Roll Player

Following on the heels of Monsters & Minions comes Fiends & Familiars, a second expansion to the wildly successful Roll Player base game.

The Kickstarter campaign is active now and runs through July 16 with an estimated delivery of April 2020.

While the Fiend cards bring new obstacles, the Familiar boards are added to players’ character sheets and each bring their own unique goals and special abilities. In addition to these brand new game elements comes a variety of additions to the market, monsters, alignments, backstories, and character classes. On top of that…more custom dice.

For those backers that want to be able to fit the base game and both expansions in one box, the campaign offers Big Box backer levels. The rules are available as well for those that want to see how these new elements change the game.

It’s that time of year again – the time for the Dice Tower and it’s contributors to vote for the games worthy of an award among a variety of categories, not the least of which is the best game of year. These are the best of the best according to the panel of judges on games released in English in 2018.  You can see previous winners, along with this year’s nominees, on the Dice Tower Awards website, and look forward to the winners being announced at Dice Tower Con later this year.

Best Family Game of the year

Fireball Island
Gizmos
Reef
Space Base
My Little Scythe

Best Artwork

Everdell
Root
Grimm Forest
Cerebria
Rising Sun

Most Innovative

Chronicles of Crime
Nyctophobia
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
KeyForge
The Mind

Best Reprint

Fireball Island
Brass Lancashire
Endeavor: Age of Sail
High Society
The Estates

Best Strategy

Root
Teotihuacan
Brass Birmingham
Coimbra
Underwater Cities

Best Production

Rising Sun
Fireball Island
Everdell
Brass Birmingham
Grimm Forest

Best Expansion

Scythe: Rise of Fenris
Terraforming Mars: Prelude
Roll Player: Monsters and Minions
Great Western Trail: Rails to the North
Root: The Riverfolk

Best Game from a Small Publisher

Root – Leder Games
Chronicle of Crime – Lucky Duck Games
Underwater Cities – Delicious Games
Vindication – Orange Nebula LLC
Obsession – Kayenta Game

Best Cooperative Game of the year

Chronicles of Crime
Just One
The Mind
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Stuffed Fables

Best Two-Player

KeyForge
War Chest
Duelosaur Island
Haven
Mythic Battles: Pantheon

Best New Designer

Wolfgang Warsch (Quacks of Quedlinberg, The Mind, & Ganz Schon Clever)
David Cicurel (Chronicles of Crime)
Catherine Stippell (Nyctophobia)
Ivan Lashin (Smartphone Inc.)
Tim Eisner (Grimm Forest)

Best Party Game

Just One
Decrypto
The Mind
Drop it
Trapwords

Best Theming

Western Legends
Root
Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame
Stuffed Fables
Chronicles of Crime

Game of the Year

Root
Teotihuacan
Chronicles of Crime
Underwater Cities
Brass Birmingham
Western Legends
Rising Sun
Architects of the West Kingdoms
Everdell
The Mind

I was lucky enough to be able to prowl around the GAMA trade show this past week, and have collected some early stories from some of the designers and publishers present. So without further delay, here are some of the stories I found interesting at GAMA.

Designer Keith Matejka talked about Fiends & Familiars, the next expansion for Thunderworks Games popular dice placement game Roll Player. Fiends are small cards attached to the initiative row, which give players a disadvantage when taking the more prized positions, but can be banished by using charisma tokens. Familiars give players 3 more spaces for dice placement, and unique player powers. Also in the expansion are two colored dice, very flexible in placement but only showing up to 4 pips. The Kickstarter for Fiends and Familiars is scheduled for Summer of 2019.

Breaking Games showed off Dwellings of Eldervale by designer Luke Laurie, a complex worker placement engine building game with unique player powers, miniatures, resource collection and card play. Special workers can be earned, and monsters on the board can be a source of both conflict and reward. Dwellings also includes a mechanism allowing players to have a worker “settle down”, and create a permanent dwelling on the board, represented by placing a great roof piece on the meeple. This worker is now lost to the player, but generates unique resources and abilities. Dwellings of Eldervale is expected to come to Kickstarter this summer.

I was able to look at a new, as yet unnamed, variation on an escape room game from the geniuses at Cranio Creations (Newton, Lorenzo Il Magnifico). The game is composed of a cardboard box frame, the size of a standard square board game box. Cards slot into the top of the box. The sides of the box have open windows to peer down, through which one can see the cards, revealing objects and clues. An app tells the player how these objects relate to the story, and how to react – is. Remove a certain card, peer down a certain hall. Look for this innovative puzzle from Cranio in the coming year.

Smirk and Dagger games founder Curt Covert discussed the Cutthroat Caverns Anniversary edition coming this August. The new edition will include the core set with new art and tighter rules, but will be fully compatible with the rest of this classic game. Concurrent with the new release will be the digital Cutthroat Caverns app, which includes several AI opponents, each with their own evil agenda.

Stayed tuned for the second half of breaking GAMA news coming soon.

Roll Player (2016) by Thunderworks Games and designer Keith Matejka is a fantastic (BGG #234) dice placement game which themes around creating a classic d20 RPG character. Now the company has announced 2 new “Roll Player Tales” in the same universe, Lockup and Cartographers.

Lockup: A Roll Player Tale by designer Stan Kordonskiy (Dice Hospital) is a worker placement game taking place within a fantasy prison, originally funded on Kickstarter in 2018. In Lockup, 2-5 players need to assign members of their gang to sections of the prison and collect resources, all without attracting the ire of the guards, who are not beyond searching their quarters and confiscating their goods. Each round, the most powerful characters in a section get the prime resources, and can build the best items. After 6 rounds, the most powerful gang emerges victorious.

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale by designer Jordy Adan is a roll and write game, where players need to fill in their map sheet according to the Queen’s edicts. Exploration cards tell the players what polyomino shapes and terrain types to draw each round. Scoring cards communicate the Queen’s will, and tell what will score. Cartographers encapsulates the joy of drawing old RPG maps on graph paper, filling in forest, mountain, water, and even monsters, trying to earn the most points in 4 seasons.

Both Lockup and Cartographers are expected to deliver to stores in July 2019. For more information, check out Thunderworks webpage on Cartographers, and the Kickstarter page from Lockup.

The winner’s of this round of Dice Tower Awards were announced this last week at Dice Tower Con, recorded live for YouTube as well. The nominees were selected by a panel of roughly 100 people, with voting shortly after managed by Jason Levine. A hearty thanks to everyone who participated. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, which made for a fantastic list of games who all deserved the award, but of course there can be only one victor in each category. So without further ado:

Best Game of the Year
Scythe
Jamey Stegmaier, Alan Stone

Best Artwork
Scythe
Jamey Stegmaier, Alan Stone

Best Board Game Production
Mechs vs Minions
Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, Nathan Tiras

Best Cooperative Game
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
Nikki Valens

Best Expansion
7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon
Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala

Best Family Game
Ice Cool
Brian Gomez

Best Game from a New Designer
Terraforming Mars
Jacob Fryxelius

 

Best Game from a Small Publisher
Roll Player
Keith Matejka

Best Party Game
Captain Sonar
Roberto FragaYohan Lemonnier

Best Reprint
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
Nikki Valens

Best Strategy Game
Terraforming Mars
Jacob Fryxelius

Best Theming
Captain Sonar
Roberto FragaYohan Lemonnier

Best Two Player Game
Star Wars: Rebellion
Corey Konieczka

Most Innovative Game
Captain Sonar
Roberto FragaYohan Lemonnier

While a certain project just launched by CMON will be getting most of the attention, we still want to highlight some other good ones that might be worth backing.

First up is the reprint and re-theming by Indie Boards & Cards of the popular flip and write game, Avenue, now called Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama.  How to play the game remains largely unchanged, where you flip a card to see what kind of road you can draw, and then drawings it on your personal map.  Some of the changes being made to the game are the inclusion of double sided dry erase boards, meaning you no longer have to worry about running out of maps.  Also being included are components for a 7th player of the game and decree cards which offer more variability when you play the game.  Overall if you like this kind of game, or just missed out on Avenue the first time around, check out this Kickstarter today.

Next we have an expansion for the cowboy saloon building game called Saloon Tycoon: The Ranch Expansion from Van Ryder Games.  Saloon Tycoon is all about building up your own saloon to be the best in the west, but others want to achieve that goal as well.  You will take turns adding to your saloon, trying to satisfy you secret goals as well as public ones.  Attracting citizens will help you out, but be careful of the outlaws, they just want to make trouble.  The Ranch Expansion adds more tiles for you to build, cows and horses to wrangle, more characters, and four different mini expansion that are Kickstarter exclusive.  You will also be able to add on the base game and the Boomtown expansion to expand your game even further.  So if this sounds interesting to you, check out the Kickstarter.

Following that we have a new party game being done by Grail games called Hang 12.  Hang 12 is a personal trivia type game where the active player will pick a beach to surf, and that beach determine what kind of trivia question they have to answer.  Some of the question are “I have seen all the Star Wars movies”, or “I have eaten caviar before” and so on.  The active player secretly answers either true or false and then everyone else guesses to see what the right answer was.  If you are right you get to take the next level of point card, if you are wrong then you lose your current point card and start over.  What makes the scoring interesting is that it’s a bit of push your luck because as you get more answers right in a row, you point card increases faster and faster, but get a question wrong and you lose it.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk the points you play the surf card to ride the wave in and bank the points, moving closer to the 24 point victory.  If this surf themed party game sound like something you want to try, check out the Kickstarter now.

After that we have a new cooperative game being designed by Chris Batarlis and Steve Avery called Metal Dawn.  The game essentially has you playing out the Terminator movie before the robots have fully taken over, where you play agents fighting back against the machines.  The game plays out like an area control game where you have to deploy your characters to different zones in Washington DC before they get overrun.  You will have to find gear and gain intel to use against the constant onslaught of robots in order to turn the tide and secure the zones.  Then you will have to use some of that intel on DOMINUS, the satellite that took over all the robotic enemies and started the rebellion.  Once you bring him down to Earth he turns into a massive robot menace that once you defeat that, will finally end the robot uprising.   Hopefully your skills are up to par and you have good teamwork, because DOMINUS will not go easy on you.  Check out the Kickstarter today, and if you upgrade to the deluxe edition you also get rules to play the game competitively as well.

Last, and by certainly no means least, we have the expansion to the popular character creation game, Roll Player: Monsters and Minions by Thunderworks Games.  Roll Player has you rolling dice to give your character stats, learn skills, gain traits, and equip them with the best armor and weapons you can manage. Roll Player: Monsters and Minions expands on that by adding more of what you want, more classes, more races, and more market items, including a brand new item type, scrolls.  But what makes this expansion great is that now you take this character you crafted, and put them up against monsters like bugbears, goblins, vampires, and dragons.  Hopefully the character you created is up the snuff or he may be taken out.  You can check out the Kickstarter here, which is well past funded and blown through many stretch goals.

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