While we are spoiled for choice when it comes to party games based on vocabulary or word-play, there’s always room for a bit of a twist – especially if the twist rhymes! Designed by Adam Wyse, with art by Shane Houston, and soon to be published by Mayday Games, Poetry Slam challenges parties to guess words relevant to a given topic that are hidden in poems created by each player. The game will pop onto Kickstarter this spring season and is expected to release at Origins Game Fair in June 2018. As described in the press release:
“The Poetry Slam competition is on and all you have to do to win is compose a rhyming couplet to get the rest of the beatniks to guess your secret word! The game is played in three easy steps. Players start out by writing words based on a word prompt (similar to Scattergories), then you write a couplet using your word. In step three you read your couplet for the other players and they have to try to guess your word.”
Creating couplets each round certainly appeals to a different kind of audience than some party games, but there’s a pleasing amount of strategy involved in trying to hide a word in one. Not only does that stretch the creative muscles so-to-speak, but it also encourages a manner of composition intended to shift focus away from some words and towards others. Young writers especially might find a lot to learn through play, but no matter what it’s bound to be fun just hearing what your friends or family come up with. If you’re interested in learning more about Poetry Slam keep on eye on Mayday Games’ website for further announcements when the Kickstarter launches.
The idea of a fire in a library invokes a sense of concern towards the well-being of humanity – the gravity of losing information, creativity, and history is a little more than what we can possibly imagine. Just as it was with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, the loss is essentially a thing of mythology as the extent of damage is still not fully understood. We are however long past the days of papyrus scrolls and steep consolidation of knowledge with the advent of the internet, but libraries nevertheless remain incredible resources filled with invaluable collections for the benefit of everyone and deserve protection and support. That is why this game on Kickstarter, Fire in the Library, has such an interesting theme and is worth taking a look. As described on it’s campaign page:
“Fire in the Library is a press-your-luck game from Weird Giraffe Games by Tony Miller and John Prather with art by Beth Sobel and Katie Khau. Players are heroic librarians rescuing books to accumulate knowledge and earn bravery all while avoiding the flames before the library collapses! […] History is burning—take chances, be brave, SAVE BOOKS!”
A very noble premise, like Flash Point for academia, with gorgeous art to boot. The push-your-luck gameplay is very reminiscent of similar games like Dead Man’s Draw, Celestia (previously Cloud 9), or Diamant (previously Incan Gold), but where the player interaction comes directly from manipulating the odds of success within it’s bag o’ cubes. It’s altogether tactile and quick while being extremely easy to teach, making this suitable for parties and families. It even includes rules for solo play, which isn’t very common for games in this genre. If you are interested in Fire in the Library, be sure to check out it’s Kickstarter page for more information, reviews, and a how-to-play video!
Cryptozoic Entertainment will preview Pantone: The Game at GAMA Trade Show. This is an easy-to-learn, competitive, party game designed by Scott Rogers to be released later in 2018.
Adam Sblendorio, Vice President of Creative at Cryptozoic:
“Pantone: The Game embodies the idea that a picture speaks a thousand words. By reducing characters to simple representations, the game captures the child-like feeling of wonder and accomplishment that comes from visual recognition, being able to identify someone or something with just a look. We feel that the game will appeal to a really wide audience.” [source]
In Pantone: The Game the player who is currently the Artist chooses the character card and then designs a representation of that character using only color swatch cards. The other players then take turns guessing who it is. If nobody can guess the character then a hint is given at the start of the next round with the player and artist receiving less points based on the number of hints used. Both the artist and the winning guesser score points. The winner is the player with the most points after each player has taken a turn being the artist three times.
The game features 132 character cards and supports 2-20 players, aged 8+. It plays in 15-30 mins.
Wizkids has announced a new card game called Letter Go!, which seems to mix the random rules of Fluxx with a word game. The game plays easy enough where you will draw a number of letter cards and lay them out in front of everyone. Then the timer will be flipped and everyone needs to write down at least a 4 letter long word using those letters. When you finish a word you grab the lowest numbered marker and wait for the others to finish. Once time has run out you will start sharing your words and you will score points for each letter you that you are the first one to use. So while the person who finishes first might get all their letters, if you come up with a longer and more unique word, you may be able to still score more points. But coming up with the word isn’t everything, you will also have to deal with the random rules for that round as well. Rules like if you want to write an eye you have to draw an eye, or you have to write your word backwards, or you have to sign other people’s boards. And it’s these rules that will make coming up and writing down your word a lot more interesting.
You can find out more about the game in the below press release, and look for it in stores next month.
WizKids Announces Letter Go! – A New Word Game with Randomly Ridiculous Rules!
Hillside, NJ – Wizkids is pleased to announce its upcoming Word game, Letter Go! Designed by Marcus Ross and Cara Ryan, three to six players write words that are 4-letters or more on their whiteboard using the available letter cards but score points only for the cards they are able to claim before their opponents!
Simply writing words down isn’t the only thing happening in this game. Every round, two Rule Cards are drawn, and they MUST be incorporated into your word! Will you have to write your word backwards? Maybe you’ll need to draw an eye whenever you write an “E”. You might even have to sign your name on your opponents’ whiteboard! Each letter of the alphabet has two rules associated with it, so there is countless combination of crazy antics!
Letter Go! is scheduled to release March 2018! Rush on over to your Friendly Local Game Store and pre-order T-O-D-A-Y!
For more information, visit: https://wizkids.com/letter-go/
As it seems to be the thing these days at game companies, North Star Games has announced a new imprint within their company, simply called Happy Planet Games. The games under this name are said to “raise the happiness level of everyone playing”, which is a lofty and noble goal to have. The first game that will grace this line is one that is already out, Happy Salmon. The name Happy Planet derived from the fact that everyone who played the game commented on how fun it was and that they felt happier after playing. So to continue the warm and fuzzy feelings North Star has announced two other games in the line, Funky Chicken and Monster Match.
Funky Chicken is a new party game n the style of Happy Salmon, but instead of different handshakes now you are performing different dance moves. You might be bumping hips, spinning people around, or even doing the funky chicken to get your cards played out first. There is even the possibility to mix Funky Chicken and Happy Salmon to have a really crazy game.
The other is a simpler, but just as fast paced game, called Monster Match. What’s simple is that in the game you roll a die that gives you some attribute, like three eyes or four arms. Then it’s a race to see who can find this monster and catch it first. Each successful capture gets you donut points, and the person with the most points at the end is the winner.
You can find Happy Salmon on shelves now in two different colors, and look for Funky Chicken and Monster Match to make their debut at the New York Toy Fair. You can find out more in the press release below.
North Star Games Launches Happy Planet Games
Raising the Happiness Level of All Who Play!
Kensington, MD (February 12, 2018) – Set to be introduced at this year’s American International Toy Fair in New York City, North Star Games is excited to announce its new line of games called Happy Planet. It’s not just a new line of games – it’s a brand-new breed of games.
Happy Planet games are unique because they all share one quality: they raise the happiness level of everyone playing. Yes, these games make people happier!
After countless hours of observing people worldwide playing the wildly successful Happy Salmon card game, a 2018 TOTY Game of the Year Finalist, the folks at North Star Games noticed something fascinating: players always commented on how much fun they had and how happy they felt after playing the game – they always had big smiles on their faces. Even those watching the game were laughing and having a great time. North Star Games realized that playing, and even watching, Happy Salmon increased a player’s happiness level. The plan quickly became clear: create games that make people happy.
“Many games are great fun to play, but do they really make people happy? Happy Planet games have the ability to increase a player’s level of happiness” states Dominic Crapuchettes, Founder and Co-President of North Star Games. “We’ve seen it countless times. These quick and extremely fun games instantly get everyone, whether playing or observing, smiling, laughing and feeling energized. As an added bonus, nobody really cares who wins – they just want to play again!”
Funky Chicken and Monster Match join Happy Salmon as the newest members of the Happy Planet line. North Star Games will be playing these games and more at their Toy Fair Booth, #6629.
About Funky Chicken
Take all the excitement of Happy Salmon, add funky dance moves, pack it in a chicken, and you’ve got… Funky Chicken! You’ll be spinning in place, hip-bumping, swinging with your partner and, of course, doing the iconic “Funky Chicken”. Play Funky Chicken by itself or combine it with Green Happy Salmon to create a n- apping, feather- ying good time! Players: 3-6; Ages 6+; Playtime: 2 Minutes
About Monster Match
Monster Match is the screaming-fast game of catching cute, donut-eating monsters. Players roll the special “Monster Dice” and race to find a monster that matches the dice rolled. How fast can you find a monster with 3 eyes…or 4 arms? Just be faster than the other players to win donut points! But watch out… if you go too fast, you might catch the wrong monster and lose your donuts!
Players: 2-6; Ages 6+; Playtime: 10 Minutes
About North Star Games
North Star Games is the publisher of award-winning party, family, and strategy games. Wits & Wagers is the most award-winning party game in history, Evolution is used in the Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Oxford, and Happy Salmon has become a gaming phenomenon. For more information on these games and more, visit www.NorthStarGames.com.
Team Play was designed by Johannes Schmidauer-König and originally released by Schmidt Spiele but it’s been picked up by WizKids for release in North America.
In Team Play, you try to complete your goal cards with your partner without telling them which cards you need. Cards are numbered one through eight and are either red or blue. Examples of Goal cards would be ones which have you collect a pair of red, uneven numbered cards or five consecutive red numbers.
The trick is trying to play with your partner by passing them the right cards they need for them to achieve their goals and have them pass you the cards you need for your own goals.
The game supports 3-6 players and you can even have an odd number of players. The odd numbered player would be on a team of their own and be unable to pass cards, but they would have a larger hand of cards to make up for it.
Team Play is an easy “pick up and play” party game has is in retail stores now.
Blue Beard Entertainment is Kickstarting a new party game using something you wouldn’t think of for a party game, tangrams. In Show and Tile you will draw a card that will give you a word, everyone else will do the same so everyone has a different word. The words can be most anything like elephant, flower, crab, fish, and more. Now everyone will pick up a set of tangrams and the timer will start, giving you 90 seconds before the round is over. What are you doing in those 90 seconds you ask? You are using that precious time to draw out whatever word you have with the tangram pieces, being as accurate or abstract as you want to be. At the end of the round everyone will then write down their guess as to what everyone else’s pictures represent, with a correct guess getting them a point, and the artist getting 2 points. You also get bonus points if you did a starred word which are a little harder than the others. At the end of 4 rounds you total up the points and the person with the most points is the winner.
For a party game using tangrams, this one seems to work pretty well and isn’t dependent on people’s individual art skill in order to win. A base pledge of $29 will get you the base game, and you can get an enhanced edition for $39 which includes an additional 150 word cards of jobs, actions, and verbs. So if you are looking for a new, creative party game, give this Kickstarter a look.
BANANAGRAMS has launched it’s 2018 in school challenge this year for 4th thru 6th grades, and it’s even bigger than before. The Bananagrams Challenge is a tournament held each year in schools across the country, and this year they will be even bigger with them giving out free tournament kits for 1,500 schools. Each school that enters in the contest will get two free copies of the game Bananagrams, as well as additional resources and materials to be able to hold the competition, and even a medal for the winner. Each school will then hold their own tournament in an elimination bracket to determine who the Top Banana is for that school. From there the organizer will submit the winner’s name and story along with other stats from the tournament including longest word, number of people who entered, and room with the most banana decor. Out of the winners of from each school, one will be chosen to receive $1,000 for their school, and additional prizes will be given for the longest word, best banana decor, and the highest school participation.
Now you might be asking, why is Banangrams doing this? Well because it’s great advertising, but more importantly it’s to help make learning vocabulary and spelling skills fun, as students will readily bone up on new words in order to win. So if you are a teacher or administrator of your school, head on over to the Challenge page in order to register and find out more information. And even if you are past the initial 1,500 schools, you can still participate, but you will have to bring your own copies of the game to play.
Tis the season for giving with Hanukkah upon us and Christmas close behind, but not everyone is in the know on what board games are good for different people so CMON is stepping in by offering a gift giving guide. While the list they offer is not exhaustive, it does touch on some key personality traits like people who are artsy, adventurous, a social butterfly, and even the know it all smarty pants.
For the artsy person in your life, CMON suggests either Reiner Knizia’s classic Modern Art, or their newly released game called Dream On. Modern Art is an auction style game where each player will be putting a piece of art up for auction, hoping that other players will buy it from him. If they buy it then he gets their money, but if no one buys it he can buy it from himself, but then he has to pay his money to the bank. This continues until all paintings are sold, and in the end each painting is valued by how many of it sold and the richest player is the winner. So while the game is a solid auction style game, the art of the cards is beautiful and feature a lot of classic and modern works, plus there is an included guide book in the instructions that talk about all the different works of art in the game. Then there is the fact that since this is an art game, you can find different versions of the game form all over the world, featuring art from that region, making it something truly unique for a world art lover. Dream On is a very different game but still taps into that creative side by being a group memory game with story telling and excellent art. In the game you will play down a card, each of which have beautiful abstract art, while telling a story about it, then the next person will do the same, continuing until everyone has played down their cards. Then it’s time to try and remember the dream by going around the table and saying what the next card that had been played is, so the more memorable a story you tell, the easier the memory part will be. Based on how far you get will determine your score, so the game definitely caters to those more creative people.
For the adventuring type, CMON recommends two of their newer dungeon crawl style games with Massive Darkness and Gateway: Uprising. Both games feature characters that you will be able to play through a campaign with, leveling up and gaining new abilities and gear as you go along. You will be fighting all sorts of evil and monsters as you journey through the game to it’s conclusion. The question is, what kind of adventure do you want to go on? If you want to be lightbringers fighting against the oncoming darkness, pushing back against the great evil trying to overthrow the world, then pick up a copy of Massive Darkness. Does fighting against an oppressive rule in your city that has outlawed magic in a bid to concentrate power into their own evil hands sound more like you? Then Gateway: Uprising is the game you are looking for.
For the social butterfly we have some brand new party games you can get int he form of Sherlook and Raise Your Goblets. Sherlook is an interesting party game in that you are famous detectives trying to solve a case, but while you were away from the crime scene a rookie cop messed it all up. Now it’s up to you and your fellow detectives to put things back where they were. In the game there will be two pictures, the original and what the room looks like now, and it’s a race to pick out all the differences between the two before everyone else. Raise your Goblets is more of a social deduction, party game that resembles a popular scene from the movie Princess Bride. In the game everyone is vying to become the next ruler, and is willing to eliminate all the competition to achieve their goal. Each round someone will secretly give out drinks with some being poisoned, and others being just wine, and on your turn you either drink what is in front of you, or swap it with someone else. Once everyone has either drunk or swapped, everyone drinks what is front of them and those who were poisoned are out. Last one standing is the winner.
And finally, we come to the recommendations for the intellectual of your group, with a heavier game like Lorenzo Il Magnifico, or a tough cooperative game like The Grizzled. Lorenzo Il Magnifico is what come call a crunchy game, something will lots of choices but not enough actions to be able to do everything you want. Plus there is a lot of things to juggle as you “gather resources, construct buildings, conquer territories, make powerful allies, and pay homage to the church” in a bid to become the most prestigious family. The game is undoubtedly fun, but it’s going to give you a mental workout as you play this game. The other game, The Grizzled, is difficult in a different way as playing the game is very simple, either play a card or withdraw from the round. The thinking part of it comes with how far can you push your luck? Who do I need to support to eliminate a troublesome negative effect? How many cards do we need to play in order to reduce the deck while not failing the mission? It’s all these questions and working with your friends to beat this game that makes it both tough and satisfying as you work towards victory.
You can read more about all of these games in CMON’s game guide article, and pick up any you might need at your friendly local game store.
Wizkids is shifting into game making overdrive as they have announced four new games within the last week. First game on the list is a reprint of a team style card game called Team Play. This is a card game made up of a deck of number cards and goal cards, with the object of the game to score the most points with your teammate. In the game you will have a hand of number cards as well as a goal card, the goal card will have some arrangement of numbers that you will need to have in your hand to score. Some of the arrangements include 2 pairs of uneven numbers, having 3 low numbers, 5 consecutive red numbers, and so on. During the game everyone will be passing cards between each other, without directly saying what it is they need, trying to get the numbers to satisfy their goal. You will have to deduce what your partner needs quickly, because at the end, it’s the team with the most points that will be the winners. Expect this game on store shelves in January of 2018.
Next up is a light, solo type game called Maiden’s Quest, where the princess is tired of waiting to be rescued so decides to fight her way out. On a given turn you will be faced with some obstacle or enemy, and you will have to use cards from your hand to overcome it. As you go along the encounters will get harder and harder, but once you conquer them all you are free! One interesting aspect of the game is that the cards have multiple orientations and are double sided, meaning each cards represents up to four items, encounters, or allies. Plus you have the ability to save the game mid way through, allowing you to pick the game back up later if you have to put it away. Look for this game to be released around May of next year.
After that is the silly dungeon quest game called Fungeon Party, where you will be doing all sorts of strange “quests”. This game definitely fits the silly bill as you will have 30 seconds per quest to complete the, with the average game having six quests to complete. What are these quests you ask? They are stacking dice on your forehead, bouncing them into the box, hitting a meeple surrounded by dice, and so on. Whoever can complete the most quests in the given time will be the winner. So if you like silly games like Dungeon Fighter, this one might be right up your alley. Check it out on store shelves in June of 2018.
And last, but certainly not least, Wizkids is trying their hand at the room escape game with Curio: The Lost Temple. The story in the game is that a sink hole appeared near the Tigris river that exposed a previously unknown temple to the world. As explorers you are answering the call to go into this lost temple to explore the mysteries it contains, but the second you all walk through the doors they shut, and sand starts pouring in around you. You and your fellow explorers will have to work together to solve all the different puzzles in order to unlock the doors and escape. One thing that Wizkids is trying to do with this game is not make it a one-time use game, but with a module system they intend for it to be playable over and over, even with the same group of people. Being a fan of other room escape games like EXIT and Unlock, this has me highly intrigued. Look for this to hit store shelves in May of 2018.
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