Kyle Ferrin

On June 15, 2019, at the annual Origins Game Fair, the winners of the 45th Annual Origins Awards were announced. The awards are chosen not only by the Academy Jury, but by the fans.

The Best Board Game Award and Game of the Year as voted on by both the Jury and the fans is Root, published by Leder Games and designed by Cole Wehrle, with artwork provided by Kyle Ferrin.

In addition to announcing the award winners, the annual inductees into the Hall of Fame were announced: fantasy horror artist Gerard Brom and game designer Vlaada Chvatil were inducted, as were the games Mage Knight: The Board Game and Apples to Apples. There was a new award handed out this year for the first time, the Rising Star Award, and it went to Jamey Stegmeier of Stonemeier Games.

For further information on the rest of the award winners, be sure and check here.

Dungeon Mayhem is a 2-4 player card game set in the world of Dungeons and Dragons where players aim to be the last adventurer standing. The base game had 4 characters (barbarian, paladin, rogue, and wizard) who battled in a dungeon full of treasure, all lovingly illustrated by Kyle Ferrin (known for Vast: The Crystal Caverns, and Root).

“With magic missiles flinging, dual daggers slinging, and spiked shields dinging, it’s up to you to prove your adventurer has the guts to bring home the glory!” [source]

In the Battle for Baldur’s Gate expansion, the first expansion for the game, 2 new characters from Baldur’s Gate are added. The ranger, Minsc, with his miniature, giant space hamster, Boo, and the shapeshifting druid, Jaheira. Dungeon Mayhem: Battle for Baldur’s Gate is illustrated by Jake Parker (founder of popular art challenge, Inktober) and is designed by Jordan Comar, and Roscoe Wetlaufer.

Expect the expansion to release on the 17th of September 2019.

This past weekend, Root by Leder Games took home the Tabletop Game of the Year award at SXSW, and it now sits among the company of previous winners such as Gloomhaven and Arkham Horror: The Card Game. SXSW (South By Southwest) is a large festival in Austin, Texas that, each year, brings together and celebrates multiple creative industries, from gaming to music to film. That’s partly what makes this award so nice: it’s in recognition of a game by a conference that’s not strictly gaming-centric and is undoubtedly awarding Root for all of it’s artistic merits. While I can go on-and-on about how amazing artist Kyle Ferrin’s work is, the illustrations in the game weren’t the only thing being recognized fully at SXSW, and that’s definitely something worth praising.

“Patrick and I were in attendance and it was our honor to accept the award on behalf of the entire staff at Leder Games. Needless to say, this award would have been impossible without the support of our backers. We are incredibly grateful for your continued support.” – designer of Root, Cole Wehrle

Not long after this announcement came the next biggest news for Leder Games – the expansion currently on Kickstarter broke 1 million U.S. dollars in funding, easily dwarfing the money raised by the base game in late 2017. It’s a major feat, demonstrative of the love, care, and hard work that went into making it and it’s ripple effect across the gaming communities. That much recognition is bound to be overwhelming, but it is well deserved – congratulations, everyone! If you’re interested in learning more about this award-winning game and it’s expansion, be sure to check out it’s campaign page for the full rules, print-and-play, FAQs, and updates.

After the success of Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Leder Games still felt like they had more ideas they wanted to explore using Vast’s mechanisms and so Vast: The Mysterious Manor was born. It’s designed by Patrick Leder, with art by Kyle Ferrin (known for Root, and Vast: The Crystal Caverns), and caters for 1-5 players, aged 13+, with a play time of roughly 60-120 minutes.

“Leder Games presents its newest asymmetric adventure game, Vast: The Mysterious Manor. The Mysterious Manor takes you and your friends on an adventure in a haunted house. Here there are few heroes. Instead, each player takes on a unique role, with dramatically different abilities and goals. Play as the pious Paladin, the murderous Skeletons, the dreaded Spider, the bewitching Enchanter, or the Manor itself. With dozens of player configurations, a modular board, and scenarios allowing players to integrate content from Vast: The Crystal Caverns, the Mysterious Manor offers new and old players alike with fresh new adventures in the world of Vast!” [source]

The Paladin‘s goal is to slay the unholy spider as an act of redemption to please his forsaken gods. He can explore the mansion, fight poltergeists, and pursue the unholy spider.

The Skeletons‘ goal is to defeat the sanctimonious Paladin who has invaded their home. They’re made up of Stabby (who attacks in darkness), Slashy (who can attack when others cannot), Screamy (helps others get in position), Shooty (attacks from a distance), and Casty (hinders the Paladin with spells).

The Spider wishes to escape the Manor and rebuild its strength after having broken out of their prison. It can transform into the form of a Caster (can tend to eggs and strike from afar), Spiderlings (spins webs in the Mansion), and a Giant Spider (hunts enemies).

The Manor itself is awaken by the Spider’s intrusion and it must rush to seal its walls and contain the magic inside before being destroyed. It can confuse the players by moving corridors, haunt them with a Wraith, and clear passages so that it can perform sealing rituals.

Finally, The Enchanter wants to beguile others by tempting them into passageways laid with their traps, or charm the weak to empower or limit them, or beguile them to claim their minds forever.

The base game and included expansion requires a pledge of $75 (excluding shipping). The project has already blown it’s funding goal out of the water and will run on Kickstarter until Tuesday, June 26th 2018. It’s estimated delivery is March 2019.

Leder Games, designer Cole Wehrle (Pax Pamir), and artist Kyle Ferrin (Vast) have started a Kickstarter for Root, a highly asymmetrical game along the lines of Leder Games‘ previous hit Vast. In Root, 2-4 players take on the roles of the Marquis and her cats, who have just taken control of the woodland, the Eyrie, who are mustering their hawks to take back the wood, the Alliance of woodland animals, who have just been displaced, and the Vagabond, who travels through the wood.

Each faction scores points on the tracker and uses the same deck of cards, marked with 4 suits of the forest animals. The first faction to 40 points wins the game. The Marquis scores points by building industry and improving  infrastructure, while the Eyrie constructs roosts out of which they attack and claim territory, and the Alliance must set up conspiracies and hide in the shadows. The Vagabond is the most mobile group in the woods, and scores points by helping the other players, developing both positive and negative relationships with the other factions. Additionally, the Vagabond have a secret objective to win the game, regardless of points. Read more about Root at the Leder Games website here, or on the Kickstarter page.

The Kickstarter campaign for Root is due to continue through November 21, and the game should come to backers in August 2018.