IELLO

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:

Family Games (6 Nominees)

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)

Traditional Card Games (8 Nominees)

Game Accessories (4 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage Organizer by The Broken Token (designed by Greg Spence)
  • Dungeon Morph Dice Adventurer Set by Inkwell Ideas / Q-Workshop (designed by Joe Wetzel, Dyson Logos, Matt Jackson, Shane Knysh, Tim Ballew, Dave Millar, Sigurd Johansson, AJ Stone)
  • Flip ‘N Tray Mat Case by Ultimate Guard (designed by Adrian Alonso)
  • Improved D Total by Gamescience (designed by Dr. A.F. Simkin, Col. Louis Zocchi, Frank Dutrait)

Board Games (10 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage by (designed by Eric M. Lang)
  • Clank! by Renegade Games (designed by Paul Dennen)
  • Cry Havoc by Portal Games (designed by Grant Rodiek, Michael Oracz, Michael Walczak)
  • Feast for Odin by Z Man Games/Asmodee (designed by Uwe Rosenberg)
  • Islebound by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
  • Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight/Asmodee (designed by Christopher Burdett, Anders Finér, Henning Ludvigsen)
  • Scythe by Stonemaier Games (designed by Jamey Stegmaier)
  • Star Wars Rebellion by Fantasy Flight (designed by Corey Konieczka)
  • Terraforming Mars by (designed by Jacob Fryxelius)
  • World’s Fair 1893 by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games (designed by J. Alex Kevern)

Collectible Games (5 Nominees)

  • Yu-Gi-Oh Breaker of Shadow Booster by Konami (designed by Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Pokémon XY11 Steam Siege Booster by Pokémon USA (designed by The Pokémon Company)
  • Magic the Gathering: Kaladesh Booster Pack by Wizards of the Coast
  • Marvel HeroClix: Uncanny X-Men Booster Brick by WizKids (designed by WizKids)
  • Cardfight Vanguard Fighters Collection by Bushiroad

Miniatures (5 Nominees)

  • Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team by Games Workshop
  •  Konflikt ’47 by Warlord Games (designed by Clockwork Goblin Miniatures)
  • Dragon Rampant by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine
  • TANKS by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine (designed by Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates)
  • Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames (designed by Andy Chambers and David Lewis)

IELLO has posted a second trailer video for its upcoming arena combat board game, Arena For The Gods, designed by Maxime Rambourg (The Big Book Of Madness). This video highlights some of the mechanisms and components of this upcoming cousin to King of Tokyo and Ultimate Warriorz. In Arena For The Gods, 2-6 players bid with health tokens to buy cards representing equipment, spells, mounts and general tools of destruction. Players then have 2 rolls of the custom dice in order to move about the arena, fight,  and activate their cards, dealing death and destruction to the other combatants. The last warrior left standing is the victor.

Arena For The Gods is due for pre-release at Origins Game Fair in June 2017, then in stores on June 28. The newest trailer video can be seen here.

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)

Best Artwork

  • Arkham Horror: The Card Game – illustrated by Christopher Hosch, Ignacio Bazán Lazcano, Henning Ludvigsen, Mercedes Opheim, Zoe Robinson, and Evan Simonet; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Inis – illustrated by Dimitri Bielak & Jim Fitzpatrick; published by Matagot
  • Islebound – illustrated by Ryan Laukat; published by Red Raven Games
  • Kanagawa – illustrated by Jade Mosch; published by Iello
  • Scythe – illustrated by Jakub Rozalski; published by Stonemaier Games

Best Theming

  • Black Orchestra – designed by Philip duBarry; published by Game Salute
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • SeaFall – designed by Rob Daviau; published by Plaid Hat Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Two-Player Game

Best Reprint

Best Expansion

Best Party Game

  • Codenames: Pictures– designed by Vlaada Chvátil; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Happy Salmon – designed by Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir; published by North Star Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Secret Hitler – designed by Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, & Max Temkin; published by Goat Wolf & Cabbage

Best Cooperative Game

Best Family Game

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, & Andrew Wolf; published by USAopoly
  • Ice Cool – designed by Brian Gomez; published by Brain Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Karuba – designed by Rüdiger Dorn; published by HABA
  • Sushi Go Party! – designed by Phil Walker-Harding; published by Gamewright

Best Strategy Game

  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Board Game Production

  • Conan – designed by Frédéric Henry, Antoine Bauza, Pascal Bernard, Bruno Cathala, Croc, Ludovic Maublanc, & Laurent Pouchain; published by Monolith
  • The Others – designed by Eric M. Lang; published by Cool Mini or Not
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games

Most Innovative Game

Best Game from a Small Publisher  (The published must have published five or fewer games at the beginning of 2015)

  • Arkwright – designed by Stefan Risthaus; published by Capstone Games
  • Cottage Garden– designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Edition Spielwiese
  • Not Alone – designed by Ghislain Masson; published by Geek Attitude Games
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • Vast: The Crystal Caverns – designed by David Somerville; published by Leder Games

Game of the Year

  • Adrenaline – designed by Filip Neduk; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Cry Havoc– designed by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, & Michał Walczak; published by Portal Games
  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Inis – designed by Christian Martinez; published by Matagot
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Every year since 1990, American Mensa has held the Mensa Mind Games competition to recognize recently released board games and card games, and that continued in 2017.  Over one intense, 46-hour-long weekend of gaming (of which, to be honest, many of us are probably jealous), Mensa members/judges select the top five games, which are awarded the Mensa Select distinction and seal.  The winners for 2017 are:

The Mensa Mind Games criteria examines the games’ originality, challenge, design, creativity, ease of comprehension and play, fun factor, and interestingly, value of game play for its price.  Past winners include Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Dominion, Yinsh, Magic: the Gathering, and Apples to Apples.   The list of this year’s winners can be found here and all of the winners can be viewed and filtered by year on the Mensa Mind Games page.

iello have announced 3 upcoming titles for 2017:

The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossomed Every Ten Years – A 2-4 player card game with about 20 minutes of play time. This mouthful of a name is a working title only, and the original Japanese game went by the more manageable “Hirohita“. Designed by Hinata Origuchi, iello’s new release of the press-your-luck, set collection game will feature stunning artwork from Sylvain Sarrailh. Estimated for Q3 2017.

Sticky Chameleon – A family weight game designed by Théo Rivière (Sea of Clouds). Not a lot of details on this one yet, but it’s aimed for ages 6 and up, accommodates 2-6 players and takes about 15 minutes. Also planned for release in Q3.

Ninja Taisen – Another port of a Japanese game, this one designed by Katsumasa TomiokaNinja Taisen is a 2 player game that will be part of iello’s mini games line (Welcome to the Dungeon, Schotten Totten, etc.). From iello:

“Each player controls 10 Ninjas recruited to defend their village. These Ninjas have a strength (between 1 and 3) and a color-coded category. Following the famous rock/paper/scissors logic, players have to defeat the enemies at the other side of their path to conquer the opposing village, but only the roll of the dice will decide how far your Ninjas can go…”

Ninja Taisen is scheduled for release on April 20th to brick-and-mortar stores, and hitting online retailers a couple weeks later on May 4th.

IELLO Games just released a teaser video of their upcoming battle game, Arena of the Gods, designed by Maxime Rambourg.

Welcome to the Arena of the all-powerful! With Arena: For the Gods!, dive into a universe in which heroes from 6 different mythos fight together for the entertainment of their Gods. Hand-picked by a divine hand for a battle to the death, you’re assuming the role of a powerful fighter.

Use your life points to bid for the best weapons and use the dice wisely to activate the most powerful attacks. The first player who dies puts an end to the game – and the surviving hero with the most life points left wins.

The plethora of equipment and choices in the game will bring a new experience to each replay!

Arena is due to release June 14, 2017

2017 is still going strong with board game releases, and we have two more exciting entries to be excited about. First and foremost is a new expansion for Onitama from Arcane Wonders. Sensei’s Path releases this May and simply adds 16 cards to Onitama, which has been confirmed to fit in the original box unsleeved. Onitama is an excellent absract strategy game for two players where each game is ran by a subset of cards. More cards is a great thing, as it shakes up the meta for the game and adds more replayability.

The second piece of release news we have to share is a unique new game coming in Q2  from Iello – Arena: For the Gods! Details have been surprisingly scant about this title for a few months now, so I had to dig up this thread from BGG where an Iello representative dished out an intriguing explanation of the game:

 “…It’s a tactical brawling game using dice, with a clever preliminary phase where you bid with your character’s HP to get the best gears (Weapon, Armor, Mount & Spell). During the fight, your 4 pieces of equipment will be activated with 7 dice, and will allow powerful combos (providing you made the right choices during the first step of the game). […]The game has a LOT of replayability, as there are more Equipment cards in the box than needed to play, and the board’s setting (size, columns, traps, healing fountains…) is modulable.”

All good stuff to look forward to! I for one will be very interested to see the reviews we push out for both of them as the year moves along. We’ll have to wait and see, especially for Arena and if it’s interesting combination of bidding and dice-chucking will be as fun as it sounds. Be sure to check out Arcane Wonders and Iello’s websites and products pages for more information and specific release dates as those details develop.

Big news for King of Tokyo fans, the first Power Up! expansion is getting an update much like the base game did this year. Revealed to Dice Tower News via an exclusive preview, the 2017 edition of King of Tokyo: Power Up! will include “Evolution cards for the six monsters of the new version and two monsters from the original version: Cyber Bunny and Kraken.” Pandakaï will crash onto the scene just as he did in the first iteration, but he will sport all new art consistent with the new releases. The 2017 edition is set to release in April, so be sure to check out Iello’s website for more information as it’s posted and visit your favorite retailer around that time for your chance to power up your newest monsters.

Organized play is the new big thing with publishers today, it’s their answer to the question of how to drive more business into the stores and not online retailers.  So Iello has started to set up organized play for popular games like King of Tokyo/New YorkSea of Clouds, Big Book of Madness, and Medieval Academy.  That means there will be new promos for the games as well as opportunities for tournament play and events to take place in stores for said promos or other prizes.  So be on the lookout for these events that will be coming to your FLGS, and if you run a FLGS you can visit the Iello Organized Play website to be able to order promos and other materials to host these events.

Iello is really ready for the new year with a handful of new products, so let’s take a quick look at the three upcoming releases scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.

First up is a small addition to the King of Tokyo and King of New York family – the first in a line of Monster Packs that are planned for the popular pair featuring the cult favorite, Cthulhu. These monster packs will come with a standee, player board, and evolution cards for both Tokyo and New York. Cthulhu also comes with several cultist tokens and a double-sided temple presumably used in conjunction with his unique set of evolution cards.

Next is a fast and fun game for 2 to 6 players called The Legend of the Wendigo. Players take the roles of scouts at a campground, who’ve heard a tale of the Wendigo who now lurks among them. It sounds very similar to Werewolf with each player receiving a hidden role token, one of which is the Wendigo who can “steal” (or most likely, eliminate from play) one other scout at night-time. There’s a sand-timer included, and a 10-minute play time on the box which both suggests this plays like a speed version of Werewolf more focus on memory while not trying to be as condensed as the instantly classic One Night series. It’ll be interesting to see what other twists in the rules will separate this game from the rest as we learn more about it.

Last is a new small-box card game that takes us back to the time of Ancient Egypt. Pyramids is about building the eponymous wonders by collecting the best materials and organizing them for points. As described on the product page,

 “Your necropolis, a place of eternal sleep, luxury, and glory, will be made up of Pyramids, Obelisks, and Tombs. Select the best combination of stones in the quarry, optimize their layout, and make your necropolis the most famous in all of Egypt!”

That’s all we know for now. Keep an eye on the product pages and BoardGameGeek entries linked for more information as these new titles come to retail soon.