“Step into tranquility as you pass through the torii gates, traveling from fountains to flowers to shrines while meeting vendors, poets, and even samurai along the way… “
On their turn, the players take one tile from their hand of 2, and expand the garden. Every tile piece has paths and at least one of the 6 features – Lotus, Bridges, Lanterns, Water Basins, Inari Statues, or Sekimori Ishi (stone features). If a continuous path is created between two matching features, the player scores a landmark token for that feature. If multiple paths are created, the player only scores for the shortest one. If the path passes through one or more Torii gates, bonus tiles are earned; Red Torii give the player multiple matching tokens for the feature, while blue Torii earn tokens for other, different features. When a player earns 5 of the same token, they must be cashed in for a larger 5-point piece. Similarly, 5 more tokens create a 10-point piece. Fully isolated areas of the garden with 2 or more features score special Enclosure Tokens. Other achievements are earned for being the first player to earn all six 5-point tokens, or three of the 10-point tokens.
Another important aspect of the game is the ability to ask for help from one of the five characters who live in the garden. Characters cost coins, or single tokens, but never the larger 5- and 10-point pieces. The Samurai prevents players from placing a tile in a specific location. The Poet covers a single feature, preventing it from completing pathways, or possibly allowing for longer pathways. Both the Samurai and the Poet stay out until another player asks for their help. The Vendor allows players to discard a tile from their hand, and replace it with 2 new ones. The Geisha lets a player place 2 tiles into the garden, although only the second tile scores for a path. Finally, the Gardener allows a player to place a tile on top of another tile. The first and second time a player summons a character, they collect that characters’ token, earning 2 points. However only one player may collect the points for summoning a character for a third time.
At the end of the game, the 5- and
10- point tiles score their points, as well as tiles earned from working with
the characters, tiles from creating enclosures, and achievements for being
first to earn the larger tokens. The One Hundred Torii also comes with a single
player mode, where the player battles against Onatsu, the pilgrim. Onatsu takes
the player’s unused tiles, and scores her own points throughout the game.
Pencil First Games has launched its ninth Kickstarter – Skulk Hollow – a 2 player, asymmetric tactical combat game. Players take the roles of either a band of Foxen heroes or a towering behemoth of a Guardian.
One player represents a guardian trying to eliminate the smallfolk who corrupt their once pristine creation. The other player represents a band of Foxen heroes bent on vanquishing the guardian in order to protect their people and homes.
Players use action cards to move their units, summon and use special abilities. Play starts on an initial world map, but progresses to the Foxen player leaping onto the Guardian player board and taking out different parts of the character.
The Guardian wins the game by either eliminating the Foxen King, or by gaining enough Tribute. The Foxen Heroes win the game by eliminating the Guardian.
Skulk Hollow offers the following:
One vs many asymmetric combat
Action on the Kingdom board as well as full-size, Guardian game boards
Dual Purpose Cards that provide a wide range of movement and ability powers
Unique Foxen Nobles and Guardians with a varying range of tactics and dynamics
Both players have the same turn structure: the Main Phase followed by a Cleanup Phase.
During the Main Phase, the active player may take as many actions as shown by the action limit on their player mat. Each action consists of playing one card or preparing. They may also spend power to take additional actions. Actions may be taken in any order.
Play Card: Play one card from their hand.
Prepare: Discard one card from hand and draw two from the deck.
Spend Power: Remove one power cube from the guardian player mat or any hero unit card to take an additional action.
During the Cleanup Phase, when the active player has taken all of the actions that they wish to take, or have no more actions available, they allocate power and refill their hand.
Skulk Hollow is already fully funded and working its way through a list of Stretch Goals. All Kickstarter Backers who pledge for Skulk Hollow will also receive the Ancient Relics Mini-Expansion free. This expansion will be available for sale on BGG, at Conventions, etc, but will not be packaged within the base game.
Skulk Hollow plays in 30-45 minute and the suggested age is 8+.
Herbaceous was a Kickstarted game from last year that featured lots of beautiful art, and a theme all about storing and growing the most valuable variety of herbs. Dr. Finn Games and Pencil First Games are back again with a new version of the game, Herbaceous Sprouts, which takes the original card game and morphs it into a dice game. In the game each round will have a set number of tool cards, and on those tool cards will be dice that you will get to draft along with the cards. On your turn you will pick a tool card, get all the dice on that tool card, as well as the tool card with gives extra abilities that is associated with that tool. Some of the tools include trowels that allow you to plant flowers, market packages that all you to change dice, seed bags which give extra dice, and more. What you are trying to do is get sets of dice in order to plant your seedlings in the garden, sets like all the same, all different, pairs, or a flower and trowel together to plant in the flower garden. Space is limited in each area so the first person there will get higher points, and if all the spots are taken then you are just out of luck. If you are playing with less than 4 players then there is also a rival who will be planting their seeds according to the leftover card from the initial draft, making card choice at the start even more critical. In the end, whoever has the most points will be the winner.
Like the card game this is based on, Herbaceous Sprouts is beautiful to look at, and with rules that are streamlined and easy to learn, a quick game to play in 30 minutes. A pledge for the base game comes in at $35 plus shipping, and there are additional pledge levels to get other games like Herbaceous or Sunset Over Water along with mini expansions. So head on over to the Kickstarter page to give this one a look, the game also comes packaged with a solo mode for those looking to garden alone.
After an excellent Dice Tower Con, it’s time to get back into the swing of things with another Wallet Kickers post.
First is a nice addition to any gamer’s wall, and that is Scott King’s Gaming Calendar for 2018. On this calendar you will be able to choose a standard calendar with pre-selected pictures, or a custom calendar where you get to pick your own pictures and add your own holidays. In the standard calendar you will get twelve stunning pictures taken by the talented Scott King to look at throughout the year of games like Sagrada, Tiny Epic Quest, and Junk Art. Selecting the custom calendar allows you to pick from nearly 200 photos he has taken over the years of many poular games and gaming components. Personally I already have the 2017 edition hanging on my wall and I am looking forward to one being there in 2018 as well. Check out the Kickstarter today.
Next is a game ending in the next week and that is Wendake. In Wendake you are the chief of a native american tribe, trying to build up your tribe to be the best in all aspects. Actions are taken by a unique 3×3 grid of tiles where you activate a row, column, or diagonal, taking all the actions in that line. After you take actions you will flip the tiles over, giving a different action as well as showing what tiles have been used. This grid will be constantly cycling, and over the course of the game you will get new actions to slot into the grid allowing you to do more. Some of the actions include movement, harvesting, fishing, hunting, placing out new workers and canoes, and even mask ceremony cards which act as a set collecting aspect to the game. At the end you score for the lowest position on the two pairs of “wampum” tracks, and whoever has the highest combined score wins. To check out this great looking game, head on over to the Kickstarter page.
After that is Legendary Creatures, a deck building type game, with no relation to the Legendary system, where you are competing for renown in four different realms. In this game you will be drawing and playing creature cards to perform different actions. The order you play cards and which cards you play and which you send out on expeditions makes a difference and makes for lots of great choices. You will also get the chance to add new cards into your deck, in typical deck building style, giving you more options and combinations to toy with. Then there are spells, amulets, gifts, and landmarks which give you extra bonuses and you have too many combinations to count. At the end your score will be your position on the four realm tracks as well as any points you earned throughout the game, most points is the winner. You can head over to the Kickstarter page to find out more and pledge for a copy.
Following that we have TMG’s latest deluxified game, Crusaders, Thy Will be Done, a roundel action type game about crusaders in the middle ages trying to get the most influence. In the game you have a roundel of 6 actions and actions tokens on each one. When you pick an action, you get as many action points of that action based on the number of tokens on that wedge. Once you finish the action you will distribute the tokens in a mancala like fashion around the circle. Different actions let you building buildings, muster troops, fight the enemies on the board, travel around the board, or just gain influence. Plus, as you build more buildings you uncover spots on your player board, you will gain the bonuses depicted on the board, giving you some extra motivation to build them. There are also individual player powers and ways to upgrade you roundel to make things more interesting. So if this crusade themed game sounds interesting to you, check out the Kickstarter today.
Next is the latest in the tactical card combat category of games, similar to Summoner Wars, called Stonebound Saga. This game features absolutely stunning artwork, and the player cards seem to be designed to show off as much of it as possible while giving you needed info. In the game you will be controlling different characters, each with their own specific set of moves and abilities powered by speaking stones. You will be moving your character around on the board, and launching attacks in the hope of eliminating the other team. There are also 7 different classes you can chose from which have different ways of playing, from healers, to bards, to powerful warriors and even rangers. Needless to say, if you enjoy games like Summoner Wars, this game deserves a second look for sure, check out their Kickstarter page.
Next to last we have the latest game from Isaac Childres on Kickstarter, and that is Founders of Gloomhaven. Isaac’s previous game, Gloomhaven, has positively exploded and is an adventure game that has legacy elements as well as being just a great game. So you might be surprised to find that he has gone a different direction with this game and has created a tile laying euro game about building the city of Gloomhaven. In this game you will be working to build up your prestige so that when the city is finished, you are the most prestigious race of them all. But, lest you think this is a purely competitive game, there are actually elements of the game that require cooperation to achieve. Each race has a certain element they produce, but in order to create the more advanced resources, you have to combine with other races, meaning you won’t be able to go it alone. Add in a myriad of different action cards to choose from and a voting system to determine which point scoring buildings get added, and you have a euro style game with a Gloomhaven theme and feel. Check out the Kickstarter today to pledge for you copy.
Lastly we have a lightning quick campaign, and that is Steve Jackson Games’ Munchkin Special Delivery. This box is another in the ever growing line of curated boxes that you blindly buy, and find out the contents on arrival. One difference from the others is that this is just for one box, not a subscription, and you at least know it will contain the Munchkin base game. Other things contained in the box include several different expansions and/or boosters, Munchkin accessories, a special rule printed in the box, and even Steve Jackson’s signature (while supplies last). So if you want to gift Munchkin, or want to jump into the game with some hand picked extras, give this Kickstarter a look before it ends on the 16th of July.
Herbaceous is the latest game from Pencil First Games up on Kickstarter from the mind of Steve Finn, of Dr. Finn’s Games, and the brush of Beth Sobel. Herbaceous is a very beautiful looking card game that plays as a distillation of the push your luck mechanic.
On any given turn you will first be given the option to plant herbs in pots, with each pot having different requirements for what you can put in them for points. One gives points based on how many of one type you put, another for how many unique types, another for how many pairs you put, but the last one is special. In the glass jar you can put as many herbs as you want, but this is also the only pot that can take the special herbs that give bonus points. After choosing to pot plants or not, you must draw an herb card and choose if it will go in your garden, where only you can use it, or the community garden where anyone can use it. After making that choice you draw a second card and are forced to plant it in the opposite garden. The push your luck aspect of the game is when you choose to pot the herbs, do you do it now for some points, or hope it’s there for another round and get more points? Will you pot early to grab special herbs in that hopes of getting the bonus biscuit card, or try to maximize points to offset those lost bonus points? Push your luck far enough without going bust and you may score enough points to emerge the winner.
As I mentioned already the art is stunning and that alone is worth a look at the game. As a bonus for being a backer you get some flavor cards which act as events when they are drawn, affecting the game in different ways. If this game sounds interesting to you then head on over to the campaign page to pledge for your copy.
The Siblings Trouble boils down all the core elements of an RPG (storytelling, exploration, discovery, treasure, encounters, etc.) into a fun-to-play narrative romp. This is a 30 minute game you can play as an ice-breaker, in-betweener, or as a way to introduce storytelling and adventure games to new players.
More in the vein of The Goonies than the Lord of the Rings, players will cooperatively explore a Mysterious Place through a series of narrative moments. Victory is achieved by surviving all of these moments and the final Boss to earn the Epic Treasure at the end of the game.
Card / Presentation Clean Up
Cards were hard to read and needed clean up. They are much improved. We also had great feedback on making each card spectacular. We embraced this and every card was refined.
Every turn ends with something
Another change we made was to ensure that every turn, no matter what card or roll occurs, the player adds something interesting to the story.
Big Secret / Fear Counters / Adventure Deck structure
The biggest single piece of feedback we received was that our game experience felt flat and didn’t offer enough sense of progress and climax. We took this to heart, thought a lot, and designed the Big Secret / Fear Counter system.