Cool Mini or Not

“Play as a God of ancient Egypt, competing to survive as society begins to forget the old ways, so that only you and your followers remain. Ankh, the symbol of life itself, that even the Gods must fight for.”

GenCon 2019 was just chock full of incredible announcements, and just when we thought the big ones were in our rear view mirror, Cool Mini or Not has just dropped another bombshell. CMoN has announced the final game in Eric M. Lang’s strategic trilogy, Ankh: Gods of Egypt.

Blood Rage was without a doubt the biggest game of 2015, having just delivered after a million dollar, high profile kickstarter campaign. The game was almost universally loved, bringing full Viking rage and glory to board games. The miniatures by artists Mike McVey and Adrian Smith are beyond imagining, and still remain among the best fantasy sculpts our hobby has seen.

Blood Rage was followed up by Rising Sun in 2017, resulting from a record breaking 4.2 million dollar kickstarter campaign. Whereas Blood Rage demonstrated an all out berserker battle royale, Rising Sun had a calculated well-negotiated war. Once again, the art made everyone swoon, and the unique gameplay made this a modern classic game.

Now, the same team at CMoN, designer Eric M. Lang, miniatures supervisor Mike McVey, and artist Adrian Smith, have announced the third in the strategic trilogy, Ankh: Gods of Egypt. Although details are sparse, just the genealogy behind this release will ensure an incredibly high production, exceptionally well crafted board game to remember for years. Players take on the role of ancient Egyptian gods, summoning monsters, converting followers, and trying to become the sole god over Egypt. A Kickstarter campaign for Ankh will appear towards the end of 2019, and the game is expected to accommodate 2-5 players. For more details, check out the press release from CMoN here.

“Trudvang Legends is a storytelling cooperative board game where 1-4 players take on the role of Heroes determined to stop the forces of Darkness. Guided by the Book of Sagas and the Legends System, the story unfolds with no gamemaster in a rich fantasy setting where your actions and choices will directly affect the environment and its inhabitants in a Living World”

Cool Mini or Not, with designers Fel Barros (Gekido: Bot Battles) and Guilherme Goulart (Arcadia Quest), and Omega Level Board Game Visionary Eric M. Lang, have just launched a new crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for the story telling magnum opus Trudvang Legends. Trudvang comes from the RPG system by RiotMinds, and is just dripping with Old Norse flavor and theme. The game itself is a branching campaign, spanning many individual play sessions, combining qualities of legacy games with the replayability of scenario based adventures.

Trudvang revolves around a central map board, a saga board, and points of interest board, each with clear plastic pockets to hold cards. These cards contain story elements, important decisions, new elements and lore, and make the very play surface an ongoing legacy of adventures past and present. Additionally, an immense book of sagas tells the story, and dictates decision points during the campaign. And make no mistake, all decisions will come back, for good or for ill, making the world of Trudvang a fluid and ever changing tapestry. This “Legends System” leaves a lasting record of decisions, since important cards are sleeved into the very board.

The combat system of Trudvang is equally unique, revolving around rune tokens, push your luck excitement, and a bag-building mechanic. Players start with a set of earth, wind, fire and water runes in their bag, along with demonic runes that confer failure. Runes are drawn from the bag one at a time to be assigned to weapons, abilities, armor, or whatever is required for the challenge. If runes cannot be assigned, or if they are demonic in nature, this counts as a failure. Players hope to complete the requirements on cards, and every completed set equates to one success. But three failures means the action is a complete failure, and all accrued successes are lost. Numbers of successes can drive the story in multiple directions. Special events can add or remove runes from the bag, equating to further character development.

Players can pick from one of 6 character classes – Bard, Vitner Weaver, Dimwalker, Warrior, Ranger, or Rogue. The mythos of the game is based around Old Norse mythology, and the theme explodes around the incredible art of Paul Bonner. Trudvang comes with over 30 base miniatures, but true to a CMoN Kickstarter, new miniatures and exclusives are being added constantly. The game comes with over 450 cards for items, upgrades, stories, bestiary, lore and much much more. Additionally, almost 150 tokens, 4 rune bags, 3 main boards, 4 player boards and the 100+ page Book of Sagas make Trudvang an epic story telling adventure. The Kickstarter Campaign for Trudvang Legends continues through August 14, and the game is expected to deliver in December 2020. For more details, check out the CMoN website, and the Kickstarter page itself.

“The next evolution in board gaming…”

Cool Mini or Not in cooperation with XPlored have just announced the new digital board game console, Teburu (lit. Japanese for table). Teburu is truly a multisensory system for tabletop board games, one which “seamlessly integrates the physical and digital worlds.” Games will be orchestrated from a central tablet or PC running a Gamemaster App, with Teburu handling all of the communication between console, players, and pieces: hi-tech dice report when they are rolled, components “know” where they are on the board and when they are moved, and everything updates within the App. Teburu also communicates with players’ personal cell phones, adding player screens and personal messages to each game. All of this technology adds up to a one-of-a-kind experience with character tracking, narrative story-telling, and continued campaign scenarios, yet handling all the fiddly resources, enemy AI, and rules management invisibly in the background.

“Groundbreaking technology senses where figures representing heroes, monsters and other gameplay elements are anywhere on the board. This information is transmitted seamlessly to any compatible tablet or computer running the Gamemaster App – no more hunting around in the rulebook. Make your move and the Gamemaster tells you what happens next.”

The first game for Teburu will be Zombicide: Evolution – Las Vegas, a campaign driven next step for CMoN’s exceedingly popular IP. The Teburu game system is scheduled to hit Kickstarter in 2020, but for delicious teasers and videos now, check out the CMoN web page for Teburu here. Additionally, attendees to GenCon this August can be among the first to see the ground breaking Teburu system in action.

A new distribution agreement has been struck to bring Horrible Games’ titles to the U.S. and Canada. The Italian-based publisher will have all games for the foreseeable future brought to North America by Canada-based publisher and distributor Luma Games. Horrible Games to be carried by this deal include hits like Potion Explosion, Dragon Castle, and Railroad Ink, but this will also include all future titles from the publisher as well. This is a mutually beneficial deal which will see more exposure for both companies across North America.

“Under the new agreement, Luma will distribute all our upcoming games, including Similo and The King’s Dilemma, and take over distribution of backlist games such as Potion Explosion, Dragon Castle, and Railroad Ink as existing stock sells down and new printings are done. Luma will also handle retail and event support for our catalog.”

Keen observers will notice that this is a huge boon for Horrible Games as Luma is taking over the exact same capacity that CMON did for all of their current catalog. While CMON will no longer be distributing the above-mentioned titles after the stock sells, the prolific publisher already has a release schedule and brand presence that is strong on it’s own. On the other hand, Luma has only been able to distribute a select few titles, such as Museum and Memoarrr!, and this partnership will surely escalate their outreach and footprint in the states through Horrible Games’ existing excellent catalog. If you’re interested in reading more about this distribution agreement, or want to learn more about Horrible Games or Luma Games, check out their websites for their own news posts and products.

Those anxiously awaiting the successfully Kickstarter-funded Starcadia Quest from CMON have something more to look forward to than just the game — IDW Publishing has announced a three-issue comic miniseries by James Roberts, author of Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light.

The mini-series will take readers, along with Starkid and his Freelance Adventuring Crew, deep into the Frontier. According to Roberts, “There’s lots of world-building, lots of emotion, lots of shocks — but, ultimately, the story carries itself forward on a wave of old-fashioned heroics. It’s old-school science fiction with a modern twist, a mash-up of classic space opera tropes and gleefully weird twists and turns. Most of all, it’s fun!”

Furthermore, each issue of Starcadia Quest will include exclusive playable game content as a way for readers of the miniseries to incorporate elements of the comic’s storyline into their tabletop gameplay.

You can learn more about the Starcadia Quest comic miniseries on IDW Publishing’s site.

CMON Inc.’s products and games will now be available from 5 distributors: ACD, Alliance, PHD, GTS and Southern Hobby.

In a press release, Adam Lovell, CMON Inc. sales director, said “We at CMON look forward to working with all of our distribution partners to offer a reliable and responsive supply chain to retailers across the Unites States in 2019 and beyond.”

Visit their website here.

 

Walls of York by Cranio Creations and designer Emiliano “Wentu” Venturini was one of the more favored games of Essen Spiel 2018, and publisher Cool Mini or Not has just announced that they will be bringing the title to North America. Walls of York is a 2-4 player game, which combines the feel of a roll and write game with the tactile joy of building blocks. Each game, players create their own landscape from 4 board tiles, after which dice are loaded into a “King’s Tower”, generating the three goals for the game. The start player rolls the Building Die, which dictates a shape of plastic walls all players then simultaneously place around their emerging city. The die will generally dictate 2 or 3 walls, which could be in a straight line, an ‘L’ shape, or a zig-zag. Players use these templates to gradually surround their city, hopefully enclosing the correct number of structures originally dictated by the King’s Tower during setup, then pass the die to the next player and continue. After players completely enclose their city, the Building Dice earn extra coins each roll. Once all players have all finished their city walls, the invasion occurs, and the player with the most Vikings within their walls is invaded, and receives a Viking Invasion token. After two rounds, players earn victory points from coins collected, and lose points for Viking Invasion tokens. Look for Walls of York in stores from CMoN in the first Quarter of 2019.

Cool Mini or Not has just started a Kickstarter campaign for a digital version of Eric Lang‘s 2015 mega-hit Blood Rage (BGG #27). The digital version is being produced by Exozet and looks amazing. Each region of the board looks different, with unique topology, climate and villages. All of the cards and figures are meticulously rendered in 3D, including new miniatures not seen before. The digital game includes network play for up to 4 players, solo play against the AI, and mixtures of the two. One of the most exciting aspects of the Kickstarter is the Physical Viking Pledge, which includes the actual miniatures for all of the new 3D assets along with the digital game. These include four new monsters: the Mountain Giantess, a new wolf called Garm, the Wolfwoman and the Seer Troll. Other models are the new Stag Clan with Mystics, 6 Golden Gods of Asgard miniatures, and new expansion cards for 5 players.

The Kickstarter for Blood Rage Digital continues through December 10, and is expected to deliver digital rewards in December 2019, and physical rewards in August 2019. Additionally, Kickstarter backers will be privy to a closed beta version of the game before release. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page or CMoN’s website.

Cool Mini or Not has a big batch of new products coming very soon. Announced via press release, CMON has updated their release schedule to show a large number of titles all being available for retail in time for Christmas. With such a wide variety of games suitable for players of all preferences, it’s safe to say this is one publisher ready to please for the holidays. The following list of games are all slated to release on November 23rd:

  • Narcos, the cooperative board game based on the hit Netflix original, pits players as characters from the show trying to manage a growing narcotics empire.
  • Newton, one of the hottest euro-games of the year, has players take on the role of young scientists following in the footsteps of the greatest minds of 17th century by traveling Europe, studying, earning money, developing new tools for the pursuit of knowledge.
  • Both versions of Railroad Ink, a striking roll-and-write challenging players to build networks on an ever shrinking dry-erase board of options. Each version includes two unique expansions, and both versions can be combined to mix up the options and the fun.
  • The Grizzled, Armistice edition, is the new CMON re-release of the favorite cooperative game now featuring a campaign mode and pre-painted miniatures.
  • 5 new products for A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. A Night’s Watch Starter Set brings many of the brave and grizzled watchers of the wall to the table, and they pave the way for 4 new add-on packs – The Sworn Brothers, the Ranger Hunters, the Stark Outriders, and the Lannister Halberdiers.

Victorian Masterminds, on the other hand, is an exception and is instead slated to release January 25th, 2019. The hotly anticipated game from Eric Lang and Antoine Bauza where players take on the roles of famous villains attempting to realize their nefarious plans is only a few months away yet I’m positive the wait is well worth it. Of course all dates listed here are subject to change, which is par for the course as many of the titles listed here have had their street dates revised at least once before. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these releases, or further release updates from CMON, be sure to check out their website for announcements and details.

Blue Moon City, the Spiel des Jahres nominee for 2006, designed by Reiner Knitzia and Spaghetti Western Games, is getting a reprint from Cool Mini or Not. In Blue Moon City, 2-4 players take over after the events of the 2 player hit Blue Moon, with the titular city, created from building plan tiles, ready for reconstruction. The players use cards with the races of Blue Moon to construct buildings on their plans, then eventually reconstruct the large crystal Obelisk in the center of the city. Players who help complete buildings earn crystals and Dragon Favors, with the majority contributor getting a bonus. Dragon Favors earn the player crystals, and the crystals are used to gain Markers at the Obelisk. The first player to earn a specified number of Markers wins the game. Blue Moon City comes with 4 player and 3 dragon miniatures, 40 player markers, 80 cards, 54 tokens, 21 tiles and a rulebook. For more information and pictures, check out the CMoN web page here. Look for the second edition of Blue Moon City in late October 2018.

CMoN has also announced Sugar Blast, a board game take on the casual video game “candy crush” genre. In Sugar Rush, a plastic frame holds round candy tokens in a 6 by 6 grid, each space holding one of 6 candy types. 2-4 players take turns swapping two adjacent tokens, trying to make a string of 3 or more identical candies vertically or horizontally. Matching tokens are removed, and the unique tilted frame will allow pieces to slide down and fill the empty space. New pieces are drawn from a bag to fill in the top. Players race to complete objective cards for the victory. Sugar Blast comes with the plastic frame, 32 tokens, 72 colored chips, 24 cards, cloth bag, and the rulebook. Look for Sugar Blast in late October 2018.

Finally, CMoN also announced 4 new boxes of Lannister Armies coming for the Song Of Ice And Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Knights of Casterly Rock have spared no expense on equipment and training, and are fast and hard-hitting units on the field. The Lannister Guardsmen make up in defense what they lack in strength and speed, and can effectively wear down advancing opponents. The Lannister Crossbowmen provide deadly ranged attacks, and may be expensive to maintain, but Lannisters certainly can afford to keep armies strong. The Lannister Heroes Box I contains such famous commanders as the Hound, Tyrion and Lord Tywin Lannister, causing devastation on the field. Maester Pycelle and the High Sparrow work their influence politically, well away from the main battle. Look for all 4 new Lannister boxes in stores at the end of September 2018.