Push your Luck

Wizkids announces K’uh Nah, a quick-playing, push your luck card game where players attempt to efficiently build a Mayan temple that will withstand the test of time. On a player’s turn, two cards are available for selection.  Each card represents a pyramid block and contains two colorful animal Mayan icons and a number. The number indicates the weight of a block.  Lighter blocks must be placed on top of heavier blocks unless the animal symbols on upper block is matched.  To avoid adding an unsuitable block to their pyramid, players may pass on the two choices available by placing one of their pieces of jade on the card. If they run out of jade, then they have to select a card and place it in their pyramid.  At the endo the game, a player’s score is the total value of all cards not supporting other cards minus the number of jade token. The player with the lowest score is the winner.

K’uh Nah plays 2-6 players, ages 14+, in about 20 minutes.  The game contains 50 cards, 48 tokens, and a rules sheet.  It is available for pre-order in mid-December and will be released in March 2019.

Fans of Evolution and North Star Games can now anticipate an upcoming sequel to the richly scientific franchise. Designed collaboratively by Nick Bentley, Brian O’Neill, and Dominic Crapuchettes, OCEANS is billed as their most ambitious game yet several years in the making. While it continues to use Evolution’s excellent theme and art in fun new ways, it will also inter the figurative depth and denizens of the ocean into it’s strategy to create something altogether not for the feint of heart. The game is intended to hit Kickstarter in February 2019 with an anticipated release the following September.

“OCEANS is the latest entry into the Evolution Game Series and, a grand cumulation of effort by North Star Games to design the ultimate gamer’s game. […] Whereas the previous games in the Evolution series were bound exclusively by the science (and the core of this game is as well), OCEANS expands upon it with a new set of cards called “The Deep”. This fantastical set of new cards stretch the boundaries of the game from science, to science fiction by including creatures like the Leviathan and the Hydra.”

However, before the anticipated launch of the crowdfunding campaign, North Star Games is seeking outside playtest groups to ensure the design is as polished as it can be. This additional effort to put their game through more pressure before putting it to Kickstarter further shows the love and care they have in OCEANS and I think it’s a great sign of a good game on the horizon. If you are interested in participating in playtesting, you can follow this link for information and to apply. For even further details, screenshots, and behind-the-scenes looks for OCEANS, be sure to check out their blog and website for all that and more.

Run Fight Or Die-Reloaded is back and better than ever. With all new miniatures and art, and streamlined play push your luck in this immersive game where you build an awesome team and take out waves of zombies. Go to different locations on the map and loot them, but beware of possible dangers there too! Fight using melee weapons or firepower, or Run to buy yourself time to heal and upgrade but whatever you do – don’t Die! The infection is back and it’s up to you and your team to get to the border of the city safely!

Run Fight Or Die-Reloaded is on Kickstarter until August 21, 2018.

 

Tiny Ninjas is a two-player, dice-rolling, head to head card game that’s designed to play right inside of the box!”

Currently live on Kickstarter, Tiny Ninjas, by 2niverse Games, lets you battle on the go from the comfort of your very own board game box. Roll the custom engraved shuriken and kunai dice to attack and defend the varied selection of whimsical ninja characters; the Ninja Panda is my personal favorite.

As of right now, Tiny Ninjas plans to be a Kickstarter exclusive. Check out the other ninjas and the how-to-play video over on the campaign page.

Chaos Publishing, Triple Ace Games, and Counters Out team up to bring you Exploriana, a competitive push your luck and set collection game designed by Miles Ratcliffe and illustrated by Richard Dearing.

In Exploriana, players are intrepid 19th century explorers traveling the world in search of undiscovered plants, animals, treasures, maps, and locations. Players win by having the most victory points, which are earned by making discoveries and gaining renown.  Some discoveries are worth more in sets and cannot be completed without visiting the different continents. Players push their luck to explore deeper into the continent to make more discoveries, but they risk becoming lost and losing their discoveries.

In addition to push your luck and set collection, Exploriana also blends in worker placement and auction/bidding mechanics.  Players will have to decide each round which continent to send their explorers: South America, Africa or The Far East.  The auction round provides players an opportunity to buy equipment to ensure a better chance of a successful exploration. This unique blend of mechanics is seamless and smooth, resulting in a light strategy game that is easy to learn and plays in under an hour.

Exploriana plays 2-5 players, ages 12+, in 45-60 minutes.  Contents include game board, 5 double-sided player mats, 13 explorers, 6 renown markers, a guide marker, 60 coins (40 silver, 20 gold), 16 lost explorer tokens, 2 grapples tokens, 1 med kit token, 81 cards (18 Far East cards, 21 Africa cards, 24 South America cards, and 18 item cards) and rulebook.

Learn more about Exploriana on Kickstarter.  The Kickstarter campaign runs through 24 May and is expected to deliver October 2018.

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!

Osprey Games is publishing Reiner Knizia’s latest game, Sakura.  In Sakura, players are artists who are following close behind the Emperor as he wonders through his garden.  The goal is to be closest to the Emperor when he stops to regard the blossoms of the sakura tree so that you may improve your painting and gain prestige.  But as the artists jostle for position behind the Emperor, they must be carful not to disgrace themselves by accidentally bumping into the Emperor, causing them to lose prestige and fall back.

In Sakura, players simultaneously select their actions by playing cards that move their character, one of their opponent’s character, and the Emperor.  Each card has a turn order that determines the order which the moves are resolved, changing the positions of the characters before the next card is resolved. Sakura is a light tactical game of pushing your luck to gain the most prestige.

The game supports 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, and plays in 20-40 minutes. Contents include playing board, 60 cards, 52 prestige tokens, 6 player figures, and an Emperor figure.

The game will be available on 22 February

Two new WizKids games are on their way this April with interesting descriptions. The first is A’writhe: A Game of Eldritch Contortions – a team vs. team game where players must ” place an appendage on top of an Arkham landmark to complete a specific pattern.” One player cannot do that on their own, however, so they must touch an appendage of the opposing player to complete their own pattern. It sounds like C’thulhu meets Twister with a bit of puzzle-solving added in, which is a cool mix.

The second game is Endless Pass: A Viking Saga – A press-your-luck combat game with variable player powers. Players control vikings defending against a group of shadowy, vicious creatures known as The Endless, while also fighting against your fellow vikings for bonus points. As described in the product description, “The last viking standing or the first to acquire ten glory, while surviving the turn, wins the game. If none of the players survive, then the player with most glory is declared the Conqueror in Valhalla.” The guts-and-glory theme of the game really shines through with that description and with a 30-minute estimated playtime I can see multiple games of this being played back-t0-back, which is very good for push-your-luck games.

Both terrific uses of the C’thulhu and Viking themes. It’s good to see WizKids pushing more punchy titles like these for the Spring season and I expect we’ll see even more like these as the year continues. Both games will be releasing in April, so if you’re interested be sure to go to your favorite retailer to seek a copy. For more information on either title or for more releases from this publisher, please be sure to check out the WizKids website for more information as it’s released.

Fireside Games had previously announced the release of Hotshots, a new cooperative wildfire fighting game from Justin De Witt, who previously brought us Castle Panic.  Initially scheduled for release this spring, the game has been delayed due to manufacturing setbacks and is instead scheduled to hit stores this summer.  Fireside Games estimates the manufacturing process to be completed this month.

As a reminder from Fireside:

In Hotshots, crews of 1 to 4 players take on the roles of wildfire fighters (Crew Boss, Spotter, Swamper, and Sawyer) with special abilities and roll dice on burning terrain tiles to match the combinations shown on the tiles. The more faces they roll, the better they fight the fire. Players can choose to cut Firebreaks, which protect tiles from embers blown by wind gusts, or push their luck to reduce Flames and possibly even generate Reward Tokens. If players bust and fail to match at least 3 of the 6 symbols on the tile, the fire grows. Another option is to maneuver Vehicles (Air Tanker, Helicopter, and Brush Rig) to save the forest.

Flame tokens are added at the end of each player’s turn by the draw of a Fire card, which can bring about light or strong wind gusts, increase the strength of the flames on certain tiles, and start fires. Too many Flame tokens will cause a tile to Scorch and be lost. Losing a terrain tile could also affect the game play. Some tiles are tied to crewmembers’ special abilities, while others help the firefighters and still others cause the fire to spread in unique ways. If 8 tiles or the Fire Camp Scorches, the game is over and the forest is lost. But if the intrepid crew can extinguish the fire, the team wins together.

The press-your-luck mechanic with ratcheting rewards creates a lot of great tension, and the variety of ways to fight the fire makes for interesting choices. The modular tile layout and Fire cards bring high replayability to the game, and the beautiful acrylic Flame tokens provide an enticing table presence.

Look for more press on this game as its release looms closer this summer.  In the meantime, you can visit the publisher’s website for more information here.

Press-your-luck is a very fun mechanism in board gaming, giving the thrill of gambling without any of the life-changing consequences. There’s a lot of themes that have worked with it over the years, from games about nurturing magical forests to parties of people trying to travel by aircraft. So how about a game that wants you to race your friends and family to the peak of a mountain inhabited by yetis? The risk and fun sell themselves in Dicey Peaks by Scott Almes (of Tiny Epic fame), a game for 2-6 players now on Kickstarter. Here’s the pitch from the campaign page:

 “Racing to the fabled flag atop Yeti Mountain, players take turns rolling dice and skillfully choosing whether to climb or rest. As you advance, you’ll reveal tiles that can help or hinder your progress. Avoid avalanches and watch out for the Yetis… for when they attack, you might lose more than just your turn!”

The big draw of this family-style game is that unlike many other push-your luck games, Dicey Peaks mixes resource management with risk management because here you can “bust” (or lose your turn) in multiple ways. You can always end up with your hands in your pockets by rolling too much of a bad symbol on the dice, but you can also yield your turn by rolling too much of a good thing. Then there are yetis who, while being a terrible danger when resting on your laurels, are also a heck of a motivator for your friends you’ve left behind, working as a sort of catch-up mechanic for opponents who haven’t fared well with the luck of the dice. So if you’re interested in Dicey Peaks, be sure to check out their campaign page to watch the excellent how-to-play video and to peruse updates as the project nears it’s funding goal.