Competitive game

Terra Mystica is easily one of the biggest and highest rated Eurogames of all time, having inspired a space-themed spin-off in Gaia Project. Yet it has not stopped growing as this Fall we’ll be seeing another expansion for this 2-to-5 player territory terraformin’ game. Merchants of the Seas brings shipyards, Markets, and new maps to the multitude of factions vying for control – even the ones introduced in previous expansions! You’ll be able to send out ships to take special shipping actions, or perhaps play one of the few races that prefers to not get their feet wet and instead try to manipulate trade with other structures. All this can be played independently or combined with previous expansion content, meaning you’ll be able to make the as complex and intricate as your table can handle.

Merchants of the Seas expands on the hit terraforming gameplay of Terra Mystica. Develop your faction’s nautical strategy, stake a claim on distant lands, or focus on the benefits of trade. Plus, a double-sided board and over 30 tiles add countless new avenues to victory.”

There are two main goals with this expansion that should not be overlooked by the promise of added rules – strategic flexibility and balancing. Ships and trading allow for a wide variety of action potential that is, for the most part, independent on your current standing in a game – have water, will travel. Both ships and trading have ways to give you access to distant or action efficient terraforming and building options, making it harder to be built into a corner and opening new tactical decisions to boot. The new maps offer tons of replay potential and include new starting scores for each faction for all the maps that exist, balancing the game no matter how the landscape falls. If you’re interested in Terra Mystica or Merchants of the Seas, check out Z-Man’s website for more rules, images, and preorder information through them or your favorite local retailer.

Chrono Corsairs, designed by John Brieger and Vincent Hirtzel, is a game for 2-5 players that are locked in time!

Players are pirates on the cursed shores of Ouroboros Island where a time storm causes them to live the same day over and over again until the time storm finally breaks. The game is played over a series of loops where players will select plans at the beginning of each loop to move their crew around the island and collecting treasure along the way. The same events will keep happening each loop at the same time, so players will learn what the repeating day holds as the game unfolds. Once the time storm subsides, the game is over and the player with the most treasure wins the game!

For more information, click here.

Dig Your Way Out, a 2-6 player game published by Borderline and currently live on Kickstarter, puts players in the depths of a prison from which they are competing to be the first to escape. To do so, they will move around the prison to perform actions, and equipping themselves with tools and weapons which they can acquire through crafting, buying with cigarettes, or extorting other players. Players can also get help by joining a gang and using their unique skills and connections from their previous life.

Artwork in Dig Your Way Out is from Mihajlo Dimitrievski (AKA The Mico) whose art has been featured in games such as Raiders of the North Sea, Architects of the West Kingdom, and Viral. The game will be available in English and French, and Kickstarter campaign comes with an exclusive Officer Buster mini expansion.

To find more information about the game, visit the official Kickstarter campaign page here.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Space Invaders, the officially licensed board game is on Kickstarter. This is the real deal, unlike a few other games in past years that have tried to replicate the same feel of the arcade cabinet. 2 to 4 players will move their cannon and shoot aliens competing for points in this deck-building-driven adaptation. Shooting aliens gives you upgrades, bunkers protect you from retaliation, and the player with the highest score at the end of it all will be deemed the best moon defender.

“As long time fans of tabletop games and electronic games alike, we were astounded that, during all this time, nobody had yet developed a genuine SPACE INVADERS board game. […] Our primary goal is to create a fantastic board game experience while remaining true to the original game’s visual presentation and atmosphere.”

While this isn’t an average video-game adaptation, it’s not an average deck-building game either. Really this is as thoughtfully produced and designed as modern board games get, and I justify that statement based on the excellent 8-bit graphic design, the appropriately-jagged components (especially the translucent deluxe edition pieces), and the palpable sense of fun from seeing waves of enemies get wrecked in demonstration. At the time of writing this the project has already funded and is already working towards stretch goals for both it’s standard and deluxe editions, and there’s a commemorative diorama available for purchase for super fans of the arcade classic. If you’re interested in learning more about Space Invaders – The Board Game, check out the Kickstarter page for more images, rules, and updates.

Lots of people have some sort of table decor in their home to bring delight to a room, from coffee table books to easy-to-play games. It’s a nice look to have a chess set or giant checkers in the living room. How about Knot Dice? They are beautiful, charming dice that do not show any numbers at all, but instead intricate silver lines used to create an incredible number of designs and probably look just as good, if not better, occupying a table. Knot Dice are now back on Kickstarter, the original crossed version as well as it’s expansion, so now you can pick up the originals that did so well plus many more.  These quality, hefty dice, aren’t just for show either, as according to the campaign page they can be used for a variety of puzzles and games as well.

“Some enjoy just making designs with them, or leaving them out on tables and counters to play with. But they also can be used to play a large number of games and puzzles. The original Knot Dice set includes 18 awesome dice and rules to 12 games and 7 types of puzzles, with dozens of individual puzzles.”

There are competitive, cooperative, real-time, and turn-based games, and having both sets through the campaign allows for totally new games and puzzles while also broadening the options in previous ones. The dice are simply captivating and I can see them being wonderful for guests and kids. They mix style and versatility, and being able to do more than just fiddle with them is even more value for money. If you are interested in learning more about Knot Dice, check out the Kickstarter page for videos, demonstrations of games and puzzles, community feedback, and updates.

Board games based on IPs are getting better, while in the past they were usual lazy cash grabs, recent incarnations of well known IPs haven’t been so bad.  With Harry Potter we had the Hogwarts Battle deck building game, which was well received and is sitting within the top 400 on Boardgamegeek.  Now we have Knight Models throwing their hat into the ring with their own game, Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game.  This is going to be a full scale miniatures game where you will pick your characters and then fully outfit them with potions, artifacts, and a dizzying array of spells.  From there you will take your team and start exploring the iconic areas of the wizarding world like Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, the Chamber of Secrets and more.  You will be working to complete quests and overcome challenges in order to win.  No doubt there will also be plenty of magic fueled battles between wizards, so don’t think this will be a walk in the park.

The core box (or tin I should say) will have everything you need to play the game, with more figures to be added as time goes on.  Knight Models will fund this game with a Kickstarter, so be on the lookout for that in the next few months.

shadowscape

The newest game to continue the story of Mistfall is now available on Kickstarter. Shadowscape, from Romania-based NSKN Games, follows in the footsteps of it’s older brother by providing a lore-rich cooperative or solo gaming experience, with this latest entry also allowing for competitive play as well. In a setting full of magic and misfortune, players will delve into a dungeon to face a powerful villain and a horde of monsters for fortune and fame, all driven by an elegant and nearly-deterministic card system. As described on the campaign page:

 “Enter the world of Mistfall and Heart of the Mists once again, and forge its dark legends in a game of strategic movement, smart tableau building and hand management, played on a randomized board in no more than 60 minutes![…] Work together with or against your friends – or enter the Shadowscape alone.”

shadowscape-comp

The biggest draw of Shadowscape is the incredibly diminished randomness within it’s design. There are no dice to speak of, and all the cards and events are laid out before the players to form a heavily strategic experience that challenges heroes to use and abuse every piece of equipment and every opportunity to survive and press onward. A gameplay video and a print-and-play are available for those interested in learning more about the thoughtfully designed card-driven AI. The game features 13 heroes and 9 villains (stretch goals not withstanding) to choose from, stunning artwork, and miniatures that are compatible with previous installments in the series. For more information and the chance to back this funded project simply head to this link or visit NSKN Games’ website for future news and updates.

dungeon-alliance

Quixotic Games, developers of Canterbury, are cooking up their second self-published game – Dungeon Alliance. Announced via press release, this newest design by Andrew Parks is a special blend of a tactical, competitive miniatures game mixed with deck-building and wrapped up in a dungeon crawl (for flavor). Players pick teams of four heroes and simultaneously  enter and explore a dungeon, racing to defeat monsters and each other. Each hero comes with three starting cards, contributing to a 12 card starting deck to help adventuring parties fight and survive. Further details as described in the press release:

 “Hero figures explore the modular game board to defeat monsters and overcome challenges. As they do so, they earn XP Tokens that they can flip face down to purchase upgrade cards for their Alliance Decks. With over 200 cards featuring unique art from acclaimed artists such as Chechu Nieto, Jessada Sutthi, Biagio D’Alessandro, and Víctor P. Corbella, the possibilities for adventure are endless!”

It is a very interesting design that seems to build off of the already solid concepts featured in the recently released Masmorra and it’s thematic parent, Arcadia Quest, from CMON. Instead of dice, of course, there is now deck-building which can potentially fulfill a demand as that genre sees some renewed interest from the also recently released second edition of Dominion. Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot more information available for Dungeon Alliance, as Quixotic Games are preparing for the Kickstarter campaign in January of 2017. Until then you can keep a finger on the pulse of this burgeoning title by visiting Quixotic’s website or the game’s newly entered BoardGameGeek page.

Catacombs has seen a long and worthwhile campaign for a new third edition this year, and I was one of the many backers proud to make it happen. Now available at retail, the award-winning dexterity game has certainly garnered many fans and accolades while being the only stand-alone game in Elzra’s repertoire. So imagine my surprise when, in a recent update, Aron West of Elzra Games teased at future projects within the Catacombs universe. Incredibly curious, I reached out to the game designer for more information, and I am delighted to type that he graciously responded.

M: Catacombs has seen excellent success with it’s latest Kickstarter campaign. Will Elzra be returning to Kickstarter for it’s future releases in the Catacombs line?

A: We expect to, yes.

M: The teaser image in the latest update looks like an expansion, similar to Cavern of Soloth. Are all 3 products in the pipeline strictly expansions to the base game?

A: No, the first game is a card game set in the Catacombs world, designed by one of the co-designers of the original edition of Catacombs, Ryan Amos, and myself. The second is a new standalone, competitive game that uses our Dexterity Game System that is the foundation of Catacombs. And the third is an expansion to the current cooperative Catacombs game (Wyverns of Wylemuir).

M: The newest edition of Catacombs is really chock full of content. What kind of additions can fans expect in future Catacombs products?

A: New character classes (the wyverns, for example), new game boards with different obstacle types, possibly expanding the RPG / story telling element in the game. We feel there are lots of possibilities.

Color me excited! More components, options, and storytelling elements – News of new Catacombs content is fantastic enough, but a card game and a competitive dexterity game? Certainly good things to look forward to, especially when you consider the care and attention to design exemplified in the newest edition of their flagship game. There’s some big shoes to fill in for the new ventures, but knowing the heart and the community at the wheel, I believe we will be impressed.

Thanks so much to Aron West for taking the time to answer and share with all of us the exciting future of Catacombs. I for one am glad to report that we have even more adventures to look forward to.