family game

Origins is one of the biggest conventions in the US for gaming, and they have been giving out their awards for the best each year.  The different categories include family games, role-playing games, card games, game accessories, board games, collectible games (CCG, TCG, etc.), miniatures, and finally a Game of the Year.  Some of the past winners include great games like Codenames, Imperial Assault, and 7 Wonders Duel, so you know bad games aren’t getting these awards.  But that’s enough background information, here are the nominees for the 2017 Origins Awards:

Family Games (6 Nominees)

Role-Playing Game (10 Nominees)

  • 7th Sea: Second Edition by John Wick Presents (designed by John Wick, Mike Curry, Rob Justice, Mark Diaz Truman, Jesse Heinig)
  • Curse of Strahd by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
  • No Thank You, Evil! by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Fantasy Flight (designed by Tim Flanders, Corey Konieczka, and Sam Stewart)
  • Shadowrun-Seattle Sprawl by Catalyst Game Labs (designed by Raymond Croteau, Jason Hardy, James Meiers, O.C. Presley, Scott Schletz, R.J. Thomas, Malik Toms, Thomas Willoughby, CZ Wright, and Russell Zimmerman)
  • Symbaroum by Järnringen and co-published by Modiphius Entertainment (designed by Martin Grip, Mattias Johnsson, Mattias Lilja and Johan Nohr.
  • Storm King’s Thunder by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jenna Helland, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
  • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire-Special Modifications by Fantasy Flight (designed by Blake Bennett, Tim Cox, Jordan Goldfarb, Sterling Hershey and Monte Lin)
  • The One Ring: Horse: Lords of Rohan by Cubicle 7 (designed by Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Francesco Nepitello, and James Spahn)
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Ed Greenwood, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Kim Mohan, Christopher Perkins, Sean K. Reynolds, Matthew Sernett, Chris Sims, and Steve Winter)

Traditional Card Games (8 Nominees)

Game Accessories (4 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage Organizer by The Broken Token (designed by Greg Spence)
  • Dungeon Morph Dice Adventurer Set by Inkwell Ideas / Q-Workshop (designed by Joe Wetzel, Dyson Logos, Matt Jackson, Shane Knysh, Tim Ballew, Dave Millar, Sigurd Johansson, AJ Stone)
  • Flip ‘N Tray Mat Case by Ultimate Guard (designed by Adrian Alonso)
  • Improved D Total by Gamescience (designed by Dr. A.F. Simkin, Col. Louis Zocchi, Frank Dutrait)

Board Games (10 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage by (designed by Eric M. Lang)
  • Clank! by Renegade Games (designed by Paul Dennen)
  • Cry Havoc by Portal Games (designed by Grant Rodiek, Michael Oracz, Michael Walczak)
  • Feast for Odin by Z Man Games/Asmodee (designed by Uwe Rosenberg)
  • Islebound by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
  • Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight/Asmodee (designed by Christopher Burdett, Anders Finér, Henning Ludvigsen)
  • Scythe by Stonemaier Games (designed by Jamey Stegmaier)
  • Star Wars Rebellion by Fantasy Flight (designed by Corey Konieczka)
  • Terraforming Mars by (designed by Jacob Fryxelius)
  • World’s Fair 1893 by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games (designed by J. Alex Kevern)

Collectible Games (5 Nominees)

  • Yu-Gi-Oh Breaker of Shadow Booster by Konami (designed by Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Pokémon XY11 Steam Siege Booster by Pokémon USA (designed by The Pokémon Company)
  • Magic the Gathering: Kaladesh Booster Pack by Wizards of the Coast
  • Marvel HeroClix: Uncanny X-Men Booster Brick by WizKids (designed by WizKids)
  • Cardfight Vanguard Fighters Collection by Bushiroad

Miniatures (5 Nominees)

  • Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team by Games Workshop
  •  Konflikt ’47 by Warlord Games (designed by Clockwork Goblin Miniatures)
  • Dragon Rampant by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine
  • TANKS by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine (designed by Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates)
  • Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames (designed by Andy Chambers and David Lewis)

Cartagena is an older game designed by Leo Colovini and is often described as a gamer’s version of Candy Land.  To play the game you will play a card from your hand and move one of your pirates forward, similar to the kids game.  But you have a finite number of cards, and in order to draw cards back up you have to move one of your pirates back.  This creates lots of choices because as you get your pirates out, you have less options and so you have to plan for that.  If you don’t properly plan you may end up unable to take the actions you want.  First person to get all their pirates out is the winner.

Now Rio Grande Games is reprinting this classic but also updating it and including the squeal game, Cartagena 2: The Pirate’s Nest, right in the box.  The art has been overhauled and several new variants have been included in the box to make the game feel fresh.  So if you want to get your hands on the new Cartagena, look for it on store shelves later this month.

Courtesy of Publisher

First is a new addition to the Pie Face line and that is Pie Face Sky High.  This version takes the possibility of getting hit in the face with a “pie”, and adds it to a High Striker game you would find at carnivals.  With the included spinner you will spin and find out how many hits you get with the hammer, and hopefully you aren’t the one behind the board when it hits the top.  Look for this game in the fall of 2017.

Courtesy of Publisher

The second is another edition of the completely hygienic game, Speak Out, called Speak Out: Kids vs. Parents.  In this version of the game Kids will have their own deck of cards with phrases often muttered by children, and the parents will get their own deck with phrases they often say.  Playing the game is the same as before with both parent and child wearing a mouth piece while they try to read their phrase.  If your team is able to decipher the phrase you get a point, and most points at the end will be the winner.  Look for this game in spring of this year.

A lot of new games are coming from Thames and Kosmos this year so lets run down the list, starting first with the undersea search game, Lagoonies.  In this game you are trying to find gloop spirits by diving into the water, but they change places as the octopus rotates so you have to pay attention.  The game comes with some nifty looking clear water pool type pieces and should only aid in the fun.  Look for this on store shelves in July.

Next is Monster Trap, a Labyrinth like game where you are trying to push the monsters in the mansion into the trap before they can scare your grandma.  The game is for two to four players and each player will control a different kind of movement for the monsters, and whoever collects the most monsters in the trap will be the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in June.

After that is Jungle Party, a memory type game where you are having to remember where certain animals are in order to advance.  The board has lanes you will push tiles of animals through that are partially covered and partially not, so as you push the animals through you have to remember where they are.  So those with a good memory should easily find their way to the goal and win!  Look for this game on store shelves in July.

Harry the Hopper is a simple dexterity game where you are playing as grasshoppers trying to knock down blades of grass.  Play is simple in that you just take aim, and launch your grasshopper, trying to knock over as many blocks as possible.  The game ends when someone knocks down the king’s red blade of grass, but you better have knocked over all your grass beforehand.  Look for this game in stores in June.

Up next is Thames and Kosmos entry into the room escape genre with their EXIT series of games.  Each set will present you with a different scenario where you have to escape, like a lab or an abandoned cabin.  In May you will see the release of the first three in the series; The Secret Lab, The Pharaoh’s Tomb, and The Abandoned Cabin.  Each set contains decks of cards and some other components you will need to escape each room.  Good luck.

Next is a word guessing game like Taboo called Word Slam.  How this game differentiates itself is that instead of coming up with the descriptor words, you have to use the cards in the box to describe the word.  So you will have to get a bit creative with the word associations, but leave a trail of clues for the guessers to follow and they just might get there.  This game should be arriving in June of this year.

Mag-O-Mag is a vertical magnetic game where you will have one player on one side watching the game pieces and giving instructions, with another player on the other side actually moving the piece.  You will have to communicate well in order to accomplish the objective which could be speed, accuracy, or being able to collect the most loot.  Look for this game on store shelves in August.

Previously we talked about Pillars of the Earth finally being reprinted, and now we have a new game in the book series being made, A Column of Fire.  Not much is known about the game yet, but the setting seems to be for a political type game as you try to position yourself to be the most powerful.  More information should come out as we get closer to it’s release in September.

Next is Kerala, a colorful looking tile placement game where you are trying to collect all the colors, but also linking all the colors together.  In the game you will pull tiles from the bag and then draft them, adding them to your display adjacent to your elepheeples (elephant meeples).  Plan wisely and draft well and you will come out on top.  Look for this game in stores in July.

And finally, the last game that was announced was Brutal Kingdom, a take that type card game where you are trying to be the one who survives to rule the country.  In the game the king, or queen, has just been killed and now the question of who will rule the country is being asked.  On each turn you will play a card and carry out the action, hopefully moving yourself one step closer to victory.  Whoever gains the most influence will be the new king or queen of the country.  Look for this game in stores in June.


Gamewright, makers of great games like Forbidden Desert, Sushi Go Party, and Qwixx, are rolling out with no less than nine games/reprints for 2017.  The games Gamewright usually put out are very family friendly and often include the younger kids as well, so no doubt their new releases will follow suit.  And they are:

  • Cha-Cha Chihuahua – A vibrant new “get up and dance” preschool game with some adorable doggies.
  • Go Nuts for Donuts! – Our next sure-fire hit family card game about picking the donuts that no one else will pick
  • Cardventures #3 and #4, Vanished & Time Raiders – Two new installments in this interactive story series.
  • Qwingo – A fast paced dice game that the whole family can enjoy.  Another in the line of roll a die and cross off something on a pad.
  • Rory’s Story Cubes Fantasia – A 9-cube fantasy themed version of our best-selling creativity tool.
  • Tiki Topple (reprint)  A revamped look and feel to this simple to learn game of getting your tiki’s to the top.
  • Loot (reprint) – Deluxe Tin – An old favorite sporting a new look, can you be the pirate with the most loot?
  • Think ‘n Sync – The new Port-a-Party game where great minds think alike, pick a category and a partner and see if you both are on the same wavelength.
  • PDQ (reprint) – An update of this “all-play” word-building game.

All these great games are coming out in spring of 2017, so look for them on store shelves then.


Meduris is the latest in the strategy game line that HABA has been putting out, and this one seems to be the most complicated one yet.  In Meduris you are trying to score the most points through building huts and temples, collecting runes, and making offerings to the traveling druid.  You will do this through some worker placement where you send your workers to sites to collect resources based on a die roll.  You then use those resources to build huts and temples, but be careful with the huts, the bigger your string of huts the more you have to pay to build one.  When you build huts in certain spots you also get rune stones that can help you, and then there are temples that score based on what’s around them while breaking up the settlements into smaller chunks.  Lastly a druid will be traveling around the board and when he gets to a town, you will visit each player in that town to ask for an offering.  If you pay the offering you will score points based on the town size, so you have to decide if the resources are worth giving up or not when he shows up.  Most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Tom has already done a video review of this game and given it a Seal of Approval, so look for it on store shelves now or very soon.


Tapple is the mass market game that is all about stringing together words starting with a different letters of the alphabet under a time crunch.  It came with this big letter wheel that acted as both a timer and a way to keep track of which letters had been used already.  If the timer buzzed while on your turn you are out of the round, last one standing gets a point, and the winner was the one with the most points.

Tapple 10 is a new micro version of the game and does away with the bulky electronic component and opts for cards and a sleek app for scores and timing, although it does come with a sand timer.  Tapple 10 has ten different ways you can play the game like the standard version of the previous game, and many other variations using the letters and topic cards.  So if you enjoyed the big game and would like to try out a more compact version, head to your local department store to pick up your copy of Tapple 10.


Hasbro continues to search for new talent in the area of hobby games and so has selected five finalists for their latest Next Great Game contest.  There is no particular theme to this contest unlike some of the previous ones, and at least one of the games is something I think would appeal to a lot of board gamers.  The finalist are:

  • Lair – this is a two player dungeon exploration game where you create the dungeon on a sheet first, then you will take turns exploring it, revealing things as you go until the hero perishes or finds all the loot
  • Colossal Blob – this is a card game where you are trying to grow your blob to colossal size by playing out in order, 1-4 and then a colossal card on top.  While that sounds easy there are plenty of attack cards which will knock up back down so you have to grow back up again.
  • The Plot Thickens – this is a story telling game where you are telling a story using cards that represent people, places, and things.  The more plot points you are able to fit into your story, the more likely you are to be able to tell the ending, while the player who got referenced to the most gets to name it.
  • Plank and Rank – this is best described as a race game as you try to build your bridge across the river and then try to get your army across faster.  The number of army guys you get to move each turn is determined by a 10 sided die, with the option to move either a line of X guys one space, or one guy X spaces, where X is your die roll.
  • On The Slopes – this is a game all about skiing and trying to visit all the lodges on the mountain.  On your turn you have three actions to use, going up a lift will take an action, visiting a lodge takes an action, but going down a slope takes a variable amount of actions.  This is because you can choose what difficulty of slope you take down, beginner slopes guarantee you make it but cost 2 actions.  Intermediate and advanced slopes take fewer actions but you have to roll a die, possibly giving you wipeout cards that have negative effects on them.

All the games are currently up on Indiegogo and if they get at least 100 backers then they will be considered for the final win on November 13th.  Personally I hope On The Slopes takes the win, but everyone has different tastes in games, and right now The Plot Thickens is doing the best.


To add to the ever-growing list of board games that are being digitized in one form or another, Flash Point Fire Rescue will be joining their ranks in 2017.

Published by Indie Boards & Cards, Flash Point Fire Rescue from Kevin Lanzing  is a cooperative game where you take on the role of a firefighter attempting to rescue victims trapped in a building.  Each firefighter gains a special ability to help the team achieve this goal.  You must be quick, for as the fire spreads,  the building starts to weaken.  This could cut off rooms trapping someone in a room filled with fire or hazardous materials which may explode!  7 victims rescued is a win for the team, whereas 4 victims perishing is a loss.

Flash Point Fire Rescue, the digital version, will contain everything that you know and love from the board game.  No setup required…just start up the game and off you go!  The game will launch with 2 maps, lots of victims to rescue, and 8 different firefighters to choose from.  You can play solo, or with friends through online multiplayer.

Many more details are still unknown at this time, so be sure to check back with Dice Tower News for further updates.

For further information on Flash Point Fire Rescue the board game, please click here and here.


Renegade Games has been on a hot streak as of late getting their games ported over to other languages.  First was their newest release, Lotus, getting a Japanese translation, and now World’s Fair 1893 will be getting a German release courtesy of DLP Games.  World’s Fair 1893 is a family weight game where you are drafting cards in order to get sets of tickets for each ride, and securing control of areas on the board to score points.  All told the game is getting great reviews and so it’s no surprise that they were able to get it localized in another language.  The German language version of the game will be at Essen, and then in wide release soon after so keep an eye out for it.  You can read the full press release from Renegade Games below.

Renegade Game Studios and DLP Games to release German version of World’s Fair 1893

San Diego, CA (Oct. 10th, 2016) — Renegade Game Studios™, the premier publisher of original games has partnered with DLP Games, a leading German publishing company, to release a localized version of the historically inspire game, World’s Fair 1893.

With three full print runs in the US, the game has been successful with experienced, casual, and new gamers as well as reviewers and award committees.

The World’s Fair of 1893 in Chicago was a spectacular international exhibition that showcased many great achievements in science, technology, culture, and entertainment. Acting as organizers of the fair, players work diligently to increase their influence throughout the fair and obtain the grand exhibits that will be put on display. The organizer who has earned the best reputation when the fair begins will emerge the victor!

“The World’s Fair 1893 is such an carefully thought-out Euro-style game that we are delighted to partner with DLP.” says Renegade President Scott Gaeta. “We look forward to sharing it with fans in Germany through this partnership.”

Look for World’s Fair 1893 in German at the DLP Games booth or in English at friendly local game stores in the US and online. World’s Fair 1893 takes about 40 minutes to play and is for 2-4 players ages 10+. It is co-published with Foxtrot Games in the US and has won numerous awards including the Mesa Select Award in 2016.

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