Ryan Laukat

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.

This updated version of The Ancient World, features new cover art, updated components new and revised titans and even expanded gameplay.

The following design features take the game to a gorgeous new deluxe level:

  • Numbered, limited-edition boxes
  • “Ryan Laukat’s “signature” printed in metallic ink
  • Larger, double-sided player boards
  • Updated game board, district and empire cards
  • Metal coins!

“In an ancient world forgotten by time, enormous titans terrorize the land. Five tribes have been fleeing from the titans for centuries, but things are about to change. Growing city-states pledge to end the reign of terror, determined to take on the titans and make the world a safer place for all. Each city-state competes to attract the tribes, eager for the strength of the combined peoples, with the hope that the titans can be defeated once and for all.”

The Ancient World mixes card drafting, set collection and worker placement mechanism as players compete to grow the largest and most influential city-states, measured by owned tribe banners. Players take turns sending citizens to take special actions or using military cards to attack titans. Banners are collected via empire cards as well as by defeating titans. Victory points are gained for sets of tribe banners and after six rounds, the player with the most VPs wins.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until September 8th. The game is expected to ship in June 2019. Backers can choose between two pledge levels. If you own the original game, you can make due with just an upgrade pack (and perhaps some sweet metal coins). Players new to the game can go all in for the entire 2nd edition pledge.

The Dice Tower reviewed the original version of The Ancient World and you can see what Sam and Tom said here.

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.

In all professions, networking with your peers is always a good practice to help get your foot in the door to new places and to improve your skill whether it be coding, engineering, or designing board games.  So Geoff Engelstein, Tim Fowers, and Jeff Beck has decided to launch a new board game design retreat called Tabletop Network.  This will be a two day retreat out in the relaxing Snowbird mountain resort near Salt Lake City, Utah starting on Friday June 8th.

There will be lots of people presenting including Rob Daviau, Ryan Laukat, Tom Lehmann, Geoff Engelstein, Stone Librande, Tim Fowers, and more.  Some of the subjects that will be discussed will be engagement, balance, and emerging trends in board games.  Also, while there will some time set aside for playing games, this conference is meant to be about learning together and sharing ideas to improve everyone’s board game design skills, so you might want to leave the prototype at home.

In order to fund this trip they are using Kickstarter for selling the tickets.  To attend in person a physical ticket will run you $295, while a virtual pass where you can watch all the panels and talks online will run you $55.  So if you are itching to rev up your game designing engine, this retreat may be just the jump start you need.

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!

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.

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The Dice Tower Awards are only a couple months away in July at Dice Tower Con, so to ramp up to that day we are releasing the nominees for each award category.  And the nominees are:

BEST BOARD GAME COMPONENTS

BEST CO-OP GAMES

BEST FAMILY GAMES

BEST GAME ARTWORK

BEST GAME EXPANSIONS

BEST GAME FROM A NEW DESIGNER

BEST GAME OF THE YEAR

BEST GAME REPRINT

BEST GAME THEMING

BEST PARTY GAME

BEST SMALL PUBLISHER GAME

BEST STRATEGY GAME

BEST TWO PLAYER GAME

MOST INNOVATIVE GAME