Dice Tower Newsletter

card drafting game

It is a sad fact of business that not all of them will succeed, and unfortunately the dark specter of failure is looming on Crash Games.  For various reasons Crash Games is in a financial tight spot right now and so they are turning to the board game community to help them out.  With this final Kickstarter they are hoping to raise the needed money to be able to pay their game designers and their manufacturer what they are owed.  So if you are interested in either of the below games, or just want to help, I highly recommend you go to the campaign page and pledge your support.  But enough of the doom and gloom, lets get to the games.

The first of the two games being offered is Backyard Builders Treehouse, a drafting game all about building the best treehouse possible.  On your turn you have a hand of five cards, you will pick a card to add to you treehouse and then pass the cards.  The next player will draw a card to bring the hand back up to five and do the same, continuing around until the end of the round.  As for placing cards in your treehouse, whenever you want to place a new card you have to match the top value of the previous card to be able to add it.  And that’s it, you go around until you reach a set height based on the number of players and then add up the point totals on the cards.  One thing that makes it not a pick the highest card affair is that you get bonus points for having a run of the same color, thus giving you some options when picking cards.  Also of note is that the art is done by Vincent Dutrait so you know it will look stunning.

The second game being offered is the set collecting, fishing game called Fish Frenzy.  In the game you will be bidding on different boats in order to collect the fish cards below them to get majorities in the different fish types.  However, if you want to get the fish from a boat that is already occupied, you will have to give up some fish tokens in order to bump the other player out.  You will bid back and forth between the person already there until someone comes out on top, at which point the loser moves away, leaving their bid fish tokens behind.  At the end of the round all bid fish tokens go away, so not too many bid wars are going to break out.  Once everyone has placed you can either collect all the fish for end game scoring, or you can eat the fish getting you back some of those precious fish tokens.  After adding two cards to each boat the next round begins again.  At the end you will get 3 points for each fish type you have the most of, and 1 point for the ones you have the second most of, most points at the end is the winner.



Two new card games are coming from Aporta Games, a drafting game called Capital Lux and a route building game called Avenue.  Capital Lux is an interesting game where you are drafting cards to either play in front of you, or in the public discard.  What makes the choice interesting is that cards in front of you score their value, but cards played in the center allow you to trigger the card’s power.  Another interesting twist is that between the four professions, when it comes time to score you can’t score a profession with more value in front of you than in the center.  Instead you have to discard all your cards of that profession, making for an interesting balancing act between the center pile and yours.  Most points at the end is the winner.


Avenue is a route building game in the same vein as Doodle City, where you will be drawing connections on individual sheets.  The main difference is that you will be drawing cards instead of rolling dice to determine the line you can draw.  There will be cards for the four different types of curves and two straights, meaning that you have to draw the route exactly like it shows, no turning of the cards.  On your sheet you are trying to connect 5 different vineyards to the clusters of grapes on the sheet, and when four of the same vineyard is drawn, you count how many grapes it connects to and that is it’s score.  One twist to the scoring is that each vineyard has to score more than the previous, if it doesn’t then it counts against you in your final tally.  The game continues until all the vineyards have come out, then you will get bonus points for connecting grapes to their color castles, and the highest score will be the winner.

Look for both these games to be on store shelves in December of this year.


Alien Uprising is a Kickstarter game from two years ago all about the humans fighting back against the Zothrens, alien “bug” races.  The original game took place on one of the Zothren planets, and this time the bugs have managed to find Earth and are coming to take it.  So it’s up to you and your friends to don mechanized suits of armor to be able to kill of these bugs, but you didn’t want to work together did you?  No this time it’s a competitive game as you are competing on the televised stage to see who can take down the most bugs.  To do this you will be drafting cards to build your mechanized suit as well as other cards to either give you a boost you slow down your opponents.  In the end, after all the dice have been rolled, whoever comes out with more kills is the winner.

Art for this game looks a little different, taking a bit of a cartoon like approach as compared to the previous games.  Regardless though, if you are looking for a fun and fast card game set in the Alien Uprising universe, head over to the campaign page to pledge for a copy!

Virus is the latest drafting type game from Genius games based on different biological systems.  Previous entries in the line include Peptide, Ion, and Covalence, each with slightly different gameplay but still family in weight.  Virus returns to the drafting style of card games but instead of pick and pass, you are betting on turn order to draft from a central line.  Each player will start with a hand of cards numbered 1-6, so everyone has identical starting hands.  On your turn you can do one of two things, pass or play.  If you pass, you pick up your discard pile and you are out for the round, if you play then you select a numbered virus card and place it face down.  After everyone has chosen which they will do the cards are revealed, and players who played get to draft viral component cards from the central row in descending numerical order.  These cards will score you points in similar ways to Sushi Go cards where some are straight points, other you need sets, and others based on if you have the most or least of it.  Also in the central row are mutated virus cards which have higher values than the starting cards, helping to ensure you get first pick at crucial times.  After everyone has chosen, whoever played virus cards this time discards those cards to their personal discard and a new round begins.  You can’t get discarded cards back until one of two things happens, you pass, or play your last virus card and so would start with no hand.  After the viral component deck runs out you count points and the highest score wins.

The art for this game is pretty good and his kind of a sickly feel to it, aiding the theme of mutating viruses.  Another bonus is that the illustrations and viral components are accurate to their real-life counterparts, giving the game an educational component.  So if this game sounds interesting to you then head on over to the Kickstarter page to back for your copy today.

dark tales cinderella

GenCon is just a few short weeks away and game announcements continue to flow in, this time from dV Giochi in the form of Bang the Dice Game – Old Saloon and Dark Tales – Cinderella.  Dark Tales is a darkly themed (go figure) drafting game using the old fairy tales for settings and characters.  You can see Tom’s Youtube review of Dark Tales to see how the game works, and this new expansion adds to the settings and characters you can play with, thus expanding the replayability and variety of the game.

old saloon

The expansion Bang the Dice Game – Old Saloon will add five modules to the game, allowing you to add or remove whichever ones you feel like playing with.  You will get “lethal new characters, two Saloon dice—the Loudmouth and the Coward—extra-roles, and new tokens.” As a fan of the original game I am looking forward to this and the new gameplay options it will add to the game, making it even more fun.

From CoolNerdGames comes a new self-contained, spell-drafting combat game, Duel of the MagiIt would be very easy for me to call it a merging of Dominion and Magic: The Gathering, but I cannot call something a duck that doesn’t walk and talk like one despite what appearances and article tags would lead you to believe. CoolNerdGames have detailed what makes their product different, and their confidence oozes from each piece of finished art and guarantee to potential Kickstarter backers. Before I get to the nitty-gritty of what’s on offer, here’s the description straight from their campaign:

[…] Players take turns choosing spells to include or exclude from the game…Staged face-up, the cards are drafted one at a time from the board as each player builds their own customized deck of spells. Once deck building is complete, the game board is flipped over to the dueling ground side and players engage in a spell casting fight to determine the winner.

From that description, it can be easy to see how it’s different from it’s parts. Duel of the Magi is more of a living card game where the players get unique character powers and are allowed to choose their market or card pool, creating a different drafting atmosphere each game if so desired. This allows the game to have the drafting longevity of a Trading Card Game without the need of buying booster packs and at the same time avoiding the quickly drying card economy of a Living Card Game. Combat is designed to be informed and fast, due in part to the open draft all players take place in and an encouragement towards negotiation and alliances.

I wrote above that CoolNerdGames has a lot of confidence in their product and I wasn’t joking. In an absolutely impressive show of trust, they are offering a full money back guarantee to anyone who isn’t pleased with the game during the first month of owning it. That is not something a lot of funding campaigns are willing to promise! To entice potential backers even further, the community is allowed to choose the art for the final 30 to be added to the game. So if you’re at all curious about a game that’s been carefully brought to the table with artwork and business model that screams integrity, be sure to check out their Kickstarter page to find out more!


At the ACD Game Day, Smirk and Dagger showed off three new releases that are coming, J’Accuse, Dead Last, and an expansion for Nevermore called Specters of Nevermore.  J’Accuse is a small card game about passing the blame and implicating others, there are multiple winners to the game and only one loser, and that loser is the one who ends up getting arrested.  Throughout the game you will be playing cards on your opponents in order to achieve one of two goals, getting them to 5 pieces of hard evidence, or getting them to have a motive, opportunity, and weapon cards all at once.  Whoever meets one of the two goals first gets arrested and is the loser.  You can look for this game at GenCon.

dead last

Next is Dead Last is what is being called a social collusion game where you are trying to be the last one standing to collect all the gold.  In the game everyone will agree on who to kill, and this can be figured out in any way you see fit from overt communication, covert communication, showing cards, and what not.  This kind of deal has some historical background and is called a Tontine, a deal where money accrues and then pays out to the last survivor.  This kind of deal was outlawed because it often lead to murder, which is kind of what the game is all about.  Get to 24 gold first to be crowned the winner.  Look for this game at Origins.

specters of nevermore

Last is the expansion, Specters of Nevermore, which will add into the base game player powers in the form of different characters, and some upgraded components on clay poker chips.  Each character, based off of Edgar Allan Poe’s books, has a different power whether they are a human or have transformed into a raven, giving you new powers that can help you score or take revenge on all the other players.  While the exact day this will be released is not mentioned, they had the first print run at the ACD game day so look for it’s release very soon.  You can see pictures of all three on Smirk and Dagger’s Facebook page.

dream home

Asmodee has released a preview of their upcoming family game, Dream Home, a card drafting game for 2 to 4 players that plays in about half and hour.  In Dream Home you are building your dream house, picking which rooms to add as well as which special cards to get in order to maximize your points.  Building rules are pretty simple in that you build from the ground up, and also has some bonus point opportunities that make thematic sense as well such as you get extra points for putting a pantry next to the kitchen.  There are also some rooms that are worth more depending on how many you have next to each other like garages, living rooms, and bedrooms.  Special cards that you can get include helpers, tools, furniture, and roof cards, furniture and roof cards earn you points directly by adding them to your house, but be careful becausethem come with limitations, such as no longer being able to expand a room once you put in furniture.  Helpers and tools aid you in building the house, letting you move things around or counter a bad draw so you aren’t at the mercy of what other players give you.  Overall it looks to be an interesting game with mechanics and rules that are simple enough to get the whole family involved, look forward to it in the coming months as the game is currently in production.

rick and morty

Cryptozoic is going to be demoing three of it’s upcoming titles at the Origins Game Fair, Rick and Morty: Total Rickall, Internal Affairs, and Mad Science Foundation.  Rick and Morty: Total Rickall is a card game adaptation of the episode of the same name where you are trying to figure out who is your friend, and who are parasites.

internal affairs

Internal Affairs bills itself as a grittier Good Cop, Bad Cop, but with the ability to changes sides should you determine that your side might lose.

mad science

Last is the newest one of the bunch and that is Mad Science Foundation, a quick drafting card game for 2 to 4 players which uses the I-split-you-pick type drafting.  In Mad Science Foundation you are a mad scientist competing for resources from the mad science foundation to be able to build your ultimate weapon and finally take over the world!  But if there is one thing mad scientists are known for besides doomsday weapons, it’s not working well together.  So while you may be collecting resources to finish your invention, other players will be building their own in order to throw your plans off track.  Whoever can make the maddest inventions will be the winner of the game.  You can check out Cryptozoic’s website for more info on games they will be demoing at Origins

Courtesy Portal Games

Portal Games has just announced the next expansion for Imperial Settlers, 3 Is A Magic Number.  This expansion is another empire pack and adds cards to all five of the existing factions for the Imperial Settlers game in addition to adding a new SET mechanism to the game.  What the SET mechanism does is when you build three buildings of the same color you will both get extra points and trigger a special ability based on what color set you just built.  This brings an interesting choice to the drafting phase because now you are looking at both the abilities of the card and it’s color.  You can read the full press release about the expansion below and look forward to it’s release on May 25th.

Portal Games announces 3 Is A Magic Number

The next Empire Pack expansion in the Imperial Settlers line.

Gliwice, Poland – April 4, 2016. Today, Portal Games announced 3 Is A Magic Number, the next expansion for the award winning Imperial Settlers. Imperial Settlers: 3 is a magic Number is the second Empire Pack for Imperial Settlers from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek. 3 Is A Magic Number introduces all new mechanics and includes cards to supplement all five Factions currently available in Imperial Settlers. This expansion introduces a new rule: SET. This new ability allows players to score and trigger new effects each time they build 3 cards in a particular color, so called SET. With that rule drafting phase and choice of a right card to draft is even more interesting! “I like the fact that with this expansion the draft phase gets even more interesting,” Said designer and CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek. “You are not only looking at the abilities of cards, but now you also want to collect particular colors to build sets and activate your powerful feature cards. It’s fun!”

Imperial Settlers is for 1 to 4 players, ages 12 or older and takes approximately 60 minutes to play. 3 Is A Magic Number is an expansion for Imperial Settlers and requires the Imperial Settlers base set to play. The expansion contains 13 Common cards, 50 Faction cards, and 4 Solitaire cards. 3 Is A Magic Number will be released worldwide on . MSRP will be $16. For more information, you can visit the 3 Is A Magic Number page on our website.

About Portal Games

Portal Games is a publisher of award-winning games such as Imperial Settlers, Stronghold, Tides of Time, Legacy, and Neuroshima Hex. Founded in Poland in 1999, Portal Games has developed into one of the most renowned European game publishers and design teams. Their commitment is to produce only the highest quality Board Games That Tell Stories.