Dice Tower Newsletter

Plaid Hat Games

Plaid Hat Games has announced Specter Ops: Broken Covenant, a stand-alone expansion from Emerson Matsuuchi for his 2015 hit Specter Ops. In Broken Covenant, one player again takes on the role of a lone A.R.K. agent, secretly moving within the jungles of South America, trying to retrieve 3 mission targets while being pursued by genetically modified hunters from Raxxon. Broken Covenant uses very similar mechanisms to Specter Ops, with one player marking their movements on a pad representing the board, on which the hunters search for their prey, but features new equipment, hunters, game board and agents.

You can read the full press release about Specter Ops: Broken Covenant on Plaid Hat’s website here.

Plaid Hat Games has announced a new game set in the Raxxon Pharmaceuticals universe. Simply titled Raxxon, the newest game is a cooperative game where players seek to evacuate the healthy and quarantine or eliminate those infected at the start of the zombie apocalypse players have come to know through Dead of Winter.

Up until this point, Raxxon was only available by private invite from other who had already purchased the game. This “viratl marketing” technique was the talk of the community for weeks as people used social media to advertise their invites available or to ask if anyone had one available.

The game is designed by J. Arthur Ellis. Artwork is by Fernanda Suarez, the same artist that created the artwork for Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn.

Raxxon finds the players working cooperatively at the very start of the Zombie Outbreak, which has only recently gotten out of control:

For weeks, Raxxon Pharmaceuticals has been partnering with local teams across the globe to contain the recent viral outbreak.

Today, we regret to announce that despite Raxxon’s best efforts, the global infection rate has reached the tipping point. Many cities are unlikely to be salvaged, and citizens everywhere should evacuate to safer regions immediately.

As the global infection has begun to run rampant, Raxxon has moved on to Phase 2 — evacuate and exterminate. The difficult choices players make now will lay a path for humanity — “search desperately for those final healthy survivors as Raxxon’s power reaches its apex, or watch as the undead overrun your city.”

Gameplay

At the beginning of the game each player will need to choose one of six specialists who are working with Raxxon to evacuate healthy citizens and eliminate sick citizens.

Raxxon Cards will function similarly to Crossroads cards from Dead of Winter, featuring stories and paths related to the characters in play.

Players will face a grid of face down citizen cards. Gameplay takes place in rounds, with each round revealing a new grid of citizens from the citizen deck. Actions will allow the cards to flip, revealing the healthy and sick citizens, each triggering different effects when flipped. Character actions interact spatially with the grid affecting rows, columns and adjacent cards. Actions will also have stacking consequences that will resolve over future turns.

Once all players have passed in a round a new crowd of cards is created and the action continues. Only if all the healthy citizens are evacuated will the players win the game. If the infection deck runs out (a deck of only sick people) or Raxxen maxes out their power the players will lose and face a long, cold, Winter.

Releasing in October 2017

Raxxon will be available in October. With a suggested age range of 14+, you’ll need 1-4 evacuators who are willing to commit about an hour to saving humanity.

Additional Raxxon scenarios will be available at: myraxxon.com. Plaid Hat Games has already released the rules, how to play and more: rules video, rules pdf, and more.

Dead of Winter Crossover

Set in the Plaid Hat World, each of the Raxxon games will include 2 new, exclusive Dead of Winter characters. Meryl Wolfe and KD James will help you fight the outbreak in Raxxon and will carry over to join the colonies of Dead of Winter. Each copy of Raxxon comes with character cards, standees, and crossroads cards.

Plaid Hat Games has announced Stuffed Fables designed by Jerry Hawthorne, the first in the new StoryBoard line of products.

In the first game in this new line, Stuffed Fables, players take on the role of stuffed toys that have been drawn into the Fall, a dark realm ruled by a master of nightmares.

Stuffed Fables is a unique adventure game in which players take on the roles of brave stuffies seeking to save the child they love from a scheming, evil mastermind. Players roll and assign color-coded dice to perform a wide variety of actions, from daring melee attacks, to leaping across conveyor belts, or steering a racing wagon down a peril-filled hill.

StoryBoard games will all come with a large storybook that, when opened, will have one page acting as a the board for the game while the opposite page will act as a rules reference and story guide. Stories will play out over multiple adventures, with each adventure moving through multiple pages from the immersive Storybook.

In addition to fighting minions, each page of the storybook offers numerous points of interest, charming characters to interact or trade with, as well as many unusual challenges. And each page is but one chapter that folds into a branching, overarching story with a multitude of items and a special discovery deck full of surprises.

Driven By Dice

On a players turn, they will draw 5 dice from a bag. The colors of the dice will determine what actions a player can take. White dice can re-stuff the stuffed heroes. Red dice and green dice perform melee and ranged attacks respectively. Yellow dice will allow for searching, blue dice will allow for special actions, and finally purple dice act as wild dice. Dice will help move items, use items and contribute to unique group tasks. Dice can even be stored for later to make stronger actions or multiple activations on a single turn.

A truly cooperative game, players can share dice or share stuffing, which acts as health in the game. As black dice are drawn minions emerge and attack, resetting the bag at the same time.

What’s in the Box?

Box contents include:

    • 23 miniatures
    • 35 multicolored dice
    • 1 dice bag
    • 6 unique character cards
    • 100+ page storybook
    • 1 Sideboard
    • 29 Lost cards
    • 10 Sleep cards
    • 47 Item cards
    • 40 Discovery cards
    • Counters

Playtime is listed at 60-90 minutes for 2-4 players with a recommended age of 7+. Players eager to find out more about how the game works can already take a look at the rulebook posted on the Plaid Hat Game website.

Gamers eager to help save their beloved child from a nightmarish land can preview and demo the game at GenCon 2017 in Plaid Hat Games booth #1537.

The Worlds of Jerry Hawthorne

Stuffed Fables will be the second universe that designer Jerry Hawthorne has brought to Plaid Hat Games. Hawthorne is the designer of Mice & Mystics as well as the subsequent expansions and Tail Feathers game. Hawthorne is also credited as a designer on multiple Heroscape products.

Mice & Mystics has proven to be both an evergreen title for Plaid Hat Games as well as being a critical hit. Awards for the game included:

Kristen Pauline and Regis Demy are the artists bringing the world of Stuffed Fables to life.

Plaid Hat Games

Plaid Hat Games was acquired in 2015 by F2Z Entertainment, and subsequently Asmodee in 2016 when Asmodee absorbed F2Z. Plaid Hat Games now functions as an independent design studio under the Asmodee umbrella.

Asmodee North America has announced an “exclusive multi-year hobby channel distribution agreement” with Alliance Games Distributors to take effect August 1, 2017. This is a pretty big blow for the other big board game distributors Asmodee has used in the past, such as GTS Distribution, ACD Distribution and Southern Hobby Supply. Keep in mind that Asmodee has spent the past few years collecting other board game companies, meaning that this new agreement covers all games from Asmodee themselves, as well as those from Plaid Hat Games, Days of Wonder, Z-Man Games, Fantasy Flight Games, and others. Asmodee is also scheduled to announce changes to their sales policies and retailer initiatives at the end of June.

You can read the press release from Asmodee here.

It’s that time of year again, the Dice Tower has announced their nominees for the best games of 2016.  These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2016.  You can see previous winners along with this year’s nominees and their pictures on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.  And now, your nominees:

Best Game from a New Designer  (The game has to be the designer’s first or second published game to qualify for this award)

Best Artwork

  • Arkham Horror: The Card Game – illustrated by Christopher Hosch, Ignacio Bazán Lazcano, Henning Ludvigsen, Mercedes Opheim, Zoe Robinson, and Evan Simonet; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Inis – illustrated by Dimitri Bielak & Jim Fitzpatrick; published by Matagot
  • Islebound – illustrated by Ryan Laukat; published by Red Raven Games
  • Kanagawa – illustrated by Jade Mosch; published by Iello
  • Scythe – illustrated by Jakub Rozalski; published by Stonemaier Games

Best Theming

  • Black Orchestra – designed by Philip duBarry; published by Game Salute
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • SeaFall – designed by Rob Daviau; published by Plaid Hat Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Two-Player Game

Best Reprint

Best Expansion

Best Party Game

  • Codenames: Pictures– designed by Vlaada Chvátil; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Happy Salmon – designed by Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir; published by North Star Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Secret Hitler – designed by Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, & Max Temkin; published by Goat Wolf & Cabbage

Best Cooperative Game

Best Family Game

  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, & Andrew Wolf; published by USAopoly
  • Ice Cool – designed by Brian Gomez; published by Brain Games
  • Junk Art – designed by Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim; published by Pretzel Games
  • Karuba – designed by Rüdiger Dorn; published by HABA
  • Sushi Go Party! – designed by Phil Walker-Harding; published by Gamewright

Best Strategy Game

  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Best Board Game Production

  • Conan – designed by Frédéric Henry, Antoine Bauza, Pascal Bernard, Bruno Cathala, Croc, Ludovic Maublanc, & Laurent Pouchain; published by Monolith
  • The Others – designed by Eric M. Lang; published by Cool Mini or Not
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games

Most Innovative Game

Best Game from a Small Publisher  (The published must have published five or fewer games at the beginning of 2015)

  • Arkwright – designed by Stefan Risthaus; published by Capstone Games
  • Cottage Garden– designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Edition Spielwiese
  • Not Alone – designed by Ghislain Masson; published by Geek Attitude Games
  • Roll Player – designed by Keith Matejka; published by Thunderworks Games
  • Vast: The Crystal Caverns – designed by David Somerville; published by Leder Games

Game of the Year

  • Adrenaline – designed by Filip Neduk; published by Czech Games Edition
  • Captain Sonar – designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier; published by Matagot
  • Cry Havoc– designed by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, & Michał Walczak; published by Portal Games
  • A Feast for Odin – designed by Uwe Rosenberg; published by Z-Man Games
  • Great Western Trail – designed by Alexander Pfister; published by Stronghold Games & eggertspiele
  • Inis – designed by Christian Martinez; published by Matagot
  • Mechs vs. Minions – designed by Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, & Nathan Tiras; published by Riot Games
  • Scythe – designed by Jamey Stegmaier; published by Stonemaier Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion – designed by Corey Konieczka; published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Terraforming Mars – designed by Jacob Fryxelius; published by Stronghold Games & FryxGames

Here we have a trio of new game announcements from some notable names in the industry, Asmodee, CMON, and Plaid Hat Games.  First we have Asmodee and Space Cowboys with a new edition of the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective game, which was last printed by Ystari back in 2015.  This new edition contains the same ten cases as before, however, they have retranslated and revised all the cases so the solutions and clues in some of them will have changed from the Ystari version.  So while it may not be much new content for the owners of the original, this still brings the game back into print for those wanting a mind melting challenge.  Look for this new edition on store shelves in the third quarter of this year, and you can check out the preview on Asmodee’s site.

Next from CMON we have the announcement of the next game in their Zombicide line, Zombicide Green Horde.  They are staying in the middle ages with this one and so will be a sequel to the wildly successful Zombicide Black Plague.  The terrors will be numerous and overpowering for our warriors in this game, but together they just might be able to pull through.  “If Zombicide: Black Plague gave you nightmares, Zombicide: Green Horde will make them come true.”  You can see the announcement for the game on CMON’s page, and look forward to the Kickstarter later this year.

Finally we have a new game being developed by Plaid Hat Games called Crystal Clans.  This is going to be a two player tactical card game in a similar vein to Summoner Wars with different armies, card based units, and included maps to deploy on.  However, in the comments of the announcement they have stated that is where the similarities end, and that Crystal Clans is going to have fresh new mechanics to make it stand out.  The game is being designed by Colby Dauch, Andrea Mezzotero, and J. Arthur Ellis along with illustrations by the talented Martin Abel.  You can check out the announcement on Plaid Hat’s site to see some of the excellent art being put together, and then prepare yourself for it’s planned fall release.

Plaid Hat Games has announced a new game in the Specter Ops universe, Crossfire by Emerson Matsuuchi. In Crossfire, players join the struggle between Raxxon and A.R.K. trying to either kill or save a Raxxon VIP. Players are divided into two teams of assassins and agents, and need to use deduction, social skills, and their limited information to figure out who among the crowd of bystanders is the VIP, and whose side each player is on. After three minutes of play, players need to decide on one person to shoot. If the VIP is still standing, the Agents win, otherwise the assassins win. But be careful, because anyone who accidentally shot a bystander automatically loses.

Crossfire is due to be released this summer. You can read the full news article on Crossfire here.

Plaid Hat Games has posted on their news forum some updates on the rules revision work and two new expansions for Isaac Vega‘s excellent card game, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn.

Regarding the rules, Plaid Hat has been hard at work revising the rules set, especially the damage resolution process and the order of simultaneous effects. The new rules are in final updates and should be available before the War Within event series Spring 2017. Additionally, there have been some rumors about the second printing of the base game. Plaid Hat reassures fans that the second edition will be essentially the same with a few very minor changes. There are spelling and type changes for clarity, and the already established errata for the “Enchanted Violinist” will more clearly described on the card. Again, although some stores have listed this new printing as a “revised copy”, there is no need to buy the second printing if you already have the base game.

Finally, the next two expansions were introduced, Astrea, The Goddess of Ishra and Koji, The Boy Among Wolves.

“We lay down our worldly thirsts in pursuit of her enlightenment. We lay down our imperfect bodies to be reborn at her side. All praise be unto the Goddess of Ishra. Her enemies will kneel before her glory. We will peel back their veils. We will end their cycle of pain. All praise be unto Astrea.”

“Wild is the son the Spiral Jungle. Untrained, undisciplined, and ill-prepared for the trials that await him. Nevertheless, Koji Wolfcub walks boldly forward. His every step splits the earth beneath his feet. Out of the fissures grow the jungle’s verdant flora. Groping vines tear down the the gaudy edifices of man. Wild animals heed the boy’s call. The jungle rises up and joins the boy in his fight to restore the world.”

No release date for the expansions was listed, although Plaid Hat did say that it will be a while before another expansion is announced. Check the Plaid Hat announcement for details.

Plaid Hat Games has announced two new Deluxe Expansions, an organized Ashes Tournament and the next in the series of Ashes Organized Play products for the Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn.

The Law of Lions & The Song of Soaksend

The next two expansion decks for the Ashes series will be the Law of Lions and the Song of Soaksend.

The Law of Lions

She is the commander of the pride, the follower of the  path, the righteous judge and the merciful servant. She  emboldens the virtuous and strikes fear in the heart of the  transgressor. She is Odette Diamondcrest. Her quill  wrote  Lordswall’s law. Her sword protected its gate. Her word  sent forth its crusaders. She will see the world  restored to  divine order.

The Song of Soaksend

An ancient song binds its silvery strings to every living  soul.  Namine adds her voice to this unending melody.  She  plays the strings and subtly alters the song to her  will. She  changes the tempo from a calm wind to a  crashing storm.  She and the people of Soaksend know  this song and live  serenely within its melody. Woe unto those that cannot  hear its beauty.

Both of these decks will be sold as deluxe box sets and will include 10 new dice in each box. Each box will have storage space for decks, 10 dice and game tokens.

The two Deluxe Expansions are slated for release in late spring / early summer 2017.

Organized Play Kit

To support “The Law of Lions” and “The Song of Soaksend” Plaid Hat Games has announced they will release the second Organized Play Kit at the same time as the two new factions release. The new kit will contain enough prize support and material for four tournaments of play.

The War Within Tournament

Together with parent company Asmodee, Plait Hat Games will be supporting a series of tournaments at local game stores billed as “The War Within.”

“The War Within”. Through a series of tournaments hosted by local game stores, players will have the opprotunity to determine the looks and abilities of an unnamed Phoenixborn. The “War Within” event is meant to represent her internal struggle, and how she wants to approach the war that she must soon be a part of.

The War Within Tournament will be available at participating game stores starting next month.

More Ashes Announcements Coming Soon

Plaid Hat Games has informed Ashes fans that they will be announcing additional decks in the coming weeks as well as information about a revised edition of the base game.

Last week, Fantasy Flight Games posted an obituary for Harald Bilz, a big name in the German board game market who had passed away.  Harald Bilz was the founder of Heidelberger Spieleverlag, a company that publishes the German versions of games for dozens of companies including big names like Fantasy Flight Games, Iello, and Plaid Hat Games.  Some may even know the name of the company from their King of Tokyo Promo Character they handed out at Essen in 2011.  As for FFG, they had an especially close relationship with Harald as he became a shareholder in the company when they were building capital to purchase the Star Wars license.  So understandably they are sad to see him go, but they are hopefully for the future as the company he helped build continues on in his name.