Calliope Games are releasing a number of games from some very accomplished designers through the 2nd quarter of 2019.
“Ahoy, captain. Set sail for fun, adventure, and riches! Your savvy crew does your bidding, stacking your hold with the most profitable crates. Will you choose glittering treasure, colossal cannons, or perhaps some risky—but lucrative—contraband? Outwit and outbid all others to earn the biggest bounty…but above all, keep everything ShipShape!”[source]
ShipShape is a new game by the legendary designer, Rob Daviau (known for Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Pandemic Legacy), which has each player controlling a ship over the course of 3 voyages. During the voyages (rounds), players bid using numbered crew cards to claim unique crate tiles off the central stack. They then fill their holds with gold, cannons, and contraband, and cover up what they don’t want. At the end of each voyage, coins are scored when players compare what’s visible in their holds against each other. The player with the most scored coins at the end of the game wins. ShipShape caters for 2-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 20-50 mins.
Everyone Loves a Parade
“Everyone loves a parade! It’s a beautiful day, and your hometown is excited to watch all the fun, pageantry, and spectacle of the event! But first, the floats that will thrill the crowd must be built…and the one who crafts the most exciting floats will become the Grand Marshall!”[source]
In Everyone Loves a Parade, designed by the seasoned designer Mike Mulvihil (known for HeroClix, and Golem Arcana), players act as float designers. They select colorful decoration cards (flowers, balloons, and flags) to add to their floats and win over the crowd. The crowd is represented by dice showing colors and items they wish to see. Decoration cards allow immediate actions which allows players to move or re-roll crowd dice. Players reveal their secret order cards at the end of each round, which allows them to perform one last action, then enter their completed float into the parade in front of a crowd. Players gain points for giving the crowd what they want, and the player with the highest score after 3 rounds wins and becomes the Grand Marshal. Everyone Loves a Parade caters for 2-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in approximately 20-50 mins.
“Direct a vast network of spies all around the world! As the head of a clandestine spy agency, gather intelligence files that have been strategically divided, and use them to maneuver your agents across the globe and accomplish daring missions. Along the way, uncover secret directives and powerful spy gadgets to give your agency the advantage over your rivals. The mission awaits, spymaster!”[source]
Players are in control of intelligence agencies and manipulate their spies all over the world in SpyMaster, designed by Seth Johnson (known for HeroClix, and Golem Arcana). A spymaster deals intelligence cards into stacks of files then, in clockwise order, lets players choose a stock from them using the I-split-you-choose mechanism. The intelligence cards players gather allows them to move agents into position to control areas which meet mission requirements, then claim mission cards. After 5 rounds, the player with the highest value of accomplished missions, along with any bonuses from intelligence cards remaining, wins. SpyMaster caters for 2-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in about 30-60 mins.
Calliope Games has announced a new Tsuro game, Tsuro: Phoenix Rising, coming in 2019. Tsuro (2004) by Tom McMurchie, and its followup Tsuro of the Seas (2012) by Tom McMurchie and Jordan Weisman are well regarded abstract family games, in which 2-8 players take turns placing tiles in a grid. Each tile continues several curving paths. Each player has a token on one specific path, and must move along the path as it grows. Therefore, new tiles have the possibility of moving a token off the board, and eliminating that player. Little is known about the details of Tsuro: Phoenix Rising, except that it will be featured soon during PAX Unplugged, November 30 through December 2.
Fans of the 2011 Calliope Games hit Roll for It! are in for a treat, because an app version of the addictive dice and card game has just been released. Roll for It! combined dice collection with playing cards, which dictate what dice are needed. Players take turns matching dice to target cards, or take a turn to reclaim dice, earning victory points dictated by the card. The app version is available for both iOS and Android systems.
Calliope Games announced the release of The Mansky Caper on Kickstarter. It’s a prohibition-era, heist game for 2-6 players, designed by Ken Franklin. The game plays in 40-60 minutes and supports players aged 8+.
In this explosive press-your-luck game, you’ll be robbing rooms and dodging booby traps that go boom! Al Mansky, the most ruthless and illustrious Mob Boss ever, has never shown our Family the respect it deserves! Well… Big Al is away on vacation and it’s time to even the score! We are breaking into his mansion and absconding with all his loot! [source]
During The Mansky Caper players take turns navigating through rooms in Big Al’s mansion. Each turn a player opens a safe in the room and either draws shiny gems and coins, keys to unlock remaining rooms, plot twists, or explosive booby traps which can destroy the loot, or even the whole room. In order to protect your loot you’ll need to take a turn to stash it in the getaway car but during this turn your “associates” won’t be sharing any loot they find.
Each character has a unique skill and you can call in a favor to make another player help you. You can only call in favors after offering to help your associates which earns you a favor. At the end of the caper, when all of the safes are empty, and the mansion is falling apart, the player with the most loot is the winner and the new head of The Family.
The game features great looking components, including 3D safes, and requires a minimum pledge of $32 for the base game with free shipping within the United States. The campaign started today and runs up until Saturday, February 10th 2018, with them achieving 11% of their target on their first day. See the Kickstarter page for more details.
ShutterBug, by designer Mike Elliot (Dice Masters) and Calliope Games, pits 2-6 players in the back woods of America, looking to be the first to take pictures of the mysterious hidden creatures roaming there. Players take turns over 8 rounds, moving their pawns and collecting tip cards, leading them to their quarry. Trade tips with other players and score points, all while fulfilling side jobs and trying to achieve your secret assignment. Most points at the end of 8 rounds wins. Look for Shutterbug in November 2017.
In Capitol City, by James Ernest (Kill Doctor Lucky) and Calliope Games, players have 4 rounds (seasons) to build the best wild west town. Each season the train brings in new workers, some good and some bad, to help develop main street. Players bid for priority on the upcoming season, choose characters from the train and then purchase building cards. Attach characters to buildings to gain money or points, and gain special bonuses for related kinsfolk – either your own or other players’. Capital City is due for release in November 2017.
Press-your-luck is a very fun mechanism in board gaming, giving the thrill of gambling without any of the life-changing consequences. There’s a lot of themes that have worked with it over the years, from games about nurturing magical forests to parties of people trying to travel by aircraft. So how about a game that wants you to race your friends and family to the peak of a mountain inhabited by yetis? The risk and fun sell themselves in Dicey Peaks by Scott Almes (of Tiny Epic fame), a game for 2-6 players now on Kickstarter. Here’s the pitch from the campaign page:
“Racing to the fabled flag atop Yeti Mountain, players take turns rolling dice and skillfully choosing whether to climb or rest. As you advance, you’ll reveal tiles that can help or hinder your progress. Avoid avalanches and watch out for the Yetis… for when they attack, you might lose more than just your turn!”
The big draw of this family-style game is that unlike many other push-your luck games, Dicey Peaks mixes resource management with risk management because here you can “bust” (or lose your turn) in multiple ways. You can always end up with your hands in your pockets by rolling too much of a bad symbol on the dice, but you can also yield your turn by rolling too much of a good thing. Then there are yetis who, while being a terrible danger when resting on your laurels, are also a heck of a motivator for your friends you’ve left behind, working as a sort of catch-up mechanic for opponents who haven’t fared well with the luck of the dice. So if you’re interested in Dicey Peaks, be sure to check out their campaign page to watch the excellent how-to-play video and to peruse updates as the project nears it’s funding goal.
With August having come to a close, Calliope is reminiscing on the excellent August they had between GenCon, and one of their games being picked up by Target. That’s right, now included in the dozens of games recently announced as Target exclusive, the new editions of Roll For It! purple and red are now among those exclusives. Changes in the new edition are mostly cosmetic with inclusion of a drawstring bag, new colorful opaque dice, and a viewing window on the box. So if you are looking for a quick and fun dice chucking game, you only have to go as far as your local Target to find it.
What were some of the best April Fools jokes from board game publishers for 2015? Clever Move has an article with their top 5 of them here.
It includes the maybe not an April Fools joke from Dice Hate Me Games for a Kickstarter called ‘Meta games for Small Pockets’. It was a short run and is already over and funded. Backers will get two small games from Dice Hate Me Games Rabbits line of card games (their smallest and usually simplest games). The first game is called ‘Deck Building: The Deck Building Game‘, a deck building game about building decks.
Deck Building: The Deck Building Game combines the thrill of building your deck with the excitement of building your deck! It comes with 50 artisanally-crafted 70mm square cards, 15 translucent plastic “stain” tokens, and a rules sheet.
The second is called ‘Unpub: The Unpublished Card Game‘ in which players will combine cards with a theme, core mechanic, and game components to pitch games and the one with the best pitch wins.
Unpub: The Unpublished Card Game is a 20-30 minute party game for 3 to 8 players. The game comes with 54 cards, each featuring a possible game theme, a core mechanic, and game components that the players will use to craft a game idea. Each round, one player acts as publisher and uses an element from one of their cards to inspire the designers to pitch a game using two of the other three elements on cards in their hand. The best game pitch gets a publishing contract!
Also included in the list is a new faction for Imperial Settlers, a new game from Gamewright, a new version of Fluxx from Looney Labs, and finally Tsuro Soap from Calliope Games. If you looking for a good chuckle be sure to check out the article here.
Gateway games – the fun, easy-to-learn games that suck people into the hobby, are a very important part of growing the board gaming hobby. In order to make games accessible to anyone, Calliope Games has decided to create The Titan Series. From the Kickstarter:
The Titan Series is a line of gateway games—casual, family-friendly tabletop games—being created by some of the best game designers (“Titans”) in the world. Each a legend within the gaming industry, these Titans are responsible for such wildly popular games as Magic: The Gathering, King of Tokyo, Shadowrun, MechWarrior, HeroClix, Quarriors!, Risk Legacy, and many more.
Their plan is to release nine (or more) gateway games over the next 3 years. If you back the entire project, it will average around $16 per game – significantly less than the $30 retail price that they’re aiming for. Calliope is also relying on the backers to help with the game creating – honing the rules, choosing art, and voting on names.
Currently, the first three games (coming out in year 1) are:
A worker placement game by Zach (Golem Arcana, Got ‘Em!) & Jordan Weisman (BattleTech, HeroClix, Shadowrun) with bidding, bluffing, and deduction
A risk management game by Paul Peterson (Guillotine, Smash Up) where you move and manage your dice along pathways
A party game by Richard Garfield (Magic: The Gathering, Netrunner, King of Tokyo) where you get points for responding the same way as other people
Calliope plans for year 2 to have games by Eric Lang (XCom: The Board Game, Quarriors!), Seth Johnson (HeroClik, Golem Arcana), and Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Axis & Allies, Betrayal at House on the Hill). Year 3 will feature Mike Elliot (Dice Masters, Thunderstone), Rob Daviau (Betrayal at House on the Hill, Heroscape, Risk Legacy), and Mike Mulvihill (BattleTech, Shadowrun). Additional games will be unlocked in the stretch goals.
If you’re interested in the Titan Series, check out the Kickstarter here.