Horrible Games

Well, we’re right in the middle of convention season and after a successful Origins and Dice Tower Con, we are right at the onset of Gen Con. This is the 52nd year for Gen Con and for those not familiar, is happening right in the middle of Indianapolis (at the convention center).

This year is reported to have over 65,000 attendees (the largest yet) and feature over 19,000 different events. This is the 6th year I’ve had the opportunity to attend and, as I’ve done in the past, I would like to take a little time to feature some of the highlights of what to expect this year.

First up is Blue Orange Games (booth 1813). They have a few new releases that I was excited about. The one I was most excited about is Slide Quest. Are you a fan of Sorry Sliders? Now add a fantasy theme and a bit of RPG to the mix and you have Slide Quest. In this game, you work as a team to move a knight around a board – maneuvering around obstacles and monsters. This is achieved by lifting up on one of four different levers to move the hero (who has a rolling ball at the base of the figurine). This is an extremely fun family hit!

Next up is Kingdomino Duel. Roll-and-Write’s are extremely popular these days and Kingdomino Duel brings Blue Orange into the mix of fun R&W’s. For those familiar with the domino-building kingdom game in which it is themed (Kingdomino) in Kingdomino Duel, you are combining two different dice values to form a domino and then, in turn, use it to draw it into your kingdom. To find out more about the game you can view the Dice Tower’s review here. If you’re a fan of the original game – and enjoy the Roll & Write craze – this game is for you!

Speaking of Kingdomino, Blue Orange Games will be hosting their USA championship tournament during GenCon

During each hour, 36 participants will be divided into 8 groups of either 4 or 5 players. Groups of 5 players will play with the Kingdomino expansion Age of Giants. The winners of each group will be divided in 2 groups of 4 and will play another game. The 2 winners of those groups will have to come back at 7pm for the Grand Finals.

You can find out more about the tournament by visiting Blue Orange Games’ website here.

Next we’re on to Horrible Games and their release of The King’s Dilemma
(booth 3065 – Luma Games). This game is a turn away from their successful Dungeon Fighter line-up and is more of a narrative game that features many evolving decisions made to build an evolving deck of cards.

You will draw one card from the “Dilemma deck” each round and experience the game story as it unfolds. Each card poses a problem that the Council has to resolve on the King’s behalf. As members of the King’s inner circle, your decisions determine how the story proceeds and the fate of the kingdom. Each event happens only once: You discuss and bargain with the other players, then finally you make a choice, determining the outcome, progressing the game story, and possibly unlocking more events.

Let’s now focus some attention on Portal Games (booth 2443). Portal has long been one of my personal favorite Publishers. With hits such as Robinson Crusoe and the recent hit, Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame, designer (and company owner) Ignacy Trzewiczek, along with Joanna Kijanka, have released Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North. This is a standalone game (set in the Imperial Settlers universe) where players will take on the leaders of either the Scotsmen, Inuits, or Vikings to make them the best empire in the world.

Develop your economy, deflect your opponent, and fight for dominance in the north. Learn new mechanisms, and experience a unique style of Imperial Settlers. Will you be able to create the most successful civilization in Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North?


Last is a visit to Starling Games & Sparkworks (booth 2225 & 2317). Available from Starling is Anomaly – a hidden movement deduction game in which one person/team plays students who are up against a feeding anomaly. What’s unique about this one is that players (students) will use special ability cards that will then be fed to the anomaly, in which case they will be used for their inverse abilities which will benefit the entity. Check this out along with some other light games such as Blindspot (an inventive word game) and Penny Lane (a small worker placement game) both pictured below.

Penny Lane
Blind Spot

Keep your eyes out for future articles that I’ll try to post over the next couple of days.

A new distribution agreement has been struck to bring Horrible Games’ titles to the U.S. and Canada. The Italian-based publisher will have all games for the foreseeable future brought to North America by Canada-based publisher and distributor Luma Games. Horrible Games to be carried by this deal include hits like Potion Explosion, Dragon Castle, and Railroad Ink, but this will also include all future titles from the publisher as well. This is a mutually beneficial deal which will see more exposure for both companies across North America.

“Under the new agreement, Luma will distribute all our upcoming games, including Similo and The King’s Dilemma, and take over distribution of backlist games such as Potion Explosion, Dragon Castle, and Railroad Ink as existing stock sells down and new printings are done. Luma will also handle retail and event support for our catalog.”

Keen observers will notice that this is a huge boon for Horrible Games as Luma is taking over the exact same capacity that CMON did for all of their current catalog. While CMON will no longer be distributing the above-mentioned titles after the stock sells, the prolific publisher already has a release schedule and brand presence that is strong on it’s own. On the other hand, Luma has only been able to distribute a select few titles, such as Museum and Memoarrr!, and this partnership will surely escalate their outreach and footprint in the states through Horrible Games’ existing excellent catalog. If you’re interested in reading more about this distribution agreement, or want to learn more about Horrible Games or Luma Games, check out their websites for their own news posts and products.

Horrible Games is attending the Spielwarenmesse (International Toy Fair) 2019 held in Nuremburg, Germany, from January 30th to February 3rd. Tickets for this fair can only be purchased by trade professionals, but Horrible Games has made available a list of games which they will showcase there.

Their most anticipated game is Alone, a dungeon survival sci-fi horror game, to be Kickstarted mid-February, which includes more content and support for more languages.

The King’s Dilemma, by designers Hjalmar Hach, and Lorenzo Silva, is an interactive, narrative experience with branching story lines based on a deck-building mechanism. Players are various families who lead the government of a kingdom by drawing cards from a common deck which allows a story to unfold. Players discuss, bargain, and make decisions which builds the cards remaining in the deck and shape the story of the kingdom. The King’s Dilemma supports 2-5 players, aged 14+, plays in 30 mins, and is expected to release in Q3 of 2019.

Fantastiq, by the same designers, has players commissioned to create works of art simultaneously each round, using modelling clay, based on titles they’re given. Once done, everyone exhibits their creations which are also matched to the titles. Creations correctly matched score points. Fantastiq is for 3-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in 45 mins. The release date is yet to be announced.

Similo, designed by Martino ChiacchieraHjalmar Hach, and Pierluca Zizzi, is a co-operative deduction game utilizing a deck of 90 large cards which have portraits of famous historical or fictional characters (such as Buddha, Abraham Lincoln, and Cleopatra). A clue giver gets the other players to guess the correct character, from 12 displayed on the table, by giving them clues in the form of cards of characters which have something in common with the one they’re meant to guess. Players remove 1 or more characters which they think don’t have anything in common with the clue. If, at any point, the correct character is eliminated the players lose. If the correct one is the final one to remain the players win. Similo supports 2-8 players, aged 8+, and plays in 15-30 mins. The release date has not yet been announced.

Unicorn Fever, designed by Lorenzo Silva, and Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino, is a game of racing unicorns. Players place bets then watch the race unfold while trying to influence the outcome by “fixing” it. Unicorn Fever is a spiritual successor to the 2009 title, Horse Fever by the same designers. The game supports 2-5 players, aged 8+, and plays in 60 mins. No release date has yet been announced.

Horrible Games are making moves on the digital marketplace with two announcements. The first is Dragon Castle, which will be making it’s app debut next year. Now the tense, tactical, tile picking-and-placing game will be available on the go or PC and is sure to have some exciting multiplayer features. This is amazing news, as Dragon Castle is an excellent game that deserves the digital treatment and the exposure that comes with it.

“We’re doing it again! We’re happy to announce that we’re going to publish a digital version of Dragon Castle! The app version is now in development, and is planned for release in 2019. Originally developed by the terrific trio Lorenzo Silva / Hjalmar Hach / Luca Ricciand illustrated by Cinyee Chiu, the game will be converted to the digital format by Studio Clangore, the same development team behind the Potion Explosion app.”

The second announcement involves Potion Explosion, which already exists as an app, having it’s first expansion – The Fifth Ingredient – available for download today. It can be bought as DLC inside the app, and it’ll unlock all the great features added by the physical version. Now you can play with the titular fifth ingredient, the wild ectoplasm, along with the new professors, their scolding and reward tokens, and the new potion types as well. Horrible Games also boasts that the addition includes some new animations an updated soundtrack, and an interactive tutorial! If you’re interested in learning more about these announcements, be sure to check out Horrible Games’ website for further releases and updates.

Potion Explosion, a board game where you collect ingredients to make potions, is coming out with a second edition and new a new expansion.  The first edition of the game was great, and the second edition will be identical in all regards, except for one major part.  In the first edition of the game the dispenser that holds all the marbles was assembled by players out of cardboard, and just didn’t feel that sturdy when it was being used.  The second edition fixes that with an all new plastic dispenser that comes assembled so you can pop it out the box and off you go.  Game play doesn’t change and you are still collecting marbles to make potions and score the most points.

As for the expansion, this one is called Potion Explosion: The 6th Student, and adds not only the components needed to go up to 6 players, but also includes the plastic dispenser, and all new gameplay elements.  Some of the new gameplay options include mandragora leaves, an ingredient that you collect and explode like all the other ingredients, but when used in potions counts as a wild.  But be careful, even though it’s wild, it can’t be mixed with any other ingredients.  Also being added are potions that require multiple players in order to create, and a game mode utilizing two dispensers for when you are playing with 5 or 6 players.  So if you like Potion Explosion then check out this expansion for sure.

Both the second edition of the game and the 6th Student expansion will be available at Essen later this year, and then look for it on store shelves shortly after that.

Potion Explosion, published originally by Horrible Games and later by Cool Mini or Not, invited up to 4 players into it’s zany Harry Potter-esque potions class for a fun time using marbles and chain reactions. The game is unique in how it uses marbles and gravity with resource management and set collection, and it’s quite fun if not at least delightful to see on a table. Now the game’s first expansion, The Fifth Ingredient, is coming soon and once again players will return to the classroom for potion mixing madness. As per CMON’s announcement:

 “Professor Humblescore is back, and he has some new tricks to teach. The Fifth Ingredient adds new Potions, Professor tiles, Reward and Scolding tokens, a Ghastly Cauldron, and a wild new ingredient: Ghost Ectoplasm!”

When I first got my chance to play Potion Explosion, I soon caught the rumor of an expansion that would add a wild ingredient to the mix and have been excited to hear about how it would affect the game. We know now that this new type of marble not only counts as any color of ingredient for potions, but it also consistently causes explosions when impacting with other ingredients to the dispenser. A cauldron is added that will mechanically work to exchange and carry ectoplasm, as well as allowing players to trade for them with certain actions. There are also new potions that can be made and imbibed throughout the game that interact with this new resource as well.

Perhaps the most interesting addition are the new professors. Each one comes with their own rules and tiles that affect a given game, some giving rewards or scolding depending on how well one adheres to their instruction. There’s a lot this expansion adds that can give a game with a good table presence and a unique mechanic the depth that it deserves and I definitely look forward to seeing it. Potion Explosion: The Fifth Element, will be releasing very soon (June 23rd by the CMON announcement) and if you’re interested in more information, be sure to visit CMON’s web page.

Welcome to the first edition of the Wallet Kickers series of articles where each week we will cover a couple different Kickstarters in one article.  There will still be other Kickstarters highlighted on their own, but here you will get some rapid fire coverage of other Kickstarters we like.  So without any more delay, lets so what we’ve got.

First is a campaign for a one versus many game called Alone.  This is an interesting game in two ways, first is that the many in this game are the “evil” players who move and activate the monsters.  The other is that there aren’t traditional turns in the game, it’s always the hero’s turn and the evil players will interrupt him with reactions to his different actions.  The game also creates tension for the hero because he can only see as far as his flashlight will shine, meaning only a few corridors will be visible at any given time.  But not to worry, you have your trusty radar to help you find your objective, and along the way you will find useful items to help you stay alive.  But the real question is, can you survive when you are all alone?  Head over to the campaign page to pledge for your copy.

Next is a new board game being made by Lucky Duck Games, in partnership with Mobigame, called Zombie Tsunami.  Now you aren’t being deceived, this is indeed a campaign to fund the board game version of the popular phone app.  In the game you are leading your own zombie horde, and as the street cards are revealed you will be performing actions dictated by the card.  It could be teaming up to move a vehicle, picking between eating a civilian or bombing your opponents, and even having to make your zombies jump.  Just like the game there will be crazy stuff happening, upgrades to purchase, secret ability cards, and different ways to increase your horde.  Have the biggest horde after third trip down the street to be the winner!  So if you would like a copy of this app turned board game, check out their campaign page.

Another game being Kickstarted is a card game boasting the ability to play the game 240 different ways, Card City XL.  In Card City XL you are using the ‘I split, you choose’ mechanic to dole out cards to each player in the game.  They in turn will add those cards to their city, and if you built right, also allow you to add more cards from the reserve to your city.  But what goal are you building towards?  That is what you have to determine at the beginning of the game, picking a difficulty level (easy, normal, advanced), your victory condition (economic, happiness, commercial, etc.), and then if you want to use a variant or not.  Each different combination will give you a different way to play the game, adding up to 240 different combinations you can play.  So if you want a tight city building card game with variety of gameplay, give this campaign a look.

Last, and by no means the least, is Galaxy of Trian: New Order, a giant re-implementation of the original game Galaxy of Trian.  This is a 4X style game where you will be using the double sided triangle tiles to expand and explore the universe.  Then as you find planets, nebula, and various other celestial bodies you will begin to exploit them for resources.  Resources which you can then turn around to build space stations and research stations, and even upgrade the abilities of your race.  Finally you can fight other players for control of these valuable resource supplies in order to make sure you come out on top.  Because whoever has the most credits and resources at the end will be the winner.  You can check out the campaign page for more info, and to see the piles of minis you will get if you back this game.


Steam Park is a fun press your luck dice game about building a theme park for robots that was released back in 2013.  So the fact two new expansion have been announced for it this year is rather surprising, but not unwelcome.  The two new expansions are Steam Park: Play Dirty and Steam Park: Robots, both adding something different to the game.  Play Dirty adds in components for a fifth player as well as modules to help change how you play the game.  These modules include espionage dice, ride extensions, stingy visitors, and new stands to add to your park.  The Robots expansion is mostly a component upgrade as it will replace all the wooden tokens with plastic minis, plus you get some extra minis called V.I.R.  These Very Important Roboburgers will net you a lot of money, but they will only come to your park if you can make them feel special.  Those who are able to attend Essen will be able to grab these expansions, as for the rest of us, we will have to wait for their release after the fair to get them.

potion explotion banner

CoolMiniOrNot (CMON) has recently announced that they will be publishing the English version of the new game Potion Explosion, originally from Horrible Games.

Potion Explosion gathered a lot of attention at this year’s Essen due to its unique components and creative design. Built to emulate games such as Bejeweled and Candy Crush, Potion Explosion sets out to bring these highly acclaimed mobile games to the tabletop.

The game is listed as a family style game where players must remove colored marbles from the dispenser filled with other marbles lined up in rows. When removing a marble would cause multiple of the same colored marbles to line up, players get to collect the matching marbles to save for later. Players will use their marbles to create potions in a race to win the game.

Tom Vasel’s recent review gives it an approved rating saying:

“I would consider this a gateway style game, a game in which to get people into the hobby. Certainly interesting, unique and refreshing.”

Potion Explosion is set to join CMON’s “Or Not” line of games in the first quarter of 2016. Other recent games from their “Or Not” line include Queen’s Necklace and Xenoshyft. Horrible Games is also known for other games such as Steam Park, Dungeon Fighter, and Co-Mix.

You can read the announcement here.