Genius Games, publishers of science-themed titles such as Cytosis and Subatomic, has acquired Artana – publisher of history and technology themed games such as Tesla vs. Edison, Lovelace & Babbage, and Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science. It’s a perfect match, frankly, with each catalog complementing the other to cover more ground in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focused line of products. Genius games does intend to keep Artana’s branding and will continue to publish games under their name in order to maintain a marketing strategy of publishing games rooted in history under their banner. As per Genius Founder and CEO John Coveyou:

“Artana is a perfect strategic acquisition for us. Like Genius Games, they specialize in telling stories about the real world – in Artana’s case exploring topics in history as well as science and technology. Our Science-focused games have proven a hit in both casual gaming as well as academic and educational settings, and Artana’s varied catalog expands and enhances this appeal. The two companies are a natural fit.”

It’s not often that you see acquisitions like this that make as much sense as Genius’. The two publishers complement each other very well, as both have been laser focused on the kinds of games they push out for the past 5 years. My sincere hope is that this partnership will yield even greater STEM-themed games because their remains nearly unlimited benefits from their success. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Genius Games or Artana Games websites for news posts, products, and more.

WizKids will partner with Sweet Games to publish their hit game Seeders from Sereis: Exodus in English. In Seeders from Sereis: Exodus, playersare Seeders building arks – giant colony ships – to escape their dying civilization.  Players compete to design the best ark for production. Each turn, cards which can be used to build the player’s ark or converted into resources are laid out on the board. Each card represents a different component of the ark – locations, items, personnel – and may have unique synergies between cards as well as a player’s unique power.  Players strategically place negotiator chips between the cards they want, using their alignment and position to determine who has the most influence over a desired card.  The player with the most influence over a card wins the card and adds it to their player board.

Seeders from Sereis: Exodus features immersive sci-fi art tells a deep, engrossing story. This is the first game set in the Seeders from Sereis universe, created by Serge Macasdar and Charbel Fourel.  Expect to see more game set in the Sereis universe, continuing the story of the Seeders and their search for a new destiny among the stars.

Great news for all – Ares Games will be bringing Ludus Magnus Studio’s games to worldwide distribution with English language support. This partnership will begin with the retail edition of the huge Kickstarter success, Black Rose Wars. This mage vs mage battle royale for 2 to 4 players, designed by Marco Montanaro, features some of the highest quality miniatures in the market and is just the sort of excellent product to be paired with Ares Games’ outreach. While this new version of Black Rose Wars will be different from the one backers received, mostly to fit a better price point, it’s gameplay will remain intact.

We love what Ludus Magnus Studio is doing– their games have amazing gameplay value and beautiful components. This young and energetic studio was very successful on Kickstarter, but their creations deserve to reach an even wider audience, and we will work together to make this possible,” said Roberto Di Meglio, Director of R&D of Ares Games.

Ares Games will also be distributing the retail version of Ludus Magnus’ current Kickstarter project, Dungeonology. Designed by Diego Fonseca and Danilo Guidi, this game flips dungeon crawling on it’s head by posing players as scholars who are studying the dungeon and it’s inhabitants rather than ransacking it. As of writing this, it has already been funded six times over proving that it’s novel concept is worth the look. If you’d like to learn more about Ludus Magnus Studio’s games, or more about this partnership, check out both companies websites for all current projects, details, and updates.

Three small game studios – Underground Games, Auroch Digital and Bos Taurus Diceworkshave announced a partnership to work together on board games.

The three companies originally met through digital game development but all three had a passion for board games and realized that there was much more to be gained by working together than working apart. Between the three companies, there is a wealth of design experience, artistic talent and production skills – however, each time one of them encountered a challenge, they had to deal with it on their own. Together they plan to share best practices to solve the inevitable challenges more efficiently.

This cooperation is also an attempt to buck the current trend in the games industry of larger companies gobbling up indie developers while the remaining indies compete for an ever smaller part of the revenue. Instead of competition, these three companies choose to cooperate based on shared values and ways to run a business.

Meet the indies

Underground Games is responsible for the both Jagged Alliance: The Board Game and Castle von Loghan, two games originally launched via Kickstarter.

Auroch Digital is currently running a Kickstarter campaign titled Mars Horizon: Blast Off in which each player leads a major space agency from the dawn of the space age through humanity’s journey to Mars.

Bos Taurus Diceworks is new to the industry and is currently working on an as-yet unannounced major IP title.

Underground Games is located in Germany, while Auroch Digital & Bos Taurus Diceworks are both in the UK. The three companies also have called on other independent developers to join their cooperation and push the envelope on how games can be created and brought to players.

Announced March 14th, Renegade Games is entering a partnership with Frosted Games to bring some of the newest European-designed games to English markets. The first on the docket is Uwe Rosenberg’s newest title, Reykholt, which is slated to be released this fall during Essen with pre-orders for both English and German copies. In Reykholt, 1 to 4 players are competing to be the best farmer of vegetables in Iceland using geothermal energy to grow your crop and meet demand for delicious points. With gorgeous artwork by Lukas Siegmon, this game is an excellent first choice for this new partnership to undertake and impress broader markets. As stated by Scott Gaeta, founder and president of Renegade games, and quoted in the press release:

“Frosted Games has built up an array of top quality games, to be released in the upcoming years. It is such a pleasure to be working with a wonderful partner located right in the center of the modern European game movement. Kicking off this partnership with a game from famed designer, Uwe Rosenberg, sets the bar high. We look forward to exceeding expectations with future releases through this partnership.”

Partnerships such as these are amazing for the board gaming hobby, especially with the ever-growing amount of new games being created across the world. European designs are still wildly popular and the ability to get these games into more hands than before is also bound to be lucrative for both Renegade and Frosted Games. This news also means that there will be even more reason to keep an eye on both of these publishers around Essen as Reykholt is just the start. If you are interested in Reykholt or any future releases from Renegade Games or their partnership with Frost Games, be sure to visit their website for more information.

Renegade Games has announced that they have formed a partnership with Saban Brands, long time owner of the Power Rangers license, to produce Power Rangers themed tabletop games.  What kinds of games and when have not been released yet, but they promise to deliver on the same themes of inclusivity, diversity, and teamwork that have sustained the Power Rangers brand for 25 years.  You can read the short press release on their website, as well as sign up for an email newsletter to be kept up to date on new developments.  With the popularity of the theme and Renegade Games’ knack for creating great games, this partnership should bear some megazoid sized fruit.

The biggest push in bringing board gaming to mobile devices and PCs has no doubt come from Asmodee, or specifically Asmodee Digital. We’ve written about this quite a few times on this site, and in fact one of my very first articles I wrote for Dice Tower News was about Asmodee doing really cool things to bring good games to a broader market. While we do have to rely on their analysis and apparent drive to see how effective their efforts have been, the spread of board gaming to virtual platforms is undoubtedly healthy for the community and industry as a whole if only for exposure reasons. This is why it’s such big news that Asmodee has partnered with Kingnet to bring their titles to the Chinese market. As announced by Asmodee:

 “Asmodee, a leading global games publisher and distributor, today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Kingnet, a preeminent Chinese mobile games development studio and internet content and services provider. Founded in 2008, Kingnet operates many popular games including Skyscraper, Shushan Legend and MU Miracle. Through this partnership, Kingnet will license select Asmodee content and develop and distribute original mobile games for the growing Chinese user base.”

This is no small matter, as that kind of exposure to that large of a market is bound to grow interest in strategy and social gaming, and can also inspire those players towards new designs. Despite how crazy Asmodee’s outreach and growth may seem over the past few years, we have to congratulate them and Kingnet for seeking new horizons like this. My curiosity is now poised on what effect, if any, this push will have on the counterfeit board games issue. While Asmodee’s partnership with Kingnet is unrelated, that particular industry could change as more and more games gain outreach. We’ll have to wait and see!

Rule & Make, Australian Game Studio has brought another Australian company under its umbrella. Table Tyrant Games has officially joined with Rule & Make and has announced their first project together will be a Kickstarter Campaign for Smiths of Winterforge later this year.

From ideas to publishing, these two companies do it all. Now they are expanding their influence by engaging the local design community directly by requesting game submissions. They hope to be able to showcase the Australian indie game community with a greater presence in US and European markets.

The full announcement is available on Rule & Make’s website and to see what they have in mind for the upcoming Smiths of Winterforge Kickstarter campaign, take a look at the Print and Play available.

ultra stone

Ultra PRO, widely known for its collectible and tabletop accessories manufacturing, has entered into an agreement to publish, market and promote Stone Blade Entertainment’s roster of games. This partnership allows Stone Blade to utilize Ultra PRO’s market presence to reach a wider audience, while freeing up resources to focus on the design of new games.

Stone Blade Entertainment is most well-known for the Ascension: Deckbuilding Game series, which, along with other games such as Bad Beets, will be bolstered by Ultra PRO’s distribution channels and marketing efforts. Ultra PRO’s new Entertainment Division is excited to have access to this growing index of games.

The first Stone Blade game to have the Ultra Pro treatment will be released in Sept 2016. You Gotta Be Kitten Me! Is a Liars-Dice style bluffing game featuring cards with cats, dogs, and the adorable accessories they wear.

Effective immediately, New Jersey based Stronghold Games and Germany based 2F-Spiele entered into a strategic partnership for Stronghold Games to co-publish, in English, all new future 2F-Spiele titles. Stronghold games have released many games including “Survive: Escape From Atlantis!”, “Core Worlds”, and “Space Cadets” (plus many, many others). 2F-Spiele is known for “Power Grid, “Fearsome Floors”, “Felix, the Cat in the Sack”, and a personal favorite of mine “Friday”.  The two companies worked together on the 2015 hit “504” which creates 504 different games from the 9 modules contained in the box.

Two giants in the gaming community, Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games and Friedemann Friese of 2F-Spiele, have both expressed excitement in this project and what it could mean for both companies moving forward. What this means for hobbyists in North America and the rest of the world is they will see an almost simultaneous English release of 2F-Spiele games, while maintaining the high quality components both companies are known for.

To kick off this Strategic Partnership, the following titles will be co-published by Stronghold Games with an expected street date of October 2016:

Fabled Fruit (Stronghold Games title) / Fabelsaft (2F-Spiele title)

While living in a bountiful forest of amazing fruits, players will try to be the first to quench their thirst by making the most delicious juices. Various forest dwellers will help players in a variety of ways. Fabled Fruit is being debuted as a “Fable Game” which Stronghold and 2F-Spiele describe as:

A new and unique concept in game experiences, where the gameplay changes over time. The game starts in an initial, simple state, but as you explore deeper into the game system, the mechanisms and gameplay will evolve over time. Unlike in a Legacy game, however, the game is never permanently changed. This Fable Game will remain just as playable on the 20th play as it was on the first plays of the game.”

Fuji Flush (Stronghold Games title) / Futschikato (2F-Spiele title)

Fuji Flush is a 15 minute, easy to learn card game in which you try to get rid of your hand of cards before any other player. Work with other players to beat cards other players lay down, or play the highest card to beat your colluding opponents.