Dice Tower Essentials

Cosmodrome Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the second printing of Smartphone Inc. This economic simulation euro has 1-5 players operating competing smartphone companies through R&D, production, and distribution. Designed by Ivan Lashin with art by Viktor Miller Gausa, the game received a Dice Tower Seal of Excellence, and will be part of the Dice Tower Essentials line, brought to retail by Arcane Wonders.

The game plays over five rounds, each with eight phases. Players will plan their actions for the round using a distinctive method of overlaying two pads containing action symbols. Based on this placement, players will set the prices for their company’s smartphones, determine how many units they produce, research technology upgrades, and distribute product to regions with variable customer preferences.

The Kickstarter stretch goals announced so far include added variability, exclusive components, and an alternative board for 1-3 players. The campaign ends on Monday August 12th.

One may not think that the New York Magazine would be the place to look for board game recommendations, but for the past couple of years the magazine has featured articles on board gaming as part of life and culture in New York City.  Its latest article, featured in its Strategist section which helps shoppers focus on getting the best value for their money, identified the best four-player board games according to experts. These experts included game store owners, board game reviewers, and even a board game illustrator, so it should be no surprise that the list included some heavy hitters in the board game hobby and include several Spiel des Jahres winners. Some of the games on the list do play more than four players, but the experts felt that these games played best with four players.  Pandemic was named Best overall four-player board game.  Other categories on the list include best four player strategic board game, best four-player board game for beginners, best four-player thematic board game, best family-friendly four-player game, best board game for advanced gamers, best cooperative four-player board game, best world-building board game, best four-player party games, best word-association four-player board game, best fast-paced four-player board game, best app-compatible four-player board game.  Sheriff of Nottingham, from the Dice Tower Essentials line, was named one of the best family-friendly four-player games.  Read the full article here to learn more about which games were consider the best four-player games.  In case you missed it, take a look at their list of best two-player games published earlier last month.

The sharp-eyed and -eared among you may have heard Tom Vasel, our illustrious leader, drop a bombshell on the latest episode of Boardgame Breakfast. The next game in the Dice Tower Essentials line of games, will be Smartphone, Inc. originally from Cosmodrome Games and designer Ivan Lashin. The Dice Tower Essentials are games that Tom himself has played, deemed extraordinary, and brought personally to publisher Arcane Wonders for retail publication. Smartphone was originally shown at Essen 2018, and despite having a very small print run, quickly became a darling of the show. Rumors of reprints abounded, but until now the game has been on the grail list of many collectors.

“Back when smartphones were only beginning to conquer the world, it was your destiny to lead one of the most promising manufacturing corporations in the world. Analyze and research customer demand around the globe. Get out of your comfort zone and try to get more profit by setting up new offices in nearby regions. Improve your production and research innovative technologies. Try to get local markets under your control. Find your own way to success—become the producer of an elite high-tech product or a manufacturer focused on the mass market. And don’t forget to keep your plans secret if you want to win this race. Other companies want the same thing you do: to become the most successful (and richest) smartphone manufacturer of all time!”

Smartphone, Inc. is often described as Food Chain Magnate lite, being a strong but elegant economic game for 2-5 players about manufacturing and selling cell phones around the world. At the heart of the game, players manipulate two double sided cards, creating their “pad”. Each half of the pad contains 6 squares of icons, and by overlapping them in specific ways, players create their plan for the round: Visible symbols give actions for the round, while covered squares add additional product for sale, but inherently limit a player’s turn. Players can gain Improvement Tiles from the market each round, more cardboard tiles that can be added to their pad, adding new icons, or flipped to create more phones for sale.

Available actions include changing the sell price of a player’s phones up or down, researching new technologies, spreading and selling to other areas on the world map, gaining Improvements, and making more product. Newer technologies and world expansion give players more locations to sell their product, and each player can only sell in one “slot” per round, creating fierce competition for the markets. Players can focus on creating large amounts of cheaper phones, which allows them to act first, flooding sell spaces and outcompeting their opponents, or they can make higher priced phones to simply make more money. The richest player after 5 rounds emerges victorious.

The components for Smartphone are exceptional, with the entire board using dual layered cardboard, creating recessed slots for player pieces. The pieces themselves are brightly colored clear plastic cubes (phones/goods), office buildings (for territory control), and smartphone bars (representing progress). Individual player storage boxes keep the pieces organized: plastics, the player’s “pad”, and starting innovations. A clean, minimalistic graphic design places the round structure and all rules in easy to understand proximity. Also included in the game is a strong A.I. driven solo mode.

Smartphone Inc. will be available to demo at GenCon, Origins Game Fair, and Dice Tower Con this summer, and Arcane Wonders has stated that the awaited Kickstarter Campaign for reprints will still occur later this year, with retail release to follow in 2020. For more details, check out Arcane Wonders announcement here, and the Cosmodrome official webpage for Smartphone Inc here.

Sometimes games are released to very little fanfare, even if they deserve it, and it’s those times that we here at Dice Tower News are probably doing our best work at spreading the word. That’s the case right now with Onitama, which just recently launched on iOS and Android. This popular 2-player game from Arcane Wonders and Asmodee Digital can now be played on the go and against players from all over the world! This is great for fans of the game, as now there’s plenty of ways to challenge yourself against human and AI opponents and it’ll broaden the appeal for the design and the modern tabletop gaming world.  If you’re ready to test your mettle on mobile, you can download the app right now on the iTunes and Google Play stores.

     “Immerse yourself in an ancient Japanese setting and discover Onitama, an exciting, fast-paced strategy game! Onitama is somewhat reminiscent of chess and rather addictive with its dynamic game mechanic in which warriors face off so their master may win the game. Concentration and luck are the only weapons you’ll have at your disposal! You’ll need to fully master mind and body to defeat your opponents.”

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.

 

First in our lineup is the dungeon crawl game from Greenbrier Games called Folklore: The Affliction.  This is an RPG style board game where you are playing characters trying to investigate and drive back the evil that is gripping the land.  The game is themed around the horror genre so you will be fighting things like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more.  In an interesting twist for this game, if you are killed you will become a ghost yourself, being able to continue with the party and attack enemies from beyond the grave.  The scale of the game is on two levels, with movement between locations being done on a map board with one pawn denoting the whole group.  Then when you arrive at a location it will zoom in to all of your characters being on another board representing the location for you to explore and fight monsters on.  The game comes packaged with a campaign broken up into smaller chapters that can be played in one sitting, allowing you to tailor the game length to your desires.  Look for this horror dungeon crawl on store shelves next month.

Coming later this month is a new game from Breaking Games called Sparkle*Kitty, a quick card game that turns the helpless princess trope on it’s head.  In the game you each play a different princess trying to escape from the “Cursed “No Cursing” tower“.  Not much else has been released about the game other then it being released later this month, and that the art is fabulous.  So keep an eye out for the game and hopefully it’s good.

Keeping with the light-hearted theme we have the next release from North Star Games, Happy Salmon Blue Fish.  Those hoping for an expansion to this loud and crazy party game will be a bit disappointed, but if you wanted more players in a single game then look no further.  Happy Salmon Blue Fish contains all the same cards and components as the original, only this time the player colors are different than those contained in the original green fish edition of the game.  This makes it easy to ramp the player count all the way up to 12, making for a game that is even louder and crazier than before.  So if you want to have more players, or just prefer the blue color, look for this edition on store shelves in September.

Wizkids has announced their latest game, and it is the generically named Empires, a new trading and negotiation type game.  In Empires, 2 to 10 players will try to expand their kingdom across the land by acquiring support.  To get support “by supplying your people with goods; goods are produced when your people work in your territories.  Players can gain people, territories, goods, and supporters by winning wars. Wars will be won by the armies raised by paying gold. Gold can be earned by winning wars and by selling goods.”  So as you can see there is a lot of shuffling around of resources, but you won’t always have all the resources you need, that’s where the trading comes in.  You are allowed to trade anything and everything between players, goods, player powers, people, territories, whatever you have so that you can achieve your goal.  So if this kind of game intrigues you, look for it on store shelves in October of this year.

Next we have something that is exciting for Tom Vasel, and that is the impending release of the next game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, Critical Mass.  The game used to be known as Starborne, and is a two player card battle game with some deck building.  Each player will pick their mech, and each mech comes with it’s own unique starting deck of cards.  From there you will play cards against each other attacking, defending, and upgrading.  Attacking and defending as self explanatory, and the upgrading action is what allows you to get more cards into your deck.  However, as you play more cards you will start to run out, and you don’t get cards back until you do a reload action.  As you take hits you will lose armor, lose too much armor and your core becomes vulnerable, allowing your opponent to stun you for a turn.  The winner will be the one who destroys all the armor on their opponent’s mech first.  Look for this game on the shelves of your FLGS in November.

Finally we have two new games coming from Ankama games later this year in Dino Party and Stellium.  Dino Party is a party game at the end of the age of dinosaurs, where you and your friends are trying to grow your herd and get to the protected spaces.  But with disasters happening all around you, will you be able to make it?  This quick party game will be released next month.

Stellium is a new abstract game where you are creators of the universe in the midst of creating that universe.  On a turn you will draw a colorful marble from a bag and place it on the board, aiming to arrange the marbles in specific ways to satisfy contracts.  But since this is being done by everyone on the same board, you have to be careful not to setup your opponent to score instead of you.  An additional layer of strategy is added with variable player powers, allowing you to place a marble and then manipulate them in different ways.  Look for this game to be released in October of this year.

Arcane Wonders and Mesa Board Games are bringing the newest Dice Tower Essentials game, Viral, to stores in August 2017. In Viral, 2-5 players play viruses attempting to take over organs in an infected patient. Players have to be careful, though, since if too many viruses invade an organ, a CRISIS occurs and the host immune system will almost certainly come to wipe out the infection. Mutation cards allow players to modify their virus, changing its behavior and therefore your strategy. Virus is a new take on Area Control designed by Antonio Sousa Lara (City of Spies: Estoril 1942) and and Gil d’Orey (Panamax), with delightful whimsical artwork by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (Raiders of the North Sea, City of Spies: Estoril 1942), and plays in 60-90 minutes.

Look for Viral in Stores in August, and you can read more on the Arcade Wonders Website here.

Arcane Wonders has partnered with MESAboardgames to release an English language version of VIRAL.  Designed by António Sousa Lara and Gil d’Orey, VIRAL is a 2-5 player area-control game where players compete to infect and control organs in a human body.  As Bryan Pope, President of Arcane Wonders said:

“When Tom brought us VIRAL to play, we fell in love with it immediately! It has a fresh, original and clever theme; a territorial control game set inside the human body! The game play is simple and streamlined, yet it has lots of great tactical decisions and difficult choices. The game has a lot of flavor and personality, with great player interaction. My favorite part is the mutation cards; They allow you to mutate your viruses, changing how they behave, and develop your strategy.”
Each player is a deadly virus.  The object is to mutate and take over the host’s organs.  Other player’s viruses are sure to get in the way, and if too many viruses are present in an organ a Crisis occurs and the Immune System will wipe out your infection!
VIRAL will be released as one of the Dice Tower Essentials line of games joining Sherriff of Nottingham, Onitama, and several others.  These are games that noted reviewer Tom Vasel believes are essential for any gamer’s collection.
VIRAL will be first shown at Gen Con in 2017 at Arcane Wonders’ Booth.  It is planned for an August 2017 release.

Arcane Wonders has announced the release of a new set of promotional items that will be available exclusively to brick and mortar retail stores. A box of 12 unique promotional items along with instructions will be available for use at in-store events.

The Arcane Wonders Retail Support Kit will include promos for Mage Wars Academy as well as four games from the Dice Towers Essentials line: SpeechlessRoyals, Onitama and Sheriff of Nottingham. The Dice Tower Essentials line of games are those that Tom Vasel the gaming godfather himself, believes are essential for any gamer’s collection.

The promotional kit, which will certainly help convince Sheriffs everywhere that there’s nothing in the bag but chickens, will only be available while supplies last and only is available to brick and mortar stores.

 

 

CoolMiniOrNot has acquired the rights to publish Sheriff of Nottingham, the first game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, worldwide.  In a short press release CMON expressed it’s pleasure to be able to work with Arcane Wonders to be able to bring this game into more and more markets around the world.  You can read the full press release below.

 

Today, March 7 2016, CMON Limited announced it has acquired the critically acclaimed Sheriff of Nottingham from Brazilian publisher Galapagos Jogos. “CMON is excited to welcome such an esteemed title to our growing library and will continue to offer the game to fans worldwide,” says Chern Ann Ng, CEO of CMON.

In Sheriff of Nottingham, players attempt to gain the most wealth by selling goods both legal and illegal at the market. Each round, one player becomes the Sheriff, policing the market by stopping any contraband from being sold or accepting bribes to line his own pockets. Sheriff of Nottingham is part of the Dice Tower Essentials line of games.

CMON is pleased to work with Arcane Wonders, who will be responsible for publishing the English edition of Sheriff of Nottingham worldwide. “Arcane Wonders is excited to be working with CoolMiniOrNot,” says Bryan Pope, CEO of Arcane Wonders. “This new relationship will provide even better support of the game and fans will see some great expansions in the future.”

Sheriff of Nottingham has appeared in multiple languages, including German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Czech. CMON will continue to work with existing worldwide partners to ensure there will be no interruption in the supply of the game. For inquiries regarding a foreign language edition of Sheriff of Nottingham, please contact Carol Negrão at carol@cmon.com.

CMON looks forward to the future of Sheriff of Nottingham and its continued presence on tables for years to come.

About CMON Limited

CMON is an international publisher of boardgames, tabletop games and apps. Beginning from small hobbyist roots, CMON has grown into a multinational group that publishes several award winning games, including Zombicide, Arcadia Quest and Blood Rage.
CMON.com
CoolMiniOrNot.com

About Arcane Wonders

Arcane Wonders is a game publisher dedicated to producing a few great games each year. Each game is carefully selected, given lavish attention to detail and art, and made with the highest quality. We’re building an amazing brand, one great game at a time!
ArcaneWonders.com