Azul has become a beloved boardgame the world over selling more than 320,000 games worldwide! Azul has been translated into 25 different languages and has become and international sensation since its release in 2017. Azul has been nominated for the Spiel des Jahres Award, Origins and our very own Dice Tower Award, is the 2018 As d’Or Game Of The Year and is a Mensa Select winner!

Next Move Games is honored by Azul’s warm reception – “Thank you to all of our fans for allowing us the privilege in sharing this wonderful game with you.”

Terraforming Mars has grown to be a very popular game in the hobby, currently sitting at number 5 on Board Game Geek’s rankings. The game has come a long way with the content that it has, seeing players take control of corporations who are trying to turn Mars into the coziest place they can (as well as satisfying their special interests). However these corporations were really just starting resources cards that also detailed some bonuses or special actions unique to them as well as a bit of flavor text to add in a dash of theme, but they were hardly anything more compelling. That is soon to change as, coming this Summer, the newest expansion for Terraforming Mars will bring more theme and power to each corporation. As announced by Fryxgames and shared by Stronghold Games shortly after:

     “Prelude is a small expansion that lets you kickstart your terraforming! It focuses on the early stages of Mars colonization and tells the background story of the corporations. When choosing corporation and starting hand, each player also draws 4 Prelude cards, and chooses 2 of them to boost their corporation. The expansion opens up powerful starting combos and increases player asymmetry.”

For those that love Terraforming Mars, this one appears to be a no-brainer. Expansions which just add more player power at setup tend to be exceptionally painless to integrate and often don’t require a lot of additional explanation, and in my experience they are typically the most sought after as well. While it will only be a handful of months until this expansion releases, there will also be a pre-release at Origins in June. For more information about this expansion release and future Terraforming Mars content, please check out Fryxgames and Stronghold Games websites.

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)

One of the most exciting and memorable events for Gen Con attendees during the past 14 years has been True Dungeon. This live-action role-playing experience allows teams of players to tackle challenging stories, puzzles, and NPCs with cunning, dexterity, and sometimes appropriately luck. While True Dungeon has certainly grown to offer new scenarios each year, it has also started to branch out to other locations throughout the United States and this year will be the events first time at Origins Game Fair. As stated in their press release:

 “At Origins 2017, True Dungeon will be offering two completely different two-hour, live-action D&D events that will immerse players in adventures featuring amazing sets, animatronic monsters, costumed NPCs and high-quality props.  The two adventures have sequential background stories, but they can be played in any order and enjoyed.”

This is a great opportunity for Origins attendees to get in on the remarkable action, and for dungeoneering veterans this is an excellent opportunity to get their hands on 2017 loot tokens before the main event at Gen Con 50. Origins 2017 will take place June 14-18 and is already shaping up to be a convention to look forward to. Be sure to follow the Origins website for more information and announcements, and visit the True Dungeon website itself for more information on other 2017 events, loot tokens, and more.

 “Gaming conventions are a great way to find awesome new games, connect with other gamers, and even get feedback on your own designs. Good things happen when gamers gather together!”

The fine folks at who elegantly wrote that quote above reached out to us to share their interactive and rapidly-updating map of all board gaming related conventions for 2017. Word spreads pretty quick about titanic occasions such as Essen’s Spiel, Gen Con, Origins, and BGG Con, but there are so many more smaller venues near you that can be worthwhile too! This map is publicly updated, which gives new and still-growing conventions better ability to reach out and garner the interest they need. If you know of a con which may not be featured, or if you’re just curious and interested in visiting other venues, check out the map to share with this awesome community.

Origins in now over, and with that we now have official winners for the Origins Awards for board games, and they are as follows:


Game of the Year:
Codenames (Czech Games Edition) Designed by Vlaada Chvatil
Origins Award Winners:

Board Games
Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying

Card Games
7 Wonders Duel (Repos Productions) Designed by Antoine Bauza , Bruno Cathala

Collectible Games
DC Comics Dice Masters: War of Light (WizKids) Designed by Mike Elliott, Eric M. Lang

Family Games
Codenames (Czech Games Edition) Designed by Vlaada Chvatil

Game Accessories
Terrain Tiles (Lost Battalion Games) Designed by Becky Siebe

Miniatures Games
Star Wars Armada (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by James Kniffen Christian T. Petersen

Role-Playing Games
Star Wars: Force and Destiny (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by Jay Little


imperial assault box

Board Games
Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying

Card Games
7 Wonders Duel (Repos Productions) Designed by Antoine Bauza , Bruno Cathala

Miniature Games
Star Wars Armada (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by James Kniffen Christian T. Petersen

Collectible Games
DC Comics Dice Masters: War of Light (WizKids) Designed by Mike Elliott, Eric M. Lang

Family Games
Codenames (Czech Games Edition) Designed by Vlaada Chvatil

Game Accessories
Castle Panic: The Dark Titan (Fireside Games) Designed by Justin De Witt

RolePlaying Games
Star Wars: Force and Destiny (Fantasy Flight Games) Designed by Jay Little

rick and morty

Cryptozoic is going to be demoing three of it’s upcoming titles at the Origins Game Fair, Rick and Morty: Total Rickall, Internal Affairs, and Mad Science Foundation.  Rick and Morty: Total Rickall is a card game adaptation of the episode of the same name where you are trying to figure out who is your friend, and who are parasites.

internal affairs

Internal Affairs bills itself as a grittier Good Cop, Bad Cop, but with the ability to changes sides should you determine that your side might lose.

mad science

Last is the newest one of the bunch and that is Mad Science Foundation, a quick drafting card game for 2 to 4 players which uses the I-split-you-pick type drafting.  In Mad Science Foundation you are a mad scientist competing for resources from the mad science foundation to be able to build your ultimate weapon and finally take over the world!  But if there is one thing mad scientists are known for besides doomsday weapons, it’s not working well together.  So while you may be collecting resources to finish your invention, other players will be building their own in order to throw your plans off track.  Whoever can make the maddest inventions will be the winner of the game.  You can check out Cryptozoic’s website for more info on games they will be demoing at Origins

warriors of middle earth

Ares Games is going to be at Origins 2016 and they will be demoing four of the new titles coming out later this year.  First will be the second expansion to the War of the Ring game, Warriors of Middle-earth.  It will expand your armies bringing in the Ents, Dead Men of Dunharrow, Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Corsairs of Umbar, Wild Hilmen from Dunland, and Giant Spiders.  All of these were previously only featured on event cards but will now be available to include in your armies and open up new strategies to try come August 2016.

last friday

Next they will be demoing Last Friday, this is a one vs. many type game which plays out like the horror movie Friday the 13th with one person playing the Jason character, and everyone else playing campers.  This is a campaign style game with 4 different chapters to play where at one point the killer dies, but then comes back from the grave for revenge.  Will you be able to survive?

behind the throne

After that you could try Behind the Throne from I-Games, a 2 to 4 player game where you are trying to gain power by controlling servants, nobles, and dignitaries in the aristocracy.  Play is quick and simple using set collection which gets you both points and special powers.  Whoever ends the game with the most points is crowned the one with absolute power.

dungeon time

Last is the real time game Dungeon Time, a cooperative card game of dungeon adventures and catastrophic failure.  The Kickstarter for this game will launch soon after the end of Origins on June 29th, so if you are at Origins you get to try the game before you buy.  Play for the game is fast and furious as time ticks down you are drawing and playing as fast as you can to collect the equipment needed to complete your quest.  At the end you will do a slower resolution phase where you will go through the story deck and see if you managed to complete all the objectives to win.

Also of note is the new series of Wings of War planes will be available for purchase for the first time at the convention, but even if you can’t attend, the packs will be available through your local retailer on June 17th.  You can read more the press release below to see what other games they will be demoing and will have for sale at the convention.


Origins 2016: Ares Games to preview Warriors of Middle-earth, Last Friday, Behind the Throne and Dungeon Time

New releases as the new series of WW2 Wings of Glory Airplane Packs and the Age of Conan expansion, Adventures in Hyboria, will be available for sale at Ares’ booth

Ares Games will attend Origins Game Fair 2016 (Booth #333, June 15-19, Columbus, Ohio) with four upcoming games to be presented to the public for the first time at this show – Warriors of Middle-earth, Last Friday, Behind the Throne and Dungeon Time – along with new products for sale, including the series six of WW2 Wings of Glory Airplane Packs and Adventures in Hyboria, the expansion for Age of Conan Strategy Board Game.

At Ares Games’ booth, visitors will also have the chance to try many other games already available, such as Odyssey – Wrath of Poseidon, Jolly Roger, Age of Conan Strategy Boardgame, Wings of Glory, Sails of Glory, Galaxy Defenders, War of the Ring, Battle of Five Armies and other Euro and Family and Card games, including the storytelling game Co-Mix, nominated for the Origins Awards, in the Family Game category.

A prototype of Warriors of Middle-earth, the new expansion for War of the Ring Second Edition due to release in August, will be showcased, while the upcoming games Last Friday and Behind the Throne, coming in August, and Dungeon Time, to be launched on Kickstarter on June 29th, will have pre-production copies in demo at the show.

The new series of WW2 Wings of Glory Airplane Packs featuring the Messerschmitt Bf.109, Republic P-47, Yokosuka D4Y Suisei, and Douglas SBD Dauntless will be available for sale for the first time at the show – they will start to hit the stores on June, 17th; other new arrivals are the recently releasedAdventures in Hyboria and the Sails of Glory Cloth bags. Promotional items will be given with some purchases – the promotions will be announced at the show and on Ares Games Facebook page.

In addition to the activities at the Ares’ booth, several events dedicated to Wings of Glory and Sails of Glory will be hosted by Buckeye Gamers in Flight, Wings of Glory Aerodrome, and Sails of Glory Anchorage, with prize support by Ares.

Upcoming new games

  • Warriors of Middle-earth is the second expansion for War of the Ring Second Edition board game. It will bring Ents, Dead Men of Dunharrow, Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Corsairs of Umbar, Wild Hilmen from Dunland, and Giant Spiders, previously featured only as special Event Cards. They will become essential part of the game, with unique figures and specific abilities to be combined with new mechanics to open up new strategies when playing the War of the Ringboard game.Warriors of Middle-earth is fully illustrated by John Howe, one of the world’s foremost Tolkien illustrators, and the main artist of the War of the Ring line.
  • Last Friday is a scary board game set in a cursed summer camp on which hangs a curse. This is a story of a maniac who died and rose again. In the role of young campers, players are challenged to survive a long weekend of terror or take the role of the undying psychopath hiding in the shadows of the forest. The game is divided into 4 chapters full of horror and suspense (Arrival at the Camp, The Chase, The Massacre and The Final Chapter) – each chapter plays out very differently, as the hunter becomes the prey, then comes back from the dead looking for revenge. Designed by Antonio Ferrara and Sebastiano Fiorillo (authors of  the horror-themed card game“Stay Away!”)  Last Friday is a hidden movement, hunt and deduction horror game for 2 to 6 players.
  • Behind the Throne is a simple and fast card game designed by I-Games – the team behind the popular “Mysterium” board game. Secret organizations are fighting for the right to rule over the Old Kingdom. Those who are struggling for power in the shadow of the royal throne are used to intrigues, blackmails and threats. The more servants, nobles and dignitaries they control, the closer to the goal they are. Players collect sets of cards gaining special abilities and victory points. Various abilities make it easier to collect the cards, with victory points determining the winner. The game is suited for 2 to 4 players.
  • Dungeon Time is a real time, cooperative card game of exciting dungeon adventures and catastrophic failures for 1 to 5 players, designed by Carlo Rossi. Players will enter a fantasy realm with only 5 minutes to complete their missions. As the sand falls in the sand timer, players must race through the dungeon deck to complete as many missions as they can, before the last grain of sand falls. Simultaneously, they draw, play, draw, frantically looking for all the items needed to complete their missions. They must get the items in play as fast as they can, then complete a mission by playing it on the story deck at the right time, when they have the right equipment. When time runs out, players check the deck, to find out if they fail or if they win… and level up to higher challenges.


For more information about the games, visit Ares Games website – At Origins Game Fair, visit Ares Games at booth 333.

About Ares Games

Ares Games is an Italian board game publisher established in 2011 to create quality hobby products for the international audience. Ares Games is the publisher of the award-winning “War of the Ring” board game, of “Wings of Glory” range of airplane combat games and miniatures, recreating aerial warfare in WW1 and WW2, and more recently, of the award-winning tactical ship-to-ship miniature game “Sails of Glory,” and the cooperative tactical Sci-Fi miniatures game “Galaxy Defenders.” Ares Games’ catalog also includes Family Games and Euro Games. For further information, visit the website and the Facebook page –


Mayfair Games announces a two-player, area-control card game by Matthias Cramer, Fight for Olympus, in which players use the soldiers, heroes, and demigods of Greek mythology to achieve either a military victory or a territorial victory by controlling all of the locations on the board.  Players can recruit heroes and demigods of legend such as Heracles, Hector, and Achilles that can bring you closer to victory.

Fight for Olympus will include the following components:

  • 60 hero cards
  • 36 units cards
  • 16 wound markers
  • 4 color markers
  • Scoring marker
  • Game board
  • Rulebook

Fight for Olympus is a game for 2 players ages 8 and up and plays in 20 minutes.  It is scheduled for release in June/July of 2016.  Look for more information coming soon on Mayfair Games’ website.

dicetower stronghold

The event, being called Havok in Homestead, will feature the Dice Tower crew hosting both Rodney Smith (Watch it Played), and Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games) for an all day game fest.  Some of the games that they will be playing are Dark Moon, Sheriff of Nottingham, Catacombs, and many more to fill the entire day.  The event will be live cast on the Dice Tower YouTube channel and will start on Saturday, May 21st at 10am eastern time, the stream itself will be split in two with one starting at 10am and the other starting at 4pm.  How long will the goodwill last in the Havok in Homestead?  You will have to watch to find out!

It is also worth mentioning that this year once again Stronghold Games has generously sponsored the live show for the Dice Tower and the party with the Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast at Origins as well as the Dice Tower live show at Gen Con.  The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast party will be the Friday of the fair (June 17th) at 8pm, while the Dice Tower live show will be at 9pm on Saturday (June 18th) with Stephen Buonocore attending (or crashing depending on how you view it) both events.  At Gen Con the Dice Tower live show will also be on a Friday, August 5th, at 1pm and it will be a ticketed event, so purchase your tickets in advance so you can get a seat as they could run out.  You can go to the Gen Con website now to get your tickets, and until then, have fun gaming!

UPDATE: Article originally gave the incorrect dates of the Origins events and have been corrected