Philip duBarry

Some readers may know of Kingdom of Solomon, a worker placement game designed by Philip duBarry and published by Minion Games back in 2012. It’s a well-regarded and unique game that just didn’t have enough going for it at the time. With a distinctive theme of building-up ancient Israel, Kingdom allowed players to not only diversify their resources and how they got them, but also had a “cash in your chips” mechanic where you could give up all of your workers for a massive bonus if you felt it was worth the risk. I’m glad to write today that this cool design will not fade into obscurity as it’s new and improved spiritual successor, Wisdom of Solomon, is now on Kickstarter.

“Wisdom of Solomon is a worker placement game with a splash of network building. A typical game takes about 15 minutes per player, with games being a little bit longer the first time playing.  Wisdom of Solomon is a light to medium weight game, meaning that there is plenty of strategy for experienced gamers to enjoy but the game is intuitive and simple enough for new gamers to be able to jump right in.”

Now the game is back, with updated gameplay, art, and components, and ready to show everything that made Kingdom of Solomon so special all over again with it’s best foot forward. I particularly enjoy seeing a thoughtfully designed game like this being brought back in earnest, as it showcases a period of history that is worth learning about. The new publisher, Funhill Games, is also using some of the funds from this campaign to reprint Kings of Israel, a cooperative game as equally well-regarded and welcome again. If you are interested in learning more about Wisdom of Solomon, or Kings of Israel, check out the Kickstarter campaign page for the rules, gameplay videos, reviews, community feedback, and updates.

Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) has a lot of things going on right now including the release of a new game, Embark. Designed by Philip duBarry (known for Eminent Domain: Battle Cruisers and Revolution) and developed by Seth Jaffee, the game is set in the Harbour-fantasy universe (as you can see from the art style). It can be played by 2-5 players and the game lasts about 15 minutes per player.

In Embark you load various boats and send them to uninhabited islands to explore, colonize, and mine them. You’ll need to load your boats with voyagers who take on the roles of explorers, miners, and colonists, based on the berths you assign them in the boats. Boats only launch when they are full. There is also room for a Captain who can do any of the 3 jobs. Your opponent can also assign warriors to your boats who displace your voyagers and take over their job. The game ends after six rounds of assigning voyagers and launching boats. The victor is the player with the most points. To add some spice to the game there are Talent cards, which are drafted at the beginning of the game, which gives each player a unique ability throughout the game. A release date has not yet been set.

In other TMG news, the Deluxe Gentes Kickstarter campaign was a huge success and they’ve opened up late pledges up until April 15th.

They’ve also updated their approximate game availability for March and April:

gaslight empire

Gaslight Empire Games would like to announce their current Kickstarter project for Chief Inspector and City of Outcasts, two “compact and calculatingly criminal card games.”

Chief Inspector

A master criminal walks the streets of London town.  The scuffers are clueless, but the Chief Inspector is on the case.  That is, until he goes missing through mysterious circumstances…and so it falls to you, junior inspectors, to walk the streets and investigate some likely (and unlikely) suspects.  Turn up clues to learn more about their reputations and past deeds.

A copy of Chief Inspector includes:

  • 5 Suspect cards
  • 32 Clue cards
  • 24 Inspector cards
  • 20 Evidence cards
  • 20 Corruption cards
  • 4 Reference cards
  • Rulebook
  • Small Solid Box

Chief Inspector is a card game for 2-4 players, ages 10+ and plays in around 20 minutes.  The game is designed by Philip duBarry, designer of games including Skyway Robbery, Spirits of the Rice Paddy, Revolution, Fidelitas and Black Orchestra.

city of outcasts

City of Outcasts

Rym lies buried beneath the scorching sands of Omere and cut off from the reach of the Empire.  We were once a hopeful community of settlers and pilgrims, but in time our growing city became a destination for all manner of criminals and opportunists looking to escape the eye of the Empire.  This is a lawless place, a Wild West brew of feuding gangs and unscrupulous characters, with an underclass of common people simply struggling to make something of their lives.  The Empire won’t help us.  Who will?

There is no love between the various powers in the City of Outcasts.  Each player is attempting to play these powers off each other to assemble allies in a cunning bid to take control of Rym.  Each of the 14 allies has a point value.  The player with the most valuable allies at the end of the game will win, and, more importantly, usher in a period of justice, peace, and prosperity for its down-trodden people.

City of Outcasts is for 2-4 players, ages 10+ and plays in around 5 minutes (three games over 15 minutes is a great way to play, especially with the expansion).  The game is designed by Garrett Herdter, designer of Miskatonic School for Boys and Hollow Cell.

A copy of the game includes:

  • 13 Ally cards
  • 1 Eyes of the People card
  • 4 Reference cards
  • Rulebook
  • Small Solid Box

For more information and to support this project, visit the Kickstarter page here.

If you haven’t played Eminent Domain by Seth Jaffe yet you are missing out on a spectacular game. It’s twist on deck building and role selection will remind you of games like Roll for the Galaxy and Puerto Rico. It is also one of my favorite games to play during my lunch hour because of it’s short playing time. There is even an expansion out for it called Eminent Domain: Escalation that adds to the replayability of the game and changes up the original’s ‘everyone starts with the same deck’ concept. Now Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) is bringing us another expansion for the game called Eminent Domain: Exotica:

Your civilization has grown to the edge of the known universe. To expand farther you’ll need to explore exotic worlds and learn their language and customs. Mine foreign asteroids for valuable crystal and befriend alien cultures in Eminent Domain: Exotica!

Eminent Domain Exotica adds a lot more to the game.

  • 9 new starting scenario cards – these cards were first introduced in the Escalation expansion and allow players to start the game with asynchronous decks
  • 31 new technology cards – technology cards are key to winning the game and these will add even more options for you to choose from
  • 27 new planet cards – new and exciting planets to take over either through colonization or warfare
  • and a whole lot more!

In addition to the expansion box, which will come in a limited edition foil stamped digitally signed box, each backer will receive a promo pack that will include more planets, technology cards, and scenario cards as well as extra Exotica components  for fifth player. Eminent Domain: Exotica definitely sounds like an outstanding expansion to an outstanding game.

But wait….there’s more!

Not content to just offering an expansion to one of their hit games in their latest Kickstarter TMG has also included a brand new game set in the Eminent Domain universe called Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers by Philip duBarry!

Battlecruisers is a game for 3-5 players that plays in about 15 minutes. Players are locked in space combat with each controlling a battlecruiser and are looking to either be the first to gain 15 victory points or be the last one standing. All players have decks of 20+ cards but each player only plays with six to eight of these cards (determined by player count) which can be randomly chosen, mutually agreed upon, or picked using one of the scenarios in the rule book. During set up players will randomly discard one of these cards into their discard pile and play one face up into their ‘recovery pile’.

Each turn players will choose one of the remaining cards in their hand to play simultaneously face down in front of them. Players will then turn their cards over resolving them in number order. If no one else chose the same card as you then you can play the main card effect helping you achieve victory. If two or more players chose the same card then you resolve the clash affect that will punish you and the other players that played the same card. After resolving effects players return their ‘recovery zone’ card back to their hand and place the previously played card in the recovery zone. If you ever run out of cards to play you are out of the game.

This game looks like it offers tons of variety and like it can be enjoyed by just about every type of player out there. This is due to the large number of cards per player yet only a small number of them are used each game. Players can choose to play with the cards that match the gaming style of the group they are currently playing with.

Eminent Domain: Exotica should be an excellent addition to the Eminent Domain base game and Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers looks like a fun quick game with huge amounts of replayability. You can find both on their Kickstarter page here where you’ll find a discount if you wish to back both of the games. I for one am very excited for another expansion to the fantastic game Eminent Domain and Battlecruisers has me interested enough to pledge for a copy of that. Of course both of these games should be making an appearance in you FLGS/OLGS after they ship to backers so you can always wait for them to arrive there.

spirits of the rice paddy

APE Games, best known for Rolling Freight and Island Siege, brings Spirits of the Rice Paddy to Kickstarter. This uniquely themed agriculture simulation game has players tending to rice paddies, cultivating crops, and using livestock to improve their fields in a race to produce the most rice.

“With a little luck, all that back-breaking labor will pay off in the end. The good news is that the spirits are eager to assist, granting many special abilities, blessings and magic.”

spirits of the rice paddy cards

Designed by Philip duBarry, creator of Revolution! and Courtier among others, Spirits of the Rice Paddy utilizes familiar European game mechanics including card drafting, worker placement, and tableau building. It supports 1-4 players, offering a medium weight strategy experience.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Kickstarter page to see all the stretch goals and download the rulebook.

skyway robbery

High flying steampunk adventure abounds in the new Kickstarter project Skyway Robbery.

You are a passenger on a gigantic airship cruise liner on a tour that will take you to the far corners of the Gaslight Empire. You are also an up and coming criminal mastermind seeking to build a reputation as a kingpin of crime. As the airship progresses to various exotic locales, amazing criminal opportunities will unfold before your eyes. Your task is to assemble the best gang of professional criminals, conduct daring robberies, elude various defenses and protect your turf from other nefarious crooks skulking in the shadows. Earn the most feared reputation and take your rightful place at the top of the criminal world.

This campaign is “pre-stretched” the designer has stated that he did this intentionally to keep down delays associated with stretch goals and to give you the complete game as it was meant to be had.  That being said there are two version of the game available as part of the project the standard retail version and a deluxe version featuring 120 wooden tokesn to replace some of the cardboard components that come along with the retail version.

skyway robbery components

About one third of the way through its Kickstarter campaign Skyway Robbery is about halfway to its funding goal.  The game was designed by Philip DuBarry the designer behind Revolution!, Revolution!: The Palace, and numerous other games.  Featuring art from a myriad of artists including Jacqui Davis, Dann May, Kelly McClellan, and Denae Wilkowski.  This game is being published by Game Salute.

You can back the project today on Kickstarter

    fidelitas banner

    Assert influence and prove your worth in the revolution! Green Couch Games presents Fidelitas, a design by Jason Kotarski and Philip duBarry.

    If you’re looking for a quick, medieval themed 2 to 4 player card game with attractive art this may interest you!

    “In Fedelitas, players take on the role of faithful citizens in a medieval city exerting influence in order to gain the credibility needed to lead the charge against the corrupt crown. Players play character cards to various locations that make up the city in order to meet conditions of hidden objectives. Each type of character card is associated with a unique action that manipulates cards in the game; use the Butcher to bully other characters to new locations, use the Student to gain more cards, use the Soldier to keep the peasants from loitering too long.”

    fidelitas inside

    “In this game where keen maneuvering is key, attentiveness to the opposition may uncover hidden motives that seek to foil your bid for power. The first player to gain a certain number points depending on the number of players is determined worthy to lead the revolt, and also wins the game.”

    The funding period for Fidelitas ends Sunday, August 31. The game will be available for Print and Play in September, and the full release is expected to ship in January 2015.

    Steve Jackson Games announced the following titles expecting to hit stores this October 2014:

    car wars

    Car Wars Classic

    Car Wars Classic is a return to the original version of the game, designed back in 1981 by Chad Irby and Steve Jackson. Steve Jackson recently announced a line editor for the new version of the game (see “The Return of ‘Car Wars’”), so the re-release of the original is probably a precursor. Players travel the highways of the future, where the right of way goes to the biggest guns. Drivers choose their vehicles, customizing them with different bodies, weapons, armor, power plants, and suspension and take to the road. If the vehicles survive, drivers can earn money to improve them. There are also advanced rules for players to design their own customized cars, trucks and cycles. The game is for players 10 and up, can be played by any number of players (though 2 -8 players work best), and plays in 30 minutes.

    The box includes 103 full-color game counters and separate Turning Key, a 2-sided game map with autoduel arena and raceway, and a 64-page rulebook with extra tables and record sheets.

    revolution anarchy

    Revolution! Anarchy

    Revolution! Anarchy is an expansion for the political bluffing and deduction game Revolution!, designed by Philip duBarry.  The Anarchy expansion includes a new board overlay, new bidding boards, and two new sets of player components which allow for up to six players.  As an expansion, it requires the base game to play.  The base game is for 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, and plays in an hour.

    tile chess

    Tile Chess

    Fans of Knightmare Chess may also enjoy this variation on the classic. Tile Chess is chess without the board. Instead, players use tiles which represent chess pieces, and connect the tiles to create the board.  While the original Tile Chess published in 1999 boasted up to six players, this reprint recommends only “up to three opponents.”

    spirits of rice paddy

    Coming soon from APE Games, Spirits of the Rice Paddy is a game designed by Philip duBarry (Revolution!, Courtier, and Kingdom of Solomon).  In this farming and mythology game, players are rice farmers managing water conservation, animal placement, and tending to rice paddies.  In addition, spirits are present to bless players, granting special abilities.

    APE Games released the cover art earlier this week by artist Ani Roschier and Jim Maxwell.  Jim has done two other game covers for us in the past – Rolling Freight and Island Siege, and also does art for motion pictures and television (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Borgias, The Vikings, etc.)