Breaking Games has brought a new worker placement fantasy game, Dwellings of Eldervale, designed by Luke Laurie to Kickstarter! This 1-5 player game will have you each controlling a unique faction including Air, Earth, Water, Fire, Light, Darkness, Order, and Chaos. The game combines worker placement with tableau/engine building mechanisms as each player summons special units, dwell in Eldervale to gain points as well as combat advantages, battle other players or even monsters with dice driven combat that can be mitigated, play magic cards, and advance your elemental power.
The standard box includes 8 sets of player wooden components, 8 player boards but 11 factions, 8 monster cards, 49 magic cards, 8 jumbo starter cards, 72 adventure cards, 24 elemental hexes with unique artwork on every tile as well as 7 ruin hexes, 100 treasure tokens, 54 dice, 9 glass orbs, cardboard resources, and a board of elements. The game also comes with storage trays.
To find out more, visit their Kickstarter campaign here.
I was lucky enough to be able to prowl around the GAMA trade show this past week, and have collected some early stories from some of the designers and publishers present. So without further delay, here are some of the stories I found interesting at GAMA.
Designer Keith Matejka talked about Fiends & Familiars, the next expansion for Thunderworks Games popular dice placement game Roll Player. Fiends are small cards attached to the initiative row, which give players a disadvantage when taking the more prized positions, but can be banished by using charisma tokens. Familiars give players 3 more spaces for dice placement, and unique player powers. Also in the expansion are two colored dice, very flexible in placement but only showing up to 4 pips. The Kickstarter for Fiends and Familiars is scheduled for Summer of 2019.
Breaking Games showed off Dwellings of Eldervale by designer Luke Laurie, a complex worker placement engine building game with unique player powers, miniatures, resource collection and card play. Special workers can be earned, and monsters on the board can be a source of both conflict and reward. Dwellings also includes a mechanism allowing players to have a worker “settle down”, and create a permanent dwelling on the board, represented by placing a great roof piece on the meeple. This worker is now lost to the player, but generates unique resources and abilities. Dwellings of Eldervale is expected to come to Kickstarter this summer.
I was able to look at a new, as yet unnamed, variation on an escape room game from the geniuses at Cranio Creations (Newton, Lorenzo Il Magnifico). The game is composed of a cardboard box frame, the size of a standard square board game box. Cards slot into the top of the box. The sides of the box have open windows to peer down, through which one can see the cards, revealing objects and clues. An app tells the player how these objects relate to the story, and how to react – is. Remove a certain card, peer down a certain hall. Look for this innovative puzzle from Cranio in the coming year.
Smirk and Dagger games founder Curt Covert discussed the Cutthroat Caverns Anniversary edition coming this August. The new edition will include the core set with new art and tighter rules, but will be fully compatible with the rest of this classic game. Concurrent with the new release will be the digital Cutthroat Caverns app, which includes several AI opponents, each with their own evil agenda.
Stayed tuned for the second half of breaking GAMA news coming soon.
Breaking Games announces The Stars Align, a two-player strategy game where players take turns placing their stars in the sky to set off a shooting star. Players use constellation cards to place stars on a playing board which doubles as the carrying bag. Once a player has placed a complete row of stars in one color, the stars are removed from the board as a shooting star for the player. If the playing board is filled with stars, then all the stars flip to their reverse color and play continues. The first stargazer to catch five shooting stars is the winner! The game plays 2 players, ages 6+, in about 20-30 minutes. The game includes the carry bag/game cloth, constellation cards, 49 wooden star meeples, and 10 shooting star points (5 in white and 5 in black). Look for The Stars Align at a friendly local game store near you this November.
Rob Searing here, Manager of Dice Tower News. Often I am spending my time writing and editing articles. It’s not often that I get to share “in” the news. GenCon is one of the few conventions I get to cover and there’s always so much going on. I spent a bit of time in the Exhibit Hall today meeting with various publishers and wanted to post some highlights and tips on where to consider running to when the convention opens Thursday morning!
BREAKING GAMES – BOOTH 2329
Expancity, designed by Alex Cutler and Matt Fantastic, is a gorgeous city building game composed of some wonderful and stackable building blocks that are placed on commercial and residential tiles. Scoring is accomplished via numerous ways including strategically placing buildings near common structures. Expancity was demoed at Dice Tower Con and was a huge hit. You can view Tom’s review here.
Rise of Tribes, designed by Brad Brooks, is a civilization game composed of area control and dice rolling mechanics complimented with variable player powers. Players will take control of a prehistoric tribe and scoring will depend on how well you gather resources, build villages, accomplish goals and more. You can view a detailed review of the game here.
Rise of Tribes, along with Expancity, are of excellent quality and gameplay seemed fun and engaging. You can head over to booth 2329 to demo either or pick up a copy.
PEGASUS SPIELE – BOOTH 2013
Talisman is not a game unfamiliar to gamers (the 4th edition of the game was released in 2007). Talisman: Legendary Tales, however, is a completely new take on the universe. Legendary Tales is designed by Michael Palm and Lukas Zach and is published right here in the Unites States (right in Indiana to be precise). It contains elements of bagbuilding, variable player powers and is cooperative.
“In Talisman: Legendary Tales, the players must work together as an adventure party to recover the five legendary Talismans that have been lost. During each adventure, the party endeavors to recover one of the lost Talismans. The adventures must be played in order. You may repeat adventures, and you may play one or more adventures in a game session.
Over the course of this story, you will travel across a wondrous land and have exciting adventures in which you must make important decisions and defend yourself against cruel enemies. As an adventure party, you succeed in each adventure once you have completed the final task and have recovered the Talisman. Be careful: You have only a limited amount of time!”
Legendary Tales sports some really nice artwork, by Falk Holzapfel, and is bound to entice by reinventing this 30+ year old game.
LEDER GAMES – BOOTH 3043
Leder Games really hit the map with the release of Vast. This year they look to top the game with another asymmetrical player-powers game where players will contend for control of an immense wilderness. Root is designed by Cole Wehrle and was first seen on Kickstarter. Available for purchase at booth 3043, Root can also be purchased along with an expansion – The Riverfolk expansion. The game takes advantage of multi-purpose cards and is the next step in asymmetric design. Made to engage the entire family, Root is sure to thrill and spark your imagination. It was one of my most-anticipated games at the con this year.
NAUVOO GAMES – BOOTH 2007
The Reckoners is a game based upon Brandon Sanderson’s book series of the same name. It is a cooperative game designed by Brett Sobol and Seth Van Orden. Nauvoo Games, publishers of the hit Stockpile, is offering three different version of the game at booth 2007 – one that includes painted miniatures and deluxe components. Reckoners
“The Reckoners plays like a challenging, ever-shifting puzzle. If you like co-operative games where you carefully manage resources, build powerful action combos, create tactical plans with your teammates, and work together to take down the bad guy while on the brink of defeat, then be sure to check out The Reckoners.”
The Reckoners was Tom’s #1 most anticipated game at GenCon and a full review can be found here.
TASTY MINSTREL GAMES – BOOTH 1337
(Trays not included in the game)
Although not debuting at GenCon, Pioneer Days, designed by Matthew Dunstan and Chris Marling, is an American west drafting and dice game centered around the ole’ Oregon Trail. With absolutely beautiful artwork by Guille Longhini and Sergi Marcet, Pioneer Days will have you drawing dice out of a bag to roll and then draft the to collect money, hire people, or take action all with hopes of earning the most points. You can view a full review of the game here and pick up a copy over at TMG’s booth at 1337. There’s plenty of other reasons to stop by their booth (Trade on the Tigris, Jungli-La, and more).
IELLO – BOOTH 129
Last, but certainly not least, is IELLO. As always, IELLO has quite a bit they are featuring this year although my favorite is Raids, designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J Gilbert. In Raids, a viking-themed game, players will sail to tiles that are laid – vying for control of them or going to collect runes or goods…along with other vikings to bolster your crew. The components are fantastic – gold painted bits and metal coins – along with fantastic artwork by Biboun. IELLO is bound to be busy so make sure to stop by there early!
There’s bound to be more. Please follow our Tweets and Instagram posts throughout the convention and keep an eye out for exciting news announcements through the week!
Breaking Games has announced their new upward-moving strategy game Expancity. Play as 1 of up to 4 builders in a city breaking ground and building to the sky as you compete for the most points. Earn points by completing your structures (either commercial or residential,) by building next to coveted locations (but beware of less advantageous locations which can zap points), and by completing goals and contracts. Use strategy to place your tiles and structures in the most point-awarding location and be the best builder in Expancity. Be sure to check out Tom Vasel’s in depth review of the game here! Due to be released in late August, Expancity is for ages 10 and up and will play in 60-90 minutes.
First in our lineup is the dungeon crawl game from Greenbrier Games called Folklore: The Affliction. This is an RPG style board game where you are playing characters trying to investigate and drive back the evil that is gripping the land. The game is themed around the horror genre so you will be fighting things like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more. In an interesting twist for this game, if you are killed you will become a ghost yourself, being able to continue with the party and attack enemies from beyond the grave. The scale of the game is on two levels, with movement between locations being done on a map board with one pawn denoting the whole group. Then when you arrive at a location it will zoom in to all of your characters being on another board representing the location for you to explore and fight monsters on. The game comes packaged with a campaign broken up into smaller chapters that can be played in one sitting, allowing you to tailor the game length to your desires. Look for this horror dungeon crawl on store shelves next month.
Coming later this month is a new game from Breaking Games called Sparkle*Kitty, a quick card game that turns the helpless princess trope on it’s head. In the game you each play a different princess trying to escape from the “Cursed “No Cursing” tower“. Not much else has been released about the game other then it being released later this month, and that the art is fabulous. So keep an eye out for the game and hopefully it’s good.
Keeping with the light-hearted theme we have the next release from North Star Games, Happy Salmon Blue Fish. Those hoping for an expansion to this loud and crazy party game will be a bit disappointed, but if you wanted more players in a single game then look no further. Happy Salmon Blue Fish contains all the same cards and components as the original, only this time the player colors are different than those contained in the original green fish edition of the game. This makes it easy to ramp the player count all the way up to 12, making for a game that is even louder and crazier than before. So if you want to have more players, or just prefer the blue color, look for this edition on store shelves in September.
Wizkids has announced their latest game, and it is the generically named Empires, a new trading and negotiation type game. In Empires, 2 to 10 players will try to expand their kingdom across the land by acquiring support. To get support “by supplying your people with goods; goods are produced when your people work in your territories. Players can gain people, territories, goods, and supporters by winning wars. Wars will be won by the armies raised by paying gold. Gold can be earned by winning wars and by selling goods.” So as you can see there is a lot of shuffling around of resources, but you won’t always have all the resources you need, that’s where the trading comes in. You are allowed to trade anything and everything between players, goods, player powers, people, territories, whatever you have so that you can achieve your goal. So if this kind of game intrigues you, look for it on store shelves in October of this year.
Next we have something that is exciting for Tom Vasel, and that is the impending release of the next game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, Critical Mass. The game used to be known as Starborne, and is a two player card battle game with some deck building. Each player will pick their mech, and each mech comes with it’s own unique starting deck of cards. From there you will play cards against each other attacking, defending, and upgrading. Attacking and defending as self explanatory, and the upgrading action is what allows you to get more cards into your deck. However, as you play more cards you will start to run out, and you don’t get cards back until you do a reload action. As you take hits you will lose armor, lose too much armor and your core becomes vulnerable, allowing your opponent to stun you for a turn. The winner will be the one who destroys all the armor on their opponent’s mech first. Look for this game on the shelves of your FLGS in November.
Finally we have two new games coming from Ankama games later this year in Dino Party and Stellium. Dino Party is a party game at the end of the age of dinosaurs, where you and your friends are trying to grow your herd and get to the protected spaces. But with disasters happening all around you, will you be able to make it? This quick party game will be released next month.
Stellium is a new abstract game where you are creators of the universe in the midst of creating that universe. On a turn you will draw a colorful marble from a bag and place it on the board, aiming to arrange the marbles in specific ways to satisfy contracts. But since this is being done by everyone on the same board, you have to be careful not to setup your opponent to score instead of you. An additional layer of strategy is added with variable player powers, allowing you to place a marble and then manipulate them in different ways. Look for this game to be released in October of this year.
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.
Breaking Games has a pair of games coming out next month with one being a Kickstarter game and the other being an abstract strategy game. Lets looks first at the abstract game called Aura. The game plays up to four people and revolves around playing down cards to eliminate cards from your opponent’s deck. The cards themselves have both a color, and a value or special ability. Play is simple with a play/draw type turn structure and you are aiming to protect yourself and attack your opponent. The colors have a rock/paper/scissor type strength and weakness chart so value is not the only determiner when things get revealed. Be the last one with cards left in the game to be crowned the winner.
Next is a Kickstarter game that is being brought to retail, and that is The King’s Abbey. The King’s Abbey is a dice worker placement game where you are trying to build the best abbey to help bring your kingdom out of the dark ages. Each round has you rolling dice and using those dice to acquire resources similar to how you get resources in Stone Age, and then you use those resources to perform actions and build your abbey. You will also be going on crisades and defending your abbey from attacks to keep it from being torn down. Completed crusades and buildings will earn you points, and the most point at the end is the winner. Look for this game and Aura to be on store shelves in June.
Last is the announcement of the latest expansion to the Ascension deck building game, and that is Ascension: Alliances. This is an expansion only set and mainly changes the way that you can play four player games. With this set you can convert any Ascension set into a team versus team game with two players on each side. The new rules change how the unite keyword works, and includes a bunch of cards that play into the new team game play mode. Plus as kind of a bonus, this new set comes in an Ascension themed deck box that can hold 100+ cards and has a divider. Needless to say if you are a fan of the game and are looking for a new way to play with four, look for this set on store shelves in July.
New games coming out in the hobby gaming world are something we come to expect as many are released, but one thing we always take special note of is when a hobby game breaks into the mainstream stores like Target. The Game of 49 has achieved that feat, and so through an agreement between Breaking Games and Target, you will now be able to pick up The Game of 49 at Target stores nationwide. You can read about the announcement on the Morningstar website, and then pop into your local Target to grab a copy of the game.
Breaking Games, who have published games like The Game of 49 and Letter Tycoon, have released a new family game called 4 the Birds. This game take the classic 4-in-a-row win condition and adds some interesting twists so it’s not just a game of who messes up first, these come in the form of action cards, a pecking order, and non-player pawns. To play you will roll two dice of your choice, there are d10s and d8s, and whatever the result is you can either place or move a bird to that coordinate, alternatively you can play an action card to modify things to a better outcome. The pecking order comes in when you try to move into a space that is already occupied, then you check handy rock, paper, scissors type wheel on the board to see who comes out on top. And last are the non-player pawns, one is the hawk which causes birds around it to scatter, and the crow which has priority over everything in the pecking order so you can’t move into a space occupied by a crow. First person to get 4 of their birds either in a straight line or a 2×2 square is the winner.
The game sounds interesting enough and was a finalist on Tabletop Deathmatch so it can’t be all bad, you can check out the game on the Breaking Games site.