competitive

How’s this for a meta concept – A game to celebrate a publisher’s history of games where players are sorting the pieces to another gamer’s collection? It might be brilliant, it may seem cheesy, but that’s what Queen Games is doing for their 30th anniversary. The Queen’s Collection, designed by Daniel Bernsen, is a limited edition card game for 1-to-4 players where everyone is trying to sort pawns back into the Queen’s Collection of Queen Games. It’s incredibly cute, but also intriguingly flexible as the game can be played solo, cooperative, competitive, and in teams!

“The Queen’s Collection is a limited edition product that celebrates Queen Game’s immense catalog of games. The intriguing game system includes 16 cards, each depicting a Queen Game, and players must play cards from their hand to try to sort pawns onto the same colored card.”

While there’s not many more details than what’s been described above, this is of course a novelty item and one in short supply at that. Yet this isn’t just a game for Queen Games’ fans, it’s also for fans of gaming history if you consider it carefully. Not only is this a celebration of a publisher that’s made an indisputable impact on the industry, but it’s going to be a rarity in itself and both of those are good reasons to get a small box card game. For more information on The Queen’s Collection and of the other great titles in Queen Games’ lineup, be sure to visit their website for product pages, news updates, and more!

Interested in an easy to pick up and equally easy to teach game with multiple modes of play and a unique, new theme? Dance Card!, designed by Michael Melkonian and now on Kickstarter, might be just the ticket – a dancing game for 1-to-4 players where timing, positioning, and collecting your nerves will be the key to success, just like real dancing! Whether playing solo, competitively, or cooperatively, all players will try to dance well with their partners around the dance floor of Sackson High through the tension of die rolls. Your friends, your placement, and some smooth moves can help mitigate these rolls and lead to victory.

“You get to play as one of 32 unique students at the Sackson High homecoming dance, and you’ll need to dance with all three of your partners to win the game. Whether you’re an experienced gamer, or brand new to the hobby, Dance Card! offers tactical fun the whole family can enjoy.”

Don’t be fooled by the high school aesthetic and colorful art, there’s a lot of refinement here that makes it more than just a modern, original theme that’s new gamer friendly. It’s deceptively simple, and that’s the point – it’s the draw of the theme and the ease of play that will bring it and your family & friends to the table and surprise everyone with variety and depth. The speed of play, combined with the wide assortment of characters and modes, means there’s a lot of replay value and a reason to explore it game-after-game. A highlight of this golden era of board gaming is that recent designs have grown past tired themes of the previous decade and leveraged accessibility to bring fun and depth to a wider audience, and Dance Card! is a prime and excellent example of this. If you’re interested in learning more about Dance Card!, please check out it’s Kickstarter campaign page for multiple previews, full rules, FAQs, community feedback, and more!

Soaring Rhino newest game, Mammoth, is now on Kickstarter. Mammoth takes a unique approach to biome development in a game and offers two different modes of play.  The gameplay in Mammoth draws from the scientific premise that the mammoth was instrumental in preventing the permafrost from melting and fostering massive grassland growth. 

In the competitive game, players are herds of mammoths moving about the barren tundra and trampling the brambles to make room for the flora and grassland. In this tile placing game, players place either square or octagon tiles to do one of two things: expand the flower patch they are creating with their trampling or extend the path of the herd.  Points are scored for extending and completing flower patches. The game ends when the last octagon tile is placed.  Players will score points for the number of tiles in the flower patch their mammoth occupied at the end of the game.  Points are also scored for each tile in the length of the herd’s path.  The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.  

In the co-operative game, goals and action cards are used.  Now the players are scientists working together to guide the mammoth herds through the landscape to accomplish two goals in shaping the biome: create a flower patch of a specific color large enough to accomplish the color goal, and create a herd path in the manner required to accomplish the path goal.  The group will also have to score enough points required by the two goals.  Player actions are limited by the available action cards, but if the team plans well enough, they can ensure each scientist has the action they need.  If the players accomplish all their scientific goals before the last octagon tile is placed, they win the game.

Mammoth plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in 30-45 minutes. Components includes game board, 4 plastic mammoths, 4 baby mammoth tokens, 4 animal path tokens, 72 small 1-point biocycle tokens, 48 large 3-point biocycle tokens. 40 double-sided square tiles, 52 octagon flower tiles, 2 octagon lab tiles, 4 penalty tokens, 8 goals cards, 14 action cards, a go first marker, and rulebook. The Kickstarter campaign runs until June 23 with an expected delivery in February 2020. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign to learn more about the game and the science the game is based on.

Dexterity games always catch my eye, and especially any that do something new. The beauty of dexterity games, and by extension the board gaming hobby as a whole, is it’s still a relatively dense yet not-fully-explored design space, meaning there’s a lot of room for innovation. That’s why Kickstarter projects like Stonehenge and the Sun warrant our attention, because it engages hand-eye coordination on multiple levels due to it’s unique use of gravity. This, my friends, is a competitive game for 2-4 players where not only will you be stacking blocks to increase tension and difficulty, you’ll be forced to swing a literal metal wrecking ball across the table trying not to bash anything over, for the person who knocked over the fewest pieces will be the winner.

     “”Stonehenge and the Sun” is a game where you can enjoy the physical presence of gravity. The defining feature of the game “a metal ball hanging from the ceiling” is a characteristic that is unprecedented in the tabletop game world. To bring this game concept into realization is the goal of our campaign.”

The “wrecking ball” descriptor I used above is an easy way to illustrate how the game plays, but it actually does a disservice to the visual appeal of the game. The name of the game, Stonehenge and the Sun, plays homage to the way the stones at the world wonder were built up and collapsed over thousands of years, with the metal ball careening across the table a visual representation of the sun passing in the sky. It’s creates a really cool, deeply thematic, unique and pleasing table presence, it’s beyond easy to learn and plays very quickly, but what else would you expect from the people that brought us Tokyo Highway (which Tom recently reviewed). If you’re interested in learning more about Stonehenge and the Sun, check out Itten’s Kickstarter page for videos, rules, FAQs, and community updates!

“Chai” is an immersive game of combining tea flavors to make your perfect blend.

The game is being brought to Kickstarter by a new company Deep Aqua Games.

In “Chai”, step into the shoes of a tea merchant, combining tea flavors to make a perfect blend. Specializing in either rooibos, green, oolong, black or white tea, buy and collect ingredients to fulfill your customer’s orders.

The designers Dan & Connie Kazmaier have created a fantastic community on Facebook, where for more than 6 month everyone had the opportunity to participate in the process of creating the game either by playtesting or providing ideas. Thanks to this strong community the game “Chai” was already funded on Day 1.

The breathtaking game art is from the talented art team: Mary Haasdyk and Sahana VJ. I fell in love with that artwork first time I saw it. According to me, this is one of the most beautiful games ever produced.

The Kickstarter is running from the 4th of December to the 7th of January and will probably unlock couple of stretch goals too. Follow along on Kickstarter or Facebook.

You can always check the previews of Tantrum House, Never Bored Gaming, ManVsMeeple or Meeple University.

Based on the popular Newgrounds video games series, The Visitor: The Board Game, brings the same hilarious and disgusting humor and antics found in the online video game straight to your gaming table.

The plot of the game revolves around hungry, invading aliens that feed by entering through their prey’s…well…perhaps you should go check that out for yourself in the Kickstarter video. For the squeamish amongst you, consider yourself warned. As far as gameplay:

The Visitor: The Board Game is a competitive dice-allocation game for 2 to 4 players that puts you in control of an alien slug who eats other creatures in order to evolve.

Each round you will draft different coloured dice from a shared “DNA pool” based on your strategy. The red dice are aggressive; they help you get to your food and eat it faster. The blue dice are speedy; they allow you to rush around the board with ease. The green dice are smart; they solve puzzles with superior efficiency. There’s also the black dice, which are gross.

If you were a fan of the Newgrounds series or like a little disgusting humor in your board games, head over to the Kickstarter page to learn more about The Visitor.

BD Games, also known as Beautiful Disaster Games, has launched an exclusive Kickstarter campaign for their new game, Crisis at Steamfall.  This is the second collaboration between designer Tom Stasiak and artist Bartosz Pławecki.

Beautifully illustrated, Crisis at Steamfall is a mixture of steampunk and alien sci-fi. The hallmark of this game is its variability, ensuring that each game is a new experience for players.

In Crisis at Steamfall, each player assumes the role of a character with a unique set of abilities that are enabled by character moods, a mechanic that changes over the course of the game and changes the special abilities.  Character actions are managed by an action selection mechanism that also allows players to customize the types of actions available with a selection. Each player will start with a few pieced of equipment, which can be later improved or modified with upgrades found or built with resources in workshops.

Steamfall is randomly generated city of up to nine large city map tiles and a selection of 25 random secret locations to explore.  The variable city design will help keep the exploration of the city fresh each game.

Crisis at Steamfall has two playing modes: competitive and cooperative.

In the competitive game, players explore the city in search of technology, and artifacts to crack an alien cypher.  Along the way, players earn renown for their interactions, discoveries, and achievements.  The player who cracks the alien cypher will earn three renown, and the player with the most renown at the end of the game is the winner.

In the cooperative game, the players band together to defeat invading army of mechanized civilians. The invasion can be stopped by the destructions of four pylons located in the ancient districts of the city, but the players need to protect the serenity cube in the city center at the same time all while reacting to events that may unfold in the city complicating its defense.

Crisis at Steamfall plays 1 to 4 players in about 30 minutes per player. Contents include 9 large map tiles, 90 large CCG size cards, 120 mini euro size cards, 50 wooden cubes, 4 big wooden alien pylon cylinders, 4 wooden character mood trackers, 36 small resource tokens, 14 civilian tokens, 8 stamina tokens, 7 renown tokens, 4 cipher tablet tokens, and 6 ruin tokens.

For more details, check out the Kickstarter campaign which runs until June 6, 2018 with an expected delivery of October 2018.

Back in November, I wrote about Defiant Development working with Rule & Make to create a board game adaptation of their hit video game, Hand of Fate. Well, it’s finally here on Kickstarter! Hand of Fate: Ordeals is the official board game adaptation of the popular deck-building adventure game found on consoles and PC. 1 to 4 players can either compete or cooperate to build up their heroes, explore strange locations, encounter traps, and combat fierce enemies for fame. As described via it’s press release:

 “Hand of Fate: Ordeals is a strategic dungeon-crawling and deck-building experience set between the original game and its upcoming sequel. […] Players draw from a deck of cards and build dungeons on the board from their inventory. Much like its digital counterparts, the tabletop game’s open-ended design ensures no two games ever play out the same way.”

I mused before about what this game could possibly look like, since not everything from the video game could translate well to the tabletop. We now have more than enough information to answer those curiosities. Ordeals is incredibly flexible with player counts and game modes, and smooths the difficulties of transition by embracing it’s deck-building roots more than the original did. For those unfamiliar with the video game, the deck-building was  only used to create a communal deck where you could choose your boons, burdens, and any equipment you could buy or be gifted. While the board game doesn’t abandon that concept, it interestingly shifts most of the deck-building to a starting set of 10 cards that many board gamers are familiar with.

The deck-building in Ordeals isn’t run-of-the-mill, however, since buying cards requires you to explore and risk running into dangers, each of which involves most of the cards in your deck and not just your hand. The combat and the character building is pretty unique and what this game offers is very impressive, but you can find out more about that on their campaign page where they have a few videos and a rough draft rule-book to discover. For fans of Hand of Fate, this product has a lot that we could have wished for from the same excellent art to a promising, immersive experience. So if you’re interested, please check out the Kickstarter page and keep an eye on Defiant Development’s website for further information.

wah01_layoutI’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I can remember and will pick up and play just about anything that features a deerstalker cap or calabash pipe. One Sherlock themed game that I’ve been hearing about since 2015 is Watson & Holmes: From the Diaries of 221B Baker Street. From its description, it takes the awesomeness of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and makes it a multiplayer, competitive affair. I’m in, with one caveat. Until now its been published by Ludonova and hasn’t been for sale in the US.

That’s about to change.

Earlier this month Asmodee announced that Space Cowboys would be coming out with a new version of Watson & Holmes, adapted from the Ludonova version. This one drops the post-colon portion of the title for a much more manageable moniker, simply Watson & Holmes. It also includes all new graphic design and revisions to all the cases.

Look for Watson & Holmes to hit shelves in early 2017.

Elzra Games is currently running a Kickstarter to fund a new fantasy board game that can be played by itself or can expand Catacombs Third Edition.  This fast-paced dexterity game serves as an introduction to the Catacombs™ universe and features both cooperative and competitive play styles to engage all players through the game.

The following is a description of the game from the Kickstarter page:

Catacombs & Castles relates the story of Larra the Huntress’ journey to the region of Tellaryth, searching for clues to the whereabouts of her missing wolf companion. This land is governed by four mysterious matriarchs who jealously guard their powers and secrets, frequently from other each. Larra becomes involved with the desperate defence of Castle Mivorih from an invading army of undead warriors. They seem intent on capturing the mysterious keystone from the Hmikad arch, which helps support the east wall of the main keep of the castle. That Xaugorth, evil leader of the Wraith Knights, was motivated to leave his underground lair may be the bigger mystery. Perhaps the tales are true and one of the matriarchs has finally gone too far…

Catacombs & Castles uses Elzra Games’ Dexterity Game System, allowing a minimal learning curve for those familiar with Catacombs™ Third Edition.  Catacombs & Castles utilizes a streamlined rule set, faster play times, and some new mechanics, yet still is seamlessly compatible with Catacombs Third Edition and the upcoming Wyverns of Wylemuir expansion.

Catacombs & Castles is a game for 2-6 players ages 14 and up and plays in 30 minutes.  For more information on this project, visit its Kickstarter page.