Gamewright

Gamewright has announced they are bringing the fast frantic party game Guju Guju (2015) to western shores. Originally a Taiwanese game from
publisher GeGe Co. Ltd. and designer Ariel Yi Chi Chang, Guju Guju is a speed game for 2-5 players. Players are each dealt 20 of the whimsically illustrated round cards in a face down deck, each card depicting 1 of 4 types of fruit, then 13 of the cards are placed face up on the table. On a player’s turn they announce a fruit, then cover one of that type of card on the table from their face down deck. If they happen to play the fruit they predicted, every player races to cover all the cards with that named fruit as fast as possible. The first player to empty their personal deck wins. For more details and images, check out Gamewright’s web page on Guju Guju here.

Gamewright has been in the business of making family games for 25 years. To celebrate this milestone, Gamewright is releasing a bunch of new games at the Toy Fair held in New York City, February 16-19. Here is a quick look at the titles to be released.

Guju Guju will receive it first English release from Gamewright.  In Guju Guju, a number of fruit cards are placed face up on the table and the rest is divided amongst the players.  Players take turns guesses which fruit is on the card they flip over from their deck.  When one guesses correctly, everyone races to discard their cards onto the matching fruit cards in the center of the table.  The first player who discard all his cards first wins.  Guju Guju plays 2-5 players, 6+, in 5-10 minutes. It comes with 120 cards.

Rat-a-Tat Roll is a follow up to Rat-a-Tat Cat.  In Rat-a-Tat Roll, player moved around the board trying to collect low cards (cats) while avoiding high cards (rats). Players choose how many dice they roll (one, two or three) for the best chance to land on the best spots. The player with the lowest score at the end wins. Rat-a-Tat Roll plays 2-5 players, 6+, in about 15 minutes. Contents include 45 cards, 15 tokens, 4 dice, 1 figurine, gameboard, and rules.

Twin It! also gets its first English release from Gamewright.  In Twin It! players quickly reveal card the cards on the table and seek to find matches before the others.  Over a hundred cards with colorful designs by Tom Vuarchex (Skull) look deceptively similar to other cards, so players have to be perceptive as well as quick. Twin It! plays 2-6 players, 6+, in 5-10 minutes. It comes with 135 cards and a sand timer.

Sushi Roll is a dice version of the ever popular Sushi Go! Instead of drafting cards, players draft dice from their conveyor belt and roll to place on their tray.  Menu tokens allow players to re-roll a dice and chopsticks allow players to swap dice with another player. Sushi Roll plays 2-5 players, 8+, in 20 minutes.  Contents include 30 dice, 40 scoring tokens, 20 pudding tokens, 18 menu tokens, 12 chopsticks tokens, 5 conveyor belts, 5 trays, dice bag, and rules.

Bloom is roll and write game where players roll colorful dice and circle the corresponding groups of flowers in matching color in the flower field (their score pad). Players need to make the most of their field as they decide how best to collect the flowers for their bouquets for scoring.  Bloom plays 2-5 players, 8+, in 20 minutes, and includes 6 dice, scorepad, and rules.

Punto is an abstract strategy game where players attempt to connect four of their cards in a row.  Players play cards next to each other to make or block connections.  Additionally, players can also place higher value cards on top of lower value cards, so card value during placement is very important.  Punto plays 2-4 players, 8+, in about 20 minutes, and includes 72 cards.

This Game Goes to Eleven is a clever hand management game named after a joke in the film This Is Spinal Tap.  Player play cards from their hand into a pile seeking to raise the pile sum to 11. If they reach exactly 11, they pass the pile to another player.  If they cause sum to exceed 11, they take the pile.  The first player to discard all their cards is the winner.  This Game Goes to Eleven plays 2-5 players, 8+, in about 20 minutes, and includes 72 cards.

 Whozit? Is a cooperative party game where player secretly pick a character from a lineup and tip off teammates by rating how well a pair of clues applies to your choice. Your team can only win by eliminating all of the unlikely suspects and correctly guessing your identity.  Whozit? plays 2+ players, ages 10+, in about 20 minutes.  Contents include 100 character cards, 50 clue cards, 10 number tokens, 10 number cards, a score board, clue meter, pawn, and rules.

Hello My Name Is is the latest party game from Gamewright. Each card looks like the well-known name tag but instead lists a trait.  Players play a trait and race to name someone who fits the description.  The player with the most trait cards at the end is the winner. Hello My Name Is plays 3-8 players, ages 12+, in about 15 minutes.

Upon hearing of the announcement of the title This Game Goes to Eleven, likely many fans like myself  of the film This Is Spinal Tap (1984) expected to see a licensed IP game from the film, similar to the more than five games out in the last five years from The Princess Bride (1987). Alas, this is not the case, and instead the game is loosely based on the general idea from the film’s iconic joke. But before you write the game off completely, it is being published by Gamewright, who have had several notable and successful games in the past with hits like Sushi Go Party and Forbidden Desert.

This family-weight game features 72 cards and a guitar pick, and allows 2-6 players (ages 8+) to have rocking time adding cards to the center pile to 11 in a quick 15-20 minute play session.

This Game Goes to Eleven had its sneak peek at GenCon 2018, and is out in the US as a Target store exclusive, similar to recent titles such as Megaland and Ticket to Ride: New York. More info on This Game Goes to Eleven can be found at Gamewright’s website.

Hopefully this games lives up to the classic joke from character Nigel Tufnel, and BoardGameGeek ratings will have to follow IMDB’s rating scale for the movie This Is Spinal Tap and will have to max out at 11 when the page is created.

ASTRA or the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association has announced their Best Toys For Kids Awards for 2018. They describe their awards as:

“…the Best Toys for Kids Award is intended to heighten consumer awareness of the value of creative, open-ended play and the role that independent, locally owned toy stores play in providing children quality playthings that promote happy, healthy, and productive childhoods.”

A great goal to be sure! Let’s see what retailers around America have picked as their favorites.

Best Game Night Award  is ITZI by the makers of TENZI. Answer the given questions as fast as you can, but you can only use the letters in front of you! Be the first to use all 5 of your cards first and you win! Fast, fun, competitive and definitely great for game night!

Game Play Under 7 Award is Gnomes at Night a cooperative board game by Peaceable Kingdom-A Mindware Brand. For ages 6 and up use your skill and quickness to recover the Queen’s treasures in the twisty castle. The Gnome pieces are magnetic adding an element of dexterity and sensory development for the littles in your group!

Best Game for 7+ is Forbidden Sky by Gamewright. I am personally, really excited for this one! Not even released for retail yet this is the third installment in the Forbidden Series of games that started on and island moved to a desert and now soar to new heights as you investigate a suspicious air base. This game actually includes an electric circuit players need to assemble correctly before the platform falls to the earth! Coming Soon to your favorite game retailer!

Best Game Strategy is Photosynthesis by Blue Orange Games. Learn how trees grow as you play through the process of Photosynthesis. Plant your trees in optimal soil and expose them to the most sunlight so they grow the biggest and most healthy. Avoid the shade because no sun equals no growth for your little tree. This game is also environmentally friendly being made from 100% recycled cardboard.

 

Sneaky Cards is a social game where each card depicts some kind of objective you have to achieve, like playing a game with a stranger, finding someone wearing a pink tie, or writing someone a poem.  All of the cards are meant to get you to do things you may not normally do and bring a little random fun into the world, and then spread it around.  That’s because after you complete an objective, you are to hand off the card and then they are tasked with achieving the card’s objective.  This new set, Sneaky Cards 2, has the same randomness that the first one did, but with 54 all new tasks to be completed like challenging someone to a dance off, having an impromptu surprise party, or giving someone flowers.  Needless to say if you are an outgoing person this deck of cards is right up your alley, if not, then having concrete objectives to achieve might just help you come out of your shell.  You can find out more information on Gamewright’s website, and look for these on store shelves later in July.

Gamewright are at the New York Toy Fair and have revealed Forbidden Sky: Height of Danger by Matt Leacock. The reveal was done on their Facebook and Instagram accounts as well. Unfortunately, the game’s box cover is all that’s been revealed but we do at least know the game will be for 2-5 players, aged 10+.

Steve Jackson Games have taken mosquito DNA from amber and fused it with Munchkin to create their next expansion. Munchkin 9: Jurassic Snark will include dinosaur steeds, carnivorous baddies behind those doors, and some primevil loot to get you to level 10 for the win. You can mix this set with any base version of Munchkin. The new expansion features 112 cards drawn by John Kovalic and will be released in October 2018. More information can be found on the Steve Jackson Games website.

Ascension: Delirium will be the latest expansion for Stone Blade Entertainment‘s popular deck-building game, Ascension. Ascension is a fast-paced game designed by Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour champions with artwork by Eric Sabee.

“A new portal into the Dreamscape has been opened! The world of Vigil is warped by dreams and nightmares come to life. You must wield the power of the Dreamborn to battle the forces of Delirium to save the realm.” [source]

A Delirium die has been added which appears to affect the heroes’ sanity as they’re warped by it into new forms. Players can also use Insight to access powerful new hero abilities. This expansion is playable as a stand-alone game for 1-4 players, or can be combined with other Ascension games to play with up to 6 players.

Gamewright have announced their line-up of family games for the year. Many of their new games will see release at the New York Toy Fair in February, 2018.

Trash Pandas

The Game of Raucous Raccoons

Trash Pandas has players take on the role of raccoons. Well that doesn’t make sense does it? If you’re playing a raccoon, why is it called Trash Pandas? Seems this game’s theme is based on a meme from a Redditor in 2014 who coined the term and the idea got mainstream exposure in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Gameplay revolves around players diving into a dumpster looking for good leftovers. There appears to be some dice involved which dictate how many turns you get but you have to avoid the Doggos who stand guard. I guess some people’s trash is a racoon’s treasure? The raccoon who stashes the most trash is the winner. Supports 2-4 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 20 minutes.

Chill Out!

A Refreshing Game of Ice and Dice

This is a game for pre-school kids with dice which look like ice. Players scoop their “ice cubes” out of a tray matching the color result of a die which they’ve rolled. They then drop them, one at a time, on the board and hope to land some in their cup to make their float. Its a good game to improve pre-schoolers’ dexterity and reinforce knowledge of colors. Supports 2-4 players, aged 5+, and plays in roughly 15 mins.

 

Long Cow

An Udderly Ridiculous Card Game

This game comes packed in a milk carton which “moos” like a cow. While we’ve seen a similar idea with another combustible cat based game this one is a lot more family friendly. Players build cows by collecting their heads, tails, and middles from the deck. Ok, that sounds more crazy scientist friendly than family friendly but bear with me. Longer cows score more points. Ever wanted to build a Franken-cow? Or maybe a robot cow or a holy cow? Best do it soon as you might run afoul of hurricanes or aliens abducting your odd bovines. The game supports 2-5 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 20 mins.

Zoinx!

The All or Nothing Dice Game

In this game players secretly predict how many dots you will roll on your dice. As long as you meet a target set by the game you get to keep rolling those dice. If you push too far though you lose everything and the players who bet against you score points. The game supports 2-4 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 15 mins. It’s already shipping and should be in retail soon.

Squirmish

The Card Game of Brawling Beasties

Squirmish is a battling card game in which players draft an odd squad of warriors then position them into melee and roll dice to attack. There are over 70 warriors to choose from and the game has ample humor and strategy but has an element of luck to it. Players have to knock out all opposing warriors for theirs to be the sole survivor who becomes the Beastie Boss. The game supports 2-4 players, aged 10+, and plays in roughly 30 mins.

Cahoots

The Cooperative Hint and Sync Game

A colorful, cooperative card game in which players play cards to one of four piles matching either color or number. The players have to complete a series of goals without saying what’s in their hand by working together as a team. Players are racing against the clock to win so they’ll need to be in cahoots. The game supports 2-4 players, aged 10+, and plays in roughly 20 mins.

Say It!

The Game of Crazy Combos

This is a party game which has players draw a combination of cards and has players say the first thing which comes to mind matching the description of the cards. So if the cards “Something sticky” and “that you find in the couch cushions?” is drawn then players will shout out “a forgotten banana” or “earwax” and the person with the most entertaining answer is declared the winner. The game supports 3-8 players, aged 10+, and plays in roughly 20 mins.

Sneaky Cards 2

Play It Forward

The game expands on the original Sneaky Cards with 54 new missions. Players spread joy and craziness on an unsuspecting public where players have to fulfil the missions on the card in order to score points. It’s sort of a “Truth or Dare” in public without any “Truth” to it. Give a stranger flowers! Or challenge them to a dance off! Once the mission is completed you hand the card to an unsuspecting accomplice for them to play it forward. Definitely not a game for the shy but can be really fun if you’re willing to bring joy to the world! Supports 1-infinite number of players, aged 12+.

When you talk about easy to learn and play cooperative games, you will often to hear Forbidden Desert or even Forbidden Island mentioned.  Both of these games are Matt Leacock designs in conjunction with Gamewright, and both have the reputation of being well regarded cooperative games for families.  However, since the release of Forbidden Desert was back in 2013, we thought that was going to be it for the Forbidden line, but thankfully Gamewright has proved us wrong.  In no less than a movie trailer like fashion, Gamewright has announced a new game in the Forbidden line, Forbidden Sky, that will be released this summer.  I for one am excited for this as I have loved both the previous games, you can check out the video on Gamewright’s Facebook, and start wondering just what this new game has in store for us.

It’s that time of year again, the Dice Tower has announced their nominees for the best games of 2016.  These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2016.  You can see previous winners along with this year’s nominees and their pictures on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.  And now, your nominees:

Best Game from a New Designer  (The game has to be the designer’s first or second published game to qualify for this award)

Best Artwork

  • Arkham Horror: The Card Game – illustrated by Christopher Hosch, Ignacio Bazán Lazcano, Henning Ludvigsen, Mercedes Opheim, Zoe Robinson, and Evan Simonet; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Inis – illustrated by Dimitri Bielak & Jim Fitzpatrick; published by Matagot
  • Islebound – illustrated by Ryan Laukat; published by Red Raven Games
  • Kanagawa – illustrated by Jade Mosch; published by Iello
  • Scythe – illustrated by Jakub Rozalski; published by Stonemaier Games

Best Theming

  • Black Orchestra – designed by Philip duBarry; published by Game Salute
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • SeaFall – designed by Rob Daviau; published by Plaid Hat Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Two-Player Game

Best Reprint

Best Expansion

Best Party Game

  • Codenames: Pictures– designed by Vlaada Chvátil; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Happy Salmon – designed by Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir; published by North Star Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Secret Hitler – designed by Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, & Max Temkin; published by Goat Wolf & Cabbage

Best Cooperative Game

Best Family Game

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, & Andrew Wolf; published by USAopoly
  • Ice Cool – designed by Brian Gomez; published by Brain Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Karuba – designed by Rüdiger Dorn; published by HABA
  • Sushi Go Party! – designed by Phil Walker-Harding; published by Gamewright

Best Strategy Game

  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Board Game Production

  • Conan – designed by Frédéric Henry, Antoine Bauza, Pascal Bernard, Bruno Cathala, Croc, Ludovic Maublanc, & Laurent Pouchain; published by Monolith
  • The Others – designed by Eric M. Lang; published by Cool Mini or Not
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games

Most Innovative Game

Best Game from a Small Publisher  (The published must have published five or fewer games at the beginning of 2015)

  • Arkwright – designed by Stefan Risthaus; published by Capstone Games
  • Cottage Garden– designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Edition Spielwiese
  • Not Alone – designed by Ghislain Masson; published by Geek Attitude Games
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • Vast: The Crystal Caverns – designed by David Somerville; published by Leder Games

Game of the Year

  • Adrenaline – designed by Filip Neduk; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Cry Havoc– designed by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, & Michał Walczak; published by Portal Games
  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Inis – designed by Christian Martinez; published by Matagot
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Every year since 1990, American Mensa has held the Mensa Mind Games competition to recognize recently released board games and card games, and that continued in 2017.  Over one intense, 46-hour-long weekend of gaming (of which, to be honest, many of us are probably jealous), Mensa members/judges select the top five games, which are awarded the Mensa Select distinction and seal.  The winners for 2017 are:

The Mensa Mind Games criteria examines the games’ originality, challenge, design, creativity, ease of comprehension and play, fun factor, and interestingly, value of game play for its price.  Past winners include Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Dominion, Yinsh, Magic: the Gathering, and Apples to Apples.   The list of this year’s winners can be found here and all of the winners can be viewed and filtered by year on the Mensa Mind Games page.