history

Genius Games, publishers of science-themed titles such as Cytosis and Subatomic, has acquired Artana – publisher of history and technology themed games such as Tesla vs. Edison, Lovelace & Babbage, and Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science. It’s a perfect match, frankly, with each catalog complementing the other to cover more ground in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focused line of products. Genius games does intend to keep Artana’s branding and will continue to publish games under their name in order to maintain a marketing strategy of publishing games rooted in history under their banner. As per Genius Founder and CEO John Coveyou:

“Artana is a perfect strategic acquisition for us. Like Genius Games, they specialize in telling stories about the real world – in Artana’s case exploring topics in history as well as science and technology. Our Science-focused games have proven a hit in both casual gaming as well as academic and educational settings, and Artana’s varied catalog expands and enhances this appeal. The two companies are a natural fit.”

It’s not often that you see acquisitions like this that make as much sense as Genius’. The two publishers complement each other very well, as both have been laser focused on the kinds of games they push out for the past 5 years. My sincere hope is that this partnership will yield even greater STEM-themed games because their remains nearly unlimited benefits from their success. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Genius Games or Artana Games websites for news posts, products, and more.

Some readers may know of Kingdom of Solomon, a worker placement game designed by Philip duBarry and published by Minion Games back in 2012. It’s a well-regarded and unique game that just didn’t have enough going for it at the time. With a distinctive theme of building-up ancient Israel, Kingdom allowed players to not only diversify their resources and how they got them, but also had a “cash in your chips” mechanic where you could give up all of your workers for a massive bonus if you felt it was worth the risk. I’m glad to write today that this cool design will not fade into obscurity as it’s new and improved spiritual successor, Wisdom of Solomon, is now on Kickstarter.

“Wisdom of Solomon is a worker placement game with a splash of network building. A typical game takes about 15 minutes per player, with games being a little bit longer the first time playing.  Wisdom of Solomon is a light to medium weight game, meaning that there is plenty of strategy for experienced gamers to enjoy but the game is intuitive and simple enough for new gamers to be able to jump right in.”

Now the game is back, with updated gameplay, art, and components, and ready to show everything that made Kingdom of Solomon so special all over again with it’s best foot forward. I particularly enjoy seeing a thoughtfully designed game like this being brought back in earnest, as it showcases a period of history that is worth learning about. The new publisher, Funhill Games, is also using some of the funds from this campaign to reprint Kings of Israel, a cooperative game as equally well-regarded and welcome again. If you are interested in learning more about Wisdom of Solomon, or Kings of Israel, check out the Kickstarter campaign page for the rules, gameplay videos, reviews, community feedback, and updates.

The Houghton Library at Harvard houses some interesting books, but did you know it also has a collection of some historical board games from over 100 years ago?  Some of the highlights include The Magic Ring, a spin and move game from 1796 where you are trying to reach the center of the ring first.  Or maybe you would enjoy The New Game of Emulation for the Instruction and Amusement of Youth from 1804, another spin and move style game that taught players various virtues, which could have been a prequel to The Mansion of Happiness, a similar game in both theme and play that Chaz talked about on Board Game Breakfast.  They even have copies of early paper games, one of which is a German language game which plays strikingly similar to the modern games Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.

Any way you slice it the collection is very interesting and showcases the history of board gaming over the centuries.  And as an added bonus, the library has even done high resolution scans of some of the boards so you can print out and play your very own copy of the game (yay?).  You can read more and see some of the highlights on the Harvard Gazette website.

A tomb in Slovakia dating back 375 years was accidentally discovered while doing some construction work. Significant discoveries included a bed made from yew wood decorated with silver sheets, a desk, and a unique game which is over 1,600 years old. The game consists of chess-like squares with green and white playing pieces of different sizes.

Archaeologists believe the owner of the tomb, a German prince, was about 30 years old and stayed in the Mediterranean as a Roman soldier for some time.

The deputy director of the Archaeological Institute in Nitra, Karol Pieta, who lead the research on the tomb in Poprad was stumped:

“There were plenty of board games in ancient times with many variants, but reconstructing the playing technique is a very complicated process that only top experts can solve.”

They called in an expert from Switzerland, Ulrich Schädler, director of the Museum of Games, who travelled to Slovakia. Schädler believed a playing board of a similar type had not been found in Europe yet and was tasked with trying to solve the system of the ancient game. He hopes to complete this task by the end of 2018.

Schädler had this to say:

“The board game from the tomb of the German prince in Poprad is a great discovery and contribution to the history of games in Europe. It’s the best preserved ancient wooden board game that has been found to the north of the Mediterranean Sea. Together with Roman glass playing pieces it was apparently a prestigious object that documented contacts of the dead with the Roman world.”

After analysis they found that the ancient glass was from the east Mediterranean, probably Syria. The prince was strongly influenced by the developed ancient culture which was demonstrated by his favorite game being placed in his tomb.

Have you ever wanted to go on a real adventure? To see new places, solve riddles, uncover mysteries, and discover something new about the world (and yourself) along the way? That’s what The Enigma Box is all about. At first glance The Enigma Box looks like a bigger version of the escape room games which have become popular recently, except filled with strange tools, hidden documents, and advanced technology, all to help with an even bigger goal – for you and your companions to find the location of the “Arcanum Arcanorum”, the Secret of Secrets, a discovery which will change our understanding of the world and the destiny of humankind.

Sounds a bit much, right? Too good to be true? But…what if it’s not? That’s the hook, and what a well-crafted hook it is. We see A LOT of Kickstarter campaigns here on Dice Tower News, but I personally have never seen one so intriguing and tempting as this one. The charm of it is in your face from the first description and even the name – “The Enigma Box” – sounds like something cinematic in origin, doesn’t it? Like a plot device or a cool prop from a popular film, except it’s not a prop – it’s a real proposition. See how it’s described on it’s campaign page:

“With all the research, enigmas, and new revelations, the team from “The Rhomb” have designed an international challenge and a new form of entertainment which will change the way games are made, revolutionizing and creating a definitive experience never seen before and giving you a chance to discover the “Arcanum Arcanorum”, the Secret of Secrets” 

While before I had said that it looks like an escape room box, that’s not entirely inaccurate although it does fail to describe the scope of the product regardless of it’s loftiness. The Enigma Box not only features 6000 minutes of gameplay but also has “legs” in the form of continued content after it reaches it’s initial conclusion . Furthermore, this additional content will still use many of the tools originally available in the box, so the experience isn’t as consumable and disposable and it’s certainly not as short lived. However, the value of this is far more complicated than I can analyze or describe here, so if you’re interested in The Enigma Box, please check out their Kickstarter campaign page to learn more.

1750

Battle Hardened Games has restarted their first Kickstarter project, 1750: Britain vs. France Card Game.

Designed by Jason Huffman, 1750: Britain vs. France is a 2-player card game for ages 14 and up and plays in about 45 minutes. It is a mid-level, strategy wargame where one player represents Britain and the other represents France.  Each player engages in a battle of dice and card-play to capture enemy forces, persuade foreign powers to be allies, and gain control of the most colonies around the world.

As you build your empire of conquered world colonies, you will need to use your political skills to convince other powers to help you attack and defend your conquests with a roll of the dice.  To skew the outcome in your favor, use historic event cards to affect the tide of battle.  Shrewdly choose which colonies to conquer and which generals to recruit to lead your forces in this medium-weight wargame with surprising depth.

1750-compon

Have you ever fancied yourself a world leader hellbent on world domination?  Do you enjoy the idea of colonizing free world?  Or maybe you’re just a history or art buff that loves a great-looking game?  In any of these cases, you should definitely give a look to 1750: Britain vs. France Card Game!

To learn more or pledge today for as low as $29, <click here>.

yokohama deluxe

Tasty Minstrel Games would like to announce their current project, Yokohama Deluxe, a new version of Yokohama that includes metal coins and upgraded wooden components.

Yokohama is a game by Hisashi Hayashi in which players take on the role of merchants in the Meiji period, an important era of commerce and international trade in Japan’s history.  Players work to gain fame through successful business practices, including building a store, broadening their sales channels, learning a variety of techniques, and responding to trade orders from abroad.

yokohomo components

TMG has clearly expressed that they are providing the upgraded components in this deluxe version of Yokohama at cost to backers, and that this will be a limited, one-time opportunity to obtain this deluxe version.  For more information and to support this project, visit its Kickstarter page here.

You are in danger of flunking most-heinously tomorrow!

Travel across the circuits of history with up to four players, collecting personages of historical significance in order to pass tomorrow’s oral report. But beware! Every time you snatch someone, the phone booth breaks most non-triumphantly, and your adventure through time will take a most serious turn!

No way!

Yes.  Way!

Steve Jackson announces a new game based on the classic comedy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  In this game designed by Sam Mitschke and Randy Scheunemann, players will travel across the circuits of history, collect personages of historical significance, pass their history report, and determine the fate of society.

Each copy of the game will include:

  • 60 Cards
  • 36 Tokens
  • 6 Standees
  • Game Board
  • Rule Sheet

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Boardgame is now in production and the release date has yet to be announced.  To read the full press release, visit the SJG website here.

So we all know that Charles Darrow invented the iconic game of Monopoly back during the Great Depression, which later became a household staple.

But have we heard the whole story?

A recent article in Business Insider called Hardly Anyone Realizes the Classic Board Game Monopoly Started as an Early Feminist’s Attack on Capitalism discusses the lesser-known story of a woman named Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie, a suffragist, Georgist, and daughter of an abolitionist.  Magie desired to reveal to society the evils of land-grabbing by showing them how it works.  She decided to accomplish this through a game called The Landlord’s Game, patented in 1904, which allowed players to play with either anti-monopolist rules or monopolist rules.

Although the game was very popular, due to difficulty is mass-production, the game became circulated mostly as a folk game, in which the rules changed throughout its circulation.  By the time Magie repatented the game in 1924, the game had mostly settled into its new identity, in which players primarily played as land-grabbing monopolists (as it was much more fun to be the monopolists than the anti-monopolists, after all).

The game was extremely popular with the Quakers in Atlantic City, and before long, a man named Charles Darrow played the game with some friends…

Interested is reading more?  Visit the full article at business insider.com.