those who joined us on this adventure, and am absolutely gutted about it’s end.

-Robert Gifford

I personally have not owned a Geek Chic table but it was always my goal to eventually have a high end gaming table, something of a board gamer milestone.  It’s sad to see them go and hopefully they will be able to fulfill all their commitments before going dark.

It’s that time again, time to spotlight some fun Kickstarters that have been going on.

First up is something that fits more as a display piece than as a functional board game accessory, even though it CAN be used, called The Tablebreaker.  The Tablebreaker is a 4.5″ diameter d20 die made out of solid aluminum and weighing about 5 lbs.  They call this The Tablebreaker because a normal die will be about 1/100 of a pound, and bigger metal dice can run into the 1 lb range.  I own one of those bigger dice, and having something that weighs five times as much makes me fear for my table if I roll it.  I don’t think my table would break, but it would certainly be permanently marked from the Tablebreaker.  So if you are looking for a giant metal die to either use or display, or just want to see videos of tables being destroyed by a die, check out the Kickstarter today.

Next up is a worker placement style game with some bag building mixed in called Groves.  In Groves you are trying to restore the now formless and forgotten kingdom of Idyllon.  To do that you will be building out your grove with all sorts of different trees and using the different spirits to activate those trees or the Tree of Idyll.  What workers you get is based on what is in your bag, and each turn you will draw three of those workers to use for the worker placement.  Any spirits used on your grove, be they from you or someone else, will go back in your bag.  But, any spirits used on the Tree of Idyll are discarded, serving as a way to get unwanted spirits out of your bag.  From there it’s just a matter of building your bag right and getting your engine revved up to score dominion points, which are the points you need to win.  So if you are interested in this tree themed fantasy game from Letiman Games, check out their Kickstarter page.

After that is a game from Breaking Games with some beautiful art and interesting mechanics, and that is Rise of Tribes.  The art for the game is very well done, and the leaders they depict on the player boards look simply amazing and evoke the tribal feel of the game.  The game itself is a dice based area control and civilization game where symbol combinations don’t determine your available actions, but they do have the chance to enhance them.  How this works is that on your turn you roll two dice, and then put each die on an action space were other dice are already there.  The oldest die comes off that space and you perform the action, but if the symbols on the dice there match the action, then you get to do bonus actions as well.  This would allow you to do more than just the basic two actions on your turn if you use your dice smartly.  You then use these actions to explore new areas, put pieces on the board, and grow your civilization to be the best there is.  So if this sounds interesting then check out the Kickstarter page.

Finally we have another entry into the tricking taking plus something else category with Radiant by Tin Shoe Games.  Trick taking games plus something else category right now is being occupied by games like Honshu and Trick of the Rails, and this game takes that hybrid idea and runs with it.  In Radiant you will draft your hand of cards from a public display, meaning you will know what your opponents are taking and vice versa.  From there you will have the opportunity to score sets that you have created in your hand, but be careful, you have to reveal those sets to everyone to score it.  From there you starting battling across the board, and battles are decided by a trick taking round with the area you are fighting in determining the trump suit.  In the end you get points for areas controlled and the sets you reveal in each round, most points is the winner.  So if you are interested in this kind of hybrid area control/tricking taking game, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

EPOCH: The Awakening is the first game from new company Orange Nebula, LLC and designer Marc Neidlinger raising funds on Kickstarter now.  As described by the designer:

The game begins: thrown overboard after a life of wretchedness, you wash ashore a hostile island ruins — completely alone with nothing except the breath in your lungs and an undaunted spirit. Through your advanced resource management, area control tactics, and freeform action selection, you’ll add companions to your party, acquire bizarre relics, attain potent character traits, and defeat a host of unusual monsters in the ultimate goal of mastering heroic attributes — and regaining honor.
 
In EPOCH, players enter a fantasy world filled with companions who can be recruited to join the quest, relics to be gathered on the journey, and areas to control with influence.  Players managing their influence obtain attributes that may be combined into more advanced character traits.
You may perform 3 actions on each turn in the order you feel is most advantageous: activate a companion, travel to a new location, and interact with a map tile. Many actions require the the use of your influence to gain attributes in a one-of-a-kind heroic attribute alchemy system, which is leveraged to gain the game’s most powerful rewards. For example, you can meditate at a spire to gain inspiration. You can train at a fort to gain strength. But then you can combine your inspiration and strength to gain the courage (inspired strength) which allows you to perform a bounty hunt. There are over 72 unique card abilities that can be merged in unusual ways for potent combinations, and fresh tile placement each game for high replayability.
EPOCH is for 2-5 players and advertises to take 15-30 minutes per player.  Delivery is currently set for March 2018.  For more information, check out the Kickstarter page here.

Fantasy Flight Games has announced Whitehall Mystery, a new standalone game in the Letters From Whitechapel Series. In Whitehall Mystery, the year is 1888 and construction of the New Scotland Yard in London’s Whitehall District has been interrupted by the discovery of a woman’s torso on the police’s doorstop. 2-4 players take on the role of either detectives or Jack the Ripper himself in this four round game of cat and mouse. Jack must leave body parts in four discovery locations, one each round, before the detectives can catch up. Each round ends either when Jack moves 15 spaces, or when a new grisly discovery is made by the police. Whitehall Mystery is a game full of historically accurate locations and characters, and can incorporate some elements from Letters From Whitechapel and it’s expansion Dear Boss.

Whitehall Mystery is due in stores Q3 of 2017. You can read the full press release from Fantasy Flight here.