family game

Released in 2012, CGE now takes Pictomania and dresses it anew with its second edition! With a brand new design and at a lower price point, families will get to enjoy the fast paced game of drawing and guessing at the same time with this brand new edition!

Pictomania gives each player a certain word or phrase, then, simultaneously, everybody tries to draw it. Are you an artist? Do you draw bad? It’s fine! This game evens out talent by being a real-time game! Everybody draws and guesses what the other players’ drawings are, giving out points to everybody who finishes fast and guesses correctly.

Curious to know when this game will come out or what the changes are? Head on over to their website here for more details.

Crusader Kings and Crusader Kings II are some of the heaviest strategy computer games on the market. They are built to swallow you up into a medieval pit and if you know how to swim in those dark waters you are rewarded with some of the best brain-tingling challenges that gaming can offer. Every inch of the crusades is explored, the turbulent time spurned on by indulgences offered by the church to take back the holy land and the families that devoted everything to the cause for societal, spiritual, and political expediency. Yet even this intricate design and storytelling mirrors some aspects of modern board gaming mechanics and so it is great to see this series make it to tabletop via Kickstarter. As described via it’s campaign page:

     “Crusader Kings – The Board Game captures the essence of the Crusader Kings experience, in a physical tabletop format. This is a strategy game at heart, but with a special focus on characters, intrigue, and juicy medieval drama. To win, you will need to groom your family, build mighty castles, develop your dominion, be shrewd in the realm of diplomacy and intrigue, and use your vassals wisely to grow your wealth and military power.”

3-to-5 players will have the chance to develop their own dynasty into one for the history books, leveraging every resource and person at their disposal, waging conflict on the battlefield as well as within the privacy of their own homes and territories. I have no doubt in my mind at all that this adaptation, while probably losing a bit of depth by necessity, will still be a rich experience in it’s almost legacy-like emergent gameplay at least. At the time of writing this, the game is already well-funded and has broken most available stretch goals, meaning that I am definitely not the only one who believes so as the support and community is certainly there. If you are interested in learning more about Crusader Kings – The Board Game, be sure to check out the Kickstarter page for the rules, FAQs, reviews, previews, and updates.

Kingdomino: Age of Giants! is the first expansion for both Kingdomino and Queendomino, but it is actually several expansions in one.

First, there are the Giants! Certain dominoes cause a giant to appear on your kingdom.  Those giants stand on crowns in your kingdom and prevent you from scoring them at the end of the game.  Other dominoes allow you to get rid of the giant in your kingdom and send it over to an opponent’s kingdom.

Second, there are Quest that can be played with The Middle Kingdom rule.  Quests allow your middle kingdom to score additional points if the surrounding squares or the four corners of your middle kingdom fulfills the quest conditions. This expansion is played separate from the Giants.

Lastly, Kingdomino: Age of Giants! adds a fifth player.

A nice addition with the expansion is the distribution tower to hold all the dominoes.

Contents of the expansion include 3D castle, 1 distribution tower, 2 brown wooden kings, 1 starting tile, 29 dominoes (12 Giant dominoes, 17 Quest tiles), 6 “Giant” meeples, and a score pad.

Learn more about Kingdomino: Age of Giants!  from Blue Orange GamesKingdomino: Age of Giants! is available for pre-orders now and will be in stores in August 2018.

The idea of a fire in a library invokes a sense of concern towards the well-being of humanity – the gravity of losing information, creativity, and history is a little more than what we can possibly imagine. Just as it was with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, the loss is essentially a thing of mythology as the extent of damage is still not fully understood. We are however long past the days of papyrus scrolls and steep consolidation of knowledge with the advent of the internet, but libraries nevertheless remain incredible resources filled with invaluable collections for the benefit of everyone and deserve protection and support. That is why this game on Kickstarter, Fire in the Library, has such an interesting theme and is worth taking a look. As described on it’s campaign page:

Fire in the Library is a press-your-luck game from Weird Giraffe Games by Tony Miller and John Prather with art by Beth Sobel and Katie Khau. Players are heroic librarians rescuing books to accumulate knowledge and earn bravery all while avoiding the flames before the library collapses! […] History is burning—take chances, be brave, SAVE BOOKS!”

A very noble premise, like Flash Point for academia, with gorgeous art to boot. The push-your-luck gameplay is very reminiscent of similar games like Dead Man’s Draw, Celestia (previously Cloud 9), or Diamant (previously Incan Gold), but where the player interaction comes directly from manipulating the odds of success within it’s bag o’ cubes. It’s altogether tactile and quick while being extremely easy to teach, making this suitable for parties and families. It even includes rules for solo play, which isn’t very common for games in this genre. If you are interested in Fire in the Library, be sure to check out it’s Kickstarter page for more information, reviews, and a how-to-play video!

Things are returning to normal in the land of crowd funding, so here are some more campaigns for you to check out.  First one the list is the latest expansion set for the Red Dragon Inn, and that’s the Red Dragon Inn 7.  This new set finally brings the tavern workers into the mix, so now you will be able to see if the servers can keep up with their patrons.  Red Dragon Inn is a game all about drinking, brawling, and gambling, with the person who is the last one standing, while stilling having some gold, will be the winner.  Each round you will be playing cards to get people to drink, gamble their hard earned money, or just try to beat the tar out of each other.  But be careful, if your fortitude ever meets your drunkenness, you pass out and are out of the game, or if you run out of gold then the bartender tosses you out.  The expansion will come with everything you need in order to play the game, plus promos or metal coins depending on the pledge level you go for.  A copy will run you $40, but if you have Red Dragon Inn 5, you can opt for an ECO option and they will send just the contents to you without the box for $5 cheaper.  You can check out the Kickstarter campaign now to pledge for your copy.

Next up is a new worker placement and deck building game all about launching your new cafe in the diverse city of Berlin, called Seize the Bean.  In this game you are trying to hit a certain level of good reviews, but to do that you need to be able to consistently serve your customers.  You will first have to build up your cafe through worker placement, getting ingredients, attracting customers, and upgrading you cafe to make your actions more powerful.  At the end of the round you will shuffle up your customers and draw some, then using your collected supplies you will try to satisfy their orders in order to get their good reviews.  Components for this game are excellent, art for the game is also good, and the written reviews on the tokens are funny as well.  So if you have a passion for coffee or the unique city that is Berlin, check out the Kickstarter campaign, a base pledge costs you only 39 euro.

Next is a simple and strategic card game called Home on Lagrange, where you are trying to build the best space station among the other players.  You will be doing this through multi-use cards, which can be played for effects, used as currency, or used as resources in the modules.  Modules are what you will be going after because once someone finishes an entire station with the four different modules, the game will end.  Each of these modules by themselves will score a certain amount, but if you can stack one, two, or three resources on them you can increase it’s score.  Plus the action cards give you special actions to help you get a leg up on the competition.  So be careful with your building, if you don’t pay attention to the scores you may end up triggering the end game without having the winning hand so to speak.  You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here, and a copy of the game will run you £25.

And finally, we have a family friendly deduction game called Noises at Night.  In this game each of the players will be a different character like the boogeyman, a rat, dad, mom, ghost, and so forth, trying to score the most points.  You will score points in three different ways, one is by having your icons scoring on the cards being played, second by playing cards to your secret location, and finally by guessing who everyone else is.  Play is simple in that on your turn you will play cards out onto the board, trying to maximize your points without giving away who and where you are.  After everyone has played out cards you will go into a guessing phase where you can guess who other people are.  Get it right and you get some bonus points, get it wrong and they get the points instead.  After ten rounds the player with the most points is the winner.  So if you are a fan of deduction games, and this family weight one seems your speed, then head on over to the campaign page to check it out.  A pledge of only $19 will get you the base game and any stretch goals they unlock.

In 2017 Kingdomino won the coveted 2017 Spiel des Jahres award. Designer Bruno Cathala and artist Cyril Bouquet have returned to the -domino world with Queendomino. Blue Orange Games is scheduled to release Queendomino in October at Spiel Essen 2017.

In the award winning Kingdomino players took on the role of  a Lord seeking new lands in which to expand their kingdoms. Players took dominoes with a combination of the games’ 4 terrain types and built out their kingdom, ensuring that at least one of its sides connected to a matching terrain type already in play. When taking the tile they will place, players also choose what tile they will place in the next round. More valuable tiles will provide a later spot in turn order in the next round.

The game ends when players have (ideally) completed a 5×5 grid. Some tiles contain crown symbols on them. At the end of the game players multiple each of their connected terrain types by the number of crowns in that connected terrain area.

Queendomino builds on these simple mechanics. Tiny knights earn your coins. Use the coins to buy pieces from the marketplace which you can place on the new red terrain to improve your kingdom… unless another player has already played the dragon and destroyed that piece from the market! Place tower pieces in your kingdom in an effort to earn the Queen’s favor.

While Queendomino is a stand alone sequel to Kingdomino, the two games can be combined to allow 4 players to play towards a 7×7 grid or for 6 players to play towards a 5×5 grid.

Mayfair Games have announced two new card games that will be coming in September of this year, Run Bunny Run and Food Chain.  Run Bunny Run is a family weight one versus many game where one person plays the bunny, and the rest play the pack of wolves that chases them.  Each turn the wolves will be playing movement cards to try and box in the bunny, while the bunny will be moving relative to the wolves, trying to make it home.  In the end it’s a matter of if the bunny escapes, or if the wolves manage to corner the bunny.  This is for 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, and plays anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes.

Next is Food Chain, a game about out-thinking your opponents in a Rock Paper Scissors kind of way.  Each player has a hand of cards depicting five different animals, each being the predator of one other animal in a circle like Rock Paper Scissors; dog beats cat, flea beats dog, worm beats flea, etc.  On a turn everyone will simultaneously reveal a selected card, any cards that are beaten are collected by the victorious player and then the next round happens.  The game ends when someone is eliminated, and then captured cards are counted and whoever has the most is the winner.  So in the end, the game is all about keeping track of what people have or don’t have, and trying to guess what they will play.  The game plays 3 to 6 people, ages 8 and up in about 30 minutes.

Another week, and another round of Kickstarters to deliver a pounding to your wallet.

First up is an expansion to an award winning game, and that is Beasts of Balance Battles.  Beasts of Balance is a hybrid game where you stack geometrically shaped animals on a platform, and those animals then appear in an app you run to play the game.  Throughout the game you will moving, combining, and stacking animals in an effort to have the highest score in the app by the end of the game.  This is because while you may just stack animals in real life, in the app each action has differing effects, making this dexterity game much more interesting.  What Battles adds to the game is cards that have effects that attack and remove your opponents animals.  There are also a volcano to contend with now and divine guardians that give you special abilities during the game.  So if you want to expand your Beast of Balance game, or jump into the game now, check out the Kickstarter.

Next up is a new tile placement and area control type game called Overworld.  This game aims to capitalize on the nostalgia of Super Nintendo era RPG games, evident in their choice of box design and the similarity of game pieces to quintessential RPG characters.  In this game you are slowing building out the map, and whenever you completely surround an empty square, that becomes a dungeon.  Who controls the dungeon is determined by who holds a majority in all orthogonal directions.  At the end of the game you will trace a route through all your dungeons and however many spaces it takes will be your final score, and most points is the winner.  One other things to mention about this project is the puzzle lock system they came up with for the tiles, essentially making it so that if the pieces fit together, it’s a legal placement of the tile, a nice innovation to help simplify the game.  So if you are interested, head on over to the Kickstarter page to check out this 16-bit themed game.

After that we have a family weight game called Pepper and Carrot, the Potion Contest.  Pepper and Carrot is a tile manipulation game in that each turn you will be using action cards on the table or in your hand to manipulate tiles on your board.  What you are trying to do with those tiles is get the right ingredients connected together to form one of the three recipes on the main board.  Be the first to complete all three recipes and you are the winner.  There are also additional game modes including solo mode and Chaosah mode, where one player plays as an old witch needing only to complete one recipe, but they are at a disadvantage to the other players.  Art is excellent and very light, making this a great looking game.  Check out the Kickstarter today.

Next we have the latest game from Victory Point Games, a deck builder with a board type game called Renegade.  This is a cooperative game where you are playing hackers, fighting against the tyranny of the SMCs (super massive computers) that have brought the world to the brink.  You will use cards to generate resources on the board, and with those resources you can perform various actions to combat the SMCs.  As you generate resources, if you have three of the same kind in a spot you can convert it into an installation, allowing you access to more and stronger abilities.  As with other deck builders there will be a hackers deck that allows you to buy upgraded cards with better resources and abilities.  Can you stop the machines?  Check out the Kickstarter page for more information and to pledge.

Now we get to the smallest of the Kickstarter offerings I will be talking about, and that is Twin Stars by Button Shy Games, part of their Wallet Series of game.  These are a pack of solo game scenarios featuring the same game system, which utilizes four dice, some tokens, and three cards.  The path to victory in each game is very different, but the core of the game is dice rolling to get combinations of symbols to activate abilities.  The choices in the game come from deciding which dice to re-roll, can you accept a bad symbol combination resulting in a penalty, and how will you assign the dice to get the best effect possible.  Some of the scenarios have been released in other Kickstarters like the Rule the World and Escape the Brig, but here you will be able to get everything in one spot, including some unreleased scenarios.  Add in potential stretch goals and you could have lots of solo gaming for not much money.  Check out the Kickstarter page, and you can pledge for just the cards, supplying your own tokens and dice, or go deluxe and get everything you need to play in one package.

Finally we come to the last project I will mention, and that is an expansion to Explorers of the North Sea called Rocks of Ruin.  Explorers of the North Sea is a viking exploration game where you are sailing around in your longships, raiding towns, picking up livestock, deliver the livestock, and building outposts.  There are lots of ways to score points in the game and it came with 48 tiles giving it a play time of about an hour.  Rocks of Ruin adds new things to the game in the form of a 5th player, 24 more tiles that increase the map size by 50%, more buildings, fortresses, and shipwrecks that you can salvage.  So if you like Explorers of the North Sea, this expansion will just give you more of what you love, with the option of adding another friend to the game.  Also being included in this Kickstarter is a mini expansion for Runesaga, adding a fifth player to that along with three runestones and three inscription tiles.  So if you are interested in these expansions, head on over to he Kickstarter page.

It’s official folks, the winners of the Spiel des Jahres awards have all been announced.  The winner for the Spiel des Jahres, game of the year, is the tile laying game, Kingdomino by Bruno Cathala.  This game beat out the two other games, Magic Maze by Kasper Lapp and Race to El Dorado by Reiner Knizia, to win the title.  Kingdomino is an easy to learn and easy to play game, but comes with some nice decision making, and fits well into the family friendly atmosphere of previous Spiel des Jahres winners.  The game is available now so check out your FLGS to get this now award winning family game.

Also announced today was the winner of the Kennerspiel des Jahres, connoisseur/expert game of the year, which is EXIT the Game, a room escape series from Kosmos.  This beat out the first Kickstarter game to be nominated, Raiders of the North Sea, and the fan favorite in other awards, Terraforming Mars.  As of right now there are three EXIT games released with more having been announced, so check out your FLGS to grab a copy today.

As for the Kinderspieal des Jahres, kids game of the year, that was announced as Ice Cool last month, so you can see our previous article to find out more about that game.

The UK Games Expo (UKGE) released it’s attendance numbers for this year, and with a total of 16,383 attendees, they have increased their attendance from last year by around 30%.  This pushes the UKGE up on the list of gaming conventions to be the 3rd largest gaming convention in the world.  Another interesting number is that they showcased 320 different exhibitors, and the attendees attended an average of 2 days with entry numbers over the whole convention being 30,743.  Also announced were the winners of the UKGE Awards for 2017, and they are:

Best Family Game – Sushi Go Party
Best Children’s Game – Baobab
Best Euro Game – SubTerra
Best American Style Game – Dark Souls
Best Strategic Game – The Colonists
Best Card Game – Statecraft
Best Abstract Game – Ominoes
Best Miniatures – Dropfleet Commander
Best Role-Playing Game – Adventures In Middle-Earth Player Guide
Best Role-Playing – Syrinscape
Best Party Game – Chameleon
Best Expansion – Dropfleet Commander: Reconquest Phase Two
Best Accessory – Dropfleet Commander Modular Spacestation Pack
Best Miniatures Rules – Dropfleet Commander

They have also stated that next year the UK Games Expo will be held on June 1st through the 3rd, you can read the full post for more information and to sign up for updates.