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.
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.
Mobster Metropolis from Stormakten Production is now on Kickstarter.
Set in the nineteen-forties, the theme of Mobster Metropolis is reminiscent of great dramas such as The Godfather or Boardwalk Empire. Each player will strive to make his gangster faction, or family, rise to power. To succeed, players may need to practice diplomacy, illegal activities or even violence. The game presents several new mechanics, like the unique Drive-by Selector, which let each player secretly target any part of the board for an attack. The new elements are complimented by proven economic and strategic aspects of great strategy board games.
Mobster Metropolis is designed by Joel Ibson, Karl Nord and Carl Berglind. This is the group’s first Kickstarter project.
A key aspect of Mobster Metropolis is the sense of scheming, as everyone secretly plan their attacks and defence before revealing them simultaneously. Players will also have several opportunities to surprise competitors through card interaction and participation in events.
If funded the game is set to deliver in February of 2017. You can find more information about the campaign by checking it out: HERE.
Quined Games is proud to announce the release of three new Master Print titles in 2016:
Vanuatu: a medium-heavy Euro that transports players to the South Pacific, where they will “try to catch fish and find treasures, welcome tourists to the archipelago, and draw beautiful sand drawings, a tradition that is on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.” The Master Print edition will include the “Rising Waters” expansion, which adds a whole new level of tension to the game in the form of Global Warming. This edition will also introduce The Governess, a new character to the game. The new edition will feature all new artwork by Konstantin Vohwinkel, and is scheduled to launch on Kickstarter in late April 2016.
La Cosa Nostra: From the publisher: “In La Cosa Nostra, you take on the role of a mafia boss. During the game, you will hire new gangsters to do the dirty work and collect your money. To get the big deals, you need to cooperate with the other families — but never rely on those “friendships”. The others will take the first opportunity to stab you in the back, so you better do it first…” In cooperation with author/ designer /artist Johannes Sich, Quined Games will bring a redesigned English version of this game to Kickstarter in June of 2016.
Papa Paolo: An all-new game by Fabrice Vandenbogaerde (Warlock) where players are managing a pizzeria and have to deliver pizzas to the hungry inhabitants of Naples. This interactive strategy game is set for launch in the fall of 2016.
Fantasy Flight Games has announced the imminent (Q3 2015) release of its take on the classic hidden role game, Mafia. Dubbed “Mafia: Vendetta,” the premise of the game posits a mob of civilians eager for vigilante justice but with surprisingly little information about who their enemies are:
Your town has a Mafia in their midst. You’ve put up with it for years, benefitting from mysteriously cheap imported goods and lots of big spenders in nice suits at local restaurants. Now, however, a string of murders has turned the community against the Mafia. With so many of their friends, neighbors, and family members dying in the night, the civilians are eager to find out the Mafia members and put a stop to the violence. Even if that means condemning an innocent person.
The art and design on display at the preview page live up to Fantasy Flight’s consistently high standards for component quality. This Dmitry Davidoff classic has spawned any number of re-implementations and re-themes, but there will surely be many who welcome the noir flavor and beautiful craftsmanship of this edition.
The board game industry goes through cycles just like any other entertainment industry. With the recent influx of new gamers thanks to the hobby gaining mainstream appeal, new tastemakers are leading the industry in interesting directions. While not all of those directions are particularly healthy, the recent resurgence of party games is most certainly a tick in the win column.
Why are we seeing a party game boom? I think there are a few different reasons. The first, and probably biggest contributor to this shift, is an increasing crop of casual gamers. That mainstream acceptance I mentioned earlier brings with it new faces who’s entry point might have been simple social and party style games. It also seems to me that we’re coming out of a period of rapid heavy game adoption. Where there are peaks, there must come valleys, and even the most hardened gamer needs a bit of a laugh every once in a while.
None of that would matter if the games on the market were junk. I give a lot of credit to companies like Blue Orange Games and R&R Games for publishing some really great quality party games. The market created demanded, and these casual game stalwarts answered it. Did the people bring the games or the games bring the people? Whatever it is that has given rise to this party game-friendly confluence, it’s a really encouraging change of pace. Let’s take a look at some of the recent highlights.
But Wait, There’s More! builds on the grand tradition of Snake Oil by asking players to sell increasingly ridiculous products to the other players. It starts innocuous enough with just a thing and a feature, but when additional features are added into the mix pushing players to really stretch their sales pitches, the game gets really fun. It’s easy to talk about a vacuum cleaner that can be used in 18 different ways, but now it cures acne as well?! There are already several minis expansions that add more cards, support for additional players, and even new games modes.
Love it or hate it, Cards Against Humanity is a perennial favorite among adult party gamers. The game revels in unabashedly off-color humor reaching into the deepest depths of offensiveness, so if your crowd is into that kind of comedy and isn’t easily offended, this Apples to Apples clone might be for you. In Cards Against Humanity, one player is a judge that draws a black card and reads it to the other players, normally with one or two blanks. The players have a hand of white cards with a myriad of soul-scarring phrases that they select from. The judge then shuffles and reads the responses, declaring one the winner and scoring that player a point. The judge’s role then shifts to the next player and on it goes often with alcoholic beverages in tow.
Concept is a clever deduction game in which one player draws a card with a series of words or phrases ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. That player then selects a word and uses the central board and a variety of tokens to illustrate their word or phrase nonverbally. The board contains a myriad of images and icons representing both concrete and nebulous concepts. By assigned the marker for the primary and secondary concepts, and using cubes to mark additional clues, players can deduce the word or phrase and score points. It’s a great set up for what boils down to board game charades. Will your teammates guess the word before time runs out or your sense of shame gets the better of you?
The game at the heart of Monikers is actually pretty old. It’s been published as Celebrities and Time’s Up! most recently, but goes by a variety of names and forms. None of those versions are as attractive and broad as Monikers. Regardless of the edition, two teams of players draw from a pool of cards that all feature people or personas.
Image from BGG
These can range from historical figures to fictional characters to celebrities and more. In the first round, players attempt to describe as many of their cards as possible, in the allotted time, without using the cards’ name. Sounds easy enough. In the second round, that same deck of cards is used again but this time they must be described using just one word. Round three ramps things up even more by requiring that no words are used at all, only gestures. I won’t spoil what happens in rounds four and five, but suffice to say, it’s about as funny as party games get.
The classic social deduction game, usually referred to as Werewolf or Mafia, has been streamlined into a shorter experience representing just one night of werewolves hiding among the innocent townfolk. Aided by a tremendous vocal track by the Dice Tower’s own Eric Summerer, players are assigned roles in secret and attempt to use their guile to uncover the werewolves or to throw suspicion on the humans, whatever the case may be. Add to that a whole pile of different roles with unique motivations, ensuring endless replay value.
Probably the newest game on the list, Spit It Out! is a deceptively simple game. The box comes with a whole bunch of cards and two regular dice, and all you have to do to win is answer some very basic questions correctly. Huh? Well there’s a twist. Those two dice are rolled to determine which two of the six questions must be answered incorrectly. Those answer not only need to be wrong, but they have to be in the same ballpark as the correct answer. What color is the sky? You can’t say that sky is “firetruck”, you have to answer with another color. It sounds easy, but with a timer ticking down and the conscious effort it takes to trick our own brains away from the correct answers, it’s great fun.
Spyfall is a social deduction in which players are given secret roles and a secret location. One of those roles is the spy and unlike their fellow payers, the spy doesn’t know the location. Obviously not a very crafty spy. In any case, players take turns asking each other questions.
Image from BGG
The non-spies are trying to determine which one is the spy, and the spy is trying to figure out the location. The fun comes from the ridiculous questions. Knowing there’s a spy, the players will be pretty dodgy not wanting to reveal too much information. All the while, the spy is all-but grasping at straws trying to piece together the subtle clues found in the other questions. Though it rarely happens, if the spy can outwit the other players, it’s a pretty amazing win.
This is just a small slice of the party game pie, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these selections as long as your group is a good fit. Throwing a party game night is a great way to introduce non-gamers to our hobby. It’s also a nice way to break up your regular game events with something a little unexpected. Next time you plan a game night, consider shelving the heavy euros just this once for a night of goofball fun.