hand management

ultimate warriorz

Originally released in 2011 by Pulsar Games, Ultimate Warriorz is back in a new multilingual third edition published by Matagot. Designed by Guillaume Blossier, this is an arena combat game for 2-8 players who have all come to the sacred arena to participate in the great Tribal Rumble and be named chief of the legendary End of the World Island. But only the Ultimate Warrior will achieve that highest honor, so players need to choose their cards wisely and time their actions carefully.

ultimate warriorz game

Find more information on the game at Boardgamegeek, the online board game database, or check out the publisher’s own website here.


Big announcement from Plaid Hat Games today, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn will be going up for pre-order on April 9th. Plaid Hat Games is the publisher that brought us exciting titles like Summoner Wars, Mice and Mystics, and last year’s huge hit Dead of Winter. They look like they may have another hit on their hands with Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn designed by Isaac Vega who also designed BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia and was a co-designer of Dead of Winter.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn is an expandable card game that will allow 2-4 players to take the role of one of the Phoenixborn, powerful demi-gods and magic wielders. Players will battle it out in a back and forth battle summoning terrifying creatures and loyal allies to become the last one standing. Player turns will be short and quick and will leave them with the chance to adjust as the round progresses. Players will be able to carefully choose their targets and easily react to their opponents actions. This should provide a unique game play experience with constant back and forth action. If that doesn’t sound exciting enough you can also say goodbye to mulligans because Ashes will allow players to choose their starting hand of 5 cards! Personally I don’t know of another game like this that gives you the choice of what cards to start with. This alone has my interest in the game at the maximum level.

ashes cards

Ashes will not be limited to just cards though, players will also have a dice pool that will give them the resources needed to fuel their magic and summon creatures as well as provide interesting powers on their own. Plus the dice pool should provide enough resources to start casting powerful spells immediately. Combined with the ability to choose your starting hand Ashes should deliver the all the thrills and excitement of a magic duel right from the start, no build up time needed.

If all that doesn’t have you ready to throw your money at the screen (don’t bother I tried it and it doesn’t work) then maybe this will help. There are three ways you can play Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn:

  • Choose a pre-built deck – Ashes will come with 6 pre-built decks and assigned dice, just jump right in and start playing.
  • Build a deck – choose from over 247 cards and 40 dice. Your build options will be nearly limitless.
  • Draft a deck – the drafting rules promise to allow players to build fun and interesting decks quickly.

You would think all that would be enough and Plaid Hat Games would stop there. But in their typical fashion they left nothing to be desired and had illustrator Fernanda Suarez create some absolutely stunning artwork for the game. Fernanda did a terrific job on last year’s Dead of Winter but she really outdid herself on Ashes. The box alone could be framed and the artwork on the cards is some of the best I’ve seen. She is truly making her name known in the board game world.

So if you, like me, think that a magic dueling card game with dice that has you immediately casting powerful spells while providing three ways to play, quick paced act/react turns, a truly innovative mechanic that has you choosing your starting hand, and mind-blowingly gorgeous  artwork sounds like your kind of game then keep an eye on your FLGS/OLGS and be ready to pre-order Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. You’ll just have to get in line behind me.








how to serve man

In Gateway Games’ new Kickstarter project, How to Serve Man, aliens come from the stars…but not to conquer us or even push us to the next stage in evolution. Instead they come because, face it, we’re delicious. The title refers to the famous Twilight Zone episode in which a carelessly left alien book is studied by human researchers, only to find the same wordplay for the English “to serve” exists in the alien language as well.

The theme takes a pretty humorous turn after the people-harvesting…turning the experience into a competitive game show right out of Iron Chef.

From the kickstarter page:

The fires are lit, the silverware is polished, and the humans have been harvested…it’s time for everyone’s favorite Cosmic Cooking Show, HOW TO SERVE MAN!

Step into the shoes of an intergalactic Chef competing against other Chefs in a knock down, no-holds-barred Cooking competition! The featured ingredient for this contest… Human Beings!

Impress the Celebrity Judges with your culinary prowess while making sure your ingredients don’t run away. Do you have what it takes to beat out your friends to become the champion of Space Kitchen Arena?

In this light worker placement game, you will gather resources, cook them up, and combine them to create Dishes to present to the Celebrity Judge panel. Impress the judges and you will earn bonus points for future Dishes, and those judges will help shape your overall cooking strategy.

The Chef that earns the most points, while dealing with the inevitable hazards of outer space, wins!

To Serve Man is Gateway Games’s very first game. The goal is $20,000, with stretch goals to unlock more ingredients, judges, and more. Over $7,000 has been raised, with 29 days left to go. The game requires the typical 2-4 player count, takes about 60 minutes to complete, and is listed for ages 1o and up. Follow the progress of the game at the kickstarter page, or check out the company blog.

shadow throne

Nothing Sacred Games (publisher of Corporate America) announced Shadow Throne, by designer Teale Fristoe, will be released in January 2015 after being funded through Kickstarter in June. Shadow Throne is a card drafting, hand management game for 3-5 players that plays in about 30 minutes.

shadow throne cards

Each player represents a member of the secret society trying to hold influence in the kingdom. Players are not concerned with setting the collapsing empire right, but being on the winning side when the battle is over. Whether the king, queen, or princess wears the crown, the goal of the player is to be the one that rules from the shadow throne.

To find out more information on the basics of the game as well as a look at the components, head over to Nothing Sacred Games. Also, make sure to check out the preview video of Shadow Throne from Dan King of the Dice Tower.


Planes puts you in the role of a group attempting to push your way through a crowded airport to reach your plane before takeoff. Other players’ families or groups, as well as neutral travelers, will cause all sorts of congestion in the terminal and may keep you from boarding.

With cards that affect play and allow bonus scoring, in addition to variable airport maps, Planes is the next phase in global travel from AEG, publisher of Trains.

Last week on their Facebook page, they posted:

Here’s your first look at the cover of Planes, coming this fall from AEG as part of our new “Destination Fun” line, featuring Trains, Planes,… and possibly others in the future.

madame ching

It is the year 1808, and the Sea of China is ripe with plunder. Command a pirate junk as you sink the Emperor’s ships, loot the port of Hong Kong, and learn the skills to take command of The China Pearl, the grandest ship in the fleet of the infamous Madame Ching.

madame ching board

Players will manage hands of navigation cards and match symbols to gain skills, play increasing numbers to complete missions, sack Hong Kong, and reach the end of the world. To win the respect of Madame Ching, you’ll need to carefully play your cards and outwit your opponents.

  • 2-4 players
  • Ages 8+
  • 45 minute play time

seventh heroAEG released a new web site dedicated to the launch of their upcoming “Seventh Hero”, a set collection and hand management game by designer Kuro.  You can click here to visit the site.  It provides a downloadable rule book and more details about the upcoming release.



Today, designer Gary Kagan announced his chemical compounding new card game:

Welcome to Elementary, where players become Scientists as they compete to see who can craft the most potent compounds! Through skillful use of Lab Techniques, Element management and clever action play, opponents gather the right combination of Elements and Bonds to score their chemical creation! But beware! Your esteemed colleagues are doing the same! Will they sabotage your best efforts? Or will you both end up in smoke?

This game is in the final play test and marketing stages and planned for a kickstart this year. It’s my first table top card game, and I have been putting in a lot of work to ensure you have a good time playing. A video and the instructions can be found in the links below.

Kagan will be conducting demos at Dreamation later this month in Morristown, New Jersey.

smashUp Double Feature

Coming this March from AEG!

Smash Up is back with even more wild factions in the mix!  Science Fiction Double Feature brings four new decks to the base-smashing business with abilities unlike those seen before.  Time Travelers allow you to reuse your cards time and time again. Cyborg Apes take actions that attach to your minions to a whole new level.  Super Spies use their mojo in espionage to plot out the future of you and your opponents, while finally the Shapeshifters could be anyone…

Science Fiction Double Feature is an expansion to the wildly popular card game Smash Up. This expansion features enough for two players right out of the box, and can be combined with any Smash Up set to support up to 4 players.