horror

There’s a new Vampire: The Masquerade board game that will seek crowdfunding in June and it’s literally too big not to share. That’s because it’s a MegaGame – an appropriate name for such a large-scale thing, typically involving more than ten people split into teams around multiple tables or rooms. Publisher Everything Epic and designer Ben Kanelos want to bring that kind of experience to board gaming for ease of approach and faster play. Vampire: The Masquerade – Blood Feud, coming to Kickstarter, will allow 4 to 32 people to play as vampires or humans within teams, each with different abilities and group-dependent goals involving politics, diplomacy, trade, and combat across a big city map.

“Blood Feud uses a large room or two separate rooms with 2-4 tables. One game table features the Cityscape and Orders, the map where players move their forces around the city and order them to fight and take control of important territories. The other game table features the Council and Market where players use their best diplomatic and resource management skills to make sly trades, buy upgrades and player level-ups, as well as make large political decisions that will shape the destinies of teams to determine whether they win or lose!”

Some might read the above two paragraphs and think, “What makes this so different from Werewolf, really?” After all, they’re both occult/horror themed games of intrigue for large groups of people, right? That would be neglecting a huge part of what makes a MegaGame so fun and unique. It’s not just that it’s built for a huge group of people, but that it’s got so many points of interactivity that it feels more akin to live action role-playing with layers of decision-making and sudden consequences for every action and inaction.

This publisher and designer both realize the prohibitive nature of MegaGames (their difficulty in organizing) and what makes them great, so it’s fantastic that they’re bringing this in a more manageable format for our hobby to truly appreciate. Moreover, the history and nature of the Vampire: The Masquerade setting lends itself to negotiation, strong-arming, and role-playing. It’s a perfect theme to use as an entry point for a game this ambitious. If you’re interested in learning more about Vampire: The Masquerade – Blood Feud, check out the Everything Epic website for more information and be on the lookout for it on Kickstarter this June.

Avalon Hill’s Betrayal Legacy is available in stores now. Ever since Dice Tower News covered the announcement last year, fans have eagerly awaited its release.  The original Betrayal at House on the Hill, designed by Rob Daviau, is a hugely popular and thematic game and has already served as the inspiration for re-implementation in the fantasy setting of Forgotten Realms in Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. Rob Daviau has made his mark in the industry as a premier legacy game designer, first with Risk Legacy, then with award winning Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (currently #2 on BGG), Seafall, and Pandemic: Season 2.

Rob Daviau returns in Betrayal Legacy adding permanent changes and a multi-game story arc that define the legacy game concept. It will not be enough to survive the haunted mansion for one game.  The game is told through a prologue and 13-chapter story where players represent specific members of a family, who age over time, and experience the events of the haunted mansion over multiple decades.

Betrayal Legacy plays 3-5 players, ages 12+, in about 75 minutes per game. Go to Avalon Hill to learn more about the game, or visit your friendly local game story today.

Horrors return anew at Arkham.  Fantasy Flight announces The Circle Undone, the fourth deluxe expansion for Arkham Horror: The Card Game.  In this campaign, investigators will dig into Arkham’s past, uncovering its history to learn more about the motives of those behind the current mysteries.  Like all deluxe expansions, The Circle Undone comes with two new scenarios and new investigator and players cards. What makes this expansion different is the inclusion of the prologue scenario “Disappearance at the Twilight Estate.”  Instead of beginning the campaign by taking your investigator straight to the first scenario, players will play as one of four people invited to an ill-fated charity event at an estate in French Hill. Each of these characters have their own unique abilities and skills, but they are not investigators and do not have a deck of additional cards. Players will have to work together in order to survive the night’s chaos and learn the secrets behind what has happened.

Featured in The Circle Undone is the new investigator Diana Stanley, a redeemed cultist who knows much about the prestigious order of the Silver Twilight Lodge, perhaps too much. Having recognized the twisted nature of the order and convinced that dark forces are in play, she works dismantled the order and frustrate their plans from the inside.  As a former cult member, Diana’s willpower is extremely weak, but her knowledge of the order protects her, allowing her to ignore or cancel many card effects.  With each successfully cancelled or ignored card, Diana grows bolder and her willpower increases to the point she can turn the Order’s attacks against itself.  Unfortunately, she carries a Terrible Secret that if ever revealed, she either forfeits her cards or suffers unspeakable horrors for each card she keeps.

Stay tuned to Fantasy Flight to learn more about The Circle Undone.

Pandasaurus Games has announced three new games coming out in August: Qwinto, The Mind, and Nyctophobia.

Qwinto, by Bernhard Lach and Uwe Rapp, is a roll and write game for two to six players and takes 15 minutes to play. In Qwinto, all players play simultaneously. Each player has a score sheet with three rows in three different colors (orange, yellow, and purple) and there are three dice (one of each color). Each row will contain mostly circle fields with a few pentagonal fields. The active player rolls one to three dice (their choice) and each player will choose whether to add the rolled sum to one available field on their score sheet. There are only three rules for writing sums on the score sheet:

  1. The chosen row must be the same color as one of the rolled dice.
  2. The numbers in the row must increase from left to right (leaving blank spaces is allowed)
  3. No duplicate numbers may appear in a single column.

Any player may choose not to write a sum on their score sheet without penalty unless they are the active player; the active player must mark one of the miss-throw fields if they choose not to add the rolled sum to their sheet. The game ends when a player has filled two rows on their score sheet or when any player has filled in their fourth miss-throw field. Players then score points equal to the number in the pentagonal field for each completed column, points equal to the right-most number in each completed row, and one point for each number in each incomplete row. Each miss-throw is negative five points. The player with the most points wins! For more information, check out The Dice Tower reviews here.

The Mind, by Wolfgang Warsch, is a team experience for two to four players. Players are attempting to complete levels by placing their cards collectively in ascending order, but here’s the catch – the players are not allowed to communicate in any way to indicate what cards they have. The game includes numbered cards 1 -100, level cards 1 -12, life cards, and shuriken cards. Players will try to complete 12/10/8 levels for 2/3/4 players. For each level, the players will be dealt a number of cards equal to the level number (1 card for level 1, 2 cards for level 2, etc.) that are kept hidden from the other players. Then, all players will try to place their cards one by one on the discard pile face up in ascending order, not knowing what cards are in the other players’ hands. If a card is placed that is higher than one still in a player’s hand, that player will call a stop, the players will lose a life, and then the level will continue. The players also have shuriken cards, that can help them make it through a level. As long as all of the players agree, a shuriken card can be used to allow all players to discard their lowest level card, which then becomes public knowledge. The game ends when the players have successfully completed all of the levels or if the players lose their last life. For more information, check out The Dice Tower reviews here.

Nyctophobia, by Catherine Stippell, is a cooperative horror-survival game for three to five players that plays in 30 – 45 minutes. Up to four players will play as the Hunted and a single player will be the Hunter. The goal of the Hunted is to make it through the forest maze to their car and survive. The Hunter will win if any of the Hunted die. Sounds fairly simple, right? Here’s the hard part – all of the Hunted players wear black out glasses so they cannot see the board and can only navigate by touch.

At the beginning of the game, the Hunter (the only player who can see the board) will set up the board based on the scenario (axe murderer or mage) and give the players the general direction of their car (north, south, west, or east), but the Hunted don’t know where they are starting in relation to the car. On the Hunted player’s turn, the Hunter will assist the Hunted by placing their hand on their player piece. Then, they can explore the surrounding spaces next to their player piece. After exploring, they’ll decide on a direction to move. This may cause them to pick up rocks that they can later throw to distract the Hunter, bump into another Hunted player allowing them to coordinate and better determine their location in the forest, or run into the Hunter, taking damage. Each Hunted only has two health. The Hunter uses a deck of cards to determine their movement on their turn, but has certain rules they must follow, such as heading towards any noise markers (from thrown rocks) on the board.

There are two versions of the Hunter: the axe murderer and the mage. The ax murderer can chop down trees to get to the Hunted faster while the mage can manipulate the forest, moving trees and rotating the entire map, to confuse the players. To see more, check out the GAMA 2018 video here.

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Everything Epic, those that brought us Secrets of the Lost Tomb, have announced (via the press release below) their next immersive adventure game, Coma Ward. Coma Ward is designed by Danny Lot and will be horror-themed.

Everything Epic Games to Publish Tabletop Horror Adventure Coma Ward

Millburn, New Jersey USA – October 31, 2016 – New Jersey-based Everything Epic Games, publisher of the 2015 action/adventure thriller board game Secrets of the Lost Tomb, announced today that it will publish Coma Ward, the debut title from Florida-based tabletop designer Danny Lott.

Coma Ward is a horror adventure board game in which the players have awoken in an abandoned hospital with no memory of their former selves, and must piece together not only the situation they find themselves in, but also their own identities and motives, if they hope to survive. Players struggle to maintain their sanity as they explore the derelict hospital, searching for clues to help unravel their predicament and eventually revealing one of several possible hidden phenomena included in the game. The phenomenon dictates each player’s role and win condition — until it is revealed, players have no idea whether the objective is competitive or cooperative, or whether the other players are friend or foe.

Lott’s long-held love of the horror genre inspired him to create Coma Ward, and he cites the unsettling nature of hospital settings as motivation for its unique and terrifying theme. As the owner/operator of Lakeland, Florida-based gaming party service The Game Shelf, Lott’s encyclopedic knowledge of tabletop games and publishers made it easy for him to select Everything Epic. “Coma Ward is an elaborate experience with intricate, often gritty storylines, and it needed a publisher that could give that experience room to grow. With Secrets of the Lost Tomb, Everything Epic demonstrated without a shadow of a doubt that they were up to the challenge of producing Coma Ward exactly the way I’d envisioned it, without cutting corners or sacrificing the thematic elements that make it truly unique,” explained Lott.

Everything Epic representatives met with Lott at Gen Con 2016, and after playing the game they agreed that Coma Ward was a perfect fit for their brand. President Chris Batarlis enthused, “With every turn, Coma Ward drew us further into its immersive narrative. It offers players a myriad of ways to interact with the environment and each other without getting bogged down in arcane rules. We knew right away that Coma Ward has that special something — that — that makes it a natural fit in our catalog.” Vice President Jim Samartino agreed. “The first time I played Coma Ward, it gave me nightmares. I knew then that it was a truly gripping experience — one we can’t wait to share with the rest of the tabletop community!”

Lott and the Everything Epic team are presently developing Coma Ward with the marketing and editing assistance of Matt Holden, executive director of the Indie Game Alliance. Everything Epic hopes to bring the game to Kickstarter in Spring of 2017.

smash-up-steam-banner

Continuing with the trend of more and more board games becoming digitized, the latest offering to be released on Steam is AEG‘s Smash Up designed by Paul Peterson.

Smash Up is a card game that takes a deck of 20 cards of a faction, and combines them with another deck of 20 cards of another faction.  Each faction has a special ability associated with it, so the combinations when mixing various factions is almost endless.  These cards are shuffled to make your deck, and you use that deck to attempt to Smash a base.  Points are awarded for the first, second, and third most power on that base.

Smash Up on Steam is currently in what Steam calls an ‘Early Access Game’.  This grants you early access to the full game in its current state allowing you to play as is, with more content added as the developer completes it.  If you buy into the game during Early Access, you’ll receive a discount as well as access to additional content as it’s completed.

A link to what the developers of the game have to say can be found here.

More info on Smash Up the board game can be found here and here.

BBN001_lIf there’s one thing that teenagers are good for, it’s pointing out all of their parent’s mistakes. The largest blunder–in my teenagers’ eyes–was getting them an Xbox One instead of a Playstation 4. Before I continue, I feel the need to confirm that, yes, they are that spoiled which is routinely demonstrated to me via complaining of their spartan existence while playing Overwatch and eating Cheez-Its. Their ire revolves around the lack of access to one game: Bloodborne. I still have very little idea of what a Bloodborne might be, but I do know that a tabletop version is on the way from Cool Mini or Not. Earlier this week we learned that Bloodborne: The Card Game should be hitting shelves this September.

Bloodborne: The Card Game is designed by Eric M. Lang and, according to his blog:

…is based on the Chalice Dungeons in the video game Bloodborne — the ever-changing labyrinths and tombs carved out by the Great Ones beneath the fallen city of Yharnam, where horrifying creatures reside. Players compete to kill monsters and take their blood.

As players traverse the dungeon they will be attacked by critters and will then have to fight together to beat each threat. Players will play cards simultaneously and collect blood based on how much damage they do. If they fall in combat, however, all their progress is lost which gives the game a push-your-luck mechanism as players decide to stay in one more round to rack up those red hot treats, the kinda sticky licky sweets they crave or get out early and save what they’ve already earned.

Cool Mini or Not should have advanced copies available at Gen Con 2016, but the full retail release appears to be targeting September. If that should change, we’ll let you know.

betrayal widows

Betrayal at House on the Hill is the quintessential Halloween game and one that a lot of people think of when asked about horror story type games.  Now, after it’s initial release 12 years ago, the game is getting a long overdue expansion, Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk.

As expected from any expansion it will add additional cards to the omen, item, and event decks as well as provide more haunts in the form of a second set of books, but the most interesting aspect is that it also adds additional room tiles of a new floor, the roof.  Now as you explore the mansion you will be able to go upstairs and then out onto the roof, opening up more possibilities for horrific events and ways to trigger new haunts.  The release date is still a ways off but it is planned to be released in October of 2016, you can head over to the Wizards Play Network site to check it out.

Something is stirring in the Alaskan wilderness. Waves of freezing ice and terrible hunger roll across the land. The Ancient Ones have returned!

Omens of Ice is the latest expansion for Fantasy Flight’s cooperative horror dice game, Elder Sign, in which players must protect their sanity as they race to discover the eldritch symbols that they need to seal the Ancient Ones out of our world. In this expansion, players will embark on an Alaskan Expedition, with a whole new adventure deck, searching the wild places for clues about the source of these strange disturbances. Danger appears at all sides, from terrifying beasts to icy storms and freezing temperatures, all tearing at your sanity and your all-important supplies.

The expansion also includes a new Alaskan Mythos deck, new investigators, and two difficulty levels for your expedition – the relative calm and warmth of Summer, or the dark, foreboding, unforgiving winter.

Look for the Omens before the snows melt and the ice thaws! You can find it in your friendly local game store some time in the first quarter of 2016.

Read the full announcement here.