science fiction

The next entry in the Choose Your Own Adventure game series: War With the Evil Power Master has been announced by Z-Man Games.

The “Choose Your Own Adventures” book series is a hybrid between the beloved Choose Your Own Adventure books popular in the 80s and 90s, and a traditional board game. In this iteration, players must lead the Rapid Force Crew around the galaxy, looking for clues to track down the Evil Power Master and stop him before he unleashes destruction.

For centuries, the Lacoonian System, an alliance of the most advanced civilizations in the galaxy, has lived in peace. But now the Evil Power Master has returned and is leading a destructive rebellion.

There are nine locations in the Lacoonian System where the Evil Power Master could be hiding and players must navigate the stars to find him. By traveling the galaxy and tracking clues, your team can eventually use the clues to boost your signal, and discover his whereabouts. But beware! The Evil Power Master will throw many dangerous challenges your way as you try to stop him.

In the box

  • 154 Story Cards
  • 158 DATA Cards
  • 9Start Item Cards
  • 4 Character Cards
  • 1 Game Board
  • 1 Die
  • 1 Mover
  • 2 Tracking Cubes
  •  9 Signal Booster Discs
  • Instructions

Choose Your Own Adventure game series: War With the Evil Power Master is for 1-8 players, ages 10+. It is designed by Prospero Hall and plays in about an hour. Watch the Dice Tower coverage of the previous game in the series.

The Captain is Dead: Lockdown is the latest episode in the Captain is Dead co-op adventure game that finds you and up to 6 other crew mates battling aliens and scrambling to keep your star ship functioning.

Even without the help of the late Captain, the crew was able to escape the alien attack in our last episode! However, the hasty repairs to the jump core did not hold, and now the crew finds themselves locked in an alien prison! Now the crew must use all their skills to hack into the alien prison’s systems, while staying hidden and avoiding alien patrols…

Also coming from AEG is a new Smash Up set titled, Oops You Did It Again.

Smash Up has turned the asylum over to the inmates yet again! After the success of It’s Your Fault, we decided to let the fans choose the factions that would make up the latest set of Smash Up, and they went for some powerful choices! A huge field was whittled down to the top four, and here they are: Cowboys call out opposing minions for shootouts, Samurai face their noble end in battle to bring glory to their player, Ancient Egyptians bury secrets deep in the sands, while the Vikings… well they just take other people’s stuff!

It looks like the fans nailed it this time with some of the best genres from pop culture represented in one expansion box.

Keep an eye out for The Captain is Dead: Lockdown in August and Smash Up: Oops You Did It Again in early September.

 

 

Mars is hot… literally. Most of the time, except for when it is really cold.  But it is also hot as a theme in boardgaming right now, and Terraforming Mars is the leading the pack. Since its release in 2016, it launched straight to the top of the BoardGameGeek rankings and has stayed there, currently sitting in the #4 position amongst all other games.  With that popularity comes expansions, and a move out and away from the surface of Mars.  Terraforming Mars: The Colonies will be the fourth explansion for the game and will expand out into the rest of the solar system to put space stations in the void and on the moons of other planets. It follows the other Terraforming Mars games and will play with 1-5 players in 2 hours. It is currently scheduled to release 2018-10-15 with no word on if or when pre-orders will be available.

 

Fantasy Flight Games has announced plans to release a Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition the 3rd quarter of 2018. Tom Vasel’s favorite board game for six years in a row (2010 to 2015), could a new edition of the game cement the place on the top of Tom’s list?

The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition will become the new standardized version of the game when it is released. The new edition of the game will be fully compatible with all existing Cosmic Encounter expansions.

In the far reaches of space, the aliens of the cosmos vie for control of the universe. Alliances are constantly forged and broken in the pursuit of power as starships journey from planet to planet, ready to build colonies and battle foreign powers, ensuring the survival of their people as they spread throughout the stars. 

Designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka, and Kevin Wilson, the game was originally released by Eon in 1977. When a new edition of the game was released in 1992 it received the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1991. It was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997

In 2008 Fantasy Flight Games reprinted the game in 2008 and subsequently released 6 expansions full of additional alien factions and mechanics.

What’s New?

The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition includes both a revised rulebook as well as an illustrated Quick-start Guide that aims to capture all of the nostalgia of the original game while making it easier for new players to learn the game. The Quick-start Guide is styled as a 1970s comic book style. The anniversary edition also includes translucent ship pieces factions will use while spreading their colonies across the galaxy.

While traditional favorite aliens will be included in set, the game will also include the ruthless Demon aliens. Previously only available at Cosmic Con, the new aliens will be included in the anniversary edition of the game. Having been exiled from earlier editions of the base game, they now seek cosmic vengeance and will use their power to possess other players’ hands, bolstering their strength while draining the strength of others.

Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition will also introduce new Cosmic Combo cards. These cards offer a list of alien species with a brief description of their powers to help curate themed matchups and explore different types of game strategies.

Diplomacy on a Cosmic Scale

Just like previous editions of the game, players will each take on the role as leader of their own alien species with unique abilities, seeking to expand their reach across cosmos. Players will take turns launching spaceships from their fleets through a Hyperspace Gate to reach planets beyond their home system, attempting to colonize on opponents plants.

Colonizing on other planets is not as easy as launching a ship. Each planet is already controlled by another player, and other factions may not let you place those colonies without a fight. Diplomacy will be just as important as military strategy. Once both offense and defensive players launch their spaceships, they can ask the other aliens for support in their campaign.

Other players might jump in, using their Alien Powers, Artifacts, Reinforcements, or Flares to tip the odds in one side’s favor or the other. Win the encounter and you can establish a colony, but lose and your ships will be trapped in the warp.

The first players to successfully establish colonies on five foreign planet will be the winner.

Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new age: a new age of Twilight.  Twilight Imperium, that is, in the form of a fourth edition of the epic 4x space strategy game that has been loved and celebrated in the gaming industry for many years.  This new edition celebrates 20 years of this epic space opera board game of expansion, diplomacy, and war to control the galaxy, best explained in this excerpt from the official release:

For twenty years, the custom space operas created by Twilight Imperium have thrilled gamers like nothing else. Now, Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition builds on the grand space opera found in previous editions while streamlining rules and putting player interaction center stage…Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition aims to be the most complete version of the game ever printed. Seventeen playable races are included in the game, offering a wide variety of starting faction options. Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition brings a galactic space opera to your table, and no two games will ever be the same.

This new version of the game will include 350 plastic units, 51 system tiles, 561 command and control tokens, 80 action cards, 50 agenda cards, 40 objective cards, 59 planet cards, 184 technology and technology upgrade cards, 41 promissory note cards, and much more.

TI veterans will likely be asking (as I did!) what the main differences are between TI3 and TI4.  Some of the main changes include a stunning new graphic design and layout, but with the same great and familiar artwork flavor.  Additionally, changes will be seen in game mechanisms such as Trade, Technology, PDS Units, Space Docks, Politics, and the Imperial Strategy Card, to name a few.  FFG has anticipated the question of specific changes to the game in their product description, which can be read here.

The game is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2017.  To read the entire article that announces the new version of the game, click here.

 

Z-Man games has just announced they will be releasing Gaia Project, the spiritual successor to the wildly successful Terra Mystica. Gaia Project will be released later in 2017 and will be available for gamers to see at GenCon 2017.

The galaxy lies in the distance, full of planets full of resources waiting to be claimed by spacefarers. Your people have finally developed enough technology to head out into the cosmos and reach for the stars. Similar to Terra Mystica, Gaia Project once again invites up to four players to forge galactic empires of their own.

Fourteen unique factions will come in the game with each player taking one faction to claim planets, increase production and develop technology to colonize planets before your rivals. Grow your empire and you’ll unlock abilities and new technologies to dominate the galaxy.

Creating New Galaxies and Federations

Featuring a modular board, players will be able to create a new galaxy for exploring every time they play. Once the galaxy is constructed players need to immediately start producing the resources necessary for exploration. Only through successful good production will you have the resources necessary to power your way through the galaxy. As your tiny empire grows you can upgrade existing resources like mines, invest in your research engine, or develop your own federation to help keep your planets aligned.

Even if you manage to claim a planet before your rivals, you will still have to deal with the unforgiving environments on these new planets. Choose what planets to make habitable wisely or you’ll waste the scarce resources you’ve collected.

Starting on the Cutting Edge

You’re not starting from scratch in this game. When the game begins all fourteen factions have already developed the technology to travel between planets. You’ve also mastered the ability to terraform planets, altering the environments enough to create the conditions necessary to sustain your specific faction.

Even with this amazing technology your faction can develop further. Something you’ll need to do faster than your opponents. Investing in research will be critical, whether it be something that can boost your economy, your scientific output or your terraforming ability. Creating Quantum Intelligence Cubes will help you extend your reach beyond the planets merely adjacent to your position. With Navigation Research you can increase your range to reach distant planets that appear as mere specks.

Gaia Projects

Among the many worlds you will encounter are the Transdim Planets. These purple planets contain critical resources, but unlike other planets they cannot be built directly upon. To claim these planets you must initiate a Gaia Project. An investment in a Gaia Project grants you Gaiaformers. These powerful machines can be placed on Transdim planets to begin resource extraction.

A successful Gaia Project allows you to claim a planet that would not be suited your faction without having to go through the costly terraforming process.

A Legacy of Success

Gaia Project builds of the legacy of Terra Mystica, currently ranked as the 6th greatest game on Boardgamegeek and the 5th greatest strategy game. Terra Mystica also allows up to 4 players to represent one of 14 different factions as they terraform landscapes in competition with other factions. Terra Mystica was a big winner when it was released in 2012 and through the 2013 awards season. A selection of awards include:

The Dice Tower Top Ten Lists still include Terra Mystica on a frequent basis, including these appearances:

  • The 2017 Top Ten from 5 Years Ago list had Eric placing the game at #2 and The People ranking the game #2.
  • The 2015 list of the 100 greatest games had Tom listing the game at 39, Eric listing the game at #19 and The People ranking the game at 15.
  • Eric ranks the game as the 7th best Long Game.

Fans of science fiction and the role-playing system Fate may be familiar with Bulldogs!, the fast and furious space-faring campaign setting. Where Fate is a more in-your-face style of tabletop role-playing, so too does Bulldogs! skip much of the math and buggery to produce instead more action-packed sequences of heroics and daring-do.

Yet like space exploration, even in a pulp-style narrative, it becomes necessary to broaden horizons and Heart of the Fury seeks to do just that. The recently released supplement book adds a lot more to see, fight, and deal with in Bulldogs! adventures, as explained via the press release:

 “This 260-page adventure campaign includes a dozen different adventures and new rules for Bulldogs! campaigns. Heart of the Fury adds a new Psychic skill and stunts to add mental powers to the game, three new playable alien species, and an excellent example of how to craft a full arc campaign to players’ own Bulldogs! game.”

Developed with the help of Gareth Hanrahan, Heart of the Fury is thicker than the core book and runs on the latest version of the Fate Core System to deliver long-lasting stories for those that seek them. As said by Hanrahan himself, “The Bulldogs! setting has a number of guns built into it, and I took great and unbridled glee in running around pulling as many triggers as I could. Now, it’s up to the player characters to start dodging.” For those interested, check out publisher Galileo Games’ own website to find all the appropriate avenues of procuring a copy and expanding your Bulldogs! adventures.

As the release of Ogre Sixth Edition draws near, Steve Jackson Games has announced they will start supporting organized play in 2017.  Fans of Ogre will have the ability to battle it out at their Friendly Local Gaming Store for Ogre Sixth Edition rewards in addition to fame and recognition throughout the Ogre community!

Starting in January, players will be able to sign up and start learning all about the program.  On February 11th, 2017, SteveJacksonGames is inviting stores to host the first ever #PlaySJGames Event to showcase the new Ogre Sixth Edition.  Ogre Launch Kits will be made available to SJG’s retailers, and the first 200 stores that request one.

Contents of the Launch Kit include:

  • Demo copy of Ogre Sixth Edition
  • Ogre Blueprint poster
  • Ogre Dice Sets of varying colors
  • Uncommon Ogre Counter Sheets
  • More items yet to be revealed!

If you are a fan of Ogre, and seek to have organized play in your area, encourage your FLGS to sign up for a kit and get registered for Organized Play!

Further information on timing, awards, and store participation is forthcoming.  You can stay up to date by following Steve Jackson Games here

bbt

Playroom Entertainment’s best-selling party game, Geek Out!, is getting a fourth edition based on the popular comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Warner Bros. Television and Cryptozoic are teaming up with them to bring this latest installment to the table with all the quality and humor that fans come to expect from both the Geek Out! series and the hit CBS show. For those unfamiliar with Geek Out!, it is at default a trivia game that asks players to list as many things that they can pertaining to a given category, such as Comic Books, Science Fiction, and Games among many others. The two editions of Geek out that have spawned from it’s original release, Pop Culture and TableTop, further delve into those particular categories. As announced in the press release, the addition of The Big Bang Theory to the series is almost a no-brainer:

 “With subjects including, Comics, Games, SciFi, Fantasy and questions about Warner Bros. Television’s hit comedy series, Geek Out! The Big Bang Theory edition will be great for the show’s fans and those knowledgeable about tons of geeky subjects. […] Using the simple, yet competitive game mechanic, Geek Out! lends itself to amazing social interaction play that is perfect for fans of The Big Bang Theory.”

It’s not easy to say where the series will go from here, but it is a very entertaining idea to mix all the sets together to form an interesting challenge for those seeking to out-geek one another. It also calls to question what other franchises might we see for Geek Out! in the future…but only time will tell. For further information, check out Playroom’s and Cryptozoic’s website for  updates on Geek Out! and similar upcoming products.