HABA, the excellent company spearheading chunky components in bright yellow boxes, has two new games coming out this summer, Mountains and Wobble King. Mountains looks to be one of HABA’s more mature game titles, fitting alongside the excellent Iquazu and Meduris. Wobble King is a more classic yellow box children’s games with HABA’s signature unique mechanisms and interesting pieces.
In Mountains by designer Carlo A. Rossi (Divinity Derby), 2-5 players take hikes in order to collect stamps in their hiking book. Six piles of cards represent the 6 levels of difficulty, and each turn, a player picks one pile to draw from. This card shows what equipment is required for the hike, with more challenging hikes requiring more equipment. If the player has the necessary equipment in hand, they can complete the hike, and earn the rewards on the card. Otherwise, players can use “favor stones” to borrow equipment from other players. If no hikes are possible, players can turn over a card to simply earn more favor stones. After 2 hiking piles are depleted, the player with the most summit stamps wins the game. Mountains comes with great passport books, stamps and ink pads, and is expected to hit stores this August.
King Leo has fallen asleep atop his huge pile of silver, providing
a perfect opportunity for players to sneak some of the treasure for themselves.
The main board in Wobble
King (Kippelkönig) is placed on top of many silver coin meeples. On the
main board sits a large precariously balanced King Leo figure. 2-4 Players take
turns using a stick to work one of the silver coins out from under the main
board. If the board falls, or King Leo topples, the faulting player needs to
take a rotten tomato. If you are caught twice, you are eliminated from the
game. Look for Wobble
King from designer Heinz Meister at your FLGS in August 2019.
The Spiel des Jahres awards are the premier awards for board gaming each year, with awards for Family Game of the Year, Strategy Game of the Year, and Kid’s Game of the Year. Each year the Kid’s Games of the Year is announced in June while the rest are announced later in July, and today we have found out who the winner of the Kid’s Game of the Year is. That game is Dragon’s Breath by HABA Games.
Dragon’s Breath is a cute little game for ages 5 and up, and in it you will have four young dragons and one dragon dad, trying to get the most gems out of a ice column filled with them. That ice column in the game is represented by a stack of rings filled with plastic gems. Each round the young dragons will pick a gem color that they think will come out of the ice when the dad melts it. Once they have all picked the dad will pick up the top most ring, allowing some gems to fall off the tower to be collected by the young ones. There is also some holes in the board that if a gem falls in there, it goes to the dad and he may win. After all the gems that fell have been collected, the young dragons pick again what color they will collect and the next ring comes off. This will continue until all the rings are gone and then whoever has the most gems is the winner.
As you can tell the game is simple, but with the fun theme and unpredictability of the gems in the ice, means everything isn’t always going to go as you think. This is definitely a game for kids as it’s mostly luck with what gems will fall, but still has a element of strategy as they have to evaluate what gems they think will fall. Dragon’s Breath is available now so if you are looking for a good kids game, go check it out.
HABA USA is looking to add a new game to its lineup is hosting its 2nd Annual Game Design Contest from now till July 20th. Submitted games must be family weight games, allow for 2-5 players, play between 15-45 minutes, and fit into the HABA line of games. Also, submitted games must use at least three items from the HABA design kit, which contains random and unique pieces from discontinued and/or current HABA games. Game design kits can be purchased directly from HABA online. Any remaining available kits can also be purchased at HABA’s booth at the Origins Game Fair and the Dice Tower Con. Only 200 kits are available and there is a limit of one kit per designer. While there is no guarantee that the game will be published, the top 3-5 games will be presented to HABA for consideration and winning designers will receive a HABA games bundle. Can you design a family game for HABA? See contest rules and details here.
UK Games Expo is the premier event in the UK where all aspects of the gaming hobby are represented under one roof. It will run on Friday, 1st June to Sunday 3rd June 2018. The UK Games Expo Awards were developed and introduced in 2007 to recognize the achievements of manufacturers and publishers of eligible games in a variety of game genres.
This is a shortlist of the games nominated in no particular order.
Haba introduces a bunch of new games coming in 2018, and a new line of games for kids designed to be more active than your typical board games.
First up we have Iquazu from designer Michael Feldkötter and artist Stephanie Böhm. This fantasy game has players carefully managing a hand of cards and trying to hide precious gemstones in a grid behind a waterfall, with the help of the water dragon, Silon. As players place the gems, they score for majorities in rows and columns, and earn tokens that give them bonus actions. Once all the columns are filled a final scoring takes place and the player with the most points wins.
Karuba was published in 2015, and is a well-regarded tile-laying game from Rüdiger Dorn that has 2-4 players (though if you own multiple copies of the game, more can play) simultaneously building paths using the same tiles, racing to make a network on which their adventurers can reach the temples and earn points. In 2017, it gets not one, but two spin-off titles. Karuba: The Card Game has the 2-6 players simultaneously picking and revealing 2 cards from their hand, with whomever plays the cards with the lowest sum losing one of those cards, then using the cards to build a network of paths to connect their adventurers and temples, collecting points and treasures along the way. Karuba Junior is a cooperative family game of tile-laying for 1-4 players in which you and your fellow adventurers race to find the treasures and avoid the tigers before pirates reach the island and nab them out from under you.
Conex is an interesting looking card game for 2-4 players. The cards show a base color, and also have small corners and edges of other colors overlapping onto themselves. Players attempt to overlap those corners with matching cards from their hands, building out a seemingly random mish-mash tableau of cards overlapping at odd angles, all the while carefully planning ahead as they try to earn the most points. The game plays in about 20 minutes and the way the cards are laid appears to be a unique mechanism from designer Prospero Hall.
King of the Dice (how did it take until 2017 for a game with this name to be announced?) pits the players as monarchs in a quest to attract the most desirable citizens to their realms. Each turn they roll dice up to three times, trying to show the potential inhabitants they they have the requirements the inhabitants need to thrive. Their are special cards that can provide you with benefits, but also may hide dragons and village idiots that can bring your kingdom low. This game of press-your-luck dice-rolling comes from designer Nils Nilsson and artist Gus Batts, and takes about 30 minutes to play.
Gold Rush Fever hits the players in the real-time action/party game Boom, Bang, Gold from designer Alexandre Emerit. 2-4 players compete to collect gold nuggets by simultaneously tossing sticks of dynamite (well, wooden facsimiles thereof, at least) into the mine (the game box) in an attempt to blast the gold face-up. They then have one minute and one hand to grab the face-up tiles and put them on their shelf. If they find a special tile (a bat, rat, snake, or ghost) they call “Watch Out!” and other players must put their had on their head and cry out “Help!”. When no face up tile remain, the round ends. There are also special action tiles that give special abilities to players who use them. Twelve rounds of frantic chaos and whoever has collected the most gold wins.
Now we get to Haba’s bread-and-butter, great kids games. My Very First Games: Tidy Up is for 1-3 kids aged 2 and up. It is a cooperative game where the players help Little Tomcat Tiptop put all his toys in the right places so his room is neat and tidy. The game also has matching and competitive modes.
Then we have five new games for kids 3-4 and up. Sleepy Princess: Pile Up (aka, The Princess and the Pea) is for 1-4 kids of at least 3 years old. The players help the Princess stack her bed with many pillows, mattresses, and blankets. Beneath this fluffy menagerie lies the hidden wooden pea. Remove the pieces without falling to win. The game comes with a copy of the classic tale as well. Ben’s Building Site: Dominoes has 2-6 kids aged 3 and up placing cards with 2 images on them end-to-end, matching the symbols at each end to tidy up the worksite and get rid of their cards first. It’s dominoes with pictures and cards to make it easier for kids to play, and a cute theme they should enjoy. Dragon Rapid Fire: Quartets is a card game for 2-6 players of 4 years or more in which they strive to collect 4 matching cards and earn fire crystals. Whoever has the most fire crystals wins. Game play is similar to Go Fish and the card art and components are charming. Wild Animals: Schnipp Schnapp is a speed game where players try to be first to slap down the crocodile when two of the same animal meet at the watering hole. It adds a cute theme and artwork to the classic Schnipp Schnapp game that is popular with kids and parents in Europe. Finderfox for 2-4 kids 4 and up is memory game where you roll a die to move the Felix Finderfox pawn and you have to guess who is hiding behind the bush you arrive at. Good memory and good luck will help you win.
Haba also introduces three new games for kids 5 and up. In The Hearmees the key to the game is the “Clawky-Talky”, a textured pad that the supervisor (each player takes turns being the supervisor) use a stylus on to try to communicate to the other players which tiles are needed to be built this round. Listen carefully and try to deduce what is being drawn so your building builds fastest, because whoever gets done first wins. Dragon’s Breath has up to 4 kids take on the role of adolescent dragons enlisting the aid of Father Dragon and working to melt a column of ice and extract the precious stones encased within. The players start the game by making a structure of “ice rings” filled with precious stones in the middle of the board, as rings are removed by the father dragon, the stones are freed. Players choose each round which stones they will get, trying to predict which will score best each round. Whoever collects the most stones wins. In Floppy Ears you strive to play out all of your floppy ear cards before the others do, but you can only play cards that match the ones hanging on your ears, and you have to remember which colors those are and play them at the right time.
Then we have Dino World for kids six and up. This dexterity game has 2-4 kids trying to capture the most dinosaur cards by pushing new predators from the top of the box onto the prey below. Aim carefully, and make sure you match the symbols so that you go after the right prey! The game has 52 dinosaur cards in 5 different sizes.
Dog Rallye plays in about 15 minutes and has a tube-shaped bone that the 2-4 players stuff with treats and roll on the floor. Players have to move around on all fours, like a puppy, scrambling to pick up the treats that come out of the sides of the toy bone, then they sort them into the matching colored holes on their lawn section of the board. The first player to get the right doggie treats collected wins.
Hampeltiere gets the kids out of their chairs to act out animals in funny situations. Each round, a different player acts as judge, and flips over a card, while the other players try to copy the movement of the animal on the card. The judge decides who correctly did it first, with that player moving their scoring marker one space. When one players makes it all the way around the track, they win the game. The game should take about 10 minutes to play.
Rhino Hero Action follows on the popular Rhino Hero and Rhino Hero: Super Battle stacking games. In this 10-15 minute game, the Spider Monkeys are collecting slime balls to throw at the city residents, but the heroes are trying to take them out of the city to keep it safe. 2-4 players take turns with each being the Hero while the others play the Spider Monkey Gang. The Hero has to collect their wits, skill, and courage, to gather and move more and more slime balls out of the city each round, while the Spider Monkey Gang tries to prevent the hero from making a complete circuit.
And last in the line (for now), Socken Zocken has the 2-4 players running about in their socks for 10-15 minutes, dropping off one sock in each laundry basket. Those baskets have directions that tell them which basket to run to next. Once they have dropped off all their socks, they have to return to the box in the center and put their hand on the sock monster to claim the victory.
The big question in the board game industry right now is how to drive people to brick and mortar stores, and the current trend seems to be to institute a Minimum Advertised Price policy or MAP. So far we have had CMON and Iello both adopt such policies, and now two more companies add their names to the list; HABA and Asmodee. Asmodee’s policy is similar to CMON’s in that no product can be sold for less than 20% of it’s MSRP, online or in stores. What is good about this policy change is that in adopting a MAP, Asmodee has removed the restrictions to online sales, so online stores can now start carrying Asmodee products easily again. HABA’s policy is a little more strict in that all products must be sold for MSRP, and the only ones that can be discounted are the products that have been discontinued.
Will instituting these unilateral policies be good for the industry or will it lead to the bubble popping? We will just have to wait and see.
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:
Speechless by Arcane Wonders (designed by Mike Elliott)
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)
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)
Haba is releasing the sequel to the convention favorite Rhino Hero, Rhino Hero – Super Battle. In Super Battle, players not only build and climb the toppling card tower, but they need to defeat the mean spider monkeys in the process. Luckily, Rhino Hero is joined by his superhero friends Giraffe Boy, Big E. and Batguin. In this continuation of the card stacking classic, it appears players can start from multiple foundations and join the towers together with bridges. Rhino Hero – Super Battle is due to release in September 2017.
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.