card games

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.

Renegade Game Studios and Dire Wolf Digital have announced their compilation project, Eternal: Chronicle of the Throne. Chronicles of the Throne by designer Paul Dennen, is a combination deck building game and strategy card battler which could only have been created by the combined efforts of these two studios. In the game, 2-4 players will “experience fast-paced gameplay as they attack, block, and summon creatures in back and forth CCG-style combat.”

Renegade Game Studios and designer Paul Dennen, are the brains behind the immensely popular games Clank! A Deck Building Adventure and Clank! In! Space! Both of the Clank! games managed to take deck building to a new level, using it as a mechanism in a fantasy board game. Much like deck builders Dominion and Legendary, players can use symbols on their cards to move on the board, buy new cards, or fight monsters. However, the price for many played cards is noise – “CLANK!”, which draws the ire of the dragon below. Players need to judge how deep to delve, trying to collect better and better artifacts, while avoiding becoming the increasingly angry dragon’s wrath.

Dire Wolf Digital is the design team behind Eternal, a popular digital CCG on iOS, Android and Steam. Eternal takes place in a world “where six-guns and sorcery combine”. Much like the heralded Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering Arena, in Eternal players collect cards and construct digital decks for head to head battle. Players use power cards to summon units and cast spells, trying to dominate each other. Eternal: Chronicles of the Throne takes place in this fantastical world, populated by all the art from the digital card game.

Eternal: Chronicles of the Throne should be coming to stores in time for GenCon, in August 2019. For more information about the game, check out the dedicated webpages for the game from Dire Wolf Digital and Renegade Studios.

Fraud: The Game of White Collar Crime is a new satirical take-that card game, currently on Kickstarter, from designer Pete M Newman and featuring art from long time MAD magazine contributor and Beavis and Butthead comic artist, Rick Parker. In Fraud, 2-6 players try to hide away as much money cards in offshore accounts as possible, while attacking other players with Fraud Cards. Players can defend against these indictments using Defense Cards. After two indictments, players need to make a “perp walk” around the table, while the others heckle them mercilessly. The first player to bank $150 million before receiving 3 indictments wins the game. Fraud uses similar mechanisms to the classic card game Mille Bornes, scoring points while attacking opponents and defending against their own disasters. The Kickstarter Campaign for Fraud: The Game of White Collar Crime continues through April 25, and the game is expected to deliver in September 2019. For more details, check out the web site for Fraud here.

Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker is a new social deduction game for 5-8 from Renegade Game Studios and the design team responsible for the popular Clank! series of games, Dire Wolf Digital. In Oathbreaker, one player is the King, while the others are secretly either loyalists, looking to keep the current king in power, or conspirators, seeking chaos. Missions are started, and each player secretly contributes influence cards to the cause, either fulfilling the requirements or jamming up the works. Players who contribute the most cards to a mission can place their house sigil with that pile. The cards in each mission are shuffled, and it is determined if the mission succeeded, aiding Order, or failed, leading to Chaos. Nobles who added their sigil to a mission can gain special rewards. The King can grant special decree cards to players, either helping or hindering whomever seems deserving. Look for Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker in stores this June, and check out Dire Wolf Digital’s web page for more information on this new title.

The award winning card game Love Letter (2012), by designer Seiji Kanai, has been the poster child and gold standard for the burgeoning genre of microgames. With only 20 cards, Love Letter is easy to teach, easy to carry and can fill just a few minutes of gaming satisfaction anywhere, anytime. Now Z-Man Games has announced a new version of this classic, which includes two new character cards to shake up game play. The Chancellor (#6) allows players to draw multiple cards, keeping one and placing some on the bottom of the deck.

Did you find yourself constantly asking who was still in the round? Now you won’t have to worry about that! Once a player is knocked out of the round, they’ll flip over the character reference card to reveal a broken wax seal. A quick glance around the table will tell you who is still in the round and whose letter didn’t quite make it.

The Spy (#0) gives players a more valuable win for a round, that is if no other players have also played the Spy. This new edition also includes handy reference cards that flip to reveal a broken wax seal, when a player is eliminated from a round. For more details and pictures, check out the story from Z-Man here.

Freshwater Fly is a new highly thematic fishing game currently on Kickstarter from designer Brian Suhre (Coldwater Crown) and Bellwether Games. In Freshwater Fly, 1-4 players try to catch sets of fish cards from a river made up of a grid of 6×3 cards using dice drafting. First, players cast into the river, placing the casting token on a fish card in the column corresponding to the die drafted. Under the column are colored hatch tokens, and if the player’s chosen fly matches the color of a hatch token, they can draw a strike card. Strike cards indicate whether a fish has taken the bait. If the fly fails to attract a fish, it drifts down the river. However, if a fish is hooked, play proceeds to the beautiful rondel on the player’s board.

This rondel has an attached spinner, which when coupled with a wooden hatch token, looks like a fly reel. Players advance the spinner by drafting dice, getting closer to catching the hooked fish. The battle is between the strength of the fish and the value of the drafted dice, with players advancing the difference on the rondel. The gained finesse of the player, bonus action cards, and momentum tokens all help to finally catch the fish. The game ends when one player has landed 7 fish, and points are scored for card sets. Freshwater Fly comes with a game board, 4 reel boards, 12 flies, 4 strike cards, 48 fish cards, 9 dice, 60 hatch tokens, a large casting token, momentum tiles, hatch tiles, and a cloth bag. The Kickstarter for Freshwater Fly continues through April 25, and the game is expected to deliver in September 2019.

Mr B Games has started a Kickstarter Campaign for Vintage Racers, a microdeck racing card game for 2-4 players, although 2 copies of the game allows up to 8 to play. Vintage Racers, by designerSean Brown takes place in the wild and lawless days of early 1900’s automobile racing. In the game, players construct a race track from a deck of road cards, then create a car by drafting pieces of an automobile. Different cards add to better braking, better tires, quicker top speed, or better acceleration. During the race, players are allowed to change the speed of their car up or down according to their acceleration or braking. Hitting turns too quickly can do damage to tires. Each racer has a number of “expertise” cubes, which can be spent to break these rules.

The limited Edition of Vintage Racers will be available here on Kickstarter for only a short time, with no late pledge after. Remaining copies will be sold directly from Mr. B. Games and via our website as supplies and demand last. 

The Kickstarter Campaign for Vintage Racers continues through April 15, and the game is expected to ship in September 2019.

Indie Boards & Cards has three new releases this summer. First is Conflicting Legends, which Indie Boards & Cards has picked up to publish a second English edition. Conflicting Legends is a fast-paced strategic card game based on rock-paper-scissors.  The artwork on the cards depict a variety of historical science, culture, and military personalities. Each card has a unique ability. Conflicting Legends plays 3-6 players, ages 14+, in about 30-45 minutes, and will be released on May 15.

 Next is Among Thieves, a game of deception and greed. Players are criminals and blackmailers working together to steal from the Dystopian Universe mega-corporations. Each round, one player is the Heistmaster who chooses which other players to take on the heist.  Each player negotiates to get in on the action and partake in the loot.  However, no agreement is binding and players may choose to be dishonorable and take a larger share. Players win by having the most money but risk elimination if they lose too much honor. Among Thieves plays 3-8 players, ages 14+, in about 30-45 minutes, and will be released on June 26.

Lastly, Finger Guns at High Noon is sure to be a fast-paced and hilarious game of a western shootout. Its everybody against everybody unless players can convince others to join in or they lasso up an ally Actions are played simultaneously by counting down to draw finger guns. Different hand gestures show everyone’s actions and targets. Use pistols, dynamite, and power shots to eliminate other players, heal yourself at the saloon, organize a posse, or lasso up an ally. Once eliminated, players are still in the game as ghosts who have fewer actions but can thwart the plans of the living players.  Last player standing is the winner—unless the ghosts eliminate everyone.  Finger Guns at High Noon plays 3-8 players, ages 14+, in about 20 minutes, and will be released on June 26.

Plaid Hat Games has announced a new hero pack for their 2018 card game, Guardians. Guardians: Retribution brings four additional heroes to the game; namely, Jupiter, Ryker, Therion and Warhead.

“… heroes in this expansion do even more to push the boundary of how ultimate cards can shape gameplay, by including even more double-sided ultimate cards, and even an ultimate capable of being reused more than once in a game!”

No specific release date was given for the card expansion, only that it is “coming soon.” You can read the press release for Guardians: Retribution from Plaid Hat by clicking here. If you want to learn more about the base game, you can watch Tom Vasel’s review of Guardians here.

Genius Games, the masters of good, entertaining science games, have a new Kickstarter Campaign for the party word game Nerd Words: Science by designers John Coveyou and Eric Slauson. Genius has hit it out of the park in the past with science based board games, such as Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game (2017), Subatomic: An Atom Building Game (2018) and most recently Periodic: A Game of the Elements (2019). Nerd Words is a team based word game, in which a clue-giver picks a science term from two given clue cards. Clues must be a single word, and start with a letter from the original word, although the first letter of the original word is off limits until the final clue. Additionally, the clue giver may bet up to 4 points, if they think their clue is really extraordinarily good. I had a chance to look at an early copy of Nerd Words at GAMA Trade Show, and the game continues to succeed at Genius Games’ trademark ability to present real, sometimes complex, educational ideas in an elegant, simple manner. Nerd Words comes with dry erase boards for clue giving and guesses, and additional themed card packs are planned for the future, including Space Science, Earth Science, Medical Sciences, and Advanced Biology. The Kickstarter for Nerd Words: Science continues through April 11, and the game is expected to deliver in April 2019.