Cryptozoic Entertainment

mad science foundation

Coming soon from Cryptozoic Entertainment is another game in the much-needed genre of mad scientists: Mad Science Foundation. Mad Science Foundation, designed by Sharang Biswas and Max Seidman, has players taking the role of mad scientists that are drafting different piles of resource cards to fuel their diabolical inventions and acts such as ‘Add Your Face to Mount Rushmore’ or a ‘Laser-Guided Sharkapult.’ The core of the game involves a ‘I split, you choose’ mechanism wherein one player, as the Crooked Director, will separate the available resources (e.g. lasers, dark matter, crytonium, and sharks) into different piles for players to draft before crafting their inventions.

The game has a street date of July 20th, 2016. For additional information, please visit here.

batman dice game

Announced via press release for immediate publication, Batman: The Animated Series will join the One More Roll line of games being published by Steve Jackson Games and Cryptozoic Entertainment. Joining the ranks of Dino Hunt Dice, Trophy Buck, and Zombie Dice, this newest game is being published in partnership with DC Comics to bring an authentic experience of the beloved animated series to the gaming table. Designed by Sam Mitschke and Randy Scheunemann, the game will cast players as the villains trying to foil the caped crusader. As described by Rhea Friesen, marketing director for Steve Jackson Games, in the press release:

In Batman: The Animated Series Dice GamePoison IvyCatwomanThe Riddler, and The Joker are attempting bank heists all across Gotham City. Assume the role of one of these evil-doers and use your unique power to foil the World’s Greatest Detective and escape with the most loot!

I grew up on the Batman cartoon series and have always held a great fondness for it, and I imagine this newest dice game is designed to grab those like me with memories of that fantastic show. The game is sure to be lightweight, casual game that will capture some 90’s nostalgia with some of the artwork by series creators Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski. Fans and readers can look forward to it’s release this November, and be sure to check out Steve Jackson Games and Cryptozoic Entertainment for more information in the coming months.

ecto 1 tin
When you think custom meeples you most likely think of Meeple Source. Cryptozoic, however, is utilizing the licenses they have to create their own line of custom meeples and their first releases are slated for September of this year.  First are a slew of DC Comics characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luther, and Poison Ivy (a total of 24 different characters randomly sorted out in booster pack style).
Additionally they are releasing a collector’s tin of  Ecto-1 containing all four Ghostbusters, Slimer and an extra large Marshmallow Man – all as meeples.
hall of justice
Finally, in December, they will release a collector’s tin for the DC Comics set that will be shaped like the Hall of Justice and contain the seven original members of the Justice League in meeple form.
You can read more on the GTS Distribution website for the DC comics boosters here, the Ecto-1 tin here, and the Hall of Justice tin here.

The latest expansion for the Adventure Time Card Wars game is getting quite the release, with things being coordinated between the Cartoon Network show, a DVD release, a phone app, and even a tournament at San Diego Comic-Con.  You can see the schedule below and read the article on Entertainment Weekly for more info, and look for the release of Adventure Time Card Wars Doubles Tournament on August 3rd.

July 7: “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars” Episode Debuts

July 8: “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars” available for online viewing

July 12: The Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD

July 21-24:Card Wars Doubles Tournament at San Diego Comic-Con

July: Card Wars Kingdom: The Game App

August 3:Card Wars Doubles Tournament.

Cryptozoic_Entertainment_hxm0o8

Cryptozoic Entertainment, the publishers of popular Intellectual Properties such as the DC Deck-Building game, The Walking Dead board game, and the Ghostbusters board game, will be launching a demo program through Publishers Services Inc. (PSI). Using this fulfillment service, they can better reach retailers across the country to introduce their games to prospective customers. As described via their own news release:

This exclusive program is for brick-and-mortar locations only and allows retailers to purchase select Cryptozoic titles at 75% off MSRP. Each year, retailers can purchase one copy (per retail location) of each available title at the discounted price directly through PSI.

The program will launch will a limited availability of products to start, with more to follow. Retailers will be able to choose from Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre, The Walking Dead board game, The Walking Dead board game: The Best Defense, Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game, and Ghostbusters: the Board Game. If you are interested in taking advantage of this program and offering your customers a quality game at a very reasonable price, visit this link to apply and find out more information!

Ernie Hudson, known for his role a Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters movie series, comes back to put on the beige jumpsuit again to help promote the next board game in the Ghostbusters line.  The video itself is corny as all get out, but has some genuine funny moments, and it’s just great to see a big name actor get on board to help promote a board game.  You can check out the full video on the Kickstarter campaign page and read the full press release which includes some talk of what happened behind the scenes.

 

Lake Forest, CA – April 27, 2016 – Ernie Hudson is a Ghostbuster again! Cryptozoic Entertainment is proud to announce that their promotional video for GHOSTBUSTERS: THE BOARD GAME II features the long-awaited return of Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, his iconic role in the first two Ghostbusters movies. The five-minute video, which can be seen on the Kickstarter campaign page for the game, features Hudson strapping on his proton pack to lead a group of Ghostbusters as they take on a paranormal invasion.
Largely due to the promo video and exciting new gameplay elements, the campaign reached its initial goal in approximately two hours and hit $500,000 in under 48 hours.

Thanks to the support of Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Cryptozoic was able to shoot the video at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. The other members of the team are played by three of the Southland Ghostbusters, a group of Southern California cosplayers who were honored to work with one of the original busters. Hudson spent time between scenes joking with the crew and taking photos with fans, including several starstruck Cryptozoic employees.

Describing the shoot, Hudson said, “I had the absolute best time, and it was so much fun getting back in the jumpsuit again!”
John Sepenuk, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Cryptozoic, said, “We are so thrilled to be working with Ernie. Bringing bring back one of the original Ghostbusters, the iconic Winston Zeddemore, means so much to all of us at Cryptozoic, and certainly all the Ghostbusters fans around the world.”

“Directing Ernie was the most amazing experience,” explained Pete Sepenuk, director of the promo video. “He was Winston from take one: hilarious, charming, taking charge and schooling the newbies. We had such a good time together, creating this new world where he could bust ghosts in 2016.”

Fans of Ernie Hudson, the Ghostbusters franchise, and board games can check out the video and the Kickstarter campaign for GHOSTBUSTERS: THE BOARD GAME II here

The campaign includes a unique social media component called “Gimme Grabber” that asks fans to share various images and videos on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Since it’s announcement one week ago, eight of the ten social media goals have been reached and most backers will receive Grabber, an exclusive ghost figure. The first goal, asking pre-order customers to share a message about the game on Facebook, was reached in less than one day. Fans can share the Facebook message by clicking here

The campaign for GHOSTBUSTERS: THE BOARD GAME II lasts until May 9 and the game is estimated to be delivered to backers May 2017.

 About Cryptozoic
Founded in 2010, Cryptozoic Entertainment, Inc. is a premier developer and publisher of original and licensed board games, card games, comics and trading cards, including the DC Comics™ Deck-Building Game, The Walking Dead™ Board Game, The Big Bang Theory: The Party Game and Ghostbusters™:The Board Game, one of the most funded tabletop games in Kickstarter history. Following a philosophy and core principle of “Fans First,” the dedicated gamers and fans of the Cryptozoic Entertainment team are focused on producing fun and amazing products along with epic events that bring all gaming fans together as part of the Cryptozoic community. Visit www.cryptozoic.com for more information about product releases, events and news.
©2016 Cryptozoic Entertainment.

rick and morty

ACD Distribution posted an article cluing us in on three new releases coming out in June of 2016 from Cryptozoic Entertainment.  First is Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game which is a cooperative deduction card game based on the cartoon episode of the same name.  Parasites have infiltrated your home and are masquerading as family members and close friends, it is up to you and your friends to figure out who the parasites are and take them out.  The game is for 2 to 5 players and plays in only 30 minutes.

internal affairs

Next is a social deduction game that is similar to Good Cop, Bad Cop called Internal Affairs.  This game takes a much gritty approach to the game but has some similar mechanisms in the multiple faction cards where the majority you have determines which team your on, and the end game condition is to reveal two people of the opposing team to win.  However, to make it unique you also have the possibility of changing teams mid game, allowing you to switch sides if you see the opposing team about to win.  The game plays a crowd of 2 to 8 players and will play in about 20 minutes.

ad time car

Last is the next expansion set for the Adventure Time Card Wars game, Doubles Tournament, which turns this two player game into a four player team game.  While the expansion includes new landscapes, heroes, and a load of new cards, it has a focus on team play and so includes rules for having a 2v2 game of Adventure Time Card Wars.  The good news is that even if you don’t play the new team version, a lot of the cards in the set still work for the standard 2 player version of the game so don’t pass on this if you aren’t interested in the higher player count.  The new team version plays 4 people and will last up to 45 minutes.

cryptozoic banner

Cryptozoic Entertainment–a California publisher noted for their games based on popular licenses– has announced their 2016 lineup.  Staying true to form, this year’s selections include new games and expansions of already popular products based on DC comics, Cartoon Network shows, and more.  The new products premiered at the American International Toy Fair over the weekend.  Check out all the details straight from Cryptozoic, in their release below.

Lake Forest, CA – February 14, 2016 – Cryptozoic Entertainment (cryptozoic.com), leading developer, designer and manufacturer of games, trading cards and collectible merchandise presents its new game product lineup premiering at The American International Toy Fair on February 13-16.

The award-winning company has released a large variety of card and board game products to critical acclaim. Some of this year’s product launches include:

dc crisis

DC Comics™ Deck Building Game: Crisis Pack 3
The DC Universe is in peril… again! In the DC Comics Deck-building Game Crisis Expansion Pack 3, players will face some of the most epic challenges, events, and destructive forces in the history of comic-dom. In this Crisis Expansion find 14 “Impossible Mode” Crime Syndicate Super-Villains to battle against and Crisis versions of eight oversized characters such as Lex Luthor, Sinestro, Bane and many more. Also included are six new playable oversized characters and new main deck cards for competitive players. This Crisis Pack features two unique modes of cooperative play. Play in a completely cooperative mode, where players all work together to overcome challenges and foes. Or play in “Hidden Objective” mode, never before seen in a deck-building game.The Suicide Squad makes its debut as playable oversized characters, and as ne’er-do-wells, working together isn’t exactly their strong suit. It seems someone always has their own agenda when this “team” gets together for a mission. In this mode, players are still working together, but everyone has their own definition of what a “win” really is. One player may even be secretly working against the rest of the team.

adventure time card wars

Adventure Time Card Wars: Fiona Vs Cake
Based on the Card Wars game found in the Adventure Time episodes of the same name. Includes a code card that unlock special surprises the Card Wars digital android and iOS game. Easy to learn rules and all-new, original artwork. Play as the Fionna or Cake characters.
Rick and Morty Total Rickall
The Total Rickall Cooperative Card Game is based on the Rick and Morty episode of the same name. Players can still play this wild and wacky game and have plenty of fun even if they have never watched the program. Easy to learn, cooperative and mimics the action and hilarity of the Rick and Morty Episode “Total Rickall”. This is a cooperative game for 2-5 players, with a playing time of 30 minutes.

internal affairs

Internal Affairs Game
In Hong Kong, the Police and ruthless Triad crime syndicate have both learned they have traitors embedded in their midst and are determined to ferret out these dangerous moles. It’s up to the player to crack the codes of their foes and learn who is ultimately loyal to whom. The game is won by the team that manages to first reveal all 3 identity cards of 2 infiltrators belonging to the opposing team. Fun, new take on hidden identity games with constantly evolving gameplay and create a secret code for opponents to try to crack.

cartoon network crossover

Cartoon Network™ Crossover Crisis Deck-building Game
Cartoon Network’s baddest adversaries are loose and it’s up to the players to stop them. Play as favorite heroes from Cartoon Network’s past and present hit shows: Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball, Clarence, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Regular Show, Samurai Jack and Steven Universe to take them down. Every main deck card is unique and brimming with Cartoon Network characters. In this wacky take on world-renown Cerberus Engine, find WEAKNESS cards which are all unique, dangerous, and PRATFALL cards (which replace Vulnerabilities). Never before seen EVENT cards change things up in crazy ways when they appear out of the main deck. They may literally cause a stomping of feet. Or outlandish zoo animal noises, and more. In the end, only one player will be left laughing in this competitive game.

Cryptozoic at Toy Fair
Cryptozoic continues its commitment to developing fan-focused, engaging, high quality products which are seamlessly aligned with the brand license and culture. The complete line of Cryptozoic Entertainment products will be on display at the American International Toy Fair in New York City February 13-16 at booth #4842.

About Cryptozoic
Founded in 2010, Cryptozoic Entertainment, Inc. is a premier developer and publisher of original and licensed board games, card games, comics and trading cards, including the DC Comics™ Deck-Building Game, The Walking Dead™ Board Game, The Big Bang Theory: The Party Game and Ghostbusters™:The Board Game, one of the most funded tabletop games in Kickstarter history. Following a philosophy and core principle of “Fans First,” the dedicated gamers and fans of the Cryptozoic Entertainment team are focused on producing fun and amazing products along with epic events that bring all gaming fans together as part of the Cryptozoic community. Visit www.cryptozoic.com for more information about product releases, events and news.

game stop cryptozoic

In an August 10th news release on their website, Cryptozoic Entertainment, publishers of the DC Comics Deck Building Game, The Walking Dead Board Game, and The Big Bang Theory: The Party Game announced a new partnership with video game  and consumer electronic retailer Game Stop.

Games now available include Spyfall, The Big Bang Theory: The Party Game, The Walking Dead: Don’t Look Back Dice Game, Adventure Time Card Wars releases, DC Comics Deck-Building Games and Bravest Warriors Dice Game. Along with games, GameStop also sells Cryptozoic trading card sets including Walking Dead Season 3, DC Comics Super Villains and Supernatural Seasons 1-3.

Cryptozoic will be selling their line of games and trading cards through Game Stops network of 6600 retail locations, as well as through Game Stop’s online platform. For more information see the news release here.

The influence of Kickstarter on the board gaming hobby is immense, and it has been for years now. At any given time, the crowdfunding juggernaut is awash with gaming projects ranging from tiny card games to big bombastic miniatures-laden affairs, and everything in between. Whether it has helped or harmed our precious hobby is a matter of debate. There are certainly arguments that can be made for and against, but it’s no question that the gaming industry is forever changed by Kickstarter.

And that’s no surprise. After all, change is part of the Kickstarter package. It was born of a mission to help amateur creative and artistic projects find like-minded individuals willing to donate to a dream and turn it into a reality. The early days of Kickstarter were like a bazaar of insane and innovative expression served up to the masses for a modest investment. It was as inspiring and it was successful, and as we all know, success is a double-edged sword.

One of the first extremely successful Kick Starter board games

One of the first extremely successful Kick Starter board games

An Absolute Sense of Mission

Kickstarter is, and has always been, a for-profit organization. For each successfully funded project, 5% of the pledges end up in Kickstarter’s coffers. There’s nothing wrong with that intrinsically, but it does indicate an overriding motivation: get as many projects funded as possible. They do that through clever marketing, social media, promotions, and the website itself which does nothing but try to convince would-be backers to take the plunge.

They also have done it by abandoning their original intent. In the ancient times, Kickstarter required that projects be creative in nature and that they come from individuals that aren’t already successful. That’s a fairly slippery set of requirements, so to maintain that purity of intent, a cadre of community managers reviewed every proposed Kickstarter campaign to ensure that they aligned with the mission.

Over time, the slipperiness of Kickstarter’s project requirements opened the door for semi-professional and established organizations to peddle their wares on the site. In the board gaming world, this gave rise to CoolMiniOrNot’s Kickstarter dominance and Queen Games’ crowdfunding-first approach to developing and publishing new games. It’s the backbone of Stonemaier Games’ business model and the reason why Game Salute exists. In June 2014, Kickstarter opened the floodgates even wider by removing the community manager review requirement for project submissions. Short of raising funds for dangerous or illegal goods, anything is permitted on Kickstarter.

Why does this matter? With so many Goliaths walking through the crowdfunding playground, the ability for any Davids to surface among all that noise is next to impossible. Modern board game Kickstarters are clinics in graphic design and marketing intelligence featuring nearly complete products, amazing artwork, compelling stretch goals, and big promotional support. That leaves John Q. Designer, who just wants to raise a few thousand dollars to get his clever abstract game published, in the dust. He can’t even afford to design a campaign as flashy as his big shot competitors, let alone stand up to their glorious promises. After all, there are only so many crowdfunding dollars to go around, and showing a prototype on graph paper isn’t going to turn heads away from a box of miniatures from an industry professional.

The HUGELY successful Conan - Kick Starter campaign that raised 3.3 million dollars.

The HUGELY successful Conan – Kick Starter campaign that raised 3.3 million dollars.

Abused Patience Turns to Fury

This lack of oversight has led to some very questionable campaigns. I’m not talking about the high profile failures that make people wary of crowdfunding all together. I mean companies like Mantic Games, Flying Frog Productions, Cryptozoic Entertainment, and CoolMiniOrNot that almost single-handedly round out the top 10 most funded board games on Kickstarter:

The next 10 on the list are more are more of the same, and that’s not even counting gaming accessories by Reaper Miniatures and Dwarven Forge. In almost every case, the top funded games are from professional developers, well-known industry designers, and other publishers that have long outgrown the need to raise funds on a crowdfunding platform to get their products made. Even one of board gaming’s most celebrated designers, Stefan Feld, has had a game funded on Kickstarter. On what alternate reality Earth do we live on that a Feld game needs crowdfunding? Of course the truth is AquaSphere didn’t NEED to be funded in this manner. And yet it was.

Heroes Always Take a Risk

The reason these companies use Kickstarter instead of traditional means to fund their project is risk aversion. When we back games on Kickstarter, we as consumers take on the entire financial risk for the project. These days almost all these top flight Kickstarter games are in development long before the campaign begins, but at a basic level, Company A need not invest a single dollar in the development of a game. They can simply crowdfund the money, take on no debt whatsoever, and pass the risk of default onto their well-intentioned backers.

This methodology is of course great for John Q. Designer who doesn’t have the funds. But for CoolMiniOrNot, it’s a way to maximize their revenues by making sure their balance sheets are debt-free. That doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, but the precedents set by campaigns that had no business being on Kickstarter contribute to the greater dysfunction.

Dysfunction 1: Kickstarter backers have no legal recourse. We’ve seen many stories come out over the years of Kickstarter entrepreneurs not delivering on their promises, running out of money, or simply disappearing entirely. Sometimes those stories have happy endings, and it’s comforting to see the FTC taking an active interest, but the majority of these crowdfunding disasters never get resolved. It’s critical to understand that just because the backer level you selected promises a finished product, there are no guarantees.

Dysfunction 2: Innovation is born out of necessity. While the hellish Kickstarter experiences are admittedly edge cases, what is true 100% of the time is that a company that doesn’t take on any discernable risk has very little incentive to provide value. When a board game publisher’s financial fate is tied to the success of their products, they are motivated to act in good faith, to create great games, and to treat their customers with dignity. Anything short of quality means that a game could fail and all the invested dollars are lost. In the land that Kickstarter built, that motivation is missing. It doesn’t mean all companies that use Kickstarter won’t live up to the ideals of a good publisher; it just means they don’t HAVE to. They already have your money.

Beware of the Company You Keep

All of this and I didn’t even mention the frequency of Kickstarter games missing deadlines, compromising on quality, and taking noticeable shortcuts in the development and testing process. There’s no easy solution here. Our hobby is full of early adopters that crave the latest and greatest. These top flight Kickstarter campaigns are designed to be compelling and to prey on our fear of missing out. The only advice I can give, and it’s advice I myself should strive to follow, is to vote with your dollars and to try to curtail the instinct to consume. Kickstarter will never be the creative Shangri-La it once was, at least not for board games, but we can do our best to make sure that our hard-earned money goes to the campaigns that really deserve it. Do we need season 12 of Zombicide? I think you know my opinion, but it’s up to you and your pocketbook to decide.