cooperative game

Z-Man Games has announced Narabi, a cooperative card game for 3-5 players.  The cards in Narabi range from 0 to 9, along with blank cards.  Each player receives a subset of the cards, along with a “restriction card” which governs how the cards can be swapped with other cards.  Players can ask each other yes or no questions in an effort to deduce the various movement restrictions and arrange the cards in numerical order in as few turns as possible.

“In Narabi, numbered stone cards will be randomly sleeved together with restriction cards that control how a stone moves. Players must exchange stones, working toward the correct arrangement one move at a time while still following the rules on each stone.”

With numerous card combinations and rule variations, Narabi appears to offer varying degrees of difficulty in a relatively quick playing card game.

Z-Man’s announcement indicates that Narabi will be available early 2019.  You can learn more at the Narabi product page on Z-Man’s website.

Last year, Restoration Games announced their intention to bring back Fireball Island during the Dice Tower Live show at Gen Con. Their project erupted onto Kickstarter and funded exceedingly well, to the tune of 2.8 million dollars. It was no secret then that Restoration Games was going to set it sights to bigger and bolder projects. Today during the same annual show, we learned what the next one will be – Return to Dark Tower, co-designed by Restoration Games’ own Rob Daviau and Isaac Childres, multi-award winning designer of Gloomhaven.

This restoration project is based on the 1981 classic, Dark Tower, a competitive adventure game featuring an electronic tower that took inputs and tracked stats, battles, and equipment. Players would navigate the board to bolster up their forces and brave random encounters on their way to the titular tower in the center in the hopes of being the player to ascend it and quash the denizens within. It was no surprise why it was such a hot toy at the time, being this device-driven game in a high fantasy setting. It’s equally no shock that the game was so highly requested, and now it will get the full Restoration Games treatment with no less level of attention that Fireball Island got, with it’s own Kickstarter to boot in 2019 for a projected 2020 release.

“Daviau and Childres—along with Jacobson and Restoration’s Tinker-in-Chief, J.R. Honeycutt—have been working behind the scenes for months to develop the core game mechanics. The game strives to provide players with interesting choices about which quests to pursue, how to best use resources to keep the growing evil in check, and when to make that final decision to assault the tower. Jacobson revealed that, while the game is still early in development, one of the reasons for the announcement’s timing was to allow them to do significant playtesting without fear of the story leaking.”

The only detail we know that’s been set in stone is that this new iteration of the game will be cooperative. Rob Daviau is quoted via press release in saying, “We always believed that, had it come out today, Dark Tower would have been a cooperative game. The real threat is that imposing tower. It will take all of the players working together to defeat it.” This is a very cool development, and I agree, cooperative games like Legends of Andor have accomplished some of what Dark Tower originally set to achieve within a framework of one of the most classic fantasy tropes – an adventuring party. This shift is a good fit for Dark Tower, and with the team of rockstar game designers and developers at the helm there’s a lot here to be ecstatic about. For more information about this project as it unfolds, be sure to check Restoration Games’ website for updates.

Play as your favorite ninja warrior and team up to win in Power Rangers: Heroes Of The Grid- a cooperative miniatures board game. Defeat villains Rita Repulsa, Madame Woe and more in the core game. Grab the expansion Shattered Grid to add new locations and Lord Drakkon with his deadly army to the mix! Also, add to your team new allies from other times and dimensions to create a Power Rangers Hyperforce. Work together and use your mighty morphin martial arts skills, weapons and zords to conquer the enemy and defend Angel Grove. Meant for 2-5 players ages 14 and up Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid and the Shattered Grid Expansion will be available on Kickstarter on August 14th 2018.

Renegade Games will also have playable copies of the game available at Power Morphicon in Anaheim August 17th-19th.

CMON Kickstarter campaigns are often big and exciting, and this newest one is no less the case. Cthulhu: Death May Die is the newest big box game with the sort of high-quality large figures that CMON is known (and named) for. It’s a cooperative game for 1-to-5 players, designed by the rockstar team of Rob Daviau and Eric M. Lang, and artwork by Adrian Smith and Karl Kopinski. If a Cthulhu-themed cooperative romp sounds an awful lot like long-popular Fantasy Flight flagships Arkham Horror or Mansions of Madness, you wouldn’t be wrong. Where Death May Die differentiates itself is, unless the worst befalls your party early, you’re going toe-to-toe with a big nasty Old One in a really clever use of episodic materials that could only be designed by the master of hidden-things-in-small-boxes himself. As described on the campaign page:

     “The Death May Die core box contains smaller boxes that hold the modular elements to create each unique game session. Players choose one of the two available Elder Ones and combine their contents with those of one of the six available Episodes. Each of these boxes contain unique figures, tokens, and cards that are only used when playing with those elements. The Mythos deck used in each game is a combination of cards from the chosen Elder One box and the chosen Episode box. Each Episode not only indicates the map setup using the various tiles in the game, but also new actions the investigators can perform in order to accomplish the tasks required to disrupt that episode’s ritual. They each also bring their own Discovery cards for players to explore, and the monsters’ behaviors and abilities are tailored to each unique story.”

While the use of tactile tools to create a narrative-driven experience in a world where app-based dungeon crawls exists may seem like a step backward, the application of the components is demonstrative of the innovation those tools have gone through despite the current ecosystem. It’ll be really cool to see how the game is received for it’s composition and table presence after it arrives to backers who haven’t been crushed under the weight of it’s intimidatingly large, detailed monsters. Between the publishing and design caliber behind it, the miniatures, and the deft application of theme, it’s no wonder that this Kickstarter has already (at the time of writing this) passed 600% funding and trending towards millions of dollars. Update: In fact, all of the early bird waves have sold out, but CMON has responded by creating more expensive waves of limited product to be released further into 2019. If you are interested in learning more about Cthulhu: Death May Die, check out the campaign page for previews, in-depth rules explanations, community feedback, and updates.

Arcane Wonders has two new games coming soon to game stores.

First is RWBY: Combat Ready, a cooperative game for 2-5 players set in the world of the popular animated series RWBY.  Each player plays as one of the show’s main characters – Ruby, Weiss, Black, Yang, and Penny – in a scenario against one or more villains seeking to destroy the world of Remnant. With each victory, players earn experience they can use to upgrade their abilities and powers for the next battle.  Victory is achieved when all the villains in a campaign are defeated.  Each character has her own starter deck of special abilities and powers and unique upgrade cards and ultimate attacks cards.  Likewise, each villain is unique and may hove their own objectives and minions to challenge the players. Game components from the cards to player boards contain original artwork true to the RWBY animation series.

RWBY: Combat Ready plays 2-5 players, ages 14+, in about an hour.  Contents include scenario book, 5 player miniatures, 5 player tracker scrolls, 5 player starter decks (30 cards each), 5 semblance tokens, 1 play board/villain board, 3 villain decks (26 cards each), 3 minion decks (18 cards each), 18 objective cards, 1 die, 24 plastic upgrade cubes and various chipboard status/damage tokens.

RWBY: Combat Ready was kickstarted last September and with an expected delivery of late July 2018.

Next is Goodcritters, the latest addition to the Dice Tower Essentials line. In Goodcritters, players are animal characters and members of a criminal organization dividing out the loot from their latest heist.  The player acting as the boss of the organization determines how to split the loot, but if the split does not satisfy most of the other players, a new boss may be selected to head the organization.  Players not only vote to accept the distribution of loot, these criminals may skim loot from the loot pile, rob other players, or guard against such actions to take loot from attacking players.  Getting rid of the boss adds more loot to the pile.  The crime boss needs to keep enough of his or her gang happy to remain in power, but in the end, the player with the most loot is the winner.

Goodcritters plays 4-8 players, ages 12+, in about 30 minutes.  Contents include 140 Loot Cards, 40 Action Cards, 40 Payoff Cards, 1 The Fuzz! Card, 8 Threat Markers, 1 Boss Marker, 16 Payoff Tokens, 9 Plastic Stands, and rulebook.

Learn more about Goodcritters at Arcane Wonders.  Look for the game in stores near you in September 2018.

 

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.

Fantasy Flight Games is releasing a new card game is called Heroes of Terrinoth. It is a reworked and rethemed version of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game.

Heroes of Terrinoth will allow one to four players to cooperatively adventure through eight missions in the Land of Steel on Mennara. Play time for a mission is 45 minutes or longer and the recommended minimum player age is 14. The game features many role-playing game elements. Players can choose to be a healer, warrior, mage, or scout archetype. The players can then branch from these archetypes into various classes. Over time their characters will gain experience, abilities, and equipment to help in later missions. Characters will use activation cards to choose between attack, rest, explore, and aid actions. Dice are used to modify the success of these actions. After each turn a peril token is moved along a peril track, which causes different events to happen. The final event on the track is the most dangerous.

The game will be available for pre-order at retailers any time now. More information about the game can be found here. For Dice Tower video reviews of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, on which Heroes of Terrinoth is based, click here.

Some readers may know of Kingdom of Solomon, a worker placement game designed by Philip duBarry and published by Minion Games back in 2012. It’s a well-regarded and unique game that just didn’t have enough going for it at the time. With a distinctive theme of building-up ancient Israel, Kingdom allowed players to not only diversify their resources and how they got them, but also had a “cash in your chips” mechanic where you could give up all of your workers for a massive bonus if you felt it was worth the risk. I’m glad to write today that this cool design will not fade into obscurity as it’s new and improved spiritual successor, Wisdom of Solomon, is now on Kickstarter.

“Wisdom of Solomon is a worker placement game with a splash of network building. A typical game takes about 15 minutes per player, with games being a little bit longer the first time playing.  Wisdom of Solomon is a light to medium weight game, meaning that there is plenty of strategy for experienced gamers to enjoy but the game is intuitive and simple enough for new gamers to be able to jump right in.”

Now the game is back, with updated gameplay, art, and components, and ready to show everything that made Kingdom of Solomon so special all over again with it’s best foot forward. I particularly enjoy seeing a thoughtfully designed game like this being brought back in earnest, as it showcases a period of history that is worth learning about. The new publisher, Funhill Games, is also using some of the funds from this campaign to reprint Kings of Israel, a cooperative game as equally well-regarded and welcome again. If you are interested in learning more about Wisdom of Solomon, or Kings of Israel, check out the Kickstarter campaign page for the rules, gameplay videos, reviews, community feedback, and updates.

Dungeon crawls are usually more serious affairs and can get rather involved with games like Gloomhaven, Descent, and Massive Darkness.  But what if you just want to have a silly time dungeoning in a short time span?  Then Fungeon Party is here to save the day.

Fungeon Party is a light dexterity, party game that plays in only 3 minutes, and can support up to 4 people.  In the game you will pull 6 quest cards from a quest deck, and it’s these quests that you have to accomplish in order to win the game.  Each player will pick a class like barbarian, cleric, ranger, or others, with each class having their own special abilities to accomplish quests, and stats that can increase over time.  But two questions remain, what do you do on these quests and how does it play in only 3 minutes?  Well to answer the time question is simple, you get 30 seconds to complete each quest for a total time of 3 minutes.  As for what quests you will be doing, you will be doing things like stacking dice on your forehead, knocking down a meeple surrounded by dice, balancing a meeple on a stick, bouncing dice into the box, and more.  Manage to complete all six quests and you win!

Fungeon Party is a random and frantic game that while may not exactly scratch that dungeon crawling itch, it would definitely be a fun opening game before the heavy stuff.  Look for it in stores in June, but you can go and pre-order the game today.  Check out Wizkids’ webpage for more information.

Unique themes can be hard to come by, but this one manages to not only be unique, but down right cute.  In Rescue Polar Bears: Data and Temperature you and your friends are doing exactly that, rescuing polar bears before global warming claims their homes forever.  Play is easy in that on each turn you will move around the board, loading up polar bears on your boats, gathering data, and transporting both to your base.  But what also happens each round is that the temperature will continue to climb, and as it reaches certain points, the ice floes the bears are standing on will melt.  If a bear falls into the water you can rescue them with an emergency helicopter, but you only have so many, and once you run out then he next polar bear that falls in the water will perish and you will lose the game.  Another thing that happens is that baby polar bears will be born, meaning you now have more polar bears to rescue than you did before.  To win you have to collect enough data in order to fill in the data track on the board, thus giving you enough data to be able to save all the polar bears at once.  So put on your thermals and grab you snow boots, it’s time to rescue some polar bears.

The art for the game is pretty good, but the cute meter goes off the charts when you look at the bear meeples that come in papa, mama, and baby sizes.  So if you are looking for your next cooperative style game, give this Kickstarter a look.  A pledge for the game costs only $50 plus shipping, and you can pledge for multiple copies at a discount as well, but pledge early as there is only a limited number of copies available.