board games

“These expansions put devastating new options for your starfighter squadrons at your fingertips, letting you conduct deadly electronic warfare and unleash barrages of powerful turbolaser or ion cannon fire as you bring the full weight of the largest X-Wing ship class to bear against your opponents. ”

Star Wars fans rejoice, for Fantasy Flight Games has announced more support for those incredible, huge ships that players of Star Wars: X-Wing were never quite sure what to do with. The company has just announced the Huge Ship Conversion Kit for X-Wing second edition, allowing players more options for their gorgeous 2014 Tantive IV model, likely sitting on pristine display since Second Edition X-Wing launched in 2018. The new kit comes with tons of updated components, including ship cards, tokens, and maneuver dials. The Tantive can now be flown by either the Rebels or the Alliance, while the other supported huge ships (Raider, C-ROC, and Gozanti), likewise are allied with 2 of the 7 factions each. The Huge Ship Kit also includes a special Maneuver Tool, Range Ruler, Resource Trackers and Damage Deck, all scaled up for these giant models.

And fear not if you are new to the X-Wing miniatures world, because those glorious, giant models will once again be reprinted, already packed with second edition goodness. The new Tantive IV Expansion Pack and C-ROC Cruiser Expansion Pack contain not only their impressive foot-long models, but also all the above components needed to integrate them into many a space battle.  

“The chaos of battle surrounds you as enemy fighters dart between massive warships. It will take more than just fancy flying to lead your squadron to victory in battles like this. Step up to the largest X-Wing battles yet with the Epic Battles Multiplayer Expansion! ”

A perfect match for those gigantic cruisers, Fantasy Flight has also announced the Epic Battles Multiplayer Expansion for X-Wing Second Edition. Epic Battles allows massive 2-8 player conflicts, invoking the largest, craziest space battles from the movies. This expansion adds 11 cinematic scenarios, including a chaotic 8-player free for all, and team based intel collection. New Wings add squad based mechanics, allowing players to move formations of 3-6 fighters with a single maneuver dial, and under one leader. Finally, it goes without saying that the new Epic modes will allow the construction of enormous 500-point or 20-threat armies.

The Huge Ship Conversion Kit, Tantive IV Expansion Pack and C-ROC Cruiser Expansion Pack, as well as the Epic Battles Multiplayer Expansion should be available for purchase at your FLGS during 4th quarter 2019. For more details, check out Fantasy Flight’s official press releases for Huge Ships and Epic Battles.

After the astronomic growth and resounding success of Dice Tower Con, The Dice Tower has decided to change the convention so that the team has more creative control and direction in running the event. In a live Q&A Session on The Dice Tower channel, Tom detailed the planned changes.

Dice Tower East will be shrinking in size to accommodate around 1800 people (subject to change depending on room available at the venue). The Florida Hotel, part of The Florida Mall, will serve as the new venue. It’s just off the turnpike in Orlando, very near the airport, and will retain the same event dates over the July 4th week. Several rooms will be available for Open Gaming (four ballrooms and a few smaller rooms). There are still plans to have a vendor presence there, though it may not be as big as in the past due to space limitations, as well as a Kids Area, Hot Games Area, and flea markets. Food options are abundant, with the venue being part of a mall, and parking will not be an issue either.

With The Dice Tower team in control of all four of their events, Dice Tower East, Dice Tower West, Dice Tower Retreat, and Dice Tower Cruise, it means that The Dice Tower library will be consistent at the different events they will run. There are some logistical issues to handle in order to make this possible but that is their plans. Plans are also afoot to double the current Dice Tower library catalog. Tom will continue to curate the library and will be working with publishers and accessory companies with the goal of making it the best board game library in the world.

Official Dice Tower events will also be reduced so that The Dice Tower team are more available to play games with. This means that The Dice Tower Awards will also be pulled from the convention and be run online so that the focus of the event can be on gaming. There will still be game shows, Pitch Car Tournaments, and plans for the return of Wits & Wagers.

Registrations will open on October 2nd, 2019. For more information, watch Tom’s Q&A Session on The Dice Tower channel.

Congratulations to Frank M, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Just prior to posting this announcement, instructions were emailed on how to claim his certificate.

Thank you to everyone that’s subscribed to our news (each week we’ll award a $10 CSI gift certificate to a random subscriber)! We hope that you’re enjoying the content provided and that it’s been informative.

We’d also like to express our gratitude towards Cool Stuff Inc for providing the gift certificates! We’ve given away hundreds of dollars so far! You can visit Cool Stuff’s web site here.

The Isle of Cats is a new Kickstarter project from designer extraordinaire Frank West, best known for the excellent Kickstarter game The City of Kings (2018). In The Isle of Cats, 1-4 players embody citizens of Squall’s End, trying to rescue friendly felines from the eponymous Isle before the evil Lord Vesh arrives. Players collect polyomino cat tiles in one of 5 family colors. Pieces need to fit on the player’s unique boat, optimally with members of the same family touching each other. Fish are a common resource used to purchase both the polyomino cats and useful drafted player cards. Lesson cards give each players unique goals and bonuses for filling their boats, whereas anytime cards gain resources, and can play off each other, creating interesting combos. Treasure and Oshax cards give players access to these special tiles, which can fill gaps in the ship for bonus points. Oshax cats specifically are very friendly, and can act as wildcards, matching with any family color.

“You will need to manage resources as you draft cards to explore the island, rescue cats, find treasures, befriend Oshax and read ancient lessons. Each lesson you collect will give you another personal way of scoring points, in addition to filling your boat and keeping cat families together!”

The Isle of Cats comes with 30 cat meeples, 85 unique cat tiles, 6 Oshax tiles, 64 treasure tiles, 36 lesson cards, 60 rescue cards, 21 treasure and Oshax cards, 31 anytime cards, boats, board and tokens. The game supports Solo and Family play modes, and also available is a 5-6 player expansion with all the necessary extra boards, tokens, tiles and cards. The campaign for The Isle of Cats continues through July 25, and is expected to deliver in March 2020.

Arcane Wonders has announced 2 new games coming out this September, the tile laying game Architectura by designer Pavel Atamanchuk and the loot-and-scoot dungeon crawl Dragonscales by the eminent designer Richard Launius (Arkham Horror).

“Fight, steal, run, and maybe betray! Only one villain can emerge the victor!”

In DragonScales, 3-5 players each take on the role of fantasy villains looking to defeat the three headed dragon within his lair. Each villain comes with its own unique deck of action and action and tactic cards. The cunning scoundrels aim to loot and pillage the lair, collecting treasures and precious dragonscales, and most importantly escape alive. And if you can claim the three heads of the great dragon as trophies, all the better. DragonScales is no slouch with regard to components, coming with 5 player miniatures, 44 custom dice, 25 plastic dragonscales, 136 cards, 109 cubes, markers, screens and board. The game plays in 60 minutes, and inspected to hit stores September 18.

Architectura is a tile laying, city building game for 2-4 players which plays in a reasonable 30-45 minutes. Players take turns laying down tiles, creating a grid of buildings, each of which may enhance or destroy neighboring structures. Additionally, Cards can be rotated for actions and bonuses.
Architectura can also be played in an advanced mode, where each player has a unique deck of buildings to work with.

“Let’s say you’ve just built a magnificent temple. A vulgar market around the corner doesn’t belong there anymore and has to be shut down right away, but a park near the temple’s entrance will definitely be a good match and will even profit from the divine proximity.”

Look for Architectura at your FLGS on September 18, 2019.

Congratulations to Derek C, this week’s winner of a $10.00 gift certificate to Cool Stuff Inc. Just prior to posting this announcement, instructions were emailed on how to claim his certificate.

Thank you to everyone that’s subscribed to our news (each week we’ll award a $10 CSI gift certificate to a random subscriber)! We hope that you’re enjoying the content provided and that it’s been informative.

We’d also like to express our gratitude towards Cool Stuff Inc for providing the gift certificates! We’ve given away hundreds of dollars so far! You can visit Cool Stuff’s web site here.

The creators of Exploding Kittens are offering a unique spin on gaming conventions next May with Burning Cat.

In keeping with their decidedly odd feline motif and a core philosophy of fun above all, the event organizers plan to offer a gladiatorial arena and a giant cat that will explode into glorious flames. There will be guest speakers, but the focus will be on discovering and playing new games while creators and artists will get a chance to meet and develop new ideas.

The Cat Who Burns” will preside over the convention, according to the event website, and at the conclusion of the festivities will erupt into “something terrible and wonderful.” Attendees are welcome to enter a central arena called “The Ring” and try a new take on the venerable dodge ball called Hairball, hurling massive hair-covered projectiles, or they can do battle in a cat-themed American Gladiators spectacle.

Inside this gladiatorial cage, humongous, over-sized games will be played. Stupid stunts will be performed. New sports will be invented. We will defy the laws of nature. We will defy the nature of laws.”

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal was announced on the website as a guest speaker and more may be revealed at a later date. But Burning Cat’s priority is having fun, according to the organizers.

With less focus on hawking new product lines and more on actual game play, Burning Cat seeks to right what is wrong with today’s convention scene.

We don’t like that most conventions are basically a glorified shopping mall.

The convention will be a place to play games face to face and explore avenues of creativity, according to the website. Artists and game designers are encouraged to use Burning Cat to help test out their prototypes and ideas.

Burning Cat is set to open May 16-17 in Portland, Oregon.

A man uses a mobile phone in front of an advertisement board bearing the image of Pokemon Go at an electronic shop in Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo


Sensible Object, the London based, augmented-reality board game company, has been acquired by Niantic Inc. While they’re best known for the Pokemon Go mobile game, they originally gained attention with Ingress, and are in the process of releasing the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite AR mobile game.

Sensible Object garnered attention with their augmented-reality board game, Beasts of Balance, where players utilize a combination of strategy and balance to build a tower of animals on their tabletop, then evolve the animals in a digital world. Founded in 2014, they were among the first companies to participate in Amazon’s Alexa Start-up Accelerator Program in Seattle in 2017, and even released an Alexa powered board game (When in Rome).

“Sensible Object will offer support for its existing slate of titles during a transition period at the end of which the team will focus its efforts on building all new real-world AR experiences with Niantic as the core of Niantic London. We’re excited about Sensible Object joining Niantic as it significantly advances our efforts in developing a wide range of gaming experiences that bring the physical and digital world closer together. The team’s deep roots in large-scale outdoor activations in particular is very complementary to the many Niantic real world events we host around the world to engage with our loyal players.” -Niantic Inc. [source]

For more information, see the announcement on Sensible Object’s website, and Niantic Inc’s website.

HABA, the excellent company spearheading chunky components in bright yellow boxes, has two new games coming out this summer, Mountains and Wobble King. Mountains looks to be one of HABA’s more mature game titles, fitting alongside the excellent Iquazu and Meduris. Wobble King is a more classic yellow box children’s games with HABA’s signature unique mechanisms and interesting pieces.  

In Mountains by designer Carlo A. Rossi (Divinity Derby), 2-5 players take hikes in order to collect stamps in their hiking book. Six piles of cards represent the 6 levels of difficulty, and each turn, a player picks one pile to draw from. This card shows what equipment is required for the hike, with more challenging hikes requiring more equipment. If the player has the necessary equipment in hand, they can complete the hike, and earn the rewards on the card. Otherwise, players can use “favor stones” to borrow equipment from other players. If no hikes are possible, players can turn over a card to simply earn more favor stones. After 2 hiking piles are depleted, the player with the most summit stamps wins the game. Mountains comes with great passport books, stamps and ink pads, and is expected to hit stores this August.

King Leo has fallen asleep atop his huge pile of silver, providing a perfect opportunity for players to sneak some of the treasure for themselves. The main board in Wobble King (Kippelkönig) is placed on top of many silver coin meeples. On the main board sits a large precariously balanced King Leo figure. 2-4 Players take turns using a stick to work one of the silver coins out from under the main board. If the board falls, or King Leo topples, the faulting player needs to take a rotten tomato. If you are caught twice, you are eliminated from the game. Look for Wobble King from designer Heinz Meister at your FLGS in August 2019.

The sharp-eyed and -eared among you may have heard Tom Vasel, our illustrious leader, drop a bombshell on the latest episode of Boardgame Breakfast. The next game in the Dice Tower Essentials line of games, will be Smartphone, Inc. originally from Cosmodrome Games and designer Ivan Lashin. The Dice Tower Essentials are games that Tom himself has played, deemed extraordinary, and brought personally to publisher Arcane Wonders for retail publication. Smartphone was originally shown at Essen 2018, and despite having a very small print run, quickly became a darling of the show. Rumors of reprints abounded, but until now the game has been on the grail list of many collectors.

“Back when smartphones were only beginning to conquer the world, it was your destiny to lead one of the most promising manufacturing corporations in the world. Analyze and research customer demand around the globe. Get out of your comfort zone and try to get more profit by setting up new offices in nearby regions. Improve your production and research innovative technologies. Try to get local markets under your control. Find your own way to success—become the producer of an elite high-tech product or a manufacturer focused on the mass market. And don’t forget to keep your plans secret if you want to win this race. Other companies want the same thing you do: to become the most successful (and richest) smartphone manufacturer of all time!”

Smartphone, Inc. is often described as Food Chain Magnate lite, being a strong but elegant economic game for 2-5 players about manufacturing and selling cell phones around the world. At the heart of the game, players manipulate two double sided cards, creating their “pad”. Each half of the pad contains 6 squares of icons, and by overlapping them in specific ways, players create their plan for the round: Visible symbols give actions for the round, while covered squares add additional product for sale, but inherently limit a player’s turn. Players can gain Improvement Tiles from the market each round, more cardboard tiles that can be added to their pad, adding new icons, or flipped to create more phones for sale.

Available actions include changing the sell price of a player’s phones up or down, researching new technologies, spreading and selling to other areas on the world map, gaining Improvements, and making more product. Newer technologies and world expansion give players more locations to sell their product, and each player can only sell in one “slot” per round, creating fierce competition for the markets. Players can focus on creating large amounts of cheaper phones, which allows them to act first, flooding sell spaces and outcompeting their opponents, or they can make higher priced phones to simply make more money. The richest player after 5 rounds emerges victorious.

The components for Smartphone are exceptional, with the entire board using dual layered cardboard, creating recessed slots for player pieces. The pieces themselves are brightly colored clear plastic cubes (phones/goods), office buildings (for territory control), and smartphone bars (representing progress). Individual player storage boxes keep the pieces organized: plastics, the player’s “pad”, and starting innovations. A clean, minimalistic graphic design places the round structure and all rules in easy to understand proximity. Also included in the game is a strong A.I. driven solo mode.

Smartphone Inc. will be available to demo at GenCon, Origins Game Fair, and Dice Tower Con this summer, and Arcane Wonders has stated that the awaited Kickstarter Campaign for reprints will still occur later this year, with retail release to follow in 2020. For more details, check out Arcane Wonders announcement here, and the Cosmodrome official webpage for Smartphone Inc here.