GAMA Trade Show

At the recent GAMA trade show, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with “Az” Drummond, the Communications and Community Manager for Mythic Games. Az is an incredibly charismatic sort, and the love of Mythic’s games just screams from his very pores, making conversation easy. The next time I am in Ireland, this is a man I need to visit.

The first game we discussed was Solomon Kane, by designer Jake Thornton, successfully Kickstarted in July 2018. Solomon Kane is a story driven game, starring the well known character from Robert E. Howard‘s short stories, a 16th century puritan looking to vanquish evil. Players each take control of one aspect of Kane, playing either his Courage, Temperance, Justice or Prudence, influencing Solomon as he makes choices in his adventures. Games are organized into scenario “Chapters”, 8-10 of which comprise a story arc, known as an Act. The game includes an immense 35 Acts in 14 Adventures. The word count alone on Solomon Kane exceeds 250,000, which comprises the original short stories and new material, including settings in the United States. The game will be a powerhouse of miniatures, with 107 unique sculpts in the 178 miniatures included in the game. The titular Kane alone will have multiple unique figures showing his various trials and tribulations as he progresses through the stories. Mythic Games holds regular “What’s Up Wednesdays” to publicly discuss their games in development, and Solomon Kane in particular has benefited from these. Az states that when Kane delivers it will be easily twice as deep and rich as it was in the Kickstarter, with more stories, more content and more options.

The next game we discussed was the Kickstarter powerhouse Time of Legends: Joan of Arc, which earned almost $2.2 million, and funded in 3 minutes. Kickstarter backers will be excited to hear that wave 1 is shipping this May, with wave 2 following later in the summer. Joan is a story intense game, with multiple scenarios that use strong narrative to emphasize the RPG elements of this miniatures heavy game. Mythic had samples of the miniatures available to see, and before people ask – the dragon was breathtaking. This particular sculpt went through 6 versions before the final was selected, a massively detailed beast with a 54mm wingspan. The scale is so impressive, one can place a standard human mini fully within the dragon’s mouth, and yes, I did just that. Joan is also playable in a skirmish mode, with 2 players selecting armies by point value in order to play a more traditional miniatures game.

Joan of Arc will be also be having a retail release in November. This core set is for 2 players, includes 5 scenarios newly made for retail, and a hand picked 73 miniatures. Az was sure to emphasize that Kickstarter exclusives will remain just that – exclusive, and that Kickstarter backers are guaranteed to receive their games before retail.

The newest game from Mythic shown at GAMA was Super Fantasy Brawl, by designer Jochen Eisenhuth. The rumor is that Jochen presented his game to Mythic in such a complete state that very little had to be refined, other than the final art, and Mythic signed him on the spot. Super Fantasy Brawl (SFB) is a card based miniatures arena combat game, with more than a dozen champions coming in the core game. Players pick 3 champions and shuffle their specific card decks together, creating a team to fight in the arena. Obstacles and arena elements can influence battle, such as pillars of magic which add abilities. SFB uses a beautiful cartoon fantasy style of art, made popular by games such as World of Warcraft. The included characters span all genres of fantasy, and include pirates, samurai, trolls, vampires, werewolves, and more. I even saw an early sketch of an Aztec warrior wielding a blow gun astride a raptor mount, and it looked fantastic. The plan is to bring Super Fantasy Brawl to Kickstarter this summer, followed by retail release, then monthly champion packs starting Q1 2020, each with one miniature and its own deck of 6 cards. For more details, check out Mythic Games’ website on Brawl here.

Games Workshop made a number of announcements at the 2019 GAMA Trade Show.

First up is Warcry, a new skirmish game designed by the same team who created Warhammer 40K: Kill Team and Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire. However, this isn’t just an Age of Sigmar reskin of any of their existing games. Warcry features new game mechanisms, and features character driven campaigns where warbands of Chaos grow and develop through their own journey. All models for the game are brand new and highlights the diversity in the Chaos faction who make their dark pilgrimage to the Varanspire.

The Games Workshop and Steve Jackson Games mashup continues as they’ve announced Warhammer Age of Sigmar Munchkin. Now players can kick down doors and fight the forces of Chaos with a dollop of good humor splashed in.

Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress will also get a Traitor Command adventure pack which sends players into darkness to crush a growing Chaos threat. New hostiles include the Traitor Commissar and Chaos Ogryn. Traitor Command can be tackled as a standalone expedition or added to the main quest.

The immensely popular Warhammer 40K: Kill Team also gets an expansion in Kill Team: Elites which brings the deadliest troops to skirmish combat in the 41st Millennium. Players will be able to add Terminators and Crisis Battlesuits, including the Vanguard Space Marines from Shadowspear, Mandrakes, and Striking Scorpions. A new faction, the Adeptus Custodes, the most elite Kill Team in the game, also make their debut. Players can also expect a host of boxed expansions with themed, ready-to-go warriors to be added to the game.

For more information on these games and a number of other announcements for their miniatures products, you can check the coverage on Games Workshop’s website for more information.

At the recent GAMA 2019 Trade Show, Asmodee North America announced that they entered into an agreement with CMON Limited to exclusively distribute the publisher’s board and tabletop games in North America.

CMON’s game library includes hit titles such as Zombicide, Arcadia Quest, Blood Rage, Rising Sun, and A Song of Ice & Fire Miniatures Game. The distribution deal will go into effect in the Spring of 2019. CMON will continue to run their Kickstarter campaigns, and provide support for them to regular and retail backers. Asmodee North America will handle support for non-Kickstarter related issues.

For more information regarding the announcement you can read the full statement on the Asmodee website.

Here is the second and final part of interviews and sneak peeks of what I was able to see at the GAMA Trade Show. Hopefully I’ve saved the best for last.

Frank West, designer of City of Kings, and one heck of a guy, discussed City of Games’ upcoming title Rising Blades, a competitive worker placement / tile placement game with RPG elements. In Rising Blades, players add tiles to a growing map each round, in which they can move, fight monsters and develop their unique asymmetric characters. Expect Rising Blades to hit Kickstarter at the end of the year.

Czech Games Edition (CGE) showed the unique cooperative deduction word game Letter Jam from designer Ondra Skoupý. In Letter Jam, players receive a set of facedown letters delivered from an app, and the goal is to deduce these letters. Each player places one of these cards facing the other players in a style akin to Hanabi, so that you can see everyone’s secret letter except your own. Players then make words with the letters, giving clues as to what other players’ hidden letters may be.

Forbidden Games confirmed an expansion for the popular auction stock market game Raccoon Tycoon by designer Glenn Drover is in the works. The expansion should include a 6th player, more buildings and a new railroad type.

Stephen Buonocore, the evil genius behind Stronghold Games was kind enough to reveal some further details about the 5th and final big expansion to their evergreen hit Terraforming Mars, Terraforming Mars; Turmoil. Turmoil, the only expansion to be released in 2019, will be labeled as an “expert” expansion, meant for more experienced players. In short, this expansion involves politics. Mars has established a Martian Senate, composed of several parties, each with its own agenda. The Red party is interested in keeping Mars pristine and untouched, the Green party wants full terraforming, the Kelvinists want more heat, etc. Players can place delegates, trying to gain control of parties, or even the entire senate. A face-up line of Event Cards show what influences each party will have over the next several turns. Expect Terraforming Mars:Turmoil to hit Kickstarter in April/May.

For years, the most common grail game among gamers, the one game that was the most desired and unattainable, was the infamous Dune (1979) board game from publisher Avalon Hill and designers Bill Eberle, Jack Kitteredge, and Peter Olatka. This classic game involved negotiation, area control, asymmetric player factions in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, and a hidden bid battle system. Dune had not seen a reprint since 1984, excepting a rare French release in 1993. Fantasy Flight released Rex (2012), capturing most of the elements of the Dune game, except for any actual Dune license or content. Last week all of this changed.

Dune had hit a lull of licensing, but recently things got exciting again. A new movie from Legendary Entertainment is due to hit in 2020, and last August, Gale Force 9 announced they had acquired a multi year licensing deal with the Frank Herbert Estate and Legendary Pictures to create Dune board games. Last week at the GAMA trade show, Gale Force 9 announced they were bringing back the classic game Dune, with later twitter confirmation by the designers.

The interesting part of the GF9 presentation was the slide used to show the game. For years, Dune has had an active print and play audience for people wanting to update the board, cards, and components of their old Dune copies. One of the most popular artists was boardgamegeek user Ilya, and it appears GF9 used this art in their presentation. If this is an indication that the official reprint will use this spectacular art, it would make many people very happy, but at this point it is highly speculative.

I was lucky enough to be able to prowl around the GAMA trade show this past week, and have collected some early stories from some of the designers and publishers present. So without further delay, here are some of the stories I found interesting at GAMA.

Designer Keith Matejka talked about Fiends & Familiars, the next expansion for Thunderworks Games popular dice placement game Roll Player. Fiends are small cards attached to the initiative row, which give players a disadvantage when taking the more prized positions, but can be banished by using charisma tokens. Familiars give players 3 more spaces for dice placement, and unique player powers. Also in the expansion are two colored dice, very flexible in placement but only showing up to 4 pips. The Kickstarter for Fiends and Familiars is scheduled for Summer of 2019.

Breaking Games showed off Dwellings of Eldervale by designer Luke Laurie, a complex worker placement engine building game with unique player powers, miniatures, resource collection and card play. Special workers can be earned, and monsters on the board can be a source of both conflict and reward. Dwellings also includes a mechanism allowing players to have a worker “settle down”, and create a permanent dwelling on the board, represented by placing a great roof piece on the meeple. This worker is now lost to the player, but generates unique resources and abilities. Dwellings of Eldervale is expected to come to Kickstarter this summer.

I was able to look at a new, as yet unnamed, variation on an escape room game from the geniuses at Cranio Creations (Newton, Lorenzo Il Magnifico). The game is composed of a cardboard box frame, the size of a standard square board game box. Cards slot into the top of the box. The sides of the box have open windows to peer down, through which one can see the cards, revealing objects and clues. An app tells the player how these objects relate to the story, and how to react – is. Remove a certain card, peer down a certain hall. Look for this innovative puzzle from Cranio in the coming year.

Smirk and Dagger games founder Curt Covert discussed the Cutthroat Caverns Anniversary edition coming this August. The new edition will include the core set with new art and tighter rules, but will be fully compatible with the rest of this classic game. Concurrent with the new release will be the digital Cutthroat Caverns app, which includes several AI opponents, each with their own evil agenda.

Stayed tuned for the second half of breaking GAMA news coming soon.

Just revealed at the GAMA Trade Show in Reno, Nevada, two enticing new products are on their way from WizKids themed on the ever-popular Magic: The Gathering trading card game. The first, Heroes of Dominaria, is a euro-style board game where 2 to 4 players explore iconic regions from the series while collecting mana, recruiting heroes, and uncovering artifacts to press an advantage in this competitive game. There’s an element of territory control as planeswalkers will construct leylines and sites to capitalize on resources and locations in order to secure the most points and claim victory. As described in the press release:

     “In Magic: The Gathering: Heroes of Dominaria Board Game, players take on the role of a powerful Hero as they travel to the lands of Dominaria. As the player explores the ancient lands, they will need to build sites, rediscover lost artifacts, and confront the sinister Cabal in order to gain the resources needed to save the multiverse before rival Heroes do. […] The land of Dominaria is filled with adventure and excitement! In true Eurogame fashion, use strategy to score the most victory points and emerge victorious.”

Heroes of Dominaria will be releasing in two versions – a standard version and a premium version, the only difference being that the premium game will include 4 pre-painted miniatures. Speaking of miniatures, the second product revealed is the Magic: The Gathering Creature Forge: Overwhelming Swarm. This new line will start with 28 sculpts that are meant to be used as stand-ins for the most common creature tokens used in the card game. Magic players have been slightly spoiled for choice when it comes to token representation in their matches, but miniatures are not-at-all unwelcome and will surely be a compelling and eye-catching option. For more information regarding these two new products from WizKids, be sure to check out their press release and website for further updates.

Smirk and Dagger are shifting into overdrive with game releases this year, and one of them is the new real-time game Paramedics Clear!  This is a game all about saving lives, a bit of a departure from the normal back-stabby type games that Smirk and Dagger are known for.  However, from the comments on the announcement, this doesn’t seem to be a cooperative game as there are opportunities to mess with your fellow players.  Needless to say it looks like an interesting game, and those attending GAMA this week will be able to preview it before it’s release later this year.

cool mini or not banner

Cool Mini Or Not, international publisher of boardgames, tabletop games and apps, would like to announce that they have brought two new members onto the team: Jules Vautour as Sales Director, and Ruby Nikolopoulou as Marketing Director.  Both of these individuals have many years of experience combined between the two of them, and below is an excerpt from CMON’s official press release about this new staff acquisition:

Jules has been part of the toy and games industry for many years, ranging from the retail side to distribution to publishing. For the past four years, he was the Sales Director for Asmodee Editions US, and before that he was the Sales Manager for îlot 307.

Ruby comes to CMON with a vast history of business development and marketing experience. For the past seven years, she was the Marketing Director for Asmodee Editions US, and before that worked with Sony, Motorola and Packard Bell.

Jules and Ruby will both be on hand during the GAMA Trade Show from March 14 to 18. CMON is located at booth #107. Don’t miss our presentations “Retailers and OP” on Tuesday, March 15 from 11am to 12pm and “What’s Next” on Wednesday, March 16 from 10am to 11am.

For more information about Cool Mini Or Not, visit their website here.

ra board

Asmodee gave an exciting new announcement this week at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas: a new edition of Reiner Knizia’s fast-paced auction game, Ra.  In the game, players compete to build the best Ancient Egyptian civilization by using actions to acquire tiles.  Tiles collected represent cultural achievements, architectural wonders, Ancient Egyptian deities, and even the Nile itself.  Player turns involve either adding to the pool of tiles or “invoking Ra” to hold an auction to bid on tiles.  The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.  The game is for 2-5 players and plays in under an hour.

The game will be released by a new publishing studio in the Asmodee Group, WindRider Games.  This new edition features an all new graphic design based on the art of Ancient Egypt, and is the third game in the Euro Classics line, which WindRider is taking over from Fantasy Flight Games.

Steven Kimball, head of WindRider Games, expressed his excitement that Ra would be WindRider’s first release.  “It’s one of Dr. Knizia’s most beloved designs because of its high amount of player interaction and the difficult decisions that create tense, dramatic gaming moments,” said Kimball.

Ra is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2016.