card games

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.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced they will be starting a Kickstarter Campaign soon for a premium reprint of the popular deck building game Valley of the Kings (2014) by designer Tom Cleaver. This Premium Edition will include not only the original game, but also the subsequent Valley of the Kings: Afterlife and Valley of the Kings: Last Rites. Although Valley of the Kings was an early deck builder, using tried and true mechanics of buying new cards from a marketplace, using the buy power of other cards in hand, it introduced some novel ideas into the genre. The only cards to score points in Valley are those purposely culled from one’s deck into a special “entomb” pile, removing the card from play. The timing of when to use a card for its action, or when to use it for cash value to buy new cards, or when to give up the card for points, kept the game fresh and interesting. This new collection not only contains all 3 games, but also includes new graphics, new Pharaoh cards with unique abilities, and enough tarot sized sleeves to protect all the cards (over 300). The Kickstarter for the Valley of the Kings Premium Edition is scheduled to begin on April 2, 2019, and continue for 2 weeks.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced that they are bringing the 2018 EmperorS4 house-building card game, Walking in Burano, to western shores. In Walking in Burano, by designer Wei-Min Ling (Shadows in Kyoto, Hanamikoji), 1-4 players take turns buying cards from a center 3×3 grid. Cards show the bottom floor, upper floor or roof of a stereotypical Burano house, bedecked in pastel colors. Players can take 1, 2 or 3 cards, but all need to come from the same column, and need to be either the bottom or top set of cards – no taking only from the middle. Players then earn 1 gold for each card not taken. The cards can then be used to build new houses of a single color in their tableau by paying gold. Once a house is complete, it is visited by either a tourist, who scores extra points for small details on the house, such as awnings, cats or plants, or by an inhabitant of Burano, who scores points for sets of building types. The first player to 5 completed buildings ends the game. Look for Walking in Burano at your FLGS in Q4 2019.

Gamewright has announced they are bringing the fast frantic party game Guju Guju (2015) to western shores. Originally a Taiwanese game from
publisher GeGe Co. Ltd. and designer Ariel Yi Chi Chang, Guju Guju is a speed game for 2-5 players. Players are each dealt 20 of the whimsically illustrated round cards in a face down deck, each card depicting 1 of 4 types of fruit, then 13 of the cards are placed face up on the table. On a player’s turn they announce a fruit, then cover one of that type of card on the table from their face down deck. If they happen to play the fruit they predicted, every player races to cover all the cards with that named fruit as fast as possible. The first player to empty their personal deck wins. For more details and images, check out Gamewright’s web page on Guju Guju here.