Dice Tower Newsletter

kennerspiel des jahres

Asmodee is celebrating the 7th anniversary of 7 Wonders, originally released in 2010, with two new mini expansion packs.

The first expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Leaders Anniversary Pack Expansion is an expansion to 7 Wonders: Cities, which was released in 2010 as the first 7 Wonders expansion. This anniversary pack will include at least fifteen new leaders to include in games of 7 Wonders. Characters from history will include Gorgo, Cornelia, Enheduanna, Roxana, and more. 7 Wonders Leaders added Leader cards to the base game. At the start of every game, each player drafts a hand of four leaders and can pay money to play one leader at the start of each of the three Ages.

The second expansion pack, 7 Wonders: Cities Anniversary Pack Expansion, is an expansion to the 7 Wonders: Cities expansion, which was released in 2012. The expansion pack will include at least fifteen new cities. City cards will include a memorial, customs, counterfeiter’s office, smuggler’s cache, and more. 7 Wonders: Cities was the second expansion for 7 Wonders. City cards were a new type if card in the game and aggressively increased the interaction between players in games.

7 Wonders & Many Awards

When released in 2010 7 Wonders was an instant hit, finding both popular and critical success. A sample of awards includes:

The game continues to make regular appearances on Dice Tower Top 10 lists, especially those focussed on higher player counts. Dice Tower Top 10 appearances include:

Games for Five Players – The People’s #1 game
6 Player Games – The People’s #1 game
7+ Player Games – The People’s #1 game

 

MATTEL DEBUTS NEW ADULT GAME — ESCAPE ROOM IN A BOX. New Game Inspired by Escape Room Experiences Available This Fall (PRNewsfoto/Mattel, Inc.)

Mattel has announced that they will be releasing a board game version of an escape the room adventure, Escape Room in A Box: The Werewolf Experiment.

This was on Kickstarter last year and had initial fulfillment to backer this year in the weeks leading up to Gen Con.

“We are continuing to expand our games business with on-trend and relevant games, and Escape Room in A Box is the latest addition to the growing Mattel Games portfolio,” said Ray Adler, Senior Director, Global Games at Mattel. “We know that in a digitally focused world, consumers are gravitating toward social game play. This new introduction brings friends and families together to re-create the thrill captured in the entertainment experience.”

The Werewolf with give a group of players one hour to solve a series of puzzles, crack some codes and find some hidden clues in time to stop the plot of a mad scientist. As soon as the box has been opened players will have been exposed to a virus that will turn them into werewolves. Players will then have one hours to complete 19 puzzles and find the codes to open the three locks and escape the virus.

Players will be able to connect to the Amazon Alexa to track time, ask questions for clues and play a soundtrack for the game.

Mattel’s escape room in a box will be released in retail in the fall of 2017.

Legacy of Escape Games

Escape Room style games have become extremely popular in recent years. Mattel noted in their press release that 13.4 million people in the US alone participated in escape rooms. Kosmos Exit series of games adaptation of escape rooms for board game players was the winner of the 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres.

Z-Man games has just announced they will be releasing Gaia Project, the spiritual successor to the wildly successful Terra Mystica. Gaia Project will be released later in 2017 and will be available for gamers to see at GenCon 2017.

The galaxy lies in the distance, full of planets full of resources waiting to be claimed by spacefarers. Your people have finally developed enough technology to head out into the cosmos and reach for the stars. Similar to Terra Mystica, Gaia Project once again invites up to four players to forge galactic empires of their own.

Fourteen unique factions will come in the game with each player taking one faction to claim planets, increase production and develop technology to colonize planets before your rivals. Grow your empire and you’ll unlock abilities and new technologies to dominate the galaxy.

Creating New Galaxies and Federations

Featuring a modular board, players will be able to create a new galaxy for exploring every time they play. Once the galaxy is constructed players need to immediately start producing the resources necessary for exploration. Only through successful good production will you have the resources necessary to power your way through the galaxy. As your tiny empire grows you can upgrade existing resources like mines, invest in your research engine, or develop your own federation to help keep your planets aligned.

Even if you manage to claim a planet before your rivals, you will still have to deal with the unforgiving environments on these new planets. Choose what planets to make habitable wisely or you’ll waste the scarce resources you’ve collected.

Starting on the Cutting Edge

You’re not starting from scratch in this game. When the game begins all fourteen factions have already developed the technology to travel between planets. You’ve also mastered the ability to terraform planets, altering the environments enough to create the conditions necessary to sustain your specific faction.

Even with this amazing technology your faction can develop further. Something you’ll need to do faster than your opponents. Investing in research will be critical, whether it be something that can boost your economy, your scientific output or your terraforming ability. Creating Quantum Intelligence Cubes will help you extend your reach beyond the planets merely adjacent to your position. With Navigation Research you can increase your range to reach distant planets that appear as mere specks.

Gaia Projects

Among the many worlds you will encounter are the Transdim Planets. These purple planets contain critical resources, but unlike other planets they cannot be built directly upon. To claim these planets you must initiate a Gaia Project. An investment in a Gaia Project grants you Gaiaformers. These powerful machines can be placed on Transdim planets to begin resource extraction.

A successful Gaia Project allows you to claim a planet that would not be suited your faction without having to go through the costly terraforming process.

A Legacy of Success

Gaia Project builds of the legacy of Terra Mystica, currently ranked as the 6th greatest game on Boardgamegeek and the 5th greatest strategy game. Terra Mystica also allows up to 4 players to represent one of 14 different factions as they terraform landscapes in competition with other factions. Terra Mystica was a big winner when it was released in 2012 and through the 2013 awards season. A selection of awards include:

The Dice Tower Top Ten Lists still include Terra Mystica on a frequent basis, including these appearances:

  • The 2017 Top Ten from 5 Years Ago list had Eric placing the game at #2 and The People ranking the game #2.
  • The 2015 list of the 100 greatest games had Tom listing the game at 39, Eric listing the game at #19 and The People ranking the game at 15.
  • Eric ranks the game as the 7th best Long Game.

Z-Man games has begun releasing details of what has happened following the pandemic that broke out in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

The world is on the brink of total collapse. Already devastated by a terrible plague, much of the globe has gone dark. Small groups of survivors struggle to keep the world alive, but their efforts are no longer enough. The world needs leaders to rise up and find the way back from the brink of extinction. That task has fallen to you. You must find a way or nobody will. You are humanity’s last chance.

Following the format of the many Pandemic games that preceded it, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 again brings two to four players into a high stakes legacy format co-op situation.

Taking place 71 years after the final events of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, humanities very existence continues to be in peril. Only a few known cities still exist at all, and are now being supplied by floating stations in the ocean known as “havens.” For three generations survivors have lived on these havens, but with haven supplies dwindling it’s your job to set foot on land and save whatever cities you can to stop the end of civilization as you know it.

Over a year you and your team search for answers to questions that still surround the plague, while at the same time trying to maintain a supply network. Like in Season 1 and other legacy games, actions in each game will carry over and impact future games, forever altering the world of Pandemic Legacy.

Cities will rise, cities will fall. Characters will learn new skills and gain scars from the horrors they experience. Through the game new rules will come into play and each new development will affect your group’s journey.

 Journey from the Havens to Distribute Supplies

Your team has grown up in the havens your knowledge of the mainland is very limited. The plague has devastated the world you great grandparents knew, and cities have no hope of developing a cure. The few cities that remain need your supplies.

Instead of removing disease cubes, you now must add supply cubes to ward off future plague outbreaks. Balance your time and focus between balancing more cubes with distributing them to the cities that need them most. Drawing infection cards results in cities using supply cubes. You will need to constantly deliver new supplies in order to avoid the city becoming infected. Cities that become infected are a critical threat to you and to your team.

Characters entering a city infected with a plague run the risk of being exposed to it. There’s no guarantee that exposure will lead to any detrimental effects, but it will always be a threat. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when to risk exposure and when to play it safe, letting the infected city fend for itself.

The World Has Changed

The world players find at the beginning of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 has altered drastically. At the beginning of your first game only a small portion of the earth is visible, with access to only the few surviving cities still on the grid. On top of supplying cities you’ll need to explore a world lost to darkness. Make discoveries, encounter new dangers and face new challenges on your search for answers.

With so much infrastructure lost, you’ll have very limited communication, diminished medical technology and a loss of air travel. Sail from port to port, but once on land travel will be slow.

Fall 2017

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is a stand alone game that does not require having played Season 1. Prepare time this fall to save the world with a sneak peek at Gen Con 2017.

A Legacy of Awards

The original Pandemic Legacy has won many awards on the way to the top of the BGG rankings, currently ranked the highest rated game on Boardgamegeek. Selected awards include:

The game also took home an armful of 2015 Dice Tower awards including Co-Op Game of the Year and 2015 Game of the Year.

Coming fresh off of its nomination for the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres (German expert game of the year) award, Raiders of the North Sea is set to disembark on North American shores in wide English distribution by publisher Renegade Game Studios.  Renegade has also announced the release of the game’s expansions in English this coming fall.  Raiders of the North Sea was first released on Kickstarter in 2015 from Garphill Games.
According to Renegade’s press release:

Raiders of the North Sea is set in the central years of the Viking Age. As Viking warriors, players seek to impress the Chieftain by raiding unsuspecting settlements. Players will need to assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey north to plunder gold, iron, and livestock. There is glory to be found in battle, even at the hands of the Valkyrie. So gather your warriors, it’s raiding season!

Raiders of the North Sea is a very well thought out game. The unique scoring, beautiful art, and dynamic game play really draws players in,”  says Renegade President Scott Gaeta.  “We are excited to be the exclusive English partner and bring this Viking adventure to fans thanks to Shem Phillips at Garphill Games.”

“I am really excited to be partnering with Renegade Game Studios to see these games reach a much wider audience,” states Shem Phillips, designer of the Raiders of the North Sea series and owner of Garphill Games.

Look out for the Raiders of the North Sea this summer.  In the meantime, check out Renegade’s website for more of their games.

Spiel-des-Jahres-Logo_x3hycg

The committee for the Spiel Des Jahres or “game of the year” has announced this years nominations for the three awards they issue each year.

Spiel Des Jahres

The nominees for the main award are fairly diverse.  Codenames the hit of Gen Con 2015 is a surprise to almost no one who has been paying attention.  Having already infiltrated the mass market stores it is hard to deny that this clever little deserves to be on this list.  Imhotep just came out in Germany in March of this year and has not had an English release yet.  Looking to provide a family weight game involving strategy and a little bit of take that has it fitting in nicely.  Karuba the final nominees is game maker HABA’s first foray into games intended for older audiences.

They have additionally give five honorable mentions

Kennerspiel Des Jahres

Nominations for the Kennerspiel or connoisseurs category is filled three massive hits from this year.  With Both Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and T.I.M.E Stories being in the top 30 games of all time on Board Game Geek it is not surprising that either of those was nominated.  The first nominee Isle of Skye is only ranked 250 on BGG but has a solid pedigree behind it.  Having been released by Lookout/Mayfair Games this highly strategic tile laying game provides a lot of opportunity for very intricate strategies to come into play.  Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 shot up to the number one spot on BGG within 2 months of its release.  Widely regarded as one of the best implementations of the legacy concept by designers Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock and being widely regarded as one of the best selling games within the last year this was an obvious nomination.  Finally we have another legacy style game with T.I.M.E Stories which has already had three expansions released and more announced this promises to be a great cooperative legacy game which can be played in decent sized chunks.

The three honorable mentions were quite well regarded as well

Kinderspiel Des Jahres

The Kinderspiel which often is the category that surprises the most has fewer surprises than normal this year.  With at least one title that is a reimplementation of a well known game for the older crowd in this group.  Leo Muss zum Friseur which as already won the Austrian children’s game of the year for 2015 is a great little press your luck game.  Stone Age Junior is a clever reimplementation of the older game Stone Age designed by Marco Teubner.  Finally is Mmm! which is a great little cooperative game well suited for introducing a child to the cooperative genre.

Honorable mentions

Congratulations to Colt Express for winning the 2015 Spiel des Jahres award! Colt Express is designed by Christophe Raimbault and published by Ludonaute/Asmodee.

The Spiel des Jahres is German for Game of the Year and is awarded by a panel of German speaking board game critics for the best family style game.

In addition to the Spiel des Jahres two other awards are given out. They are the Kennerspiel des Jahres (connoisseur game of the year) for best heavier game and the Kinderspiel des Jahres for best children’s game. This year’s winners are Broom Service designed by Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister and published by alea for the Kennerspiel des Jahres and Spinderella designed by Roberto Fraga and published by Zoch for the Kinderspiel des Jahres.

Winning one of these awards is a great achievement for a board game and is quite often accompanied by a large increase of sales. Congratulations are in order for all of the winners as well as the nominees that didn’t win. For the full list of nominees and recommended games you can visit the official site for each award:

Spiel des Jahres

Kennerspiel des Jahres

Kinderspiel des Jahres

spiel des jahres multi

There’s no higher award in the board gaming industry than Germany’s Spiel des Jahres. Each year, an enigmatic “jury” of German board game scholars, reviewers, and educators select their top games in three somewhat nebulous categories:

  • Kennerspiel des Jahres or what we might call “gamer games”. These are the heavier titles that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to casual gamers.
  • Kinderspiel des Jahres are your basic family and kids games. Light rules and friendly themes.
  • Spiel des Jahres is the big one. These fall in the middle of the complexity spectrum, usually consisting of accessible, mainstream-friendly casual games.

Earlier this week, this year’s nominees for the three award categories were announced. Our very own Rob Searing covered the story in his May 18 article. There weren’t many surprises on the list (other than the usual lot of Germany-only titles that haven’t been distributed in the United States), but there was one odd duck: The Game. So, what the heck is The Game?

the game

The full title of the The Game the game is “The Game…so lange du kannst!” which roughly translates to “The Game…play as long as you can!” It’s a cooperative hand-management card game published by Nürnberger Spielkarten Verlag (NSV) and designed by Steffen Benndorf, best known for Qwixx. Despite the oddly spooky artwork, it’s a simple theme-less affair in which players try to empty their hands of numbered cards by laying them in one of four discard piles, two in ascending numerical order and two descending (as noted by some out-of-place tribal arrows). As long as the card you’re discarding is greater than or less than the previous card, following that pile’s rules, the move is legal.

the game cards

Image From BGG

The goal is to discard all 98 cards cooperatively, which means ascertaining which player should go first and playing strategically to ensure the gaps between ascending and descending card values are as tight as possible. The trick is that players can never reveal exactly what values are on their cards, but all other table talk is permitted. As the draw deck begins to deplete, the choices become much more difficult.

There are a few other minor rules and exceptions that are explained in the rulebook, but that’s The Game in a nutshell. Even with the bizarrely non-descript name and the ill-fitting art, The Game sounds like a lot of fun. It reminds me of Hanabi, Red 7, and many classic card games as well. I’ll be shocked if it beats out Machi Koro for the Spiel des Jahres, but if and when The Game gets local distribution, I’ll be interested in checking it out.

spiel des jahres banner

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres, Kennerspiel des Jahres, and Kinderspiel des Jahres award nominees have been announced. To view the official announcement, as well as view a list of all those that were recommended in each category, you can visit the official Spiel des Jahres site here.

Spiel des Jahres

Colt Express, Machi Koro, and The Game

2015_coltexpress 2015_machikoro the game

Kinderspiel des Jahres

Push-a-Monster, Schatz-Rabatz, and Spinderella

2015_pushamonster 2015_schatzrabatz 2015_spinderella

Kennerspiel des Jahres

Elysium, Orléans, Broom Service

2015_bromservice 2015_elysium 2015_orleans

clever move banner

“Really?  That game won?”

A recent article from Clever Move discusses the nature of the international Spiel des Jahres award and its importance to the international gaming hobby.  Due to the fact that many serious board gamers question the recipients of this award from year to year, Tom Felber, jury foreman for the SdJ jury, explained how the organization works at BGG Con 2014:

…The Spiel des Jahres is NOT for the board game geek. Not for the hobbyist or hard core player…Spiel des Jahres is for the general public. Games that EVERYONE can play.

spiel_des_jahres 150

The Spiel des Jahres focuses on bringing the best games to the forefront that will encourage more people in the general public to participate in hobby games by highlighting lighter games that can be easily digested and played quickly, such as the 2014 winner, Camel Up.

Imagine sitting someone in front of Twilight Imperium when their previous game experience began with Monopoly and ended with Scrabble. They may or may not make it through the entire game, but, either way, they wouldn’t come back for more. Board games, they’d conclude, are not for them.

The article also presents, in a nutshell, the process for selecting the SdJ winner:

  1. There are 13 SdJ jurors.
  2. Each juror nominates 20 games.
  3. Each juror later narrows their list of nominees to 15 games.
  4. Jury meets in April, creates a list of 50-60 games.
  5. Jurors may veto games for any reason, one of the most common being poorly-written rules.
  6. They chop the list down to approximately 25 games.

The games selected for this prestigious award may not appeal to hardcore gamers at first sight, but that is not necessarily the focus of the award.  “The chosen games might be bland, edgeless, and simple — but that’s a good thing once you understand why.”

You can read the full article HERE.