Dice Tower Newsletter

board game

Bananagrams, the company behind Bananagrams, has announced a new kids game called Cobra Paw.  This is a speed recognition game in that on your turn you roll two dice, when the stop there will be two symbols showing.  You then have to search the tiles on the board for the one bearing the same combination and grab it.  First person to successfully grab six tiles will be the winner.

The game is quick and easy so it can be played with a wide range of ages, and while the ninja cat theme is paper thin, it’s still cute and offers some nice art.  This game will be released this month so you will be able to find it on store shelves  soon.  Until then you can read the press release below for more information and a fun story.

August 2017 (Providence, RI)

6-year-old Sofia Stealthington from The Catskills NY, clawed her way to the top of the pride as she dominated her family in COBRA PAW, the all-new dice rolling, tile-snatching, challenge game from Bananagrams, Inc.

Derived from the ancient stone-snatching tournament of speed and mental fortitude called Clawfuku, COBRA PAW honors the legacy of the Grand Shidoshi Master Meow whose “cobra paw” technique made him the undefeated champion and most skillful player to saunter the earth…until now.

“It’s unreal to watch her play!”, said Sans Stealthington, Sofia’s dad. “Her laser focus and ninja-like reflexes just kept coming at us. Her mother, siblings, and I walk around the house on egg shells, waiting for her to pounce next! Whether it be the TV remote, the last piece of pie or little Mikey’s stuffed mouse—we don’t know what she’s going to ‘Cobra Paw’ next!”

“We are confident that Master Meow’s spirit lives within Sofia,” said Rena Nathanson, CEO, Bananagrams, Inc. “We hope that her strength, spirit and fearlessness will inspire COBRA PAW challenges amongst families and friends throughout the land.”

Ninja-like reflexes, sharp recognition skills, and mental fortitude steals the game in our new tile-snatching challenge known as Cobra Paw! Players take turns rolling the dice (featuring 6 unique symbols), spotting the tile with the matching pattern, then grabbing it before their opponents. The first player to snatch up 6 tiles wins the game and bestows great honor to the Grand Shidoshi, Master Meow!

Ages 5+, 2 to 6 Players, Available August 2017 at your at your favorite table top game retailer.
Visit www.bananagrams.com for more info.

About Bananagrams, Inc.
Bananagrams, Inc. is a family-owned Rhode Island company behind a range of innovative table top games, including the international word tile game phenomenon BANANAGRAMS®. Currently available in more than 30 countries and in multiple languages, classic BANANAGRAMS—in it’s distinctive yellow cloth pouch—has garnered millions of fans worldwide, with new ones sprouting each year via the annual Bananagrams School Challenge. Bananagrams, Inc. strives to help people everywhere rediscover a love for games that stimulate and enrich the mind as well as bring a few laughs—games that make them think outside the crate, so to speak! The brand continues to introduce new titles that they’ve grown in-house, as well those from friends that they’ve met along the way.

Wizkids has announced Approaching Dawn: The Witching Hour, a cooperative board game by Ken Shannon for 3-6 players. Players take on the role of unique witches, each with their own spell book and abilities, blood bound in a coven; actions one player takes may affect the other players. Each scene (mission) adds to the overall goal of the game, and scenes can be played in order to create a grand story arc. The players will cast spells, each usable as either powerful but corrupting black magic, or as healing white magic. Witches can further corrupt themselves to gain new spells, familiars and artifacts.

Approaching Dawn: The Witching Hour should be available at GenCon50, and will reach general retail in September 2017. Read more about the game at Wizkids’ website here.

Sand timers are one of those board game components that you don’t see very many innovative uses of, but then again, what can you do with something that just tells time?  Time ‘n’ Space tried to use it differently by having it simulate travel and delivery time in a pick up and deliver game, and they did okay with it.  Now Wizkids is seeing if they can better utilize the sand timers in their next game, Wartime, a real time war game.  In Wartime you are playing as one of two sides, the Valyance of the Firebrands, each with their own unique army.  When you want to activate a unit you will perform it’s action, and then flip the timer on that unit.  That unit is now exhausted until that timer runs out, and different units have different times you have to wait, from 30 to 90 seconds.  The game also comes with a campaign that changes depending on who wins each battle, and each battle takes only 10 minutes so you can play a full campaign in one sitting.  Overall it might do well with the real time aspect in a war game, but we will have to wait and see.

You can find out more information on the Wizkids website, and look for it on store shelves when it released in September of this year.

Not too long ago, Asmodee North America announced that they, and all the companies owned by them, would be switching distributors to be exclusively with Alliance.  This news got some mixed responses as it was considered to be a good business move, but others thought trimming down to a single distributor was a bad idea.  Arcane Tinmen is in the camp of “bad idea” as they have ended a long standing partnership with Asmodee North America and Fantasy Flight Games in order to continue distributing through multiple channels.  This went into effect immediately so you shouldn’t see much change in how you get their products, and you can read the full press release below for more info.

Arcane Tinmen maintains broad distribution in the States

Arcane Tinmen has decided to discontinue their business cooperation with Asmodée North America (ANA) in order to maintain a broader distribution network of their products in the United States market. The change will go into effect on August 1st 2017.

Arcane Tinmen will continue to have its products distributed through many main distributors in the US, including Southern Hobby, ACD, GTS and PHD. Arcane Tinmen is thankful for many years of fruitful and prosperous relations with Asmodée NA, and Fantasy Flight Games before that.

Asmodée NA recently announced that they would be going from five distributors to an exclusive partnership with Alliance Game Distributors.

Michael Stehr Lilhav, CEO of Arcane Tinmen, states;
“I recognize that this is a solid move for Asmodée and their business, but the future for Dragon Shield and other Arcane Tinmen accessories lies within the wider distribution network.”

Michael Stehr Lilhav adds that Arcane Tinmen is thankful for the many years of partnership the company has had with Asmodée, and that he wishes both companies plenty of good fortune on each of their separate future paths.

Arcane Tinmen is known for their wide range of gaming accessories and high quality trading card game protection products. With the world renowned quality-brand Dragon Shield, Arcane Tinmen has been an important player in the gaming industry for decades.

Target is quickly seeing the benefit of offering better and more varied games on their shelves, and by benefit I mean they are making good money on them.  So in order to stay ahead of the game they are continuing their method of getting boat loads of exclusive games that will only appear on their shelves.  So this past weekend saw the addition of over 50 of those games ranging from 90’s themed games, party games, and rustic editions of classic games where they made games like Risk completely out of wood.  Some of the titles you will see now include:

  • Exploding Kittens Party Edition, an exclusive expansion pack to the mega-popular Exploding Kittens
  • Sunken Sailor, a Pictionary-type game from Finland with a distinctive Scandinavian design and a wooden box
  • Pling Pong, a Kickstarter game similar to beer pong in that you are bouncing balls into cups, but with no alcohol involved and is much more colorful
  • Deer Lord, a party game where players are challenged to do crazy things without being called out on them.
  • Coding games from Think Fun: On the Brink, Rover Control, and Robot Repair

And this is just a small selection of the games.  You can read more about these additions on the Forbes website, or just browse the game aisle of your local Target today.

Spartan Games has been publishing the Firestorm Armada game for 8 years now, and as they gear up for the biggest expansion to the game, they have announced a board game.  Firestorm: Strike Force is a deck building game where you are trying to obliterate your opponents in space.  Each player starts with the same starting deck, and these cards let you do things like put ships on the board, attack with your ships, move your ships, and to buy upgraded cards.  These cards can come from the advanced deck, mission deck, or your own personal faction deck, each giving you better abilities and more options.

Also of note is that is first set is just a starter set with two factions in it, which they plan to expand will more factions, campaign and more.  Plus rules are included to put multiple games together to expand the player count and board size to epic proportions.

Look for this game on store shelves in September, and you can read more about the game on Spartan Games website.

Here we go, the ramp up to GenCon is beginning and we are seeing some bigger Kickstarters start to launch, here are some of the notable ones.

First is the 10th anniversary edition of the game Container, now in jumbo size.  Container is an interesting game in that you are playing all aspects of the production, delivery, and acquisition of products on a small island.  Each round you will decide which goods to produce, then which goods of your opponents you will ship.  When you pick goods you will have to pay for them, and the price will be set by that opponent.  After the goods make it out to the island you then bid for ships to be able to collect the goods, and then turn those goods into points at the end of the game.  This new edition will feature the same gameplay, with the addition of the Investment Bank, but with upsized, deluxe components.  The most notable being the large 7″ long plastic ships with containers that fit onto them like actual container ships.  So if you enjoy the game, but want something bigger and nicer, check out the Kickstarter page today.

Next up we have a meta game, something you play while playing other games, simply called Gameception.  What this card game does is add another layer to your game night with an additional game you play across the entire night.  Everyone starts with two cards and each card has some action you might find happening at a game night; like a pet interferes with the game, someone tells another player what to do, or someone is on their device.  If the action on your card happens, reveal it, score that card, and then draw a new one.  At the end of the night, the winner is the one who scored the most cards.  If this games sounds familiar then you are right, a similar type of game can be found called Pretense, but the larger variety of cards and fun stick figure artwork makes this game worthy of a look.  Check out the Kickstarter page for more info.

After that is the final expansion to the Heroes Wanted game called Elements of Danger.  As you think from the name of the expansion, this one adds Heroes with element based powers to the game.  This expansion also adds just lots of new content to the game in new action cards, epic actions, new heroes, and new villains.  Overall it adds just more of what you want in this game giving it more variety and increases the amazing number of hero combinations even higher.  So if you want to get this last expansion, or to jump in and get the complete game and all expansion, check out the Kickstarter page.

Next, from A-Games is Sakura, a beautiful looking trick taking card game with some twists.  On a turn you will be playing two cards, one to each pile in the middle of the table.  You will either play a card of a different value but same color, direction the values must go is determined by the yin-yang symbol, or the same value of a different color.  This sounds simple but sometimes not always possible, that is where you will use the coins you have to hire workers to manipulate the cards values or position to allow for you to play your cards.  If you can’t play on a stack you take those cards and get coins equal to the number of coin cards, but gain points equal to the number of shuriken.  Least number of points will be the winner.  Check out the Kickstarter page to pledge for your copy.

Last we have another expansion for the Flash Point Fire Rescue game and that is Tragic Events.  This is a simple expansion that adds three new characters, Strategist, Suppression Specialist, and Fire Prevention Specialist, and two deck of cards.  These decks, Fire and Event, are the crux of the expansion as they take the place of the hot spot aspect in the advanced game, giving you a more unique experience when playing that way.  The Fire deck creates more chaos as the fire spreads in random ways, and the Event deck ramps of the difficulty by changing the state of the board, forcing you to adapt.  There are also stretch goals being achieved that add in the hard to come by additional POI tokens, as well as event cards to utilize them in new ways.  So if you want to expand your Flash Point collection even more, head on over to the Kickstarter page today.

Starting in November of this year, Ares Games will begin distributing PHALANX Games’ games in English to the US and other non-Europe countries.  This means that games like the newest Hannibal and Hamilcar, Germania Magna: Border in Flames, and Hunger: The Show will see wider release here in the states.  From then on out any new game from PHALANX will be released under the Ares Games name when published in English.  You can read the full press release below, and look forward to these excellent games getting into more gamer’s hands, maybe even yours.

Ares Games and PHALANX Games announce distribution partnership

Ares will be the master distributor of PHALANX’s board games in English (worldwide, excluding Europe). Distribution will start in November 2017, when Hannibal & Hamilcar – Rome vs. Carthage will be released

Italian company Ares Games and UK based PHALANX announce a new partnership to distribute the English edition of PHALANX games in the United States and non-European countries. Starting from November 2017, Ares will start to bring to its customers the full PHALANX catalog, including Germania Magna: Border in FlamesHunger: The Show, and Hannibal & Hamilcar – Rome vs. Carthage – the 20th anniversary edition of one of the best two-player games ever published.

Hannibal & Hamilcar – Rome vs. Carthage is renowned for its tense, well-balanced mechanics, and it tells a great story. Hannibal crossing the Alps on his herd of elephants is one of the most memorable events in history. The game uses the popular card-driven system to detail the struggle between Carthage’s Hannibal and the Roman Republic in approximately 200 BC. The 20th Anniversary Edition was funded with a successful Kickstarter campaign in May 2017 – 3,514 backers pledged £263,443 to help bring this project to life, and is due to release in November 2017.

The other two games from PHALANX’s portfolio to be distributed initially by Ares are Germania Magna: Border in Flames, a game of shifting alliances where each player assumes the role of a Germanic warlord leading his warriors into Roman provinces, which lie across the Rhine and Danube rivers, and Hunger: The Show, a fast-paced family game of survival on a desert island with other live TV show participants.

“We are very excited about this new partnership,” said Roberto Di Meglio, Director of R&D of Ares Games. “Beautiful historical-themed games, such asHannibal & Hamilcar or Germania Magna, are a great fit to our catalog, and PHALANX’s lighter games such as Hunger: The Show will make our line-up of products even stronger. We really look forward to work with PHALANX and make sure all our customers get a chance to know about their excellent games.”

“We have been looking for a reliable distribution partner for our games for quite a time and signing a contract with Ares Games is an award for the hard work of our teams,” added Jaro Andruszkiewicz, Director of PHALANX. “We have received a great reception by Ares and are very excited to work with them. Our game portfolio will be a great fit for Ares Games distribution product range, PHALANX and Ares products should support each other on the market.”  

 About Ares Games

Ares Games is an Italian board game publisher established in 2011 to create quality hobby products for the international audience. Ares Games is the publisher of the award-winning “War of the Ring” board game, of “Wings of Glory” range of airplane combat games and miniatures, recreating aerial warfare in WW1 and WW2, and more recently, of the award-winning tactical ship-to-ship miniature game “Sails of Glory,” and the cooperative tactical Sci-Fi miniatures game “Galaxy Defenders.” Ares Games’ catalog also includes Family & Card Games and Euro & Thematic Games. For further information, visit the website www.aresgames.euand the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AresGames.


PHALANX is a publisher of high quality games, which are beautifully presented, fun to play and easy to learn. PHALANX cooperates with world class designers: Martin Wallace and Mark Simonitch and a group of other, very exciting new names in the games realm. The company has published ‘1944. Race to the Rhine’, nominated to Golden Geek Award for the Best Wargame 2014, the in-house designed game ‘The Magnates’, recommended as an official teaching tool in schools, and the highly rated ‘Brass’ for mobile devices. PHALANX’s games have been published in English, German, French, Spanish and Polish. For further information, visit the website http://phalanxgames.co.uk/ and the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/games.phalanx/

Quined Games has announced that the next game in their Masterprint Series will be an India themed game called Agra.  In Agra it’s all about the money, and whoever has the most money at the end of the game will be the winner.  How you get there though is really up to you as you can fulfill contracts, trade goods, or fulfill the demands of Akbar, the ruler of India at the time.  Not much more has been released about the game other than pictures of the different boards, but from what I can tell this is going to be a worker placement style game.  Plus there is a very interesting King board with lots of information being displayed and several tracks players can move along.  However, with design by Michael Keller and art done by Michael Menzel, I think we can expect a good playing and looking game.

Lucky GenCon attendees will get to demo the game, and the even luckier Essen attendees will be the first to be able to buy the game before it’s wider release.  See below for the full press release.

Quined Games is happy to announce their 2nd Essen 2017 release: Number 21 in the Masterprint series, Agra

The game is designed by Michael Keller (La Granja) and illustrated by Michael Menzel.  The goal of the game is to become the wealthiest player. Money is used to measure this wealth, although there are just a few other functions for money in the game. There are multiple paths to victory. You can trade goods, fullfill contracts and demands of Akbar himself and you can get in good company by befriending the different nobles that show up on the board (a random set of nobles is used each game).

An excerpt from the back of the box:

Agra, India. The year is 1572; this year marks the 30th birthday of Akbar the Great, third ruler of India’s Mughal dynasty. Using his strong personality and skill as a general, Akbar’s presence is felt across the entire country due to the Mughals’ military, political, cultural, and economic dominance. As an ambitious landowner, you see the festivities as a golden opportunity for you to rise in stature and wealth.

Agra is a highly strategic and exciting board game for 2 to 4 players. Many roads lead to victory, and it will be your task to produce, process, exchange and sell goods to become the most profitable landowner this side of the River Yamuna. Embark on this ambitious and colourful journey through one of India’s most fascinating eras.

Agra will be released at Spiel 2017 in Essen. Pre orders will be available soon in our webshop and the game rules are posted on our website and at BoardGameGeek. At Gen Con, we will have a prototype version with us. So if you want to see and/or test Agra, you are welcome to visit us at booth 2953! For more info, please visit www.quined.nl

Stonemaier Games sent out their latest update with the new games and releases on the horizon, as well as a new box.  First on the list is something that everyone has been clamoring for, and that is a way to reset the game of Charterstone after playing.  As a refresher, Charterstone is the latest in the line of legacy games, games where permanent changes are made during the campaign.  Playing through and having something unique at the end is a hallmark of those types of games, but what if you want to play through it again?  Enter the Recharge Pack.  This pack will include all the components that are permanently changed during the campaign so you can reset the game to the start, for a smaller price point than buying a new copy.  You can read more about it on the blog post here.

Next is that the rulebooks for the next Scythe expansion, Wind Gambit, have been released.  You will find the rules here, and they are in 14 different languages and also include a link to the Automa rules for solo play, in 14 languages as well.  This will tell you what new things will be coming in the expansion as well as how they will affect gameplay.

Next we have the box I mentioned, and that is the Scythe Legendary Box.  This is an extra large box meant to carry the base game of Scythe along with all the current and future expansions for the game.  Also included are tuck boxes for each faction to help keep things organized.  For more information on the box and where you can purchase them, you can check out this blog post.

Finally not so much a board game announcement as it is an upcoming siting of the Scythe game on a major television show.  So if you are a fan of Orphan Black and plan to watch the series finale, be sure to be on the lookout for a set up game of Scythe in the background.