North Star Games

Evolution is a highly rated game that is easy to learn, fun to play, and has several expansions already that just improve and make the game even better.  So because of all this success, North Star Games have decided to bring the game to digital platforms so that you can play the game wherever you are.  Evolution the Video Game will feature the same gameplay that you have known and loved from the original game, but this time all the fiddly bits and book keeping are automated by the computer.  No need to manually increase or decrease your herd stats, count out the number of food tokens you need to put on the watering hole, or remembering the order of who eats when.  The game is also enhanced with new art, fluid animations that bring different actions to life, and a number of highly desirable features.  Some of those features being cross platform play, online multiplayer, local AI solo mode, and a campaign system to bring new variety to the game.  Overall if you want a digital implementation for the game, check out the Kickstarter page.  You will be able to pledge for tablet/phone version of the game, the steam version of the game, both, and even the physical editions of the game.

First in our lineup is the dungeon crawl game from Greenbrier Games called Folklore: The Affliction.  This is an RPG style board game where you are playing characters trying to investigate and drive back the evil that is gripping the land.  The game is themed around the horror genre so you will be fighting things like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more.  In an interesting twist for this game, if you are killed you will become a ghost yourself, being able to continue with the party and attack enemies from beyond the grave.  The scale of the game is on two levels, with movement between locations being done on a map board with one pawn denoting the whole group.  Then when you arrive at a location it will zoom in to all of your characters being on another board representing the location for you to explore and fight monsters on.  The game comes packaged with a campaign broken up into smaller chapters that can be played in one sitting, allowing you to tailor the game length to your desires.  Look for this horror dungeon crawl on store shelves next month.

Coming later this month is a new game from Breaking Games called Sparkle*Kitty, a quick card game that turns the helpless princess trope on it’s head.  In the game you each play a different princess trying to escape from the “Cursed “No Cursing” tower“.  Not much else has been released about the game other then it being released later this month, and that the art is fabulous.  So keep an eye out for the game and hopefully it’s good.

Keeping with the light-hearted theme we have the next release from North Star Games, Happy Salmon Blue Fish.  Those hoping for an expansion to this loud and crazy party game will be a bit disappointed, but if you wanted more players in a single game then look no further.  Happy Salmon Blue Fish contains all the same cards and components as the original, only this time the player colors are different than those contained in the original green fish edition of the game.  This makes it easy to ramp the player count all the way up to 12, making for a game that is even louder and crazier than before.  So if you want to have more players, or just prefer the blue color, look for this edition on store shelves in September.

Wizkids has announced their latest game, and it is the generically named Empires, a new trading and negotiation type game.  In Empires, 2 to 10 players will try to expand their kingdom across the land by acquiring support.  To get support “by supplying your people with goods; goods are produced when your people work in your territories.  Players can gain people, territories, goods, and supporters by winning wars. Wars will be won by the armies raised by paying gold. Gold can be earned by winning wars and by selling goods.”  So as you can see there is a lot of shuffling around of resources, but you won’t always have all the resources you need, that’s where the trading comes in.  You are allowed to trade anything and everything between players, goods, player powers, people, territories, whatever you have so that you can achieve your goal.  So if this kind of game intrigues you, look for it on store shelves in October of this year.

Next we have something that is exciting for Tom Vasel, and that is the impending release of the next game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, Critical Mass.  The game used to be known as Starborne, and is a two player card battle game with some deck building.  Each player will pick their mech, and each mech comes with it’s own unique starting deck of cards.  From there you will play cards against each other attacking, defending, and upgrading.  Attacking and defending as self explanatory, and the upgrading action is what allows you to get more cards into your deck.  However, as you play more cards you will start to run out, and you don’t get cards back until you do a reload action.  As you take hits you will lose armor, lose too much armor and your core becomes vulnerable, allowing your opponent to stun you for a turn.  The winner will be the one who destroys all the armor on their opponent’s mech first.  Look for this game on the shelves of your FLGS in November.

Finally we have two new games coming from Ankama games later this year in Dino Party and Stellium.  Dino Party is a party game at the end of the age of dinosaurs, where you and your friends are trying to grow your herd and get to the protected spaces.  But with disasters happening all around you, will you be able to make it?  This quick party game will be released next month.

Stellium is a new abstract game where you are creators of the universe in the midst of creating that universe.  On a turn you will draw a colorful marble from a bag and place it on the board, aiming to arrange the marbles in specific ways to satisfy contracts.  But since this is being done by everyone on the same board, you have to be careful not to setup your opponent to score instead of you.  An additional layer of strategy is added with variable player powers, allowing you to place a marble and then manipulate them in different ways.  Look for this game to be released in October of this year.

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design presented the Origins Awards Saturday June 17th at the annual awards show held at the GAMA hosted convention Origins in Columbus, OH.  As part of this winners were announced in seven categories along with a fan favorite award in each category as well.

We would like to extend congratulations to all award winners.

Game of the Year

Scythe – Stonemeier Games

Board Game of the Year

Scythe – Stonemeier Games

Family Game of the Year

Happy Salmon – North Star Games

RPG of the Year

No Thank You, Evil! – Monte Cooke Games

Best Collectible of the Year

Pokemon XY11 Steam Siege Booster – The Pokemon Co.

Best Accessory of the Year

Blood Rage Organizer – Broken Token

Card Game of the Year

Mystic Vale – AEG

North Star Games announced at Origins Game Fair the newest iteration of their popular line of Wits and Wagers games. This version named Wits and Wagers Vegas will be hitting Kickstarter on Saturday August 18th and will be provide two options for gamers to be able to utilize the new and improved game. On one side of the neoprene game mat will be the following board allowing players to hedge their bets but also make more distinctive bets on an individuals answer sight unseen. Additionally included with the game will be strips that will allow the players to cover up spaces on the board for 5 and 6 player games. This should allow for added variability.

This should be available as a standard edition with the mat and covering strips included or as an upgrade pack for those who already have Wits and Wagers Party Edition.

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)

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

evolution-tourn

Evolution is the highly rated game of growing and evolving your species of animal to be the best and to thrive.  There have been a couple expansions and an easier to play spin-off that is a Target exclusive, but there isn’t much for tournament play.  So to fix that, North Star Games is releasing a tournament kit for the game that retailers can order.  In the kit will be 16 sets of the Hibernation trait card to be given to all the participants, 4 sets of Night Prowler cards for the finalists, and finally a new T-Rex first player marker for the final winner.  Retailers should be getting these packs very soon, if they haven’t already, so be on the lookout for tournament notices at your FLGS.

sneaky cards

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, ASTRA, has recently released their picks for the Best Toys for Kids for 2016.  For the most part it’s a lot of non-board game items, but they do have some game categories with board game winners worth mentioning.  And they are:

Choose your Own CategorySneaky Cards, published by Gamewright

Classic Play, 0-7 YearsRat-A-Tat Cat, published by Gamwright

little red riding hood

Game Play, 3-5 Years – Little Red Riding Hood, published by SmartGames AND Balance Beans, published by ThinkFun

happy salmon

Game Play, 6+ Years – Happy Salmon, published by North Star Games

Game Play, 8 Years+ – Dr. Eureka, published by Blue Orange Games

There are more awards given by ASTRA for other types of toys, so if you want to see the full list you can download it from the ASTRA site.

Day 3 of GAMA trade show started with a lot of new exciting family, action, and dexterity games.

Mayday Games has a new dexterity game, Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000 (CDMC 3K). In this 2-3 player game, players compete to grab specific wooden tokens from a bowl using only their chopsticks. CDMC 3K was funded by Kickstarter in April of last year and had some delays in shipping, but it is available now.

R&R Games will be releasing Cup-a-Cup next week. In this action/dexterity game, players race to grab the correct cup after rolling the dice.

   

North Star Games was showing off a couple games at GAMA. Wits & Wagers, a party trivia game where players get points for both guessing answers correctly and for betting on the right answer, has a deluxe edition coming in June. The deluxe edition has nice poker-like chips for the player chips. Evolution, a strategy card game where players adapt and evolve their species to survive, has a second edition with newer and more colorful art.

Kosmos has a new 3D stacking game called Dimension that’s available now. In this puzzle game, players try to stack balls to match all the tasks shown on the playing cards before time runs out.

Queen Games was showing off Parfum, their new game where players roll Aroma dice to create unique perfumes and sell them to their clients. Parfum was funded by Kickstarter on March 11, and is estimated to be delivered in July of this year.

Stay tuned for more news from GAMA trade show!

 

the escapist banner

Popular video game review site, The Escapist, is running a series of features in preparation for its annual The Escapist Awards. They have nominees in a myriad of categories ranging from games to movies to comics and more.

The most important awards are, of course, Best Board Game and Best Card Game of 2014. There are four nominees in the board game category and three for card games. Let’s dig in.

Board Games

Evolution by Dominic Crapuchettes and North Star Games

“Evolution charmed us and made us wish we could play game after game to explore all the combinations.”

five tribes board

Five Tribes by Bruno Cathala and Days of Wonder

“Days of Wonder don’t often create a game for ‘Hardcore Gamers’ in the tabletop sector, those seekers of games about points, scoring points, and nothing but the points, but when they do you should sit up and take notice.”

Shadowrun: Crossfire by Mike Elliott and Catalyst Game Labs

“Where Crossfire really excels is that it’s a consistently challenging experience in a world of milquetoast cooperative games.”

kings forge

King’s Forge by Nick Sibicky and Clever Mojo Games

“You get to roll giant double fistfuls of dice, and who doesn’t like that?”

Card Games

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest Core Set by Eric M. Lang and Fantasy Flight Games

“Conquest is a delightful game that balances quicker victory now against the possibility that you’ll deny your opponent victory in the future.”

doomtown premium

Doomtown: Reloaded Core Set by Mark Wootton and AEG

“It’s a harrowing experience that begs players to push their luck, attempt interesting plays, coming back to the game again and again.”

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2014 by Richard Garfield and Wizards of the Coast

“With five great decks, each really playable right out of the box and definitely including an obvious upgrade path for the deckbuilding-curious, this is a product you and a few friends can have a great time with even if you’re not Magic experts.”

Winners haven’t been announced yet, but given the interesting variety on these lists, we’ll be keeping an eye on The Escapist Awards throughout the end of the year. Head over to The Escapist to read more on their board game and card game nominees.

Don’t forget to check out Dice Tower’s reviews to learn more about these contenders.

Evolution, Game Boy Geek Preview
Five Tribes, Miami Dice Episode 147
Shadowrun: Crossfire Review
King’s Forge, Miami Dice Episode 145
Warhammer 40,0000 Conquest, Miami Dice Episode 146
Doomtown: Reloaded Review