Red Raven Games

Sleeping Gods, a story-driven cooperative game, designed by Ryan Laukat and published by Red Raven Games, is available on Kickstarter now. The game has now fully funded 10 times over and multiple stretch goals have been unlocked.

Sleeping Gods is a game in which 1-4 players play as a steamship captain and her crew in 1929. The world in which they get lost is a strange one and just trying to get home is a massive challenge as they encounter new characters, fight strange beasts and explore mysterious islands along the way.

The chief features of the game are the 26-map atlas and the “novel-length” storybook that guide the players as they play the game. During the game, the characters can be leveled up and the decisions they make will have long- term consequences for Captain Sofi and her crew.

If any of this sounds of interest to you, be sure and check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

Red Raven Games announces Roam, a new game sharing the same world as Near and Far, Islebound, and Above and Below.  Roam is set in the land of Arzium and features characters seen in the other games in the shared world.  In Roam, players seek out lost adventurers scattered across the land, rescue them and add them to their party, increasing their ability to find more lost adventurers faster. The area being searched is made up of six land cards in the center of the table, and each character has a unique search pattern players can use to search the lands.  Each land card is divided into six squares to be searched, some of which have coins that players can use to purchase upgrades and tools to aid in their search.  When a land card has been completely searched, the player who did the most searching adds the adventurer to their party.  Each new adventurer also adds a new search pattern the player can use.  Both tools and found adventurers are worth points. When one player has ten adventurers in their party, the game ends, and the player with the most points wins.

Roam plays 2-4 players, ages 8+, in about 30 minutes. A release date has not been announced yet.  More details will be available when the Kickstart launches soon.

Red Raven Games has just announced their latest game, Haven, designed by the talented Alf Seegert, and featuring Rad Raven’s signature art style.  Haven is a two player area control type game where one player plays the forest trying to protest the havens, and the other plays the city trying to capture it’s power for themselves.  In order to take control of the havens you have to battle for them, and to battle for them you will be placing out your seekers at different lore locations, leaf, water, stone, similar to Battle Line.  You will also being making offerings at these different locations because resolution doesn’t trigger until three offering cards are at a single location.  Resolution is easy, whoever has more swords will be able to claim a shrine, but whoever has more value of cards there will claim the lore card which is worth points at the end.  When you claim all the shrines around a haven on the board you get to claim that haven for your side, pushing you closer to victory.  At the end of the game you will also get points if you have the most of a given lore type, and then points will be awarded for having the most havens.  Most points at the end is the winner.  There are more rules than just this, which you can download and read on the Red Raven Games website.

Overall the game looks like a nice two player battle game where you are trying to strategically win certain shrines and cards in order to score the most points at the end through area control.  Beyond just the seeker and offering cards I mentioned above there are also lore cards which change things up as well, giving you an extra leg up just when you might need it.  Along with advanced variant rules and Red Raven’s signature art, this could be a very good two-player game.  Look for it on store shelves soon, although no specific date has been given.

One of the recent trends in board games has been for big box stores, such as Target and Walmart, to claim their share of exclusive titles from within the hobby board gaming world. Several of these exclusives have been noteworthy; we have seen Target obtain Bob Ross Art of Chill Game, and Walmart is the exclusive seller of Fog of Love. The most recent participant, Red Raven Games, has announced an exclusive game with Target, Megaland. Ryan Laukat‘s newest creation Megaland has the look and feel of his previous masterpieces, bringing up images of Near and Far or Artifacts Inc. Megaland is a push-your-luck game set in a video game universe, where players fight monsters to collect coins and build up their world. 2-5 players can use coins to improve their character, build bowling alleys or arcades, and delve deeper into each new level. But players who push too hard are likely to come home with nothing. The player with the most coins at the end wins.

Megaland is due to come out in Fall 2018, exclusively at Target stores.

Near and Far is an adventure game with a choose your own adventure story telling aspect to it, and people have loved it.  So naturally, Red Raven Games is looking to expand this game and so are turning to Kickstarter to get it funded.  Near and Far: Amber Mines adds four new things (now five with stretch goals) to the game that help increase replay-ability and just improve the game.  First is a replacement for the standard mine on this board, this new amber mine is card based and so what you get will be a little more random.  But what is good is that these mines will offer better rewards than the normal gem/coin combinations, making up for the more chaotic nature.

The next addition is adding magic to the game, allowing you to have special abilities during the game.  Need help with bandits?  If you get the lightning bolt spell you can convert a gem into three swords.  Running low on money?  With transmute you can exchange up to four gems for two coins for each gem.  Needless to say this opens up all sorts of new possibilities in the game as you collect magic in order to gain access to these different spells.

Third is a new general store, giving you the option to refill hearts and also gives you the opportunity to place camps there if you buy an advanced artifact.

Fourth are new dangerous encounters, so instead of just the same endless stream of bandits, you now have all sorts of new foes to fight, with also differing rewards for when you defeat them.

And finally, due to the stretch goal being reached, a co-op mode will be added to the game, allowing you to play cooperatively with your friends through any of the game modes.  This to me is awesome because playing this game you often forgot it was competitive, and so now with this you can play it cooperatively against the final bosses.

So if you love Near and Far, or if you missed some of the extra goodies from the Above and Below or Near and Far Kickstarters, check out this campaign today!

Origins is one of the biggest conventions in the US for gaming, and they have been giving out their awards for the best each year.  The different categories include family games, role-playing games, card games, game accessories, board games, collectible games (CCG, TCG, etc.), miniatures, and finally a Game of the Year.  Some of the past winners include great games like Codenames, Imperial Assault, and 7 Wonders Duel, so you know bad games aren’t getting these awards.  But that’s enough background information, here are the nominees for the 2017 Origins Awards:

Family Games (6 Nominees)

Role-Playing Game (10 Nominees)

  • 7th Sea: Second Edition by John Wick Presents (designed by John Wick, Mike Curry, Rob Justice, Mark Diaz Truman, Jesse Heinig)
  • Curse of Strahd by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
  • No Thank You, Evil! by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Fantasy Flight (designed by Tim Flanders, Corey Konieczka, and Sam Stewart)
  • Shadowrun-Seattle Sprawl by Catalyst Game Labs (designed by Raymond Croteau, Jason Hardy, James Meiers, O.C. Presley, Scott Schletz, R.J. Thomas, Malik Toms, Thomas Willoughby, CZ Wright, and Russell Zimmerman)
  • Symbaroum by Järnringen and co-published by Modiphius Entertainment (designed by Martin Grip, Mattias Johnsson, Mattias Lilja and Johan Nohr.
  • Storm King’s Thunder by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jenna Helland, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Christopher Perkins, and Richard Whitters)
  • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire-Special Modifications by Fantasy Flight (designed by Blake Bennett, Tim Cox, Jordan Goldfarb, Sterling Hershey and Monte Lin)
  • The One Ring: Horse: Lords of Rohan by Cubicle 7 (designed by Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Francesco Nepitello, and James Spahn)
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters by Wizards of the Coast-D&D (designed by Jeremy Crawford, Ed Greenwood, Adam Lee, Mike Mearls, Kim Mohan, Christopher Perkins, Sean K. Reynolds, Matthew Sernett, Chris Sims, and Steve Winter)

Traditional Card Games (8 Nominees)

Game Accessories (4 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage Organizer by The Broken Token (designed by Greg Spence)
  • Dungeon Morph Dice Adventurer Set by Inkwell Ideas / Q-Workshop (designed by Joe Wetzel, Dyson Logos, Matt Jackson, Shane Knysh, Tim Ballew, Dave Millar, Sigurd Johansson, AJ Stone)
  • Flip ‘N Tray Mat Case by Ultimate Guard (designed by Adrian Alonso)
  • Improved D Total by Gamescience (designed by Dr. A.F. Simkin, Col. Louis Zocchi, Frank Dutrait)

Board Games (10 Nominees)

  • Blood Rage by (designed by Eric M. Lang)
  • Clank! by Renegade Games (designed by Paul Dennen)
  • Cry Havoc by Portal Games (designed by Grant Rodiek, Michael Oracz, Michael Walczak)
  • Feast for Odin by Z Man Games/Asmodee (designed by Uwe Rosenberg)
  • Islebound by Red Raven Games (designed by Ryan Laukat)
  • Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight/Asmodee (designed by Christopher Burdett, Anders Finér, Henning Ludvigsen)
  • Scythe by Stonemaier Games (designed by Jamey Stegmaier)
  • Star Wars Rebellion by Fantasy Flight (designed by Corey Konieczka)
  • Terraforming Mars by (designed by Jacob Fryxelius)
  • World’s Fair 1893 by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games (designed by J. Alex Kevern)

Collectible Games (5 Nominees)

  • Yu-Gi-Oh Breaker of Shadow Booster by Konami (designed by Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Pokémon XY11 Steam Siege Booster by Pokémon USA (designed by The Pokémon Company)
  • Magic the Gathering: Kaladesh Booster Pack by Wizards of the Coast
  • Marvel HeroClix: Uncanny X-Men Booster Brick by WizKids (designed by WizKids)
  • Cardfight Vanguard Fighters Collection by Bushiroad

Miniatures (5 Nominees)

  • Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team by Games Workshop
  •  Konflikt ’47 by Warlord Games (designed by Clockwork Goblin Miniatures)
  • Dragon Rampant by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine
  • TANKS by Battlefront/Gale Force Nine (designed by Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates)
  • Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames (designed by Andy Chambers and David Lewis)

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

Munchkin: Rick and Morty is coming soon from Steve Jackson Games. This standalone version of Munchkin has all the great art and humor you expect from the hit animated show. Munchkin: Rick and Morty is due out at the end of the year.

The Kickstarter project Bitten is coming to retail from Play Grim Games. Dubbed a survival game for 2-4 players, players in Bitten have 5 minutes to gather enough supply cards to leave the group, or else discover which among you has been bitten. Bitten is due to be released July 2017.

Dark Moon: Shadow Corporation is coming from Stronghold Games. The first expansion for Dark Moon (2011), Shadow Corporation adds new characters, actions and events. There are also new ways the game can end, and two optional modules to add to the paranoia. Dark Moon: Shadow Corporation is due out at the end of 2017.

A new expansion to Galaxy Defenders (2014) is coming from Ares Games – Galaxy Defenders: Final Countdown. Three new agents are added to the game, with new classes, powers and items. Scandium, the guerilla warrior ignores class restrictions. Additionally, Scandium has such a hatred towards alien robots that she gains bonuses. Xeno-Warrior is an alien, but is driven by the thrill of the fight. Xeno-Warrior gets to pick a target race at the start of the mission. Finally, Vanadium the bounty hunter has a growing fury that increases his damage with bladed weapons. Galaxy Defenders: Final Countdown is due out August 2017.

Klondike Rush is coming from Ryan Laukat and Red Raven Games. Described as a bidding/stock game set during the gold rush, 2-5 players build mines along routes, and can gain a big bonus if they kill the wild monster scaring off the miners. Klondike Rush is due out at the end of 2017.

Stronghold Games is bringing the first expansion to City of Spies: Estoril 1942. City of Spies: Double Agent brings new spies with new abilities which can infiltrate Estoril or the new map of Lisbon. Double Agent allows for a 5th player, contains 7 new characters, a new nationality, a new mission card, and of course the new ability to be a double agent. City of Spies: Double Agent is due out at the end of 2017.

Design/artist/publisher Ryan Laukat is going back to his roots.  His company, Red Raven Games, will be releasing a brand new standalone board game set in the universe of the studio’s first release, Empires of the Void.  Empires of the Void II is a 4x game set hundreds of years after the events of the first game and apparently requires no familiarity or prior experience with the first title.

By the time Captian Markan realized Earth was losing the war against the Znu, it was too late. Earth’s shield fell and the Znu scorched the surface to an irradiated wasteland. In desperation and for the survival of the species, she sent Earth’s massive worldship on a decade-long journey to uncharted space. Their destination was the fringes of the galaxy, where there was a chance to gain a foothold and grow in strength again, and perhaps find new allies for the fight against the Znu and Decima empires. Learning of this plan, the great empires sent their own worldships, following Earth to the edge, determined to stake their own claim and win the war for the fringe.

In Empires of the Void II, players take on the roles of explorers, warriors, diplomats, and architects to increase the influence of their struggling civilizations through the main action selection mechanism.  However, the game also features the ability for players to follow the main action of another, or pass and take a different associated action, keeping everyone engaged on every player’s turn.  A modular board, tile laying and exploration, and player interaction also contribute to the game’s replayability.  Empires of the Void II is for 2-5 players, ages 13 and older, and takes about 30 minutes per player.  For more information, check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

RVM012If you don’t know the name Ryan Laukat, you should. Not only does Ryan design some incredible games (Eight Minute Empire: Legends, The Ancient World, and Above and Below to name but a few), but he’s also the illustrator and does all the artwork for his games. On top of that, he also runs Red Raven Games and publishes all of his own titles. He’s basically the Leonardo da Vinci of the board game world.

Late last year Red Raven ran a Kickstarter for a new title called Islebound. It’s already been delivered to backers (I’m staring at my, sadly, unplayed copy right now), but we have word that it’s hitting the streets this August.

“In Islebound, you take command of a ship and crew. You sail to island towns, collecting resources, hiring crew, and commissioning buildings for your capital city. Each building has a unique ability, and your combination of buildings can greatly enhance your strength as a trader, builder, or invader. You also recruit pirates and sea monsters to conquer towns, which, once conquered, allow you to complete the town action for free, and charge a fee to opponents if they want to use it. Alternatively, you can complete events that give influence, which can be used to befriend towns.

There are many routes to success. Will you be a ruthless conqueror, careful diplomat, or shrewd merchant in your race to the top?”

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In other Red Raven news, the sequel to last year’s fantastic storytelling game, Above and Below has just landed on Kickstarter. The sequel is titled Near and Far and puts players in the roles of Indiana Jones-types, traipsing around the world on 11 different maps while searching for treasure. Like its forebear, it will come with a book of stories from which you’ll read, making each game a new adventure.

Explore a massive world through a book of maps!   

  • Search for a lost city in a strange and wonderful world of ruins
  • Manage and recruit adventurers, each with a unique identity
  • Read from a book of stories, building an amazing and memorable tale each time you play!
  • Choose your path in connected quest lines
  • Includes a gorgeous atlas of 11 maps to play on!
  • Buy skills for your character over a ten-map campaign
  • 2-4 players, 90 minutes

In Near and Far you and up to 3 friends each choose a character and set out on a journey, recruiting adventurers, managing resources, and completing quests in an effort to become the most storied traveler. “

The Kickstarter campaign has already reached its funding goal, but if you’re thinking of waiting for Near and Far to come to retail instead of backing the Kickstarter, you should know that the Limited Deluxe Edition is only available through the Kickstarter campaign.

The Kickstarter has 24 days remaining, with an estimated delivery date of May 2017.