Geoff Engelstein

The Expanse: Doors and Corners Expansion contains five new modules for the base game, each adding to the strategy and gameplay. The modules can be used independently or in any combination together with the base game.

The five modules are:
• Leaders – your leaders move with their fleets and can add influence
• New Tech – earn new powers, which adds variety and surprise based on what is available
• Resource tokens – these can be spent to help pay CP costs, add AP to a card or move up the initiative track
• Protomolecule – adds a new scoring opportunity
• Variable setup – allows fleets and influence to be placed anywhere during game start

Expansion contents include:
• 16 Action cards
• 36 Tech cards
• 4 Leader standees
• 12 Power Play sector tokens
• 12 Power Play point tokens
• 16 Resource tokens
• 1 Suppression token
• 1 Protomolecule standee
• 5 Base Destroyed tokens
• 1 Resource reference card
• 1 Leader reference card
• 1 Protomolecule owner card
• 1 Revised game board & ship tokens

Before it was a board game, The Expanse was a sci-fi book series by James S.A. Corey and a popular space opera TV series broadcast on Syfy for three seasons. The Expanse Board Game was designed by Geoff Engelstein and is a game for 2-4 players, ages 14+. Watch the Dice Tower’s coverage of The Expanse here.

The Expanse: Doors and Corners Expansion can be preordered and has an expected release date of February 2019.

In all professions, networking with your peers is always a good practice to help get your foot in the door to new places and to improve your skill whether it be coding, engineering, or designing board games.  So Geoff Engelstein, Tim Fowers, and Jeff Beck has decided to launch a new board game design retreat called Tabletop Network.  This will be a two day retreat out in the relaxing Snowbird mountain resort near Salt Lake City, Utah starting on Friday June 8th.

There will be lots of people presenting including Rob Daviau, Ryan Laukat, Tom Lehmann, Geoff Engelstein, Stone Librande, Tim Fowers, and more.  Some of the subjects that will be discussed will be engagement, balance, and emerging trends in board games.  Also, while there will some time set aside for playing games, this conference is meant to be about learning together and sharing ideas to improve everyone’s board game design skills, so you might want to leave the prototype at home.

In order to fund this trip they are using Kickstarter for selling the tickets.  To attend in person a physical ticket will run you $295, while a virtual pass where you can watch all the panels and talks online will run you $55.  So if you are itching to rev up your game designing engine, this retreat may be just the jump start you need.

Kickstarter just launched a new way to find projects they like with the ‘Kickstarter Gold’ label, so lets get to some projects that may not be gold, but are at least silver.

First up is a board game based in the popular 7th Sea RPG setting and that is War of the Cross. War of the Cross is a “dudes on a map” type game similar to Risk, but plays very differently in that negotiation and alliances are key parts of the game.  Each round has five steps to it beginning with negotiation, then orders, alliances, movement and battle, and finally spoils.  Negotiation is where everyone at the tables negotiates and discusses the moves they will make on the board, this includes forming alliances verbally for that turn.  From that phase you then place your orders secretly under your units and pick who you will ally with that round.  If you both pick each other then you ally, fighting together as well as making it impossible to attack each other for that round.  The fighting is deterministic with the army committing the most supplies being the winner.  Winning the fights get you territories, points, and more supplies to use in later fights or to bid on story cards that give you special powers.  First player to 25 points is the winner.  So if this style of game sounds interesting, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Next we have a cooperative miniatures game called Human Interface – Be a Better Human.  This is both a stand alone game and an expansion to a previously Kickstarted game called Human Interface – Nakamura Tower.  This new game maintains the cyberpunk setting and has you trying to escape form a black site prison that you were all thrown into.  You will have to work together and fight both on the physical and the virtual fronts as you try to overcome the defenses and modified cyber soldiers blocking your way.  Through the use of adrenaline cards to perform spectacular feats, and ‘Can Do’ cards to resolve battles, Be a Better Human is shaping up to be an interesting game.  If you like this kind of cooperative style dungeon crawl game, check out the Kickstarter campaign today.  And you can even back for an additional expansion module called Blood on the Floor for more characters, monsters, and tiles.

Looking for a light-hearted 4x game that is all about rabbits, well then Rabbit Island might be what you are looking for.  The game plays out in three phases which have you exploring and laying out new tiles, building to convert camps into towns and cities, and finally scoring for what you conquered.  The exploring part of the game is typical tile laying, but the tiles are uniquely shaped which allow for easy recognition of where you can place them, as the sides of the tile have to fit together path to path.  Building has you playing cards to move and spending carrot tokens to build towns and cities.  Did you run out of carrot tokens?  Then stop by event spaces or carrot patches to refill on those all important tokens.  In the conquer phase you will earn points for the towns you built and at the end you earn bonus points for the most carrots and the biggest harvest field.  So if you are in the mood for this kind of 4x experience, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Up next is not a game, but a book about gaming called GameTek: The Book.  Listeners of The Dice Tower will no doubt recognize that the book is named after the segment put out by friend of the Dice Tower, Geoff Engelstein.  This book compiles ten years of the GameTek segments into one single place, updating and illustrating them, creating a bit of a board game reference book on the math and science of gaming.  The book will be broken up into seven sections; Game Theory, Math, Psychology, Science, Game Mechanics, Psychology Games, and History, with essays and examples of each.  So if you want to support an exceptional member of the board gaming community, or if you can’t get enough of the math and science of board games, check out the Kickstarter today!

Last for have a project that has been certified as Kickstarter Gold, and that is Rival Realms, a two player variation on the deck building game Fantastiqa.  The art of the game carries over with very whimsical and magical depictions of things, but the game itself is now very different.  Gone is the focus on deck building and now the focus is squarely on the exploration aspect the bigger game offered.  On your turn you can use cards to either discover new areas, or to explore an area on the board already.  But exploring comes with a drawback because you have to discard cards into your opponents discard in order to do so, giving them access to cards they may not have had before.  There are also quests that you are working towards and the first person to achieve the quest gets to take the card, the second person to achieve it gets nothing.  Play keeps going until all the quests have been claimed, and then whoever has the most points is the winner.  Check out the Kickstarter page if this sounds like a good two-player game for you.

Wizkids has announced a new 2-4 player board game based on the hit Syfy Channel TV show, The Expanse. The Expanse Board Game is being designed by Geoff Engelstein, creator of The Dragon & Flagon and The Fog of War. Compared to Twilight Struggle, The Expanse Board Game will be card driven and involve politics, conquest and intrigue. Players can play as the UN Forces, Military of Mars, the Rebels of OPA, or Protogon Inc., as they increase their control over the solar system. The Expanse Board Game is expected to release Summer 2017.

strongholdgames

Stronghold Games is continuing their Great Designers line of games, the first two having been Porta Nigra by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling and 504 by Friedemann Friese.  Now Stronghold has announced the next three games in line, Kraftwagon-V6 Edition, The Fog of War, and Jorvik, along with the next game by the Engelsteins, The Dragon and Flagon.

kraftwagen

Kraftwagon-V6 Edition is designed by Matthias Cramer and will feature all the same gameplay and mechanics as the original Kraftwagon game, the major difference is that an additional set of tiles has been added to the game in order to utilize V6 engines that were available at the time the game is based in.  This edition will be available in August of 2016.

fog of war

Next is The Fog of War, designed by Geoff Engelstein, this is a two player strategy game covering the European theater of World War 2 from 1940 to 1945.  The game will focus less on the battling and more on the intelligence and planning aspects of the war, in the game you have to commit to your operations in advance using a unique mechanic called the “Operation Wheel”, but what you commit is secret so you can bluff your opponent.  This will be Geoff’s first solo design game so look forward to it in September 2016.

jorvik

Game number five in the series will be JORVIK, designed by Stefan Feld, and although was previously announced by Stronghold, it has been now officially been added to the Great Designers series.  Jorvik, the modern city of York, was a major hub of trade and commerce in the viking era, and so in the game JORVIK you are Viking jarls trying to make your clan the most prestigious.  How you do this is through funding pillaging runs, defending the city, hosting lavish feasts, trading goods, and hiring craftsman.  Look for this game to arrive on shelves in October of 2016.

dragon flagon

And last but not least, while not a part of the Great Designers series of games it shouldn’t be taken lightly as it is a Engelstein family creation, The Dragon and Flagon.  This is a game of chaos where up to 8 people are trying to get the last flagon of the famous brew, The Dragon, and so will do anything to get it.  You will be rolling barrels, swinging from chandeliers, pulling rugs out from under people, and all sorts of other craziness to try and be the one to grab that brew.  Another aspect that is unique is that the board will be a 3D representation of the tavern so it can be set up differently each time, making the game even more interesting.  Look for this game August of 2016.

You can read the press release below for more information on all the games mentioned.

Stronghold Games Announces Titles from Designers Matthias Cramer and Geoff Engelstein

Kraftwagen-V6 Edition (#3), The Fog Of War (#4), and Jorvik (#5) added to “The Great Designer Series”

New Jersey, USA – May 9, 2016

Stronghold Games is proud to announce the publication of three new late summer game releases, as well as the addition of games to the Stronghold Games’ The Great Designer Series :

  • Kraftwagen – V6 Edition, designed by Matthias Cramer (The Great Designer Series #3)
  • The Fog Of War, designed by Geoff Engelstein (The Great Designer Series #4)
  • The Dragon & Flagon, designed by Brian, Sydney, and Geoff Engelstein
  • JÓRVÍK, designed by Stefan Feld (previously announced, now added as The Great Designer Series #5)

Kraftwagen – V6 Edition, designed by Matthias Cramer, is a 2-4 player game exploring the dawn of the automotive industry in the early 20th century. Players advance the state of automobile development and production by playing as start-up companies, researching new technologies and building improved chassis and engines. Early Grand Prix races provide the young companies with prestige and money, but the players must maintain a key balance of fulfilling the demand preferences of buyers at the lowest possible price. In Kraftwagen – V6 Edition, a new set of tiles has been added, which feature the next technology available at the time, the V6 engine. Kraftwagen – V6 Edition has been designated the third game in The Great Designer Series from Stronghold Games. Street Date: August 2016. MSRP: $59.95.

The Fog Of War, designed by Geoff Engelstein, is a two player grand strategic game covering the European theater of World War II from 1940-1945. The game focuses on the planning and intelligence aspects of the war. Players create military operations utilizing the “Operation Wheel”, which is a unique mechanism that forces players to commit to operations in advance, while giving opportunities for bluffing as well as intelligence gathering by the enemy. Each turn the dial on the Operation Wheel is rotated by one position, which controls when an operation can be launched and any attack or defense bonuses that apply. The Fog Of War is Stronghold Games’ first war game. It is also Geoff Engelstein’s first solo game design after a string of co-designed games. The Fog Of War has been designated the fourth game in The Great Designer Series from Stronghold Games. Street Date: September 2016. MSRP: $59.95 (tentatively).

The Dragon & Flagon, designed by Brian, Sydney, and Geoff Engelstein, is a game of chaos and mayhem for 2-8 players. The Dragon & Flagon is a tavern world-renowned for its most magical drink, The Dragon. Legend has it that one sip of The Dragon can give a hero wondrous abilities beyond their wildest dreams — but with a tavern full of thirsty adventurers and only one flagon left, things are bound to go wrong. Players take on roles of a very diverse group of adventurers who throw mugs, roll barrels, smash chairs, cast spells, wield weapons, swing from the chandelier, and pull the rug out from under fellow adventurers as they attempt to gain the greatest reputation in the land. The game features multiple play modes and a 3D tavern environment, which can be set up differently every time for even more variety of play. Street date: August 2016. MSRP: $59.95.

JÓRVÍK, designed by Stefan Feld, was announced in a previous Press Release (see “Stronghold Games and eggertspiele Announce Strategic Partnership”, February 13, 2016). JÓRVÍK has now been designated the fifth game in The Great Designer Series from Stronghold Games. Street Date: October 2016. MSRP: TBD “We are very excited by this group of games”, said Stephen Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games. “We are adding several games by renowned designers into The Great Designers Series, as well as publishing our first war game. The broadening of our catalog and market position continues in a robust way with these new titles”.

About Stronghold Games LLC:

Stronghold Games LLC is a publisher of high-quality board and card games in the hobby game industry. Since 2009, Stronghold Games has released many highly-regarded games, including the best-selling “Survive: Escape From Atlantis!”, the most innovative deck-building game, “Core Worlds”, the smash-hit game line of “Space Cadets”, and its latest copublished game line “Among The Stars”. Stronghold Games publishes great game designs developed both in-house and in partnership with European publishers. Stronghold Games LLC is a Limited Liability Company formed in the State of Delaware, USA.